Healthy Airport Eating – How to eat decent and stay well while you travel

Travel is great for the soul, but it can be murder on the gut.

This is especially true if you are prone to inflammation, digestive upset, or IBS, or generally try to follow a low sugar, or gluten free lifestyle.

Some places in the world don’t understand, and don’t care.

I am going to share some practical Ways to Make Healthy Decisions in the Airport, and elsewhere when travelling.

The inexperienced traveler Wises Up

I am not a frequent flying expert, nor am I one of those people who is always flying off somewhere, but I have some strategies I use, so I am going to share these with you.

L.A.X.

This year, between overnights in Utah, Mexico and Costa Rica, relaxing down time in Nicaragua, and connections through Texas, California, Washington, and Colorado on my way back and forth, I’ve logged an unusual amount of airport time.

So, away from my safe havens of yoga and gluten free food, I’ve had to learn to stay healthy on the go.

The biggest deal was travelling around Japan last winter with my family, because of the language barrier (the Google translate APP is amazing for translating store labels on the fly) but there was a camping road trip this summer with my partner that took almost as much planning, believe it or not.

I am happy to share some of the things  I have learned.

The goals 

I try to stick with my normal routine, where I eat a clean anti inflammatory diet, which to me means that I eat all the food groups, but only if they are high quality.

The items that are available on the run are usually made for shelf stability, and so they are missing

  • FIBER
  • PHYTONUTRIENTS and MINERALS FROM COLOURFUL FRUIT N VEGGIES
  • CLEAN PROTEINS
  • HEALTHY FATS (Omegas etc)

Instead, they use sugar to keep things flavourful and moist, and preservatives and unhealthy shelf-stable fats.

Counteract this by packing items filled with fiber, phytonutrients, minerals, clean proteins and fats.

Then grab the fruit and salads you do find inside the airport.

Some of my favourite ways to do this include

  • Bliss balls, boiled omega 3 eggs, good quality small fish or smoked oysters on Mary’s crackers, as well as overnight dry chia seeds with many healthy add-ins like Elderberry Crystals (a purple antioxidant filled choice), and omega 3 and protein-rich hemp seeds
  • Many people like roasted chickpeas, or homemade granola bars or loaves (build in the veggies like pumpkin, carrot and zucchini)
  • I like packing my own organic grassfed cooked sausages with sauerkraut and olives, and bringing powder ready to shake up – I include my favourite protein powder, a greens powder, a purple powder, L-glutamine, creatine and medicinal mushroom powder, maybe even some ground flax, then I add water and shake as needed.

Begin with the right breakfast

Flights or even road trips often require leaving the house early, but you can bring a breakfast made the night before.

Grab a couple of hard boiled omega 3 eggs.

Overnight oats and chia pudding make great breakfasts prior to a trip, because they can supply huge doses of the macronutrients usually missing on the journey – fibre and healthy fats. The fibre comes with the oats or chia, and then you can add some flax oil or other healthy oil.

Bring healthy snacks from home

When flying into the US and elsewhere they may have restrictions on liquids, but you can bring foods from home, and I think a large number of people don’t realize this.

Healthy snacks that satisfy are snap peas and mandarins, both easy to take along if you’re flying only within the country, and you won’t have limits of fruit.

Nuts are also a good choice, and I usually just bring Brazil nuts, a nutritious source of magnesium and selenium, and one that is lower in oxalates, but small amounts of trail mixes with small amounts of dried fruits without added sugar are good too.

Keep it interesting by trying some wasabi peas or pili nuts.

Yogurt covered raisins, candied hibiscus flowers, papaya, mango, pineapple, or sour cherries are delicious additions, as are chocolate covered organic coffee beans, and the occasional corn nuts. None are that healthy but they are better than Skittles or M&Ms.

Another great snacking idea are protein balls made yourself at home. You can check my YouTube channel for a video on how to make those here. These nutritious and delicious snacks can keep you fuelled up until you get to your destination.

Dried foods

When flying with only a carry-on, the weight of each day’s food becomes an issue. Freeze dried or dehydrated foods are lightweight and have a virtually indefinite shelf life without the chemicals. Because these meals are odour-free until moistened, they’re also less likely to be embarrassing.

You can find many choices at outdoor shops.

A jar of pROTEIN and OTHER PowderS

Now, if you bring a jar of powder, it can look weird.

I always label it, and I bring a shaker cup.

This saves me every time. I stay hydrated, regular, and unworried in the event that there is no safe gluten foods – I don’t have to worry about getting to the one gluten free place two terminals away, or suffer hangry times or constant gluten damage.

Salt Lake City had more healthy options than I expected

My small jar contains a premixed powder blend containing

1 – protein powder, 2 – gut-healing, sugar-craving busting L-glutamine, 3 – Lion’s Mane mushroom powder to help regulate stress response and sleep/wake cycle, 4 – antioxidants and immune support in the form of powdered elderberry juice, 5 – Green powder for extra phytonutrients and fibre, 6 – Collagen powder for health of the gut, skin and more

A shaker cup that seals can be used to drink water and to shake up the powder blend on the go.

FASTING?

When I travel I aim to stay limber, hydrated and comfortable. I want to disturb my gut as little as necessary, and avoid getting hangry.

Of course, fasting is an easy way to avoid gut problems, but I still want to enjoy the culinary experiences offered by travel, and anyway, my body is not well adapted to fasting yet. If you are, by all means, Do it!

Granada Nicaragua

The Airport

When finding yourself at the airport several hours before take-off to allow enough time for check-in, you’ll likely be finding yourself ready for a snack or even a meal before you journey on to your next destination.

Here are a few of my favourite tricks on healthy things you can find at the airport, whether you’re on a layover, delayed, or are just famished from your travels!

Indulge in dark chocolate

When you’re delayed, and you desperately want something sweet to snack on, head to one of the convenience stores and grab a bar of dark chocolate. You’ll not only be treating yourself, but you’ll also be getting a bounty of antioxidants.

Be sure to choose a bar that’s at least 70% cocoa to make it as natural as possible and look for low total sugars.

Drink a green tea or a smoothie

Most airports have smoothie stations, which make a more nutritious stop than the airport bar. If you’re going somewhere tropical, why not fuel your adventures with a tropical-flavoured smoothie? Make sure you add mostly greens to your smoothie so you can enjoy the health benefits without loading up on too much fruit in one glass.

A caveat: BEWARE the green smoothie that is full of banana and sugar. Some pre-made brands at the coffee shop or NEWS stand at the airport are LOADED with sugar.

If that’s all that’s available, grab a green tea instead, and eat a healthy pepperoni stick.

It is easy to eat carbs on the go, especially sugary items low in fiber and nutrients.
The protein and fat that are commonly available as options tend to be a bit dirty and inflammatory.

Find a clean protein source

Steer clear of those fast-food chains and instead, seek out the places that serve clean proteins in the form of hardboiled eggs and chicken salads, free range turkey sticks, tinned sardines or roasted chicken, or even hummus with seed cracks or cut-up vegetables.

Sandwiches with lean proteins (and without being slathered in mayonnaise or creamy sauces) can also be a filling option for your airport adventures if you’re running out of options or time to explore and you tolerate some gluten.

Grab a few protein bars to go – for those times when you’ll be hopping from one place to another pretty fast and you’ve forgotten to pack your own, grab protein bars to keep you fuelled up. The trick is to choose the brands that have less than 10 grams of sugar and only a few ingredients. If you are prone to IBS, steer clear of the ones that are mostly dried fruit, dates and figs.

Non-Food solutions

Some of my favourite solutions have been MULTIPURPOSE, enabling me to travel very light:

Essential oil travel spray

Travel spray essential oils with lemongrass and tea tree. Spritz to refresh yourself, your shoes or hands, your space. Deodorizes and sanitizes, acts as a perfume for yourself or blocks your neighbour’s bad breath.

Exercise Bands with different strengths and levels of resistance and a yoga mat are everything you need for full body workouts on the go.

You’ll get aerobics from walking most likely and the bands can provide a full gym workout worth of resistance. You can practice yoga outside or perhaps in special places you find along the way.

Yoga room in San Fransisco airport

Filtering water bottle/Travel mug or Shaker cup. Depending on the destination, I will choose the best one. Drink on the go for less and with less waste without compromising on safety and purity. If travelling where filtered or clean water is available, bring a reusable no spill coffee mug and it can be used for all your needs. A shaker cup allows to instant hydrating, nourishing beverages on demand for a fraction of the airport price.

Sleep mask and earplugs. Sleep on the plane, in the airport. Protect hearing at concerts and clubs while away. Disengage from conversation with your seat mate on plane if you wish. Useful if the hotel you stay at seems oblivious to the importance of a dark room (I’m looking at you, Adventure Hotel!).

The peppermint and cinnamon flavour both freshen breath and clean teeth while doubling as a tool against digestive distress

Charcoal toothpaste. I listened to Ben Greenfield ‘debunk’ charcoal toothpaste, saying that it can be abrasive to teeth, among other ills. However, after using it for 6 months, I had a great dental checkup so I am not concerned. Using a naturally flavoured peppermint or cinnamon charcoal toothpaste that has no fluoride might not suit you all the time, but when travelling, a small amount stretched very far, and can be swallowed if required. The charcoal in the gut can help absorb toxins, reducing digestive distress.

Notebook.

Seamless underwear and a bra without underwire. Avoid pinch points. Underwire is not as comfortable for dozing in, and really isn’t healthy anytime, but it is especially nefarious when you are flying across the North, where radiation levels are higher. Fly wireless.

Cotton clothes and slip off shoes. Preferably comfortable, loose and breathable, without looking frumpy.

All in one balm. It can be for your lips, cuticles, elbows or under eyes, but wherever you use it, it locks in the moisture that travel tries to steal from you.

Long and wide soft infinity scarf in stretch jersey in a neutral or a Pashmina in a pattern that coordinates with
many things. Use as a head wrap for your hair if it is spitting or drizzling out, or if you go to a sauna or steam room, to prevent frizz and keep hair clean. Use as an extra layer when cold – around your neck, around your legs while seated or as a muffler for hands. Use as a bandanna when dusty. Use as a head cover in modest or devout locations. Use as a miniskirt or as a tube top or cross body bandeau top around your neck in a pinch. Use as an improvised tensor bandage in the event of a sprained muscle. Wrap around chest to make a discreet pouch for keeping
documents against your body under clothes. Use as a towel or handkerchief in a pinch. Use to wrap and protect fragile souvenirs. Use as a blindfold if you’ve forgotten your eye mask. Use as a pillow or to clean your screens.

Smart phone. Check in, get a map of the terminal. Hail an Uber or call a taxi. Watch in-flight movies. Clock. Alarm. Record audio notes. Take photos. Listen to ebooks or podcasts or music. Browse social media. Map of the city and restaurants/ hotel. Reviews of destinations. Check emails from your air bnb or other contacts. Text friends and family. Meditation apps. Find allergen free or veg-friendly foods. Compare and find the best museum to visit if you only have 2 hours. Binaural beats, TED Talks and sound healing videos. Check currency exchange. Transfer money. Carry scanned images of travel permission letters. Work on the go. Play games.

Supplements

Medicinal mushrooms and antioxidants like grape seed extract, astaxanthin, lutein all protect against radiation exposure from flying. Medicinal mushrooms help the body readjust to time zones more effectively.

Circulation aids like grape seed extract, diosmin/hesperidin and pine bark are proven to improve circulation to legs to prevent CVI issues while flying.

Melatonin, 5HTP and sour cherries (a melatonin precursor) can help with sleep.
Valerian, passionflower and skullcap can help with restlessness, anxiety or sleeplessness.

Book Report

Hey folks, Dana here.

Final weekend of summer with my son away, and I’ve had more reading time than usual, but it is coming to a close.

I don’t know about you, but I try to read a book per week.

You know, things that CEOs do.

Now, I don’t always find that I can, but often I do.

I’ve been very happy with my reading so far this year, especially this summer.

I read one book that I knew I would love before I read it (Dirty Genes, by Dr. Ben Lynch) another that I thought I would not like, but did, (Vitamania, by Catherine Price – great read!) and two books that I didn’t expect to be reading manifested themselves in my life as gifts and impressed me (Botanical Medicine and the AutoImmune Fix by Dr. Tom O’Bryan)

I read a couple of very weird books (The Secret Teachings of Plants was less about botany, and more about things like Zeno’s concept of Time being an illusion), and lots from the library;

The Hormone Boost by Dr. Natasha Turner, The Hormone Fix by Dr. Anna Cabeca, The Wisdom of Menopause by Christiane Northrup, M.D.. are some of the ones I renewed, so that I could read them over again, they were so packed with revelatory insight.

I also read a book I didn’t like as much as I thought I would (Girl, Wash your Face). I wasn’t sure, because it was good on some levels, so I read her next book a bit, and I like that one even less, so yup, I’m done with her.

I stopped reading the latest book halfway.

DO YOU let yourself do that? Or do you FORCE yourself to finish it?

I never force anymore. I didn’t like that she was suggesting that a boob job is selfcare for women, so I BAILED on the book, and I DO NOT CARE.

🙂

I also bought myself a book for my birthday; Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford. Yep, it’s a classic, and now, no matter what problem comes up, I’ve got a congee recipe for that!

I also read several fiction books, like Catch-22, The Shadow Roads, and a few old sci-fi and crime books left to me by my dad, and I was happy that those were good ones.

All in all, a great few weeks in the reading department.

Check out the authors!

Shout out to @Catherine_Price and @DrBenLynch on Twitter or follow the #Buhner hashtag if you’re into super weird non linear thinking…again, it wasn’t for me, but is has it’s appeal.

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN READING?

I’d love to hear from you.

xox

Dana

 

 

Creating new holiday traditions

Buche de Noel

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Traditions for a non-traditionalist

I love the idea of traditions. I think rituals and traditions help to cement family and create memories and bonds.

A few holiday traditions really work for me.

We start the New Year at my Japanese mother-in-law’s with sushi and seafood and chanting for peace. My sister does the polar bear swim.

A few weeks later we celebrate Chinese New Year with my Grandmother with dim sum or a meal at a Cantonese restaurant with the traditional 8 dishes, and red Ly Ci packets with crisp bills from the eldest family members giving to all those younger than they.

My mother loves Easter chocolate making and baking, and we have even dabbled at making the traditional Ukrainian pysanka, or decorative wax painted eggs.

My favourite fall tradition in my little family is to get dressed in costumes together at Halloween.

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A tradition I do love from my mother’s family at Thanksgiving, is setting an extra plate at the table for anyone who was in need a a good meal and a spot by the fire for the evening.

Christmas

Christmas is a little trickier.

My inclination at this point, for Christmastime, is to go non-secular, to celebrate the winter solstice, and the returning of the light, to celebrate family togetherness, and to include some kind of activity that will cement us in ritual.

Maybe it’s because in my family the holidays changed so much from my parent’s generation to mine, but I am not sure we had that many traditions that I want to carry on. Like, I’m just not going to go to midnight mass.

So, I’ve been looking for something that I’ll want to carry on for years to come. I continue to search for something eco-friendly, artsy or active, non-religious, something that reflects what I love – spending time showing people I care, getting creative, involved in a project.

Looking at lights, volunteering, and snowshoeing seemed good too, but not everyone always want to do it, and often we get soaked in the rain.

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Christmas eve was always more special than Christmas day to my mother. That did not always work over the years with everyone’s schedule, and so the timing needs to be more open.

In my Ukrainian family, there is the tradition of the 12 dishes cooked by the eldest ladies. I don’t know the dishes, and that sounds like a lot of food for my tiny family, and a lot to make all by myself! I do like the Ukrainian tradition that the men wash the dishes after.

Christmas crafts don’t interest the guys, ice skating doesn’t work for my sister, going up the mountains leaves out the old ladies, visiting markets seemed more fun than it really was.

Seeing the Nutcracker ballet is a memory that my partner and I both had from childhood, and while that’s lovely, it’s pretty costly to do it every year.

Yule Log, French style

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It’s log, it’s log…It’s a cake, it’s a craft, it’s good.

Having grown up going to French school, I love the Quebecois take on winter – maple syrup candy, snowball fights, and the Bonhomme de neige, or snowman, who wears a scarf like a belt.

Unfortunately, we don’t have enough snow for most of those things, but we can still enjoy the French tradition of the Reveillon, the tradition of eating all night into the morning hours.

This tradition comes from staying up, going to midnight mass, and returning to eat 13 dishes, including the most decadent shellfish, followed by turkey, and ending in 13 dessert, a yule log cake, and finally, champagne.

Like the traditional 12 Ukrainian dishes, that tradition is a little much for me.

Not to mention, our family has suffered from our share of fresh shellfish nightmare stories…I’ll spare the details… but I do love the Buche de Noel part.

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Buche de Noel is the French name for a Christmas cake shaped like a yule log – a special log specially prepared to be burned slowly – traditionally over the shortest, darkest days of the year.

Since I love to mix influences, this cake takes the Buche de Noel and crosses it with the traditional German black forest cake, with its cherries and ganache. YUM.

This version is a mash up of all the things I wanted. Cream cheese frosting, light airy cake, ganache instead of frosting, and something celiac-friendly. Oh yeah and sour cherries, a source of melatonin, to make the kids fall asleep fast, lol.

It’s a delicious, flourless chocolate cake with a heavenly texture. It is moistened with vanilla and cherry juice, rolled with cherry-chocolate whipped cream, and topped with ganache.

It is naturally gluten free, and can be made dairy free fairly easily as well.

It seems like a no brainer that I would want to eat this every year. Making it was fun, people liked eating it, so that feels like a win to me.

I reduce the sugar substantially, using only confectioner’s sugar and subbing the rest. Feel free to use real sugar if you don’t care, I just don’t even keep any in my house!

Traditionally, Buche de Noel is decorated with its icing resembling bark, and confectioners’ sugar to resemble snow on a yule log. In addition, many people like to add mushrooms made of marzipan, a paste made of ground almonds.

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Your log may have any of these embellishments – vines and leaves, toadstools, bark made of chocolate flakes.

Our bark was made to resemble a pine tree, hence it is lying amidst some pine cones.

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It seems to be an enchanted forest, as there are some interesting marzipan characters – gnomes that bear some faint resemblance to Suzuki and Chomsky.

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Maybe next time, I’ll give the gnomes a little conference area made of toadstools, where they can convene to solve the world’s problems, I’ll add a Stamets sitting on an amenita. And a troll of course, sitting behind them, doing what trolls do.  

And with no further ado, here is the recipe. Have fun!

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Yule Log Cake / Buche de Noel

Note – Ingredients are listed for each part, under each part.

Rolled chocolate cake with vanilla whipped cream – cream cheese filling:

  • 1 cup organic 33% fat / whipping cream or coconut whipped cream
  • 1 cup organic or vegan cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 packet gelatin (optional)

Directions – whipped cream-cream cheese filling

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a 10×15 inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper, and grease and dust it with cocoa.
  • In a large bowl, whip cream, cream cheese, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until thick and stiff. Taste it of course! Refrigerate.
  • 6 free range organic egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white sugar or similar weight/volume sugar substitute (Lokanto, erithrytol)
  • 1/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 free range organic egg whites
  • 1/4 cup white sugar or similar weight/volume sugar substitute (Lokanto, erithrytol)
  • Organic confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions – chocolate roll cake

  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale. Temper gelatine in the vanilla if using. Blend 1/3 cup cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and salt into the yolks.
  • In large bowl using clean beaters, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, and beat until whites form stiff peaks. Immediately, gently, fold the yolk mixture into the whites.
  • Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

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  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched.
  • Dust a clean dish towel that you can get very ‘dirty’ with cocoa.
  • Run a knife around the edge of the pan if needed, and turn the warm cake out onto the towel. Remove parchment paper.
  • Roll the cake up with the towel. Making a shorter wider cake from the short end is more popular, but I prefer rolling it long, from the long side, to get a thinner more elegant shape – suit yourself.

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  • Cool for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the cherry filling (see below).

  • At this point you can freeze it or refrigerate it for a longer time – simply wrap the towel and all in parchment and plastic wrap to ensure no air gets to it.
  • Unroll the cake, and brush cherry juice all on the inside, paying extra attention to the edges.

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  • Spread the whipped cream filling to within 1 inch of the edge.

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  • Add in rows of the cherry filling, or just mix it all together.

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  • Roll the cake up with the filling inside.
  • Find a plate that will fit the cake. I started with some greenery made from fondant and cinnamon twigs, to set the forest scene.

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  • Place seam side down onto the serving plate, and refrigerate until serving. Wrap if this will be more than a half a day.
  • Before serving, trim the very ends (eat those, of course) and then cut at least one larger piece from the end, on a diagonal, to be a branch of the log.

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  • Prepare the ganache, and attach the branch or branches to the main log with the  ganache frosting. Use more ganache frosting to be sure everything is attached.

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  • Frost the top and sides, and use a knife or other tool to get the texture to resemble bark. If you make the ganache thin, you could pipe it. I spread it on and then used a pastry comb, but fork tines work for this as well.
  • Dust with confectioners’ sugar to resemble snow.
  • Before serving, add some cherries for decoration, to look like berries, or make a pinecone or mushroom or two if you like, you do you. Maybe add fluffy little clouds.

 

The parts

Cherry juice

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  • ½ cup juice from the sour cherries
  • 3 Tablespoons – ¼ cup vanilla extract, brandy, rum or Kirsch

 

Cherry mixture (filling part 2):

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  • 2 cups Sour cherries
  • ¼ cup sour cherry juice
  • 2 Tablespoons organic icing sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder

Heat the cherries and half the juice in a heavy bottomed pot. Mix the arrowroot into half of the juice, then stir into the mixture, and cook down.

 

Ganache (frosting):

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  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons grass fed butter
  • 2 cups semi-sweet stevia-sweetened chocolate chips
  • 2 pinches salt

Directions

  1. Add heavy cream and butter to a small saucepan and heat on low heat until the butter has melted and the cream is warmed throughout.
  2. Add chocolate chips to a large glass or nonreactive bowl. Pour the warmed cream and butter mixture over the chocolate chips. Add the 2 pinches of salt. Allow to stand for about 3-5 minutes to soften the chocolate chips completely.
  3. Stir briskly to combine and until smooth.
  4. Once cooled, use an electric to whip ganache to incorporate air and increase the volume of the ganache. It will change from dark brown to a light brown. Spread as you would frosting.

 

Pinecones:

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  • A few tablespoons 33% cream
  • 4 oz semi sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup sliced, skin-on almonds

Soften the chocolate in the microwave, mix in hot cream, and then quickly form in cones and shove the almond slices in there, in a way to resemble pinecones.

 

Well, that’s it.

Let me know how it goes!

 

Don’t Stress It – 10 ways to Overcome Stress

Getting Control of Thinking Patterns to Beat Stress

When we are stressed, it’s quite easy to develop negative thinking patterns because we become frustrated by our challenges and frequent feelings of being overwhelmed.

This negative outlook then makes it even harder for us to manage those challenges and move forward and break through the stress cycle.

Practicing positive thinking helps to focus on our strengths and accomplishments, which increases happiness and motivation.

This, in turn, allows us to spend more time making progress, and less time feeling down and stuck.

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BONUS: Another way to de-stress is to get into nature, as much as possible.

 

10 Ways to Kick Stress In The Butt

The following tips provide practical suggestions that you can use to help you shift into more positive thinking patterns:

1. Take Good Care of Yourself
It’s much easier to be positive when you are eating well, exercising, and getting enough rest.

2. Remind Yourself of the Things You Are Grateful For
Stresses and challenges don’t seem quite as bad when you are constantly reminding yourself of the things that are right in life. Taking just 60 seconds a day to stop and appreciate the good things will make a huge difference.

3. Look for the Proof Instead of Making Assumptions
A fear of not being liked or accepted sometimes leads us to assume that we know what others are thinking, but our fears are usually not reality. If you have a fear that a friend or family member’s bad mood is due to something you did, or that your co-workers are secretly gossiping about you when you turn your back, speak up and ask them. Don’t waste time worrying that you did something wrong unless you have proof that there is something to worry about.

4. Refrain from Using Absolutes
Have you ever told a partner “You’re ALWAYS late!” or complained to a friend “You NEVER call me!”? Thinking and speaking in absolutes like ‘always’ and ‘never’ makes the situation seem worse than it is, and programs your brain into believing that certain
people are incapable of delivering.

5. Detach From Negative Thoughts
Your thoughts can’t hold any power over you if you don’t judge them. If you notice yourself having a negative thought, detach from it, witness it, and don’t follow it.

6. Squash the “ANTs”
In his book “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,” Dr. Daniel Amen talks about “ANTs” – Automatic Negative Thoughts. These are the bad thoughts that are usually reactionary, like “Those people are laughing, they must be talking about me,” or “The boss wants to see me? It must be bad!”. (My sister told me that’s actually called narcissistic pessimism.) When you notice these thoughts, realize that they are nothing more than ANTs and squash them!

7. Practice Lovin’, Touchin’ & Squeezin’ (Your Friends and Family)
You don’t have to be an expert to know the benefits of a good hug. Positive physical contact with friends, loved ones, and even pets, is an instant pick me-up. One research study on this subject had a waitress touch some of her customers on the arm as she handed them their checks. She received higher tips from these customers than from the ones she didn’t touch!

8. Increase Your Social Activity
By increasing social activity, you decrease loneliness. Surround yourself with healthy, happy people, and their positive energy will affect you in a positive way!

9. Volunteer for an Organization, or Help another Person
Everyone feels good after helping. You can volunteer your time, your money, or your resources. The more positive energy you put out into the world, the more you will receive in return.

10. Use Pattern-Interrupts to Combat Rumination
If you find yourself ruminating, a great way to stop it is to interrupt the pattern and force yourself to do something completely different. Rumination is like hyper-focus on something negative. It’s never productive, because it’s not rational or solution-oriented, it’s just excessive worry and stress. Try changing your physical environment – go for a walk or sit outside. You could also call a friend, pick up a book, or turn on some music.

 

fb_img_1539669859622It’s important to understand the signs of stress and react with a positive way of handling it such as these 10 tips.

The key to busting stress is making sure that you look after YOU.

As your happiness levels increase, your stress levels decrease. Have a look at your work life, your personal life and social life to see if there are any areas you can create more happiness. You might be surprised on what you find.

xox

Dana

Fasting can be GOOD for metabolism?

Intermittent Fasting for Metabolic and Heart health

I’m really excited by the idea of metabolic flexibility.

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I want to be able to burn fat and carbs and anything I want to eat! Cleanly and well.

Over and above the weight and fat loss benefits, IF has metabolic benefits and may help not just with overweight and obesity, but with metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease as well.

People who IF sometimes have improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels. They also show improve blood lipids and even reduced inflammatory markers. All of these are related to improved metabolism and reduced risks for many chronic diseases.

One study found that people who IFed for 6-24 weeks and lost weight also benefited from reduced blood pressure.

One unique way IF works is by making our metabolism more flexible, which we’ll talk about in our next post.

This is really important for blood sugar control and diabetes risk because, according to Harvie (2017):

“Metabolic inflexibility is thought to be the root cause of insulin resistance.”

Another researcher, Anton (2015) says:

“When taken together with animal studies, the medical experience with fasting, glucose regulation and diabetes strongly suggests IF can be effective in preventing type 2 diabetes.”

Most researchers find these results promising, and recommend more high-quality longer-term trials.

I will write about how IF and TRE (time restricted eating) can affect mental health and cognitions (edit: I did so at length under my post “Easy ways to avoid dementia”), but suffice it to say, IF has great effects on our brain health (cognition) and mental health (emotion and relation).

In terms of our moods, that is less clear.

Researchers are still learning about the brain and mental health benefits of IF or TRE in people. Short-term studies show some people report improvement in tension, anger, and confusion from IF (anyone want to get their loved ones doing this?); while others report bad temper and lack of concentration as side effects from it.

If anyone wants to comments from experience and their own moods, I would love to hear your experience!!

xoxo

Dana

What is Health?

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Maintaining an even, balanced blood pressure is a sign of health

Homeostasis

It could be argued that homeostasis – the act of maintaining equilibrium, balancing the functions of the body – is the basis of health.

Easily, effortlessly, seamlessly, fluidly maintaining homeostasis, even in the presence of potentially unbalancing forces, is an expression of vibrant health.

In other words, to experience health, we need to maintain balance in the face of stress.

I want to know why some people are resilient, and others cannot handle stress.

This is why I am fascinated with the mechanisms of metabolism and homeostasis.

I want to know why some people feel full after a meal and some people never feel full, and why some people seem to be able to eat whatever they want, while others cannot even look at carbs without gaining weight.

I want to understand what is at work when a person can jump in a cold lake and come out and warm back up, and what is at work for those people who would never, ever consider jumping in a cold lake, because they have cold feet no matter what they do.

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Don’t worry, he will warm back up quickly.

This is one reason why I find the nutrition research of Dr. William Wolcott to be fascinating.

He read the research of the great doctors who came before him, and he incorporated all of the best nutrition, metabolism and homeostasis information from all of the other greats in the field into a comprehensive working system of evaluation.

The Homeostatic Controls

To Dr. Wolcott’s mind, there are 9 homeostatic mechanisms of import in the body, and each of these has control of an aspect of body function. 

Wolcott’s work remains the most complete today, but since the time he released his system two decades ago, our knowledge and understanding of metabolism and the microbiome have grown exponentially.

I was surprised that no one had yet tried to amalgamate this new research into the metabolic typing framework, so I have set out to do it myself.

In his system, there were 9 homeostatic controls.

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Based on learning from the most renowned researchers in the field of the microbiome and from well-respected Functional Medicine practitioners, I edited the homeostatic controls to include the enteric nervous system and the microbiome.

So my list has 10 revised homeostatic controls.

Therefore, the 10 homeostatic controls related to metabolism, as I see them, are:

  1. Oxidation
    • How fast or slow one ‘burns’ fuel for energy via the process of oxidation
  2. Autonomic Nervous System
    • Which of the 3 branches (sympathetic, enteric, parasympathetic) is dominant
  3. Lipo-Oxidation
    • The predominance or strength of the system converting fats to energy
  4. Endocrine 
    • Which gland (pituitary, gonad, thyroid, adrenal) is dominant, and your corresponding overall body shape and craving tendencies
  5. Carbo-Oxidation
    • The predominance or strength of the system that converts carbs to energy
  6. Microbiome diversity
    • The diversity and resilience of the microbiome, or lack thereof
  7. Blood type
    • Whether you have A, AB, B or O type blood
  8. pH balance
    • When eating the same food as another person, the tendency of your blood pH to being more naturally alkaline or more acidic
  9. Electrolyte adequacy
    • How your hormones signal the CNS to regulate the balance and quantity of electrolyte minerals in your blood
  10. Prostaglandin balance
    • The kind and quantity of chemical messengers you have for regulating body functions such as dilation and contraction, inflammation, and pain

brain color colorful cubeSolving the Health Puzzle means knowing how many aspects you are dealing with

Getting control of your health

In order to experience the best health, we need to maintain balance in the face of stress.

Our blood pressure and electrolyte levels should stay rather level, so that we avoid feeling light headed when we stand up quickly or weak after a bought of diarrhea. We should be able to warm up when we come in out of the cold, cool down when we stop exercising or leave the sauna. We should be able to maintain our weight effortlessly, and feel neither anxious and hyper nor tired and depressed. However, we tend to imbalance in one or another are.

Ways we tend to be dominant:

  • Fast vs. Slow oxidizer
  • Catabolic vs. Anabolic
  • Sympathetic vs. Parasympathetic dominant
  • Diverse Microbiome / Dominant ENS vs Depleted Microbiome / SNS Dominant
  • Thyroid, Adrenal, or Pituitary, dominance (for women, maybe Gonad dominance)
  • Excess vs. Deficiency of electrolytes
  • A, B, AB or O blood
  • Acidic/Alkaline

Therefore, we must regain or maintain balance.

In order to do this, we need to know the best fuel balance for our bodies.

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In our family, we cook one dinner, but everyone might eat different amounts of the foods offered. These are the amounts of protein, carbs and fats each of us need to eat daily.

It would also help if we didn’t do things to excess, and if we knew a bit about our biochemical and metabolic balance.

For example, periodic cleansing is something most of us should engage in – but whether or not we should engage in certain activities to encourage cleansing may depend on our metabolic type.

A specific example might be a sympathetic-dominant, electrolyte-deficient person. They would likely succeed using weight lifting or Hatha yoga combined with vegetable broth as tools to support cleansing.

person rolling green gym mat

Conversely, Bikram style hot yoga and diuretic tea would likely work wonderfully to help a slow-oxidizing, parasympathetic-dominant, electrolyte-surplus person to reduce toxins.

The first person, the sympathetic-dominant, electrolyte-deficient one, likely would crash if they tried using diuretic tea and practicing Bikram hot yoga! They might be fine if they were to try hot yoga while on an intense electrolyte supplement product, and if the hot yoga was a flow or a fusion class that involved meditation or supportive music, more the better.

I hope this helps to explain a bit about how the body works to keep us healthy, and explains a bit what I mean by “biochemical individuality”.

If you are interested in learning about your personal and unique metabolic balance, book a discovery call, cause that’s what I do!

xox

Dana