Sleep Quality

As mentioned in a previous post, consistent good-quality sleep is needed for your body to repair and your brain to clean itself of toxins. Tracking your sleep quality can bring you one step closer to a more restful night.

I have been using an Oura ring since last December. It is an awesome device that uses infrared light sensors to track different variables such as resting heart rate, heart rate variability, body temperature, movement, and sleep. Each day, you get three scores from the data collected: readiness (how well you may be able to perform today), sleep quality, and physical activity (number of steps, calories burned, etc.). You also get recommendations regarding your bedtime routine, which I find very helpful.

To this, you can add more strategies such as the following ones:

Turn Down the Lights

Do your best to avoid blue and bright lights (especially overhead lights) at least half an hour before bedtime for optimal melatonin production.

Don’t Exercise Near Bedtime

Exercise elevates cortisol levels that interfere with sleep. So it is best to avoid exercising at least two hours before bedtime. Restorative yoga or breathing exercises are great alternatives.

Don’t Drink Coffee in the Evening

Your mind needs to wind down at the end of the day, so it is best to drink coffee earlier in the day and probably not after 2 p.m. for most people.

Bring Down the Stress

Being able to clear your mind and stop worrying is essential to getting restful sleep. Deep breathing exercises might be the best tool to help your brain shut down (check out The Breathing Cure by Patrick McKeown).

In Summary

For a better night’s sleep, tracking your sleep with an Oura ring or an app like SleepCycle is a good first step. Turning down the lights at night, avoiding exercising near bedtime, and not drinking coffee late in the day are three other important strategies. Last, deep breathing exercises can help you de-stress at the end of the day. For more helpful tips to get adequate sleep, check out 3 Things to Prioritize on Your Quest to Feeling Better!

Until next time!

Reference

Asprey, Dave. “9 Ways To Sleep Better And Wake Up Feeling Like A New Person.” Dave Asprey Email, 3 June 2021, superhuman@daveasprey.com. Bulletproof Media. Accessed 10 June 2021.

You can also find me on Instagram.

Restorative Strategies

What are you going to do this weekend? How about implementing a new strategy to de-stress like never before? Almost a year ago I mentioned how to use your breathing to help you unwind. Belly breathing, box breathing, and the 4-7-8 breathing are great options for relaxing on the spot. Exercise is definitely at the top of the list too. As explained in my previous post, you want to “build your day around movement.” You want to make sure you are engaging in regular physical activity throughout the day, each day.

So, here are 5 more restorative strategies (as defined in Ancient Remedies by Dr. Josh Axe) that you may find just right for you to start implementing:

Walking in Nature

If you immerse yourself in nature, be it a nearby park, a forest, or a body of water, it can help lower stress, enhance your mood, boost creativity, and even strengthen your immune system. This is a popular way to de-stress in Japan, where it is known as “forest bathing.” Immersing yourself in nature releases feel-good chemicals in the brain. Positive thinking and gratitude are sure to follow.

Relaxation and Downtime

To avoid burnout, you need to build calming and relaxing breaks into your day. At lunch, go outside and sit peacefully on a bench, just enjoying the present moment. Nothing else to keep your mind busy. And letting your mind wander relieves stress and promotes creative problem-solving. At night, read a book, knit in a quiet place, play an instrument, or listen to music you love, for instance.

Digital Fasting

Technology use has been associated with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. So do your best to implement a digital or social media fast every now and then, be it for an hour, a day, a weekend, or a week. This will allow your brain and body to enjoy a little restorative break and put you in a nice relaxing state.

Grounding and Earthing

Grounding yourself is to connect physically to the earth which emits electric charges that have a beneficial effect on the body. When you walk barefoot outside, lie on the grass or the beach, or swim in a lake or ocean, this promotes a number of benefits: increased red blood cell fluidity, decreased muscle pain after exercise, and lowered stress, depression, and fatigue.

Rain, Ocean, and Other Nature Sounds

Nature sounds have a tendency to give rise to a relaxing, parasympathetic nervous system response, and help with lessening heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels. The sounds of streams, birdsong, and fountains enhance cognitive performance, for example. So pick a playlist, app, or find a YouTube video that offers nature sounds and enjoy these whenever you get a chance.

Which strategy will you try this weekend? 

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

You can also find me on Instagram.

Reference
Axe, Josh. Ancient Remedies : Secrets to Healing with Herbs, Essential Oils, CBD, and the Most Powerful Natural Medicine in History. New York, Little, Brown Spark, Feb. 2021, pp. 176-183.

A Wider Range of Vegetables

Time to grow our own garden again and/or shop at farmers markets!  We can finally start to enjoy a wider range of vegetables. Depending on where you live, the spring vegetables available may differ. If you are not sure what the best in-season picks may be, a helpful seasonal food guide can be downloaded at foodprint.org. With that said, here’s a list of 7 fantastic spring vegetables.

Artichokes

Artichokes have a high antioxidant content (which may help prevent cancer); they are high in vitamins C, and K, iron and other essential minerals, and high in fiber and phytonutrients. Consuming artichokes may help fight cardiovascular disease, detox the liver and the digestive system, control blood sugar and diabetes, and may help with metabolic syndrome too. Artichokes taste better cooked: steamed, boiled, grilled, baked, or roasted.

Asparagus 

Asparagus offers many essential nutrients, including vitamins K and A, folate, iron, copper, and B vitamins, plus antioxidants and certain amino acids. It is a good source of fiber too. Asparagus helps support heart health and skin health and may help with fighting cancer too. Asparagus can be roasted, blanched, baked, grilled, or sauteed.

Avocados

Avocados are high in fiber, vitamins K and C, folate, potassium, and healthy monounsaturated fats. Avocados may help with heart health, lower blood sugar levels, support eye health, enhance digestive health, and may help lower inflammation, among other things. Avocados are great as a snack, in salads, or smoothies.

Celeriac

Celeriac, a  root vegetable, is high in fiber, vitamins K and C, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and antioxidants. Celeriac may help improve digestive health, blood sugar control, fight free radicals, and may help support stronger bones too. Celeriac can be eaten raw or cooked. You can add it to salads, slaws, or make veggie chips or fries with it, for instance.

Fennel

Fennel is high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Fennel also contains vitamins A, B6, K, and folate, plus iron, calcium, copper, zinc, and selenium. Fennel may help support cardiovascular health, improve skin and eye health, and boost digestion and bone health. It may also help with inflammation and with preventing cancer. The whole plant can be eaten (bulb, leaves, and seeds). With its unique licorice-like flavoring, fennel can be added to salads, slaws, and other dishes.

Mustard Greens

Mustard greens, which are from the same plant we get mustard seeds from, have high levels of antioxidants. Packed with phytonutrients, mustard greens are also high in fiber, vitamins K, A, and C, plus folate, calcium, and potassium. Mustard greens may help with liver function, eye and skin health. They can help better digestion and may help prevent cancer and heart disease, for instance. With their spicy taste, these antioxidant-rich greens can be included in salads, soups, sauteed, or even juiced with other vegetables.

Watercress

Watercress is a leafy green cruciferous vegetable, high in antioxidants, fiber, calcium, vitamins A, K, and C. Watercress may help with lowering blood pressure, lessening inflammation, and could help with certain types of cancer. It may help with bone health, vision, hair, skin, and nails. This powerhouse veggie can be added to salads, soups, stir-fries, casseroles, and sandwiches.

All you have to do now is include these delicious vegetables in your favorite recipes!

Until next time!

References:

Levy, Jillian. “7 Reasons to Eat Artichokes.” Dr. Axe, 24 July 2019, draxe.com/nutrition/artichokes/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

—. “Asparagus Nutrition, Health Benefits, Risks and Recipes.” Dr. Axe, 19 Aug. 2019, draxe.com/nutrition/asparagus-nutrition/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

—. “The Antioxidant Greens That Support the Eyes, Bones and More.” Dr. Axe, 24 Aug. 2019, draxe.com/nutrition/mustard-greens-nutrition/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

Link, Rachael. “Calories in Avocado: Nutrition Facts and Diet Advice.” Dr. Axe, 14 Mar. 2020, draxe.com/nutrition/avocado-calories/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

—. “Can Watercress Fight Cancer?” Dr. Axe, 9 Jan. 2020, draxe.com/nutrition/watercress/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

—. “The Low-Calorie, Low-Carb Root Vegetable That Benefits the Gut.” Dr. Axe, 23 Nov. 2018, draxe.com/nutrition/celeriac/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

Ruggeri, Christine. “What Is Fennel? Benefits, Nutrition, Uses and Recipes.” Dr. Axe, 16 Dec. 2018, draxe.com/nutrition/fennel-benefits/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

“Top 10 Spring Vegetables.” Mark’s Daily Apple, 25 Mar. 2008, http://www.marksdailyapple.com/spring-vegetables/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

How to Spot Sugar in Foods

Now that the days are getting longer and that spring is finally here, it’s going to be nice to spend more time outdoors. This may also be the perfect time to rethink our diet and reduce our sugar intake which may have gone up during the winter months. As mentioned in a previous post, “hidden” sugars are in most processed products. If undetected, hidden sugars can easily impact our blood sugar even when we might think our diet is reasonably healthy. Reading labels is really important. There are numerous names for sugar in processed foods, so being familiar with those names is helpful to stay away from all this unwanted sugar. It is also good to know the differences between the terms “sugar-free,” “no added sugar,” and “unsweetened.”

Names for Sugar in Processed Foods 

The following 61 names are listed by the UCSF Sugar Science department:

  • Agave nectar
  • Barbados sugar
  • Barley malt
  • Barley malt syrup
  • Beet sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane juice
  • Cane juice crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Caramel
  • Carob syrup
  • Castor sugar
  • Coconut palm sugar
  • Coconut sugar
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Date sugar
  • Dehydrated cane juice
  • Demerara sugar
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Free-flowing brown sugars
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Glucose
  • Glucose solids
  • Golden sugar
  • Golden syrup
  • Grape sugar
  • HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • Honey
  • Icing sugar
  • Invert sugar
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltol
  • Maltose
  • Mannose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado
  • Palm sugar
  • Panocha
  • Powdered sugar
  • Raw sugar
  • Refiner’s syrup
  • Rice syrup
  • Saccharose
  • Sorghum Syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar (granulated)
  • Sweet Sorghum
  • Syrup
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado sugar
  • Yellow sugar

Sugar-Free

If it says “sugar-free” on a label, this means that the given food has less than half of a gram of sugar per serving. It can be any kind of sugar: the traditional refined sugar, maple syrup, honey, naturally-occurring sugars like lactose or fructose, etc. Sugarless alternative sweeteners are authorized under a sugar-free label as they do not add to the total sugar of the item.

No Sugar Added

If it says “no sugar added” on a label, this means that no sugar ingredients (including sugars from syrups and honey, concentrated fruit or vegetable juices) are incorporated during the processing of the given food. Even if there is “no sugar added,” the given food can still have some natural sugar (like a fruit would). 

Unsweetened

If a food is “unsweetened,” this means that it hasn’t been sweetened in any way: no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no natural sweeteners, no zero-calorie sweeteners.

In Summary

So if you want to cut down on your sugar intake, after doing away with sugary drinks and/or adding extra sugar to things, reading labels with the above guidelines in mind is essential. Managing our blood sugar is of primordial importance in order to maintain our health and wellness over the years.

Until next time!

Reference

Sisson, Mark. “61 Sneaky Names for Sugar You Find on Labels.” Mark’s Daily Apple Newsletter, 30 Mar. 2021, mark@marksdailyapple.com. Accessed 2 Apr. 2021.

You can also find me on Instagram.

What is Aerobic Exercise?

As explained in a previous post on The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid, aerobic exercise includes general everyday movement and workouts that do not go above the recommended aerobic heart rate zone of “180 minus your current age” or less. Aerobic exercise is well-paced and not so stressful on the body.

Enough movement throughout the day is necessary for proper blood flow to be delivered to the different muscles you use, which means more oxygen and nutrients, along with “waste removal.” Moving throughout the day (along with other variables) ensures proper cellular health.

You also want to add a few cardio sessions done at a comfortable heart rate. No chronic cardio here. Whatever fits your schedule the best. Cycling, swimming, running, or even just walking are all good options, whatever your energy levels of the day make you feel like doing.

Sidenote: Aerobic Workout / Anaerobic Workout

The word aerobic means “with oxygen.” When you do an aerobic workout, this means there is enough oxygen available to burn mostly fat, as fat needs oxygen to burn for energy when you exercise. 

In comparison, an anaerobic (“without oxygen”) workout is a workout that is more difficult to the point that it gives rise to an oxygen shortage (any brief and intense exercise like sprinting, for instance). This leads to the burning of a greater amount of glucose for energy (as glucose doesn’t need oxygen to burn).

The Main Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

  • Fat metabolism: aerobic exercise primes your body to better use free fatty acids for energy. This is enhanced, of course, if you also consume low-insulin-producing foods.
  • Cardiovascular function: aerobic exercise builds more mitochondria (the “powerhouses” of the cells) in your muscles, so you burn energy more effectively with less free radical damage. Aerobic exercise also helps with oxygen utilization by your lung, boosts the stroke volume of your heart, and enhances your capillary network.
  • Musculoskeletal strength and resilience: sensible aerobic exercise also helps better your bones, joints, and connective tissue. 

In Summary

Whenever you are moving your body and doing aerobic exercise, it benefits your body during the workout, and when you are at rest. Multiple health benefits can ensue from making sure you get enough movement/exercise each day. Last, but not least, aerobic exercise strengthens the immune system by enhancing the flow of anti-aging hormones, along with improving the circulatory system. 

Enjoy your favorite movement regimen for all of the above reasons!

Until next time!

You can also find me on Instagram.

20 Minutes of Me Time Every Day

In my last post, I briefly mentioned the importance of carving out some downtime every day as a helpful stress management tool. As explained, it can be any spontaneous outdoor physical activity such as running around with your kids or dog outside. It can be short work breaks or nice long hikes. But it can also be a formal meditation practice or similar relaxing practices to help you quiet any racing thoughts. Giving yourself 20 minutes (or more) of “me time” every day is not selfish. It is there to allow you to better navigate every day’s ups and downs.

A Meditation Practice

If you want to establish a meditation practice, there are some helpful apps for beginners such as Headspace, Calm, and Brightmind. More options are available online, of course – check out Commune! See what resonates with you best. 

Meditation offers a wide range of short- and long-term benefits:

  • It can slow aging of the brain.
  • It can lower blood pressure.
  • It can give you energy.
  • It can improve concentration.
  • It can help you sleep better.
  • It can lift your mood.

Other Relaxing Practices

If a formal meditation practice is not something you would enjoy dedicating some time to right now, there is a plethora of other options that can help relieve stress, relax the body, and do away with shallow breathing. In The New Rules of Aging Well, Dr. Frank Lipman lists the following activities:

  • Knit in a quiet place.
  • Play an instrument.
  • Listen to music you love, eyes closed.
  • Sketch a tree or a person across the way at the park.
  • Walk slowly (in nature or even in the city), being mindful of what’s around you.
  • Dig in the garden.
  • Color in a coloring book.
  • Wander in the woods and collect a certain type of leaf.
  • Watch fish in an aquarium.
  • Hunt for sea glass on the beach.
  • Observe birds or bees in a garden.

In Summary

As you can see, giving yourself 20 minutes of me time every day can easily be done. And the activity can change from day to day depending on your schedule. Just write that time for yourself in a calendar, if needed. Which meditative activity will you pick today?

Until next time!

Reference

Lipman, Frank. The New Rules of Aging Well: A Simple Program for Immune Resilience, Strength, and Vitality. New York, Artisan, A Division Of Workman Publishing Co., Inc, 2020, pp. 143–45.

You can also find me on Instagram.

Thinking About Going Primal/Paleo for the New Year: What Does That Entail?

I explained in my two previous posts that going primal/paleo entails adopting an ancestral health approach to better food choices and to a movement regimen based on our daily energy levels (the opposite of chronic cardio). 

Today, I am going to go over what adopting an overall primal/paleo lifestyle is about. So along with better-quality food and exercise, this includes (as explained in The New Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson) the importance of adequate sleep and sunlight, play, avoiding “stupid mistakes,” and stimulating your brain according to your likings to keep it sharp.

Get Adequate Sleep

  • Minimize artificial light and digital stimulation after dark.
  • Create a simple, quiet, dark sleeping environment.
  • Consistent bed and wake times.
  • Calm transitions into and out of sleep.
  • Awaken naturally without an alarm, if possible. 
  • Expose to sunlight upon awakening.
  • Nap when necessary and possible.

Get Adequate Sunlight

Stay in the sun for short increments of time in order to not burn and make sure you expose large skin surface areas enough when you can.

Play

It is also good to include play, which refers to any spontaneous outdoor physical activity such as running around with your kids or dog outside. It can be short work breaks or even nice long hikes! Carving out some downtime every day is an important stress management tool and it enhances productivity.

Avoid Stupid Mistakes

  • Avoid “modern dangers” like texting and driving, for example.
  • Drift away as much as possible from stressful routines/habits. Steer clear of multitasking.

Use Your Brain

Choose fun, creative intellectual activities/hobbies to keep your mind sharp such as: reading, writing, problem solving, and/or musical training. I also like to play brain training games on BrainHQ and Lumosity. And the Duolingo app is a lot of fun to practice a language with!

In Summary

So there you have it! This is what adopting a primal/paleo lifestyle entails – and it doesn’t have to be perfect. We’ve all been doing our best in these challenging times. The main priority is to keep at it. See when it is okay to push yourself a little bit to attain the given goal you set for yourself – but also acknowledge the fact that a day may not be the day. And that’s okay. 

Until next time!

References

Primal Blueprint at-a-Glance Reference Guide. http://www.PrimalBlueprint.com

Sisson, Mark. The New Primal Blueprint : Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy. Oxnard, Ca, Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2017, p. 483.

You can also find me on Instagram.

Thinking About Going Primal/Paleo for the New Year: What Does That Entail?

As mentioned in my previous post, going primal/paleo is about adopting a new lifestyle that emphasizes building new habits to clean up our diet, exercise more optimally, have better sleep hygiene, and learn how to manage the stress in our lives. It focuses on adopting an ancestral health approach. 

In my previous post, I listed which primal/paleo staples were good to have on hand to start eating in a more “ancestral” way. I am now going to explain what exercising in a primal/paleo way means.

So What About Exercise?

Exercising in a primal way is approaching daily movement and exercise in a non-demanding way (the opposite of chronic cardio). It is embracing a life of daily activities that makes time for frequent breaks to stretch and move around enough. Exercising in a primal/paleo way (as explained in The New Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson) comprises of:

  • Flexibility/Mobility practices: yoga and pilates, for example, allow for greater mobility and flexibility, while strengthening muscles, including the core. Mobility exercises are beneficial to the tendons, ligaments, and fascia that support the entire musculoskeletal system.
  • Move frequently: make everyday movement (short walking breaks, evening strolls, etc.) a default habit, along with well-designed cardio workouts at 180-minus-age heart rate in addition to the flexibility/mobility practices mentioned above.
  • Schedule: Try to align your workouts (type, frequency, intensity, and duration) with your energy levels each day. Having an Oura ring (which I recently purchased) can help you track your overall readiness each morning.
  • Shoes: progressively allow some barefoot time for low-risk activities to strengthen feet and replicate natural range of motion. Opt for shoes with minimalist design (like Vibram Five Fingers, Nike Free, Merrell, Inov-8, etc.), but make sure you go from a regular 8mm shoe (to maybe a 4mm shoe) to a zero-drop shoe gradually in order to give your body enough time to adjust.
  • Sprinting: all-out efforts of 8 to 20 seconds every 7 to 10 days only if fully energized. Some easier “wind sprint” sessions for conditioning can also be included more regularly.
  • Strength training: brief, intense sessions of 10 to 30 minutes; twice a week is plenty. Go for full-body, functional exercises that help with athletic competency.
  • Stretching: minimal, full-body, functional stretches (like the Grok Hang and the resting Grok Squat) after exercising and/or simply at the end of the day are recommended too.

On a Final Note

You can also check my article on The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid which sums up what should be at the core of an individual’s movement regimen in order to be fit in the most down-to-earth way.

Until next time!

Reference
Sisson, Mark. The New Primal Blueprint : Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy. Oxnard, Ca, Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2017, p. 482.

You can also find me on Instagram.

A Good Stretch Can Go a Long Way!

No matter what our daily activities are, standing or sitting, we can easily tax our backs. So it is essential to incorporate movement throughout the day along with regular stretching to loosen tight muscles and enhance circulation to help nourish the spine. When we do this every day (making sure the form is correct for each movement/exercise of course), this can help strengthen the back, making it more resilient with a spine that is strong and flexible.

What follows are five stretches that can help strengthen the back.

Child’s Pose

This helps with mobility of the spine and relaxation of the lower back muscles.

  • Begin on all fours. Sit your hips back on your heels if possible (if not, you can put a pillow on your heels and sit back on the pillow instead). Your knees are wide open and your big toes are touching. 
  • Reach out your arms forward while your forehead is resting on the floor. 
  • Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds at a time. Repeat 3 times while breathing in and out deeply for maximum relaxation. 

Cat Back

This exercise helps with spine flexion and extension. It promotes proper movement and function of the spine as a unit. The directions are from an Egoscue Method zoom session I attended this year.

  • Start on your hands and knees, where your wrists are placed directly under your shoulders and your knees directly underneath your hips. 
  • Starting with your hips, tuck your pelvis to round your lower back and spine up towards the ceiling while dropping your head and pulling your shoulder blades away from each other. [Breathe out as you are doing this].
  • Starting with your hips, roll your pelvis forward to put the arch in your back while collapsing your shoulder blades together and look up toward the ceiling. Be sure not to shrug your shoulders towards your ears. [Breathe in as you are doing this].

Hip Crossover Stretch

This exercise helps with hip and spinal rotation. The directions are from an Egoscue Method zoom session I attended this year.

  • Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor pointed straight ahead. 
  • Place your arms out to the side at shoulder level, with your palms flat on the floor. 
  • Cross your left ankle over your right knee and rotate the ankle/knee junction down toward the floor. Your left foot should now be flat on the floor, along with the outside of your right leg. 
  • Look in the opposite direction and relax your shoulders. 
  • Press the left knee away from your body using the left hip muscles. 
  • Hold [for up to 1 minute], then switch sides and repeat. 

Hamstring Stretch

When we have to bend and lift things (making sure we practice the hip hinge), having flexible hamstrings lessens the stress put on the back. 

  • Lie flat on your back. Place a yoga strap over and around the toes of the left foot and grab both ends of the strap firmly with your hands. Slightly activate the core muscles.
  • Slowly raise the left leg (pulling on the strap) until you feel a stretch in the back of the left thigh.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds or 3 deep breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Psoas (Hip Flexor) Stretch 

If we sit a lot, the front of the hips (where the psoas muscle is) gets really tight and this puts stress in the lower back when we do things upright by pulling the lower back forward. Stretching that muscle can help with that issue. 

  • Step forward with the right leg and bend the knee at about a 90-degree angle. Keep the right knee positioned above the right ankle. (If you have any knee issues you can instead put the right foot on a stable chair or couch, for instance, and bend the right knee. In that case, the left leg will not lie on the floor, of course). Hold on to something if needed.
  • Extend the left leg behind the torso and touch the floor with the left knee. The lower leg lies on the floor. 
  • Move the hips forward (doing a slight pelvic tilt and activating the glutes), pushing the right knee in front of the right ankle. Make sure to keep the right knee pointing forward. You should feel the stretch in the hip area on the left side.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds or 3 deep breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Hope this helps whatever you have to do this holiday season! (And always consult your personal physician before starting anything new). 

Happy Holidays!!

References

“5 Best Back Pain Stretches for Immediate Back Pain Relief.” Dave Asprey, 20 Aug. 2018, daveasprey.com/best-back-pain-stretches-pain-relief/. Accessed 29 Nov. 2020.

Nelson, Arnold G, and Jouko Kokkonen. Stretching Anatomy. Champaign, Il, Human Kinetics, 2007, pp. 98–9, 104–7.

You can also find me on Instagram.

Emergency Foods

No matter how hard we may try to plan our days, we can find ourselves pressed for time on a regular basis. To avoid snacking on unwanted foods when there is just no time for a nice sit-down meal, doing a little prep beforehand can be a lifesaver. Emergency foods are easy to put together. Having those ready when you need them will make you feel good about still taking care of your health while having a zillion other things to do. As mentioned in a previous post, 12 “on-the-Go” Healthy Snack Options, a short list of easy to prepare healthy snack options (or “emergency foods”), paired with occasional good quality protein bars, is an awesome way to stay primal/paleo even on the most hectic days!

Easy Healthy Snack Options

  • Artichoke hearts (with water, preferably in glass jars)
  • Avocados 
  • Beef jerky (homemade or minimally processed)
  • Dark chocolate: 85 percent cacao or above being better
  • Canned fish: sardines, anchovies, and oysters are my favorites
  • Cut-up raw vegetables with nut butters or guacamole
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Kale chips
  • Leftovers 
  • Low-glycemic fruits like berries
  • Nuts and nut butters (not to overdo on those though). As a side note, peanuts are a legume, not a nut.
  • Olives
  • Pasture-raised/grass-fed or organic cheese made with raw milk (directly from a farm ideally)
  • Slices of cold meat or poultry (with primal/paleo-approved condiments if needed)
  • Smoothie
  • Soup

In Summary

Unless you are ready to go a little while without food, having any of the above emergency foods on hand can be a blessing in some situations! To this, several primal/keto-approved bars can be pretty handy too. I particularly enjoy the Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bars, Primal Kitchen Bars, Epic Bars, and the Design for Health KTO BARS. Perfect Keto offers some amazing bars too. Having one or two protein bars in your purse or bag at all times is a sure way to satisfy any arising hunger and to stay away from unhealthy snack options.  

Until next time!

You can also find me on Instagram.