Welcome to the Discovery series! I will share recent trends I’ve noticed, products I’m digging, a playlist to jam to, and thought-provoking articles.
Listen to my May Flowers playlist as you read! It’s warm, sunny, and feels like a hug for your ears. I recommend pairing it with this article and a golden turmeric latte.
Home Cooking on the Decline - An interesting read by well + good about why we (millennials) order out more often. The article also makes the argument that cooking can be a form of self-care, which I’m totally on board with (and it can be aromatherapy, as I discuss in my 10 step Wellness Makeover, subscribe to the Vivaciously Well email list to get free access now!).
Sugar does not improve mood and it can make people less alert and more tired after its consumption -- according to a new study by the University of Warwick, Humboldt University of Berlin, and Lancaster University. So if you’re thinking of reaching for that candy bar this afternoon to help you over your slump, DON’T! It could make things worse (sub for some almonds instead for healthy fat and protein, to boost your energy).
Your guide to natural & artificial sweeteners with Being Brigid. Brigid is a phenomenal integrative and functional dietitian that I really admire. She does good work and presents evidence-based information, and she’s very present online. She’s even worked with Dr. Mark Hyman in the past at Cleveland Clinic (and was featured in his most recent docu-series, Broken Brain 2).
Another hug for your ears - Healthier Together Podcast with Liz Moody. The most recent episode, “Lucie Fink On How To Get Your Dream Career, Behind The Scenes Of The Social Media World, And SPECIFIC Tips To Find A Mentor” was PHENOMENAL. I felt so inspired after listening - I wanted to stop obsessing over instagram followers, I wanted to live more in the now instead of focusing on “when I have my dream life all pieced together in 5-7 years”, and Lucie is a bundle of positive vibes. You’ll be so happy you listened! I love to download podcasts and listen to them on car rides, walks, or while winding down with yoga at night.
The book I started most recently is called, “Choosing Wonder over Worry” by Amber Rae. It has journaling prompts and other prompt for self-reflection while you read, and I’ve found it particularly helpful as I focus on addressing my impostor syndrome and anxiety.
I shared a case study on instagram about a vegetarian client asking about protein sources & added sugar, and I’ve included my response below:
How much protein do we need? Easy answer: it depends. Tough answer: it depends. My patient last week asked me about some vegetarian protein sources and how to incorporate more protein. Side note: you probably don't need as much protein as you think!
Barrier 1: "I don't like eggs."
Solution: try other foods! Chia seed pudding is a great breakfast option, along with steel cut oats, or incorporating nuts and seeds. You can mix peanut butter powder (PB2) into greek yogurt to make a dip. You can add 1/2 scoop of vegan protein powder (Naked Pea protein is great) to your yogurt to increase the protein. A large baked potato offers 8 g of protein per serving (potato hash for breakfast). A single, medium stalk of broccoli contains about 4 g of protein. Kale offers 2 g of protein per cup (throw it into a smoothie + some protein powder or collagen peptides).
Barrier 2: "I'm scared tofu will contribute to breast cancer."
Soy does contain phytoestrogens, but they are weaker than your body's estrogen and do not contribute to circulating estrogen levels. In fact, in many Asian countries where they eat MORE soy, they have LOWER incidences of hormonal breast cancer. Choose organic, non-GMO whole food (tofu, edamame, soy nuts, miso soup).
Barrier 3: "I'm getting sick of beans."
Solution: try bean pasta! It's gluten-free, easy, and is a great way to incorporate protein. Try banza, Explore cuisine, or POW! Make your own pesto or fire-roasted tomato sauce for a DIVINE dinner. Also try different nuts and seeds - pepitas, walnuts, macademia nuts - and throw them in a bag to mix them up with some cayenne + chili powder, or nutmeg + cinnamon, or another flavor combo!
She also asked me about added sugar.
The typical day she described to me:
B: 2 pieces of cinnamon toast (4g) w/pb (3g) & butter AND skyr coconut-flavored yogurt (8g) w/fruit & granola OR kashi cereal (6g) with whole milk (still +toast)
L: skipped (B was at 11am)
D: beans/lentils w/tomato sauce (4g) 1 cup of roasted veg, rice/quinoa OR salad 1-2x/week (halfway homemade dressing, 3g)
The first thing that jumped out at me was that she was stacking carbs. I wasn't surprised to hear she was having troubles with blood sugar balance because she (1) wasn't balancing carbs (fruit + fat/protein, always) and (2) she was stacking carbs (toast AND cereal? toast AND granola?). PLUS she was skipping meals (not as part of a designed intermittent fasting routine).
My rough estimate was 15g-20g of added sugar from what she described (without her even adding any)
Solution? Choose plain greek yogurt (or at least vanilla). Avoid processed cereal and granola, and just top your yogurt with sliced almonds and rolled oats. Incorporate vegetables at snacks instead of fruit (5-9 veg/day is the recommendation) and balance with hummus or 8-10 nuts. She disliked eggs, so we discussed other breakfast options (chia seed pudding, overnight oats, paleo pumpkin muffins). Choose natural peanut butter (not skippy, contains added sugar + processed oils). Personally, I avoid peanut butter and choose almond/other nut butters since peanuts are legumes and irritate my IBS. Lastly, it’s important to eat regularly through the day for blood sugar control (no skipping lunch!).
She had weight concerns too, so we discussed being careful with her nut portion sizes, as well as oils and avocados (healthy fats still have calories). She was missing the physical activity component as well.
Did you know that exercise improves your insulin sensitivity, thus improving your response to carbohydrates and that it helps with blood sugar balance?
More support for going outside - pausing with plants - as a free wellness tool! I live in the desert and still find some green around, so you definitely can too. My goal for you this month is to buy a plant. If you’re not a plant guru, try a succulent or cactus, or get an easy herb like peppermint that thrives on low-maintenance! (Plus, you can’t beat homemade peppermint tea)
Persian Herb and Chickpea Stew - here’s a lovely plant-based recipe for you to try from Half Baked Harvest! She has a “skip to recipe” button that I believe should be mandatory on all blogs, because let’s be honest, I don’t need to hear your life story to appreciate your gluten-free lemon bars. I promise when I post my fat ball recipe in a few weeks, I’ll follow my own guidelines ;)
If you think you might be struggling with IBS, I highly recommend checking out Healthy Gut Flat Stomach - a simple and easy to follow guide all about the Low FODMAP diet plan. (affiliate link) I bought this book when I was recently out of school and wanted more information about Low FODMAP, and I wanted to know if it would be a good resource for others. My friend actually went through her whole plan and found so much relief from her bloating symptoms. It’s by an RD, Danielle Capilino, so you can trust the information she’s published. Some people try paleo, keto, and other diet plans, but truth be told we have the most evidence for Low FODMAP currently. It’s worth a try, especially if you feel like your symptoms are ‘random’ or don’t seem to follow any pattern (FODMAPs could explain it!). Meet with a real RD in person if possible, but I love written resources too!
Take a seat, grab a cup of matcha
Let’s talk about healing your life
Up-leveling your wellness practice
Finding new resources
and living Vivaciously Well.