This article was originally posted on November 23, 2016. Our family was three months in to a ten month "round the world" trip.
Our food habits changed quite a bit from country to country. In Australia, we were mostly cooking on a camp stove or in the communal kitchens at the caravan parks as we were mostly traveling by camper van.
In New Zealand it was mostly hostels. We had our boxes of food that we stored in the communal kitchens, then packed up for the next place.
We met so many wonderful people and observed different cooking and eating habits. In many ways, cooking in hostels wasn't too different from cooking at home. If I had a plan and the food to prepare, a meal would happen!
The more you cook, the more you will cook.
We're travelling by car in New Zealand and staying in hostels most of the time.
As much as I've talked about being an introvert, I've preferred hostels to our Australian campervan experience.
I'd never stayed in hostels before, so its been quite fun doing it with our family of four. We are all having fun having other people to talk to. Our fellow travelers are interesting as are the people managing the hostels.
It really struck me the other day how much people were cooking. Not just throwing sauce on pasta, although that is a good option for a long travel day. They often cook good healthy meals from whatever country they are from. Hardly anyone is American, most often they are German, Dutch, French or from various Asian countries.
I was really impressed!
Why using Real Plans weekly meal planning service has been a life changer for me.
First of all, why should you go to all the effort to meal plan?
I’ll share my story first, because I definitely haven’t always been a meal planner, unless it was one big meal, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or for a party of some kind. And I really needed some help. I couldn't manage to come up with a weekly meal plan on my own.
*If you want resources for meal planning on your own, click here.
I’d usually go to the store with a plan for that night’s dinner, then fill in with items I knew I was out of (I would make lists for those kinds of things) and staple items that I used all the time, like onions, carrots, lettuce, bread, cheese, rice, etc.
What are polyphenols?
I'm sure you've heard plenty about the health benefits of polyphenols, but do you know what they are?
Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found in plants. Polyphenols give plants a certain color or taste and they generally serve the plant by defending it against ultraviolet radiation and agressive pathogens.
Towards the end of the 20th century, epidemiological studies started showing that a diet rich in polyphenols may offer some protection from cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, and neurodegenerative diseases. Reference.
What are the health benefits of polyphenols?
Do you experience too much stress? Do you feel like your hormones are out of whack or like your immune system might need a boost?
My guest, Paula Grainger, has just released her new book, Adaptogens, Harness the Power of Superherbs to Reduce Stress and Restore Calm.
Paula has been practicing herbal medicine since she obtained her degree in herbal medicine from the University of Westminster in London in 2004.
Following her graduation, she worked in several busy London clinics, and then opened her own herbal clinic and apothecary called Lemon Balm. She successfully ran and worked in her clinic until moving to Santa Cruz, California in 2010.
What's the difference between acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD? You've probably heard of them all, and I know that I hear from many women feeling miserable after eating.
These three are often used interchangeably, which can be confusing! In this article, I'm going to clear up the confusion and banish the most common myths around these conditions, which might be making you feel worse.
Acid reflux occurs when acid from the stomach flows backward or "refluxes" up into the esophagus.
Normally, the peristalsis that causes your food to go down, and not up, is so strong that even if you stand on your head, it keeps it moving in the right direction down towards the intestines.
When the body needs to quickly get something out, it has a built-in reflux response. For example, vomiting or burping.
We all know that sugar isn't great for you, but do you know why?
Our cells use blood sugar or glucose as fuel to keep our cells alive and functioning. We need it to survive. So why then should eating sugar have a negative impact on our health?
How does your body use sugar to fuel it?
What would you rather do, experiment with something new or focus on cutting something you like out of your life?
I think that most people would say that they’d rather add something new to their lives. What we add into our lives can be just as important as what we take out.
Did you know that herbs and spices have benefits beyond enhancing the flavor of the foods we eat?
Herbs and spices are often used medicinally by herbalists in concentrated forms to treat acute issues. But, their general health benefits can be taken advantage of by cooking with them on a regular basis.
They can positively influence the health of the gut microbiome and the gut flora and the gut flora helps them release their antioxidants and other beneficial components.
I’ll focus on 12 herbs and spices that support gut health here!
Inflammatory bowel syndrome...what is it?
Anyone that's diagnosed with it, would say it's frustrating, because it isn't really a diagnosis.
Inflammatory bowel syndrome, or IBS, is the diagnosis you're given when everything else has been ruled out. It's a collection of symptoms with an origin that can't be identified. 40% of people that visit the doctor report gastrointestinal problems. 60 million Americans suffer from IBS and those are only those that have received the "diagnosis."
Symptoms may include:
Symptoms may also include headaches, fatigue, insomnia, and/or muscle pain.
To receive a diagnosis of IBS, the symptoms are chronic, occurring for at least three to six months.
What causes IBS?
I just spent an hour making dinner. It's one of my favorite new recipes, chipotle butternut squash and black bean tostadas. I've also made my favorite kale and strawberry salad. The meal checks all the boxes for me. It has plenty of vegetables, it's flavorful, and it's filling. Not only that, for my lunch the next day, I'll reheat a tostada and plop a fried egg on top. Delicious!
I set the table, since everyone's been in other parts of the house doing their thing. I'm fine with that, since I go into a meditative state when I cook, or sometimes I listen to podcasts or my music. I'll add one more thing: I'm sort of messy when I cook and my husband almost always cleans up after dinner. And we both want the kids to help more with the clen up. We agree on that point.
I call everyone to dinner and the first thing that happens is my husband states adamantly, "You kids are cleaning up tonight." Chaos ensues. My daughter has homework, my son already took out the garbage, plus he "always helps," and I get irritated because I just want everyone to enjoy the meal, especially me. Figure out the clean up later, after all, even if it's a mess, it doesn't take nearly as much time as making the meal.
And the worst part is that I know stress and conflict isn't good for digestion!
Four Steps to an Anti inflammatory Approach to Eating
Practicing the last three are the most important steps to eating for a healthy lifestyle. The first, removing foods you have a sensitivity to, is important if you you are having noticeable symptoms of chronic inflammation, which often means your gut health is not optimal.
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Women's Wellness Circle: From Inflammation to Vibrant Health
Hi, I’m Crystal!