Tuesday, April 18, 2017

4 Surprising Sleep Hacks You Haven’t Heard Before

File this under news you probably could’ve guessed: According to a January study in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the quality of your sleep determines whether or not you’re going to be in a positive or negative mood the next day. It’s not exactly surprising news, but it serves as a good reminder that getting a good night’s sleep is very important to your health. (And, according to The New York Times, a good night’s sleep is the new status symbol.) So while you know that avoiding caffeine and electronics before bedtime will help you catch some quality zzz’s, we asked a handful of sleep experts for their favorite — and most unexpected — sleeping tips:

Focus on staying awake
“I know it sounds counterintuitive,” says Dr. Sujay Kansagra, director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program and sleep health consultant for Mattress Firm, “but it actually works.” Dr. Kansagra says this technique known as paradoxical intent. “It lessens anxiety, giving your mind a chance to relax enough to fall asleep,” Kansagra says. Science backs this theory up: According to a 2005 study at the University of Glasgow, participants who focused on staying awake had an easier time falling — and staying — asleep than those who focused their efforts on trying to sleep.

Try magnesium spray
Magnesium is one of those vitamins that is known for its sleep-friendly properties. And while it can be found in foods such as nuts, seeds and even dark chocolate, you can also get your fix another way: Via a spray. Magnesium oil is said to be even stronger than when it’s found in food or pill forms. “It helps relax muscles and decrease cortisol levels,” says Martin-Rawls-Meehan, CEO and founder of sleep technology and mattress company Reverie. “A few sprays on the forehead and chest before going to bed really works,” he adds. And because magnesium naturally helps your muscles relax, the oil could also help with those suffering from restless legs syndrome—another cause of sleeplessness.

Separate your sheets
If you sleep with a partner then you know then you’ve probably had to deal a case of stolen covers in the middle of the night. Waking up sheetless can seriously disrupt your sleep, but Dr. Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute in North Carolina has a simple solution: Separate your sheets. “Avoid a fight over the blankets by using your own,” he says. “You can have one fitted sheet, but for each side of the bed use your own top sheet and blanket,” he adds. “Simply cover it with a duvet, and no one will see the difference.”

Pour a glass of tart cherry juice
According to Dr. Caroline Apovian, the Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center, tart cherry juice is the perfect pre-bedtime drink. “It’s the world’s richest natural source of melatonin,” she says. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and in a recent study, participants who drank tart cherry juice (about 1 ounce of juice concentrate mixed with 7 ounces of water) saw an increase in their melatonin content as well as significant increases in time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency.


Kevin Aeh is a New York City-based writer and editor. He has written for Time Out New York, Refinery29, New York Magazine’s Vulture blog, Furthermore from Equinox and more.

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Introducing Kitchen Intuition by Devyn Sisson!

Inline_ki_book02Hi, readers. I’m honored to announce the publication of the latest Primal Blueprint Publishing release, Kitchen Intuition, written by my daughter, Devyn. Much of this post is in the format of a guest Q&A where a worker bee caught up with Devyn to learn all about the book and the journey that led to the finished product. Devyn has been working on this project for several years now, originally as a component of her college coursework for a Master of Spiritual Psychology degree, and eventually expanding the concept into a full-length book.

It’s hard to marginalize this work by calling it just a book. I’ve observed my daughter over the past several years grow and mature in ways that leave me speechless as a parent, and the physical book that arrived recently in the mail (bringing the author and the author’s parents to tears on that occasion!) is a tangible representation of this beautiful journey.

It’s mind blowing that this little being that I welcomed to the world in 1991 has become the adult creative force that stands before me today—blowing into my kitchen to create more culinary art when I least expect it, or dropping off her goldendoodle Ninja as she heads out for another bold life adventure.

Kitchen Intuition is a deeply personal and vulnerable account of her journey of healing and enlightenment, inspired by the celebration of cooking and eating. The title conveys how Devyn awakened a greater emotional and spiritual connection to food, in the process peeling away layers of dysfunction and disconnect that most all of us have when it comes to food—mindsets, attitudes, and behavior patterns that often spill out into other areas of life. I mean, if you’re too busy to take the time to enjoy a tasty, nourishing meal to fuel your important daily agenda, what does that say about your prioritization skills or even your self-respect?

As I spread my message to “Live Awesome!”, this book captures the spirit of that better than anything I’ve read in a long time. The delicious, whimsical and incredibly creative recipes help you awaken your intuitive side—a refreshing departure from the usual mechanical approach we apply when following recipes verbatim. The short stories that are interspersed throughout the book help you get to know Devyn, but even more importantly encourage you to get to know yourself a little better. It seems we often pay lip service to the concept of intuition these days. I hear athletes talk about it in trying to escape OCD training patterns to no avail. We dream of being creative and adventurous in the kitchen, but we lack the confidence and inspiration, or we tell ourselves that we don’t have enough time. Now you have a guide in Devyn, who will take you to places you’ve never been before in the kitchen—and in your relationship with food and eating overall.

The book has arrived in our warehouse ahead of schedule, and Devyn has agreed to sign 200 exclusively for MDA readers through the special promotion described after this Q&A—enjoy!!

How did you first come up with the vision for your book, Kitchen Intuition?

The first draft started as a project for my Master of Spiritual Psychology degree and quickly became my worst fear and my greatest accomplishment. I was certain I wanted to create a cookbook (due to my obvious love for cooking and enjoyment of food), but I was blissfully unaware of just how much work it would be or how much it would challenge me. Kitchen Intuition morphed into a project of self-awareness, and the vision soon took over. I wanted to help people by helping myself…by sharing the vulnerability in my relationship with food.

Describe what you think is unique about your book’s message.

I encourage my readers to make mistakes. The kitchen doesn’t have to be something you fear. It can be a scary place for most, but as long as you have some Band-Aids and a fire extinguisher on hand you should be fine. I want people to just get their hands dirty and give things a shot, to realize it can be creative, funny, even romantic. It’s all about getting comfortable in the kitchen, and that includes understanding your likes and dislikes as well as the likes and dislikes of those around you. I want people to pay attention to what they’re putting in their bodies by way of connecting with it as it’s being prepared.

What are some examples of the tips and recipes readers will find in Kitchen Intuition?

1-Kitchen-Intuition-FNL-p8My favorite tip is Tip #1: Experiment. How do you know what you don’t like if you haven’t tried it? I’ve made some of my best dishes simply trying something out because that’s all that was left in the fridge. Experiment, break the rules, learn from your mistakes. Some of my favorite recipes in the book include a bunch of leftovers that I creatively repurposed.

The waffles are probably my favorite “Primal” recipe. Some might not call them Primal. I find it so easy for me to eat healthy/Primal all the time, but I feel like I don’t give myself a chance to indulge on things like decadent breakfast items, desserts, or heavy meals. The waffles give me a chance to feel like I can loosen up, join the crowd, and enjoy my food while eating something that is going to positively affect my body and spirit.

Do you have a couple favorite, go-to recipes that you knew had to make it into the book?

I knew I had to include some sort of eggy breakfast muffin. They’re so easy to make, so delicious, and can be made ahead to enjoy at any time of day. They can be fun to experiment with, they require no expertise, and I haven’t met someone who didn’t enjoy them. I also had to include some salads. I feel like salads have a bad reputation for being a “diet food,” but I LOVE a good salad. To me, a salad is just a bowl of goodness with a base of lettuce. You can put anything on lettuce, call it a salad, enjoy the heck out of it, all while getting some good quality nutrition.

How would you describe your personal approach to healthy eating, and what were the most important influences (Primal or non-Primal) in coming to that approach to well-being?

2b-Kitchen-Intuition-FNL-p17There are many things, people and experiences that have informed my eating and lifestyle choices. My personal approach to eating healthy is simple—if I can’t pronounce the ingredients, I usually won’t eat it. I eat as many things as I can that grow from the ground. Occasionally, I eat things that eat off the ground, and I rarely eat things from a package. Obviously, my dad informed my eating habits, but it was not until I studied with The Institute for Integrative Nutrition that I realized WHY I was eating the way I was. It no longer became “because dad does.” My decisions started to feel more like “I choose to.” When people ask if I’m paleo/Primal, I say “yes” but only because all the things I eat tend to fall in that category of “crap-free.”

What has creating this book meant for your personal journey with eating and cooking?

This book has exposed me, my family, and my friends to the public. Writing and cooking my way through this book allowed me to take a look at my relationship to and with food. I put myself under a microscope for the last few years as I discovered, dissected, ignored, and studied different parts of myself. I fell in and out of love in the kitchen, celebrated, cried, danced, laughed, and learned. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

What surprised you about the process of creating the book?

5b-Kitchen-Intuition-FNL-186How much of my social life is surrounded by food. I paid close attention to my relationships and food experiences as I was in the process of writing the book. I was amazed at how often I met up with someone for a smoothie and great conversation, went on a romantic date where we shared food, met my mother for lunch or cooked for tons of people during a celebration.

Many of my interactions and development of new or old friendships revolved around food. The only time I spent with my whole family was for dinner. When I saw old friends, it was over lunch. When I met someone new, it was for coffee. I was amazed at how SOCIAL food is, and how each relationship changed the way the food felt in my body. The experience and conversation dictated how nourished I felt afterward—no matter what I ate.

What’s one of your favorite moments in writing and creating the photos for the book?

Seeing the first photo my photographer Austin and I took (I think it was a cauliflower dish). I have zero experience in food styling, and this was his first cookbook. The picture was nothing like I had imagined, but it looked amazing! I realized in that moment that I would do LIFE with my intuition, not just the cooking part.

What would you like readers to take away from the book for their journeys?

Be curious. Ask yourself questions. Get to know your body. What feels good, what tastes good, what looks good? Pay attention. Become more aware of your relationship to food (healthy or not, we all have one), and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Let your intuition guide you in the kitchen. Before you know it, you’ll notice that intuitive approach start to spill over into other aspects of your life.

Today, per Mark’s Daily Apple tradition, I’ve never been more excited to put together a limited-time offer for Devyn’s book release.

evao_single_400px_2For the FIRST 200 ORDERS…purchase one or more copies of Kitchen Intuition from Primal Blueprint.com, and get a FREE bottle of PRIMAL KITCHEN® Extra Virgin Avocado Oil—the perfect complement to many of the Kitchen Intuition recipes. You’ll also receive a copy of the book personally signed by Devyn. 

You won’t want to miss Devyn’s creative and inspiring message—and this book’s potential to expand or even redefine your Primal eating. You’ll find more than 75 recipes—from dips and bites to scrumptious sides, savory soups to zesty salads, and plenty of main dishes to fill your Primal appetite.

You’ll find Kitchen Intuition for sale on Amazon.com as well starting today. However, this deal only applies to PrimalBlueprint.com purchases and expires when supplies run out or on April 28th at midnight, PDT. One offer per customer. Both domestic (U.S.) and international orders are eligible.

Thanks for stopping by today, everyone, and for sharing the moment. This blog and all that’s grown out of it has certainly changed my life. It’s an amazing experience to see it play a part in my daughter’s life and vision.


The post Introducing Kitchen Intuition by Devyn Sisson! appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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Clean Eating Cinnamon Carrots And Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner Recipe

Clean Eating Cinnamon Carrots And Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner Recipe

I know, most people will wrinkle their noses at the idea of chicken paired with cinnamon. The thought didn’t appeal to me either at first, until I took a leap of faith and gave it a shot. Most folks don’t think of cinnamon as being part of a savory dish until they stop to consider that it is in many savory ethic recipes. Indian food uses cinnamon a lot along with curry and other spices. It’s a delicious way to enjoy yet another night of chicken.

Clean Eating Cinnamon Carrots And Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner Recipe

This easy sheet pan dinner can be prepped for the freezer in about 5 minutes and can freeze for up to 4 months. Then when you’re ready, shut bake and enjoy!

If you would like to see this in action, check out my video here!

Recipe note: If you can’t find packages of vegetables in the same size that I used, just get the closest you can find. A little more or less won’t make a difference in cooking. You can also add more chicken for more people, or easily cut the recipe in half for one person if you so choose. That’s the nice thing about sheet pan dinners. They are totally adjustable to your needs.


This Nordic Ware Half Sheet is very similar to what I have and use. (I got mine at a local restaurant supply store.) It’s perfect for this type of recipe!
Clean Eating Chicken And Sweet Potatoes Sheet Pan Dinner Recipe



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Clean Eating Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes And Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner Recipe


Please note that roasting times can vary based on the thickness of the chicken breasts as well as oven by oven. Please use a meat thermometer to ensure your food is properly cooked.


Yield: 2-4 servings


  • 1 (10 oz.) package frozen, sliced carrots
  • 1 (10 oz.) package frozen, cut sweet potatoes
  • 2 frozen chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  • Oil for cooking


  1. Combine all ingredients in a zipper-top, 1 gallon freezer bag and toss to combine.
  2. Store in the freezer for up to 4 months.
  3. When ready to make, preheat oven to 350 F.
  4. Open the bag and pour in some oil (I used ⅓ cup)
  5. Close it up again and toss well to coat.
  6. Pour the contents of the bag out onto a sheet pan with edges.
  7. Bake for 1 hour or until the chicken reaches at least 165 F. on a meat thermometer.
  8. Cool slightly and serve.


Clean Eating Cinnamon Carrots And Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner Recipe
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Adventures With Batman

^^Those two are so cute!!! School was out yesterday, so Sarah and I took the kids down to Short Pump. It’s our favorite little day-off field trip! The kids LOVE the giant play structure and change of scenery at the ACAC (our gym) there, and Sarah and I love the rooftop cafe and pool : )

Breakfast before we hit the road:

The drive is about 50 minutes and zooms by. Once the kids were settled, we did 26 minutes on the Stairmaster, 15 minutes of random weight lifting and ran a mile as fast as we could. We earned a little relaxation! Sadly the hot tub was closed for the day, but the pool was heated, so we took a nice little dip after lunch!

I ordered a grilled chicken and Swiss panini with a veggie cup on the side. Sarah had extra carrots and hummus for us to snack on.

After showers (the locker room there is like a spa!), we went over to the huge mall and let the kids run around a bit.

Mazen and I went into the Athleta store for a peek, and I ended up buying a few things! I was on the hunt for great shorts that I could sweat in all summer, and they have so many awesome options. Plus this cute skirt! Note the Batman shoes peeking out under the mirrors. This was one of the first times we’ve ever shopped together, and it was so much fun! M actually gave me his opinion on the clothes I tried on.

We headed to the children’s museum, which was right next door, for some play time after that. The kids loved all the stations!

Sarah and I found some bean bag chairs, aka the grown-up rest area 🙂

No idea what was happening here!

The ride home is always tough when everyone is tired, but some snacks helped!

Thomas had put a lasagna in the oven (from Mona Lisa Pasta) and we had that with salads for dinner.

I also had some of this – another “wine” mocktail. I like it better than the cranberry (which is SO TART) but this one is sweetened with more sugar, so it’s a pro and a con!

Talk to ya later friends!

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