Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mail Time, Mail Time, Mail Tiiime!

Remember Blue’s Clues?! I sing that song every time I hear a delivery person on my porch : )

The above springy wine selection came from Winc today. I swapped out the bottles of red planned for this month for all white/roses and discovered that had some CANS in the mix! I love canned wine because I have one and don’t have to “worry” about what to do with the rest of the bottle (drink it? let it slowly deteriorate over 3 nights?) I always stick to the $13 bottles from Winc and have never been disappointed!

Also on my doorstep was a fun gift package from Health Warrior. I love these bars! Chia! Real food! Flavor! Their new protein line is great too.

I picked Mazen up from school, and he had this little wheat grass pet to bring home. We can’t wait to see if it grows!

On our way home, Mazen pointed to his calves and said “I have muscles in my legs here!” I told him they were his calves and that they were strong because he’s a super biker! They are nice, though, aren’t they?!

I had the couch cleaned by Stanley Steamer (gets car-pets clean-er!!) yesterday and the cushions had to dry overnight. Mazen walked in and said “Mommy you’ve been making forts!” Hahahaha.

That little sneak also figured out where I keep the grown-up candy stash! He said with a sly smile, “Mommy, I know where you keep the chocolate.” He was right. He found the jar on a shelf. Guess I’m not so sneaky myself when I get some!

We spent the rainy afternoon playing Easter egg hunt (again! again!) and watching shows together on the couch. Have you seen Super Why? It’s really educational!

When I started to unload the dishwasher, Mazen wanted to help. He’s at that perfect age where he wants to feel grown up, and it’s golden! I had him sort and put away the silverware for the first time, and he did an excellent job!

For dinner I made Cumin-Sichuan Shrimp Fried Rice with Bird’s Eye Chile & Marinated Radish from Blue Apron. It was awesome, but I made quite the mess in the kitchen! I love the color the radish added. (The sour cream was my addition 😉 )

Here’s Mazen’s version. He ate it all, cabbage included. He’s been doing SO well with his eating in the past few months! The white blob is mayonnaise, which Matt loves and taught him to eat. If he’s dipping healthy food in mayo, I am cool with that.

We did a quick bath with stories and snuggles.

And now I’m watching Survivor! Remind me not to live blog on Survivor night again : )

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Dish Washin’ Machine

^^That sums up my morning for ya! Don’t you hate it when the dishwasher is clean and you have to empty everything and then fill ‘er right back up? That’s next on my agenda. Then I’m going to pick up my sweet little boy who spent last night with his dad. It’s a dreary sweatpants kind of day over here, so we’ll probably build some forts or snuggle through a movie together.

This morning I created a new recipe for Quaker for an upcoming post, and polished up two posts for the rest of this week. Then I jetted off to the gym for strength class! It was a great combination of upper and lower body, so I am feeling tired from head to toe. Note the super red face!

After a shower and five peanut butter pretzels (can’t stop, won’t stop), I finished up the photography for my oatmeal squares and then had one for lunch!

Since that was carb-based, I had a piece of leftover BBQ chicken for my protein component. We’re super low on veggies in the fridge, so I am totally lacking today! Mazen and I might hit up the grocery store and re-stock, so I will be sure to have something green with dinner!!

Two packages just showed up on my doorstep – let’s go see where they’re from!!

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Slow Cooker Southwest Black Bean Dip With Homemade Chips

Anxiety: Are Nutritional Deficiencies a Common Cause?

Inline_Anxiety_Nutrient_DeficienciesAs big-brained hominids, humans have the unique ability to think about the future. The very fact that we can perceive and plan for the time ahead has allowed us to conquer the earth, but it comes with a downside: anxiety. If extreme rumination on past events characterizes depression, worrying about imagined future scenarios describes anxiety.

This inherent capacity and human tendency to think ahead must be reined in and controlled. One way we can do that is make sure we’re getting enough of the nutrients that studies indicate may play an etiological role in anxiety.

This is different from supplements that treat anxiety. There’s obviously overlap, and some of the deficiencies mentioned today can be corrected by supplementing, but I’m focusing on essential nutrients—vitamins, minerals, and other food-borne compounds—that play important roles in regulating anxiety levels.

Magnesium

This is the part where I’m supposed to say something about magnesium regulating over 400 physiological processes. Instead, I’ll skip that and go with this: Magnesium is incredibly important, seems to play a big role in anxiety, and most of us don’t eat enough of it.

Magnesium supplementation reduces subjective anxiety (the only kind that matters) in the “mildly anxious” and women with premenstrual syndrome.

Omega-3s

Studies in substance abusers find that supplementing with enough fish oil to raise serum levels of the long chain omega-3 fatty acid EPA reduces anxiety, whereas increases in DHA (the other long chain omega-3) reduce anger. Rising EPA levels after supplementation predicted the reduction in anxiety.

In healthy young medical students, omega-3 supplementation (2 grams EPA, 350 mg DHA) lowered inflammation and anxiety. Follow-up analyses revealed that reducing the serum omega-6:omega-3 ratio also reduced anxiety scores.

And in early pregnancy, high DHA levels predict low anxiety scores.

Choline

Older adults with low choline levels have a higher prevalence of anxiety (but not depression), while higher levels appear protective. This doesn’t prove causality—people with psychiatric disorders might eat different diets lower in choline—but I strongly suspect it. Choline and anxiety may have a trans-generational relationship, too, as animal studies show that choline supplementation during pregnancy reduces the chance that offspring will develop anxiety disorders.

Egg yolks are the single-best source of choline. Liver isn’t too bad, either.

Carnosine

Carnosine acts as an antioxidant in the brain, trapping free radicals and lowering inflammationWe know from the omega-3 section that oxidative stress in the brain is linked to, and maybe necessary for, anxiety. Sure enough, there’s a carnosine supplement called chicken extract that can enhance mood and reduce anxiety, and speed up recovery from stress-related fatigue.

Carnosine comes in meat, any meat.

Zinc

Zinc deficiency keeps showing up in people with anxiety, like Chinese males or AmericansThis one always surprises me because oysters—the densest source of zinc on the planet—are such shut-ins. When the going gets rough, they really clam up. They practically live in a shell, they’re so anxious. 

Is this just a correlation? Probably not. From a follow-up with the anxious Americans, increasing zinc intake to fix the deficiency helps resolve the anxiety.

Selenium

In 1991, researchers split 50 Brits into two groups. One group received 100 mcg selenium each day, the other got a placebo. The subjects’ diets were used to estimate selenium intake. Those who started out with the lowest selenium intakes had the most anxiety, but 5 weeks of 100 mcg/day reduced it.

Selenium is easy to get if you know where to look. Brazil nuts, wild salmon, and pastured eggs are my favorite places to get it. A Brazil nut or two is plenty, if all you care about is the selenium.

Taurine

Taurine is an amino acid we use to make GABA, the rest-and-relax neurotransmitter that inhibits the activity of the excitatory glutamate. People with anxiety tend to have lower levels of GABA, and both prescription anti-anxiety meds like Xanax and over-the-counter ones like scotch on the rocks act on the brain’s GABA receptors.

The best sources of taurine are animal foods, particularly beef and lamb hearts (lungs are actually somewhat higher in taurine, but they’re harder to procure and eat).

Antioxidant Compounds

In official circles, antioxidant compounds—polyphenols, flavonoids, and other phytonutrients—aren’t considered essential. Soylent, the “perfect” human food replacement powder that optimizes your day so you don’t have to cook or spend more than a minute in the bathroom, omits them from their formula. I disagree. They are essential. They have been a constant presence in the human diet for hundreds of thousands of years. It’s only in the last hundred years or so that the rise of processed, refined, industrial food has allowed the widespread consumption of low-or-no-phytonutrient diets.

Consuming antioxidant compounds is the historical norm. Our bodies “expect” them. They improve our endogenous antioxidant defenses. They interact with our gut bacteria to form more potent and bioavailable antioxidant complexes. And they help protect us against the kind of oxidative stress that’s been implicated in anxiety disorders.

Combinations

Zinc and magnesium work better against post-partum anxiety than either alone. Same goes for vitamin B6 and magnesium—combining the two does more to reduce PMS-related anxiety than just magnesium. This shouldn’t surprise you. Foods are what we eat, and many foods contain large whacks of multiple anxiety-relevant nutrients at once.

Consider oysters, with zinc, omega-3s, taurine, and selenium.

Consider liver, with zinc, taurine, carnosine, and choline.

Consider spinach, with magnesium and antioxidants.

Consider any colorful plant food with a wide range of antioxidant compounds.

It’s almost like broad-spectrum, naturally-sourced nutritional supplements—AKA foods—are the best way to go….

If these nutrient-anxiety relationships pan out, and I think they will, it’s easy to understand why almost 20% of American adults suffer from an anxiety disorder. People are eating less red meat, oysters are hard to open, and they’re still scared of egg yolks. And unless they’re eating at innovative (and expensive) restaurants, most people probably aren’t touching any liver. Potatoes and corn remain two of the most popular “vegetables” in the average diet, and people aren’t eating enough fatty fish. 

Nutrient deficiencies aren’t everything. They probably aren’t the main determinant of anxiety. But they do matter. They’re low-hanging fruit—small changes you can make with major impacts.

I’m sure I’ll come back to this topic. Anxiety is a big issue with many causes. For now, though, it’s productive to explore the nutrient deficiency angle.

I’d love to hear from you, especially if you’ve dealt with anxiety.

What foods or nutrients have you used to help address anxiety? Do you notice any common triggers?

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care.

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From Farm To Breakfast

Good morning and happy hump day! Is “live blogging” the best name for these kind of days?! Might get confused with Facebook/Insta Live which is literally live. I guess I should simplify and just say “I’m blogging today!” 🙂

^^Purple berry smoothie bowl with Nature’s Path granola.

I am heading to the kitchen to make some oatmeal bars for Quaker, so my house is about to smell amazing!

Last night Sarah and I went to Pippin Hill Farm for a little event they were hosting to showcase their reserve room, which they use for small private events, dinners, and more. I love the terrace and view!

We sipped bubbly Rosé and ate fried quail with a curry sauce and potatoes with crème fraîche and caviar!

Wanna grab lunch together today?!

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10-to-1 Bodyweight Running Workout

This post is sponsored by Zappos.com.

Hi, guys! Happy Workout Wednesday to you! 🙂

I have a great running workout that you can do just about anywhere. No equipment required! Seriously, you can break out this workout wherever and whenever the exercise mood arises! All you need is your running sneakers and some space to move!

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10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

Run 200 meters

Push-Ups

V-Ups

Here’s how to do this workout:

  • Start with a 200 meter run
  • Then, perform 10 Push-Ups and 10 V-Ups (modification: Sit-Ups)
  • Then, run 200 meters and perform 9 Push-Ups and 9 V-Ups
  • Then, run 200 meters and perform 8 Push-Ups and 8 V-Ups
  • Continue to decrease by 1 rep each round, ending with 1 rep of each exercise (200 meter run + 1 Push-Up and 1 V-Up)

Outfit Details:

Nike Dry Tomboy Cross-Dye Tank Top

I love this tank! It’s definitely a new favorite. It’s one of those no-nonsense tops that you put on and GO! You don’t have to think about it riding up or chafing or any of that annoying stuff. It just fits well and moves with you. I actually ordered it in both a small and x-small because I wasn’t sure about sizing. The great thing about Zappos is that there’s free shipping both ways, so I figured I might as well order both sizes to ensure the perfect fit. I ended up keeping the x-small and sending back the small, which was easy as can be. I just returned the top online, printed out a free shipping label, and sent the tank back to Zappos. Just a few days later, I had a credit in my account. Easy-peasy!

Brooks Juno Sports Bra

Have I mentioned how much I love the Juno? Probably like a million times now, right?! The Juno is my favorite sports bra, especially for running, because it’s lightweight, breathable, and doesn’t rub or chafe your skin. And, of course, I love its signature front-adjustable straps, which ensures the perfect fit. Plus, they’re amazing for breastfeeding moms!

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Brooks Streaker Capris

These Streaker Capris are one of my favorite, go-to pairs. The waist is wide, flat, and fitted with a mid-rise cut that hugs without restriction and stays put when I exercise. They’re also sweat-wicking and have a center back pocket for keys, IDs, etc. And, of course, the ombre pattern is fun and stylish!

Brooks Launch 4

Ok, so the Brooks Glycerin is typically my go-to running shoe, but I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of the Launch. The Glycerin is definitely a pair that I can rely on for long-distance running, but the Launch makes me feel FAST, especially for shorter distances (anything less than 7 or 8 miles). The Launch still provides a good amount of support and stability, but it’s lightweight and responsive at the same time.

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I hope you guys decide to try this workout. It comes in quite handy when you want to work out, but don’t have a lot of time and/or equipment. It’s perfect for traveling or vacations! Happy sweating!

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