Thursday, November 9, 2017

5 for Friday: Tel Aviv Cafes

If you’ve read here for more than a second, you know that I love iced coffee, and I love STRONG iced coffee. So I was in heaven in Israel, where they’re definitely known for their coffee culture. I basically caffeinated my way through Tel Aviv. I actually tried to ordered decaf one time, but it was lost in translation, so I rationalized that I needed to caffeine to balance out my jet-lag. 🙂

One of the best things about blogging is the recommendations that I get from you guys, and I got a ton of tips of cafes I should visit from both readers and my new Israeli friends. All of these cafes were within walking distance of Rothschild 22, the hotel where I stayed in Tel Aviv. Here are five of my favorite cafes that I tried.


Aroma is like the Starbucks of Israel — there are tons of locations all over Tel Aviv and the other cities. I quickly learned that “iced coffee” is actually more like a Frappucino and “coffee with ice” typically has milk in it. A lot of cafes have cold brew, which is the same as it is in the US. I often ordered iced Americanos (espresso + water + ice) or espresso shots over ice with a splash of milk. Aroma was actually attached to Rothschild 22, so the hotel restaurant served its coffee. It was definitely a perk of our hotel accommodations!

Aroma Coffee Tel Aviv

Da Da & Da

This was my favorite of the cafes that I visited. The iced americano that I ordered was strong and smooth — just the way I like ’em — and the staff was really friendly and helpful, especially when it came to explaining the menu, which was all in Hebrew. (FYI: Just about everyone in Tel Aviv speaks English.) I also ordered lunch one day from Da Da & Da (pictured below) and everything was fresh, flavorful, and delicious.

Da Da & Da Cafe Tel Aviv

Mae Cafe

I loved this modern cafe, which was a short walk from the hotel. I ordered an iced Americano with milk. The espresso was made from Turkish beans, so it was especially intense and dark, but more bitter than some of the other ones I tried. Mal really likes this kind of coffee, so I actually purchased a bag to take home with me. We drank it over the weekend, and, my gosh, it was amazing!

Mae Coffee Tel Aviv

Espresso Bar

This cafe was located right on Rothschild, a short walk from the hotel. It has high windows that look out onto the street as well as French tables and straw chairs — it was super cute and felt very European. I ordered an iced Americano with milk and it was quite tasty.

Espresso Bar Israel

Cafelix (Jaffa)

Not technically in Tel Aviv, but located in nearby Jaffa – and worth the trek. We rode bikes and made a pit stop for coffee. The staff was really friendly and joked around with us about all of the photos that we took. #fitnessinfluencers. I ordered a double shot of espresso over ice and it was phenomenal. It was actually so intense, I ended up adding a small splash of water to it, which I never do with espresso shots back home.

Cafelix Jaffa

Question of the Day

What criteria make a cafe one that you will visit and/or recommend to someone else? (traveling or not)?


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Top 10 Paleo Apps

application icons fly off the tablet computer in hand“Apps aren’t paleo, Sisson. Grok waited for days for aurochs to wander within spear-chucking range, not overnight for the release of the iPhone X.” True. But this is the world we live in. These are the tools we have.

If you’re going to lug around an addictive piece of tech in your pocket all day, it might as well contain some apps that make living healthy and living Primal easier, rather than harder. What follows are some of the best paleo/Primal apps I’ve found. Some I use, some I don’t. They’re not all explicitly “paleo,” but they’re all at least tangentially related to this thing we call the pursuit of optimal health and happiness.

Apnea Trainer

Apnea Trainer  (iOS, Android) is meant for free-divers, spearfishers, abalone hunters, and anyone interesting in increasing their lung capacity. It also has a “pranayama” setting that promotes a more meditative breathing pattern. Tim Ferriss turned me on to this, which he uses in an “off-label” manner as a replacement for meditation when he doesn’t have the time.

I’ve written about the potential benefits of meditation many times before, but I’ve never been able to get into it myself. Last year I gave you some alternatives to formal sitting meditation, and if I went back and wrote that one again I’d probably add Apnea Trainer to the list. It’s a great way to center yourself, do some deep diaphragmatic breathing, take a few minutes out of the day to get present, and improve your lung capacity in the process.

Interval Timer

Interval Timer (iOS) is exactly what it sounds like: a simple, no-nonsense interval timer. Completely customizable, so you can make any type of interval. 5 seconds on, 10 seconds off? You can do it. 2 minutes on, 1 minute off? Easy peasy.

There aren’t any bells, whistles, frills, or widgets, and that’s totally fine with me. You don’t need any. All that fluff just takes away from you, the work period, and the rest period. I’m sure other interval timer apps are perfectly fine and perhaps even have more functionality than the basic Interval Timer. This one’s free, so give it a shot and if it doesn’t meet with your expectations, try another.

Android users, this free interval timer looks to be a solid choice.

Bedtime Alert on the Clock App

The iPhone’s standard clock app is niftier than most realize. Rather than the wakeup alarm—which I try to avoid and usually succeed in doing—I like the bedtime alarm it has.

You choose when you want to wake up, how much sleep you need, and it determines a bedtime for you, backed up with an alert telling you to get yourself to bed. My only quibble is that it also includes a wakeup alert, or alarm clock that can’t be turned off or disabled.

If you’re like me and hate morning alarm clocks, use the basic “Reminder” app to set a bedtime reminder that repeats every day. If you like morning alarms, use the Bedtime Alert feature on the Clock App.

Nom Nom Paleo

There are other paleo/Primal recipe apps out there. Many, I’m sure, are quite good and full of incredible recipes. It’s just that I’ve tried a lot of the recipes from Nom Nom Paleo over the years, and I’ve never been disappointed. Not once.

Each recipe gets the full multimedia treatment, with stunning step-by-step photos and technique videos. Or if you just want the basics, the recipe cards give you the crucial information—ingredients, amounts, directions—you need to shop, cook, and eat. There’s even a 30-day meal plan included.


Zero (iOS) is a fasting tracker. You choose the fasting regimen you prefer—16-hour long fast, a “circadian rhythm fast,”or create your own schedule, then hit “start” and hit “stop” when you eat something. Over time, you accumulate reams of exportable data, which you can plot against bodyweight changes and relevant health markers to spot trends and identify connections.

I don’t use it personally. I’m not a quantified self guy, nor do I need any special assistance following a fasting schedule. Truth be told, I don’t even really follow a set schedule. I eat WHEN—when hunger ensues naturally. Yet, I can see where an app like Zero could help people just getting started.

Android users can try Vora.


Anytime I’m in a new area and have a few hours to kill, I’ll fire up AllTrails (iOS, Android) and see if there are any interesting trails nearby. I do this partially because I love to hike and take every opportunity to do it, especially if it’s someplace new. It’s also a key component of my anti-jetlag strategy which revolves around circadian entrainment to the new timezone. Physical activity alone is a strong entrainer of circadian rhythm. Physical activity outdoors in natural sunlight is an even better entrainer of circadian rhythm. 

You can filter the trails by difficulty, dog- or kid-friendliness, length, busyness, and route type.

Paleo (io)

How many times have you uttered the words, “Is it paleo?” How often does someone who knows you as the resident Primal expert ask it of you?

This is probably old hat to most of you. You can probably scan an aisle of food and immediately analyze the paleo-ness of the ingredients, complete with Terminator-style HUD readouts. Many of you have the answers.

In case you don’t have it, however, Paleo (io)(iOS, Androiddoes. A simple “yes” or “no,” that is. You can also search the app’s paleo food database of over 3000 foods to get more information.

Keto Diet Tracker

With keto gaining adherents and dabblers by the day, apps are popping up everywhere. Keto Diet Tracker (iOS, Android) looks to be the best of the bunch.

Pair this one with Paleo (io) for maximum accuracy. Use Keto Diet Tracker to identify the keto-friendliness of your food, then run that through a Paleo (io) filter.

It does require a monthly subscription. Quite a modest price, but make sure you know how to cancel your subscription in case it’s not a good fit for your preferences.


CRON-O-Meter (iOS, Android) draws on the latest USDA databases for nutritional info to help you track calories, micronutrients (including vitamins and minerals) and macronutrients (including specific amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates) to plot them against the RDAs.

While its intended audience is the CRON (calorie restriction with optimal nutrition) crowd, most of whom tend to be vagualy plant-based, the app is just a solid nutrition tracker that provides a lot of detailed information relevant to any type of eater. It’s fun to enter a half a pound of beef liver and see your vitamin A, folate, and B-vitamin requirements instantly satisfied.


A music app may not seem relevant to this list. Remember though: this is about health, happiness, and wellness, not just diet and exercise. A music app like Spotify (iOS, Android) offers major benefits to any Primal fan.

You can vibe to the music. Much of the best music attempts to capture the harmony of life, the rhythms to which we’re all subject.

You can dance. Nothing more Primal than moving your body to the rhythm that permeates all being.

You can sing along. Singing is repeatedly shown to be beneficial for elderly folks, particularly those with neurodegenerative diseases. I see no reason why those benefits wouldn’t apply to younger people as well. It’s been shown to improve heart rate variability, for example. But beyond all that is the basic joy of it. Song is a human universal; there must be a good reason to do it so much.

Those are the ten paleo/Primal smartphone apps that I’ve found most useful, interesting, and promising. What are yours? Thanks for stopping by today.


The post Top 10 Paleo Apps appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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Mazen Eats Real Food – Through The Years

This post is sponsored by SpoonfulOne.

KERF is founded on curiosity about what one person may be eating and the context around it. Naturally, I assume that translates to Mazen! So many of you have become parents along with me, and I am equally interested in how you feed your children. I’ve written several posts throughout the years about our efforts to introduce healthy food and good eating habits to Mazen.  I want to summarize those here and introduce a new product – SpoonfulOne – that might be helpful for new parents just getting started. It’s good to give your child a healthy edge.

(How cute was he?!)

First Year

We dietitians like to say “under one is just for fun.” When Mazen was born, the recommendations were to wait until he was 6 months old to introduce solid foods, and to do so in a slow and spaced out way, especially with foods known to be common allergens. We began with simple whole, smashed foods like oatmeal, avocado, banana, and sweet potato.

Boy loved him some avocado!

The recommendations have changed dramatically in 5 years! Currently, pediatricians have concluded that there is no reason to delay the introduction of all foods past when your baby is showing signs of being ready for solid food. Moreover, delaying this can actually increase the risk of allergies. Introducing new foods can be a little nerve-wracking. To make this process as simple and gentle as possible for new parents, a Stanford pediatrician, allergist, and mother of five developed SpoonfulOne.

SpoonfulOne is a daily supplement powder that gently introduces your child’s immune system to all the common foods that could potentially become allergens. SpoonfulOne is made of real foods – no preservatives, artificial sweeteners, flavors or dyes – and is delivered as a powder in packaged in pre-measured single-serving packets that are convenient and easy to mix into any food your child enjoys, such as oatmeal, applesauce, or mashed whole foods. It not only covers peanuts, but all other common allergenic foods like shrimp, soy, and other tree nuts that may be difficult to include into your child’s daily diet.

It has been well tested and is a gentle way to proactively train your child’s digestive system for all the foods that follow. Especially if allergies run in your family, SpoonfulOne would be a great product to ask your pediatrician about. Check out the product website for more information and FAQs.

Year One

After his first birthday and as Mazen weaned from nursing, food became much more of a focus. We aimed to change flavors and textures to expose him to as many different things as possible. I made a lot of homemade purees, and he was a great eater in the early days and would chow down on finger foods like peas, bits of No Bull Burger, beans, and scrambled eggs. Since he couldn’t really chew lettuce yet, I often made green smoothies for the both of us.

Years Two and Three

I knew that despite his early willingness to eat a wide variety of healthy foods that a picky stage would likely come, and around age two it did. (I also think I overdid the scrambled eggs and No Bull Burgers because they were just so easy!) Looking back, I should have offered him a wider variety of foods I was making for dinner in baby form. This diversity would also help him with building immunity early. For a while the options he liked were very limited. I didn’t stress, as I know that many toddlers go through this stage.

Luckily, he always loved the veggie-based pouches, so those were the bulk of his vegetable nutrition for a while. He was also very good at baby sign language, and we relied on that for him to tell us what he wanted (which might have been related to the shorter list of accepted foods!) As he learned to talk we made some progress on his diet, and I wrote this post about his meals.

Year Four

By the time Mazen was four years old, we started to put our foot down a bit more with the pickiness. We used the same “division of power” strategies we did with things like putting on jackets or teeth brushing – the parents decide what and when and the child decides which and how much. The short order cook days were over, and Mazen was old enough to sit at the table and eat with the grown-ups. (Not that we didn’t encouraged these habits earlier too, but we were not as strict with him.) We introduced a new food chart that really motivated him to try new things, we had him helping in the garden, and we signed him up for a few cooking classes and camp. We also involved him in cooking in our kitchen more, making pizza or washing produce. The tips in this post were the focus of that year: How I Got My Four Year Old To Eat More Vegetables.

Year Five And Beyond

Now at age five, I would say that Mazen is a very good eater. He likes a variety of vegetables like most lettuces and greens, red peppers, carrots, mushrooms, etc. (even if mayo dip is involved!) He willingly sits at the table for dinner and participates in the “how was your day” conversation. And, he tries new things on a regular basis with only a little bit of opposition. While he doesn’t have what I would label a “gold star diet,” few five-year-olds do. We do need to work on snacking and sweets. I always say it’s easier to add than subtract, so until now we’ve focused on adding healthy foods rather than minimizing junkier foods and treats. That time might be now!

Still loving smoothies!

I’d love to hear from you guys – those with babies, nieces and nephews, or even older kids. What are (or were) your biggest challenges and surprises? Are you a family who has to navigate allergens?

This post was sponsored by SpoonfulOne.

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