Tuesday, November 21, 2017

14 Healthier Ways to Spend Black Friday

Inline_Healthier_Ways_to_Spend_Black_FridayFor most of my life, Thanksgiving was spared the overt commercialization of the other holidays. Christmas has the gifts, Halloween the candy and costumes, Valentine’s the chocolates, roses, jewelry, and guilt—perfect avenues for commercial interests. But Thanksgiving genuinely felt different, as if it was only about getting together with friends and relatives over a crispy-skinned bird and offering gratitude for what we had and who was still with us.

These days, commercialization has crashed the party. You’ve got Black Friday. Then Small Business Saturday. Then Cyber Monday. (Giving Tuesday I can get behind.) The “Black Friday” deals on Amazon started going last week and should continue well past the holiday.

I get it. That’s how the business world works. And people have the day off. They’re up early enough to start shopping right away, since tucking away 4000 calories in a single sitting the night before probably put them to bed by nine. Most importantly, people are jonesing for some ritual to commemorate the passing of another holiday. Sacrificing one’s sleep, free time, and money to the commerce god BOGO seemingly does the trick, especially if you get a killer deal and everyone else is doing it. You get swept up in the moment—the power of the crowd, the knowledge that in every town across this great big country of ours, millions of your fellow citizens are flooding the stores in search of a good bargain.

Yet, there are other ways to connect to that feeling of unification. There are other ways to celebrate. We can form new rituals that don’t revolve around the acquisition of material goods.

Like what? What could a “Primal Friday” look like?

1. Sleep In

Seriously. You know you want to. Imagine how much better you’ll feel than the folks who dragged themselves out of bed at 4:00 a.m. Sleep is the absolute best.

2. Volunteer Your Time and Resources

Deliver charitable contributions to a local organization, or volunteer to help distribute them to those in need. Bring groceries and good old-fashioned funds to a local food shelf. Donate clothes and housewares to nonprofit stores that benefit area organizations. Volunteer for the day at a homeless shelter, community program, or animal rescue organization. Adopt a family for the holiday season and shop for them instead.

Research demonstrates a physiological benefit to our altruistic ventures (e.g. lower stress, better sleep, enhanced immune function, and reduced pain), and even it didn’t, it’s a nice, virtuous thing to do. The key is to feel genuinely emotionally invested in our volunteer endeavors. Whatever feels meaningful, pursue it.

3. Work With Your Hands

This can mean almost anything. Expand yourself and do something a loved one will appreciate. Send humorous postcards to friends. Knit or carve a gift for someone special. Make wreaths or decorative winter planters for neighbors. Whip up some Primal jerky, gorp, tapenade, sauces, or infused vodka for friends. Finally tackle that little house project you’ve been putting off. Do some fall gardening.

4. Take In a Cultural Event

Skip the throngs at the mall and head for the concert hall, local theater, or community center. Expand your horizons, and enjoy a communal atmosphere without the stampede.

5. Make a Day for Reminiscing (and Record the Occasion For Future Enjoyment)

Gather around to watch old family movies or slide shows on the computer. Tell your favorite stories of past holidays. Get a family photo taken, or videotape some play time in the backyard. It will be a more meaningful keepsake for this year’s holiday season that whatever you could’ve bought.

6. Invite the Neighbors For a Casual Open House

Doubly so if you’ve never done anything like this before and barely know their names. Sure, many of them will be chasing sales in the wee hours of the morning. No matter. They’ll be back. Throw together an informal, “post-sale” brunch or a cocktail hour spread. They’ll appreciate the hospitality and the return to a saner way of celebrating the holiday weekend.

7. Play In the Leaves

I know you’ve got some laying around somewhere nearby. Go play in them, preferably with family and/or friends. The massive leaf piles were my favorite part of fall in New England. We’d have wet leaf fights, leaf wrestling matches, leaf diving competitions (you need at least four feet of densely packed leaves to break your fall). Though if you live on the outskirts of town, or the pile butts up against the forest, beware of ticks. The little jerks love residing in dark, dank leaf piles.

8. Rake the Leaves

Playing in a pile of leaves is an exultation of the chaos of nature. There are tens of thousands of individual leaves, and they’re absolutely everywhere once you’re done. It’s fun (especially for the kiddos), but then you also have to restore order by raking them up. Another option is to mow the leaves and start a compost pile.

9. Do a Cold Plunge or Cold Shower

Exposing your body to cold water is a reset button on just about everything. It also boosts immune function and mood.

10. Train Outside

Hitting the gym is great, but why not do something different, somewhere different? Run some sprints outside. Swing a kettlebell. Get a game of Ultimate or basketball together. Go to the park early enough and do tai chi with the middle-aged Chinese people. Go trail running.

11. Seek Out the Light-Hearted

Hit a comedy club, or curl up with some loved ones and your favorite funny movies. Research shows that laughter reduces stress (unlike lines at the mall), boosts our immune function, relaxes our muscles, enhances circulation, relieves tensions, and decreases pain. Even if it didn’t do those things, laugher feels great. Isn’t that enough?

12. Prep Your Leftovers

Cooked poultry gets weird pretty quickly. If you wait more than a couple days to deal with the leftovers, they won’t be as fresh or tasty. You might even start getting that poultry slime, in which case all bets are off and you have to throw everything away.

Take an hour or so to get everything organized. Remove all the meat from the bones and set it aside. you can do so much with leftover turkey, from just treating it as a simple protein source to making turkey tetrazzini with spaghetti squash. I like chopping it roughly, adding some celery, some Primal mayo, some homemade cranberry sauce, and sometimes some hot sauce for Thanksgiving turkey salad. Make some turkey soup. Make bone broth. While others are eating food court Panda Express in between brawls over 2-for-1 down comforters, you’re getting the next week’s worth of healthy meals ready.

13. Go On an Outdoor Pilgrimage

The fresh crisp fall air is perfect for a long, hard outdoor excursion. You can push up the intensity without overheating and getting sweaty. Climb a certain mountain in your area. Hit a challenging trail. Walk the full distance of a local urban trail. Be in the moment, in that place. Allow the experience to dismiss all the buzz and distractions. Use the time to center yourself on what matters to you this holiday season. Make it the beginning of an annual (or weekly) tradition.

14. Finally, Drink Up Every Bit of Leisure

Read fiction while taking a hot bath. Watch good TV or film. Binge, even. I always use this day to watch A Christmas Story (wrong holiday, but still), and while it’s hilarious, it’s also incredibly touching. One of my favorite scenes is when the parents sit together, quietly enjoying the tree while the kids fall asleep and the snow falls outside.

Sometimes the best part of a holiday is the quiet hours after the agenda’s been satisfied and the dishes are washed. It’s somehow the part I always enjoy the most. It’s when people are most unscheduled and unfettered. The best conversations unfold amidst the comfortable silence. Why rush it? Just sit with it. The best of life so often happens in the lulls, the interludes, the end of a great evening. Don’t miss it.

Thanks for reading today, everybody. On Friday, the Worker Bees will be showing how they’re spending their Black Friday Primal-style. Be sure to stop by, and have a great holiday week.

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Favorite Toddler-to-Preschool (and Beyond) Toys

I receive a lot of questions about Quinn’s favorite toys, so with the holidays (hey, Black Friday and Cyber Monday) on the horizon, I thought a round-up of his very favorite ones would help some of you with your shopping for your favorite toddler. These are toys that Quinn has loved since his early toddler days and still pulls out to play with again and again as a nearly 3.5-year-old. They’re toys that have grown with him over the years. I hope you find this “gift guide” helpful with your holiday shopping this season!

Photo by Praveesh Palakeel on Unsplash

The Ultimate Book of Vehicles: From Around the World – Holy cow, this book. I’ve never read a single book so many times in my life. We bought this book for Quinn last April, and we’ve read it every single day since. Sometimes, we even read it more than once a day! He absolutely loves this book, and I think just about any kid would. It’s definitely a good time. Although we’ve read it so many times that Mal and I have a love-hate relationship with it nowadays. Haha!

Tomy Hide & Squeak Eggs – A blog friend actually sent these eggs to Quinn shortly after he was born, and he’s loved them every since. At nearly 3.5 years old, he still plays with them on the regular.

Rocket Ship Tent – This tent is still a huge hit in our house. Quinn got it for Christmas last year, and he still plays with it a ton. It’s an especially good time when friends come over. I mean, hiding from the “Murphy Monster” is SO FUN!

VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Ultimate RC Speedway – Qman received this toy for his birthday last year, but he’s obsessed with it all over again now! I actually think Mal likes it a lot too because he gets to make all sorts of fun track creations for Quinn! đź™‚

Paw Patrol, Lights and Sounds Air Patroller Plane – The Paw Patrol Air Patroller Plane is definitely a Quinn favorite. He loves using it with his Paw Patrol figurines. It’s for sure a top toy in our house!

Count Your Chickens game – I’ve blogged about this game in the past, but it’s definitely worth another mention. It’s just the best game for little kids. It’s a cooperative game, so everyone works together to get the chicks in the coop and it focuses on numbers and counting, so it’s educational too. We play it allllll the time in our house!

Constellation Night Light – This thing is so much more than a night light! Actually, Quinn rarely uses it as a night light. It’s much more fun for dance parties and mood lighting in his tents. All of his friends love it too!

Ghostbusters Proton Pack Projector – Apparently, our house is haunted because Quinn busts a lot of ghosts nowadays. His proton pack comes out to play just about everyday!

Gearation Refrigerator Magnets – These magnets get so much use in our house. They’re, well, cool gear magnets, but they also work as ghost traps and protective force fields. The options are endless with these babies!

Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table – Quinn fell in love with this water table as a 1 year old, and it’s been a favorite ever since (in the warmer months, of course).

Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll ‘N TrikeI’ve mentioned this bike on CNC in the past, but it’s such a great toy, I just had to mention it again. It grows with your child, so it has 4 ways to ride: infant trike, steering trike, learn-to-ride trike, and classic trike. Quinn loves it, and we take it out almost daily when we walk Murphy.

Question of the Day

What’s on your little one’s holiday list this year?

I think we are buying Qman this doll house, and I know he is going to love it!

P.S. And to organize all of these toys, I highly recommend the Honey-Can-Do Kids Toy Organizer and Storage Bins. We have one and it’s the best way to keep things tidy.

The post Favorite Toddler-to-Preschool (and Beyond) Toys appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.

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In Tide Joke

^^ I love that house name, but I don’t think we’d choose it! : )

The marsh views are so pretty!

On our second morning I had the breakfast of running champions – banana + PB on a spoon!

I did a little jog out to the beach and back.

Mazey and I did lots of scootering too!

We scooted to the market for lunch. Taco salads + pizza.

Ems can’t wait till she’s old enough to scooter too.

We built many forts during our stay. Well, some of us did 🙂

Our middle night we went to dinner at the Club. It’s undergoing a huge expansion this year and will have a new lagoon-style pool and new restaurant sometime later this year!

I had a greek salad and a glass of chardonnay.

I continued the banana + peanut butter theme for breakfast. Note my cool new jammies from Nepal!

I made chicken salads for our final lunch.

We hit the beach in the afternoon. It was wasn’t cold out, but it wasn’t warm either! It is always so beautiful, though.

For our final dinner we made Mexican bowls with rice, beans, chicken, gauc, peppers, sour cream, and salsa. Oh, and chips!

Dusk on the dock is always my favorite time of day.

We hope to be back in the spring!

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Episode 378 – Dr. Jeff Stanley MD – Virta Health and Online Healthcare

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On this episode of the podcast we have guest Dr. Jeff Stanley MD. He is a physician with Virta Health, and utilizes continuous remote care and the ketogenic diet to reverse type 2 diabetes.

In this episode we talk about online healthcare, treating diabetes, monitoring and data, high lipid markers for some on ketogenic diets, and more.

Download Episode Here (MP3)

Website: http://ift.tt/2mWIW20
Twitter: @JeffStanleyMD

30 Day Guide to the Paleo Diet

Want some extra help? Have you been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? We’ve created a getting started guide to help you through your first 30 days.

Buy the book


Wired-to-Eat-RenderDon’t forget, Wired to Eat is now available!

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, iBooks

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