Today I want to share a fantastic new treat with you, Biena Snacks!
If you are an avid follower on the podcast, you know I have been working through finishing my dissertation, amongst other things. Which I LOVE continuing my education, especially at Oxford. However, working towards a PhD can leave little time for much else.
Much like all of our lives, we are working through to-do lists trying to determine and assign priorities. Do I spend my small amount of free time with my loved ones, sleeping, dancing? I most definitely don’t want to spend it cooking, meal prepping, or thinking about what I am going to eat next.
I have been all about convenience when it comes to my snacks lately. That’s where Biena Snacks come in. Biena Snacks are lightly roasted chickpeas formulated to maintain their nutrient content and still remain delicious. I don’t eat chickpeas often, as they can be disruptive to my gut and gut flora, but on occasion these can be a delicious treat.
You may be asking, “are chickpeas paleo?” And my answer is, does it really matter? If chickpeas work in your diet, than go for it! Chris Kresser released an awesome blog post about whether or not chickpeas or legumes in general are paleo, check it out here. You make the call 🙂
So what’s up with these snacks? They are high in fiber and protein on top of being delicious. I have tried to roast my own chickpeas in the past and they usually come out soggy or overly cooked (Anyone with a decent roasted chickpea recipe, send it my way!) Biena Snacks are great because they literally have a flavor for everyone. My fave is the honey roasted- which is more of a treat than a snack. The honey roasted doesn’t have an overpowering honey taste, but this flavor does have cane sugar, which is why I typically only consume as a treat.
Other flavors include roasted sea salt, cinnamon crunch, and more. Check out all the flavs over here.
Most of their snacks are gluten-free and vegan too. The company is very transparent regarding their ingredients; all can be seen on their website.
Another bonus bit about Biena Snacks is that the company was founded by a woman, Poorvi Patodia. So if you are looking for a new snack option that’s convenient and delicious, check out Biena Snacks. PfW followers get 20% off with this code: paleo4women. Check out their website here.
Happy Friday y’all!
We have covered in recent blog posts how seasonal change can affect our vitamin D levels causing negative symptoms like depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (check out the post, here) This is one way that nature can have an impact on our physiological being. I am extremely excited to discuss with you one of the curious ways nature can have a positive effect on us. I am also extremely excited to share how this positive effect can interact and enhance our paleo lifestyles, and how we can use “Biophilia” to our utmost advantage.
After taking a long hike, camping or spending time purposely or accidentally in nature I often feel a sense of revitalization. My mind feels refreshed and inspired, my body lighter and reinvigorated, the air smelling and tasting fresh and full of oxygen. This common affect that nature has on our bodies and minds has a term: biophilia.
Biophilia is the principle that nature, or the presence of nature, has a positive impact on our physiological, emotional and mental being.
This principle, and the positive effect it has on us, is backed up by several credible scientific studies. And like mentioned previously, if you can recall a time you spent in nature, think about how you felt while you we’re surrounded in it and how you felt afterwards.
The term was first introduced in the 1960’s by a psychologist Erich Fromm. He described the term as ”the passionate love of life and all that is alive” . The term didn’t really gain momentum until 1984 when Edward O. Wilson released a book hypothesizing that biophilia was a genetic and instinctual response. Get his book, here. So even the draw towards vacationing can start to show our instinctual need to migrate away from the cities and get in touch with our roots, literally.
The Paleo-Biophilic Connection
When we discuss “paleo” we are often using our paleo ancestors diet in reference to how we maintain nutrition and meal plans now. Our ancestors hunted and foraged, ate whole foods, plants & nuts. I often hear paleo influences putting the ancestral diet on a pedestal. But why don’t we look at the entire lifestyle of our paleo ancestors and dissect how other lifestyle factors impacted their wellbeing? Like there living environments, for example. Our paleo ancestors didn’t have McMansions or permanent structures. The majority of their of their lives was spent with their toes in the dirt, amongst the natural environment. If we are looking to recreate a diet and lifestyle that resembles that of our paleo ancestors, then it is crucial to incorporate nature in addition to ancestral nutrition and movement.
How Biophilia Effects Us
So how does being in nature, seeing nature, smelling or even hearing things that represent nature affect us? Biophilia has been proven to have the following affect on humans.
How Much and What Kind of Nature?
There are several theories to why biophilia is considered effective. Some think that the air quality and movement associated with being in nature is what’s responsible. Or that being in nature is associated with socializing. But it is pretty safe to say that just looking at nature spurs an immediate effect on us.
The effects are not discriminatory. Nature in this sense can range from an immersive forest, a local park, or trees planted along a street in an urban setting. Any size pocket of nature will do.
Scientists know this to be true because represented nature can have the same effects as physical nature. Landscape photography, indoor plants, or natural screensavers will have the same physiological impacts as being surrounded by nature. So for example, if you are unable to be placed in a hospital room with a window, a room with nature photographs will have the same effect on recovery rates.
The exposure time needed for these positive benefits to occur is minimal, too. So, you don’t have to take a 4 day off the grid camping adventure to feel biophilia in effect.
How to Use it to Your Advantage
So now that we know the effects and science behind biophilia, we need to implement. The benefits of biophilia are necessary to maintaining a healthy and balanced life. One of the biggest suspected causes of autoimmune diseases and conditions like adrenal fatigue is stress. There are many ways to do this, and they don’t always include viewing nature. According to NCBI – Biophilia can be engaged by acoustic impact, and even olfactory implementation.
Ways to Make it Work For You
1) Horticulture Therapy
This practice has been around for centuries. Getting dirt under your nails and watching the herecletian cycle of plants gives us a sense of calm and wellbeing. This also keeps us present & maintain mindfulness. You could even use horticulture as a way to grow your own fruits and vegetables. Live in a city? See number 2.
2) Urban Farms
If you are city bound, have no fear. Cities often recognize the importance of nature to human existence, and many make strides to incorporate nature in various ways. One of these ways is the urban farm. These farms are plots of lands run by the community. Typically you can purchase or rent a plot of land and can grow herbs, vegetables, fruits or flowers. This is a great way to again, get your hands dirty but also cultivate a sustainable local food supply.
Many places have trails or parks that can accommodate various levels of physical activity. This is one way to immerse yourself physically in nature, while also engaging in physical movement. Walking and hiking has been proven to have a positive effect on our physical and mental health, coupled with the outdoor setting, this activity becomes an easy way to improve our mood and wellbeing.
4) Thermal Comfort
Do you, or does anyone that you know, have to sleep with a fan on? This is also very common but another way biophilia inherently inserts its presence on our lives. The static sound of a fan along with the gentle breeze is reminiscent of wind, giving a sense of security and nearness with nature.
We have discussed on the blog how the sun can affect our Vitamin D levels and lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Interior lighting can also have a negative effect on us. In your workplace, source a cool bright white light to improve productivity. Natural light is the best in this situation.
6) Noise Machine
As mentioned previously, nature sounds engage biophilic effects. Nature noise machines have become mainstream, especially for those that have trouble sleeping. I recommend downloading an app like “Rain, Rain” , or getting a noise machine. This is my favorite noise machine ever, it has several noise settings including brown noise (which I utilize all the time) pink and white noise, as well as environmental sounds like rain and ocean waves.
7) Natural Scents
Long gone are the days where people are seeking out cheap candles with toxic chemicals. Today, we have many options when it comes to sourcing natural candles or incense. One company that is doing a great job of keeping things really clean and maintaining a great scent is Juniper Ridge. Their scientists backpack into different forests to pull oils directly from nature and into their product. Their incense has an earthy, mossy scent, that makes me feel like I am taking a walk in the woods. Or you can try burning Palo Santo wood, which has an amazing delicate aroma.
8) Using Textures and Colors in Your Home
I am not saying you need to go 100% boho with your interiors, but incorporating throw blankets, rugs, or even tiles reminiscent of nature can invoke biophilia. Think stone tiles, natural fiber materials, and natural light.
Nature can have a positive effect on us, the proof is all there! I have always cherished the time I can spend outside, so when I learned of this principle it hit me to the core. An actual word behind why I feel like a new women after camping or hiking. Or a reason behind why I wanted a picture of a deeply wooded forest as my screensaver.
Does this hit home to you too? Let me know what you’re thinking.
Don’t let this title fool you. I have in no way become a “Pagan” or “paleo Vegan/vegetarian”. It is pretty well known that I source a majority of my nutrient needs through offal, like liver. I recognize that not everyone can eat meat or meat products, whether a moral or health related decision, and that’s totally cool! It still can be difficult to find quick paleo vegetarian ways to get protein or nutrients. How many times have you heard the age old question, “how do vegetarians or vegans get protein?” And this is usually without the paleo wrench in the plan. But it is possible. It depends on what your body needs, your age, and your bioindividualities precise nutrient requirements.
And I am all about bioindividuality especially because our biochemistry can be so complicated. I know it can be difficult to locate dense sources of protein without meat, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be done. Health gurus like Mark Hyman have blogged about how effective and successful the paleo vegan diet can be for certain people. Check out his post, here. Again, I am not advocating for this diet (as it certainly does not work well for me), but if it is something you follow, I am here to help in what ways I can.
As we know, protein is necessary in our diet. (Are you consuming too much protein?) And protein rich foods can be expensive and difficult to source. There are several easy, nutrition packed options though.
My past years of vegetarian and veganism gave me some insight on a few of these nutritious goodies, and my recent paleo friends have helped me accelerate my options with more things like sustainably sourced ingredients,
Although Nutritional yeast tends to look like fish flakes, it has an extremely nutty, cheesy taste. Nutritional yeast is also stocked full of vitamins, hence the namesake. I put this on everything, from warm broccoli to baked sweet potatoes.
According to the paleo mom, eggs can have a high content in protein (roughly 12.5 grams), omega 3 fatty acids, lutein, choline, Vitamins A, B, and D. And eggs are cheap, and can be served and cooked in a wide variety of ways.
3) Red Seaweed:
Red seaweed, or nori or dulse is rich in vitamins and protein including iodine. Most seaweed contains a variety of nutrients but red has the highest content of protein. Find red seaweed here. 100 grams can contain up to 50 grams of protein.
4) Pumpkin Seeds:
Pumpkin seeds or pepitas can have over 6.5 grams of protein per ounce, and they are delicious. Check out their total nutrient contents, here. I love roasting these for about 15-25 minutes at 325 degrees with cinnamon and coconut oil.
5) Leafy Greens:
If you are having trouble getting enough leafy greens in your diet, then I suggest blending spinach and kale together with some black beans if you eat these, and forming them into patties. This can be a quick way to get carbohydrate and protein. Make sure to soak and sprout the beans before using as they can be a source of phytoestrogens.
So if you have made the decision to go paleo vegan/vegetarian, please remember to utilize your resources to ensure you are getting adequate nutrients. B12 deficiency is quite common for those on this type of nutritional plan, so consider supplementing with something like this. It is common for those that follow this plan to also supplement with protein powders, like this one. However, per usual, I really recommend that you supplement with sustainably sourced fruits, veggies, and whole foods.
Let me hear it! How many paleo vegetarians or vegan followers do I have? Have you had any issues sourcing protein?
When I first went paleo my body definitely went through an interesting adjustment period. As I incorporated healthy fats and fiber of all kinds into my diet, I thought I would have absolutely no issues with something like my bowel movement regularity.
Now, I know this may be a taboo topic for people, but let’s take that out of the picture for now. We all know everyone poops and that there can be irregularities with our digestive systems that may be difficult to talk to others about, and not to mention can really mess with how our bodies are feeling.
Are you constipated? Or irregular? I promise, I know this sounds like a TV ad, but you are not alone! I tried several natural things in my life to combat bowel movement irregularity. Incidentally combining most of these things is really what helped me get my rhythm back. (I know you may have just laughed at that statement, I definitely did while writing it.)
There can be a variety of things causing your irregularity. We all know our bodies are complex functioning beings, so trying to narrow down what the culprit is can be overwhelming.
Common reasons why a majority of the population experience constipation include:
- Consuming a Standard American Diet resulting in lack of necessary nutrients
- Lack of quality fat in diet
- Lack of insoluble and soluble fiber
- Soluble fiber : absorbs water allowing stool to pass through the digestive system. This fiber also helps you feel fuller. Things like apples, root veggies, and berries have a decent amount of soluble fiber in them.
- Insoluble fiber : does not dissolve in water, adding mass to your stool helping you stay regular. Insoluble fiber is found in some of the leafier greener veggies, like broccoli, kale and collards. Insoluble fiber can mess with your skin though, check out how here.
So there are a few common things that can be causing irregularity, but that’s okay! These are situations that frequent a lot of our lives, but they don’t have to force us into constant irregularity.
Check out the following tips on staying regular:
- Incorporate Probiotics :
These are both NECESSARY for healthy gut flora. Try eating more kimchi, sauerkraut or drinking kombucha. Or you can supplement. My fave probiotic supplement can be found here.
- Exercise : This is pretty self explanatory. If you have ever experienced the awful realization that you have to go, and now, while on a run, you know that movement has a systematic way of keeping us regular. You don’t have to do cardio to poo though, even gentle movements like yoga or walking can help your body initiate and ease the process of digestion.
- Hydrate : Water is a necessary component to our digestion process. It is pretty easy to get dehydrated, and without proper water consumption our bodies cannot complete necessary processes like pooing. If you often forget to hydrate, grab a transportable, durable water bottle like this one, to encourage you to drink all the water.
- Eliminate your amount of caffeine consumption : Caffeine is a diuretic, another common culprit of dehydration. If you are loading up on the caffeinated beverages and not getting enough water, you are equally putting yourself at risk of reduced bowel movements. Try focusing on one or two caffeinated beverages a day.
- Magnesium Supplements : You know I am a huge supporter of supplementing with Magnesium. Magnesium will relax muscle tension and anxiety which can also help if you are experiencing stress induced constipation. Magnesium also works to push water into your stool, allowing the stool to pass more freely. Some magnesium supplements can cause diarrhea because of their immediate effect on the digestive system. This supplement is gentler on the gut and shouldn’t have that affect.
- Squatty Potty : These pretty ridiculous but awesome pooing stools are well known to help our bowel movements move along. There is form that is important to have a proper poop! This form includes squatting like our paleo ancestors. Get one here.
- Fiber! : Like I had mentioned above, fiber deficiencies can seriously mess with our regularity. It is important to have a balance of soluble and insoluble fiber though. If you are having trouble getting enough fiber in your diet, you can add in a supplement like this one. As with everything, if you can obtain the fiber from eating a rainbow of vegetables and fruit, that is always preferred over supplementing.
As we review some of these things that can help with our irregularity, it is important to note balance, as always, is key. Incorporating healthy amounts of fiber into your diet is fantastic, but if you are stressed every single day the fiber may not help. We need to review our symptoms in a holistic way, and really analyze what is going on in our life that may be affecting our natural internal processes.
I hope this helps, as always let me know how you are doing! Or if you have any other successful tips on improving irregularity, leave me a note in the comments section!.
Today I am writing from the confines of my cozy apartment, wrapped in a blanket, where I haven’t really moved much in the past week. I recently got hit with what I have dubbed so appropriately as the“hammer flu”.
Since focusing on a more paleo, whole food nutritional approach and being in sync with what my physical and mental needs are, I really haven’t gotten sick more than usual. My immune system typically does an okay job keeping me on my feet, which is quite lovely with the workload I like to maintain.
This time of year I usually have a cold or something less intense, but the flu penetrated my immune system, and I was not ready. I never get flu shots or vaccinations – I am pretty concerned about how ineffective they can be.
It is so important to know- I am not a child or elderly person who tend to be at higher risks for the more severe flu symptoms. (Definitely consult with your doctor if you are debating getting the flu shot and remember, I am not a medical doctor and my comments on the flu shot are just that, my comments.)
I have no idea how I got it, but considering the heightened levels of the flu outbreak this year, it isn’t surprising I did. Especially because I really got hit after a few nights of restless sleep.
The flu is scary thing, you guys!
I was out for a total of five days, and am currently on day seven of recovery and am still getting slightly winded and experiencing pretty intense fatigue regularly. And yes, you read that right, FIVE DAYS. Luckily, I had a dear friend who was around during the scariest and hardest days of the flu, who brazenly took care of me, unafraid of this epidemic. He also made frequent trips to the grocery store for things that really made this flu “trip” less unbearable.
I know everyone’s flu experience is different, especially with the strain that you get, but I wanted to share a few of the things that saved me.
My throat hurt so bad that I was risking dehydration daily; water was difficult to drink. Because my throat hurt I was also drinking everything out of a straw. (I just purchased these stainless steel straws that are amazing). For some reason, which I am attributing to my bodies need for nutrients and sugar, the only thing I could find appetizing enough to drink was cranberry juice. This was super weird as I am not a frequent juice drinker but I went through a liter or two of this throughout the last week.
NO, WHITE RICE ISN’T PALEO. Again, this was one of the only things I could manage eating with the amount of nausea I was experiencing. My friend made a really elaborate, amazing, hearty veggie stew, so I poured some broth over the rice and tried to eat as much as I could.
3. Frozen Fruit Bars:
Everything in me wanted one of those slushies you get from the gas station, mainly because my body was craving sugar and I knew it would feel amazing on my throat. But honestly, I always feel like crap after eating these and I didn’t even want to risk is. So I got some amazing rozen strawberry bars with real fruit.
Pro Tip: Throw a bar in a glass with a straw paired with cranberry juice and smoosh it up, and there you go, you have your own slushy.
These crackers never fail. I had been taking some Tamaflu to reduce my flu symptoms and it made me so incredibly nauseous. I would eat a few of these and they would make my nausea disappear. This may not sound like a lot, but to be able to eliminate one of the negative symptoms I was feeling was totally worth it.
Need I say anymore?
I am not kidding when I say I would rather do ANYTHING than rub this disgusting, overpowering, awful rub on my body. Getting forcefully rubbed down as a child when sick has left me with some awful memories of this smell. However, I caved – my mom would be so proud. There was one day in particular, day II, that was incredibly awful where I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and I pulled this awful (read: fantastic, magical) rub out the closet and covered myself and sat in the shower. And it helped, so incredibly much. This stuff is so overpowering, but it works.
I wasn’t really coughing as much as I was looking for something to make my throat stop burning. I had a couple of these little nuggets and they did the momentary trick.
Something about being sick really makes everything smells and taste awful. Whether it is an air purifier or a humidifier, just getting some air circulating throughout the space helped my congestion and throat-ache.
9. Netflix, Hulu, HBOGo
The worst part about having the flu is the days after the fever breaks when you have to be patient with your body and rest, even though your mind may be read to get back to regularly scheduled programming. Big kudos to the streaming services that helped me stay resting even when I didn’t want to.
Overall, the flu messed with my regular schedule for about a week. By day five I was experiencing mad cabin fever but with maximum fatigue. It is so annoying, especially as someone who is Type A, to be not able to work and forced to rest for so long, but it is what I had to do to get well. I have heard horror stories of people picking themselves up by the bootstraps and going to work or exercising after a few days, and that is SO DANGEROUS! Not only are you putting others at risk, but most likely you will fall into a relapse sickness, especially with a weakened immune system.
One of the most important things that helped me get through this flu was rest and knowing everything is temporary. It was awful and extremely uncomfortable, but as long as you remember everything is temporary you can push through. BUT ALSO if your fever won’t break, or your flu is extended, please please see your doctor immediately. This flu has been killing people. I went to my doctor on the first day, so I felt safer not returning to the doctor after that, although I was tempted on day II.
Please take care of yourself, get lots of rest and wash your hands lovelies! I hope the flu does not find its way into your home.