Good afternoon from a very smoky Spokane! Wildfires tend to pop up around this year and can really start to affect the air quality. Right now it’s hovering around 171, which just really means spending time outside should be limited.
Not such great news for an outdoor-loving gal! So I’ve been focusing on work instead. Seeing nutrition clients and cooking/baking up a storm!
#1 Monkfruit Sweetener
Speaking of baking, I have been loving experimenting with monk fruit lately. Monk fruit is a naturally calorie-free sweetener that is extracted from small melon with the name of luo han guo found primarily in China.
I was hesitant at first to start incorporating this “sweetener” into my diet because I like to limit sugar on a day-to-day basis. Less really is more! But since there are no sugars in Monk fruit, it does not spike blood sugar or cause any crashes later on.
I’ve been enjoying monk fruit in my matcha lattes and the occasional baked good, but keep in mind that baked goods should still be considered a treat and not be a main diet staple. If you have to have them though, monk fruit isn’t a bad option! I love the Lakanto brand the best.
#2 Coconut Water Electrolyte Drink (Nooma)
Coconut water has been touted as a great source of electrolytes via potassium. Nooma has elevated the electrolyte-replenishing game by adding sea salt and delicious real fruit flavors.
I love the Watermelon Lime flavor and Blueberry Peach to replace lost electrolytes and stay hydrated. Especially when the temperatures have been in the constant 90s and even 100s the last few days. If I’m feeling run down or sluggish during the day I know I can have one of these as a little pick-me-up!
#3 Kara Halderman
This girl is such a powerhouse. She is a certified NTP (Nutritional Therapy Practitioner), NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming coach) and mindset coach! I am kind of counting down the days until I can hire her as a mindset coach because I really love how she approaches life.
Kara mixes a non-BS approach with super practical tips to improve mood, mindset and self-image. I am all about it. I first learned of her from Christina Rice’s podcast Wellness Realness. While Christina and Kara used to host a podcast together, Straight Up Paleo, they have since gone separate ways to focus on their own businesses.
One of the most inspiring things about Kara is her ability to reframe mindsets to create more success and happiness in daily life. You can find more out about her on Instagram (though she regularly takes periods of time off for social media detox) or on her blog.
#4 Mouth-Taping (aka Somnifix!)
Bio-hackers unite! Okay, but for real, I am a big fan of mouth taping recently because I really want to sleep better! I have been working on my night-time routine to make sure I am supporting my body the best way I can.
Sleep is SO important to the body. While we sleep we also recover and repair the body. While 8 hours is recommended for optimal recovery, the quality of our sleep also plays a large role. This is where mouth taping comes in.
As humans, we have two different autonomic nervous systems – parasympathetic (think rest and digest mode) and sympathetic (think flight or fight mode). Both states play different roles and are important at different times during the day but when we are sleeping we want to be in the parasympathetic state so we can really help to rebuild our bodies.
In order to effortlessly tap into the parasympathetic state, we can simply breath through our noses more often. This sends a calming message throughout the body and turns on the parasympathetic mode. Mouth taping simply ensures that the mouth stays shut during sleep and doesn’t turn back into fight or flight mode.
Somnifix strips are hypo-allergenic and are designed to cover the mouth. They have a vent and are easily removable. I have found that there is a “break-in” period of about 1-2 weeks, where I woke up in the morning with the tape on my pillow or arm, ha!
Mouth taping has really changed my sleep for the better. I am no longer waking up in the middle of the night (a sign of a cortisol spike from switching back to the sympathetic state) and really love it as a part of my bed-time routine. I order mine on Amazon.
#4 Adrenal Health Nightly Restore by Gaia Herbs
This is another game-changer in my sleep! I have been using these adaptogenic capsules for about three months now.
The Nightly Restore caps contain ashwaghanda, Cordyceps, reishi and lemon balm to help support the adrenals while you sleep. As with most adaptogenic herbs, best results are achieved with long-term use.
Depending on my stress levels during the day I take either one or two capsules about an hour before bedtime and I can really feel them help me to wind-down. I also have very vivid dreams, which is a sign of deep REM sleep.
As always, consult with your health-care provider before jumping into trying adaptogens!
#5 Tongue Scraping
Okay, stay with me for this one! Tongue scraping is hugely beneficial for removing bacteria, food debris, toxins and dead cells from the surface of our tongues.
Instead of leaving these on the tongue to be reabsorbed by the body, a tongue scraper helps tremendously to remove them and have a cleaner, more refreshed-feeling mouth!
Tongue scraping can also help to boost immunity and help improve your dental health! I bought one for about $8 at a natural foods store and use it twice a day after brushing to remove any loosened debris.
Scrape the tongue from the back to the front about 5-10 times, rinsing between each scrape. Don’t scrape so aggressively or go so far back as to activate the gag reflex.
#6 Homemade Ketchup
I am such a big fan of ketchup. I use it on almost every meal! That deeply smoky and rich flavor gets me every time.
Did you know though that most “conventional” ketchup brands contain high fructose corn syrup? Even some of the organic brands can contain multiple grams of sugar per tablespoon. Not cool if you use it as much as I do!
I figured it was time to come up with my own recipe to limit the amount of sugar in my diet and feel good about what I’m putting in my body on a daily basis. The coconut aminos in this recipe add the subtle sweetness and it truly is divine! I love keeping a jar of this in the fridge!
Homemade Ketchup (Unsweetened)
(PALEO, GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, WHOLE30, GRAIN FREE, VEGAN)
PREP TIME: 5 MINUTES COOK TIME: 20 MINUTES
6 oz. tomato paste
8 oz. tomato purée (either plain or fire roasted)
6 oz. water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tbs. honey, maple syrup or molasses or a few pitted dates
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, except for the dates, if using.
- If using dates, be sure to place them in a food processor first to break them down.
- Bring to a light simmer and keep on low for 20-30 minutes.
- The mixture should reduce and become thicker.
- Cool before transferring to a glass jar and store in the fridge for up to a week!