Snack foods are meant to hold you over and suppress hunger until your next meal, but unfortunately we often grab carb heavy snack foods that only make us hungry again an hour later due to the fast spike of energy carbs deliver. For this reason, I often avoid carbohydrates at the start of the day and as snacks, I opt instead for more sustainable fuel forces that suppress the hunger hormone ghelin, like plant-based fats.
These snack balls are perfect for starting your day or on the go, they are filled with healthy polyunsaturated fats from ingredients like coconut and tree nuts. The cocoa nibs provide the essential electrolyte magnesium, great for post workout, and the cinnamon is a blood sugar stabilizer which prevents energy crashes. For a bit of protein I add Vital Proteins collagen powder and I also like to add a pinch or two of adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha or reishi mushroom powder for an added anti-stress effect. These are vegan, Whole 30 and Paleo approved!
One thing that I like to make people aware of when buying ingredients for recipes like this, or just for buying snack foods in general, is that companies love to sneak in cheap oils wherever they can, especially in roasted nuts. Even Whole Foods brand roasts all of their nuts in inflammatory canola oil. Either buy raw or “dry roasted” nuts to insure you aren’t being bombarded stealth oils.
- 1/2 cup Macadamias
- 1/2 cup coconut shreds
- 1/2 cup Walnuts
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 4 Mejool dates
- 1/3 cup almond butter
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp collagen powder
- 1 tsp adaptogenic herbs (optional)
- Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it forms a dough (you may have to spread it out with a spoon a couples times)
- Form into desired size snack balls (I like to make a variety of sizes)
- Pop into the freezer on a sheet of tin foil
- Let them thaw for a minute or so before eating
London is often called the New York City of the U.K. and for good reason, it definitely gives NYC a run for its money when it comes to being the most expensive city in the world. While London is an expensive destination, it is home to world class museums, historical sites, theater, and more recently, world class cuisine of every kind. We spent 7 lovely days wandering around the unique city, and while we thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas markets along the river, the extensive Christmas decorations, the charming pop-up ice rinks and the massive fireworks display on New Years, we must warn you that this city is a mad house during the holidays. Lines for attractions will be five times as long and prices for accommodation, as we learned the hard way, will quadruple. London has been one of our most expensive destinations thus far, but we still discovered a few simples ways to enjoy the city without completely breaking the bank.
1. Opt for Street Markets Over Restaurants/Pubs
There are several large markets in London, our favorite being Borough Market located near London Bridge. This market has both artisanal foods/crafts as well as fresh street food. They have everything you could ever want in the outdoor food stalls, ranging from Duck Confit and Raclette to Indian style dosas and Chinese dumplings. We indulged in the duck confit wrap (£8) a bowl of fresh paella (£7) and some homemade fudge (£3). There is also another great market near King Cross and during the holidays there is an amazing Christmas market on the south bank under the London eye with Street food, mulled (hot) wine and sweet treats.
2. Get Cultured at Museums
London has some of the best museums in the world, and guess what? Most of them are FREE! There is typically a “recommended donation” upon entry, but just give what you can. We enjoyed the National Gallery one morning, with classic works from Leonardo Da Vici, Monet, Picasso and many more and then skipped on over to the Tate in the afternoon for a taste of more modern art and film. The Natural History Museum was also beautifully curated with exhibits about the formation of the earth as well as an amazing timeline of human evolution, it is located next to the Science museum so you can hit both back to back (during the holidays this area is all lit up and has an ice skating rink to boot). The National portrait gallery is another one worth checking out if you have time!
3. Hop on The Tube
London’s underground rail system is highly efficient and there are stations near every major attraction. While the trips can add up if you are taking the rail often, it is very straightforward to navigate and generally costs between £1-£2.5 depending on how far you go. If you aren’t sure what the most efficient route to get to your destination, just plug it in to google maps, switch the means of transport from “car” to “rail” and it will tell you exactly which underground line to take and what stop to get on/off at.
4. Snag a Reduced Meal At M&S
These grocery stores are all over the place and to our delight, they had fresh pre made meal options like hummus and falafel bowls or spinach and tuna salads. We soon learned that around 6pm most of the fresh food gets reduced in price, so we enjoyed a healthy meal and drink for under £5 multiple times.
5. Make Your Drinks Count
No matter where you go, generally alcohol remains relatively expensive and it can quickly burn holes in your pockets if you are traveling for an extended period of time. We didn’t drink often, but when we did we made it count either at really unique places with a fun atmosphere or with good friends. One of our favorite drink and tapas experiences was in London at a wine bar called Gordon’s. At first we thought it was closed, but the entrance is around the side and you get to sip and munch in a candlelit wine cellar.
Singapore is an island city-state bordering Malaysia that has become a major travel hub of Southeast Asia. Gaining its independence from Britain not too long ago, Singapore has grown immensely over the past 30 years to the likes of other international cities like London and Dubai. They are in the works of expanding their airport to be the biggest in the world, but that’s not all Singapore impressed us with.
Singapore was not originally in our travel plans, but due to it having no some of the cheapest flights to Europe and being a short trip from where we were staying in Bali, we gladly snuck it into the que. We had heard good things about the city from fellow travelers, but what we experienced greatly exceeded our expectations.
While this city is much more expensive than the surrounding areas, it is still cheaper than most U.S. or European cities. It is possible to have an amazing experience in this city on any type of budget!
The first thing we noticed about Singapore was the ease of getting around. The systematic public transportation makes exploring simple and stress free. Upon arrival in Singapore, we breezed through the efficient immigration process and then followed signs for the underground train, called the “MRT” to take us into the city. You have the option of buying a regular MRT card that you can load with money and use at your discretion, or buy the tourist pass which allows for unlimited travel for S$10/day (even less if you buy multiple days). The great thing about these passes is that the same card works for both the train AND the public bus system. We paid S$5 for the card and loaded it with S$7 to get around, which lasted us three days (we did walk a decent amount as well though).
What To Do:
We asked a local couple who had been living in Singapore for 40 years what their favorite thing to do in the city was, and they responded “eat”. But besides the amazing food scene, there are plenty of things to keep you entertained between the more important business of finding you next meal. If you visit this city around the holidays, Orchard street is decorated with impressive lights and exhibits and is definitely worth strolling through. Other activities avaoilible year round include:
1. Art science Museum
This museum brings together both art and science/technology to expand your mind and give you a truly unique digital experience. We attended the Future exhibit which explored ideas of creation, the expanding galaxy and human-space interaction through a variety of mixed-media pieces and interactive shows. If there are multiple exhibits going on you can get a discounted ticket for the two, or pay S$19/exhibit (we still carry around our old student IDs and swing the discount when applicable, which saved us $5 each here).
2. Marina Bay
The Bay Area has fantastic views of the city along with water front dining and shopping. It is also home to the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the Gardens By The Bay attraction. While we did not do the full gardens by the Bay experience of the “cloud dome” oand “flower dome”, said to be some of the best enclosed gardens in the world, we did enjoy the light show that happens every night at 7:45pm under the “super trees”. You can pay (approximately $8) to go up into the Supertree walkway and there is also a bar in the tallest of the trees. Another amazing bar experience can be found 57 stories up on the rooftop of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, and even if you aren’t looking for a drink you can take in this amazing view of the city in their observation deck (around $23).
A relic of the rich and diverse culture in Singapore, Chinatown, where Chinese immigrants first settled in the city, is home to a large street market, plentiful food stalls, temples and my favorite, Dim Sum!
4. Singapore Zoo and Night Safari
While we are typically not too fond of zoos, this particular zoo is cage free and offers night safaris which heard from multiple sources is a great experience.
5. Tree Top Walk:
If you are looking for some nature or want a good hike, this option is for you. Just 15-20 minutes out of town is the MacRitchie nature park, which offers a variety of different length trails, along with one that leads to a suspension bridge over the treetops that is 7 stories high at its tallest point. Just watch out for the monkeys, one of them thought my pigtails were monkey tails and I narrowly escaped with my life…
Where To Eat:
1. Tim Ho Wan
Dim Sum street stand turned Michelin Star experience, now with over 6 locations in Singapore, should be any foodie’s top priority while in town. This restaurant, while not your typical fine dining experience, provided some of the best food we’ve yet to taste since we started traveling. Must tries include: the infamous BBQ pork buns (we had to order seconds), the spinach and shrimp dumplings and the sweet and sour pork dumplings.
2. Strangers Reunion
A hip coffee shop serving up artisanal brews and espresso drinks along with a variety of waffles, smoothie bowls, smashed avocado toast and an incredible beetroot and duck breast salad (that I had two days in a row).For my fellow coffee connoisseurs, their “Magic” latte is a must.
3. Kitchen, by Food Rebel
This was one of the top results when I searched “healthy food in Singapore”, and man was excited about their menu. They stand behind the message of local organic ingredients as well as grass fed/free range meat. With vegan and paleo options alike, I only wished there were more meals in the day so that I could try the lot. I was very happy with my chicken nourish bowl, which consisted of steamed pulled chicken, shredded red cabbage, carrots, cherry tomatoes, roasted pumpkin and other veggies, topped with hummus and tahini dressing.
4. Maxwells Hawker Center
You may be wondering what a “hawker center” is…well I am just now learning after researching it myself for this article that it is is an open air street food market, similar to a food court but with mom and pop recipes from a vast array of diverse cultures instead of the non-food stuffs that you typically find in ma lols I The U.S. Besides having traditional Singaporean food, there was Japanese, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian cuisine options. We indulged in homemade roti with different chutneys and sauces for dipping and robert tried the Maggie Goreng, a spicy fried noodle dish.
5. Tiong Bahru Hawker Center
This is another open air pavilion in the downtown area with rows upon rows of individually owned street food stalls. This time we opted for a large Dosa (thin crispy rice pancake) filled with spices potatoes and surrounded by dipping sauce options, which we paid $4.50 for.
Where To Stay:
There are options for any budget in this city; ranging from dorm or capsule style hostels starting at $13/night to world renown luxury hotels. We opted for the lower end, staying in a cheap hostel just outside China Town called the Happy Snail Hostel, which met all of our needs and had unlimited free PB and Nutella sandwiches. If you are looking for a unique luxury experience I would recommend staying at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which has the worlds largest rooftop infinity pool and bar/restaurants 57 stories up with arguably the most spectacular view of the city. For cheap hotel rooms I recommend the app Hotel Tonight, where all the hotel rooms that aren’t booked for the night get discounted by up to 75%.
Nusa Penida is the larger of the two “Nusa’s” off the coast of Bali and is said to resemble Bali 20 years ago. This island is a beautiful and remote place with a more laid back vibe; there are no cities, limited paved roads, no big resorts and definitely no Starbucks. But the remoteness gives Penida its unique character and makes being a tourist feel more special since each beach is not packed with hundreds of visitors piling out of tour buses.
There are fast boats leaving Sanur several times a day, which take approximately 35-40 minutes to Nusa Penida or Lembongan. To make things more simple we just booked a taxi to Sanur and a speed boat ticket all in one with a tour company in Ubud for 250K IDR ($20).
Renting a motorbike is most efficient and independent mode of transport and daily rental is around 75K IDR ($3.75), but the roads are not the best so I would recommend prior experience driving a bike before driving here.
A private taxi (the only kind), starts at 650K IDR ($48) per day. If you can fill the seats with six people the price isn’t too bad but don’t try to see everything in one day, it’s impossible. Take your time, see 1-2 sights per day, and brining plenty of water/ sunscreen.
What To Do:
This beach is home to the infamous “T-Rex” head shaped cliffs which tower over crystal clear waters and a secluded stretch of white sandy shores. The hike down to the water is a strenuous one, especially on a hot day (we forgot water and really struggled on the way back up) but it is definitely worth it. There are towering caves that provided a shady area to sit and enjoy a book and the water felt amazing after the long hike down. It took us about an hour to get to the beach parking lot via scooter from our bungalows near the harbor, the roads got a bit sketchy so if you are not comfortable on a scooter I would recommend hiring a driver for the trip.
A gorgeous overlook of the treacherous cliffs and the gorgeous archway that leads to “broken beach”. While you cannot swim here it is right next to Angel’s Billabong, a natural infinity pool which you can hop into at low tide. This spot is also a great spot for manta ray watching in “Manta-ray Bay” right below, we saw several swimming by Angles Billabong.
Snorkel with Manta Rays
Nusa Penida is known for its amazing snorkeling and scuba diving spots and you can easily book a tour anywhere on the island. The two main scuba diving companies are Blue Corner Dive and Octopus diving. We chose the cheaper option of snorkeling and went with a local guide for 225 IDR each ($20) to 4 different sites. We ended up coming face to face with several giant manta rays, some 4 foot long black tunas and plenty of beautifully colored smaller fish.
While we didn’t get to make it to this pristine secluded beach, it comes highly recommended by locals and everyone else we met on the island. It’s a long trek on a motor bike to get there, but you can make a day out of it and get a free lounge chair with a food or drink purchase.
Where To Eat:
A beach side cafe offering up local and healthy options along with traditional Indonesia fare. We enjoyed the king prawn, quinoa salad and vegetable curry. They also have a 2 of 1 happy hour cocktail special starting at 4pm!
This coffee shop not only had amazing coconut milk lattes but also surprised us with some of the best smoothie bowls we’ve had thus far. We were big fans of the dragon bowl and the peanut butter bowl, but they also offered cheap breakfast plates with eggs, bacon and toast!
Where We Stayed:
We opted for the most affordable option we could find on Booking.com, which turned out to be a shabby chic bungalow compound called Full Moon Bungalows. While there was limited lighting inside the bungalows and a minor ant infestation, the experience as a whole was good especially for $10/night each (split 3 ways). These bungalows were in a great location, right next to the beach and several cafes. If you are looking for a truly unique experience I would recommend renting one of the beach tree houses at Atuh beach via Airbnb or booking.com for one of the most Instagramable views in the world (as you can see below in the picture I found on the Explore Bali page).
The podcast world is gaining ground and we definitely aren’t complaining. For us, podcasts are the perfect mix of entertainment, education and convenience during a commute to work, long flight or walk home from dinner. With so many new podcasts popping up, there is something for everyone. We tend to lean towards the health/wellness and personal development topics, but Robert also loves entrepreneurial podcasts as well. We compiled our top choices that we have deemed worth your time.
The Time Ferriss Show
Robert and I both agree that this is one of the best podcasts out there. Tim Ferriss has written 4 New York Times best sellers on how to maximize productivity in a wide range of areas. On his podcast, he focuses on long form interviews where he dissects the tactics and tendencies of the top performers from the fitness, nutrition, tech, business and other worlds. But his guests aren’t the only thing that will keep you coming back for more. Tim is a super laid back and entertaining guy that makes a 1-2 hour car or plane ride fly by.
The Joe Rogan Experience
Joe Rogan is hands down the most entertaining interviewer I’ve found yet and has no filter. He has interesting conversations with a wide range of people, from comedians to nutritionists. This podcast truly has it all and it will have you laughing out loud multiple times throughout an episode.
His interview with Kelly Brogan, a holistic nutritionist and psychiatrist is a good place to start!
The Mindbodygreen Podcast
Mindbodygreen.com is my favorite site for the newest and most interesting articles about health and wellness, and the podcast makes it even easier to learn while I am driving or getting ready in the morning. This show is hosted by the founder and CEO himself, Jason Wachob, who interviews all the latest and greatest researchers and entrepreneurs from the wellness realm, like the founder of the Whole30 Melissa Hartwig and professional rock climbing photographer Jimmy Chin.
Check out his interview with Melissa Hartwig about overcoming drug addiction to become a health guru.
Ben Greenfield Fitness
An expert in the exercise science/biomechanics realm, Ben Greenfield is a professional strength and conditioning coach who brings you all information you need to know about training and nutrition in plain English, so you won’t have to hit pause and pull up Google every other minute. Learn how to optimize your training and get the secret health habits from many of the top athletes and nutrition experts (from Iron Man champions and football players, to best selling authors and researchers).
The interview with Thomas DeLauer about quelling inflammation is one of my favorites.
A health/wellness podcast centered around the theme of “bio-hacking”; finding ways via diet, exercise and technology to improve your biochemistry and live until you’re 180. Host, Dave Asprey, the author of The Bulletproof Diet and Headstrong, interviews the top doctors, psychologists, researchers and biochemists of our time. You will learn actionable information to start improving your health right away!
Must Listen: #376 Vegetable Oil – The Silent Killer W/ Dr. Cate Shanahan. I can’t stress enough how important the information covered in this episode is.
Soul On Fire
Known as @TheBalancedBlonde on Instagram, Jordan Younger is the author of Breaking Vegan and is a totally upfront and down to earth about her personal experiences with food, spirituality, yoga and much more. She interviews foodies, yogis and entrepreneurs alike, always bringing interesting content along with her sweet and spunky personality.
Must listen: Ep. 3 Sophie Jaffe, Ep. 5 Kelly Leveque, Ep. 14 Kelly Leveque and Wes Okerson
Hosted by Daniel Vitalis, this podcast is all about getting back to our ancestral roots. This podcast covers everything from foraging for wild food/game to the discussion on relationships. This podcast will definitely help you reconnect with your instincts and live a more natural life in our crazy modern world.
His episode about why he doesn’t eat a vegan diet is very eye opening.
Short Story Long
Easily my favorite podcast these days, Short Story Long aims to fill in the gaps that are often left out of the short summaries we hear about entrepreneurs’ success stories, hence the name. If you were a fan of Rob & Big or Fantasy Factory, you’ll appreciate that it’s hosted by Chris Pfaff, better known as Drama. In my opinion, this is actually what makes the show so great. Because he was successful as both a tv personality and an entrepreneur, the circle of influence that he can attract is very different than the typical podcast host. Drama is also a little younger than most of the hosts that I listen to, so his guests tend to be a little easier to relate to as opposed to just people to absorb knowledge from. He also just seems like a guy I wouldn’t mind kicking it with and that goes a surprisingly long way if you’re listening to someone talk for an hour or so on a semi-regular basis.
I recommend listening to one of his early episodes with Rob Dyrdek and then checking out one of his newer episodes with the guys who started MVMT to see the show’s progression over the past year.
Bigger Pockets Podcast
I wouldn’t recommend this podcast for everyone, but if you’re into real estate investing or at least like the idea of it, this is a great option for you. The hosts are a bit quirky, but they know their stuff and more importantly, they know how to translate what they know into information that you can actually understand, even if you don’t know the first thing about real estate. Like Tim Ferriss, they’ve been doing the whole podcast thing for a little while now so they’re pretty structured in terms of how each episode is executed.
Since there are so many different real estate topics, I’d listen to at least 4 or 5 episodes before you let yourself form an opinion (kind of like watching Game of Thrones, it may take awhile to get into it). This is a good one to start with since it shows you how attainable real estate investing can be.
Robert’s Honorable Mentions
These 3 shows (Tim Ferriss included) are the only ones that I listen to in a fairly regular basis. Maybe I’m a little too picky when it comes to podcasts, but there are a few others that I’ll mix in from time to time that are also worth checking out.
How I Built This
This podcast is produced by NPR, which has its pros and cons. The pros? It’s really well produced and they can easily get some of the top entrepreneurs on the show. The cons? It’s way to short. I’m assuming it’s because NPR needs it to fit into a certain radio time slot, but most of the episodes seem to range from 25 – 35 minutes of actual content when they could easily use another 15 – 30 minutes to really dive into some of the guests details. In many ways it feels like listening to the Cliff Note version of a podcast, which I guess can be good or bad depending on your perspective.
One of the episodes I recently enjoyed was with the founder of TOMS Shoes, Blake Mycoskie.
School of Greatness
I almost didn’t put this one on the list, but decided it was worth a mention since so many other people seem to find a lot of value in it. School of Greatness is run by Lewis Howes and is all about finding out how the people who have achieved “greatness” were able to do it. I’m a huge fan of the guests that are interviewed on the show and the knowledge and experience they bring to the podcast. But, and this is a very big but, I cringe at Mr. Howes interviewing style. He almost always seems to find a way to interrupt his guests to talk about an experience in his life and he repeats a lot of his own personal anecdotes over the course of a few episodes. Maybe I’m being a bit too critical, but he also just tends to try a little too hard, sort of like the new guy in the room that wants to be friends with everyone immediately. I think he’d have an incredible podcast if he would just dial it back a bit and not worry about trying to prove how great he is to his listeners.
Give this episode with the author of Eat, Pray Love and Big Magic a listen to see what you think for yourself.
The Art of Charm
The Art of Charm is a personal development (although they’d hate to hear that description) podcast hosted by Jordan Harbinger and aims to help guys develop the skills and knowledge necessary to be not only charming, but also skilled and successful in whatever field you’re in. A bit vague but they do a good job of incorporating a lot of different topics and types of guests on the show. The show is very direct and does a great job of delivering quality information while keeping the episodes succinct. My only hesitations with the show are the delivery and general attitude of the host (a bit ironic for a podcast titled “The Art of Charm”). Some of the episodes sound a lot like the questions and answers were recorded separately from each other as opposed to a continuous conversation and Jordan is a bit too cynical about the notions of personal development, life coaches and self help. I understand why he’s brutally honest and realistic when it comes to setting goals with yourself, but he tends to beat a dead horse with his reservations about the self help industry stereotypes.
1. Replace Canola Oil and “Vegetable Oil”
These inflammatory oils are used in restaurants and can be found in most store bought salad dressings, baked goods, chips and crackers. Replace these toxic choices with coconut oil, avocado oil, and extra virgin olive oil, or cook with water for a no calorie option! Avoid canola, soybean and other hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Salad Dressing Tip: for a healthier salad dressing combine 2 parts balsamic vinegar with 1 part hummus or just use olive oil, balsamic and salt and pepper! Primal Kitchen also makes great salad dressings with an avocado oil base.
2. Go To Bed At The Same Time Each Night
Getting enough sleep is crucial to overall well being, not only will you have more energy and less stress on more hours of sleep, but you will also have less toxic buildup that leads to degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. If you have an iPhone, use the ‘Bedtime’ functionality in the Clock app to set a bedtime reminder. If you have another smartphone, just set a daily alarm for thirty minutes before you need to get to sleep. Set your reminder so that you get to bed at least 7 ½ hours before you have to wake up the next day.
Restful Sleep Tips: set your iPhone to automatically turn on ‘Night Shift’ mode after 7pm, and try having chamomile tea or a melatonin supplement before bed.
3. Try HIIT Training
Recent studies show that when it comes to working out, intensity is more important than frequency. Try changing from the long, slow, boring workouts to shorter bursts of high intensity intervals with rest days in-between to properly recover! This type of exercise gives your metabolism a jump-start without causing stress (inflammation) in the body. This may be the simplest metabolism-boosting switch that you can make!
HIIT Tip: High intensity interval workouts are alternating short periods of intense exercise with recovery periods. Start with 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest and repeat 5 times. Intervals can be done with running, biking, swimming, and body weight or resistance training exercises like jump squats, mountain climbers, burpees, or pushups!
4. Replace Vital Nutrients and Electrolytes
Alcohol and stress, two things that have become prevalent in our everyday lives, can literally suck nutrients out of you. The average individual is deficient in magnesium and vitamin D and typically a host of other important micronutrients. Start supplementing with magnesium, vitamin D,omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and B-vitamins. In our high-stress, vice filled lives, we need to give our bodies all the support we can.
Hangover Tip: take an Airborne tablet on a night you know you will be consuming alcohol or replace nutrients the next day with whole grains, citrus fruit, and nuts/seeds or try my all time favorite hangover cure: a half an avocado with lemon, salt and pepper! Also try Natural Vitality’s CALMs magnesium drink before bed to relax and replenish electrolytes.
5. Up Your Antioxidants
Fight inflammation and aging with simple adding green tea/matcha or turmeric to your daily diet. Green tea is one of the most potent sources of antioxidants, helping to fight inflammation in the body, clear up skin, speed up metabolism and even decrease signs of aging in the long run.
Tea Tip: Try a creamy Matcha (green tea powder) latte in the morning with coconut milk for a boost of energy and healthy fats/MCTs.
6. Meditate 5 Minutes A Day
Meditation reduces stress, improves memory and can help you reset to focusing on what’s really important each day. There’s no magic number when it comes to how long everyone should meditate for, so start playing around with it to see what duration works best for you. It may be 2 minutes, it may be 20.
Meditation Tip: Try meditation apps like Headspace or Calm for guided beginner meditations.
7. Drink Enough Water
Not getting enough water can lead to bloating and fatigue. Divide your body weight by 2.2 and aim to drink that many ounces of water each day.
Water Tip: Add a slice of citrus fruit like lemon or lime to increase your vitamin C intake. You can even just add a few drops of lemon or lime juice to your glass. I also love sparkling mineral water with fruit!
8. Eat MORE Fat
Healthy fats from avocado, coconut oil, nuts and seeds can actually speed up your metabolism, increase satiety and reduce inflammation and your risk of cardiovascular disease!
Healthy Fats Tips: Drizzle olive oil over salads, eat all the guacamole, nuts butter by the spoonful and pasture raises meats!
9. Clean Up Your Gut
Simply by feeding the good bacteria what they want and need will help starve off the bad ones that feed on sugar and enhance our food cravings. Aim for one serving of fermented food (kombucha drink; Kavita drink; tempe, and miso broth; sauerkraut and probiotic supplements) per day and at least one serving of prebiotic foods each day (avocado, banana, sprouted grains, raw garlic, onions, red cabbage, raw asparagus, jicama, soybeans or apple cider vinegar).
Gut Health Tip: Add raw garlic and chopped red onion to guacamole to get three prebiotic foods in one!
10. Reduce Toxin Intake
Our modern environment is highly toxic, from the air we breath to the beauty products in our bathrooms and these toxins can build up in our liver over time. Some simple switches can make a big difference in toxin intake; microwaving foods in glass instead of plastic, buying organic produce (especially those on the dirty dozen list) and check beauty products for toxic ingredients using the app “Think Dirty”.
Toxin Tip: invest in a set of microwave safe glass or ceramics and look for the “BPA” free label on canned goods.
The other night, Shelby and I decided we were long overdue for some fine dining. Don’t get me wrong, the $4 pad thais usually do the trick, but after 3 months of traveling, there comes a time where you just really need to treat yourself. Although we’d splurged on a few nice dinners with friends and family in Japan and Hawaii, we’d yet to have a romantic dinner to ourselves since we left home. So after finishing up the day’s adventure, we hopped on our scooter and headed down to Jimbaran for a much needed date night at Opia.
To say our expectations were met would be an understatement. As soon as we walked in the front door we were greeted with our choice cocktails and mocktails . We were then led down a gorgeous corridor where we caught our first glimpse of an impeccable zen water garden. The floors and walls were all a pristine white and a matching runway split the water to a panoramic chapel overlooking a small crater and Jimbaran Beach.
The entire restaurant was basically a cliffside luxury retreat. Similar to Bali’s rice paddies, it was terraced off into different sections. There were 2 different patio sections, a covered dining area, a few bars, an outdoor eating section, a green area, an indoor dining space and 2 separate cabana areas, one with a swing for good measure. Each space came equipped with sprawling views of the surrounding hillsides. It was easy to see why it’s a popular destination wedding venue.
After finishing up the grand tour, we ordered our first round of drinks and appetizers; the Jon Snow cocktail and the Beef Rendang are absolute must tries. For the entrees, we went with the Dirty French Duck and the Black Pasta & Crab. The black pasta was perfectly smothered in a parmesan and mixed seafood pesto and had an actual crab on the side. This was honestly one of the best dishes I’ve ever had, let alone since we left home 3 months ago.
For dessert, we opted for a final round of drinks (tequila was involved this time), a decadent chocolate concoction and a no bake mango cheesecake that came layered in a clear glass. Unlike Shelby, I’m not a huge chocolate fiend, but I thought the cheesecake tasted even better than it was presented, which is saying quite a lot. Once we wrapped up dessert there was nothing left to do but sit back and enjoy the live music.
Maybe it’s because we don’t treat ourselves very often while we’re traveling, but our dinner at Opia is certainly one we’ll never forget. The food was incredible and the setting was better than anything we could have imagined on our own. Regardless of if you’re staying in Jimbaran, Ubud, Seminyak, Canggu or Amed, I can’t stress enough how much I’d recommend making the trip to Opia for a date night while you’re in Bali. If you do go, take my word for it and order the Beef Rendang, Black Pasta & Crab and No Bake Mango Cheesecake. You won’t be disappointed.
As you may have guessed from the title, we had ourselves a day today! For starters, I woke up to day 2 of what I can only assume to be Bali Belly. If you’ve had it before then you know the drill. For those that don’t, I basically spent the better part of my day rushing in and out of bathrooms and the first thing I felt like doing after getting out of bed was taking a nap. Not ideal to say the least.
Luckily I was only really bed ridden until lunchtime and still had plenty of time to enjoy my day in the afternoon. After finishing the brunch Shelby had brought back from town, we both decided to do a little yoga in front of our villa. Feeling a bit ambitious, Shelby decided to finish with some handstand practice and asked me to spot her. After a few sets it was my turn to give it a go and Shelby’s turn to spot me. If round 1 went according to plan, round 2 was a disaster. I didn’t quite catch myself when I kicked up for my second set and as a result, my legs began to over rotate. Once I felt myself falling, I bailed from the handstand to avoid crashing down onto my back.
Realizing I was falling, Shelby stepped into the line of fire to try to catch my legs. Unfortunately, the only thing she caught was my foot to her face. She immediately dropped down to the ground and covered her nose with her hands. A quick check revealed that her nose wasn’t broken, but was still a bit bloody and tender to the touch. Shelby’s taken the liberty of blaming this one on me, saying that I kicked her as I was falling; however, I’d like to point out that the job of the spotter is to prevent one from falling in the first place. Either way, we were off to a good start for the day.
But after a few hours of editing photos and taking a few more at this incredible eco lodge, we’d all but forgotten about the rocky morning and decided to head into town for a little acro yoga. Now I know where your mind might be heading, but don’t worry, acro was actually smooth sailing. And afterwards we went to grab dinner and finish up some work before heading home. This is where the real fun started.
Before I go any further, I’d like to point out that Bali has its fair share of questionable roads. Some of them are super bumpy with potholes, others have blind corners without much wiggle room along the way and some tend to abruptly drop off into streams or rice paddies. In our case, the road back to our new place has all of these lovely features.
Since we were driving back in the dark, I decided to proceed extra cautiously along the dicey road. So much so that I actually lost my balance while driving the scooter and we tipped over into the rice paddy below us (I know this may sound counterintuitive but it’s actually harder to control scooters if you’re going too slow).
Fortunately, our 3 or 4 foot drop was heavily cushioned by the soft mud and neither one of us were hurt. Unfortunately, this same mud made picking the scooter up and getting it back up to the road that much more challenging. Not to mention, we were now both covered in mud. After about 15 – 20 minutes of fumbling around with various combinations of pushing and pulling, we finally managed to lift the scooter back up over the ledge and onto the road. Not going to lie, I felt pretty ridiculous during all of this and an F Bomb was dropped fairly early on.
As frustrating as this ending to our day was, we 100% needed it to happen. Dinner had brought about one of those pointless states of mutual agitation that happen every so often and something this absurd was the perfect way for us both to snap out of it. Almost immediately after we’d pulled the bike out of the mud, we both began laughing at the situation. I mean what else can you really do after something like that happens? Especially on top of the morning we’d already had.
This perfect ending to a not so perfect day was a beautiful reminder not to take everything so seriously. Even when we go on vacation, we sometimes get caught up in focusing too much energy on things that won’t really matter in the grand scheme of it all. But if you’re willing to look at these temporary setbacks as opportunities to reset your frame of mind, it can help you truly enjoy each day that much more.
Fasting, especially “intermittent fasting”, has recently become somewhat of a trendy thing to do in the nutrition realm, but fasting is nothing new. Going prolonged periods of time without food has always been a large part of the human experience and has played a role in our evolution; whether it’s fasting during the typical overnight period, during more extended periods of food scarcity, or for religious/cultural reasons.
What is new is that we are starting to realize we can take advantage of different forms of fasting and use it like a tool to further our health and wellness. We now have clinical data indicating that fasting and or intermittent fasting helps to regulate blood glucose levels/insulin sensitivity, control blood lipids, manage body weight, decrease inflammation and improve cognitive functioning. Basically, it’s the wonder drug that literally requires doing nothing and spending no money.
You may be wondering how this is possible, well, let me explain what happens in your body during a fast.
While fasting affects everyone differently, the same essential processes are happening within the body during a time of caloric restriction. Firstly I’d like to point out that when it comes to fuel and energy, the body is constantly using both fat and carbohydrates simultaneous, it just may be burning predominantly one or the other depending on what you are doing. During a fast, your body will first burn through its stores of carbohydrates in the blood stream and then the stored muscle glycogen, then it will slowly shift to burning predominantly stored fats in the form of ketones. This energy utilization shift is one of the main reasons for the numerous health benefits of fasting, it is often referred to as being in a state of “ketosis”. You may have heard of the “keto” diet, this diet essentially aims to simulate the effects of fasting while still getting calories (since most of your calories are coming from fat sources on this diet).
But ok, why do we want to be in Ketosis? You ask…
There are several reasons, as seen below, but the main being that ketones burn more efficiently and more cleanly as a fuel source for our bodies. Think about carbohydrates as fossil fuel, they produce a lot of energy and they’re cheap, but they can do some damage in the long run to the environment (aka our bodies). Now, if carbohydrates are fossil fuels, ketones are the clean energy sources like wind or solar, they might take more effort to get but they don’t producing pollution. Now, when I say “pollution” in this case I’m referring to the production of free radicals when we burn energy in the body, these pests are responsible for chronic inflammation which can show itself in many ways in the body, a few most common ways being: arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, Crohn’s disease, cancer and Parkinson’s.
So maybe now you can see why reducing the production of inflammation may be good for us, and this bring us to the other health benefits of fasting that ultimately result from reduced inflammation.
Health Benefits of Fasting:
- Neuroprotective: fasting has shown to increase the production of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which activates brain stem cells to repair old brain cold and create new ones! This can greatly slow and even prevent Alzheimer’s.
- Boosts Metabolism: short-term fasting actually increases your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%, helping you burn even more calories through the day.
- Improves Mitochondrial Function: the energy production centers of our cells become more efficient, which increases energy levels and prevents chronic fatigue.
- Normalizes Insulin Sensitivity: helps us to better regulate blood-glucose levels, which is especially important for those with diabetes or prediabetes.
- Promotes Longevity: gives the body a chance to repair and clean up damaged proteins via autophagy and has also been shown to increase telomere length (so cells will actually live longer).
- Resets Hunger Hormones: decreases hunger hormone ghrelin, so that we can get back in touch with what it really feels like to be hungry/full and listen to our bodies instead of eating out of habit.
- Releases Toxins and Clears Skin: fasting can give the digestive system a rest and thus the body can focus on regenerative processes like clearing toxins from the organs and skin.
Ok so how long do I have to fast to benefit?
These health benefits can been seen in as little as 12-16 hours (most often the time frame utilized by intermittent fasting) but for the best results at least 24 hours is recommended. Prolonged fasting longer than 24 hours shouldn’t be done unless you are experienced with fasting or are under the supervision of a health professional.
Intermittent: fast from 7pm to 11am-12pm the next day OR if you like sting in the mornings Fast from 4pm to 8am the next day
24 Hour: Fast from 5:30pm to the same time the next day breaking your fast with dinner, or from 12:30pm-12:30pm the next day, breaking you fast with lunch.
I have experimented with intermittent fasting and tools like “bulletproof lattes” that keep you in mild ketosis but keep you satiated, but I had never performed an internationally prolonged fast even though I’d read over and over again about the health benefits of doing so. I decided it was time to give it a try and recorded my experience with it. I also decided to include zero calorie drinks like green tea and black coffee on my first fast because they not only act as hunger suppressants but they can also increase the rate at which you attain ketosis (burning body fat for fuel).
My 24 Hour Fast Recap:
8:00pm previous day: last meal
7:00am: wake up, 12 oz of water
8:00am: slow jog followed by a dip in the pool which also turned my hair green, good way to start the day (I’d recommend light exercise like long walks, jogs, yoga or swimming while fasting instead of high intensity training)
9:00am: post jog, 12oz of water
12:00pm: 8oz matcha green tea with just water for antioxidants and hunger suppression
1:30pm: feeling a little tired, 8oz of water
2:30pm: I caved, 8oz black coffee for a pick me up
3:30pm: 8oz of water
5:30pm: feeling a bit light headed when I stand up quickly
6:30pm: the hunger is starting to set it, so I distracted myself with some John Oliver and more water
8:00pm: I could eat my weight in nachos right now…
8:30pm: it has finally technically been 24 hours now but I feel like it’s a bit too late to eat, it may disrupt my digestion at this point (poorly planned out) so I’m gonna try to make it until the morning
12:00pm: woke up ravenous, ate 3 pieces of emergency dark chocolate I keep in my bedside table (shhh)
+1 8:00am: bulletproof Matcha, actually not even that hungry! Whattt
+1 9:00am: first meal in 36 hours at my favorite Ubud Cafe called Mudra, I got a black bean Rosti with poached eggs and a green juice.
Overall this was a great experience, it really helped me see food as fuel rather than entertainment and how I should be using it as nourishment for my body instead of emotional gratification. Once you get in the mindset that you aren’t eating for a full day, it’s not that hard to go without, our ancestors had to do it all the time. This was also a good practice of self control and “mind over matter”, my recommendation for first timers would be to try a 12-16 hour fast first and work your way up, preferable on a day where you don’t have to do too much. I like fasting from 7pm the night before to 11am or 12pm the next day.
As of today, Shelby and I have been traveling together for 3 months and 4 days. While we’d traveled a decent amount before this, both together and separately, this is the longest either of us have ever traveled. And since a majority of our relationship has been long distance, this is by far the most amount of time we’ve continuously spent together in such close proximity. But even if you aren’t accustomed to a long distance arrangement, or you’ve been with someone for 5, 10 or 50 years, there are a number of things that extended travel with a partner, even if it’s just with a friend, will require.
Aside from the obvious packing skills, the portable chargers, the overstuffed backpacks, the camera gear and the constantly referenced abilities to compromise or go with the flow, theres 1 thing in particular that jumps out at me as to why the past 3 months have worked (and occasionally not worked) so well.
P a t i e n c e.
That’s right, patience. Not the latest travel hack or the sleek, new gadgets and gizmos. It’s that little virtue your grandmother probably told you about when you were 4 years old and couldn’t wait for the cookies to finish baking (or in my case, her special meatballs and red sauce). Sure, the devices are pretty useful and can make traveling a lot simpler and much more enjoyable, but at some point they won’t work quite how you expect them to. Having patience in those moments can save you a lot of headaches. This is even true if you’re just in a relationship, or just traveling alone. But if you’re like me and you’re traveling with someone else for 4 or 5 months, it’s practically impossible to do without patience. Let me show you what I mean.
As you’re well aware by now, Shelby and I take and post a lot of travel photos. Being the photographer and videographer in the relationship, I’m typically the one behind the camera. This could mean taking pictures or shooting video, but it also means framing shots that I’ll be in front of the lens for. That’s where Shelby comes in. She’ll be the first one to tell you that she’s not a photographer, but she still ends up taking a lot of awesome photos and video for us.
So how does she do this without having much training with a camera? Patience. Not only on her end, but also from myself. When I have a specific image in my head that I’m a part of, it often involves taking a few test shots and showing Shelby how to reproduce a similar one with all the right lighting and other settings that go into it. For someone that isn’t as interested in cameras as I am, this can become a fairly underwhelming process. For someone that is as comfortable with a camera as I am, I can feel like a broken record at times. But what I’ve noticed is that when Shelby’s patient enough to listen to the instructions I’m giving and I’m patient enough to effectively communicate all of the steps that are necessary, the entire process is much smoother and we end up having fun with it.
Need another example? Maybe one that applies to the people that don’t really care about pictures and just want to travel and enjoy the world with their significant others? Don’t worry they definitely need patience too.
Yesterday morning Shelby and I went to a cafe in Ubud called Mudra (quickly becoming a new favorite; we’ll have another post about it soon enough). The plan was to have a banging breakfast and finish up some work while I learned how to make a cinemagraph. Wasn’t supposed to take more than an hour or so and then we were going to enjoy the nice weather before working out with a friend in the afternoon. Fast forward 6 hours later and we’d eaten 2 meals there and Shelby had finished a blog post and listened to a podcast while I’d stumbled through a slew of software errors and tutorials so that I could produce 1 measly cinemagraph.
If Shelby had been upset or annoyed with me for taking so long on such a beautiful day, I would have had absolutely no excuse. But she wasn’t. She was actually quite the opposite. Even when she’d run out of things to do at the table, Shelby was still patient with me because she knew that learning this skill was important to me.
The result? On top of finally learning how to make cinemagraphs well enough that I was able to make another one in less than 10 minutes this morning, we ended up eating one of the best curries either of us have ever tried. If Shelby hadn’t have been patient with me while I was being patient with the learning process, we wouldn’t have stuck around for lunch and we probably wouldn’t have ever tried the curry that we enjoyed so much.
So that’s really it. That’s our big secret. Just be patient with whoever you’re traveling with and whatever situations are presented to you. I know it’s not always our first instinct, and it’s easy enough to slip up at times, but the more you can practice being patient while you’re traveling with someone else, the more you can both focus on enjoying all of the amazing things you get to experience together, instead of pulling each others hair out.