Banishing Post-Lunch Bloat & Regret (+ 6 Tips for a Better Lunch)

Lunch Regret

Have you ever eaten lunch and immediately regretted it? Maybe you felt bloated, lethargic, or just plain bad afterward. Or your pants felt too tight or your skin a little greasy? If so, you are not alone. I call sufferers of this phenomenon victims of Lunch Regret Syndrome (LRS).

Instead of focusing on the negative, let’s focus on how you want tofeel after lunch. In a perfect world, you would feel nourished, invigorated, and refreshed. Ready for action and mentally clear.

And it’s possible. There are filling lunches that also leave you flourishing.

You can have your lunch and eat it too.

To help you, I’m sharing tricks to help you have a better lunch. If this is right up your alley, you have one of my oldest friends to thank. This post was her special request. And because she has two adorable kiddos, a special bonus section on lunches for little ones follows.

A Word to the Wise

Do yourself a favor and just pack lunch the night before. It’s tempting to think you’ll have time in the morning, but if you are like me, it won’t happen. Trust me on this one. And use those extra minutes in the morning to meditate.

Adult Lunch Tricks

1. Pack leftovers from the night before.

Obvi, but this is what I do 90% of the time. I cook something delicious and nutritious for dinner (tonight is mushroom fajitas) and immediately pack leftovers for lunch the next day. Add a side salad and a piece of fruit, and you’re set!

2. Make a smoothie.

If I know I’ll be on the go during lunch hours or seeing patients without a break, smoothies are my go to. Fill them with spinach, fruit, flaxseed, and nuts and you’ll be satisfied for hours.

3. Wrap it.

With collard greens, that is. Instead of a sandwich on white bread, fix a sandwich in a raw collard green. Collards (the new kale) are mild in flavor and high in nutrients. My current fave is hummus, spinach, Greek olives, and red peppers wrapped in collards.

4. Be a salad chef.

I’m not talking about wilted iceberg lettuce and some weird dressing from a bottle. Picture colorful greens, black beans, ripe avocado slices, diced fresh tomatoes and cucumber, homemade tortilla chip crumbles, cilantro garnish, all topped with a creamy and delicious dressing. This salad should be satisfying, filling, and packed with flavor. Add a side of fruit and a sparkling water, and you’re set up for lunchtime success. TRICK: bring your dressing in a separate container (a small mason jar works great) or place on the bottom on your container to prevent the dreaded mushy salad.

5. Add dark chocolate.

Okay, this should not be your entire lunch so hear me out. If you like to finish off with something sweet (and I know many people do), consider a square of natural dark chocolate. The less sugar, the better. My personal pick is Theo dark chocolate, which is made in Seattle, but can be found at retailers across the country. Whole Foods and REI carry Theo chocolate from coast to coast. You can always order online from Theo direct or from third-parties such as Vitacost (on sale right now and save an extra $10 off your purchase using this link).

6. Finish with a tisane or tea.

Mint is a natural stomach soother and has other wonderful health benefits. This is why many restaurants offer after dinner mints. Finish your lunch with a refreshing warm drink. When I can, I infuse hot water with fresh mint leaves from my garden. In a pinch or when I’m on the go, I use herbal mint tea (Tazo Refresh is my usual).

BONUS: IDEAS FOR KIDDOS

Personally, I’m excited to dive into leftovers for lunch. But as a child (and really until I started cooking for myself), I detested leftovers. The good ol’ packing leftovers trick may not work for the kiddos so I’m giving you a few ideas to help make their lunches better.

Drinks

Water, water, water. If your kids beg for juice, please make sure it is 100% fruit juice. I shudder remembering the Sunny D I used to drink during soccer game half-time (corn syrup is the second ingredient and I’m still not sure why canola oil would need to be added to “juice”).

Fruits and Veggies

Make fruit and vegetables approachable. Would you ever send your kiddo to school with a raw chicken breast in their lunchbox? Probably not. So why would you send them with unprepped fruits and veggies?

Cut and core apples and add a side (nut butter with a little honey is a good option or make it dessert with a chocolate dip). Try kale chips. Serve chopped veggies with hummus or another tasty dip. Use a vegetable peeler and make carrot peels. Dust your spiralizer off and make veggie curls. Have fun and be creative here.

Sandwich Hacks

If your little eaters are sandwich lovers, there are still ways to improve the quality of their lunches.

  • Try bread alternatives (see collard idea above).
  • Use whole grain bread exclusively. This is an area where food marketing really tries to trick you. Look at the ingredient list and make sure the word “whole” precedes the grain in each ingredient. Remember, multi-grain does not necessarily mean whole grain.
  • Switch up the type of bread you use. It can be easy to buy the same bread each week, but there are a plethora of options out there. Experiment with brown rice bread, pumpernickel, rye, sourdough, and raisin bread.
  • Try a nut butter and fresh fruit sandwich. Think peanut butter and banana, almond butter and strawberry, or cashew butter and blueberry. If your little ones really want sweet, drizzle a little sweetener (like Grade B maple syrup or honey) on top.
  • Sneak veggies into other sandwiches. Lettuce, tomato, raw spinach, sprouts, avocado, and red peppers can often complement sandwich ingredients.

Sweet Tooth

If something sweet is desired, think outside the (store bought cookie) box. Most kids love a good smoothie — try packing one full of fruit or try a chocolate smoothie. Be a cookie chef and try an uber healthy recipe. I’m a bonafide cookie lover and have a cadre of wellness supporting recipes in rotation.

Get Ready to Feel Better in the Afternoon

Now that you have a few tricks up your sleeve, pick one or two and give it a try tomorrow. Or the next time you need to pack a lunch. Don’t stress if every trick doesn’t work for you. See what works and stick with it, and discard what doesn’t.

Here’s to a better way to lunch. Do you have a great lunch hack that I missed? I’d love to hear about it.

 

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A Better Way to a Healthy Glow from the Inside Out + Glow Getter Smoothie Recipe

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting my friend (who is a talented esthetician). Our conversations always veer toward wellness and she told me the question most of her clients ask is, “How do I get my skin to glow?”

I was amazed because many of my patients and friends ask me the SAME thing.

Even though her work focuses on esthetics and my work focuses on wellness, we both had the same answer. A healthy glow starts from the INSIDE.

The reality is glowing skin is a sign of wellness. Of good health. And to get it, you need to invest in your wellness and health.

So here are four tips to glow, from the inside to the outside. Be sure to check out Tip 4, which includes my Glow Getter smoothie recipe. And my bonus tip includes my favorite products to help you glow from the outside.

1. Sweat. Every day.

A major component to glowing skin is circulation. Increasing blood flow nourishes skin cells and carries away waste products. It’s like cleaning your skin from the inside out.

The best way to increase your circulation is to sweat. Move your body. Run, walk, bike, hike. You can go to a class or do yoga. Do whatever it is you enjoy that makes you break a sweat.

Another great way to amp up your circulation is by using a sauna. Dry, wet, hot, or infrared. Any will do for this purpose. Plus saunas decrease stress (see Tip 3).

2. Sleep well.

You may be thinking, “Duh. Tell me something I don’t know.”

Except take a moment to evaluate your sleep. How much are you sleeping? What is the quality of your sleep? How do you feel when you wake up in the morning?

If you answered not enough, poor, or tired, you are not sleeping well.

Why does sleep matter? Collagen and hyaluronic acid are two natural skin glowing compounds in your body. Too little quality sleep leads to inflammation, which diminishes your natural collagen and hyaluronic acid.

If you are not sleeping well, try to get better sleep starting tonight. This could be as simple as forgoing your evening Netflix and going to bed an hour earlier. Or doing a bedtime meditation to help you better ease into restful sleep.

3. Stress less.

NEWS FLASH: How you feel inside impacts how you look outside.

In fact, there is an emerging field called psychodermatology that addresses the impact of emotions (including stress) as it relates to the skin.

When you experience stress, your body responds by releasing stress hormones (like cortisol). Cortisol negatively impacts circulation to the skin. And remember from Tip 1, we need circulation to nourish our skin cells and remove waste products.

How do you decrease stress? You either minimize the source of your stress or you minimize your RESPONSE to the stress.

Start with minimizing the source of your stress. Once you’ve minimized the source (or realized you cannot), try to improve your response to stress.

Scientifically proved methods to decrease your stress response include:

  • Exercise (are you seeing a theme here?)
  • Meditation
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Laughing


4. Support your body with nourishing and glow enhancing foods.

What you nourish your body with plays a crucial role in glowing from the inside out. Foods that make you retain fluid make you dull inside and out (think overly salted and processed foods). Foods full of natural color and nutrients will make you glow (think fruit, vegetables, nuts, and legumes).

Top glow enhancing foods include:

  • Berries (lots of antioxidants and nutrients)
  • Dark, leafy, greens (antioxidants, vitamin K, and iron)
  • Carrots (vitamins A and C)
  • Walnuts (vitamin B)
  • Pomegranates (antioxidants)

Because I want you to glow from the inside out, I am sharing my Glow Getter Smoothie recipe. It includes ALL of the top glow enhancing foods and is perfect for breakfast or a snack. Plus, it’s super easy to make.

Glow Getter Smoothie (gf, sf, vegan)

Serves 2
2 cups fresh spinach
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 Golden Delicious apples, cored and sliced
1 banana
1/2 cup carrot juice
1/2 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup raw walnuts, shelled
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 cup ice

Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender. Blend for at least 60 seconds, perhaps longer depending on your blender. Add water if needed to reach desired consistency.

 

BONUS TIP: Self care to enhance your natural glow.

Once you get your glow from the inside (sweat, sleep, stress less, and supportive foods), you can enhance your glow with some tricks from the outside.

My favorite product for skin hydration is squalane oil (derived from olives). It is natural, simple, inexpensive, and feels heavenly on your skin. A true hydrator that leaves your skin immediately glowing (and not in a gross way). My favorite is from Indie Lee and I use it every day. I was first introduced to this gem from the lovely gals at Credo in San Francisco. 

A little strategically applied highlighter can also help enhance your glow. Be sure to use a natural highlighter that will support your health. So many highlighters being sold are full of harmful ingredients that can leave your skin congested and inflamed.

My absolute favorite highlighter is from Danish makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis. Her highlighter (aptly named Radiance) is made from natural and skin soothing ingredients. A little popped on your cheek and brow bones leaves you with the perfect glow. I always stock up on Kjaer Weis from Citrine Natural Beauty Bar.

So there you have it. A better way to glow from the inside and out.

What are your tips to glowing from the inside out? Feel welcome to share in the comments section.

Sending you light until next time.

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Traveling Well Part II: 5 Ways to Feel Amazing Once You've Reached Your Destination

I have a confession. I used to feel anxious about traveling. Don’t get me wrong; I adore experiencing different cultures and making new friends.

What made me anxious was feeling like travel derailed my wellness progress. Like it set me backward, upset my belly, caused me to breakout, and made me gain a few unwanted pounds. Travel left me with mixed emotions — excitement for new adventures and remorse for feeling “unhealthy.”

After incorporating all I’ve learned about wellness into my life, I no longer feel apprehension about travel. I love it. Because I’ve found a better way to travel. A way that reinforces my wellness, keeps my belly happy, calms my body, and leaves me lighter and brighter.

Today is part II of Traveling Well (check out Part I here) and I’m sharing my secrets to feel fantastic once you’ve reached your travel destination.

1. Be a Breakfast Genius.

This means being smart about what you choose to nourish yourself with. Breakfast sets your tone for the day. If you have a greasy and heavy breakfast, you’re going to feel greasy and heavy the rest of the day. If you eat something supportive and energizing, you will feel supported and energized throughout the day.

WARNING: to be a breakfast genius you need to be prepared. Know what makes you feel great in the morning, and find a way to make sure you get it. This requires preplanning.

Green smoothies, to me, are the greatest breakfast — nutrient dense, easily digested, and filling. How do I make sure I get green smoothies when I travel? If traveling by car and I have access to a refrigerator, I pack a few homemade smoothies stored in Mason jars for the trip. If not, I google “smoothies” and my destination. Most times, I can find somewhere within walking distance that serves smoothies.

If you can’t find a smoothie joint or are already committed to other eating establishments, you can get creative. Most restaurants have whole grain toast (and often gluten free) and avocados. Ask for whole grain toast with avocado! It’s delicious, nutritious, and satisfying.

2. Green Up.

Back in my dark ages, I used to just order an entree (sans salad) when eating out during travel. I used to think a salad wouldn’t fill me up and felt guilty spending an extra few bucks on greens. I’ve since learned my lesson.

Eating vegetables makes you feel better. They are full of vitamins and minerals that energize you and fiber that fills you up and helps keep your digestive system regular. They are a travel win-win.

Try ordering fresh vegetables with every meal. Or better yet, replace one of your meals with a larger salad. Trust me, your belly with thank you. It’s like suiting up, but with vegetables.

3. Move It.

As mentioned in last week’s bonus, moving your body and exercising will make you feel better. Period. So find a way to do it wherever you are.

This may mean packing special shoes and clothes or borrowing them. Some hotels make this easy by allowing you to borrow exercise clothes and shoes. Westin hotels partnered with New Balance and for $5 you can have clothes and shoes delivered to your room in 15 minutes or less.

Do whatever movement suits you best. If you like gyms, find one to use. Are classes your thing? You can easily find a studio and buy a single class pass (try the Zenrez app for last minute class deals in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and the Bay Area). Personally, I like to walk, bike, and run when I travel. I find it an excellent way to see the sights and often find some great hole in the wall places to check out in the process.

4. Be Mindful.

My mindfulness practice comes with me wherever I go. Just because I’m away from home does not mean I forgo one of my wellness foundations: meditation. The beauty of meditation is you can practically do it anywhere.

On a plane, train, or automobile (just not while you are actually driving). In a tent, hotel room, or airbnb. On the beach, mountain top, or valley. It doesn’t matter.

Wherever and whenever, you can seat yourself comfortably, close your eyes, and breathe.

5. Dress for Success.

This means traveling with clothing that makes you feel your best. Clothes that are comfortable, but don’t limit your activities.

This means different things for different people. For me this usually means:

  • Packing pajamas I love. Ones that are soft, warm, but still cute.
  • Bringing one pair of athletic shoes that I can walk, run, or bike in. My favorites right now are Brooks.
  • Toting athletic clothes that are comfortable and stylish (that can take me from running to casual breakfasts and coffee shops). Zella leggings are my holy grail (and go on sale soon during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale). Other brands I love are Patagonia, Saucony, Brooks, and Lululemon.
  • Taking my trusty Oakley sunglasses that look great when I am glammed up, but function when I’m running or biking.
  • Wearing fashionable, yet comfortable shoes (I don’t want sore feet to keep me from exploring by foot). For sandals I go for Uggs and Sperry. Chloe and Josef Seibel flats are versatile and functional. Isabel Marant booties are my obsession (I can’t believe shoes with a heel can actually be this comfortable for walking all day). During winter, my Stuart Weitzman 50/50 boots go everywhere I do.
  • Slipping into a great pair of skinny jeans. I’ve tried them all and Rag and Bone are my winners.
  •  Bringing a flowing dress that compliments my shoe choices.


There you have it! A better way to travel. Follow these tips and you will feel fantastic when you travel.

Do you have any healthy travel tips to add? If so, please share!

Sending you light until next time.

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