Navigating Food Freedom + Gentle Nutrition While Traveling

Photo by suzukii xingfu on Pexels.com

I just returned from my trip to NYC πŸŒƒ and Montreal, Quebec in Canada πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦. While I consider myself fully recovered from my eating disorder, I was surprisingly challenged on this trip when old notions and negative thoughts surfaced surrounding food. This specifically occurred after my husband suggested we get pizza in NYC. You see, I wasn’t really hungry after having a late bagel sandwich for breakfast. I am now very in tune with listening to my hunger and fullness cues, so I just didn’t want to force feed myself or feel heavy after eating such a rich meal (or so I told myself). Part of my reasoning was the meal choice… but I hesitantly agreed because I could tell my husband wanted the pizza, so we ordered and sat down. Before diving in, I kicked my negative thoughts butt and said, “Danielle, you are in New York City. Eat and enjoy the damn pizza! πŸ• “. And I did just that without looking back. Now, was the pizza a fully balanced meal? NOPE. Did I listen to my body in that moment? NOPE. Did I listen to my heart and soul? YUP. In that moment, I chose to live a full, happy, and food freedom of a life, and damn πŸ‘ it πŸ‘ felt πŸ‘ good. 😜 Good enough, in fact, that I’m now writing this blog post to share with y’all in the hopes of reaching someone else who needs to hear this.

Let me break down the nature of feeling guilty or shameful after eating certain foods. Dieting, restriction of food, and disordered eating patterns partly stem from seeking control. When we travel, our routine is naturally thrown off beat, which can lead to making you feel even more out of control. A shift in routine + food access and food choices looking differently can really affect someone who is accustomed to specific eating patterns, is sensitive, or struggles with mental health issues. This is quite normal.

But does deviating from our normal eating habits mean that we “fell off the wagon” and should feel guilty? HELL to the NO, boo! Vacation implies relaxation and enjoyment, and stressing about your food intake sounds like the last thing I want to be doing on vacay. Do you agree? P.S. This applies to everyday living as well, not just vacay btw!

So how can we eat what we want on vacation (and always) while still applying gentle nutrition strategies? Great question! Let me start by defining gentle nutrition. Gentle nutrition is taking the nutrition knowledge acquired from a credible source and applying it to what we WANT to eat. In other words, it’s a way to add nutritious foods to our diet without feeling limited or restricted in any way.

A quick run down looks like this. ➑️ A simplified balanced plate contains a 1. carb, 2. protein and 3. veggie. Let’s say you find yourself traveling to NYC like I did and you want to try NYC style pizza πŸ• . First of all, great choice! πŸ˜‰ I always explain to my clients that the crust of the pizza is the carb, the cheese is the fat and minimal protein, and the meat is the protein. So, is that a balanced meal? It could be with the addition of veggies! Did I have any veggies on my pizza? NOPE. Do I regret it? NOPE. But guess what? I could have easily ordered a veggie on my pizza or ordered a side salad to get that component in. YES! Pizza can be considered a balanced meal. 🀯 You’re welcome for that bit of information.

Instead, I chose to incorporate my veggies with dinner and at other meals that day. THIS is food freedom + gentle nutrition. Choosing, accepting, honoring and enjoying our food choices without the guilt or shame but then adding the fruits, veggies, and other nutrients when we can to provide our body with the actual nutrients it needs to thrive and feel its best.

Food doesn’t always have to be perceived in terms of calories or labeled as “good”, “bad”, “healthy” or “unhealthy”. There are just some foods that are more nutrient-dense than others and each one provides its own nutrition profile of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and macros. The end. Let’s not overcomplicate this.

In addition, will eating a certain way on vacation contribute to such a change in your body composition that it will “ruin” all of your previous hard work, progress, or that it will make it difficult to come back from? HAHA NOPE. Do you know how difficult it is to gain pure fat in a short amount of time like vacation? This perceived weight gain is usually water weight retention we experience from being dehydrated, consuming alcohol and excess salt or carbs.

So, the next time you find yourself doubting your food choices, whether in everyday life or on vacation, try to catch yourself and reframe with these helpful reminders. ⬇️

  1. I require food to live.
  2. Food is fuel for my body, despite its form.
  3. I can have my fruit/veggies later.
  4. I deserve to enjoy my food.
  5. Food is pleasurable.
  6. I am allowed to eat any and all foods.
  7. Food is not toxic to my body.
  8. Food is not good nor bad since it has no moral value.
  9. All food contains some nutrition.

Did this resonate with you? Do you want to continue improving your relationship with food? Schedule your FREE nutrition consultation here to get started.

XOXO πŸ’– Danielle, your friendly dietitian

Endometriosis & Nutrition Interventions

By: Brooke Harper, DC Nutrition & Komplete Business Dietetic Intern

Reviewed by: Danielle Cahalan, RD, LDN

What Is It?

Endometriosis is a chronic disease where the uterine lining  grows outside of your uterusΒΉ (sounds weird I know, but hear me out.). This misplaced tissue builds up, breaks down, and sheds, similar to how the tissue that lines the uterus during menstrual cycles would. However, the misplaced tissue has no way of exiting the body, which results in internal bleeding, inflammation, bowel problems, infertility, and scar tissue formation. This trapped uterine-derived tissue triggers chronic inflammation, resulting in pain that can vary from mild to severe. About 1 in 10 women in the U.S. have endometriosis, and 176 million women worldwide struggle with this disease. Symptoms typically occur between the ages of 12-60 years old, but most women often go undiagnosed.Β²

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Pain during periods *most common*
  • Heavy bleeding during a period
  • Pain during the middle of a menstrual cycle
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Infertility 
  • Pain with bowel movements
  • Fatigue, nausea, weight gain, insomniaΒ³

How Can My Nutrition Help?

Inflammation and high estrogen levels can make endometriosis symptoms worse, and your diet can influence both factors. Food plays a huge role in helping your body fight inflammation and making sure your estrogen levels don’t get too high!! 

Estrogen is a vital hormone in our body, but too much of it can exacerbate endometriosis symptoms like cramping and pain. 

This is where food comes to the rescue!!!! 

Foods to Consider for Endometriosis:

Consume fruits & veggies: These are rich in antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory properties. Aim for a plate that is colorful in fruits & veggies to get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Studies have shown that those with endometriosis tend to have lower levels of certain nutrients, so ensuring you’re receiving sufficient amounts is key..⁴ Sources include:

  • Spinach, kale, arugula, broccoli, carrots, cabbage
  • Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, oranges, grapes

Consume foods high in fiber: Your body excretes excess estrogen in your poop, so getting good amounts of fiber in will support estrogen metabolism and help promote and regulate bowel movements.⁡ Sources include:

  • Whole grains 
  • Beans
  • Vegetables
  • Oats
  • Ground seeds (flaxseed or chia seeds)

Consume high quality fats: Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease, so when we eat foods that will help decrease inflammation, this will help with symptoms ☺ Aiming for omega-3 fats can really help! Sources include:

  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna)
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Avocados
  • Olive oil

Consume minerals: Make sure you are getting key minerals in, such as magnesium and zinc. Magnesium helps with period cramps and acts as a β€œrelaxer” in the body.⁢ Magnesium rich foods include:

  • Dark chocolate!!! (Eat your chocolate!!)
  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula)
  • Beans
  • Nuts & seeds

Zinc is another incredible mineral that helps regulate your menstrual cycle, which is key for hormone balance! Zinc rich foods include:

  • Chicken 
  • Turkey
  • Shellfish (crab & lobster) 
  • Yogurt

In summary, endometriosis is a chronic, inflammatory disease. Luckily, nutrition can play a role in helping manage your symptoms!! If you want to learn more about endometriosis follow me @feed.me.happy for more content!! And book your FREE 30-minute nutrition consultation here to receive individualized counseling. 

Sources

  1. https://nutritionguide.pcrm.org/nutritionguide/view/Nutrition_Guide_for_Clinicians/1342065/all/Endometriosis

2. https://www.endofound.org/endometriosis

3. https://www.endometriosis.ie/symptoms/

4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15254009/

5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8039147/

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3208934/

7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29870739/

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Health & Wellness Fans

🎢 Oh what fun it is to 🎢…gift all the healthy, wealthy things- yay! 🎁

And the holiday gift guide continues for those on your shopping list looking to feel their absolute best throughout the cold πŸ₯Ά winter months ahead. These items will surely help them cozy up, feel more at ease, and help them feel empowered in their bodies. Check um out!πŸ‘‡πŸΌ

  1. Aromatherapy has been studied in relation to improving your mood, increasing energy levels, helping people feel revitalized, and even aiding in relieving some anxiety and depressive states. An Aromatherapy Diffuser with a few essential oils to get started is a great gift for those looking to set that mood.
  2. Okay, so this HappyLight by Verilux is also on my wish list. It omits 10,000 Lux, a measurement of light that mimics the sun and the exposure level proven to help Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you know anyone in your life that gets blue during the winter, this would be a great addition for their desk top or upon waking. It can also help those with cortisol or melatonin imbalances or those having trouble sleeping regulate their circadian rhythm. 😴
  3. The pre-release of my Fuel Her Up Course, self-paced women’s health online modular program, will be available for purchase THIS upcoming Friday- Eeeeek! I’m beyond excited! πŸ˜† There will be a huge Black Friday discount, so snag it for yourself and/or a friend while that limited time offer sticks around. The course will officially launch and be available to take on Friday, December 10th. Just in time to edu-macate yourself and feel empowered in your body before the New Year hits.
  4. Weighted Blankets have been correlated with lessen anxiety levels and improved sleep, so if you have a friend or family member who can benefit from both or either- this gift is a lifestyle shift they will forever thank you for. πŸ™
  5. Last but not least, JP and I have already gifted Acupressure Mats to 3 people over the last couple of years. They all RAVE about how it has improved their aches, pains, circulation, anxiety & stress levels, and more. The precision pinpoints release any tension your body is resistant to letting go. It will leave you or the gift receiver sighing with relief. πŸ˜…

What do you think? Have these holiday gift guides been helpful so far? I’ll put them in a drop down menu on my home page for you to view them all with easy access. Leave a comment below if you’re enjoying them! ⬇️

Do you have questions about the upcoming Fuel Her Up Course? Follow me on Instagram and feel free to DM me with them!

Happy Thanksgiving πŸ¦ƒ and Black Friday week! πŸ›

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Traveler ✈️ πŸš‚ πŸš— πŸ§³

Okay, here’s a bit of a confession: These are actually fun and helpful for me to make, as these gift guides make me aware of the best gifts out there for my loved ones too! Are you ready to shop for the traveler in your life?! Check out the links below!

  1. This Clear Cosmetic Case from Calpak is a spacious organizer, with the dimensions of 11.5″ x 9″, to fit all of you or your friend’s cosmetic and toiletry travel essentials. The best parts? It’s water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about spills, and it contains 2 compartments to segment items. Dreamy! 🀩☁️
  2. To continue with this website, CalPak also has a Luggage Tag Phone Charger, which I’ve never heard of before and think is a brilliant idea. πŸ’‘ I mean, how many times are you traveling and need to charge your phone with no outlet in sight? Instead, the luggage tag is portable and conveniently placed on top of you or your friends’ bag! Neat, right?
  3. Has your friend or family member been talking about traveling overseas? 🌎 Maybe they already have a trip booked for 2022. ✈️ If that”s the case, a cute Passport Holder may be the perfect gift for them! The one shown above is from Fossil, is affordable, and you can emboss their initials on it for free! I also think I Googled a promo discount code for this one. πŸ˜‰
  4. TSA Pre-check. Need I say more? If you know someone who travels all of the time and dreads security lines, this would be a creative and great gift that keeps on giving. With TSA Pre-check, your loved one will get to go through/skip the line into propriety and have limited security clearance hassle.
  5. Next up ➑️ these Essential Oils that come in lavender, peppermint, and other scents to help those who get stressed or anxious traveling calm down and enjoy their trip more.
  6. This Weekender Bag is ideal, as it’s perfectly sized to sit on top of rolling luggage, has a sleeve to fit over the handles, a laptop compartment, and many pockets an d compartments for storing everything. Everyone needs a good weekender bag! πŸ’Ό As I said in my IG post, if anyone out there loves me, this is on my list. πŸ˜‚ Maybe in navy, perhaps?
  7. Last but not least, these Compression Socks by Bombas (my favorite sock company) can help improve your circulation while being sedentary and sitting for so long in whatever mode of transport.

Who in your life can benefit from these awesome gifts above? Please take a moment to drop a comment below and let me know if this was helpful and/or if you ended up purchasing anything! 🎁 Happy shopping and weekend, babes!

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Cooking & Baking Lover

It’s that time of year again! 🎁 We are 5 weeks out from Christmas, and with Black Friday one week away, it is time to start brainstorming gift ideas. πŸ’‘That is why I am putting together a few Holiday Gift Guides for various people in your life.

Today I am sharing gift ideas the cook(s) and baker(s) in your life. Here are the links to the 4 seen items seen above.

  1. Pantry storage containers to help your friend or family member get their pantry organized and lookin pretty! 🀩
  2. A cast iron skillet can not only improve flavors of home cooked meals, but it can help your person get a touch of extra iron in their diet by transfusion into foods! Cooking iron-containing foods in a cast iron skillet or pan can actually increase the iron content up to 6mg!! Cool, right?!
  3. Okay, this Aikido 7-Piece Japanese Knife Set is currently 70% off and a steal for the quality of knives. Whoever receives this will be thrilled and is damn lucky! A Japanese knife set was one of my favorite gifts that I’ve ever received from my hubs years back, that I still use to this day.
  4. I got these Non-Stick Cookie Baking Sheets for my mom this year, but SHHHHH! 🀫 Mum’s the word. This is a great gift that visually shows how big cookies should be portioned on the sheet!

5. This Personalized Recipe Cutting Board was WELL worth the price imo. My sister and I had my mom’s apple tart recipe engraved on the walnut wood, and it is beautiful! Not to mention, very quality and it weighs a decent bit. The sellers also sent a proof beforehand, unlike some others on Etsy, where you don’t know what you’re gonna get.

6. For only $15, this 10-piece snowflake cookie cutter set is a great small gift or stocking stuffer. Click the link for a visual of how to make a snowflake tree with the cookies too! πŸͺβ„οΈπŸŽ„

7. Okay, this holiday roller cookie-cutter that is all-in-one is pretty cool. Simply roll out a cookie dough sheet and roll. Then voila! All the holiday shapes. Another great small gift or stocking stuffer for the baker in your life.

8. This $27 apron with the classic “Star Baker” title from the Great British Baking Show is a wonderful gift for a fan of the show and baking. Ready, Set, Bake! πŸ‘©β€πŸ³ Plus, it’s another Etsy shop to support!

I did want to note that I’m not receiving ANY earnings from the links above, as I am not affiliated with any of the companies or products. I simply put this gift guide together to show you some of my favorite items and help inspire gift ideas for the cook or baker in your life. Have fun holiday gift shopping! Please let me know if you purchase any of these guys. I’d love to hear!

Stay tuned for more gift guides to come!

A Chicago Christmas To-Do List

Being a native of Chicago, I thought it’d be fun to compile a list of magical things to do in Chicago during Christmastime. I hope you and yours enjoy some of the festivities between now and through the new year! Several of these activities are free, so they won’t break the bank during an already stressful and financially-tight time for some. Have fun, and happy holidays!

1. Lightscape at the Chicago Botanical Gardens

Cathedral of Light

I have never been here myself, but I’ve heard great things about this gorgeous light display. Check it out here and buy tickets before they sell out like last year!

2. View the Macy’s Decorative Windows & Walnut Room Christmas Tree.

The Great Tree at Macy's Walnut Room | Attractions in Chicago

We’ve been going to view the moving characters in the used-to-be Marshall Fields’ windows (now Macy’s) since I was a little girl. They are always so creative and fun to see, and there was even an effort to make the characters more diverse last year, which was long overdue but much appreciated. Then you can top it off by heading inside of Macy’s to see the gigantic tree displayed in the Walnut Room. We’re finally dining there this year, and I can’t wait!

3. Ice Skate at Millennium Park and/or Maggie Daley Park.

The best ice skating rinks in Chicago - Curbed Chicago

The ice skating rink in front of the Bean (see above) is iconic and instills that traditional holiday feel. You can bring your own skates or rent some there. Same with the skating “ribbon” at Maggie Daley Park (see below), which is right next door. It’s a continuous ice path the loops around. They tend to play more modern music here. Both are equally fun! I suggest going with those who have a sense of humor and are good sports though. πŸ˜‰

Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon will open Nov. 16 - ABC7 Chicago

4. See the Christmas Trees Around the World at the Museum of Science & Industry.

This “Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light” exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry displays 50 trees from various countries and how their people typically decorate for Christmas. Fun right? It’s a nice cultural festivity that sheds insight into this universally celebrated holiday. Nope, it’s not just us Americans who celebrate.

5. Take a stroll down Michigan Ave and to see the Water Tower.

Alex aspera on Twitter: "Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas.  #ChristmasSpirit #ChicagoWaterTower #WaterTower #ChicagoIcon  #StreetPhotography #ChicagoGram #CityScape #ChicagoLovers #InstaChicago  #Chicago… https://t.co/w4U768N9T0"

You don’t even have to do your shopping here, as the Water Tower Mall taxes like 10% on all purchase- yikes. Instead, grab a hot cocoa from Leonidas or Starbucks and stroll Michigan Ave to the Water Tower (another iconic spot, as it’s one of the only buildings that survived the Great Chicago Fire).

6. Have a drink at Cindy’s Rooftop to view Millennium Park’s Christmas Tree.

Best Christmas Bars and Restaurants in Chicago - bits and bites

You can wrap this up into your ice skating plans since it’s right across the street, but Cindy’s Rooftop in the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is an ideal spot for killer cocktails (served warm too in the winter) and to view the sites of Millennium Park- the ice skating rink and tree with lights!

7. Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park or Brookfield Zoo.

Seve Dale talks about Zoo Lights with Dave Bernier of Lincoln Park Zoo

The display at both zoos are worth the visit. If you live in the city or are looking for free entry, check out Lincoln Park Zoo’s extensive light display. Brookfield is elaborate as well, but it requires a entrance fee.

8. Grab a Hot Chocolate at one of these decadent dessert spots.

Here Are The 6 Best Hot Chocolates in Chicago

Bombobar

Mindy’s Bakery

Katherine Anne Confections

9. Christkindl Market

Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza

The Christkindl Market is a traditional venture for many during the holiday season. It’s a German-themed market featuring vendors that sell handmade goods, including Alpaca socks, hand-painted ornaments, ornate beer steins, and much more! The food is very fitting for the colder months, and if you don’t mind crowds or waiting in lines, it’s just a fun environment to be in.

10. Ride the elusive CTA Holiday Train!

The complete CTA Holiday Train schedule has arrived

Okay, this train is 100% decked out for the holidays. From the exterior lights with Santa and reindeer leading the charge to the inner upholstery lined with red and green, this is surely to turn any Grinch into a festive and hopeful holiday believer. The times vary, but there is loose schedule to catch this elusive holiday train. I’ve been lucky to ride it 4 times now and turn into a little giddy kid every time.

11. Check out one of the holiday-themed bars.

Christmas Bar

Frosty’s Christmas Bar is pictured above.

IMG_0566.jpg

Rudolph’s is next!

6O9A1052.jpg

Santa Baby’s

This Chicago Bar Might Be The Most Christmas-y Bar Ever

Butch McGuire’s in River North is less of a pop-up Christmas-themed bar and more of a locals haven that decks it out for every holiday. Us Chicagoans love us some Butch McGuires.

That’s all I got for now, but I hope this sparked some holiday spirit and got your wheels turning to make some plans before the season comes and goes. Happy holidays!

Nutella Overnight Oats

Only 6 Ingredients!

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup plant-based milk of choice (I used my homemade hazelnut milk but you can buy this too to add to the specific flavor)
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts (split in (2) 1/8 cups)
  • Optional: Pinch of salt can bring out the flavors
  • Optional: Hu Hazelnut Dark Chocolate square and/or mix in protein powder for an extra boost to meet your protein goal.

Directions

  1. Add all of the ingredients but the last 1/8 cup of hazelnuts to a 16oz mason jar.
  2. Stir well and let sit overnight in the fridge.
  3. Top with the last 1/8 cup of hazelnuts and other optional toppings, such as blueberries, coconut whipped cream, flaxseed meal, and/or a Hu Hazelnut Chocolate square. πŸ˜‹
  4. Eat your heart out and savor the flavor!

Did you enjoy this easy recipe? Please leave a review in the comments below. It means the world that you’re supporting my small blog and business, so thank you!

Keep an eye out for my homemade Nutella spread next week! Until then, enjoy your weekend ahead.

All my love- in health & happiness, πŸ’– Danielle, your friendly RD

Homemade Hazelnut Milk

Are you a fan of hazelnuts? 🌰 Then this recipe is for you! Hazelnuts are my absolute favorite during the fall and winter months. I love them in salads, as a milk or creamer in my coffee, in chocolate cake, and of course, as a spread like Nutella. 🀀 That recipe is coming soon by the way, so don’t you worry.

Let’s cover the nutrition profile of hazelnuts.πŸ‘‡πŸΌ

🌰 Hazelnuts are rich in:

  • Vitamin E (an antioxidant and cell protectant), meeting 21% of the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance)
  • Copper, which is an underrated nutrient in my opinion. Copper aids in iron absorption and helps iron form red blood cells in the body- SO important! Hazelnuts provide 24% of your RDA in copper.
  • Manganese, another under appreciated nutrient, that acts as an enzyme in a plethora of processes in your body, including but not limited to: bone, joint, and connective tissue health, nutrient metabolism, blood sugar regulation, and modulation of sex and thyroid hormones!! Hazelnuts provide a whopping 81% of your RDA in manganese. 🀩

Hazelnuts also provide fiber, but when you make this milk, we remove the fiber with the pulp. I personally freeze the pulp to use 1-2 Tbsp in smoothies so I can still receive those nutrients later on and reduce food waste (a 2022 resolution of mine is to become more sustainable and produce less waste).

Are you ready for the recipe? Let’s get to it!

Time to prep: 10-12 hours Time to make: 10-15 minutes

Yields: 5 1/3 cups (You may halve the recipe if you don’t need or want this much. I crafted this for families and to use in other meals, like oatmeal. Note: homemade nut milk only lasts about 3-5 days in the fridge.)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 7 cups cold water, filtered if possible.
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp unsulphured molasses (contains a bit or iron- yippee! The copper in the hazelnuts will help absorb this)
  • 2 medjool dates, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes to soften
  • 2 small pinches salt (or 1/8 tsp)

Directions

  1. Soak hazelnuts in water overnight.
  2. Add both the hazelnuts and water to a food processor or high speed blender. You will probably need to halve the contents or even process 3 times because of the volume. I don’t want you to have a mishap like I did with an overflow of contents. πŸ™ˆ Whoops!
  3. Add the vanilla extract, molasses, soaked dates and salt. Blend/process for 5 minutes or until a milk consistency is formed with little to no visible solids.
  4. Use a sieve or colander with paper towel, nut milk bag, or cheesecloth to strain the “milk” and separate it from the pulp. *You can save the pulp and freeze for future use in smoothies.
  5. That’s it! You have your hazelnut milk! Give it a taste test to determine if you want it sweeter or not. My reservations were with not being able to taste that hazelnut flavor anymore, but feel free to add more dates if you desire.
  6. I typically reheat 1/2 cup fo this milk in the microwave and froth it before adding to my coffee. Enjoy, and please let me know what you think in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

P.S. That homemade hazelnut spread and other holiday recipes (new and old) will be well on their way, so keep your eyes peeled. I LOVE this time of year. πŸ₯° Do you?

Until then, take care, πŸ’– Danielle

Butternut Squash Soup

If you’re into fall cooking and love squash varieties, then this soup is for you! There is just something about a cozy and flavorful bowl of creamy soup in the cooler months, isn’t there? It feels and tastes like a hug in a bowl to me. πŸ˜‚ Too much? Okay, let’s get straight to the recipe for y’all rolling your eyes at me.

Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour Total time: 1 hr 15 minutes

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil (use per tbsp separately- instructions given when)
  • 1 medium-large butternut squash
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 medium red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp garlic
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tsp sea saltΒ 
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp pepper (add to taste preference)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon (add to taste preference)
  • 1 tsp herbs de provence, or add dried oregano, basil, thyme, etc.
  • Optional: fried sage to top, sriracha to top or blend in, parmesan to top, or better yet- parmesan crisps!

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Take your butternut squash and cut off the top and bottom. Then cut in half lengthwise. (See below.) Scoop out the seeds and discard (or clean, dry and roast later to avoid food waste).
  3. Take your yellow onion and cut into 8ths. (See below). Place both the butternut squash, skin-side down, and the onion on the parchment paper. Use 1 Tbsp of olive oil and brush to coat both. Sprinkle the butternut squash with sea salt and cinnamon. Place in oven and set timer for 50 minutes.

4. In the meantime, you may air-fry the red pepper for 15-20 minutes at 400F or add this to your baking sheet with 20 minutes left in the oven. Don’t forget to coat in olive oil! πŸ˜‰

5. Once roasted, take a fork to pierce and ensure the squash is thoroughly cooked. Once cooked and cooled a bit, scoop out the butternut squash from its skin and add to a large blender or food processor. Add onion and red pepper then puree. Add the next 4 ingredients (garlic, veg broth, beans and nutritional yeast) and puree again until a smooth consistency is formed (about 3-5 minutes, depending on the tool you’re using).

6. If you have enough room in your blender or food processor, add the coconut cream. If not, transfer the puree to a large pot with 1 Tbsp olive oil over low-medium heat. Warm, add coconut cream and spices, then mix.

7. Once warm- hot, serve in bowls with toppings of choice. Enjoy!

Did you enjoy this bowl of warming, fall joy? If so, then please leave a review below and/or treat me to a matcha! 🍡 You can donate one here.

Thank you in advance for your following and support! For more delicious, healthy recipes, follow me @feed.me.happy and join my email list here!

All my love, πŸ’– Danielle

Tips for Traveling on Your Period πŸ©Έ

Yay for your upcoming trip! ✈️ You must be sooo excited πŸ˜†, and rightfully so- you deserve to get away. But then again, you just realized your trip coincides with your monthly visit. Wa- waaaaaaaa. πŸ‘ŽπŸΌπŸ˜© Don’t worry, lady. I got you with these 10 tips below! πŸ‘‡πŸΌ

Our period can entail low energy, cramps, and a desire to curl up on the couch and isolate ourselves from others. When we travel, our period can throw off our regular “flow” of things. Pun intended. I wrote this blog post to help you prepare for traveling while on your period. I hope my tips improve your symptoms, boost your energy levels, and make your trip the best experience it can possibly be- don’t stress boo!

I’m sure that I have before, but I can’t distinctly recall a time that I’ve traveled while on my period. Part of this could be due to having amenorrhea (no period), for 3+ years, but that’s besides the point. This recent 4 1/2 day trip to San Francisco started out on day 1 of my period- of which day 1 and 2 for me are usually accompanied by low energy & fatigue, 1 night of cramps that wake me up in the early morning, temperature changes, and the desire to marry my couch & Netflix it up. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly nervous that air travel, walking 15,000+ steps a day, and drinking and eating different foods than normal would exacerbate these symptoms, but I went ahead and prepared to the best of my ability and chose to remain calm and carry on with a hopeful and positive outlook.

Let me share with you ladies a few things that worked for me and that you can try and prepare for before you travel on your period. ✈️ πŸš™ πŸš‚ 🩸

1. Pack the Essentials.

Whether you use pads, tampons, menstrual cups or discs, or period panties, pack what you need and then some. I typically use menstrual discs by Flex, and these last for 12 hours without having to change them. FYI: They also claim to reduce cramps for up to 70% of their users. With some of the outfits I wore, I wanted to ensure no leakage, so I also brought tampons as backup. Count what you average per day of your feminine product, then pack that number and some extra for peace of mind that you won’t run out. You can buy more wherever you are (usually), but it’s also nice to not have to worry about finding a nearby drug store. One less thing to worry about.

2. Prepare the defense.

In order to be prepared should symptoms arise, here are some other defense materials to pack:

  • Ibuprofen (this helps with headaches, cramps, and abdominal pain)
  • a heating pad
  • refillable water bottle to stay hydrated on the go
  • electrolyte tabs
  • Magnesium gummies (to ease cramps, tingling legs, headaches, etc)
  • Turmeric Curcumin capsules (to help fight inflammation)
  • Zinc tablets (do not use without RD/PCP approval)
  • Fish Oil capsules (do not use without RD/PCP approval)
  • tea (raspberry leaf, peppermint, green tea, etc.)

3. Hydrate and preload with electrolytes.

Start hydrating 5 days before you travel. Try to consume more water than you normally would (about half your body weight in lbs in oz). Bonus if you drink coconut water with a pinch of salt and/or electrolyte tabs.

4. Absorb magnesium transdermally.

Another way to preload your body with magnesium is by taking a few Epsom Salt baths leading up to your trip to absorb the magnesium transdermally (through your skin directly into your bloodstream). Magnesium oil can also be used on your feet and tummy before or during your trip to quell cramps, headaches, tingling of the extremities and other symptoms.

5. Be mindful of salt and sugar intake on your trip.

While I didn’t restrict on my trip (because vacay mode-duh!), I was mindful not to consume foods too rich in salt or sugar to avoid fueling my cramps. I did drink, but I opted for lower sugar drinks (usually made with gin).

6. Make sure you’re getting enough omega 3s, B vitamins, Magnesium, Iron and Zinc!

These specific nutrients can help reduce period symptoms significantly should you be receiving enough of each. Read my article on “5 Nutrients to Support Your Menstrual Phase” here, and let’s chat about needing to supplement if you don’t receive enough of one of these.

7. Engage in light movement.

There was one night (as expected) when I woke up at 5am EST with moderate cramping. I couldn’t go back to sleep, and I was lying there wide awake in our hotel bed. My husband got up, turned the lights on, and gave me the okay to do my yoga in bed, so that’s exactly what I did.

Even at home, I do this 35-minute Yoga With Adrienne for Women video, and my cramps are usually gone or incredibly diminished by the time I am through. Truly, she’s THAT good. Even if you’re doubled over in pain, this yoga sequence is so gentle and easy on your body, it feels more like stretching and relaxing on pillows than anything. I did this in bed on day 2, and that was the only time I felt cramps. ✌🏼

In addition, light or moderate movement, such as walking, restorative yoga, stretching, etc. can promote blood flow and ease cramps and symptoms. Do what feels good to you!

8. Try Legs on a Wall to relieve heavy legs and cramping.

Legs on a wall, detailed here, can improve circulation, relieve heavy legs, and improve blood flow to your uterus to minimize cramps, among many other things. It is also very calming and be done nearly everywhere. Give it a go!

9. Remain calm!

Usually, we go on vacation to escape the everyday responsibilities that stress us the F out! Try to embrace this time and let go of everything that is plaguing you. Stressing less and planning/booking things in advance can help make your trip way more enjoyable, not to mention, it can help keep your cortisol and blood sugar levels steady Freddy! This means your symptoms will be easier to manage as well.

10. Have your caffeine with anti-inflammatory support.

Did you know that Midol contains caffeine to help support a woman’s energy levels during her period? It sure does! Look it up. I still need my caffeine to feel good during this time with low energy, but I also don’t want to overdo it…

This wasn’t planned, but I stumbled upon a lovely cafe by our hotel that offered a turmeric honey latte. Days 1 and 2 are usually the worst symptom-wise for me, and excess caffeine can really worsen my cramps and bloating, so I try to be mindful of my intake while still getting my energy boost. When I saw the turmeric latte on the menu, my interest was piqued, so I ordered it with soy milk and a shot of espresso (the best of both worlds!). I was already taking two capsules of turmeric curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) to help with inflammation, but I truly believe this beverage also helped start my morning out right.

If you don’t have a shop nearby that offers a turmeric or golden milk latte, you can make your own at your air bnb or go to a coffee shop and ask for warm milk and add your own turmeric, honey, etc. in there. Here is a recipe, but you can also purchase golden milk latte powder for convenience while traveling. The additional shot of espresso helped my energy without being too much to exacerbate my cramps.

Those are my top 10 tips on how to make the most of traveling while on your period. What did you think? Was this helpful? If so, please leave a good review below and/or treat me to my favorite ➑️ a matcha latte here!

Thank you for your continuous support. For more women’s health info, follow me @feed.me.happy on Instagram.

πŸ’– Danielle