Book Review: The Deepest Well

I bounce back and forth between reading non-fiction related to my academic interests and more fun novels (like Where’d You Go, Bernadette). I’ve been on a non-fiction kick recently so I can keep up with the research I’m most interested in, and I wanted to share one of my recent reads with you.

I am passionate about adverse childhood experiences, particularly experiences of trauma, and The Deepest Well is all about how adverse experiences influences our lives in ways we never could’ve imagined. Not only does it lead to increased risk of a number of different mental illnesses, but it also leads to increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other diseases. It is not an issue that only effects those of low socioeconomic status, but it can effect anyone. If you had a parent with a mental illness or had a family member go to prison, your risk goes up.

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A higher ACE score means higher risk the board; it’s a dose-response effect. ACE scores don’t dictate your health, but those scores provide insight and can indicate you might be at higher risk.

The author, Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris, describes her work on ACEs and her creation of a non-profit in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood in San Francisco. I live in San Francisco so Burke-Harris’ descriptions of the wealth disparities, and health disparities that accompany them, hit close to home. Two neighborhoods, defined by zip codes, in San Francisco can have an average life expectancy difference of 22 years. Twenty-two years.

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Facts like this blow me away and strengthen my dedication to research and making positive change. Change does not mean we can eliminate adverse experiences, but we can help build resilience, educate parents, and provide positive interventions to minimize the negative impact of those adverse experiences.

ACE scores do not tell the whole story, but it provides powerful evidence and a simple, tangible metric for us to understand how early experiences influence us for the rest of our lives–both mentally and physically. I highly recommend The Deepest Well if you’re interested in learning more about chronic stress, adverse experiences, and health outcomes.

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Have you heard of ACE scores? Does the correlation between ACE scores and heath outcomes surprise you?

 

 

Plant-Based Tomato Garlic Noodles (+ a secret ingredient)

First off, I have not been posting as much as I would like. I am going through some exciting changes in my life–details to come soon–so I have not devoted as much time to this blog. Luckily, I still make time to cook so today I’m bringing you my newest recipe!

I was so excited when I saw jack fruit on the shelves at Trader Joe’s. I have been dying to try it for a few years. I have seen quite a few fake prepared jack fruit-based BBQ mixes at the grocery store, but I wanted to play with jack fruit from scratch. I decided to experiment with the ingredients I had on hand and ended up making a delicious tomato garlic mix.

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Ingredients:

-3 tbsp tomato paste

-1 tbsp olive oil

-1/2 c marinara sauce

.-1 can jackfruit, drained and chopped

-12 oz zoodles (2-3 medium zucchini)

-12 oz cauliflower rice

-3 tsp minced garlic

-1 bag Miracle Noodle fettuccini

Directions:

  1. Prepare Miracle Noodles according to instructions on the bag.
  2. Combine all ingredients except zoodles in a large pot and let simmer on low-medium heat for at least thirty minutes. This is a very important step to make sure all the flavors blend.
  3. Add in the zoodles and stir the mixture well. Let cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.

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4. Remove from heat and enjoy! This recipe makes 3 large servings and 4 smaller servings.

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Don’t forget to use code HANNAH for a discount when you order from Miracle Noodle!

Ted Talk Friday: You Don’t Need an App for That

I really enjoyed this talk and I think it speaks to so many misconceptions about what innovation looks like and where it comes from. Working in the Bay Area, people assume that it is the hub for change and growth, but Shapshak does a wonderful job of explaining why that is not necessarily the case. I think so many of our assumptions about technology is based on who we see is being advanced and what areas are seen as sources of advancement. As Shapshak describes, these misconceptions showcase our prejudices and clearly show how often we misunderstand how invention comes about.

 

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What do you think of Shapshak’s talk?

Ted Talk Friday: Using happiness to evaluate a company’s success

I work in the workplace wellbeing space so this talk’s title immediately caught my eye. I love her logical reasoning behind why happiness is such a valuable metric of success. I have not heard of the happy planet index, but I am definitely going to read more about it.  I see this play out in many companies I work with; HR often cares so much about employee wellbeing and happiness, but it hard to convey its value since happiness is often seen as a “fluffy” concept. After listening to this talk, it certainly doesn’t sound fluffy at all:

 

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Can you imagine a world where the happiness index is listed by stock prices?

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2018

It is insane that it is already December! I looked at the calendar last week and nearly fainted; where did the year go?! I have a really great feeling about the year to come, but 2018 flew by in what feels like an instant. This year has been FULL of big changes for me–some positive and some negative–but I am beyond grateful for all of the good that has come into my life. I love the holiday season because I love any excuse to give gifts–my love language is gift-giving (although I personally prefer to receive words of affirmation).

I often have a hard time thinking of gifts on short notice, so I tend to buy things throughout the year as I think of people. There have been years when I had all of my shopping done by October!

For the normal people out there who likely haven’t gotten their shopping done, here are a few of my top gifts for 2018:

  1. Tabio Socks: These are an amazing gift for both fitness fanatics or fashion-obsessed friends. I love my Tabio socks for pilates and barre classes especially, the signature run socks have great grip on the bottom and are super cute (my favorite color is lavender). Use code HANN20 for a discount when you order!

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2. Quest Nutrition Bars: These make my list every year. Someone recently asked how I haven’t gotten tired of this brand after six years of eating their products. First off, I love all the flavor options and convenience of a healthy, satisfying snack on the go. Second, I love this brand. The company is based on the principles of positive psychology, self-improvement, and growth–all of which resonate with me.

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3. ActivMotion Bar: I recently posted a full review of ActivMotion bars on the blog, but these are definitely making the gift guide as well! This is a great gift for your fit friend who already has all of the basic fitness products; it’s definitely a unique workout and is a great tool to improve balance!

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4. Satin pillowcase: This is a nice gift for anyone you know who wants to add a bit of luxury to their bedtime routine (and who doesn’t?!).

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5. Orb Sleep Complex: I’ve made so many people try this and everyone falls in love. It provides such a restful sleep without any heavy drugs–it’s an all natural mix of ingredients like melatonin and lavender oil that eases you to sleep with time-released B12 to help you wake up feeling refreshed.

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When do you normally finish up buying gifts?

Ted Talk Friday: Imposter Syndrome?

I have had one crazy week so I wanted to share a quick talk that felt relevant to me right now. In recent conversations with many of my friends, we discussed this feeling of being an imposter and feeling like we don’t belong in our jobs or academic programs–maybe we don’t feel smart enough, old enough, or experienced enough. Imposter syndrome can feel isolating, but the more you connect with friends and family and express your vulnerability, the less alone you’ll likely feel.

 

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Do you struggle with imposter syndrome? Do you talk about it openly?

Building Balance + Strength with the ActivMotion Glimpse Bar

The new ActivMotion Glimpse Bar just came out in June so I was super excited to get the chance to try it out. The ActivMotion Bar is a unique product–it is a bar filled with rolling steel weights inside to promote functional fitness, strength, stability, and balance.

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The regular bars are opaque and come in a range of weights from 3-18 lbs, which means these are a great addition to a workout no matter how fit you are.

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I decided to go with the Glimpse bar–it’s actually clear through the middle so you can see the steel weights as they move. There are also three white ball bearings in the center of the bar that serve as a guide or “level”. I was intrigued by how it looks and was excited to see how it would impact my balance.

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Glimpse bars come in 4.5lb sizes only, but many of the workouts include quite a few reps so a lower weight does not mean it’s easy!  Luckily, each purchase comes with access to a number of instructional videos with full workouts. The exercises are not easy and the bar adds a new, exciting element the my workouts! Balance has never been a strong suit of mine, and these fitness routines are certainly pushing me to my limit. I love the Glimpse bar because watching the white ball bearings move back and forth really helps keep me attuned to the way my body is moving.

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This is a great option for an at-home workout; I feel like I have outgrown a lot of my old go-to at-home workout options and have been looking for a new challenge so this bar is the perfect solution for me! This would make a great gift for any fitness fanatic friends you might have. It’s a unique present that will provide a fun new take on working out to improve balance!

BONUS: I have special access for you through the holiday! Use code “fitapproach25” for 25% off through the holidays ( the code is valid from now until January 7th!).

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Have you heard of the ActivMotion Bar? How often do you focus on balance during a workout?

Ted Talk Friday: How to get better at the things you care about

This talk applies to almost everything–we are so often focus on the “performance zone” rather than focusing on the learning zone. If we are not focused on continuous improvement, we are automatically going to fall behind. I’ve talked to my Dad about this a lot; he is a doctor and he constantly reads new studies and attends conferences to learn about the newest techniques. We want our doctors to use the most recent research rather than what they learned twenty years ago, right? That same principle applies to many skills, whether those skills are personal or professional. I hope you enjoy this talk and Briceño’s ideas about learning and improving.

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Do you feel the pressure to always live in the performance zone? Do you make time for the learning zone?

Ted Talk Friday: Remember to say thank you

Since Thanksgiving was yesterday, I wanted to focus today’s talk on gratitude and the value of giving thanks and asking for a thank you when you need it. This talk relates back to two of my favorite relationship rules:

1) ask for what you need

2) express gratitude

I hope this short talk is helpful for you and I hope you had a great holiday!

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Do you always ask for what you need? Do you wish you asked for someone to express gratitude for your actions more often?

Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up

Where did 2018 go? I think everyone I know is saying the same thing, but it is hard to believe Thanksgiving is here again. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday–it’s all about gratitude, food, and loved ones–what could be better?

Here is a list of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes:

  1. Maple Roasted Winter Veggies– This is hands down my favorite veggie dish on the table every year; it’s light and fresh, but includes all the wonderful flavors of Fall! The pomegranate seeds are an absolute must–they add so much fresh flavor, plus beautiful color.

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2. Gut-Friendly Jello Jigglers– I love Great Lakes Gelatin for all of its gut benefits and these  healthy jello jigglers are a great alternative to the sugar-laden version we typically include in our Thanksgiving line-up.

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3. Spaghetti Squash Casserole – One of my favorite parts of fall is all of the amazing seasonal squash! This casserole is a great alternative to unhealthy creamy casseroles and packs the same flavor punch with plenty of protein and fiber.

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4. Caulirice Stuffed Delicata Squash– Packed with Vitamin A and filling fiber, this is a great side dish for those avoiding the regular stuffing. This has a great savory sweet from the flavor combination of the sweet squash and liquid aminos.

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5. Coconut Vanilla Raspberry Pudding– This is a great healthy dessert option that won’t leave you heading into a sugar crash! Low in carbs and high in fiber, it’s a great way to cap off a satisfying meal with something sweet.

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6. Spiced Buckwheat  Pear Bread- This is a great gluten-free bread option made with hearty buckwheat flour and it packs a protein punch! This would be a great dessert option and would also be a satisfying addition to breakfast.

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I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Let me know if you try any of these recipes.