Healthy Cauliflower Soup with Bacon and Chili Oil

Smoky, smooth, and surprisingly light, this quick, healthy and creamy cauliflower soup is low in calories, carbs, and saturated fat, but high in flavor and nutrients. This recipe is like a healthier, leaner version of potato soup. And thanks to the addition of Kettle & Fire’s collagen-rich chicken bone broth (a better option than chicken stock or chicken broth), it’s also packed with protein and essential vitamins. We would take a bet that this is going to become one of your favorite new soup recipes.

Bacon is the not-so-secret ingredient in this soup. Using the bacon fat to sauté the aromatics, which include slightly sweet leek and fennel, adds a hint of smokiness to this great recipe. The smokiness is highlighted by the optional paprika chili oil that we recommend drizzling on right before serving. Anchovies cooked into the base of the soup might add surprise here, as well as protein and a subtle boost of umami. It’s basically a healthy soup disguised as  a delicious soup. If you were to use a vegetable broth (and eliminate the bacon!), it could even be vegan.

This healthy cauliflower soup recipe is like a healthier, leaner version of potato soup. And thanks to the addition of Kettle & Fire’s collagen-rich chicken bone broth (a better option than chicken stock or chicken broth), it’s also packed with protein and essential vitamins.

While roasting the cauliflower beforehand might seem an unnecessary extra step, it does a lot to deepen the flavor of this soup and rounds it out with a bit of sweetness from the caramelization. This is also makes it a creamy soup, as well as cutting down on the prep time and total time of this recipe. To make this soup really efficiently, we recommend cooking the bacon and aromatics while the cauliflower is roasting.

Healthy Cauliflower Soup with Bacon and Chili Oil

This healthy cauliflower soup recipe is like a healthier, leaner version of potato soup. And thanks to the addition of Kettle & Fire’s collagen-rich chicken bone broth (a better option than chicken stock or chicken broth), it’s also packed with protein and essential vitamins.

  • 1 large head cauliflower (cut into small florets (or lightly chopped in a food processor))
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt (or sea salt)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 2 anchovies
  • 1 small fennel bulb (chopped)
  • 1 small leek (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 4 cups Kettle & Fire Chicken Bone Broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. On a baking sheet, toss the chopped cauliflower with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast, tossing once, until florets are browned all over and tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot or large saucepan over medium heat, add the bacon, flipping occasionally, until browned and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels, but reserve the bacon fat in the pot. Once the bacon cools, chop very finely.
  3. In the same pot over medium heat, add the anchovies, fennel, leek, and garlic to the bacon fat and cook until the onion and fennel are very soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the coriander and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the roasted cauliflower, broth, bay leaves and 1 cup water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook at a high simmer until the cauliflower is very tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Discard the bay leaves and let cool slightly.
  5. In a blender or immersion blender, purée the cauliflower mixture until very smooth.
  6. Meanwhile, make the chili oil. Wipe out the pot used to make the cauliflower soup. Over very low heat, add the remaining olive oil, paprika, and chili powder and warm until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  7. Ladle the delicious soup into bowls and top with bacon bits and chili oil.

Paleo, Dairy Free, Gluten Free

This healthy cauliflower soup recipe is like a healthier, leaner version of potato soup. And thanks to the addition of Kettle & Fire’s collagen-rich chicken bone broth (a better option than chicken stock or chicken broth), it’s also packed with protein and essential vitamins.

This healthy cauliflower soup recipe is like a healthier, leaner version of potato soup. And thanks to the addition of Kettle & Fire’s collagen-rich chicken bone broth (a better option than chicken stock or chicken broth), it’s also packed with protein and essential vitamins.

The post Healthy Cauliflower Soup with Bacon and Chili Oil appeared first on The Kettle & Fire Blog.

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Pro Chef Tips for Enjoying Beef (the Healthy Way)

By Beth Lipton

If you eat meat but feel guilty or uncertain about it, good news: We have some tips to help you enjoy that steak or burger and still feel great afterwards.

1. Choose grass-fed

“If you think, ‘I have an occasional steak, I only have it once a month, it’s not that great for me,’ there’s more to know about it,” says chef Sarah Russo, culinary manager at Pre, a company that sells 100% grass-fed beef. “Commodity beef in the U.S. is raised or finished on grain—or something other than grass, which is what cows are supposed to eat. When that happens, what you’re getting is usually a poor-quality product. But when you get beef the way it was intended to be raised, if it had a good, stress-free environment and was pasture raised, then the nutrition is totally different.”

Grass-fed beef is richer in healthy omega-3 fats, and also conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which boosts muscle growth and bone strength and fights cancer, adds Russo, who studied cooking at Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts, and has been a personal chef for professional athletes.

2. Combine it with plant protein

Just because grass-fed beef is good for you doesn’t mean it’s all you should eat, Russo notes. “Quinoa, nuts, seeds—get plenty of plant-based proteins, too. Have it with your meat so you get variety in the nutritional profile of your meal,” she says. “For myself, I’m active, I do an hour workout every day, so I try to get 90g total protein per day. I aim for 30g per meal, but no more than half comes from animal protein.”

3. Make it a side dish for salad

“I’m a huge advocate for salad,” Russo says. “ Obviously there are tons of nutrients in salad, plus you get water for hydration. When I have a salad or something light and crunchy in my meal, I feel like I won.”

For Russo, a perfect plate contains “50/50 animal/plant protein, lots of crunchy vegetables, avocado, and zucchini or eggplant. Or a dip, like baba ghanoush. Aim for a very diverse assortment of salad ingredients, and include what I call ‘booster foods,’ like ginger and lime, flavor components that are also really beneficial to our health.”

4. Explore your spice cabinet

Not only are spices super healthy, they also bring tons of flavor. Russo’s advice: “Always use at least 3 spices, plus salt. One is green herb (in the herbs de provence family), one is red (paprika or chili powder), and one is white (onion or garlic powder).” Rather than feeling like you have to have a recipe, “be confident and fearless,” she says. “Open up your cabinet, see what you have and use it.”

In case you do want a recipe, Russo offered the two below.

Ginger Steak Salad with Cold-Brew Vinaigrette

CleanPlates.com

  • Serves: 2
  • Total Time:45 minutes
  • Active Time:30 minutes

Healthy beef

Ingredients

  • For Steak:

  • ½ cup low-sodium tamari
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ½ cup cold-brew concentrate (such as Chameleon)
  • 1 8-oz. grass-fed sirloin steak
  • For Salad:

  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 limes, juiced (¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup cold brew coffee concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped red kale
  • 1 cup chopped purple cabbage
  • 1 cup chopped green cabbage
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots
  • 2 to 3 red radishes, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds

Directions

  1. Marinate steak: In a large bowl, whisk together tamari, salt, ginger, lime juice and cold brew concentrate. Pat steak dry thoroughly and place in marinade, turning over a few times to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, then let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make dressing: In a bowl, whisk together ginger, lime juice, cold brew concentrate and maple syrup. Whisking constantly, drizzle in oil until emulsified. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Make salad: In a large bowl, combine kale, both cabbages, carrots and radishes; toss.
  4. Cook steak: Preheat a large cast-iron (or regular) skillet over medium-high heat. When skillet is hot, put marinated steak on the skillet. Cook for 4 minutes on each side for medium rare, flipping only once. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Toss salad with a few tablespoons of dressing, then divide between 2 serving plates. Garnish with almonds. Slice steak against the grain, place on top of salad and serve.


Steak, Apple and Chard Salad with Green Tea Vinaigrette

CleanPlates.com

  • Serves: 2
  • Total Time:55 minutes
  • Active Time:20 minutes

Golden steak salad

Ingredients

  • For Steak:

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried mint
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 10-oz. New York strip steaks (1 ½ to 2 inches thick)
  • For Salad:

  • 2 teaspoons green tea leaves
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch red chard, thinly sliced and chopped
  • ½ apple, thinly sliced
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. In a small bowl, combine all steak seasonings (sea salt through white pepper), then add olive oil to create a paste. Pat steaks dry thoroughly, then rub paste mixture all over steaks. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make salad dressing: In a shallow bowl, whisk tea leaves, vinegar, honey, thyme and shallot. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in oil until emulsified. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  3. When pan is hot, add steaks and cook until desired doneness, about 4 to 4 ½ minutes per side for medium (130 to 135ºF on a meat thermometer). Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Prepare salad: Toss chard, apple and red onion together in a large bowl. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of green tea vinaigrette and toss, adding more dressing if desired. Divide salad among 4 serving bowls. Slice steak, place on top of salad and serve, passing leftover dressing at the table.


BIO: Beth Lipton is a contributing editor at Clean Plates.

The post Pro Chef Tips for Enjoying Beef (the Healthy Way) appeared first on Clean Plates.

Emerging Hallmarks of Cancer – Cancer 13

In our last post, we detailed the 6 Hallmarks of Cancer originally described in 2001. In the 2011 update researchers added two ‘enabling characteristics’ and two ’emerging hallmarks’. The two enabling characteristics are not hallmarks, but enable the hallmarks to happen. The first one was ‘Genome instability and mutation’, which is kind of obvious. Since cancers have hundreds of mutations, it is self-evident that the genome must be able to mutate, and thus the genome has some inherent instability. This adds very little to the understanding of cancer. The second is ‘Tumor Promoting Inflammation’. It has long been recognized that all cancers have inflammatory cells within them. Since inflammation is a response to injury, this is an expected result of the body trying to rid itself of the cancer. Natural killer cells had been long described, which are immune cells patrolling around the blood trying to kill off cancer cells. However, newer research pointed to the fact that this inflammation was in many cases paradoxically doing the opposite – helping the tumor. While interesting, these two enabling characteristics shed little light unto how cancer originates and spreads.

In addition to these two enabling characteristic, two emerging hallmarks were added. The first ‘Evading Immune Destruction’ reflects the immune surveillance theory. Our immune system is always patrolling the blood and killing off micro metastatic cancers before they get established. Patients with immune deficiency, such as HIV or given immune suppressing drugs, like transplant recipients are much more likely to develop cancer. Again, interesting, but the description of these hallmarks sheds little light upon cancer’s origins. Cancer cells all just show the three basic characteristics we talked about previously:

  1. They grow (avoiding immune destruction falls here)
  2. They are immortal
  3. They move around (metastasize)

The other new hallmark is ‘Reprogramming Energy Metabolism’. This is fascinating. Under normal conditions, the cell generates energy through aerobic (meaning ‘with oxygen’) glycolysis. If oxygen is present, the mitochondrion of the cell generate energy in the form of ATP. Mitochondrion are organelles, which are like small organs of the cell that provide energy generation – the powerhouses of the cells. Using glucose, mitochondrion use oxygen to generate 36 ATP through a process called ‘oxidative phosphorylation’ or OxPhos. If there is no oxygen, this does not work. For example, if you are sprinting full out, you require a lot of energy in a short space of time. There is not enough oxygen to undergo the usual mitochondrial OxPhos. So instead, the cell uses anaerobic (without oxygen) glycolysis, which generates lactic acid, responsible for the familiar muscle burn upon heavy physical exertion. This creates energy in the absence of oxygen, but only generates 2 ATP per glucose molecule instead of 36. A reasonable tradeoff in the appropriate circumstance.

For every glucose molecule, you can generate 18 times more energy by using oxygen and mitochondrion. Cancer cells, almost universally, use the less efficient anaerobic pathway. In order to compensate for the lower efficiency of energy generation, cancer cells have much higher requirements for glucose and increase GLUT1 glucose transporters. This is the basis for the positron emission tomography (PET) scan for cancer. In this test, labeled glucose is injected into the body. Since cancer takes up glucose far more rapidly than normal cells, you can track the activity and location of cancers. This switch happens in every cancer, and is known as the Warburg Effect. At first glance, this represents an interesting paradox. Cancer, which is growing rapidly, should require more energy, so why would cancer deliberately choose the LESS effective pathway of energy generation? Stranger and stranger. We will consider this in much more detail in the future, because this is anomaly that must be explained. Yet this is utterly fascinating, because it is trying to explain the paradoxes that move science forward.

Modern cancer research had dismissed this unusual paradox by pretending it is some minor observation of minor importance. Yet, it is so unimportant that virtually every single cancer cell  of every type does this? Even though new cancers cells develop all the time, they all share this unusual characteristic. The 2011 update corrects this oversight by adding it to its rightful place as a Hallmark of Cancer.

Considering these 8 hallmarks and enabling characteristics, it is possible to look at the drugs/ treatments now being developed to attack cancer on all these fronts. Sounds and looks pretty impressive, and I would expect no less from the many, many billions of dollars poured into cancer research over the past few decades. The least they could do is generate some pretty pictures if they’re not going to produce any real clinical breakthroughs. Like tomorrow, the next breakthrough is always just around the corner, but never comes. Why? The problem is obvious once pointed out. We are attacking cancer’s strengths, not its weaknesses.

We’ve catalogued a number of features shared by most cancers. This is what cancer does better than any normal cell. And that’s what we’re going to attack. But isn’t this a recipe for a disaster? Consider this. I can easily beat Michael Jordan at his prime. I can easily beat Tiger Woods in his prime. I can easily beat Wayne Gretzky in his prime. Wow, you might think, this Dr. Fung guy is pretty deluded. Not at all. How do I do this? I don’t challenge them to basketball, golf or hockey. Instead I challenge them to a contest on medical physiology and then proceed to beat the pants off all three. I’d be an idiot to challenge Michael Jordan at basketball.

So let’s think about cancer. It grows and grows. That’s what it does better than anything we’ve ever known. So, we try to come up with a way to kill it. We use surgery, radiation and chemotherapy drugs (poisons). But cancer’s a survivor. It’s Wolverine of the X-men. You might want to kill him, but he’s more likely to kill you. Even as we use chemotherapy, for example, it may kill 99% of the cancer. But the 1% survive and become resistant to that particular drug. In the end, it’s marginally effective. Why would we challenge cancer at its strength? That’s challenging Michael Jordan to basketball. You’re an idiot if you think you’ll win.

So, next thing we know is that cancer mutates a lot. So we try to devise ways of trying to stop the mutations. Huh? Isn’t that challenging cancer at what it does best? Absolutely It’s challenging Tiger Woods to a game of golf. We also know that cancer can make new blood vessels. So we try to block it at it’s own game. Really? That’s challenging Wayne Gretzky to a game of hockey. Not fun. Indeed all the treatment pictured above suffer this same fatal mistake.

So is there no hope? Hardly. We just need to be smarter and understand cancer at a deeper level. The entire reasoning of cancer treatment is not much more sophisticated than caveman thinking. Grok see cancer grow. Grok kill cancer.

Well, let’s look at the hallmarks again:

  1. They grow.
  2. They are immortal.
  3. They move around.
  4. They deliberately use a less efficient method of energy extraction.

Huh? One of these does not fit with everything else. Cancer is growing all the time. This will require a lot of energy and cancer would be expected to use its mitochondrion to generate lots of energy per glucose molecule. But it does not. Almost every cancer instead chooses to use the less effective energy pathway even though there is plenty of oxygen around. That’s bizarre. Instead of using oxygen efficiently, cancer cells chose to burn glucose using fermentation.  Suppose you were building a fast car. You make it sleek, low to the ground and put a spoiler on the back. Then you take out the 600 horsepower motor and put in a 9 horsepower lawnmower engine. Huh? It’s bizarre. Why would cancer do the same? And it was no coincidence. Virtually every cancer does this. Whatever the reason, it is critical to cancer’s origin.

This is not a new discovery. Otto Warburg, the 1931 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology, had studied the energy metabolism of normal cells and cancer extensively. He wrote “Cancer, above all other diseases, has countless secondary causes. But, even for cancer, there is only one prime cause. Summarized in a few words, the prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar.” 

The Warburg Effect. Now we’re starting to get somewhere. To truly defeat your enemy, you must know them.

 

The post Emerging Hallmarks of Cancer – Cancer 13 appeared first on Intensive Dietary Management (IDM).

What Foods are High in Lysine & Low in Arginine?

Lysine is an essential amino acid responsible for the formation of collagen, regulation of cholesterol, growth and development, and calcium absorption. On the other hand, arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid that supports the function of the immune system, healing of wounds and secretion of hormones. Widely available in certain foods, you’ll find lysine […]

What Foods are High in Lysine & Low in Arginine? is available on: Wellness Geeky Website

What Foods are High in Lysine & Low in Arginine? syndicated from http://wellnessgeeky.blogspot.com/

Whole Foods Bone Broth: What to Look for in a Premade Brand

When you’re having a busy week, it can be difficult to find the time to prepare a batch of homemade bone broth. Or—if you share the same struggle as many of us—it’s not only time that’s the issue, but sourcing high quality, collagen-rich bones and connective tissue.

So, you take a trip down to your local Whole Foods Market to buy some pre-made bone broth. And when you get to the soup and stock aisle, you find there’s not one, but several different types of prepared bone broth to choose from. And they all look similar. How do you know which one is best? Is there a difference between brands? Our friend Thomas DeLauer, a celebrity trainer and health writer shares his three tips in the video below.

You may think that having bone broth in your diet—regardless of which brand or source it’s from—is better than having no bone broth at all. But there are a few things to look for when choosing a bone broth that make it worth your time and money.

What to Look for When You Shop for Bone Broth at Whole Foods

Whole Foods Labelled for Reuse

Step 1: Look for “Bone Broth” on the Label

When you go to Whole Foods, you’ll find bone broth, stock, and regular broth all in the same aisle. You want to make sure the label clearly states “bone broth.” Regular broth or stock isn’t made with slow-simmered bones, so it won’t contain collagen or gelatin. You’ll also want to make sure that chicken, beef, or turkey bones are listed under the ingredients.

Step 2:  Is the Bone Broth Made with Slow-Simmered Organic Chicken Bones or Grass-fed, Grass-finished Beef Bones?

Grass Fed

You’ve heard the saying you are what you eat. But you’re also what the foods you eat ate. In other words, if your bone broth is made with the bones and tissue of animals that had been treated with hormones and antibiotics, you’ll be ingesting those chemicals, too, and they take away from the healing potential of the broth.

If you’re looking for beef bone broth, you’ll also want to check that, in addition to being grass-fed, the cattle were also grass-finished. This ensures they ate a grass diet  throughout their entire life span, which means their bones are going to be much higher in anti-inflammatory Omega 3 essential fatty acids than cattle that were also fed a mixture of soy and corn.

Many people aren’t aware that “grass-fed” beef is an unregulated term, and it can mean that the animal was raised for the first few months on a grass diet and then fed soy and corn in their its years. Since corn and soy are higher in pro-inflammatory Omega 6’s, this makes a huge difference in the Omega 3:6 ratio and the nutritional value of the bones.

Let’s not forget that soy and corn aren’t natural foods for cattle to be eating. This wreaks havoc on their digestive systems, which results in more antibiotics to keep them healthy enough to make it to slaughter.

As we like to say, killer bones make killer broth. The first thing to look for in a quality bone broth is that it’s made with organic animal bones, such as chicken bones or grass-fed, grass-finished beef bones.

bone broth

Always make sure your bone broth lists “bones” on the label. Otherwise, it’s most likely a regular chicken broth, and it won’t contain the powerful nutrients from the bone marrow, such as collagen, immune-boosting alkylglycerols, or Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Put simply: if you don’t have bones, you won’t receive the benefits.

The higher an ingredient is on the label, the more prevalent it is. Ideally, a high-quality bone broth will list chicken or beef bones as a first or second ingredient, next to water.

Next, the slow simmer time.

The bones in any bone broth should be slow simmered for at least 10 hours to ensure the collagen, minerals, amino acids, and healing compounds, such as hyaluronic acid and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), get released from the bones and make their way into your broth. Collagen takes approximately 8-10 hours to be released from the bones, so the slow simmer time is crucial.

Most bone broth brands have “slow-simmered” on their labels, but if they don’t specify an exact length of time (a minimum of 8 hours), it’s important to check for this information online.

A high quality bone broth should also list an acid such as apple cider vinegar or acetic acid on the label. This helps extract all the minerals (such as phosphorus and magnesium) from the bones during the slow simmer time, so that your body can easily absorb them.

Step 3: Does It Contain Additives or Preservatives?

Next up: additives and preservatives. When you make a traditional bone broth at home, you’ll probably add herbs, vegetables, spices, apple cider vinegar (or another acid to help with nutrient extraction), and maybe a dash of sea salt and pepper—and that’s it. Simple, right?

A high quality bone broth will be a pure bone broth, just like Granny made it—without additives and preservatives. And yes, this is possible for shelf-stable broths. (The secret lies within the packaging equipment.)

For example, some of the top-selling bone broth protein powder products in 2017 (not to be confused with premade fresh or frozen bone broth) tested positive for chemical additives, heavy metals, and other carcinogens. Of course, you’ll never find these additives listed on a food label—but it’s worth mentioning, as you’re more likely to ingest chemical additives with powdered food products than when you consume them in their whole form.

However, this isn’t to say premade liquid bone broths are guaranteed to be free from additives and preservatives. Some have been found to contain yeast extract or lactic acid. While neither of these are synthetically derived, some people are sensitive to yeast.

Step 4: Is It Made with Organic Ingredients?

Organic Veggies

Most bone broth recipes will contain vegetables, apple cider vinegar, herbs, and spices. Ideally, all of these ingredients will be certified organic to avoid ingesting pesticides.

Step 5: Is It Ready to Drink?

There are a few different forms of bone broth you can buy. If you hit up the frozen section or the broth and stock aisle in the grocery store, you’ll find liquid bone broth, and you may also find a bone broth protein powder, bone broth capsules, or a bone broth concentrate.

Call us old-fashioned, but we believe the best way to get nutrition from a bone broth is by drinking it in its whole, unprocessed form.

Step 6: Is the Packaging Recyclable?

One of the great things about drinking bone broth is that we consume the parts of an animal that would otherwise go to waste. And once the nutrients are extracted from the bones, they can be composted. Ideally, we can continue reducing the amount of waste we produce by choosing products that are packaged in 100% recyclable materials.

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3 Simple Hacks for Better Sleep

By Carly Stein

Sleep: You know it’s a super-important component of wellness, affecting everything from heart health to immunity to weight and mood. And yet, more than a third of American adults don’t get enough. Obviously it’s not as simple as, “Just go to sleep,” because then everyone would do it. Here are some simple techniques to help you get the all-important zzz’s your body craves.

1. Go dark

Throw away your Hello Kitty nightlight (sorry). When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, complete darkness is essential. The body’s sleep-wake cycle operates through a mechanism called circadian rhythm, an internal alarm clock that controls when you wake up and when you fall asleep. Your circadian rhythm is regulated by light; when it’s light out, the receptors in our eyes see that and initiate a surge of hormones to wake us up. On the flipside, when the sun sets, our bodies begin a similar process, but with different hormones that help us shut down. When you crawl into bed with the TV on, or holding your phone or tablet, or with the glare from a streetlight outside your window, the light throws off your body’s natural shutdown response.

How to do it: Go to sleep in a dark place. That means—yes—shutting off the TV and other devices (or, at the very least, wearing blue-light-blocking glasses, like these or these). If light comes in through your window, invest in blackout curtains.

2. Chill out

Love to curl up under a nice, warm blanket in a chilly room? Of course you do: Our bodies get much better sleep this way. Our body temperatures naturally cool down in the evening to help bring on sleep, and going to bed in a cooler room can help bring on the zzz’s.

How to do it: Set the temp in your bedroom between 60 and 67ºF. Do it a few hours before bedtime so it’s already cool in there when you get into bed.

3. Grab a spoon…

Honey for sleep

…and some raw honey. Have you ever abruptly woken up in the middle of the night feeling hungry or just uncomfortable? It may have been your brain signaling that you needed more fuel. The level of blood sugar that fuels your brain is sustained by a compound made up of long chains of glucose called glycogen. During sleep you’re not consuming anything, so your body begins to tap into the glycogen stores in your liver to maintain blood sugar levels. A tablespoon of raw honey before bed can keep the liver’s supply up so the brain doesn’t panic and wake you up. Another reason that a spoonful of honey may help you sleep is that it encourages the release of an amino acid called tryptophan in the brain, which a natural sleep promoter.

 

BIO: Carly Stein is the founder and CEO of Beekeeper’s Naturals, which is focused on superfoods from the hive and dedicated to saving the bees. Carly is committed to using her company as a platform to raise funding for the bee cause and promoting sustainable practices.

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