Feel-good Friday: Road Trip

Have Van, Will

This had to be one of the more pleasurable road trips I can remember ever having taken from Palm Springs to Vancouver.   

Normally once the decision is made to drive back, we’re anxious to get going and get home as quickly as possible.  Even though you can make the trip in two days we never have.  The norm is a three night hotel stay.  But this time we took a few extra days to take it easy (vacation from vacation?) and explore uncharted territory (read wineries & hotels).

The Dancing Fox in Lodi

Delicato Winery in Lodi with Cher & Jack.  He didn’t like the wine.  And here we look like lumberjacks.

After the first night in Fresno we drove to the cute little town of Lodi for wine tasting and lunch with friends who were also making the trek back to Vancouver in their own truck with their own dog. We stayed close and on their excellent recommendation we stayed at the Gaia Hotel & Spa just outside Redding Ca. by the Sacramento River.  It was very relaxing with great service, a good restaurant and waterfalls. 

The next day we went to the picture perfect artistic little city of Ashland, Oregon for lunch.

Lunch at Louie’s sitting outside by the Ashland Creek.

After spending the evening at a hotel in Salem, Oregon we decided to part ways with our friends because we wanted to check out a rescue dog in the area – a 7 yr. old female sheltie.  Though we never ended up meeting the dog as the lady who had her decided to keep her. I thought it would be a nice idea to get a female to mix with the males but since it never happened – maybe it’s better for both parties.  In the end I only want what’s best for the dog.

So we ended up having lunch at the Willamette Valley Vineyard instead which was amazing. Our charming server Robert looked after us very well.

Willamette Valley  on an overcast day

I had a few good flights to make the road trip easier (happier?)

Lastly, when we were only a few hours away from our destination we decided to spend two nights in a downtown hotel in Seattle and visit with old friends who used to live next door to us in Toronto.  There we used to have dinner parties, always kept in touch and luckily they moved closer to us, to Seattle, Wa. Yay! We have stayed in a guest bedroom before but they have two cats and we have two dogs.

With Miranda who cooked us a delicious dinner while her husband Dave went to get a 2003 Tuscan red from his wine cellar

King Arthur or Merlyn (I can never tell which is which)

They love their hotel sleeps

Why even bother making the bed??

You know the road trip back will ultimately lead you home, but you never know where the road in between will take you.  Writer Henry Miller once said “one’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

 

 

Somewhere under the Rainbow, way below…there are cows.

And it’s always an adventure to see new things as well as check in with old friends and find out that everything and nothing has changed since you last saw them.

Le Panier at Pike Place Market is a must for pastries, or bread, or sandwiches, or…pretty much anything

Sweet!

Photos: d. king

Health and Happiness

I’m so happy to be reporting again about happiness and health going hand in hand.  It’s really everything you need to live a good life.  And it’s always timely because…health2

Good health and happiness: to achieve one, you need the other, but bumps along the journey can get in the way of our goals.

“Without good health it’s hard to be happy,” says Michelle W. Book, holistic nutritionist for the Canadian Health Food Association.  “Focusing on a few key pillars can make all the difference.”

Understanding your nutritional needs is for everyone to consider, not only Canadians.

Ideally, we’d all be eating balanced meals rich with nutritious, organic foods.  Reality is, many people often eat convenience foods because of their busy lives or treat “cheat days” too kindly.  As a result, they aren’t getting the necessary nutrients.

Most of us don’t consume enough minerals like magnesium, calcium or potassium, and fail to get enough vitamin D and fibre in their diets.

Strengthen your immune system

Getting sick is the worst.  Sickness motivates an entire pathway inside our bodies that can lead to something called “sickness behaviour.”  This can lead to confusion, lethargy, social withdrawal, anxiety and depression, the result of our immune system cells releasing tiny chemicals, called cytokines, which impact the way our brain sends signals and can slow us down and depress our mood.  Keeping our immune system in good working order can help to reduce the severity and duration of illness.  A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help as taking a good multi-vitamin to fill in the nutritional gaps.

Keep Stress at Bay

Stress increases our need for nutrients.  Heightened stress increases the breakdown of carbohydrates and protein, which rely on Vitamin C and B to be broken down, meaning you use up your store of these nutrients more quickly.  Finding time to eat a healthy, balance diet when you’re stressed can often be difficult.  When dealing with stress, it’s important to ensure your body’s mineral needs are met.  High stress levels deplete the magnesium in the body, which can result in a “downward spiral” in one’s ability to cope with stress.  Mineral supplementation, including magnesium and zinc, may improve psychological measures of anxiety or stress.

Here are a few other foods you may want to consider to improve your immune health:

Nuts: Include nuts in your diet, which provide you with a perfect blend of immune-boosting nutrients, including protein, vitamin E, zinc and selenium. Cashews and pecans in particular are some of the higher nut-based zinc sources, while Brazil nuts are high in selenium.

Kimchi: This fermented cabbage dish from Korea is rich in vitamins C and E, carotenoids, and antioxidant enzymes. It’s also a healthy whole-food source of probiotics, the good gut bacteria that keep your immune system in check.

Garlic: This member of the allium family has been shown to reduce cold symptoms and improve immune cell activity.

Probiotic supplements: Lactobacillus probiotics in particular have been shown to improve the immune systems of both our gut and our entire body.

Mushrooms: Reishi mushroom extracts contain bioactive compounds called “lectins” that increase the activity of our white blood cells.

And Mindfulness is of growing importance:health3

A nasty unexpected virus attacked me while traveling which was of major concern.  I don’t know where it came from and don’t remember ever having taken antibiotics before but I was willing to do whatever it took to get rid of it, or discontinue the trip and go back home. I felt like the worse version of myself. Anyway, the reality is that while it took at least one week to clear up and feel almost back to normal, the worst part lasted for only two days. Not bad considering.  I can only attribute it to an overall healthier way of living.  Granted I did get sick in the first place but I guess it could have lasted a lot longer. I suppose you can call it being more mindful in general. So I’m right on trend.

A growing trend to de-stress is practicing mindfulness. There’s research connecting the benefits of stress reduction through practicing mindfulness with the health of our immune system. Practicing mindfulness has a number of positive impacts on the immune system, including reducing inflammation markers and stress hormones, and has also been shown to increase some immune cells and improve activity in the areas of the brain responsible for coordinating the immune system.

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” ~Sharon Salzberg

Incorporating mindfulness into your lifestyle can actually help to minimize the occurrence, length and severity of the flu or common cold. Some aspects of mindfulness can be simple to include in your everyday routine, such as paying attention to your breathing, tuning into your body’s physical sensations and practicing mindful meditation.healthy1

I like this quote:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

Source: Canadian Health Food Association