Written by Joule Health + Wellness Nutrition Intern Jamie Dimond
Spring is in full bloom in Portland as we adjust to the oddities which are slowly becoming our new, temporary normal. Finding practices that bring joy and peace is important for our overall health & wellness and can help keep our stress levels down, improve our sleep, and boost our mood which in turn improves our relationships to others as well as with ourselves. With the immense amount of uncertainty, stress, and chaos we've witnessed around us over the last few months, we put together a list of the Joule Health and Wellness team’s favorite practices or activities that bring joy and peace amongst the chaos. Whether from your home, backyard or in one of Portland’s many parks (that thankfully remain open), our hope is that we can cultivate a new way to bring balance and connectivity to your life. Always, stay safe, be well and we will see you soon!
G R O U N D I N G
Being outside, breathing in the fresh air and feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin. Just imagining myself amongst tall trees and away from the bustle of the city washes a sense of relief over me. We do not always have the option to pack up the car and explore the vast wilderness which surrounds us in almost every direction. But here is a thought, what if you could reap the benefits of a quiet nature hike in your own backyard or city park? It’s as easy as taking off your shoes. Grounding, or earthing, is the practice of reconnecting with the earth, quite literally. Have you ever arrived at the beach or to your favorite park, taken off your shoes and suddenly felt an immense sense of calm? Research shows that this may not simply be due to your pleasant surroundings but be a result of your physical connectivity to the earth. Dubbed “electric nutrition”, the practice of grounding may have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects thanks to its ability to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. When your skin touches the earth, you begin to absorb its free electrons, with the potential to restore, revitalize and normalize many of the bioelectric systems present in the human body (1). Many practitioners recommend 30-40 minutes of grounding per day for pain relief and stress reduction. Though, we say you have absolutely nothing to lose, so walk to the mailbox shoeless, sprawl out on the grass at Grant Park or stand barefoot on NE 46th’s curb strip while you wait for your Joule pick-up order. Even a short amount of grounding is better than none at all!
F E R M E N T I N G
Typically I have much of the month ahead planned out to a Tee. Having things to look forward to keeps me rolling through the work weeks; a show at Doug Fir, a weekend trip to Bend or dinner at the new spot down the street. Over the past few months, as all future plans came to a crippling standstill I have had to find alternative things to look forward to. In a very Joule-esque fashion, I found myself more than once, wrist deep in a large bowl of sliced cabbage. Fermentation projects are always a good idea, though it feels more intuitive and natural now more than ever; preserving produce at its peak nutrient density, creating new funky flavors and fostering colonies of gut-loving and immune boosting microbes. After placing the jar of gingery purple cabbage in the corner of my kitchen to rest, I scribble “check sauerkraut” in my agenda. I peek at it ever so often, especially when I catch a whiff of its funky goodness, but I sure am looking forward to our plans in two weeks (dollaped on buckwheat avocado toast and packed into an oxtail taco)!
First time home fermenter? Need not be afraid, the interweb is here to help you and it is surprisingly simple! Check out this Joule approved recipe or this step-by-step. Be sure to get some of the good bugs while you are waiting for your ferments to funkify, pick up a jar of fermented hot sauce or kimchi from Joule, made with love by the fermentista herself, Marne!
S U N R I S E , S U N S E T
There is something extremely meditative about watching the sunrise in the morning and fall in the evening. The increasingly clear skies in Portland have led to some spectacular color shows. For most, waking up before the sun will not sound like a joy sparking practice. However, rising with the sun can help set our circadian rhythms. Everything from our phones, artificial light and timing of our meals can throw off the balance of our natural clocks. Our current work schedules and living situations do not allow us to wake and rest with natural light. Though there are still many benefits of simply admiring the occasional golden sky. Admiring natural beauty may increase overall wellbeing, generosity and enhance life satisfaction (2). Understandably so, as watching the sky allows us to press pause and slow down. We recommend watching the sky change colors at the end of your day with minimal technology, a few deep belly breaths and ample snacks (hello Joule Roast Beef Sandwich for two)!
S P R O U T I N G
Spring and sprouts go together like sunflower butter and elderberry jam. Growing sprouts is like cultivating a mason jar sized vegetable garden in your kitchen. Seeds just need a little encouragement and love in order to burst into tasty, leafy microgreens ready to be gobbled up. Each sprout is packed with even more of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that their grown up counterparts contain. For example, broccoli sprouts contain a concentrated amount of isothiocyanates, a powerful phytochemical known for its anticancer properties (3). Growing sprouts at home is affordable and extremely easy! Seeds are placed in a mason jar topped with a sprouting lid or other DIY option (you can use screen or cloth). Rinse and drain the seeds multiple times a day while protecting them from bright light. Check out this detailed blog post for full instructions and troubleshooting. A fun and nutrition packed activity for kiddos and adults alike!
2. Zhang JW, Howell RT, Iyer R. Engagement with natural beauty moderates the positive relation between connectedness with nature and psychological well-being. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 2014;38:55-63. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2013.12.013
Photo #1 by Taylor Davis @tayloraarondavis