Stop the Worry Train!


train with OBW

“Do I need to see a doctor?”
“Am I spending enough time with my family?”
“What is the point of everyday life?”
“Should I have a baby?”
“How can I make the world better?”
“Do I spend too much money/not save enough?”
“Am I getting paranoid?”

These thoughts can run circles through our minds at night, precisely when we are trying to settle down to grab a few hours of sleep before the next day begins. They also pop in during our daytime hours as we experience a bit of anxiety around whether we misspoke in our meeting, didn’t perform well enough during a presentation, or wonder if our health is failing us. Worrying may seem to provide some benefit as they bring some mindfulness back to an issue we may want to resolve, but most of the time anxious thoughts do not make our lives better – they are counter-productive and drain our energy.

So unless worrying about the leaking roof results in the action of calling the repairman, it is essentially just a sticky, negative thought loop that generally begets more of itself. Of course, fear is the parent of worry and these two emotions can cause all sorts of issues, ranging from insomnia and digestive issues to tense shoulders and lower immunity.

“Don’t worry, be happy,” Bobby McFerrin advises in a song; people may tell us to ‘lighten up’…but it may not be that simple. As with cravings, sometimes the best way to address worries is to first understand them and then change the way they affect you. Start here and see which situation(s) apply to you:

1. Worrying as a means to Control. Sometimes we believe that ruminating enough about something will help us prevent it or control the outcome. Anxious thinking about the future – 7 months or 7 years into the future – about the potential housing market or where your kids will go to college doesn’t help you in the now nor will it assist you in the future.  The unknown can be scary and life is constantly changing; by embracing, rather than resisting it, you can cultivate more inner peace. Many traditions, including yoga and Buddhism, urge a focus on the absolute present – the moment we have right now – and to bring our attention and energy to it. Give it a try:  look at the colors and textures of items at your desk or down the hall. Take a 5-minute walk outside and notice the sounds and scents of nature.  Embrace the flow of life and your place within it.

2. Fortune-telling. Worrying isn’t a special ability that enables the affected individual to gain some esoteric insight into the future. Some believe that worrying thoughts portend the future and they acknowledge this ‘information’ as a high-level threat. “I might lose my job. I might get divorced. Does this repair signal that my car is breaking down?” Some would say that if you are constantly thinking about how your boss doesn’t think you’re a great employee, or you’re always worried about the state of your marriage …you may bring these worries to fruition.

Also, there’s a notable difference between intuition and worrying. If you’re on a meeting with a new associate and feeling uncomfortable because they give you the creeps, that’s your gut. If you’re feeling uncomfortable because you see them as competition for your job, that’s worry. Just remember intuition starts as a gut feeling which can help provide clarity or insight whereas worrying starts as an idea that often stems from anxiety and/or fear.

Distinguishing between productive and unproductive worry, with regard to the future, is important. If you’re worried about having enough money at retirement or whether you’ll develop type II diabetes, this could goad you into creating a budget, speaking with a financial consultant or reducing sugar intake and getting some labs drawn. Unproductive worry can manifest as thoughts about whether people will show up for your presentation or whether Aunt Edith will like your version of mashed sweet potatoes. The difference is understanding what is within your control and what isn’t. A good practice for this is writing down your worries and then seeing what you can do about them. For some you could make a note next to them – set an appointment with a doctor, look through your financial records, see a marriage counselor, or have a lower-sugar breakfast. For others on the list where there isn’t an action step, cross them off as they are typically areas outside of your control which are creating needless anxiety.

3. Http://world-wide-worries. Perhaps terrorist attacks, colony-collapse disorder, GMOs, global warming, and other such maladies are on your mind and causing you nervous energy. While it is wise to be concerned about the the state of the planet and humanity, these worries could go on forever. Constant guilt about the plastic packaging brought into the home or giving up on the purchase of a new lawnmower because of global warming, may not help (the latter will likely earn you a fine from the city). Suffice to say, worrying about the planet isn’t going to help, but supporting the causes most important to you can help create productive action out of that worry. You can choose to modify your buying habits, write letters to officials, grow a garden, volunteer at a food pantry, and join local activist groups. Taking action can be the best anti-dote for these worries.

4. Existential anxieties. These can cover a breadth and depth of anxious thoughts that put the other forms of worrying to shame. Lying awake at night with haunting thoughts about whether or not you have a soul, the point of everyday life, or why you (or any of us) are here may cause restlessness instead of sleep. These thoughts are great for intellectual discourse and for helping you clarify your own beliefs, but if they over-shadow your ‘smaller’ worries (i.e. showering, paying bills, or showing up to work), the latter will become much bigger, very quickly. In a sense, are lucky to be living in one of the periods in human history where we have both time and resources to spend on philosophical ponderings. Not too long ago, many people were not able to read, write, or discuss philosophical ideas when the priority was either finding dinner or not becoming dinner. For this type of worrying, consider taking a philosophy class, reading a book, or attending a small-group meeting in order to discuss these ideas and then release the overwhelming worry.

5. Over-analysis and Ruminating. This worrying takes form as a never-ending carousel ride of thoughts where you just can’t seem to jump off. Running conversations or events on repeat and pulling them apart and analyzing every word and action is rather fruitless. Moreso, it usually just breeds regret of wishing the situation had been different. Unless you’ve taken a quick lesson from poor behavior or word choice, worrying about the past only impinges on your present and your future.

Also, it’s easy to engage in negative self-talk during this type of worrying. Notice your internal dialogue: “I can’t believe I said something so stupid. I always do that” or any other thoughts of self-doubt can be part of the worrying issue. One idea for ruminators is to journal about what happened, what you did, and what you learned and will do differently in the future. Be mindful of negative words you’ve used – “always, never, should, can’t”- and replace them with more positive ones – “will try, prefer not, will choose to.” This allows reliving the experience to gain wisdom and then to close the chapter.

In short, if you identify with one or more of these ‘worrier’ scenarios, remember that action is a productive use of worry, not constantly ruminating and causing additional anxiety. Remember to keep a healthy perspective on life’s flow, engage in relaxing activities, challenge your thoughts, and most of all, perhaps find a bit of gratitude in the process. Happy Thanksgiving!



Recipe: Celebrity Couple! Choco-cado Cookies


When celebrities get together, the press loves to dub them with a cute and catchy portmanteau; Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s ‘Brangelina’ being one of the most well-known. Well they need to move over because chocolate and avocado or ‘Choco-cado’ have once again proven themselves a yummy pairing, deserving of the spotlight. We’ve already seen them come together for a delectable pudding and we’re starting to think these two are suited for a long-term, possibly exclusive, relationship.

Do you know what this means? In less than 15 minutes, this recipe makes it possible to fully enjoy some dark, rich cacao along with some creamy, (healthy) fatty avocado in a fudgy cookie form. It doesn’t even have flour!

“Incroyable!” say the French readers. “Ausgezeichnet!” say the Germans. And you? Well, you may have your mouth too full of cookies to exclaim anything. That’s okay, we can all envision the look of bliss crossing your face.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Prep time: < 5 minutes
Baking time: about 8-10 minutes

  • 1/2 cup dark cacao or cocoa powder (we used Nativas Naturals cacao powder)
  • 2/3 cup ripened avocado flesh, mashed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut sugar, depending on your desired sweetness
  • 2/3 of bar dark chocolate, cut into small chunks (we used a chocolate bar with 88% cocoa content)
  • 1 egg (or 1 tbsp ground flaxseed and 2.5 tbsp water mixed together as vegan egg-less option)
  • ½ tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°. With a hand mixer/food processor/vivacious Vitamix blend avocado and coconut sugar, then egg. Add cacao powder and baking soda to mix and then stir in dark chocolate chunks. Try not to salivate over the bowl. Use coconut oil to grease baking pan; dollop cookie dough mix on pan and flatten with spoon. Bake for 8-10 minutes and then cool them down; unlike most cookies, these taste better after 30 minutes or so in the fridge. Makes 10-12 cookies.

P.S. Not gonna lie, we made these babies into ice cream (dairy-free) sandwiches. More on that later :)

An Experiment in Early Rising & Exercise

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Waking up early is tough. Finding time to workout is even tougher.

For most of us, arranging time for a workout is even more of a challenge than the exercise itself. Along with pulling ourselves out of bed, working hard all day, and either making dinner, taking children to activities, grocery shopping, paying bills, or may even relaxing for once…..where does the time go? Certainly, as the day progresses, we realize working out simply isn’t in the cards. Then we feel the guilt and shame as we say to ourselves, ‘well, maybe tomorrow’.

During an early morning sweat-fest, a hot yoga studio instructor shared this maxim: “at 6 A.M., the only obstacle standing between me and my workout is ME; by 6 P.M. all sorts of obstacles exist to prevent me from working out.” Truer words may have never been spoken.

With repeated exposure to articles and TED Talks touting the benefits of waking early to exercise as one of the activities successful, productive people do, a couple of us here decided to try an experiment. We committed ourselves to waking up before dawn and working out before our day started – all in the name of science.

To be honest, we’ve long envied those dedicated individuals who wake up and engage in an intense sweat session, shower, eat a healthy breakfast, meditate and then start their workday, refreshed and ready to pounce on their assignments. Who WERE these people anyway? And….would we feel the same?

For the sake of testing the ‘early bird catches the worm’ hypothesis, we will do this – for you, our dear readers – following the scientific method. Just for fun.


Are people who wake up early fitter, happier, more productive and successful? What factors play into such aspects? How will waking up early impact energy and focus throughout the day?

Background Research

According to an article on Forbes, early rising is a trait associated with CEOs, political heavyweights, and other influential people. So we have some correlation here….not causation.

Some argue that if you get the same amount of sleep you would waking early versus later on, there’s no difference in productivity. There are a number of successful political figures, philosophical writers, psychologists, and inventors who were night owls. According to Russel Foster during his TED Talk on “Why do we Sleep,” he says ‘early to bed, early to rise…’ is a myth.

With regard to exercise, it seems as though early morning workouts may present some advantages, including having more focus during the rest of the day, using natural daily hormone cycles to your advantage, boosting your metabolism, and being less likely to skip the workout later in the day.

Our Hypothesis

We suspect (and dread finding out) that the early risers do, in fact, have some advantages over those who prefer to wake up closer to sun-rise, including increased dedication to physical fitness and productivity.

Testing the Hypothesis by doing an Experiment

Well this is where the rubber meets the road. A couple of us here at One Bite made a pact to run ourselves through this experiment and so on a few dreary, dark mornings we somehow found ourselves inside of a boxing gym or hot yoga, slightly before 6am. Accountability partnering does amazing things.

Analyze Data and Draw a Conclusion

Our sample size is small and we have tested waking up at 5am and performing a 6am workout 3x in two weeks. We kept our environment and schedule as we normally would (no built-in nap times or ‘light’ workdays). Our observations:

  1. Getting enough sleep and having an accountability partner is key. Missing either one of these drastically reduces the possibility of an early morning workout.
  2. Focus and productivity (caffeine-free) ran us well into the early afternoon before sleepiness and lethargy stepped in.
  3. Feeling terrific and highly energetic until early afternoon
  4. Having workouts that were varied and that we looked forward to doing was important.

Share the Results

Will we be waking up at 5am everyday? Certainly not. Early rising requires early sleeping and it just feels plain lame to be going to bed by 9pm – not to mention that it hampers social activities and actively works against  night-owl tendencies. However, we discussed creating a compromise with our own natural cycles in mind and working with them for an earlier morning in general.

We cannot over-emphasize how happy and accomplished we felt with having completed a workout by 7am – this alone won out over the alternative of scheduling a later-day workout but having a higher risk of skipping it. By all means, if an early morning workout just isn’t for you, ensuring proper exercise during other times of the day is better than nothing.

What are your thoughts? Will you try the experiment for yourself?

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Southwestern Skillet

skillet obw
Smoothie. Oatmeal. Rinse & repeat. We know that breakfasts can get a bit repetitive and unimaginative so we’re going to shake it up with this inspired southwestern dish.

Whether you’re looking to fuel up for a busy day of hiking or for back-to-back meetings, this dish is a delicious & satisfying breakfast with great macronutrient content. Let the culinary adventure begin!

Servings: 2-4
Prep time: 15 minutes
2-3 medium sweet potatoes
1 can black beans
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp cumin
olive oil
sea salt & black pepper to taste

Cut sweet potatoes in 1/4 inch pieces. Chop red pepper and rinse canned black beans. Drizzle olive oil in a large pan and heat sweet potatoes on medium for 3-5 minutes, then add black beans, red pepper, and cumin. Add water to cover bottom of pan and cover to cook for about 30 minutes, stirring often.

We topped the skillet with a cooked egg and a few slices of avocado. Add fresh lime juice, hot sauce, or salsa for a unique meal that fits your needs.

The Truth about Organic Foods – Part II


Today we’ll be following up on our radio show and the previous blog on the topic of “The Truth about Organic Foods” with a focus on creating some action steps. 

Q: This is an overwhelming topic for many people. Where do you start if you just want to reduce unhealthy levels of toxins in your diet?

Being mindful is key. Start by observing (or write a list!) of all the ingredients you are consuming through food or absorbing through your skin. After a day of various meals and skincare products, you’ll have quite a few suspicious ingredients you may want to research and then remove.

Q: Should we grow our own fruits and vegetables when possible?

Most definitely! It’s cheaper, hyper-local, and helps people connect to their food more. Do it if you enjoy gardening and use or have good, healthy soil.

Q: What are some other tips for eating healthy on a budget?

Let’s first say that while pesticides aren’t good for anyone, if you’re a woman of childbearing age or have young children, taking steps to reduce your exposure is especially important. Ideally, all of the food you and your family eat would be organic, but not everyone has access to a wide variety of organic produce nor the funds. A way to save some money and still lower your risk is to focus on purchasing certain organic food, while “settling” for other items that are conventionally grown.

Animal products, like meat, butter, milk, and eggs, are actually the most important to buy organic, since animal products tend to accumulate toxins in their tissues (particularly their fat) from the pesticide-laden feed. This can cause the toxins to be in far higher concentrations than are typically present in ‘conventional’ vegetables. For those on a budget, choose organic animal foods first and then think of produce.

Speaking of produce, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 to see which foods are worth the extra dimes. Here are some other tips:

  • Eat seasonally and shop sales at the supermarket.
  • Consider buying in bulk. This is the only way we get out of Whole Foods, aka Whole Paycheck, with our retirement account still intact.
  • Eat actual whole food, buy less processed items. Standard carrots are typically less expensive than baby carrots and organic oatmeal is generally cheaper than organic oat cereal.
  • Consider it an investment in your future. Re-arrange your priorities – you may not need a new purse or an expensive car or clothes. Quality food is worth valuing and placing a higher priority on.

While conventionally grown foods may have a cheaper price-tag but it doesn’t show the TRUE COST of the product when it comes to our soil and water quality as well as our future health-care costs. Short-term, sure you save some money, but your’e potentially losing the long-term game here.

Q: What other resources can you share to help listeners make this easier?

To learn more about organic standards and more, check out National Agricultural Library of the USDA

Grab some non-GMO popcorn and settle in for a documentary! GMO OMG has been hanging out on Netflix and is an easier watch; Genetic Roulette has more scientific information.

Consider meeting your farmer to ensure the produce is grown, or animals raised, without pesticides and GMOs. Check out this national listing of farmers’ markets or Local Harvest.

Eat Well Guide – for a directory of restaurants, farms, CSAs and more.

Q: Any other thoughts to share?

Read food labels carefully. Remember that just because a food item is labeled as organic or including organic ingredients, it’s not necessarily healthy…organic creme-filled cookies are NOT a health food.

Washing fresh fruits and vegetables not only helps remove dirt and bacteria, but it can also reduce pesticide residues, though not all pesticide residues can be removed by washing. Remember that you can’t wash off glyphosate (it gets into every cell of the plant) nor can you wash off GENETIC Modification.

The maxim “ you are what you eat” encourages us to consider the impact that organic and GMO foods can have on our long-term health. Choose carefully- what you put in your mouth ultimately becomes your cells, tissues, and organs.

If you want a different health outcome, change your food. Everything else has a smaller effect. There’s a medical treatment for a bad diet but there’s no cure. Tweet this.

Overall, we want encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables, regardless of how they are produced. A GMO vegetable is still considered better than a processed, nutrient-poor food like Cheetos.

5 Fast Ways to De-stress

5 Fast ways to de-stress

Running late, getting stuck in traffic, an irritating headache, a conflict at work…all of this can cause us to feel stress. During these times, here are 5 quick methods to employ:

  1. Breathe – when under stress, we tend to forget to breathe and do so very shallowly. Whether you’re waiting for a web-page to load or are in a conversation with a co-worker or boss, remember to breathe deeply. Take 5 deep breaths right now.
  2. Re-hydrate – most people we’ve encountered are chronically mildly dehydrated. Grab a refreshing glass of water or hot peppermint tea to help rehydrate and have a better mindset.
  3. Walk – physically moving our bodies helps us connect better to them and can be very therapeutic. Stand up and take a 5 minute break to walk around the block or the office. If people who smoke can take a cigarette break, why can’t non-smokers take a ‘health break’?
  4. Connect + Laugh – call or text a trusted confidant or friend and share your concerns or annoyances. Perhaps he or she will be able to provide a bit of levity and help you release anxiety and worry. Also consider watching a short, funny video to reduce stress and remind yourself to relax.
  5. Organize and Manage Time – some stress can result from clutter, feeling overwhelmed, and lack of time management skills. One excellent anti-dote is to start getting organized by de-cluttering, building routines, creating a reasonable ‘to-do’ list, and delegating responsibilities.

Nutrigenomics – Science on your Side!


For most of our existence on this earth, humans have viewed food primarily as fuel. Over the past century, particularly after Upton’s Sinclair’s expose The Jungle was published, people have demanded that food be health-promoting and safe. Now we expect more from our food – to help us keep our cholesterol down, improve bone health, and even prevent certain diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Nutrigenomics is short for “nutritional genomics” and is a discipline that studies the interaction between our diet, genetics, and lifestyle choices

A discipline borne out of the Human Genome Project, nutrigenomics asserts:

  • A junk-filled, nutrient-less diet can be a factor for disease since dietary components can influence gene expression and structure
  • The degree to which diet can influence a person’s health and disease depends on their genetic make-up (some people who follow a ‘heart-healthy’ diet can reduce their cholesterol while others can eat fried and fatty foods and have normal cholesterol levels)
  • Genes can play a role in the onset, progression and severity of certain diseases but dietary recommendations can help prevent, mitigate, and potentially reverse disease

This is BIG NEWS, people! The field of nutrigenomics is still relatively new and while most healthcare professionals are teaching a model of health (usually with the food pyramid), there’s waaaay more to the equation of living balanced and healthy.

Ever wonder why some people with high-blood pressure respond well to a low-sodium diet while others don’t? Why some people develop macular degeneration, acne, depression, or diabetes even when living similar lifestyles to others? Why are some people able to drink coffee all day and sleep whereas others are so sensitive that a morning cup o’ joe can lead to insomnia? The answer may well be linked to one’s genes. 

If you experience or have a family history of skin issues (including acne and rashes), autism, ADHD, migraine, depression, anxiety and other psychological disturbances, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis), virtually all autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s and rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, diabetic complication, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimers, definitely consider how knowing your genetics could help prevent, ameliorate, or even reverse a health condition. A single defect in the enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, or MTHFR, can increase one’s risk of cardiovascular disease, impaired detoxification, decreased energy, and DNA repair. Wouldn’t it be great to have some personalized dietary & lifestyle recommendations from a qualified expert who can help you abate or prevent those conditions? 

We here at One Bite believe that nutrigenomics is a game changer. With this emergent technology, we can not only educate our clients on the components of building a healthier diet and lifestyle – it can be even more intricately tailored to each individual’s needs. 

We not only bring our stomachs to the dinner table, we bring our genes. Let’s learn how to feed ourselves properly.

Hungry to learn more? Come to our Nutrigenomics class this Thursday evening  or contact us for more information.