Blame it on the Alcohol?

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Image source: pixabay.com

Jamie Foxx’s song “Blame it” encourages blaming alcohol for all ruined relationships, unsafe situations, and perceived enhancement of other’s attractiveness. Outside of the many issues and poor decisions can that can result from a night of boozing, including a high credit card bill, higher risk for accidents, and even a 2am Taco Bell run…there are more. During Covid-19, some are hitting the wine and beer harder.

Let’s review the basics: alcohol interferes with communication between nerve cells and all other cells in the body. Moderation (the amount considered to not contribute to any major health concerns) for the average woman is defined by the CDC as not more than one drink per day and for the average man as not having more than two.

A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics asserts, “there has been an increase in the proportion of US adults who drink on any given day and an increase in calories consumed from alcoholic beverages when drinking occurs.”

What effect is this having on us from a weight loss perspective? Or a liver-health one?

Now we appreciate the humor some of you bring to our appointments:

“I think I’m drinking enough water. There’s water in beer, right?”

“I’m not too concerned. It’s called a liver, not a die-er”

“Wine-o? Maybe; I prefer ‘wine-yes'”

With alcoholic beverages being among the top five contributors to total caloric intake among US adults, this is something we need to talk about. But beyond calories, here are more reasons to explore your relationship with alcohol:

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Are you Kind?

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Since mid-spring, when feeling intrepid enough to head outdoors (usually still with a mask), we’ve found great fun in exploring little neighborhoods and parks within Columbus. On a recent walk, we found this sign and it has become an inspirational reflection point. It’s a great question to ask ourselves if we are kind, how we express it, and generate ideas of how we can further increase kindness in our communities and the world.

You First

Which brings in our next point, you can’t pour from an empty vessel. Like most things, change needs to start with us as individuals, within our homes, then expanding to our communities and causing a ripple-effect from there. If you think about the antonym of kindness, what is it? It’s not necessarily selfishness or arrogance, it’s meanness. Here’s the thing: if you bully yourself (see Are you a Mean Girl?), how could you possibly be nice to others from a well-spring of compassion and peace?

To neglect or express a rejection of one’s self while performing actions of kindness, usually leads to resentment while trying to people-please. Showing yourself some appreciation and renewing your self with sleep and nutritious food can better equip you to help take care of others.

Thought Action

Kindness starts with a thought and, ideally, ends with action. The action should flow naturally from the source, much like love expressed in words is sweet but is sweeter still when shown. Wishing that the world was kinder is a nice thought, but doing something to start little chain-reactions of kindness is better. Ask recipients of your kindness to ‘pay it forward’.

“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”- James 2:15-16. Translated into plain English, if you see someone in need and think or say to them “I hope you get the help you need” without endeavoring to provide any assistance, what’s the point? and his brother John provides the bottom-line:

“Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” – 1 John 3:18

Ready for Kindness-in-Action?

Be creative in your kindness! Sure, you could buy coffee for the people behind you in the Starbucks drive-thru but let’s dream beyond that.

Quarantine has afforded us time to take closer looks at the possessions within our four walls. Choose something to give away that you no longer need nor want, but that could help another. Shelters routinely need toiletries, combs and brushes, bottled water, twin bed sheets, towels, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, and new underwear and socks. Animal shelters could use food, towels, toys, and more. What is extra for you may be essential to someone else.

Volunteer and offer a skill or service free-of-charge. Offer babysitting or to help home-school kids in the neighborhood. Maybe you’re great at graphic design and can help someone starting their new business. If you are a mechanic, offer your assistance. Volunteer an hour of time, or an afternoon, to a food pantry or soup kitchen. Handy with tools? Build something and donate it. Guess what? Even self-quarantining with Netflix binges, you can serve the greater good when you knit or crochet blankets for premature or stillborn babies.

If you’re on a budget, there are still plenty of ideas you could employ. Leaving a positive note or a review for a restaurant or small business can help them out. Let a family with small children go before you in line at the grocery. Beyond saying “hi” and our cursory interactions with others, take time and genuinely ask someone about their day; they are typically grateful that someone expressed an interest in their lives and well-being. Find a cause you’d like to support and take part in their upcoming charity race. Offer an intrinsic “your dedicated hard-work made this project look great” or extrinsic (e.g. “I love your shoes”) compliment to brighten someone’s day. Some say food is love; making a meal for your family, partner, or roommate can remove a task from their list and create positive feelings all-around. 

Remember, your small act of kindness can have a phenomenal ripple-effect. Big or small, what is one action you can take today to change your life and possibly the world?

Reward ≠ Food

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Patient and client conversations can be a rich source of writing inspiration to address common concerns. As we discuss new changes, cravings, accomplishments and challenges, ideas start to percolate as we work together to find the best solution for the individual. If the same issue is mentioned by different individuals more than three times in relatively short succession, we can almost *feel* the universe tapping on our shoulder.

The latest recurrent theme among us all seems to be regarding emotional eating, over-eating, and reward-eating.

Let’s break this last one down. Why would we associate certain foods with a reward?

    • With thousands of years of evolution working for (or against) us, humans naturally crave sweet flavor. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors would get a little *ping* of dopamine by eating berries and other naturally sweet substances. The brain would reward eating this food, which some argue helped our ancestors survive by promoting fat storage to see them through the leaner times. This survival mechanism is all but unnecessary during the times in which we live, with plentiful food stores and sedentary lifestyles (when was the last time we burnt 2000+ calories a day hunting down buffalo?).
    • An ostensible lack of other options or ideas for rewarding ourselves. We’ve leaned on food to give ourselves a pat on the back after a hard day in the office, for finishing a big project, or to relax after a full day with the kids finally in bed. After many years of this, we may have forgotten how to celebrate our accomplishments without cake, doughnuts, french fries, or chips.

After the sleeve of cookies is finished, there can be a poignant anxiety that settles in. Guilt and shame follow soon after and we feel terrible about ourselves. Then we say “what the Hades, I’m probably never going to lose the weight anyway” and keep going or we decide with firmness and determination, “starting tomorrow, no cookies ever again!” However, we all know how this plays out; the deprivation leads to cravings and the whole cycle begins anew.

When you eat, try eating to nourish your body and experience pleasure. Tying food to your reward-system will unravel advances in your health goals and, here’s the kicker, it doesn’t even work. By the time we are done with the chocolate chip cookie party, we only temporarily feel sated before we either look for more sugar (during the ‘down’ of our blood sugar rollercoaster) or we feel guilty…..which drowns out what ephemeral feeling of pleasure we got from the food in the first place.

By having some non-food rewards instead, or at least sprinkling them into your current routine, you can start to challenge the ‘need’ for something sweet and, instead, ‘treat’ yourself ‘sweetly’ (double puns, couldn’t resist :D). Here are a few ideas to get your started on non-food rewards:

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“One Bite Wellness to WOW” – In the Client Spotlight

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“One Bite Wellness to WOW!”

“In the past, on many occasions, I would start/sign-up for a program or class, quickly start procrastinating on beginning/keeping up with and/or finishing assignments, therefore I did wonder if working with you would be different? So, I was hesitant to invest the time/money for this reason. Would this be yet another “good intention” gone awry?…

The results I have achieved have been PHENOMENAL! I called you because my cholesterol was too high and my dr asked me about going on statin meds. In addition, I have been on a diuretic to “control” my blood pressure for about 25 yrs. I felt I could normalize my biometrics without meds, however knew that I needed Accountability and Support to do so.

Never in my WILDEST Dreams, did I Expect to find : A New Calling: Wellness Advocate/Coach: A New Passion: Cooking ( from scratch) I had never learned to cook. A New Dream: Be a Senior Olympian. These are a by-product of working with you, and Following-Through.
One has to make the changes, a little at a time ie….one bite…
I am living the whole-food plant-based lifestyle.
I am 15 lbs lighter, and my cholesterol has normalized.
My bp was getting too low and I was tired…..
Last week, my dr said: “I think your lifestyle has kicked in” you DON’T need this medicine anymore……You are really doing the work! Congrats….keep going. I just hugged her……and grinned for 2 whole days.
25 YEARS…..ON SOME DOSAGE OF THIS MEDICINE!
Long enough to raise a child!!!! I am Thrilled…..NO MEDS!
I will need to update my wardrobe…..all my clothes are Too Big!

I love your “presence”, listening, reflecting back and your unequivocal SUPPORT! I Know that you live a healthy lifestyle, and that you care that I too live a healthy lifestyle. You’re in my corner!

I loved that we chatted about career….did not expect that, nor did I expect to Want to pursue another career, at this point (semi-retired). I feel compelled to pursue wellness advocacy for the benefit of  us “baby boomers”

My whole mentality has changed. I am becoming More of who I came to Earth, to Be.

As I’ve released weight, I have stopped “hiding” from myself and others.
I am healing emotionally from earlier hurts, because I am taking better care of myself, eating good food, exercising, relaxing, and resting, when tired.
I rarely eat out anymore, and I used to go to a fast food place every other day
I was happy with our sessions and your prompt follow-up. Loved being able to connect in person, and/or by phone. I’m just Thrilled with my results.

As I said earlier, You are Your Clients’ “Champion”
You are Supportive, and of course, as a great coach, you guide a person to find their own Truth. You recognize that great potential within each person.
You are Authentic, Prompt, and Keep your Word!

I Totally Now Realize the VALUE of Having a Great Team and How Important it is to Invest in One’s Health. Without good health, the Rest doesn’t seem that important. Also, if you had not shared the recipes and encouraged me, I might never have tried to cook……..what a loss that would have been…..It is my New Spiritual Practice! I get great ideas while cooking…..in the silence and joy of seeing a new creation….from a few or many different ingredients.”

Blessings of Abounding Health
Jasianna
Client, Foundations of Health Graduate

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In just a few short months, Jasianna has changed her whole life. She decluttered her home and her old habits of candy, fast food, and junk food as she added in more cooking, physical activity, and a new career. We are certain that, with her determination and follow-through, she will qualify for the senior Olympics and look forward to watching her shine!

Our mission on earth is to help guide others on their life paths. Every time we see a client after they’ve tweaked a couple of recommended changes such as drinking less juice/soda/alcohol, getting better sleep, adding in (fun!) physical fitness…we see the changes in their eyes, face shape, energized speaking and livelier movements…and then we hear about how their clothes are fitting better, they enjoy cooking, their friends and family telling them how fantastic they look, and we share in your happiness.

Also, during one of our sessions, Jasianna mentioned how her doctor, the nurse, and friends were exclaiming how fabulous she looks…and how she appreciates herself. “Everyday after my shower, I look at myself in the mirror…I see my arms…waist and I can see the difference. I look fabulous and I’m really proud of that.” If only everyone could experience that same sentiment upon seeing themselves naked, especially those 60+ years old!!

To our clients:
Honestly, we just love you guys. We brag about your successes as if we were your parents :D. Thank you for trusting us to guide you on your journey and letting us celebrate with you; it is pure joy.

Homebound Banana Nut Bread

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We’ve been in a cooking and baking mode the past few weeks – from cherry almond pancakes and black bean brownies to a recent favorite, comforting banana bread.

How is it comforting? For those with gluten-sensitivity, this gluten-free version is gentle on our digestive system, the cinnamon brings back happy memories from childhood, and warm bread as a snack just has a way of making you feel cozy and safe (even if all the news points you in the opposite direction). Plus, we like making things and baking is an easy at-home activity along with knitting, organizing, creating new programs, reading and puzzles.

This bread is gluten-free and dairy-free; it can be made vegan as well. We find that two loaves is the best amount for us, given how much we love it…and one can go in the freezer, if it makes if that far.

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
5-6 medium bananas (if you wait until they have brown spots on them, they are even sweeter)
2/3 cup melted coconut or avocado oil
3/4 cup maple syrup
4 eggs or the equivalent in chia/flax vegan ‘eggs’
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg (optional)
3/4 tsp salt

Instructions

Grease two 9×5″ loaf pans with oil (see above ingredients list) and preheat oven to 325° F. If using coconut oil, get it to melt if not liquid already. For this next part, we used a blender but you could also just use a bowl: beat/blend oil, maple syrup, eggs along with mashed banana and water. If you used a blender, pour mixture into a bowl; whisk together added gluten-free flour, baking soda, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Then add walnuts and pecan pieces.

Transfer batter into loaf pans and bake for about 65 minutes or until knife inserted into center of bread comes out clean. Allow bread to cool for about 20 minutes before slicing and enjoying.

Lasts for about 3-5 days in the refrigerator; freeze bread for up to 3 months, if desired.

Recipe: Rainbow Chili

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It’s the slow-cooker time of the year and we are using the Crockpot on the regular. It’s easy to make a basic chili or a fancier one with this beloved piece of kitchen equipment. We bought some rainbow carrots and decided to make our chili a bit fancy for a recent date night but it’s equally good to casually and lovingly feed yourself or a whole, hungry family.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: about 8

Ingredients

3-4 rainbow heirloom carrots. sliced
2-3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 jar organic tomato sauce
5 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
1 can chickpeas
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 bay leaves
1 tbsp cumin (with all these beans, you’re gonna need it :D)
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp chopped parsley for topping

Omnivore option: add 1lb cooked ground turkey

Instructions

Chop all vegetable ingredients and add to slow cooker container, along with tomato sauce and rinsed cans of beans. Add bay leaves, cumin, and oregano. Optional: add 1 lb cooked ground turkey for omnivore option. Add water as needed so slow cooker is halfway to two-thirds full. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove bay leaves, scoop into bowls, top with fresh parsley and enjoy this colorful, plant-based meal!

In the Client Spotlight!

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Behind every client success story is a normal person who has been frustrated with some aspect of their health or body. They start out worrying that “it won’t work for me” but they also have hope and, as we work together, they trust the process and themselves more. It’s a beautiful thing to witness over the course of months or years. Here is part of Lauren’s experience.

“The only hesitation I had was that working with you would actually make me accountable, which was obviously a good thing, but I knew it would force me to really be honest with myself.

I have lost weight and inches, but also have a better understanding of how my body works and what to eat to fuel my body in the best way for me. I have alternatives to snacking and really have a better picture of how I want my future to look.

I really liked that you were realistic. You didn’t tell me to never eat sweets again, but to find better alternatives or ways to resist the urges. Our sessions almost felt like counseling sessions, which I really enjoyed. You also made me see that I have a lot going on in my life right now so any step in the right direction is progress and that I should celebrate all accomplishments, no matter how small.

Our sessions definitely helped me keep on track. I didn’t want to “screw up” too bad and then have to tell you about it! Lol!

I would recommend your services to anyone who is looking to make lifestyle changes, not just dietary. You get out what you put in. The more open the client is, the better their time with you will be. I truly enjoyed every session and feel as though I have a great foundation to continue making changes. ” – Lauren Griffin, Columbus, Ohio


You know the people in your life who have a lightness of being about them, even when they are going through tough challenges? Lauren is one of those people. She’s upbeat and positive, even when life has thrown a few curveballs.

She’s cleaned up her diet and, with the help of the MRT test and LEAP protocol, has identified foods that serve her better than others. She’s reported much less craving for sugar and more control over it. Other results: more energy, physical activity, life balance, and building in more self-care. She also mentioned losing 15lbs and feels leaner, her clothes fit better, and there’s generally less bloating.

It has been an honor to help guide Lauren through these changes and to see the results she has achieved – her life has truly transformed since early 2019.

Curious to see what better nutrition and lifestyle habits can do for you? Start your positive path with a complimentary 20-minute Discovery Call

 

Top 5 Plant-based Breakfasts

Guten Morgen! Buongiorno!

If it’s not already a good morning, we present to you our top five plant-based breakfasts which provide:

  • Fiber to help your digestive system get moving as you start your day
  • Protein – seeds and nuts are great sources of plant-based protein, as is amaranth (technically a seed, though typically considered a whole grain)
  • Fun – these are colorful and customizable, so get your DIY on!
  • Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals so you’re taking care of your body right out of the gate!
  • Fuel for the morning! Test your coffee and bagel against any one of these options and you’ll see which ones hold you until lunch.

Without further ado, your new breakfast options!

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  1. Amazing Amaranth Bowl – Move over, porridge! We have a higher-protein option that also provides minerals such as iron, manganese and phosphorus.

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2. Express Detox Smoothie – Love your liver by providing it with the vitamins and minerals it needs from greens! This recipes takes less than 5 minutes and is one of the most-loved from the Green Smoothie Challenge eBook.

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3. Sweet Potato & Black Bean Southwestern Skillet – 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. Make it vegan by not adding an egg on top.

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4. Great Goji Groatmeal – This easy recipe can be popped into the slow cooker and you can get fancy with goji berries and other accoutrements. Enjoy this warm breakfast on a cold morning!

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5. Cherry Almond Pancakes – Waking up and enjoying a fresh stack of cherry almond pancakes is both a joyful and nutritious way to start the day. May it be the same for you!

Remember to try the 7-day Breakfast Experiment to see which breakfasts work best to fuel you for your day!

Recipe: The Anytime Warm Apple Crisp

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And we do mean anytime…it’s wonderful for dessert and breakfast (try it with some added pecans or walnuts!). Have it in the cold winter months and the early days of spring. Enjoy it on a holiday or any day. This is dish is so versatile and easy to make, it’s perfect for everyday and special occasions. Load a 15-20 minute music playlist or podcast and that’s about all the prep time you’ll need in order to be rewarded about 40 minutes later with a warm, cinnamon-y apple crumble.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: about 40 minutes
Yields 13 x 9 oven-safe baking dish

Ingredients

12 medium-large apples
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
1 1/2 cups organic oats
1 cup organic butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar or maple syrup
1 tbsp cinnamon

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove apple cores and chop apples into about 1/2 inch  pieces. Put apple bits into medium pot with 1/2 tbsp cinnamon about 1/2 cup water and heat to soften, about 10-15 minutes. Next create the crisp topping by combining flour, oats, butter or coconut oil, sugar or maple syrup, and 1/2 tbsp cinnamon. Use a fork (or your clean fingers) to mash the cold butter or coconut oil into the oat mixture until it looks like coarse crumble bits. Carefully place apple pieces into 13 x 9 baking dish. Spoon and spread the crumble mixture on top of apple bits until evened out. Place baking dish in oven and bake about 40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and sides bubble. Bonus: this dish pairs exceptionally well with some (non-dairy) vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

London Calling: Food & Fun

Last month we finally went on an intentional vacation to Amsterdam and London. We say ‘intentional’ because sometimes our vacation days in Columbus turn into work days (reading/writing about nutrition)…and that’s sometimes okay because we obviously have a passion for what we do, but for the brain and body to fully recharge, it’s wonderful to put the phone on ‘airplane mode’, hop on a plane, and explore another part of the world. Should you get the chance to travel to London, here are some must-eats and must-sees:

Restaurants

Zizzi

Address: 194 Earls Court Road, SW5 9QF

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The receptionist at our Kensington hotel suggested this place, and we were initially skeptical for two reasons: it was a chain and it was Italian food. It was hard to believe that we would find gluten-free options, but their online menu sold us. Vegan, non-dairy, and gluten-free options?! Amazing. They had delicious, thin-crust gluten-free pizzas that Italy itself would be proud of! With so many toppings and combinations offered, the though crossed our minds to order two (one for breakfast). There was wine, the vegan ‘Zucca’ pizza, and, of course, three scoops of chocolate and salted caramel gelato!!

Squirrel

Address: 11 Harrington Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 3ES

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Vegan and gluten-free eaters of the world, rejoice!  Squirrel offers a treehouse-like interior and a variety of delicious plant-based options (menu here). You can order coffee, smoothies, juice, baked goods, and more. They are very careful about 14 different food allergies, including celery, mustard, lupin and sulfites.  This plant-forward establishment offers a diversity of meal options ranging from chilis and soups, salads, bowls, and fancy avocado toasts. We chose chili served on a sweet potato and chose a fresh juice called “Bushy Tailed.” The squirrel-forest motif carried through the whole restaurant, including the bathrooms, and added to the pure delight of the tasty meal.

In the name of research, we came back here for breakfast and were very pleasantly surprised to find gluten-free pancakes with nuts and other toppings as options. Grab a quick meal and fresh juice…and rejoice!

Note: Remember that ‘rocket’ is  arugula in British English.

Dishoom

Address: 4 Derry St, Kensington, London W8 5SE

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If you’ve perused our recipes tab and stumbled upon our Chickpea and Cashew Korma or Spicy Indian Dal, you may get the idea that we love Indian food…and that we do.

Because of the many positive reviews about this restaurant, we made a reservation before ever boarding the plane to Europe. Trust us, you’ll want to reserve a table and skip the line when it comes to this outstanding restaurant. In a beautifully decorated Art Deco-style restaurant, you will dine on the most delectable dishes. There are vegan and gluten-free options that don’t feel like an after-thought. The dishes are meant to be shared and everything works well together. We started with a Peacock Cider while others at the table enjoyed pale ale beer and tea. The appetizers and entrees rolled in soon after. Omnivores will love the Chicken Ruby or Tikka and everyone will likely enjoy the Fried Green Chillies and Bowl of Greens. We also ordered biryani and, surprisingly, jackfruit is an option! Of course, the gluten-tolerant may want to indulge in the garlicky, chewy naan. To finish the meal, we had a creme brulee rice pudding and a Chocolate Chai that made our eyes pop with the joy of surprise – it tasted like Christmas in a cup! Since then we’ve been aiming to re-create it almost every morning.

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Of course we had to try so many different entrees, drinks, and desserts in order to do our proper research for you, that we had picked up four extra pounds of ‘luggage’ around our abdomen. The sacrifices we make *sigh* :D.

See the Sights

Definitely check out Hyde Park, it’s London’s equivalent to New York’s Central Park and, inside, you’ll find Kensington Palace, the Sunken Garden, and the Serpentine, a memorial to Princess Diana. Also, there’s the Albert Memorial. A short walk can bring you to Buckingham Palace!

Big Ben was under construction at the time of our visit so we moved on to London Tower (London Bridge was not as exciting), after playing in the fountains with other kids.

Because Mr. Chef and I had so enjoyed watching the Mr. Selfridge series on Netflix, we had to go to the aforementioned department store once in London. There we found lots of designer clothing and items and another floor held a food court with an grocery area full of culinary delights – candies, jams, biscuits, teas, macarons- and another meal or so there. Bring your wallet, it’s not a discount store.

Of course, just walking and exploring is exciting – you’ll see the red London double-decker buses, the Shakespeare-related Globe Theater, the London Eye, cool small cars (two can fit in one parking spot!). To help off-set our eating, we walked 20 miles on the Sunday before our flight back to Amsterdam. Bring comfortable walking shoes and make sure to visit this charming city sometime soon.