Category Archives: Nutrition

5 Things I Do For Better Sleep (Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep!)

Learn the 5 things I do that help so much with getting better sleep every night and have drastically improved the quality and length of my sleep! 

Sleep Better

I am not a good sleeper. I’m so so jealous of people like my husband who can sleep anywhere anytime without a care in the world. But me? I have anxiety issues that keep me up and are much worse when I’m stressed or my diet is high in sugar.

And if I can fall asleep easily, I would wake up way too early around 3 or 4am without being able to go back to sleep. My mind would race and I’ll think of all the things i have to do or just worry about things that were not within my control. And if this continues for a few nights (TORTURE), it would spiral into depression, low energy, and loss in productivity as my brain health would decline. I’m sure many of you who have suffered from insomnia before could relate. It’s no fun at all.

Throughout the years, I’ve tried out various methods to help myself get better sleep, some that worked and some that didn’t. And some that would work at first but stop once my body got adjusted to that new method. However, there are a few habits were consistently effective and they have helped me so much with improving my sleep.

Of course, keeping a healthy diet, eating low in sugar, and managing your stress help tremendously, but besides those obvious tips, here are my top 5 things I incorporate to ensure that I get a good night’s sleep, meaning I fall asleep easily and stay asleep throughout the night.

1. Epsom salt bath

What at first was just a feel-good self care activity for me is a non-negotiable these days if I had a stressful or energizing day. Magnesium epsom salt baths are known to relax your muscles, decrease inflammation, improve circulation, heal skin issues, and more!

I usually take a bath after finishing up work either before or after dinner, to mark the end of the day. I love having a specific nighttime routine to signal my body that it’s time to unwind. I usually pour in 2 cups of Epsom salt (I get this bulk size) in a tub full of warm to hot water with several drops of lavender essential oil.

Bath Time-Sleep Better

I make a ritual out of it by turning down the lights, lighting up candles, and putting on some relaxing meditation music. It’s such an enjoyable activity that relaxes my mind and body, and I definitely get a better night’s sleep afterwards. It’s actually quite difficult for me to do anything that takes even a moderate amount of physical or mental strength right after an epsom salt bath because it lowers my energy drastically, so I like to plan my chores and activities accordingly.

2. Reduce inflammatory foods

One of the best decisions I made in the past year was taking the Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test to find out what foods were inflaming my body. I was going through some uncomfortable bloat and digestive issues that were caused by what I was eating, along with sleep issues. When I took the test and eliminated the foods I was sensitive to like eggs and green beans, it was like my body could finally relax and get better sleep throughout the night without its immune system being attacked.

When we have food sensitivities, our body can react in a variety of ways from hives, digestive issues, acne, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, to weight gain. Interference of sleep is another huge symptom as our body cannot fully relax while being inflamed. And inflammation is also a stressor on the body, which affects our blood sugar level to spike and drop, keeping us awake in the middle of the night.

If you are experiencing these food sensitivity symptoms, I highly recommend you find out what foods may be bothering you through an elimination diet or taking a test. You can read all about my experience with Everlywell testing here. My 12% discount is still live if you want to use it:

Use the code EVERLY at checkout for 12% off Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test!

3. Eat more carbs for dinner

One of the reasons why you may wake up way too early in the morning around 3-4am without being able to go back to sleep is there may be a drop in you blood sugar level. This can happen because your body is going through stress, you have food sensitivities (see #2 above), you drank alcohol the day before, or you have a diet that’s high in processed sugars.

One of the ways to combat this is to reduce inflammatory foods like alcohol and sugar. Also, for those of you who eat a low carb diet, increasing your carb intake during dinner may help cause drowsiness and and help you sleep. This has helped tremendously for me. I usually eat low in carbs during the day, but will increase my intake for dinner to a moderate amount.

Carbs help lower cortisol, the stress hormone, while synthesizing seratonin, that feel good, calming neurotransmitter. It also prolongs the release of insulin, helping you stay asleep. Make sure to stick with healthy, real food carbs like fruits, white rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other starchy vegetables.

4. CBD tea and other relaxation techniques

It seems like CBD is a new emerging health trend, and with good reason. Unlike THC, CBD alone doesn’t give you that high feeling associated with smoking or ingesting marijuana. When isolated and taken alone, it’s known to have so many calming benefits like relieving inflammation and pain, reducing anxiety, relieving nausea, and giving that relaxing feeling we need at night for a good night’s sleep.

I’ve recently been drinking CBD teas from Buddha Teas after dinner, and it really has been helping with promoting that calming and happy feeling. My favorite is the Organic CBD Chamomile Blend because chamomile is known for its calming effects, which make the tea extra beneficial for promoting sleep.

CBD tea

In addition, I incorporate other relaxation techniques. After dinner, I refuse to do any kind of work or anything that requires intense focus on my computer or my phone. Some people avoid screens altogether, but I find that watching TV relaxes me and helps me with my sleep. I also meditate after dinner for 10 minutes, and depending on how my body is feeling, I’ll also do some at-home cupping (more about the amazing benefits of cupping here) or I’ll lay on my electronic massager which always feels amazing. I use this massage pillow, and it’s one of the best purchases I’ve made and I highly recommend it!

 5. WishGarden Sleepy Nights

Okay, I’ve tried soooo many supplements and drugs to help me sleep when I really needed it. Sometimes they are necessary especially during traveling or stressful times. I’ve found that things like melatonin and valerian root will work well for the first few times and then my body will get adjusted to them and they aren’t as effective anymore. Anything stronger that you can get over-the-counter will put me out but I’ll be so groggy with a headache and dehydration the next day.

After many trials and errors, one thing that always works for me consistently is WishGarden’s Sleepy Nights formula. Made with a clean herbal blend to promote sleep, I’ll take this before going to bed and it literally works in 15-20 minutes. I can’t even keep my eyes open when it’s in full effect. And the best part is that I wake up so refreshed without feeling tired and heavy like I do on other supplements I’ve tried.

Sleepy Nights SupplementNot only that, WishGarden also has this formula for kids or pregnant women that you can check out here. They are also having a 20% discount with free shipping for all domestic orders for a limited time so I highly recommend you go check it out!


I hope these tips and habits that I’ve fallen into help you with getting better sleep at night. Of course, our bodies are all different, so what may work for me may not work for you. However, I think we should keep trying new things until we find something that’s consistently effective. It took me years to find what works for me after trying countless methods, so don’t lose hope! Getting quality sleep makes a tremendous difference on our health, mood, productivity and happiness.

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
 
Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

Paleo Chocolate Mousse Stuffed Strawberries

These vegan and paleo Chocolate Mousse Stuffed Strawberries are so adorable to look at, easy to make, and are a healthy, delicious dessert for Valentine’s Day or any occasion!

Paleo Chocolate Mousse Stuffed Strawberries

For me, Valentine’s Day (or any occasion for that matter) is all about having a great meal instead of the dessert being the highlight of the celebration. So if I do want to enjoy something sweet, I prefer something small that I can eat in a bite or 2, and I created this recipe with exactly that in mind.

Today, I’m putting a twist on the classic chocolate covered strawberries by putting the chocolate INSIDE, and the result is these Paleo Chocolate Mousse Stuffed Strawberries that may be just too adorable to eat. And best of all, the chocolate mousse is made with avocados, making this a healthy little treat though you’ll never know it.

Paleo Chocolate Mousse Stuffed StrawberriesPaleo Chocolate Mousse Stuffed Strawberries

You do need a piping bag to make this recipe, especially if you want to make it pretty with the chocolate peaks coming out of the strawberries. But if you don’t have one, you can try to stuff the strawberries with a small spoon or a knife, and then cover it up with toppings of your choice.

I used a combination of shredded coconut flakes, chopped almonds, chopped goji berries, and chocolate chips to top the stuffed strawberries, and they all turned out so cute and so yummy. I highly recommend using some kind of nuts, because that crunchy texture is SO GOOD with the creamy mousse and tart strawberries.

You can also make these a day ahead and then refrigerate until they are ready to eat. It’s a perfect easy, bite-sized treat if you need something sweet and yummy!

Paleo Chocolate Mousse Stuffed Strawberries

Paleo Chocolate Mousse Stuffed Strawberries

Paleo Chocolate Mousse Stuffed Strawberries

Course: Dessert
Prep Time: 4 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 6 minutes
Servings: 20 stuffed strawberries (approximate)
Calories: 27 kcal
Author: Jean Choi

These vegan and paleo Chocolate Mousse Stuffed Strawberries are so adorable to look at, crazy easy to make, and are a healthy, delicious dessert for Valentine's Day or any occasion!

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Ingredients

Paleo Chocolate Mousse

Stuffed Strawberries

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • Optional toppings: coconut flakes, crushed nuts, chocolate chips, chopped dried fruits

Instructions

  1. Halve the avocado, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh into a blender.

  2. Add cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and sea salt to the blender and blend until smooth and creamy. 

  3. Refrigerate until ready to use. 

  4. Cut the bottom end of the strawberries where the stems are attached, so they can stand upright.

  5. Use a knife or kitchen shears to cut an X at the tips of the strawberries about 2/3 of the way down. 

  6. Place the chocolate mousse in a piping bag with a tip of your choice.

  7. Pipe the chocolate mousse into each strawberry. Sprinkle with your choice of toppings, if using.

  8. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Nutrition Facts
Paleo Chocolate Mousse Stuffed Strawberries
Amount Per Serving (1 stuffed strawberry)
Calories 27 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Sodium 18mg 1%
Potassium 93mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 1g
Vitamin A 0.4%
Vitamin C 18.1%
Calcium 0.6%
Iron 1.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

My Experience With Everlywell At-Home Food Sensitivity Test

Read on for my review of Everlywell at-home food sensitivity test, along with why I chose it, my results, and how it changed my diet!

For a few months now, I’ve been experiencing some unexpected digestive discomfort and bloating and I couldn’t figure out exactly why. With my IBS history, these things come and go depending on my stress level, but it felt more acute and longer lasting than usual. I immediately suspected some kind of a food sensitivity, so after doing some research, I decided to try out an at-home food sensitivity test called Everlywell.

Why Everlywell?

I wanted to choose a comprehensive at-home food sensitivity test that’s accurate, affordable, and provides detailed and easy to understand results. Everlywell checked all those boxes for me and I loved how quick their turnaround time is once you send in your sample.

Their test measures your body’s IgG immune response to 96 foods that are commonly found in western diets. Most traditional allergy tests measure just the IgE response, which only tests for an immediate response your body has to a food or a substance (typical allergy responses such as hives, swelling, difficulty breathing), missing out on subtle sensitivities your body may respond to long term.

This is why measuring the IgG response is much more accurate and comprehensive, since it can capture the less obvious and much delayed and long term reactions your body may have such as:

  • headaches and migraines
  • anxiety
  • digestive issues
  • autoimmune diseases
  • skin conditions
  • bloating
  • fatigue
  • joint pain

What is the process?

The process is actually surprisingly simple. Once you order your test, the kit is mailed to you and you can take the test right away. The instructions inside are easy to follow, but if there’s any confusion, they direct you to their site where they have detailed video tutorials on how to take the test.At-Home Food Sensitivity Test

First step is to register your kit online so you can receive updates about your shipping and test results. Then, to take the test, you clean your hand with an alcohol swab, prick your finger with the lancet in the kit, and squeeze out the blood on the blood collection card. It took about 5-7 drops to fill up the required amount. If you can’t handle the sight of blood, you may want someone to help with this process.

After the blood drops have dried completely, all you have to do is send it back in the prepaid and pre-labeled envelope that’s in the kit. Then you just wait for your results! I was honestly surprised at how easy the entire process is. Everything you need to do the test is in the kit, from alcohol pad, bandaids, gauze pad, biohazard bag, and more.

What were my results?

I received an email and a text alert that my test results were ready, about 1 week after the date I mailed out the completed kit. The results break down the 96 most commonly consumed foods in the western diet into 4 categories: Very High Reactivity, Moderate Reactivity, Mild Reactivity, and Low Reactivity. I didn’t have any foods that were in the Very High Reactivity group, probably because I actually do not consume many allergens in my everyday diet.

Keep in mind that if you don’t consume a specific food (gluten and dairy, for me), it won’t reveal in this test that you have a sensitivity to that food, because the antibodies that react to that food in your body won’t be present. This is why neither gluten nor dairy came up as highly reactive food for me.

If you want to make sure you are reacting to a certain type of food and you want it to show up on this test, make sure to consume that food within the week before you take the test. I already know that I feel crappy eating gluten and dairy, so I didn’t feel the need to test those foods and kept it out of my diet leading up to the test. So it’s really up to you if you want to test those foods out or not.

Now, the heartbreaking part:

I found out that the food I was most sensitive to in my current diet is eggs. If you’ve been following for a while, you know I’m obsessed with eggs and I eat it almost everyday. Honestly, this didn’t surprise me too much because if you consume one type of food on an everyday basis, it’s likely that you will become sensitive to that food. I just didn’t want it to be true.

This is especially true for anyone with a compromised immune system, and honestly, that’s most of us today living in this modern world surrounded by toxins in our food, cleaning products, and environment. So I highly recommend adding a variety of food into your diet and rotating them so you don’t consume one food every single day.

Now, for the mild reactivity foods:

As you can see, gluten and dairy are in this category even though I know I’m highly sensitive to them, because I haven’t consumed these foods (intentionally) in months. Had I eaten these foods in the recent weeks, they would have showed up in the Very High Reactivity group.

For the foods in this category, I think I’ll be reducing the amount that I consume instead of eliminating them altogether. For example, I eat quite of bit of almonds in milk and butter form, but I can start substituting with coconut milk and sunflower seed butter. I also eat ALOT of green beans (basically my favorite veggie), so I’ll probably reduce the amount that I eat them to once every 2 weeks or so. I will, however, do a complete elimination of eggs for several weeks to build up my tolerance to them.

It’s important to note that just because you are reactive to a certain type of food, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t eat it for the rest of your life. It may take a few weeks, months, or even years, but once your gut heals enough after not being exposed to an offending food for a long time, you may be able to reintroduce it back into your diet with success.

Things you should know before taking the Everlywell Food Sensitivities Test

At-Home Food Sensitivity Test

  • Just because you aren’t experiencing digestive issues, doesn’t mean you do not have food sensitivities. Symptoms can vary from: headaches, joint pain, fatigue, and skin problems. If you are experiencing any of these, it’s a great idea to take this test to find out how you can reduce those symptoms.
  • This is a blood sample test. You need to be comfortable with pricking your own finger then squeezing out the blood. Have someone help you if you have hard time seeing or dealing with blood in any way.
  • If you suspect that you have a sensitivity to a food, but you still want to be sure that you are, you have to eat that food several times within the week leading up to taking the test in order for it to show up. Your body needs to create the antibodies to that food, or the results won’t indicate that you are reactive to that food.
  • If the results come back showing that you are reactive to a food, the best course of action is to eliminate that food from your diet for several weeks.

Take the test yourself!

I hope this breakdown of my experience helped you. I’m honestly so glad that I took the test, because I would have never given up eggs on my own without being 100% sure that I was intolerant to them (I just love them TOO much!). It’s been several days without eggs and I actually feel less bloated than I have been for the past several months.

I also loved knowing about “Mild Reactivity” food items because I can start reducing those in my diet. If I keep eating those foods frequently without knowing, there’s a chance that I’ll become highly reactive to those foods as well. The test is such a great way to take control over your health, and it’s so empowering when you start feeling better with the choices you make in your diet.

Ready to take the test yourself?

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE EVERLYWELL FOOD SENSITIVITY TEST!
Use the code EVERLY at checkout for 12% off!

This post contains affiliate links. In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.