We're writing this week from Kiva Koffeehouse, amidst the sandstone washes of Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah. A pretty far stone's throw from home in California.
While cruising the 1400 miles so far on this National Park road trip, we've been wondering how in the hell can we relate our trip to a blog post about food?
In the past 12 days, we've explored different parks and landscapes. We've eaten our meals outdoors, away from work, surrounded by nature. All of this got us thinking about our environment.
Not Environment like Mother Earth. Environment, like that space where we carry out our lives. Our everyday places like work, home, etc.
Changing up our environment around eating can affect our health almost as much as changing what we eat.
In fact, Marc David, author of The Slowdown Diet, writes, even just sitting near an open window can help us digest better than with the windows shut. (More oxygen = better digestion. This is why it's good to eat slowly and breathe, too).
We love that. A simple little way to change your health through habits, without even changing your diet or spending a dime.
Of course, if you have the chance for a National Park road trip, that's a good way to change your environment, too.
Simple Ways to Change Your Environment
In addition to slowing down, a good environment gets us into our parasympathetic nervous system - that side where we're relaxed, resting, recharging, and digesting.
Here are a few ways to change your environment for health.
- Sit by an open window
- Go outside for lunch
- Create a dedicated space to eat (i.e. not on the couch in front of the TV, or in the car)
- Eat with a friend or family member
- Put on a good playlist
- Get some dishes or utensils that you enjoy using
- Have a BBQ
We've been cooking outdoors on our road trip, but before we left, we had a backyard BBQ at home with some friends and family.
Getting outside to grill is a great way to change your environment. Even though we're 20 feet away from our kitchen, cooking outdoors (and having time and space to be with friends) creates that little shift that helps us relax and reset.
Here's a few of our favorite things to grill and how we do it:
- Zucchinis - slice lengthwise, drizzle with olive oil and salt. Grill over coals 3 mins per side, then move to cool side for 5-10 minutes.
- Onions - slice in rounds, drizzle with olive oil and salt. Grill over coals 3 mins per side, then move to cool side for 5-10 minutes.
- Chicken, legs and breasts. Salt generously. Grill over coals skin-side first for 5 mins. Flip, and grill 5 mins. Move to cooler side for 15-20 minutes until internal temp reaches 165ºF.
- Corn - Without husk: grill over coals, rotating every 2-3 minutes, then move to cooler side for 5-10 minutes. With husk: pretty much anything goes, just rotate every 5 minutes or so.
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