Jennifer Hanway

Enliven Your Lightest, Brightest You

Jennifer Hanway is a Holistic Nutritionist, Bio Signature Modulation Practitioner and Certified Personal Trainer, originally from London but now living in Newton Centre and working in Back Bay, Boston.

Filtering by Tag: healthy lifestyle

Ask Jenny: Staying Healthy on a Long Haul Flight

I’m traveling to Vietnam soon and want to make sure I am prepared for the long flight. Do you have any tips on how to prepare and what to bring?
— Jacquey, Boston

Hi Jacquey - how exciting! I love to travel and have been lucky enough to visit some incredible places, and Vietnam is definitely on my bucket list. This trip would absolutely be considered long haul, but the majority of the advice below can be applied to both long haul and short haul flights:

1).  Fuelling on the Flight

You would be surprised what foodstuffs you can actually bring on a plane, and if I’m flying any longer than 4 hours I always pack a huge salad, with a ton of plants, some great protein (quite often plant based as it tends to travel well, such as chickpeas or lentils, and some healthy fats). I will pre-order the gluten free meals on the plane, but usually just pick out the fruit and salad.

I also pack small packs of nuts, often an avocado, small packets of collagen or plant protein powder, and protein bars such as Epic, Rx or Bulletproof Collagen Bars, and some herbal teas, and packets of Four Sigmatic Mushroom coffee (I buy most of these from Thrive Market). I’d much rather be over prepared than under prepared!

Intermittent Fasting can be helpful whilst flying, and if I am taking an overnight flight (which I avoid as much as possible) I certainly will not eat the meal served after take off, and will try and go straight to sleep. I have tried IF whilst taking a day flight from Boston to London, but personally I just find this too hard! If it is a shorter flight (anything under 4 hours) I try not to eat on the flight to help with digestion and gut health.


2) Supplements To Take On The Plane

Save room in your hand luggage by taking a minimum of supplements into the cabin with you - I put just my shelf stable probiotic (I love New Chapters Probiotic All-Flora) in my hand luggage, and check the rest.

The other supplement I like to travel with is a greens powder to stir into some water, or even chlorella or spirulina powder or tablets. Airplanes are one of the most toxic places on earth and flying creates a ton of oxidative stress in the body so giving your body an extra boost of antioxidants will help you feel more alert and energized post flying.

3) Sleep Aids and Accessories

I like to wear my blue blocking glasses on any flight longer than 4 hours (and especially long haul) to help protect me from all of the blue light on board that can mess with my circadian rhythm and sleep/wake cycle.

I never, ever take a long flight without my Bucky Eye Mask, and silicone ear plugs. I also like to take some lavender oil, or pop a few drops on my neck pillow before I travel. I personally don’t use compression socks, but if you feel more comfortable with them or have circulatory issues then they are definitely a good idea.

I do take melatonin on a long flight to help me sleep, and to help me on to the local time zone when I arrive. I find 5mg is too much for me (and most people), so I usually do half of one of this.


4) Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

This is probably a given, but staying hydrated on a long haul flight is a must. I usually buy two big bottles before I board, and refill my travel bottle. If your home airport doesn't have a water fountain with a built in filter then head to the Starbucks and ask them to fill it up as their water is triple filtered! I also like to travel with my Brita Water Filter Bottle so I can filter the water on the plane too.

5) Beating Jetlag

Jetlag really can be a killer, but there are some strategies you can implement to ease the pain! Get on the local time zone as soon as possible, expose yourself to as much daylight as your can, and try and earth yourself by standing barefoot on grass or sand as soon as you can after landing. Whilst exercise can feel like the last thing you want to do 30-40 minutes strength training can really help beat jetlag, but if this is impossible a brisk walk is also wonderful. Eat light, protein and veggie based meals throughout the day, with some carbs in your evening meal to help boost natural melatonin production.

This post does contain affiliate links but I only recommend products I love and use personally or with my clients!






Healthy Sleep: Light Exposure, the Sleep/Wake Cycle and Cute Glasses!

This post is written in partnership with Swanwick Sleep, however all opinions are my own. I only work with and recommend companies whose products I love, and I’m so excited to share these with you!

Tim and I have been wearing blue blocking glasses for years, ever since I introduced him to them when we started living together. But five years ago, the choices were incredibly limited, and quite frankly, incredibly ugly. Now my husband could make a trash bag look good, but it was hard to see the dreamboat behind the bright orange, cheap plastic ‘Neo from The Matrix’ blue blocking glasses. And mine were no better, as I had chosen oversized tortoise shell frames, which made me look like a biohacking reject from the seventies…

But, blocking my blue light exposure after sunset is a huge part of my stress/sleep routine, and means I can continue working into the evening on my laptop or other devices should I need to. And I find that if I have an event on until late in the evening (late meaning 8pm to me as I am a Lion Chronotype), popping on my blue blocking glasses helps me wind down before sleep.

I was so happy when Swanwick Sleep reached out to me - finally I had found a pair of blue blocking glasses that were not only effective, but looked super cute as well! I currently have their Night Swannies, and plan on getting a pair of their prescription Day Swannies too, for my days in the office when I am researching and writing (and want to look good at the same time).

How Blue Light Exposure Affects Your Sleep/Wake Cycle

Light is one of the key zeitgebers, or regulators of our circadian rhythm. Our circadian rhythm dictates everything from our energy levels to when we are hungry, mentally alert, crave social interaction, and of course our sleep/wake cycle.

When photoreceptors in the eye detect blue light, they send a message to the pineal gland via the suprachiasmatic nucleus (a tiny area of the brain) to suppress the release of melatonin, a hormone that induces the onset of sleep. Whilst this is exactly what we want during the day when we need to be alert and awake (and why I suggest getting as much light exposure as possible early in the day), blue light exposure after sunset disrupts our circadian rhythms, preventing melatonin secretion and the cascade of physiological effects that help us wind down and relax, preparing us for restful and restorative sleep.

Ideally, we would live like our paleolithic ancestors and end our working day at sunset, relying only on the orange hue of firelight until bedtime. But unfortunately, we are all busier and have more responsibilities than every more, and as such many of us are working from home in the evenings. And if we are not working we are watching TV, playing video games, or scrolling through social media, all the while exposing ourselves to blue light and causing dis-regulation of our sleep/wake cycles.  

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Now, I like to meet my clients where they are at, and give them workable solutions to our everyday health challenges. Whilst I would love for them to shut off all their electric lights and play board games by candlelight in the evenings, I know that this is never going to be the reality! Here are some simple ways you can regulate your circadian rhythm and sleep/wake cycle throughout the day:

  1. Exposure yourself to as much daylight during the day as possible: use a daylight alarm clock, draw the curtains the minute you wake up, workout outside, try and sit near to a window whilst working, and go for a walk at lunchtime or mid-afternoon.

  2. Use a pair of Day Swannies (they have Custom Rx versions too) for long stints at your computer or smartphone.

  3. Switch overhead bright lights to softer side lighting and lamps after sunset

  4. Use the ‘Night Mode’ settings on your smart phone, and programs such as F.lux on your devices to minimise the amount to blue light your electronics emit.

  5. Pop on your Night Swannies should you have to work or look at screens past sunset, or if you find it hard to wind down in the evenings

  6. Ensure there is no light at all in your bedroom at night - try blackout blinds or curtains, eliminate any LED’s, and use an eye mask too if your partner comes to bed at a different time than you!


To get your hands on a pair of Swannies (they are unisex, and come in Day, Night and Custom Rx options) simply click on the link below:

www.swanwicksleep.com









Do You Pick and Choose Your Healthy?

Admission: I do. 

Well, I did until the beginning of this year. I'll happy eat super clean 99% of the time, workout 5-7 days of the week, get great sleep, meditate, drink green juice and take all of my supplements. 

After years of living this way, and working hard to improve my health and the health of my clients all of these things come pretty easily to me, and I love living this way and the way it makes me feel. 

But 2016 has seen me cleaning out the basement of my health, so to speak. This year Husband Hanway and I finally found a Primary Care doctor we love (at The Marino Centre for Intergrated Health in Cambridge, MA), and I undertook my Annual Physical, and a long overdue OBGYN visit. 

I'm blessed that everything came back as normal, and all my bloodwork came back within what I call the 'thriving', not just 'survivng'  ranges (as part of my work as a Bio Signature Practitioner I can read and decipher bloodwork, but its always nerve-wracking when its your own). 

A routine eye exam came back with slightly awkwardly shaped optical nerve (who knew this was a thing), and as I have a family history of diabetes and glaucoma, I had to go back for a further test. Again, I'm so grateful this came back negative for glaucoma, but had it not it would have been detected early enough to take positive action. 

I always recommend my clients to take care of all of the annual/bi annual routine screenings: bloodwork, OBGYN, eye exams, dental exams, etc. By being proactive you open up a much wider range of options for treatments if needed, and when you find the right healthcare team you will be pleasantly surprised that not all conventional medical practioners are against a holistic viewpoint, and some of them even promote it (my PCP recommends Aryuvedic herbs and meditation to help improve my gut health - how awesome is that)! 

Talking of dental, as some of you may know I will be undergoing some major dental surgery in November. I have 4 wisdom teeth that need to come out, and two teeth that have root canals that need to be removed completely (the holistic health point of view is that root canal teeth should be removed for health). I'm working with an amazing Biological Dentist at Groton Wellness. I'll be unable to eat solid foods for a couple of days, definitely not able to workout for a few days either, and will be dribbling and have gauzes in my mouth. Definitely not a good look! 

But its my health, and if I am serious about achieving optimum health and longevity for both myself and my clients, I have to do the unsexy stuff. The boring, uncomfortable and very occasionally painful stuff. Whilst drinking a green juice, obvs ; ) 

Where do you pick and choose your healthy? Do you religiously run every 30 minutes, but can't give up that one a day Diet Coke with lunch? Are you the model of health and fitness during the week, but have a weakness for beer and pizza at the weekends? Or is managing your stress your downfall, and sitting down to meditate sounds like torture?

Perhaps you are like me, and are great with the small stuff, but neglect the big stuff due to fear and apprehension?

Comment below and I'll give you suggestions on how to change your wellness challenges into your wellness strengths.

 

 

Rest and Reset: The Importance of Less Stress, More Sleep

The holidays are a wonderful time, but they can often mean self care and sleep get a little neglected. With this in mind I wanted to draw attention to an old post that rings true especially at this time of the year...Isn't sleep a blessing?  Not only does sleep make you feel wonderful, it has some pretty amazing health benefits too: 

  • It helps to control weight and improves body composition (ration of body fat to lean muscle) in two ways. Sleep regulates the hormones that effect appetite, and when we don't get enough sleep our bodies produce more of the hormone ghrelin which in turn leads us to make poor food choices and consume more calories. Research studies have also shown that lack of sleep leads to less energy output, i.e. we are less likely to exercise (or even walk around the block) due to tiredness and lack of motivation.
  • It increases your ability to handle both mental and physical stress. Not only this but sleep lowers both blood pressure levels and the stress hormone cortisol.
  • It has a beneficial effect on our mood and our thinking. Not only does it make us feel happier and less worried (studies show a long term sleep deficit can lead to depression and anxiety) good sleep increases cognitive function, leading to better judgement, improved focus and less tendency to takes risks.
  • It enables cell repair throughout the body, important for both repairing muscles post workout (we are at our weakest state post workout due to the breaking down of muscle fibers, they will repair and get stronger whilst we sleep) and beautiful skin (repair at the cellular level results in less fine lines and wrinkles, and gives us a glowing, even complexion).
  • It decreases inflammation: chronic inflammation is the source of many diseases, including cancer, obesity, and heart disease. We all need some level of inflammation in the body to help heal and fight off infections, but when too much inflammation is present (this can be caused by a myriad of things, from stress to bad food choices and poor gut health) it can cause the immune system to malfunction, relating in auto immune conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and arthritis.

There are many simple ways to improve the quality of our sleep, below are five easy to implement health habits:

  • Introduce a caffeine curfew: for me this time is 3.30pm, for others it may be later or earlier, depending on your tolerance for caffeine. If you find your mind racing the minute you close your eyes start moving your caffeine curfew back by half an hour to see if it helps. One of my favorite alternatives is the caffeine free Turmeric tea from Numi Organics:

Numi Organic Turmeric Tea Amber Sun

  • Get outside in daylight: as the days become shorter we can find ourselves not seeing the daylight hours. By taking just a 10-15 minute walk outside at lunchtime you can normalize your circadian rhythm, letting your body know it is time to ‘wind down’ when the sun goes down.
  • Ensure adequate magnesium levels: due to our modern diets and extra environmental stresses the majority of us are magnesium deficient. Magnesium is needed in over 300 metabolic processes in the body, and is vital for ensuring a restful nights sleep .
  • Do not take the phone into the bedroom! Use an old fashioned alarm clock, or if you must use your phone turn the wifi off and switch to airplane mode for good measure. The electrical signals will have a negative impact on quality of sleep, even if you do not wake up. I love to use a daylight alarm clock for the most gentle, natural way to wake up:

Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light

  • Consider supplements for sleep: they are many natural supplements available that can help aid sleep, my favorite is a product called RestoREM from the Poliquin Group. RestoREM contains the nutrients 5-HTP, Phenibut and melatonin and to improves serotonin levels, resulting in better sleep patterns to leave you feeling refreshed and energised when you wake up.

The Poliquin Store

Sweet dreams everyone!

The information and materials provided in this blog are to support and assist people who are looking to improve their health and wellbeing I understand that all new dietary/supplements/ exercise programs should be undertaken after consultation with a medical doctor. Jennifer Hanway is not responsible for any injury or illness sustained whilst following the information in this blog.

Contact: jenny@jenniferhanway.com