Summer is officially in full swing! Whether you have exciting events planned or you’re taking things slow, this issue of Start Healthy has everything you need to make July the best month of the year. In this issue, you’ll find a guide to the refreshing benefits of naps, planet- and wallet-friendly flooring, tips for traveling by RV, and better-for-you breakfast options.
As an adult, you might not always get the rest you need to feel refreshed. However, there are some incredible benefits to taking a midday snooze you’ll want to read about. So go ahead and take the nap! You’ve earned it.
You might not think about changing your home’s flooring as an opportunity to save money or help the planet, but there are actually a lot of different types of floors to consider that can do just that. The enclosed guide can help you choose wisely.
The road trip is a romanticized American vacation, and for good reason. Traveling by car allows you to see more on your journey, but it turns out that traveling by RV has even more to offer. Check out the tips inside to learn more about the adventures of investing in an RV.
If you’re not a breakfast person, you might want to reconsider. Starting your day with fueling foods is the best way to get your day moving. The pair of recipes in this issue—fruit-filled overnight oats and a fresh tomato-topped frittata—can help you feel good first thing in the morning.
Here’s wishing you a fun and refreshing month! As always, it’s a pleasure to send you this magazine.
When was the last time you had a good nap? If it’s been a while, you may want to make some time to lay back and grab a few moments of shut-eye. Whether on a bed, couch, or hammock, a quick nap can be the highlight of your day. However, naps aren’t a part of daily American life like the siesta in Spain or the riposo in Italy. That may be worth reconsidering as there are numerous benefits associated with regular naps.
While napping allows you to get some rest, there are more benefits than just feeling refreshed. Below are some of the potential benefits you may experience from regular napping.
Sleep plays a significant role in how we store memories. A study in China of almost 3,000 seniors found that individuals who napped for thirty to ninety minutes in the early afternoon had better word recall, a key indicator of memory, than those who didn’t nap for up to ninety minutes. Additionally, a study in Sleep found that young adults who napped for an hour after learning new information retained the knowledge as well as those who continued studying.
If it’s been a tough day, a nap may be able to lift your spirits. Napping for just ten to twenty minutes can help you wake up feeling more cheerful and revitalized. A short rest can also help increase the production of serotonin, a chemical created in the brain that can positively affect mood.
If you’re experiencing post-lunch sluggishness, napping for ten to twenty minutes, sometimes called a power nap, can help improve your attentiveness. A power nap may allow you to enter the second stage of sleep, when brain activity begins to slow. Achieving this stage of sleep may enhance both your concentration and attentiveness.
A study in the Journal of Sleep Research discovered that taking a nap after a learning task positively impacted how the brain interpreted the information. People who napped woke up with more insight, which can help with awareness and reaching conclusions.
A Stanford University study found that inadequate sleep can increase ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and decrease leptin, a hormone that helps regulate appetite. Researchers also found that insufficient sleep can lead to a 30 percent higher risk of obesity. This study suggests that napping for twenty to thirty minutes can help reset the balance of ghrelin and leptin.
A study found that individuals who napped for forty-five to sixty minutes had lower blood pressure after experiencing stress. Additionally, a different study of 3,600 people in the medical journal Heart found that individuals who reported napping once or twice a week had a lower risk of heart attack and stroke than those who didn’t nap.
While a quick nap can be beneficial, it can also wreak havoc on your day. Be aware that a quick snooze can cause sleep inertia, which will make you feel foggy or disoriented when you wake up from your slumber. Taking a nap that lasts too long can cause various sleeping issues at night. Also, if you experience insomnia or poor sleep at night, napping might heighten these issues.
While naps can be beneficial, there is a method you should follow for the greatest benefits. Try to keep your nap under thirty minutes, as even a ten-minute snooze has benefits. Nap sometime between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.—the earlier, the better to help reduce impacting your nighttime rest. Don’t force it. If you can’t fall asleep when you try napping, continue about your day and try again later if you can’t shake off the tired feeling.
Use these tips to make every nap a refreshing one:
The next time you could use a few minutes of rest, lay back, put your feet up, and enjoy a little shut-eye. You’ve earned it.
When it comes to eco-friendly home additions, you might think about the value of energy-efficient insulation, appliances, and windows. However, buyers are now looking to improve energy efficiency in a surprising place—their floors. In 2019, The National Association of Home Builders found that the average homebuyer is willing to pay an additional $8,728 upfront for an energy-efficient home to save $1,000 a year in utility bills. Here are some eco-friendly flooring options that can reduce your bills, increase your home’s value, and help the planet.
Using raw, natural materials for your flooring means when it’s no longer in use and disposed of, it will biodegrade. And you don’t have to worry about breathing in any harsh chemicals over time if you leave it unfinished.
Grasses like bamboo grow faster than trees, so they are far more renewable than traditional wood. Bamboo floors are one of the most popular options for eco-friendly flooring because they are budget-friendly and look like hardwood, but can be purchased for half the price while offering twice the energy efficiency. You can place bamboo flooring in just about any room, aside from bathrooms and other areas prone to standing water. Be sure to choose a solid bamboo floor, not an engineered one, to reap the most benefits. Installing a bamboo floor is like installing hardwood, so you should consult a professional if you’re unsure about the process. As a bonus, it doesn’t need any sealant, so you won’t need to spend any money to reseal your bamboo floor as it ages.
Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree, which can be sustainably harvested since the removal doesn’t harm the tree, and it fully regenerates new bark every nine years. Natural cork is easy to maintain, hypoallergenic, mildew resistant, can absorb sound, and has antimicrobial properties. Like a cushion, cork floors are soft and can ease the stress on your back and legs. If you stand for long periods of time in your kitchen or office, upgrading to cork floors is a no-brainer. Even without a finish on top, cork flooring can stand up to everyday messes. Its soft exterior and tough interior makes it ideal for high-traffic areas like kitchens and living rooms.
The translation of terra-cotta is “cooked earth.” It is a clay-like ceramic mixture made from mud and other natural materials that are fired in a kiln. Terra-cotta flooring is smooth, durable, and cool to the touch during hot months, yet can absorb heat in cold months. This tile is ideal for locations with extreme summers and mild winters. It’s easy to clean and comes in an endless variety of colors, patterns, and shapes. You can customize terra-cotta flooring to perfectly match your home’s style. Terra-cotta provides an earthy and rustic look that is hard to imitate with any other material.
Stone flooring is a type of tile cut and shaped from stone blocks. Common types include marble, granite, limestone, and sandstone. These materials can be expensive, but they are long-lasting, beautiful, and energy efficient. While they may feel cool to the touch, they are a good option for homes with radiant heating as stone conducts heat naturally and evenly. Carpeting may feel soft, but it can be spotty with warmth and absorb heat rather than radiate it.
Flooring made from recycled materials is another eco-friendly option that’s suitable for extreme temperatures and can withstand daily wear and tear.
While engineered hardwood floors aren’t eco-friendly, reclaimed hardwood floors are. You can still have the look and durability of a hardwood floor without synthetic materials and chemical treatments. Reclaimed hardwood looks more rustic than a typical hardwood floor and can cost less than new hardwood.
Linoleum is often confused with vinyl, the latter of which is created from synthetic materials while the former is created from a mixture of natural materials, including linseed oil, cork dust, tree resins, wood flour, pigments, and ground limestone. Linoleum is easy to clean, fire and water resistant, and holds up to a lot of wear and tear, making it a good choice for kitchens and bathrooms.
Do you have a home gym or play area that gets dirty from kids and pets? Try recycled rubber flooring mats. Rubber flooring comes in squares or rolls that can go over your existing flooring and provide a soft but easy to clean surface for your household’s toughest messes. Look for companies like GreatMats, which makes its rubber flooring from recycled tires.
On weekends, Missouri residents Terri Steffes, owner of the blogs Our Good Life and Christmas Tree Lane, and her husband Bob, a university administrator, head out of town with their towable camper. They purchased their used travel trailer, a nüCamp TAG, during the COVID-19 pandemic so they could travel safely and affordably. Scott Pasternak, a retired technology administrator from Brooklyn, NY, and his wife Kallen Tsikalas, a research and learning professional, also purchased their camping trailer, a sixteen-foot Scamp, during the pandemic so they could enjoy the outdoors with their daughter. Recreational vehicle travel has surged in the United States in recent years and continues to grow in popularity as vacationers buy and rent RVs. If you’ve been thinking about buying an RV, the guide that follows can help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.
RVs provide an economical way to travel and camp, but with more amenities than a tent. For instance, Steffes’ teardrop-shaped camper has a full bed and cupboards for storage inside. On the unit’s rear exterior is a clamshell covering that houses a sink, propane stove, and built-in refrigerator. She has outfitted the interior of her camper with curtains, her favorite sheets, and mementos from past RV trips. She and her husband used to enjoy camping in a tent but would rather bunk in their TAG these days.
Pasternak also purchased his RV to simplify camping trips. He owns a pop-up tent but finds it tiring to set up nowadays. His Scamp RV is bigger than Steffes’s mini camper and includes a kitchen, double bed, bunk beds, and full bathroom with a shower. However, he notes that, “Because we are experienced tent campers, we don’t use the amenities. I added them for resale value and convenience.”
There are two options when it comes to RVs and campers: drivable or towable. Motorized RVs tend to be larger and cost more per square foot, while towable ones require an additional vehicle, such as a car or pickup truck, with adequate towing capacity. “The bigger, drivable campers are more costly to both drive and upkeep,” Pasternak adds. Steffes and her husband use their four-cylinder Honda CRV to tow their TAG. Meanwhile, Pasternak and his wife bought a car specifically to pull their camper. “The camper weighed a little too much for my old car, so I had to buy a new one when we bought the camper,” he explains. Steffes and Pasternak both have more basic RVs, but there are options with high-tech entertainment systems, kitchens with full-sized appliances, and bathrooms with large bathtubs.
A big decision when purchasing an RV is whether to buy new or used. A new RV will cost considerably more than a used one, but a preowned RV might not have a manufacturer’s warranty and could need repairs. You could also hire a professional RV inspector to inspect the vehicle before you buy it. On average, RVs can cost anywhere from about $17,000 to almost $150,000, and even more if they are highly customized. The cost to rent an RV varies from $50 to $275 a night, excluding expenses like a campsite fee.
If you purchase a used RV, you can either update the vehicle yourself or hire a specialized contractor to do it for you. Before you buy a recreational vehicle, you should also consider additional RV ownership costs, such as maintenance, campsite fees, gasoline for towing or driving your vehicle, and propane for powering your appliances. Also, if you don’t have space at home to park your RV, you may need to lease a location to store it elsewhere.
When you travel by RV, you can stay in a privately run RV campground or vacation at a state or national park campsite. Some campsites won’t offer much except a place to park, while others may have a bathhouse, electric and water hookups, pools, free Wi-Fi, restaurants, and more. Steffes and her husband enjoy staying in Missouri’s lake-filled state parks. Pasternak takes his RV to state parks in New York’s Adirondack and Catskill mountains and to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
A desire to enjoy the great outdoors draws many people to RVs. “We love hiking and getting out into nature, and we snowshoe in the winter,” Pasternak says. When they travel with their RV, they are able to bring their dog and bicycles. Steffes and her husband start their RV weekends outside their camper with some wine, a charcuterie board, and perhaps a game of cards by the campfire. They love cooking campfire meals like biscuits and gravy, and Steffes’ husband recently purchased an outdoor Blackstone griddle so they can make foods like pizza, scrambled eggs, and bacon. “Everything cooked outside tastes so good,” she says. “It might be the outdoor air.” Pasternak and his wife make fish, soups, and stews on a portable camping stove and an outdoor grill. “We cook the same caliber food when camping as we do at home, if not better,” he says.
For Pasternak, one of the greatest joys of having an RV is owning a second home, but one that’s mobile and doesn’t cost much. “Being city dwellers, we consider it our country house,” he says. “We aren’t paying a mortgage, so it’s not as financially burdensome.”
Whether your preferred form of exercise is lifting weights, practicing morning yoga, or enjoying a leisurely thirty-minute walk, your body needs nutritious food to power you through your day.
The breakfast recipes below are athlete approved—created by Sammy Moniz and inspired (and taste-tested) by her husband Mat, a five-time CrossFit Games champion. You don’t have to be a superstar athlete to enjoy the recipes, though, just a fan of delicious, wholesome food that makes you feel good.
Overnight oats are a quick, easy, protein-packed breakfast option. This recipe adds the delicious flavors of blackberry and pear to give these oats a burst of color and a touch of sweetness.
Eggs are one of the best foods to start your day with—they’re full of protein and healthy fats, and their bright yellow color is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. But when baked into a summery frittata with fresh tomatoes, they’re even better.
First published in the United States by St. Martin’s Griffin, an imprint of St. Martin’s Publishing Group. Feeding the Frasers. Copyright ©2022 by Sammy Moniz. All rights reserved.
recipe by sammy moniz
photos by sammy moniz
Sometimes you just need a quick bite in the morning or something to curb a midnight sweet tooth. This is a great go-to recipe for any time of the day. Easy to prep and simple to make substitutions with what you have on hand. If you prefer to use regular milk instead of coconut milk, swap it out! If you want to make it dairy-free, exchange the Greek yogurt with your choice of dairy-free yogurt. You’ve got frozen blueberries instead of blackberries? Easy swap! The only ingredient that must stay is the rolled oats; they are the best option for soaking. Save the steel-cut and quick cook oats for your warm bowls of porridge.
PRO TIP: Portion out into 4 individual servings using mason jars before chilling in the refrigerator; it makes for easy grab-and-go mornings.
recipe by sammy moniz
photos by sammy moniz
Frittatas are great for entertaining, perfect for weekly meal prep, and ideal for sneaking some extra vegetables into a meal. It’s a one-pan wonder! If we’ve got company coming over or a busy week ahead, I know I can quickly toss together a delicious meal and be as creative as my fridge and pantry ingredients allow. This Heirloom and Cheddar Summer Frittata features our favorite summer ingredient, the heirloom tomato, and pops of sharp cheddar cheese.