FAOT

Marin County Fair

Hi everyone! Hope you had a great Fourth of July. I kept it pretty mellow and went to my first county fair! We wanted Leo (my Dutch roommate who is living in SF for an internship if you are too lazy to click the link) to have an extremely American day so I rounded up a few roommates and friends to get together. I have to go to sleep early so I am just going to dump you with a photo bomb.

Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires

Leo did not really get the deal with Smokey the Bear. It was hard for him to understand that almost every kid in America has seen his commercial at one time in their lifetime. Or…is it just California? Are there forest fires in all parts of the country?

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Ferris Wheels and Rides

The first thing we did was ride one of the scarier rides that the fair had. Poor Taylor has some sort of phobia and we kind of just made her go on.

We also wanted to go on a Ferris Wheel but decided to wait until night time when everything was lit up- it ended up being the only thing we did not get to check off since the line was so long.

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Turkey Leg

Ha, I think this was the highlight of Leo’s day. He saw a kiddo pass by while chomping on the turkey leg and said that he HAD to have one or he would not have felt like a true American.

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Deep-Fried Oreos

The only thing I ate and remembered to take a picture of was these delicious deep fried Oreos. We also munched on garlic fries, cheese steaks (not that great at all) and funnel cakes.

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Baby animals!

Right around the corner from the pig racing (yes that is a real thing and it was kind of sad) was baby goats!! They were so cute! Being in the petting zoo was a little terrifying, the adult goats do not know the definition of personal space and all started surrounding me. It did not help that their pupils are little slits.

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Donuts

So embarrassed to say but we spent so much money trying to win these stupid donuts. The water squirting game was the only booth that had the medium sized donuts and it took us three times losing to four year olds to make us give up. We found a booth with smaller donuts and spent a ton of money there before the guy who worked there felt bad for us and told us which fish had the donut prized.

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Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the fireworks but I am sure you can just Youtube them. We had a pretty good show though!

Incase you were wondering, Leo said he had a blast and was a lemonade away from developing diabetes and feeling like a real American. July fourth, check!

What did you do? What else do people do besides BBQ?

I forgot to ask but are you watching the World Cup? I watched my first game on Saturday (Netherlands vs. Costa Rica) and it was so intense at the end! How do you guys watch all those games? I would have probably had a heart attack by now.

14 Healthy Foods That Help You Poop

Constipation is a common problem affecting an estimated 20% of the population.

Delayed colonic transit, or a decrease in the movement of food through the digestive system, is one of the most common causes.

A low-fiber diet, old age and physical inactivity can also contribute to constipation.

While remedies for constipation typically include laxatives, stool softeners and fiber supplements, incorporating a few regularity-boosting foods into your diet can be a safe and effective alternative.

This article lists 14 healthy foods that can help you poop.

1. Apples

Apples are a good source of fiber, with one small apple (5.3 ounces or 149 grams) providing 4 grams of fiber.

Fiber passes through your intestines undigested, helping with the formation of stool and promoting regular bowel movements.

Apples also contain a specific type of soluble fiber called pectin, which is known for its laxative effect.

In one study, 80 participants with constipation took pectin supplements.

After four weeks, pectin sped up transit time in the colon, reduced the symptoms of constipation and even improved digestive health by increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Apples can be used as a healthy topping for foods like yogurt and oatmeal or enjoyed on their own as a convenient and nutritious snack.

2. Prunes

Prunes are often used as a natural laxative — and for good reason.

Not only do they contain 2 grams of fiber per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving, but they’re also a good source of sorbitol.

Sorbitol is a type of sugar alcohol that is poorly digested in the body. It helps alleviate constipation by drawing water into the intestines, spurring a bowel movement.

One review looked at four studies measuring the effectiveness of prunes on constipation. It found that prunes can help soften stool, improve consistency and increase stool frequency.

Another study showed that 40 participants with constipation who were given prunes experienced improvements in both stool frequency and consistency, compared to participants treated with psyllium fiber supplements.

Prunes add a hint of sweetness when used to garnish salads and pilafs. A small glass of prune juice with no added sugar can also be a quick and convenient way to get the same constipation-busting benefits found in whole prunes.

3. Kiwifruit

Kiwifruit is especially high in fiber, which makes it an excellent food to help promote regularity.

Just one medium kiwi (2.7 ounces or 76 grams) contains 2.3 grams of fiber.

Kiwifruit has been shown to stimulate movement in the digestive tract, helping to induce a bowel movement.

One 2007 study gave 33 constipated and 20 non-constipated participants kiwifruit twice daily over a four-week period.

Kiwifruit helped to speed up intestinal transit time, decrease laxative use and improve symptoms of constipation.

Try adding kiwifruit to your next smoothie for a tasty, high-fiber treat.

4. Flaxseeds

In addition to their wide variety of health benefits, flaxseeds’ high fiber content and ability to promote regularity definitely make them stand out.

Each one-tablespoon (10-gram) serving of flaxseeds contains 3 grams of fiber, including a mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber.

One animal study supplemented mice with flaxseeds for 14 days and studied the effects on constipation.

Not only did flaxseeds speed up intestinal transit, but they also increased stool frequency and stool weight in both normal and constipated mice.

Another animal study showed that flaxseed can help treat both constipation and diarrhea. It was found to increase stool frequency and also have an anti-diarrheal effect, reducing diarrhea by up to 84%.

Flaxseeds can add extra fiber and texture when sprinkled onto oats, yogurt, soups and shakes.

Pears can help alleviate constipation in a few different ways.

First, they are high in fiber. One medium pear (6.3 ounces or 178 grams) contains 6 grams of fiber, meeting up to 24% of your daily fiber needs.

Pears are also high in sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that acts as an osmotic agent to pull water into the intestines and stimulate a bowel movement.

Furthermore, pears contain fructose, a type of sugar that can only be absorbed in limited amounts.

This is due to the way in which fructose is metabolized in your body. Not only is it absorbed at a slower rate, but also large amounts of fructose can only be metabolized by your liver.

Moreover, some individuals may have fructose malabsorption, a condition that affects the body’s ability to absorb fructose.

Like sorbitol, unabsorbed fructose acts as a natural laxative by bringing water into the intestines.

Pears are incredibly versatile and easy to add to your diet. They can be included in salads and sandwiches or consumed raw for a sweet snack.

Most varieties of beans are high in fiber and can help maintain regularity.

For example, black beans boast 7.5 grams of fiber per cooked half cup (86 grams), while a half cup (91 grams) of cooked navy beans contains 9.5 grams of fiber.

Beans also contain good amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which help ease constipation in different ways.

Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel-like consistency, softening stool and making it easier to pass.

On the other hand, insoluble fiber passes through the digestive tract intact and adds bulk to stool.

One 2016 study showed that including a mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber in the diet can effectively reduce constipation, while also reducing bloating and gas.

If you’re looking for an easy way to increase your fiber intake, beans are a good way to do so. Add them to soups, dips or side dishes for a delicious dose of fiber.

7. Rhubarb

Both rhubarb’s fiber content and natural laxative properties encourage regularity.

Each stalk of rhubarb (1.8 ounces or 51 grams) includes 1 gram of fiber, which is mostly bulk-promoting insoluble fiber.

Rhubarb also contains a compound called sennoside A, which has a laxative effect in the body. In fact, sennosides are even found in herbal laxatives like senna.

Sennoside A works by decreasing levels of AQP3, a protein that controls water transport in the intestines.

Decreased levels of AQP3 result in increased water absorption, which softens stool and promotes a bowel movement.

Rhubarb can be used in a variety of baked goods, added to yogurt or even be added to oatmeal for a kick of added flavor.

8. Artichokes

Research shows that artichokes have a prebiotic effect, which can be beneficial for gut health and maintaining regularity.

Prebiotics are a special type of fiber that works by feeding the good bacteria found in your colon, helping to optimize your digestive health.

Consuming prebiotics may also help relieve constipation.

A 2017 review looked at five studies including 199 participants and concluded that prebiotics increased stool frequency and improved consistency (27).

Artichokes, in particular, are a good source of prebiotics that can boost beneficial bacteria in the gut.

One study had 32 participants supplement with fiber extracted from globe artichokes. After three weeks, they found that concentrations of beneficial bacteria had increased, while amounts of harmful gut bacteria had decreased.

Another study looked at the effects of artichoke leaf extract on 208 participants with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Not only did artichokes reduce the incidence of IBS, but they also helped normalize bowel pattern.

Artichokes are available in both fresh and jarred form and can be used in everything from creamy dips to flavorful tarts.

9. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that contains probiotics, a form of healthy gut bacteria that may help alleviate constipation.

Probiotics have been shown to increase stool frequency, improve stool consistency and help reduce intestinal transit time to speed up bowel movements.

Several studies have demonstrated that kefir, in particular, may promote regularity.

In one study, 20 participants with constipation were given kefir for four weeks.

Kefir was found to decrease laxative use, speed up intestinal transit, increase stool frequency and improve consistency.

An animal study found similar results, demonstrating that kefir increased moisture and bulk in the stool to reduce constipation.

Kefir makes the perfect base for smoothies or salad dressings. Alternatively, try making a probiotic-rich parfait using kefir and topping it with fruit, flaxseeds or oats for an extra boost of fiber.

10. Figs

Figs are an excellent way to get more fiber into your diet to encourage regular bowel movements.

Dried figs, especially, can provide a concentrated dose of fiber.

A half cup (75 grams) of dried figs contains 7.5 grams of fiber, which can fulfill up to 30% of your daily fiber needs.

A 2011 animal study looked at the effects of fig paste on constipation over a three-week period. It found that fig paste increased stool weight and reduced intestinal transit time, making it a natural remedy for constipation.

Another study in humans found that giving fig paste to 40 participants with constipation helped speed up colonic transit, improve stool consistency and alleviate abdominal discomfort.

While figs can be consumed on their own, they can also be boiled into a tasty jam that goes great with bruschetta, pizzas and sandwiches.

11. Sweet Potatoes

In addition to providing a host of vitamins and minerals, sweet potatoes also contain a good amount of fiber that can help increase regularity.

One medium sweet potato (4 ounces or 114 grams) contains 4 grams of fiber.

The fiber found in sweet potatoes is mostly insoluble and includes a few specific types, such as cellulose, lignin and pectin.

Thanks to their fiber content, some studies have shown that sweet potatoes may help promote bowel movements.

A 2016 study measured the effects of sweet potato intake on constipation in 57 leukemia patients who were undergoing chemotherapy.

After just four days, most markers of constipation had improved, and the participants consuming sweet potatoes had significantly less straining and discomfort than the control group.

Sweet potatoes can be mashed, baked, sautéed or roasted and used in place of white potatoes in any of your favorite recipes.

12. Lentils

This edible pulse is packed with fiber, making it an excellent addition to your diet to relieve constipation.

In fact, a half cup (99 grams) of boiled lentils contains an impressive 8 grams.

Additionally, eating lentils can increase the production of butyric acid, a type of short-chain fatty acid found in the colon. It increases the movement of the digestive tract to promote bowel movements.

One animal study looked at the effects of butyrate on the digestive tract and found that it helped speed up intestinal transit, making it a potential treatment for constipation.

Lentils add a rich, hearty flavor to soups and salads alike, while also providing plenty of added fiber and health benefits.

13. Chia Seeds

Just one ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds contains a whopping 11 grams of fiber.

In fact, chia seeds are made up of about 40% fiber by weight, making them one of the most fiber-dense foods available.

Specifically, chia seeds are a good source of soluble fiber, which absorbs water to form a gel that softens and moistens stool for easier passage.

One study found that chia seeds could absorb up to 12 times their weight in water, allowing for even easier elimination.

Try mixing chia seeds into smoothies, puddings and yogurts to pack in a few extra grams of soluble fiber.

14. Oat Bran

Oat bran is the fiber-rich outer casing of the oat grain.

Though it’s not as widely consumed as rolled or old-fashioned oats, oat bran contains significantly more fiber.

Just one-third cup (31 grams) of oat bran contains about 5 grams of fiber, which is about 43% more than traditional oat varieties.

One study gave 15 elderly participants oat bran over a 12-week period and compared the results with a control group.

Not only was oat bran well tolerated, but it also helped participants maintain their body weight and decreased laxative use by 59%, making it a safe and effective natural remedy for constipation.

Though oatmeal and oat bran come from the same oat groat, they vary in terms of texture and taste. Oat bran works especially well when used in recipes for granola mixes and breads.

The Bottom Line

Constipation is a common problem that affects most people at some point and can eventually lead to a more serious digestive problem like IBS. Getting medical attention at an Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Clinic is important for anyone who experiences any digestive irritation or irregularity.

Though medications and supplements can help, achieving regularity is possible for most people with a high-fiber, healthy diet and a few regularity-boosting foods.

Including a few servings of these foods each day, along with plenty of water and regular physical activity, can help increase stool frequency, improve consistency and eliminate constipation once and for all.

P.S. I Love You

Dear, I thought I’d drop a line: the weather’s cool, the folks are fine.

Maybe last Saturday night confirmed my fears but I think I officially leveled up to a middle-aged soul.

To revisit the topic of nostalgia, I had another experience that brought me right back to childhood. My sister can (and probably will in the comment section) attest to the uncountable times that our father had us listen to the contralto vocals of the Diana Krall. Shit almost hit the fan when I found out she would perform at The Fox Theater this year.

Incase you missed the memo about who is Diana Krall, she is a two time Grammy winning, seven multi-platinum album having best-selling jazz artist of her time. (thanks Wiki)

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I usually aim for general admission so I can be as close as possible to the performers, but we settled for balcony seats since Diana is stationed at her piano the whole time. Also note that this is the second time this year I have found my way across the Bay Bridge- world record, y’all.

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We hit unexpected traffic heading across the bridge, so had little time to get some food in before the concert started at 8p. A quick Yelp search led to what was named as “the best grilled cheese ever” at Dogwood just down the street from the Fox.

They took 20 minutes so I was really excited because it must have been made with lots of love.

Another PS: I am a pretty smart cookie, but I did not realize I had two dimples until I was editing this picture below. Well, I knew I had two dimples at some part in my life but one went into hibernation for a few years and it just now came back recently!

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We ordered two grilled cheese to share, one custom (salami, pepperoncinis, truffle oil) and the other Cubano. They were really tasty but also very thin- I was still famished before even leaving the bar. We had to stop by In-N-Out on the way home, which is not much to complain about.

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The historical Fox theater is not your average concert hall. The attention to detail is incredible inside, I wish I could have taken a real picture but I was not going to be that person. You can still see a lot of the original middle-eastern/roaring 20s influences from the first owner.

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My review of Diana Krall? So amazing, seriously. Listening to live music really makes you live in the moment. All she had on stage was her piano, drummer, strings, fiddler (Stuart Duncan, omg) and key-man. No background music, nothing and they produced the music all by themselves.

With such a big auditorium, she still managed to create an intimate mood with stories of her past and her sultry banter.

I was a little nervous going into the concert because I read reviews and she seemed to play mostly music from her new CD- songs that nobody really knows instead of her classics. She surprised the audience and took requests for about 30 minutes in the middle of her setlist. Hearing her play her new album was good, hearing her play songs that I loved was on another level.

A few of my favorite songs: (aka go download/youtube them now)

S’Wonderful, Besame Mucho, P.S. I Love You (cue title), Case Of You, Cry Me A River and Peel Me A Grape

Anyone you want to go see that you have not had the chance yet? Yes, Tony Bennett! Although I have to do it soon before the old guy needs to be wheeled around. There is just something about being brunette in a crowd of white hair. 🙂

Jacque Attack

Hello beautiful, how are you enjoying this fine Thursday?

We are getting a little bit of rain here and there, which makes me happy because I ordered an umbrella off Amazon a month ago and finally get to put it to good use.

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One sentence back story: Jacq just finished her Organic Chemistry test the day before and I am celebrating spring break, so we decided a hike was in order.

I picked her up a little late and we drove down the street to fuel up with chocolate croissants and juices. (imagine our blood sugar levels like this- __^__)

She found a cool Oakland trail that we both have not tried before and that is where we headed. To be honest, it is REALLY hard to find and we might have spent more time looking for the parking lot than actually doing our hike.

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It also started raining about half-way through, but luckily we had the giant redwood trees acting as a canopy and shielding us from the rain. Our original eight mile hike turned out to be a measly four mile hike. After factoring the uphills and unexpected climate change, I would pretty much call it even. 😉

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The redwoods in the area were second and third generation. From the signs we read while trekking, we learned that most of the giant trees were cut down in the 1800s for the gold rush boom (think lodging and building a city from scratch). We even found remnants of a few grandfather stumps.

PS: This is not one of those stumps, I just thought it was a cool looking tree.

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We refueled afterwards at a new-to-us place in Oakland named Hopscotch. Both of us do not fan out of San Francisco very often, so we felt like we were in a whole new world. A local food critic gave this place a good review, so I obliged with the duck fat chips to accompany my burger.

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Since I was so ravenous, Taylor and I went to go eat a good ol’ Italian dinner a few hours later. We can also rename this post as “girls with no faces”.

They had small and large servings at Aperto. Instead of both us eating proper serving sizes, we ordered three different pastas and rotated every few bites. Our waiter was impressed.

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Oh, also we cannot forget to talk about the meatballs. Clearly today was not my most healthiest days of eats…how I am not three million pounds by now is beyond me. I have also been suffering a bit from back pain, but I´ll just visit this doctors pain management group.

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In not so blog-worthy moments of my day, I am just working, volunteering and eating unphotographable food.

What is the most exciting thing to happen in your week? I got a really exciting fortune in my cookie the other day, which makes me consider how eventful my week actually is.