Almighty Asparagus, Death to Email, & Running From Jet Lag

Can’t stop, won’t stop. Let’s get cracking.

Dawn's Big Three This Week:

1) 🥑 Food For Thought 💭
Why your white matter needs asparagus 

2) 🥇 Motivation Station 🏃‍♀️
How to consciously uncouple with your inbox (and take back your sanity)

3) ☔ Make It Brain
How to convince your brain you’re in another time zone.

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🥑 Food For Thought 💭


Love it or hate it, asparagus is outstanding brain food. It’s in season. Buy some. The end.

Seriously though, most people don’t know exactly how it fosters cognitive performance and the ROI on asparagus is huge. If you’re not a fan, lend an ear. 

Alright. I’m listening.
First things first. One cup of cooked asparagus yields 70% of your recommended daily folate intake.

Remind me about folate.
It’s one of the B-vitamins that prevents cognitive decline and increases focus. Folate tends to your white matter. (That’s the bit that coordinates brain activity, serving as a highway for signals.)

How do we know this?
Over the years, several studies have highlighted folate’s power over cognitive decline.

In particular, one fascinating study out of the Netherlands, revealed how folate can even reverse the signs of aging. (Sounds like an eye cream commercial but it’s not.)

Researchers administered high doses of folate to healthy participants between the ages of 50-75. Over the course of the study, they conducted memory tests. 

In the end, the folate-fueled memories performed on par with people 5.5 years younger. Team Folate also matched the cognitive speed of people 1.9 years their junior. Not bad, folate. Not bad.

So why asparagus?
It’s in season. Considering the ROI on asparagus is 70% RDA per cup, now’s a good time to grab a bundle at the farmer’s market.

If you like green things on toast and brunch is your jam, this super easy recipewill surely convert you (and your white matter.) Bon appetit.

FOR THE NERDY: The academic article for those of you who speak fluent Dutch.

🥇Motivation Station 🏃‍♀️


Remember when the words “You’ve got mail!” elicited warm fuzzies and evoked images of Meg Ryan? Maybe it’s just me. Either way, not anymore. 

Most people would agree email is a major source of anxiety and frustration (unless you’re reading Dawn, in which case AWESOME! Email is the best!)

If you’ve had enough, here are 5 proven ways to get on track so you don’t lose 28% of your work day. (True story.)

Twenty-eight percent?! Why?
Procrastination, avoidance, bad habits, the obsessive pursuit of Inbox Zero...there are many reasons. Clearly we can do better.

Tell me how.

  1. Check in hourly. You’ll save at least 21 minutes a day. The average professional checks every 37 minutes. If you want to see the math, be our guest.

  2. Abide by the single-touch rule. Archive, archive, archive. Rereading email subjects and previews as you skim your crowded inbox can cost you upwards of 27 minutes a day.

  3. Ditch Kondo-ing email. Organizing with multiple folders costs an average of 14 minutes each day. If you must organize, keep two folders: one for emails that require action and one for messages that you’ll need to read again at a later date. Otherwise, archive and search.

  4. Turn off notifications. Those precious seconds add up. So do the minutes needed to get your momentum back. Eyes on the prize. So long, notifications.

  5. Track your time management. It’s hard to optimise what you can’t measure. We love RescueTime.

Two other easy ways to cut down on email? Pick up the phone or walk across the office. Everyone wins when lazy email dies.

FOR THE NERDY: The nitty-gritty on electronic headache fodder

Make It Brain 


Attention passengers: If you’re the type who travels for work, here’s something worth noting. It’s possible to reduce jet lag, trick your brain, and shift your body clock by following a strategic workout schedule.  

Sounds intriguing.
It is. Scholars from UCSD and Arizona State University designed an experiment to track circadian rhythms and test whether exercise could influence the body clock. 

Their method involved urine samples, melatonin levels, and treadmills. We’ll spare you the details.

So what did they find?
Participants who exercised at 7 am or between 1-4 pm advanced their body clocks.

Those who worked up a sweat between 7-10 pm set their clocks back.

If you’re skipping across the Atlantic, say from NY to London, it’s best to get in an early workout the day you fly. 

If you’re flying back west, you’re better off exercising the night before. 

If you’re flying to or from Australia, well, good luck.

Thanks a lot. Any other jet lag tips?
You know the basic stuff: avoid caffeine and alcohol, get a good sleep the night before, etc. 

Here are a few other suggestions:

  • Strategically schedule your flight. Try to land in the early evening or late afternoon. Then you don’t have to wait long until bedtime.

  • Ignore your watch and don’t do the math. Your mind sometimes plays tricks on you.

  • Seek sun. Daylight cuts melatonin production. If you’re groggy, get outside.

You can also channel the power of a solid playlist. This ought to perk you up.

FOR THE NERDY: Read the academic report or read up on circadian rhythms

What We Love This Week

📽 WATCH: This 3-minute stop-motion video might scare you into honouring your circadian rhythms and setting an early bedtime.

📖 READ: If "keto" is a four-letter word in your vocabulary, check out this hybrid approach courtesy of our chief nutritional advisor. He just published his 40th book.

🎧 LISTEN: Dr Chatterjee waxes depression with the author of my favourite book of 2018, Johann Hari. (If you haven’t read Lost Connections yet, get on it.)

Community Feedback

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Maryna Irzhanenko, Portfolio Manager at Flinder

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Rock and roll. Go binge on asparagus, break up with email, and if you’re hopping the pond this week, don’t forget to pack your spandex of choice.

Until next week,