This post is sponsored by Inspired Greens. All opinions are my own.
Am I the only adult that counts down to fun things in sleeps? My sister and I always used to count down to Christmas in sleeps rather than days, and I guess the habit has just stuck with me. But it’s not Christmas in this case – it’s Hawaii!
On Sundays, I have a weekly ritual of catching up on my favourite podcasts while preparing food for the week. One of my ‘usuals’, The Good Life Project by Jonathan Fields, played with a message that was unbelievably timely. (You can listen to the full episode here, or on iTunes. While you’re there I highly recommend subscribing because there are some great nuggets o’ wisdom to be had.)
It was called the ARC of Happiness, and as you may have guessed, ARC is an acronym. It stands for Anticipation, Relishing and Contemplation.
The general premise was about how all three of these stages related to special event (a vacation, a wedding, or any other fun and exciting experience) are all part of the overall feeling of happiness that we derive from it. With my Hawaii trip coming up soon, the messages resonated so much with how I’ve been feeling. Vacation aside though, I wanted to share because I think you guys might benefit from the takeaways too.
Here are the most important bits:
Science is showing that human beings often experience more happiness in the anticipation period of something to come, rather than the time of experiencing the event itself. Therefore, by signing up for something at the very last minute or not committing until right before that event, we deny ourselves an opportunity to get excited and happy about that experience ahead.
There are so many distractions in our daily lives, and the same is true during special events. Do you get out your camera or phone to take a photo? Should it be square for Instagram, portrait for Pinterest, or landscape for Facebook? Do you try to record it in some way, or do you give in to other things competing for your attention? The message focused on how being fully present and immersed in every way during an experience allows us to derive the most happiness from it.
Humans are storytellers, so we like to reminisce about amazing experiences we’ve had. That could be sharing stories with others, or just re-running through a series of events in our minds. By spending time in the contemplation phase, we reflect on what we’ve just seen, heard, tasted, done, and otherwise lived, and consider how the whole event could impact the way we live our lives going forward.
As I’m sure you can imagine, I was able to relate all three of these phases to my upcoming vacation. There’s no doubt that this anticipatory stage (which started in February and will end in precisely 14 sleeps!) has brought me joy – every part from browsing hotels, booking the flights, researching excursions and telling people about the trip. On that note, my apologies if you’re sick of hearing about it. ?
Listening to the part about the relishing phase were a great reminder that I don’t NEED to try to capture every moment on a camera, or attempt to pre-narrate blog posts in my head – something I often find myself doing on autopilot. It was also a nice reminder that the best way to make the most out of a long-anticipated event like this is to be fully immersed in it, savouring the moments with every sense. And on the note of contemplation, you best believe I’ll be sure to spend plenty of time reflecting in this phase too. I have plans to try some new-to-me things on this trip, many of which I’m sure will change the way I think.
The podcast wrapped up with the thought that by allowing ourselves to fully be in all 3 of these stages, the depth and duration of happiness we experience expands. Cool, right?
So now the big question:
What the HECK does achieving maximum happiness have to do with a Salmon Poke Bowl?
You could argue everything (and if so, I like where your head is at. But that’s not quite where I’m going.
IT’S ANTICIPATION, BABYYYYYYYYYY!!!!
I’ve waxed poetic about my love for poke bowls several times this summer. In the context of the podcast, you could say each poke creation has been part of the anticipation phase in the ARC acronym. Each one makes me even more excited to sit on a sunny beach, watching and listening to waves roll in and out with a bowl of fresh-out-of-that-same-ocean poke in my hand. You don’t have to be getting ready to go on vacation before making this beauty though – I promise bringing it to life in your kitchen WILL help you squeeze some extra happiness out of life!
Before we get to the recipe, a quick word about the ingredient at the foundation of this Salmon Poke Bowl: lettuce! But not just any leaf. Hear me out.
Inspired Greens is a Canadian company that came on my radar a couple of months ago, and their specialty is super fresh, crisp, non-GMO lettuce varieties. The plants are grown hydroponically using sustainable practices inside their southern Alberta greenhouses. Each seed is grown in its own pot in order to develop strong, healthy roots, and is packed that way so the leaves are still fresh by the time they’re delivered to people like you and me. I was amazed that even after having stored each head of lettuce in my fridge for a couple of days, the leaves still looked just as fresh and crisp as the day they arrived.
Inspired Greens offers 4 types – multi-leaf trio, romaine trio, red and green butter leaf, and red and green batavia leaf. I chose green butter leaf for this bowl (the little leaves were so cute!) but any of the varieties could have worked.
After rinsing the leaves and doing a single chop to remove the rooted part (literally, just one chop is all it takes), it was just a matter of piling the spicy salmon cubes and other poke bits into the bowl. If simple makes you happy, I think you’ll be all over this. ?Print
Salmon sushi meets Hawaiian poke with this sweet and spicy bowl of rainbow-coloured goodness.
- 1 cup chopped lettuce of choice (I used Inspired Greens butter lettuce)
- 1/3 cup diced cucumber cubes
- 1/3 cup diced mango cubes
- 1/4 cup diced avocado cubes
- 1/4 cup julienne cut carrots
- 1/4 cup shredded purple cabbage
- 100g sushi-grade wild Pacific salmon, sliced into small cubes
- to garnish: sesame seeds, pickled ginger, lime wedges and cilantro, all optional.
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp sriracha sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp low-sodium tamari
- Make the sauce: Whisk or shake together all ingredients in a small jar.
- Arrange the lettuce in the bottom of a bowl, using some leaves to line the sides.
- Prepare all remaining ingredients as indicated above.
- In a small bowl, combine the cucumber, mango and avocado. Pour it into the lettuce-lined bowl, followed by the julienned carrot and shredded purple cabbage.
- In the same bowl you mixed the cucumber, mango and avocado in, toss the sushi salmon cubes in about 1 tbsp spicy sauce. Add the cubes to the poke bowl.
- Drizzle lime juice over top if desired and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with optional garnishes and remaining spicy sauce on the side.
Now I’d love to hear from you. What do you think about the whole ARC of happiness thing? Do you get more happiness out of one specific phase than others? Do you tend to deny yourself a full experience of another?
Thanks so much to Inspired Greens for sponsoring this recipe, and thanks to all of you for supporting the companies I choose to partner with!