The Power of Connectedness and Lemon Baked Haddock

For the most part, I work from home. This of course does not include the time that I am teaching at the studio, but alas, I do have an additional, regular, full time position as a business consultant which involves a lot of time at my computer or on the phone. When I explain this, it is confusing to many people, conjuring up a variety of misconceptions or delusions, ranging from “oh wow – that is awesome, working in your pajamas everyday or taking the afternoons off right?” to “yeahhhh right, you don’t really do very much work do you?” or “that must be really hard to stay focused and get things done without any accountability or people around.” In reality, it is at times challenging, but overall works very well for me because I am a pretty extreme self-starter and don’t really need someone to follow up with me to make sure I am doing what I am supposed to be doing (#Upholder). That being said, true benefits include the fact that I do work in athleisure most days and generally have a more flexible schedule in the event of an appointment or errand to run. However, it often means that I actually work more hours because there are no boundaries, no way to shut off completely and disconnect myself from my workplace. Another drawback is the lack of interaction with actual people, face-to-face, in person as opposed to via technology.

Being around real live people daily is one of the many benefits of teaching barre and Reformer for me. Moving abroad without any friends or family around in addition to working 100% remotely (as opposed to the 1 or 2 days per week I did from home in Boston) meant that my access to community was a bit more limited than it had been in the past. And for the sake of my marriage, it was important for me to make some friends as opposed to waiting until Jonathan came home every night to talk him to death (a reasonably valid threat). I love my Flex in the City community!

And although we all probably appreciate our friendships and relationships to some extent, the research shows that they makes a huge impact on our satisfaction with life and happiness. The academic Journal of Happiness Studies publishes peer-reviewed research focused on “scientific understanding of subjective wellbeing [including] cognitive evaluations of life satisfaction, and affective enjoyment of life, such as mood level” across a variety of factors and areas in our lives. Consistently they find that more than money, health, intelligence, career selection and success, security or physical appearance, the “presence of rich, deep, and meaningful relationships” is the key distinguishing element of a happier life. Sociologist, Robert Putnam argues that “the single most common finding from a half-century’s research on life satisfaction…around the world, is that happiness is best predicted by the breadth and depth of one’s social connections.”

I will personally attest to the veracity of this statement. And what a breath of fresh air it was to be able to connect with people deeply over the past few weeks! Although it was a super short trip, I can’t put into words how deeply satisfying it was to have the opportunity to catch up and spend time with my some of my New England friends and family. Since I have been back in Cork, my day job (aka the Work From Home Situation) has been pretty demanding (understatement), but I have still tried to build in the time for meaningful conversations, coffee with the girls, brunch with my Irish bestie and quality time with Jon (and Coco – she needs lots of QT and cuddles!). Although the workload and hours have been intense, taking the spare time that I have had and spending it on connecting with others has really helped to lift my mood.

And continuing on this positive path, I am excited to be hosting a friend and former colleague and her partner this weekend as they stop by to see Ireland on their way to Amsterdam! I can’t wait to show them the city, a day-in-the-life-of-the-Irish and just to spend time in their company. Zlata and I met when we were both working at Hemingways, a FABULOUS fine dining seafood restaurant in Providence, RI and she was one of my first new friends when I moved out East. Prior to moving to New England, I wasn’t a big fan of seafood in general, but living there with such an abundance of options and working at the restaurant were nearly everything was absolutely delicious and super fresh completely changed my mind. Now I love fish and shellfish alike and often make my own Paleo and Whole30 version of a classic back at Hemingways – Lemon Baked Haddock with sautéed spinach. Instead of breadcrumbs and butter, I use tapioca flour and ghee and when the tapioca flour cooks, it results in a delicious gooey consistency similar to melted cheese, but with a different, more neutral flavour. It’s a quick, simple, cleaned up version of a classic which is perfect for this seafood aficionado!

Lemon Baked Haddockprepping baked haddock

Whole30 Lemon Baked Haddock

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Serves: 4

Quick, easy, clean and delicious Whole30 version of a traditional Lemon Baked Cod
  • Ghee .25 cup (60 ml)
  • Lemon Juice 3 TBSP
  • Tapioca Flour .25 cup (80 g)
  • Sea Salt .5 TSP
  • Black Pepper .5 TSP
  • Garlic Powder .5 TSP
  • Haddock/Cod 4 filets each about 4 oz (115 g)
  • Lemon wedges for garnish
  • Parsley for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 190 C and lightly grease glass baking dish with a small amount of melted ghee
  2. In a small bowl, mix the ghee and lemon juice
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the tapioca flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  4. One at a time dip the haddock/cod filets into the wet mixture and shake off excess before coating in the flour mixture and then placing into the glass baking dish
  5. Place the dish in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until done
  6. Sprinkle some parsley over the top and serve with extra lemon wedges. This is excellent with a variety of sides, my go-to is sautéed spinach!