Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lent feels sort of like an anniversary for me at Foodtrainers; Lauren had posted a great blog years (omg .. many years) ago on Non-Religious Lent that introduced us. The rest is Foodtrainers history (appropriate that it’s Valentines day too L, xx).

There’s something really powerful about fully committing and giving something up for a period of time. I’m reading this book The Power of Habit (one of my new years resolutions: read more, insta less) and it turns out you really can rewire your brain but you have to start with a single thing. Don’t try to tackle on 15 changes at once.

I tried Dry January and in total honesty I failed (not miserably!).  So for our annual non-religious lent, I’d rather give up something a little outside the box— in the past it has been giving up elevators, plastic water bottles, and dating loser boys. This year I am giving up COMPLAINING, going on Instagram more than once a day, and snacking after dinner. I realize I said to start with one thing but I couldn’t decide.

Lauren is giving up staying up late (or late for her). As our Foodstalkees know, she’s up with the birds. To get her 7 hours she needs to skip the extra Shark Tank episode and hit the sack at 10:30. 

SO here’s your challenge: give up one thing starting this weekend through 3/27. Six weeks to better habits.
What’s it gonna be for #nonreligious lent? Leave us a comment and tweet us @Foodtrainers @carolynbrownRD and we will have your back. Happy #NRL
We’ll circle back when #NRL ends and let you know how we did.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

My favorite new (bite-sized) chocolate

I am such a chocolate person that I don’t understand how vanilla people exist.  Vanilla is a mistake. I like chocolate in all its forms though it’s probably no surprise I lean toward dark chocolate now. I’m not hardcore with the percentages; 85% is still too intense for my liking. However, sometimes dark chocolate that’s less than 70% is too sweet and too easy to overdo (the lower the percentage the higher the sugar). I tend to like a little flavor excitement with my chocolate. Mint, some spice, salt or even oddball flavors do it for me. I even fall for superfoods in my chocolate: matcha chocolate, reishi mushroom chocolate etc.

I found a new company that checks all my chocolate boxes.
Zenbunni, made in Venice California, isn’t just chocolate that I love; it’s chocolate made with love. Their mini or “microcosmic” bars contain organic, wild and foraged ingredients.
My two favorites for now are:
Lost Salt of Atlantis and Shiva Rose

We have a sweet giveaway and an assortment of Zenbunni minis coming your way provided you swear you’ve never chosen vanilla over chocolate. We also have a "bundle of love" with three terrific new sweets in the Foodtrainers' store.
Are you a chocolate person? What’s your favorite chocolate? Do you like your chocolate straight up or jazzed up?

To be Eligible
Tweet: The best chocolate in the world? @Foodtrainers has a @zenbunni #giveaway 
Comment below
*Enter by midnight on Valentines Day

Friday, February 5, 2016

Superbowl Challenge and Recipe

Most years, I have more interest in the food than the football on Super Bowl Sunday. But we love the Broncos; our dog is named Bronco so I’ll be watching. And according to statistics, so will most of you. This concerns me, I have heartburn just thinking about Super Bowl food where team healthy is the biggest underdog around.
Instead of suggesting what to skip, Carolyn and I decided to make a crudité plate that could compete. No sad, wet baby carrots and a hummus container can do that.

If you need some crudité coaching, check out our #CooCoo4crudite video
Crudite Starting Lineup

Here is the recipe for the dip we mention in the video
Super bowl Spicy Tahini
¼ cup Tahini
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs Apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp. Sunny Bang probiotic hot sauce
¼ tsp. Wakaya turmeric
Himalayan salt and pepper to taste.

Complicated Instructions: mix/whisk together & amp up spice, salt & pepper if needed.
*I’ve made with coconut oil but you need to increase the heat if you do so.
*Any hot sauce or salt will do, we used our MVP incredients.

I think our crudité can compete but can you beat us? We’re veggie voyeurs, please post your plates with the hashtag #coocoo4crudite on Instagram or Twitter. If you’re not that social, email us your cool creations and we’ll see who wins this crudité competition (and the game).

Will you be watching the game? Which football foods do you plan on eating? What do you think is the secret for crudité that can compete/interesting veggie plates?
And of course some pregame

Monday, February 1, 2016

When Barbie’s body is on the cover of Time magazine

Off the bat, I’ll say I wasn’t a doll girl growing up. I did have a Cabbage Patch but that was more of a stuffed animal and 80s status symbol (among the 4th graders). I spent time with Speak & Math the way some of my friends played dolls. I recall some limited Barbie play at two friend’s houses but I was much more interested in Barbie’s dream house. So, I don’t have any sentimental connection to the iconic doll.

If you haven’t heard, there are three new Barbies on the block. They’re all named Barbie but there are petite, curvy and tall versions. There are new skin tones and hair colors and textures as well. Mattel, who makes Barbie, says they hope the new dolls will be a reflection of the young owner’s world. They also hope to save Barbie from decreasing sales.

Barbie is on the cover of Time this week. The Time article mentions Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé and Lena Dunham as examples of changing beauty ideals and thus the need for newly shaped Barbies. I could be wrong but I wouldn’t peg Lena the Barbie-playing type. No matter what the body type, the message is still it’s all about Barbie’s body. It’s superficial and judgmental to say “curvy is the new thin”.  

If we trace Barbie’s roots, her body is based on a German doll called Lilli. Lilli was a “prostitute gag gift handed out at bachelor parties.” I am not sure how the doll made the leap from hooker to toy aisle but we can’t blame Barbie for that.  Barbie has quite a checkered past, there was a teen Barbie grasping a diet book with the advice “don’t eat”. I can only imagine what the parents, who send Mattel’s COO death treats, would have to say about eating disorder Barbie.

I’m not entirely convinced that a doll’s body affects what young girls think about their bodies. After all, I felt no surge in desire to have the Cabbage Patch body. Time references a 2006 study and reports “girls exposed to Barbie at a young age expressed greater concern with being thin.” I looked at this study and this wasn’t necessarily conducted on Barbie lovers, rather girls were shown images of various dolls. So I don’t know if Barbie is harmful.

And who am I to pass judgment on Barbie or parents who are up in arms about Barbie’s body? Look what’s going on in my house.

What do you think of the new Barbies? Is this an indicator of inclusivity or a marketing ploy? Do you think Barbie affects the way young girls (or boys) think about their bodies?

*And the winner of our Four Sigma giveaway is Erica Sara.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Office Offender- meet Cookie Push

It’s hard enough to walk the healthy walk with our own “stuff”. Our sleep, work stress, family life, hormones and cravings are obstacles on any given day. But so are other people and sometimes it’s not even the people closest to you. We spend a lot of time at work and coworkers can affect your behavior. In the Little Book of Thin I talked about the candy bowl person.  There’s usually one candy bowl person per workplace but there’s another type of office offender.
A few weeks ago, I opened the door from my office to our waiting room. A client* sat on the white couch with an It’s Sugar shopping bag next to her. She noticed that I noticed and said, “It’s not for me” and stood to come into my office.  I had to ask, “So who is it for?” “It’s for someone at work, she loves Reese’s” my client said and proceeded to pull out a package of peanut butter cups the size of a shoebox (a shoebox lid). We joked a little, she told me to take a photo for Instagram (I passed not knowing it would help this post) and switched gears.
This past Wednesday, I saw this same client again. I could tell she was aggravated from the instant I saw her. Before the two of us could sit down she started spewing details from her week. After a two-second intro she said, “and there’s this evil bitch in my office who bakes” I nodded. “And she doesn’t even eat what she bakes, she actually bakes things she dislikes.” This is actually fairly common but my client wasn’t finished and I could tell there needed to be gushing before guidance. “I come to Foodtrainers, another guy has his nutritionist, my boss is attempting paleo and the person next to me is gluten-fucking-free for real, like celiac. None of us want to eat this.”  For the record, gluten fucking free is a direct quote.
The candy bowl person mentioned generally doesn’t eat the candy but Candy Bowl and Cookie Push are a little bit different. The candy bowl person generally enjoys people congregating near them, they exchange Werthers or Starbursts for office Intel. I realize you may feel I’m being cynical, couldn’t it be Cookie Push has pure intentions and my trying to walk the healthy walk client is misinterpreting things?
If I’m betting…no. I do not know Cookie Push personally. However, it’s very common in eating disorders to constantly bake (for some reason it’s baking more than cooking) for others. Cookie Push likely enjoys the feeling of control in resisting the cookies while others indulge. This is very different form someone sending a popcorn tin for the holidays or putting a sweet in the break room once in a while.
What to do? You can unionize, rather than making things personal, ban together with the other office mates and thank Cookie Push for the goodies but say something to the effect of “it’s January and we’re trying to be healthy and we don’t have the resolve you have” wink, wink. Or, suggest “if you want to bring something in maybe something that’s not edible like office flowers or if it is food possibly something healthy.” Cookie Push will get the message. Or, you can do what my client did and fight flour with flour, the ginormo Reeses were for Cookie Push.
Do you agree with my assessment of Cooking Push? What would you do? Do you have a Candy Bowl or Cookie Push at work?
 *I received permission from my client to blog about this 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Shroom coffee and a Four Sigma giveaway

*please note I've been meaning to post this all week. I didn't want to hit the weekend without it up but there may be typos etc. Know I'm aware of it, OK?

In our world (which I realize can be different from the regular world) medicinal mushrooms are all the rage.  And no, despite the fact that both Carolyn and I are Tulane alums, we’re not talking about those shrooms.  Medicinal mushrooms have various health benefits, and in the shroom sector Four Sigma is pretty much the best you can get. A few months ago, Carolyn and I received our mushroom indoctrination via Four Sigma.

The top four shrooms you should know about are Chaga, Reishi, Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps. All of these are food for the immune system and autoimmune conditions. It's interesting that many medications are derived from fungi. We’ve been so shroom-centric that we’re sharing our favorite mushroom with you today.

What I like about cordyceps is that it gives you energy but not jittery energy. It’s what’s called an adaptogen. Cordyceps helps your body produce more energy. Research shows it improves athletic performance and decreases fatigue during exercise (even among new exercisers). I’m always cautious to mention this but shrooms do  have anti-cancer properties, cordyceps inhibits cell proliferation (mostly animal studies). And cordyceps is great for those recovering from surgery or a prolonged illness.
This shroom also improves mental energy, memory and learning. It helps your natural stress response. And it has an anti depressive effect assisting with winter blahs.
After about 7 days “using” cordyceps, blood sugar seems to improve. This mushroom works by reducing insulin secretion (more insulin secreted, more fat stored). For all these reasons, it’s no wonder cordyceps are prized in traditional Chinese medicine. 

If you’re thinking, who doesn’t need cordyceps? I’m with you. The problem? On their own these do not taste very good. So our favorite way to get cordyceps into our bodies is with cordyceps instant coffee. We have our regular, super-strength coffee in the AM; this is our after lunch coffee. Our Whipping Week participants are loving it.

Four Sigma also make low calorie hot chocolate packets with various mushrooms.
If you’re shroom-curious we have a box of Four Sigma coffee, a box of shroom cocoa and a pretty wooden cup (also from Four Sigma) to giveaway to one of our readers.
To enter:
Please comment below and tweet out "Shroom coffee? Yup @Foodtrainers has a @foursigmafoods #giveaway on the blog "
You have until 1/24.

Have you heard of medicinal mushrooms? Have you tried them? Does it sound weird (my husband refused “coffee with mushrooms” but he dislikes mushrooms)? Which benefit of cordyceps appeals to you most?