Monday, April 21, 2014

Something Better than Therapy

I grew up in a nature loving family.  There were walks in nature preserves, gardens (both a regular garden and a shade garden), flowers and photographs of flowers. As amazing as this sounds, it didn’t click with me. I don’t think I’m a naturally visual person. As a child if I went on the walk, my thoughts would wander and I’d be less likely to notice anything around me. And when it came to the garden or plants, while I don’t remember much I do recall the stress of having to take care of them when my parents were not there. It didn’t come naturally.

A lot of this has changed. I still find it easy to get so “in my head” on a run that I tune everything out; however,  I am appreciative of the trees and the flowers even if I don’t really know one from the other with the exception of the obvious ones.

I adapted a post for Fitbit’s blog. While it’s no surprise that time spent outdoors is nice. It’s remarkable what it can do for both our mental and physical health. I also recently discovered the work of Louie Schwartzberg. Do you know of him? He’s a photographer and I guess you can say filmmaker. In a discussion on getting people to care about climate change and the Earth he said something that caught my attention. He said people don’t respond to lists of things they should do. “We protect what we love.”

Here is a glimpse of what Schwartzberg does, I watch this video almost daily and encourage you to check it out.  With Earth Day tomorrow, spend time outside today. See what it does to the trajectory of your day and then tomorrow we’ll be back with some actionable steps but I need you to fall in love first.
How much time do you spend outside each day? Would you consider yourself a nature lover? Were you always? What do you think is the best way to get people to care about the planet?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Top 10 Signs You Are An Instaslave

Off the bat I’ll say that I carefully consider my smoothie and juice ingredients so that the finished product will not only taste good but also so that it’s pretty. Greens in a carroty juice? Looks like sludge. And while I could lie and say I just like my food to be attractive, oftentimes I want it photogenic. And I’m not alone. I know this is the case because I read about a “tie dye smoothie” on Well and Good where you rinse the blender in order to make a multicolor final product hmn. Read the questions below to see if you are an “instaslave”:
  1. Do you find yourself hoarding reclaimed wood so that you can rest your edible creations on it?
  2.  Even though smoothies are consumed with a straw do you decorate the surface with gojis, kiwis and other camera-friendly foods?
  3. Do you get manicures so that those paws grasping your green juice or smoothie bowl will not detract from your pictures? Carolyn’s friend says the hashtag to used in these cases is #nailed it
  4. Do you request cappuccino art from your barista and snap coffee photos?
  5. Do you take selfies?  I mean do you take more than a few or who are we kidding more than 10 selfies until you get one you like? At an event when Snack Queen and I tried to selfie she told me she had the best "selfie "arms". 
  6. It actually seems the “shoefie” is the new selfie but true instaslaves probably know that up and coming is the “shelfie” for new book releases (for LBT we had the #lbtlookbook, I’ll admit shelfie more catchy).
  7. Do you race with friends to be the first to post something insta-worthy? OR are you like one of our fabulous Foodtrainers’ interns and make a pact with friends to stagger posts so that you’re not all duplicating each other?
  8. Do you strategically wait for those key times to post when you think you’ll get the most likes (Steph the  instaslave savvy intern informed me this was definitely a thing)
  9. Do you sulk when you start eating before capturing the “before” image of your meal?
  10. And finally, do you speak in #hashtags. Perhaps you even caught the Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake hashtag skit

Someone told me they had life envy for me I told them it definitely isn’t real life they were envying. I just hope I’m not guilty of #instabrag, I have to have good #instamanners.

Are you on instagram? Twitter or Facebook? How many on this list are you guilty of? Do you find this all silly or a little scary?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Should you quit sugar? Should your kids?

There is some saying (it may be more of an advertising saying) that you have to hear about something a few times to notice or take action. Last week, Jenna Helwig the talented chef who worked on the recipes for LBT and is also an editor at Parents tweeted me the following link. In response to the recently released Year of No Sugar, a book that chronicles a family forgoing sugar for a year, Parents was taking part in a day without sugar (it was 4/9 sorry to be late to spread the word).  When I first read I thought the magazine and book author were encouraging adults to test this out for a day. This is something we already do with Foodtrainers clients but they meant it for the whole family. Initially I had mixed feelings.

That night, when I got home from work my copy of  the book/cookbook I Quit Sugar arrived. A client had tipped me off to this Aussie’s blog a while back and I couldn’t wait to read it. It’s not often that I feel inspired by a health expert but the author Sarah Wilson’s tone and ideas are impressive.

And remember I said  something about 3s? Saturday I looked through my DVRd shows and Dr Oz had the mother from the no sugar year on with him.  My first response to things is often cynical and in my head I thought “what’s with these one-year experiments?” We’ve seen No Impact Man give up waste, I’ve written about the woman giving up makeup (scary) was this all started by Supersize Me?  Maybe it's just that I highly doubt I could forego anything I enjoy for a whole year. As I listened, I heard that her children were hardly sick in the year they went sugar free. The kids and their mom spoke about sweet foods now tasting too sweet and about being knowledgeable about where sugar lurks (everywhere).

So, with sugar on my mind, at dinner last night I brought the subject up. Even my husband, who has lived with me for 20 years, was shocked when I explained breads, tomato sauce and many seemingly unsweet foods with sugar. Even though involving the kids initially sounded a little diety for the younger set my 10 year old woke up asking “is today the day we’re going to skip sugar”? I’ll review I Quit Sugar once I have a chance to make some of the recipes and read the whole book but curious
What do you think of skipping sugar for one day as a family experiment? Is it like Meatless Mondays or too rigid? Aside from desserts do you pay attention to sugar in your meals? 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

No reason hormones need to drive the bus.

There are certain annoyances we need to accept: a rainy day, unanticipated traffic, and a blister from a new pair of shoes.  However, when it comes to our bodies many of our issues can be solved or certainly ameliorated with food. For many of my clients, there is no greater source of dietary derailment than PMS and cycle-related issues can last over a week. That’s 25% of each month feeling and often eating off.  And it’s not just a female issue if you live with a crazy, bloated person, right?

You may know I’m not a fan of adding one food in for a desired effect. If you’re concerned about getting sick I’ll suggest you add multiple immune boosters and the same goes for PMS. Carolyn, Joanna and I created what we feel is the ultimate anti-PMS arsenal. In our Monthly Morsels newsletter today we mapped out a sample “Peace Out PMS” day of food, selected the best PMS supplements and I’m proud to introduce our super, duper PMS Kit.
The kit includes the following:

Cacao Magic-  from Philosophie our favorite, new line of smoothie powders. This cacao is really magic and a tonic for cramps, crankiness and appetite surges.

Natural Calm- powdered magnesium supplement is a “mood must”. Magnesium is helpful for PMS but most of us are deficient so many find it helpful as a daily ritual.

Probiotics- did you know most of our serotonin is produced in our guts? If you have “gut clutter” mood can take a hit. And when it comes to PMS that gut clutter will also lead to ultra bloat. A probiotic supplement is an insurance policy but probiotic foods are also necessary. Sunbiotics chocolate probiotic almonds contains both cacao and probiotics, how’s that for double duty (or doody).

Sweet Riot- these dark chocolate covered cacao nibs (look like chocolate rice krispies) are great a post-meal treat (one 1 calorie per piece!). Take that PMS weight gain.

Explore Asian Organic Black Bean Pasta- contains both magnesium and B6. We call B6 “be happy” because it  plays a key role in the production of mood neurotransmitters. Plus, how about pasta with 12g of fiber and 25g of protein per serving?  Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and add  asparagus (you can toss asparagus in pasta water for last 5 minutes) for bonus B6 and debloating action.

Heather’s Fennel Tummy Tea – these tea bags are jumbo size and potent.
Fennel is one of my favorite debloaters. A cup of tummy tea after dinner and that PMS pooch will not be there in the morning.

Of course these items are available a la carte. It just depends how horrendous your hormones are (ours can be pretty bad).
Do you suffer from PMS? What are your main symptoms? What’s in your arsenal?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Let the Pounds Passover

While I was away, our adorable snack queen Joanna Li was doing her Passover homework.

Passover is almost here and we know it can be hard not to over-kugel or just over do it but team Foodtrainers has worked hard to find "the best of" for Passover to make sure you don’t end up looking like a matzo ball (not good).

For many, Passover problems start with matzo. We dare you to find a more constipating food anywhere. After weeks of matzo-testing, we found the most delicious and healthiest matzo. Yehuda's Gluten Free Matzo with FIBER (yes, you read correctly), is now available in the Foodtrainers’ shop. It has 120 calories and 3g fiber per square…our kind of “exodus”.

With our matzo mission complete, we embarked conquering the second Passover problem the matzo ball. We fell in love with the concept of a grain free "Matzo Cupcake,".  As, Jeff Nimoy whole pens the paleo Cooking Caveman blog said “this is a major milestone for Jewish Cavemen everywhere". It's a milestone for us all. We tweaked the recipe a bit but here it is…

Paleo Matzo Cupcake
Yields: 6 cupcakes
1 cup of almond flour
1/3 cup of arrowroot
3 tablespoon of olive oil
3 eggs
1/3 cup of water
1/4 cup parsley
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
Black Pepper to taste
 Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine all the ingredients together. 
Pour into lined muffin tins and fill about 3/4 of the way up.
Bake for 30 minutes or until tops of cupcakes feel firm and spongy.
 Pop into a bowl of soup and ta-da Matzo Ball Soup

Gefilte Fish- while some holiday foods (most holiday foods) are candidates for our Holiday Food Hall of Shame there are some diamonds in the celebratory rough. Gefilte fish is the Passover diamond. Don’t be a foodie wimp, gefilte fish is actually delicious and the leftovers are great on top of salads. We found one made with no fillers from the local The Gefilteria. It is available for delivery in the NYC and Philly area, and also stocked in several stores (Gourmet Garage, Murray's Cheese, Kosher Marketplace) around the city.

We had Non religious lent here is your non-religious Passover challenge- go wheat free for a week.
Have you gefilte-d? Are you a fan? What are your Passover problems? Do you look like a matzo ball?