Wednesday, August 29, 2012

College Food Survival Tips: No More 15 if You're Eating Clean

As our beloved intern Joanna leaves us for Mass General we asked for her help with our Foodtrainees heading off or back to college.
Eating healthy and sticking to your Foodtraining can be tough in college.  Trust me, I’ve been there.  I often found myself snacking on chips and even finishing boxes of cereal convincing myself they would help me through all-nighters.  College students are always looking for something easy, fast, and convenient. Who wants to spend time thinking about what to cook when you have hours of studying (or partying) ahead of you?
Having recent first hand experience, I helped Lauren and Carolyn compile the

Top 5 Nutrition Mistakes College (and some grads) Students Make

Late for Class, Breakfast Skippage
Most college students would choose sleep over breakfast. Plus, there are no parents lecturing reminding you eating is important.  Skipping breakfast leads to overeating later so even if it’s 11am, have something. Vigilant Eats Superfoods Cereal is high in fiber and protein to keep you full through those morning classes.  All you need to do is add hot or cold water. This is the perfect on-the-go or sit-in classroom breakfast it even comes with a spoon. If utensils are too much effort, try Orgain ready to drink shakes or Zing bars. Starbucks has Kind bars, as long as you steer clear of the “yogurt” or chocolate flavors they are fine and we know you will not skip your coffee.

Study Snacks
Most snacks are brimming with carbs, carbs tend to make you sleepy. Why then do we think snacks help us stay awake? If a snack is on hand every time you study then, for the sake of your weight, we hope you’re not the studious type. If it’s been over four hours since your last meal, strategic school snacks are blueberries or sunflower seeds. Anthocyanins in blueberries as well as thiamin in sunflower seeds can improve memory and cognition.

Energy Drinks
On the flipside of snackiness is forgetting to eat. It’s easy to forget when you’re pounding Red Bull or any of its equally unhealthy counterparts. Foodtrainers' college students swear by Brain On a supplement for attention and alertness that seems to work magic even if you’re coming off a rough night out. And if you’re looking for an energy drink, we suggest something all natural such as EBoost.

Late Night Bites (or Binges)
It’s 2 or 3am, you’ve been out partying and pizza seems like the obvious nightcap. For any of you reading this and telling yourself that will not be you, feel free to #TIDEI (tweet it don’t eat it) to us afterhours and we’ll be super impressed. Waking up bloated and hungover with a vague recollection of eating something greasy is a harsh reality check. Have a designated late night bite. Pick 1 thing:  popcorn, kale chips or crackers and hummus and have it waiting for you. Be prepared, those nights will happen much to your parents’ chagrin.

Dorm Potato
Perhaps your school has a sprawling campus or maybe buildings are in a more urban setting. Whatever the case may be, you’ll most likely find yourself walking to class. Though it may seem like you’re doing a lot, this isn’t exercise. Your daily walking may burn off your fro-yo (which could be college mistake #6) or a drink. So you need to exercise. There are great workout DVDs from Physique57 or Tracy Anderson and websites such as Yoga Download but we love the FitKit Dorm. Whether it’s in-room exercise or gym-based try to get into a workout routine within 2 weeks of getting to school. Exercise is one of the best things for physical and mental health and is a really good way to meet cute guys. Just sayin.

We've put together a College Survival Bundle that can be shipped to campuses nationwide.

What were your biggest food mistakes in college? Did you gain weight? Please share your lowest college dietary moment.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I'm A Camper and a Biker

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving"
-Lao Tzu (should've listened to the quote on the Amika travel blow dryer box)

I promise not to turn this into a travel blog but I thought I’d at least let you know how I fared in the wilderness. So many of you were so supportive with my lame and inflated fears. Well, maybe they were just misdirected. What I’ve learned about fear is that Murphy’s Law is inaccurate. It’s not necessarily that what you fear will happen will but that what will happen may be way worse than what you feared. Let me explain.

I have never, despite a close call at Eagle airport in Colorado, missed a flight. Just to be safe, we arrived two hours early for our flight to Chicago where we intended to connect to Jackson Hole. After an ambiguous gate change, when we were about to board the flight at the new gate we were told, “this is another Chicago flight, your flight left.” To make a long story short, we spent the night in Denver (actually Aurora, creepy), flew to Jackson Hole in the morning where our bags spent the night and took a taxi up to Yellowstone (3 hours) to meet our trip.

Wait, it gets worse. Remember my over preparation? Somewhere between Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, Marc checked our bags. He had packed an extra bag but never informed me so when I counted our bags, I assumed we had everything. All our supplies? They were in a suitcase that never left NY. I am sure our taxi driver will be talking about a crazy lady from NYC for many years to come. We sorted out to have bag FedExed to our campsite. Remind me to “like” FedEx on Facebook or send a thank you note.

My “reward” for all of this rushing and arranging was that we met our group in time for lunch in Yellowstone just as everyone was getting fitted with their bikes. Yellowstone doesn’t have a bike path per se so we were instructed to stay all the way to the side and watch out for RVs and bison. As the late family, there was no way I could completely express my biking fears though I did hop in the van and start the ride after the “biggest hill of the week.” Did I mention we were at 10,000 feet elevation?

When you’re tense or worried, you zero in on what can go wrong. As we started to bike, I realized why we were there and I almost crashed my bike taking in the view. Yellowstone, aside from wildlife, is best distinguished for its thermal features (can you name the 4 types of thermal features?). We rode past hot springs and geysers and finished at Old Faithful.
Do we really need to see this?
According to this photo it's not that special, in person it is. 
After waiting and waiting for Old Faithful to do its thing, we were shuttled to our campground. Many of you wished me wine while camping. Along with our tent assignments, there was hors d’oeurvres and wine greeting us. Cheers. 

I will not lie, the first night in the tent, without our pillows, in the missing bag, I was awake listening to the noise from other campsites and convinced myself I was not cut out for camping but that quickly changed. 

Day 2 was a hiking day around “Grand Canyon” of Yellowstone. It was breathtaking.

 After lunch, the kids were swiped up for their own activity and the adults hiked on. 

We were rewarded with showers at our second campsite, clean showers no less. It’s amazing what can turn into a treat when you’re stripped of luxuries.
camping legs, I'll save the chipped tooth story for another day
 Our bag arrived and surprisingly the only thing I had missed was our inflatable pillows (sweatshirts don’t cut it) and toothbrushes. I slept like a baby.

We kayaked on the third day and enjoyed a delicious Mexican dinner at night. For many of the days, we packed our lunches from a spread the camp crew presented us. They were great about gluten (three of the women were gluten free) but without bread my lunch was often some tuna or turkey with avocado or a slice of cheese and some veggies. This would seem small-ish at home but we were eating regularly and it was really satisfying. The only food "tools" I ended up using were my probiotics and some mornings cocochia,also contains probtioics, over fruit (stay tuned for a future post on probitoics and weight). Though some complained, I lost a couple while away.

The next day was “OYO” or our on your own time. We bid farewell to Yellowstone and arranged fishing on Jackson Lake in the Tetons or “the ladies of the lake” as our fisherman guide Phil called them. With the wildfires in Idaho the view was hazy and the fishing had been affected (the fire kills the bugs and the fish eat them).

Nonetheless, our boys pulled in enough lake trout for all of our new friends at the campsite to taste.
After an hour of nothing and many great stories from our captain Phil...lake trout

For a trip full of “highlights” stopping our bike ride in the Tetons for a herd of bison may have topped the list. We had to stay back and wait as 1000 bison crossed the road (hopefully not to get to “lunch” on the other side).
bison jam

After lunch we finished the 25-mile route in Jackson Hole. We somehow ended up at the Cowboy Bar where our time was limited. I had never suggested a tequila shot as a post-exercise beverage and I don’t think I will start to any time soon.

We were all sad for the week to end. Andrea, in a blog comment before I departed, articulated things so well "I like the contrast camping provides to my "normal life." I like appreciating all the little conveniences again and also realizing that I don't need certain things." We were outside all day, every day. We were with families from all over the country with 13 combined children who never complained. There’s nothing like ending the day around a campfire although I have enjoyed crawling into my bed. In a nerdy way I feel sort of proud of myself. Mission enjoyed.

I know many of you mentioned you’re not the tenting type, would you ever try it? Your kids would love…Have you been to any of the National Parks? Do you have any sports-related fears biking or skiing etc. you want to face?
Oh and the 4 types of thermal features are geysers, hot springs, mudpots and fumaroles (if you’re on Jeopardy you’ll thank me).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gone Camping

There I am unibrow, frizz and all.
In my head, I am the type of girl who camps. After all, I love travel and the outdoors. I did Semester at Sea in college and some of my best memories are sleeping out on the deck at night in a sleeping bag or exploring a new country with a small backpack and not much else. Today we’re on our way to Yellowstone National Park we’re we will be camping for the next week but I’m thinking I’m not really the camping type, maybe I’ve changed. And I realize I'm not off on a solo expedition to Antarctica, so why the nerves?

It’s not the food, the outfitter we’re going with is known to have delicious meals. I feel comfortable navigating most food situations and I informed them I’m wheatless and that will not be a problem. I’ll also have some EBoost, wild salmon jerky Hail Merry, Cocochia, Bars (Pure and Zing) with us for hikes and bike rides.

So what is it, you may be wondering that’s making me apprehensive?

First, I know how to ride a bike but I am not someone who grew up riding a bike to friend’s houses. I have a bike I purchased this summer to brush up and I’ve been on it a bit but not on roads with major hills and possibly cars. I’m fine skiing and running and hiking for hours but the biking thing is throwing me off. Let’s hope it’s “just like riding a bike”.

Second, as natural and wholesome as the food I cook and select is I’m really not au naturel in general. The hair isn’t wash and go, more like blow dry and flat iron. Even though I don’t wear a lot of make up, other than when exercising, I don’t really go without it. And I’m tight with my magnifying mirror. Can one tweeze in a tent?

While we travel a fair amount, I’ve come to realize I replicate my comfort zone in most places. I’ve found juice shops in Europe (hard but they’re there) and organic food in New Orleans. As you may know, I have a collection of coolers for transporting food and a jar of strong, fair trade ground coffee comes to most hotel rooms. This trip I will not be able to seek things out, it is what it is coffee and all.

My favorite antidote to trepidation is neurotically over-preparing so that’s what I’ve done. I have travel sized everything (unscented because bugs like scents). I have dry shampoo, every version of a wipe including one from MD Skincare that “cleanses, tones and moisturizes”. I have Zyflammend nighttime to help me sleep (another fear, tent sleeping), I have a backup phone battery and a solar powered charger thingy despite the lack of cell service. Plus bug stuff, altitude stuff, cut stuff. And because 10 trips to Patagonia and Eastern Mountain Sports didn’t completely calm me, I googled. I googled camping hair and “tying a bandana” (never can get it right), if only there was an online camping therapy site, I would’ve signed up.

So why did I plan this trip I’m clearly not cut out for? Because part of me thought it sounded beyond amazing and though time has passed since my outdoorsy days, I haven’t changed all that much. I recall wearing wedge sneakers as I trekked through the Blue Mountains in India way back when. I couldn't resist these, campfire chic.
Do you like to camp? Any advice? Anything you've done lately you were nervous about? 
I'll post in a week (no computer in the tent) and have lots of fun posts coming in September.
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. My mother saw and said "who needs to look nice?"

Monday, August 6, 2012

The hostess gift with the mostess (and giveaway)

Set ups are so risky. “There’s someone you should meet” makes me want to bolt instantly whether it’s personal or work-related. So when a good friend made an e-introduction telling me about New York Mouth, a site for “indie food” I was skeptical to say the least. My skepticism lasted about 30 seconds or the time to click on the hyperlink and explore the New York Mouth site. I found small batch, hard to find, interesting foods I hadn’t heard about and I taste test obsessively. In addition to an intriguing array of items, the photography on the site sealed the deal. In the name of “research” I placed an order and, like a three year old, couldn’t wait for it to arrive. Fortunately, two days later the package was delivered.
Clearly not the beautiful New York Mouth photohraphy
And it didn’t disappoint. In the box was a reusable shopping bag that’s become my favorite lunch tote. 

And if I wasn’t falling in love already there was a handwritten note. I enjoyed everything I ordered. New York Mouth also has fun “tasters” (I made the mistake of referring to them as baskets, I’m so not indie) to select from. There’s “The Good Guest” and also ‘The Great Guest", “Brunch in a Bag” and “The Total Jerk”. I picked the “Just Add Cheese” taster for a 4th of July hostess gift which comes with a cheese board, all sorts of delicious crackers, fig and almond spread, local honey and more (don’t you want to invite me over now?). And as long as I was getting that I tried a new olive oil and some other treats “for the trip”.  My New York Mouth was happy and beware the site is habit forming.

In an effort to learn more about the site and concept, I spoke with Craig Kanarick their CEO. I loved hearing where they find the foods and why New York Mouth isn’t limiting their offerings to New York only producers. There was one thing Craig said that really resonated with me. He talked about a shift in food and our relationship to food. In the 80s it was all about gourmet everything, the 90’s brought Atkins. Now there’s an interest in ingredients and Craig described this as “story driven”. The only thing better than great food? A great back-story.

I have some exciting news. New York Mouth liked the idea of a Foodtrainers-approved taster. Together we’ve come up with an It’s All Good assortment with some amazing items.

New York Superfoods Chia Nut Butter
What’s better than peanut butter and chocolate? That would be dark chocolate, peanuts and chia seeds. I could lie and tell you I have this on apple slices or on gluten free crackers but I don’t. I have it on a spoon and trust me, it’s all good.

New York Naturals Bombay Ranch Kale Chips
My love for our Kale Krack hasn’t waned but there’s a new kale chip on the block. The healthiest veggie with the healthiest spice (turmeric). New York Magazine called these “Doritos for health nuts”. 

Morris Kitchen Ginger Syrup
When the kids are away the parents will play and let me assure you we’ve had fun. I told you about my favorite ice cubes, well this syrup is a must for healthy cocktails. Spicy Ginger Margaritas? Or if you’re not feeling as “playful” ginger green tea? Peach, ginger smoothie? What could be bad? Nothing with this stuff.

Stolor Organics Sunflower Oil
I’ll admit, I’ve been a little sunflower crazed since the reading the studies about the magic it works on abdominal fat. So that’s why I bought this pretty bottle. However, it’s the taste that makes me reach for it for all our summer salads. Plus, I’m a sucker for pretty packaging.

Needless to say I’ve changed my tune on set-ups (at least the work variety).

*One lucky reader will win an It’s All Good taster. To be eligible by Wednesday, August 8th:
Email info@newyorkmouth with the subject “it’s all good”
AND leave us a comment here.

And not to worry, to make sure our It’s All Good post doesn’t make you feel bad if you don’t win, New York Mouth says to use code FOODTRAINERS12 good for 15% off this deliciousness valid until August 10th midnight. 
What’s your feeling on set ups full of pressure or kind of fun? Which product above has you most curious? And if forced to choose would you take a great gift or a hand written note?