Monday, March 31, 2014

The party is over but that's ok

I was recently away as my kids had spring break. Before I complain, you should know that I fully appreciated the warm weather, the leisure time (although I am guilty of scheduling vacation days) and opportunity to explore a new place. On this trip I tried sour sop, star apple, naseberry, Blue Mountain coffee and pretty much jerk everything. The trip was invigorating, special, adventurous, beautiful etc.
When our plane landed at JFK last night I received an email from a friend.
When are you working out this week? I am aiming to go everyday this starting tomorrow at 9:30. I need to get back to my routine, traveling with the family vacation left me totally out of shape
I’ll have you know via Facebook I know for a fact this friend doesn’t appear out of shape and never has but I totally understand that she felt it. She added.
I know it’s against the Slayton rule to start over on Monday but I am.
I joked that it’s so sad. I was away at a place with an organic farm. I was eating greens, active and hardly boozing it up but still felt more than a little off. I told her I was rebooting today as well.
My healthy friend added I brought my nutribullet, my miraculous powders and found kale at a market in the Bahamas it’s not like I was pounding pina coladas but still...

If you’re still with me after the post Jamaica woe is meing let me explain. It doesn’t take a lot, especially when you’re in a good routine, to feel off after a week away. The three main culprits are the salt (when you’re eating most meals out), slightly less exercise (or less intense exercise) and a GI slowdown many experience.

Post vacation plan: 
  • Go Plain Jane- hard-boiled eggs, simply grilled chicken or poached salmon are perfect. Befriend the steamer or hit the farmer’s markets for some fresh, raw greens. For condiments apple cider vinegar, walnut or coconut oil and lemon are where it's at.
  • P and C or probiotics and chia daily. If your GI system slows down with the rest of you while away, I hear you. I love the cocochia packets as they contain both probiotics and chia. If your probiotic supplement is hiding in the cabinet time to put it near your toothbrush so you remember to take it.
  • Sweat- cardio helps with jetlag if you have it and it also helps you loose that fluid. 180-200 minutes per week post vacation.
  • Tea and turmeric- Yogi detox tea and Fennel tea are great post vacation tools. And turmeric is good for mood and inflammation…sprinkle away.
The silver lining in coming home feeling a little off is that it makes getting back into your routine (work included) sort of nice. At least I think so.
Do you feel off when you get back from a trip? In what way? What do you do to remedy it? 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Healthy Scavenger Hunt: Austin Edition

Lauren is off enjoying warm weather (she reports back that she found a Jamaican hotel with green juice and has a new favorite green callaloo), so we are dreaming of other destinations too.... We've hit up Chicago and New Orleans in the past, and Carolyn recently did Austin, TX, Foodtrainers style.

I am not one to truly veg and do nothing on vacation, but recently took that to the next level and grabbed 8+ of my friends to run a destination half marathon in Austin, TX. I’d only ever experienced Austin on what we called “hurrication” (pre – Katrina) from Tulane. Years later both my style of eating and my “activities”  were a little different, but the margaritas were a constant. Here's what I found...

Whole Foods Austin: The original Whole Foods is in Austin, so I barely dropped my bags at the hotel before beelining for the Foodtrainers mecca. I had a whole week (and a kitchen) so I stocked our hotel room up with the essentials, from Mary’s Gone Crackers to avocados, fresh fruit and green juices. The juice bar was funky too, with drinks made with bell peppers and sweet potatoes.

Daily Juice:  The Daily Juice was my daily go to spot, from spicy after-flight immune boosting shots to pre and post run fueling smoothies and greens. They also had our office favorite Hail Merry Snacks on hand so I was in heaven. My top pick, and the spiciest thing I’ve ever had, was the MR. RESISTOR: Lemon Juice, Cayenne Pepper, Ginger, Oregano Oil.

Uchiko: Uchi and Uchiko are restaurants by chef Tyson Cole (James Beard award winner). The “Japanese farmhouse” style food was my favorite meal of the trip – the Brussels sprouts were out of this world and the Hamachi with pickled green apple and jalapeƱo also hit the spot.
Blenders and Bowls: Right next to our hotel was Blenders and Bowls, part of Wanderlust Yoga studio. They make the most insanely beautiful “smoothie bowls” that are a dream come true for post yoga breakfast.

La CondesaOur post run meal was at La Condesa, a swanky little Mexican restaurant on 2nd street. My favorite part was what our friend Damien called the “poshy guacs”, one made with pomegranate and queso fresco and the other with jumbo lump crab, apple and coconut vinegar.

Milk and Honey Day SpaI treated myself to a 90 minute deep tissue massage post-run and it was a game changer…. And will now be a built in for future runs.

Workouts: in addition to the long run (a fantastic way to learn a city), we did a few short runs and walked (15k + steps, thank you fitbit!) all over the city. I also hit up several yoga studios. Wanderlust and Core Power Yoga are both heated studios that play great music. Friends went paddle boarding but truth be told, I went margarita-ing instead...

Rainy street is a block of old bungalows and formerly rundown houses that has morphed into bars and cocktail lounges with huge porches and yards. We went to Clive Bar but I don’t doubt you could have fun at any or all of them on a given night. 

There is so much to see in Austin, so we weren’t too disappointed when our flights got cancelled back to snowy NYC. I still didn’t get to hit all the juice bars I wanted but there’s always next year...
(My friend Liz taking an LBT-break and quoting it for the entire trip)

So have you been to Austin? Done any destination runs?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Did you hear the news about tequila and weight loss?

It wasn’t long ago that Well and Good posted about an ice cream cleanse. I tweeted saying something like “the margarita cleanse can’t be far behind”.  Little did I know that days later, a study would surface out with some intriguing news about a tequila ingredient. “Tequila plant is possible sweetener for diabetics helps reduceblood sugar and weight”. Psychic food tendencies aside, this was fun news. Before we go further, I will confess my bias. I like tequila. I like a tequila shot, I like mixing tequila with green juice and sea buckthorn and please, who doesn’t like a margarita? It’s like the Ellen DeGeneres of drinks, everyone likes them.

When I read that this study was conducted on mice I chuckled at the thought of drunken rodents being weighed and tested (PETA I’m joking). However, I learned that the mice were not given tequila but one of the ingredients in tequila called agavins (different from agave nectar). Mice consuming these agavins ate less, dropped weight and had lower blood glucose levels compared to other sweeteners. It also turns out that these agavins are prebiotics meaning they are good for our GI health.

If you’re starting to get excited (I sure was), hang on. When explaining the findings, the researcher specifically said that the agavins are converted to ethanol during fermentation ergo they’re not present in tequila. Even if it turns out agavins have the same beneficial effects on humans, we will not ingest them via our tequila intake. Shoot.

While this feels like a bad almost-April Fools joke some tequila facts.
  • Skip the gold- one of the reason many have had bad experiences is that gold tequila is made using caramel coloring (or that in college you had 20 shots) pick silver or blanco and ask what they’re using when you order. Quality is important even with booze.
  • And tequila expires (or deteriorates) once you open a bottle you have one to two months to finish it. I’m thinking there’s some ancient tequila lurking in may of your homes. Please do not finish the bottle of tequila just because I told you this.
  • I don’t want to leave you totally sad to start the week. While I detest the word “moderate” when it comes to drinking that’s about 4 drinks a week. And it seems that amount has some beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity (alcohol lowers your blood sugar).
As for the agavins, they're another “sweet” option we can follow up on once they hit the shelves which I’m guessing will happen by tomorrow based on this research.
Do you like tequila? Did you hear about this study? What was your reaction? 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Shiny, healthy hair if you eat this

This morning I was emailing with a writer about nutrients and foods for healthy hair.
My pet peeve with nutrition articles (not the one I’m contributing to of course) is if they lead readers to believe adding 1 random food will produce a major effect. When I’m devising plans for Foodtrainees, if we’re looking to say boost omega 3’s I’ll suggest multiple sources. So if you’re like me with meh hair after a harsh winter (for me it’s likely just as much bleach as winter). Here’s the answer.

HH Salad (Hair salad sounds nasty)
Brussels Sprouts (great if you can buy shredded, Trader Joes has) if not slice thin for salad base.
Red or yellow bell pepper
Hard boiled omega 3 eggs or salmon or both
Pumpkin Seeds
Walnut Oil
Apple Vinegar

  • Brussels sprouts and peppers are high in Vitamin C that boosts collagen that surrounds hair and keeps it strong.
  • Eggs and salmon are high in biotin. Biotin creases hair growth and overall scalp health. They’re also good sources of omega 3’s  the natural oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated. The walnut oil is another omega 3 source.
  • Pumpkin seeds have zinc, which regulates hormones in the body that affect hair growth and helps maintain production of oil-secreting glands on the scalp that help your hair grow.
  • Eggs and Brussels also have iron. There’s a connection between iron levels and hair loss among women.

What do you do to keep your hair healthy? Do you notice a difference between your diet and hair health?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mindful but not Neurotic

New Foodtrainees often ask “how long do clients typically see you?” That’s a tricky question to answer. Most clients come intensively in the first couple of months but the really successful Foodtrainees don’t see our work in those terms. If you think about it, would you ask a personal trainer “how many visits will I need?” Or a therapist? Food is the same way. Though clients may not come weekly for the duration they check in, schedule a bunch of visits to reboot and realize the value of accountability.

I am an excellent digresser but session frequency wasn’t the point of this post. I had a client in my office last Thursday and we realized that we first met five years ago. I have seen her in spurts but this time of year is crazy for her with work and so we’re usually in contact. She opened her session (long time Foodtrainees know I prefer the good news first though we all have the tendency to want to confess our food sins) saying “I feel mindful but not neurotic”.

I jotted that comment down in my notebook. Progress with weight should make us less obsessive not more. I’ll call this client Five (for our five years). Five knows what foods to bring for her trips. She also knows how to reign it in before and after to allot for travel eating. Most of all, she knows which behaviors leave her at the top of her comfortable range and what she’s doing when she wants to drop.

I was doing a radio show last week and was asked “who is the Foodtrainers’ client?”
I joked and said I  could be a Foodtrainers’ client and added it’s someone who likes input and a system, someone busy with work or family or travel or just stuff. Someone who likes to eat but likes their clothes fitting well and wants to age gracefully.” My client Five is all of the above. Happy Anniversary to her and I’m raising my glass (ok coffee mug) to us all being more mindful and less neurotic.
Why do you think we want rapid results when it comes to food and weight? Would you have thought that clients come to us for 5 or 10 years? Are you more mindful or more neurotic?