Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Drew Barrymore, Oprah and one final rant for the year

I didn’t plan on posting this week. I f igured I’d store up some ideas (and calories) for all that January-ness. Then I saw a page I had ripped out of People (in my bathroom, hey last TMI for 2014 too, why not).  I will take a photo of the clipping but you’ll be relieved to know I’m not typing this from the bathroom nor have I ever typed there. Anyway, this article featured the ever-adorable Drew Barrymore. The title was something like “losing weight on her own terms”  and the gist of the piece was that Drew immersed herself in her new baby, continued to eat what she wanted when she wanted etc etc. It was patting Drew on the back for not caring or not caring too much. But you know what happened? Yup, sure enough Drew eventually cared and hired Tracy Anderson who I happened to catch on the Insider suggesting we workout 7 days a week.

Then there’s Oprah (another one of my favorites). A friend of mine happened to tape something with O recently. She remarked how relaxed she was, barefoot on the set that kind of thing. She also said “she’ll never lose weight again. She’s fat and happy.” I hadn’t inquired about her weight but it seems with Oprah it’s always a topic. A few weeks later I watched Barbara Walter’s 10 Most Intriguing People special. How intriguing is it that Barbara is still at it in her 80s? And really, nobody does it like Barbara. Barbara asked Oprah “is there anything you still want to do?” Or maybe it was “what’s on your bucket list?” Oprah’s so spiritual I expected something with the words path or journey in her answer. No. You know what she said? “I have to make peace with this whole weight thing.” So much for fat and happy.

There are times we cannot think about our eating or our weight. And yes, there are people who rarely think about it (and that’s rare) but usually what happens is we get to a point where there’s more peace of mind when we’re actively trying to be healthy then when we pretend we don’t care and then we make changes. And that’s what January is for.
What do you think about the whole "I don't care about my weight or size" statements? Is that true for some? Have you ever felt that way? 

Monday, December 22, 2014

What's with all the Bulletproof haters?

I use less butter and less oil (coconut for me) than "suggested"

I posted about Bulletproof coffee in 2013. As a coffee lover fanatic, I was intrigued by this new coffee concept and loved the taste of Bulletproof (coffee blended with grass-fed butter and oil) coffee. Since then Bulletproof coffee and the Bulletproof diet have taken off.  Even the New York Times covered it recently. But you know what happens? With coverage come the haters. Even the nutritionist in the Times article said, “this is not the breakfast of champions.” I’m curious what she thinks is because this concoction makes me feel pretty well…bulletproof.

A friend posted the Times article and there were the skeptics who couldn’t imagine butter in their coffee. I get that, it sounds weird. What I don’t get is the fury that Dave Asprey was not a nutritionist (if that’s the criteria then ignore 75% of the diet information you read) and that he sells products. If you were on board with Bulletproof,  wouldn’t you want the exact items Asprey writes about? “Expensive products” people clarify as if Soul Cycle or green juices are cheap.

It wasn’t until yesterday, when I saw this article (posted by the same Facebook friend) that I realized something about this concept really polarizes people. This writer takes issue with Asprey’s claims that he has “unlocked the answer”  (want to read a book where someone starts with "I don't know the answer"?) and dismisses the concept as a “fad diet”. She points out he references animal studies. I'm sorry, find me any nutrition book that doesn't cite rodent studies...we are not that different from these creatures, sorry to say. But when I thought about where this hate could be coming from I think it’s the fact that Asprey is in favor of (good) fats and using a whole lot of them (more than I suggest using). With the legacy of fat phobia, this is far more than a fad. It’s saying that the very way many Americans structure their diet is dead wrong.

I read everything that comes my way and most of it starts to blur. There were explanations and points made in this book I had never heard. A bit about Asprey, he comes from a technology background and was an experienced and unsuccessful dieter. He used what he calls “bio hacking” which apparently is a thing (though a new one to me) to “hack” his body the way techies might a computer, to find the secrets. And yes, my first thought was who’s to say what works for Asprey will work for us? As I read further I had a list of points that couldn’t hurt to try.

I also couldn’t help but see an overlap in some of the ideas in The Little Book of Thin.
Asprey advocates carbs (and only certain carbs) consumed at night versus earlier in the day and takes an even harsher stance on fruit than I do.  Asprey wonders why we lump “fruit and vegetables” together.  I’m curious to look into a mechanism I hadn’t heard that fruit can decrease leptin transport (leptin is the hormone that makes us feel we’ve had enough to eat).  

Asprey also has some interesting points on sleep. He suggests taking both omega 3’s and vitamin D at night to help with sleep. He also feels sleep is more important than exercise, important to keep in mind if you’re chronically choosing the gym over the extra rest. On exercise, Asprey a veteran of 90-minute workouts isn’t buying the “more is better” exercise messaging. He believes in well spaced, intense workouts and my favorite quote, “go for a walk but don’t fool yourself into thinking you exercised when all you did was walk.”

Aside from the coffee (and there’s great info about certain types of coffee being less moldy and  healthier), my favorite part of this regime is that there is equal emphasis on how you feel as there is on what you weigh. Feeling vibrant, invincible and productive…or “bulletproof” is something to aspire to….unless hating is your thing.
Have you tried Bulletproof coffee? Like it? Have you read Dave Asprey’s book or listened to the podcasts? Are you intrigued or not buying it?

Monday, December 15, 2014

5 Hottest Food Trends 2015

photo via Four Sigma Foods
Every week, as clients come in for sessions they glance over at our office store and ask, “so what’s new?” And so I thought I’d share a piece I wrote for Fitbit on food trends for 2015.

I’m conflicted on the topic of food trends. On one hand I live, breathe and sometimes dream (pathetic I know) nutrition. I love to scope out what’s new or innovative, even fringe. On the other hand, I roll my eyes over kale’s overexposure as the “it” vegetable. I’ve called it Kardashian like- enough, right? If I am forced to pick sides food trends or same old/same old I’m going with the latest and the greatest… and so I bring you five hot foods on the scene for 2015.


 So there’s nothing new about legumes (beans, chickpeas and lentils). What’s new is how they are used and why certain legumes are sought out.
Beans are being used in pastas by brands such as Banza(chickpea pasta) and Explore Asian (black bean or mung bean pastas).Speaking of mung beans, the biggest “issue” facing legumes or beans in general is…. gassiness. Mung beans  are “the gas free legume” and they also don’t need to be soaked like other beans. So whether it’s for the protein content, gluten free or gas free it’s beans, beans…


Green tea is widely celebrated and last year matcha (a powedered green tea) popped on the radar. What we’re seeing now (and a little excited about) is tea in cocktails. Tea forte is making tea bags especially for cocktails and Owl’s brew makes tea mixers. Cheers!

Magic Mushrooms

So let me explain, mushrooms are popping up in all sorts of applications. They’re sort of magic but in a legit, legal way. Mushroom Matrix is using organic, medicinal mushrooms for applications varying from immunity to skin and hair health (yes please in the winter.) Four sigma has mushroom based beverages even mushroom-laced hot chocolate for stress reduction and weight loss.

I know, I know charcoal isn’t what we think of when we think about deliciousness but it certainly is a big player when it comes to detox. Although I’m suggesting charcoal is trendy, it’s certainly not new. Activated charcoal was used in ancient Egypt and by Hippocrates in Greece. The appeal of activated charcoal is that it’s like a sponge for chemicals and poisons; they adhere to it. Charcoal can be used for hangover prevention, for stomach issues and we’re seeing charcoal pop up at juice shops with “dark detox shots” and charcoal lemonade.

The new pomegranate
In terms of fruit, Forbes points to these grapefruits “sweet scarletts” as the it fruit for 2015. It doesn’t hurt that Pom who made pomegranates “wonderful” are the company behind these grapefruits (that I’m sure are delicious).

So whether you’re a pasta person or a stressed out hot chocolate lover, branch out in the 2015 and know there’s nothing wrong with your old standby foods broccoli or apples.

What foods have you been hearing more about? Any of these I mentioned you’re curious to try?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bone Broth: Yay or Step Away?

Yesterday I spoke to CBS about bone broth (segment airs Christmas week); Carolyn is going to “break” things down for us today.
Bone broth is the new “hot” beverage (literally) of the season. Truth be told it’s not really new but newly popular thank in part to paleo peeps and GAPS diet. It’s gaining a cult following similar to kombucha. But let’s get to the “bare bones” if you will… bone broth, yay or stay away?

What is bone broth?
As the name implies bone broth is made from chicken, beef or fish bones slowly cooked for 12 or more hours. While the thought of slurping on bone leftovers might make you lose your appetite, it’s not that different from regular old chicken stock. The main difference is that store-bought stock is cooked at high temperature for a short amount of time. Stock is about flavor and not about extracting goodness from the bones.

So, why bones?
Bones are nutritional powerhouses. During cooking, collagen from the bone breaks down into gelatin and this is where the goodness comes from. It’s a super rich source of minerals including calcium and amino acids. Also present are glucosamine and chondroitin names you may recognize from commonly used joint supplements. Whether you are arthritic or just achy from exercise, bone broth can help. Gelatin also benefits our skin, digestive tract and immune system.

How do you make bone broth?
You can heat broth and put in thermos, nuking not suggested
Confession, we don’t (or haven’t yet). You can use leftover bones from roasting a chicken etc. but we’d suggesting asking your butcher for marrow or soup bones (we hear chicken feet are great), you need a couple pounds of bones.  You place bones in a pot or slow cooker, cover with water, add apple cider vinegar which helps extract nutrients from bone and onions, garlic and any flavorings. Be careful to simmer and not boil the broth and then wait and wait. This is at least a 12-hour process (and we thought highlights were time consuming). When you’re done cooking you’ll strain and chill the broth (you can freeze some in jars). They key to this is that the result should resemble brown J-e-l-l-o (vom). Bone broth is not a looker.

Or, you can buy bone broth
Perfect on a cold day
If you’re like us, you can buy bone broth at Brodo (Lauren suggests chili oil and fresh turmeric “toppings”) on the LES or Bone Deep and Harmony. Rumor has it Hudson & Charles in the west village is brothing too as are our friends at Food Matters. There are also online retailers. Sally Fallon has a new broth cookbook that was sold out on Amazon the last I checked (but available at B &N). Pacific foods have also joined the bone broth brigade but we’re not sure how we feel about this yet.
Children of nutritionists must try bone broth (he loved it, stole his mother's)
Any downside or concerns?
The haters will say there’s not a lot of research on bone broth, which is a legit point, but there’s a long history of use that means a lot to us.
You also want to watch the pot or vessel you cook in. Ceramic has some lead concerns so stainless steel is the way to go.  And finally you must use quality bones from organic chickens or grass fed beef. Animals store pesticides and hormones in their fat and you don’t want to drink that.

So, Yay or Step Away?
Lauren was asked if bone broth is a miracle and if bone broth will replace coffee? We don’t believe in food miracles nor do we have plans to “replace coffee”. However, bone broth made from grass-fed beef bones is full of omega-3’s and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which reduces inflammation and may decrease body fat. So, sip your way slim?
We say “yay” bone broth is a delicious and warming ritual for winter. With any healthy food, to feel the max benefits, it needs to be a regular part of your diet. Try a cup of broth a day or use it when making other soups or stews. If it’ll prevent us from getting sick, make us less achy with better skin and digestion? We’re in.
Have you tried bone broth? Do you make it? Are we silly for being squeamish about making it? Or are you phobic too? 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Have you heard of Fem-vertising? It’s related to advertising.

 Are there people who still watch the nightly news? Friday or Saturday, my son left the room and NBC news was on the TV. I wasn’t watching or not watching. I was on the computer when a segment on a new trend in advertising, called Fem-vertising was discussed. Fem-vertising has to do with pro female campaigns. Fem-vertising surveys have found that more than half of women buy products when they like how their ads present women. Interesting, while I love a good commercial I buy a product because I like the product.

I can appreciate a great story or ad. The ballerina MistyCopeland’s story?  It’s a great story. I think her message is great for young people and honestly great for not-so-young people. Breaking down stereotypes, good stuff. Maybe I’m an advertiser’s nightmare but I had to look up who the ad was for. I have a great running turtleneck from Under Armour, my kids (boys- nobody thinks of young boys in any of this, I guess “they’re boys” and their self image is fine” ..yeah) love their shirts.  I also liked the “run like a girl” spot. Again, forgot this was for Always (maker of “feminine products). Nobody is pointing out the 6 year olds used in a panty liner commercial (weird). Yes, “you throw like a girl” is insulting but the best revenge? Throw well.

I’m also not anti women being sexy, I’m not buying Pepsi (obviously) but the Sophia Vergara commercials were fantastic. Seems 94 percentof women think, ”using women as sex symbols is harmful to the gender.” Really? Can we not be sexy or funny or inspiring? Aren’t all sorts of images what we want to see? I never bought into the brand of feminism that banned sex appeal.  Now if we’re talking women presented like whores? I object. I saw a Viagra commercial this weekend and couldn’t imagine the woman not only pushing Viagra (eek) but rolling around in a bed using her “sexy voice”. Blech.

Don’t get me wrong; I love good messaging whether it’s on a blog post, Instagram, in a magazine or an ad. I just feel we’ve come to far to be condescended to by advertising agencies. I picture  (mostly male) execs in a room strategizing “ooh say this the women will really go for it.” The Dove ads are fantastic but if Dove wants me to buy their products they should work on their ingredients.

Have you heard of fem-vertising? Or seen the Copeland or Like A Girl spots? Do you think it’s positive messaging? Good for women? Or condescending?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I stalked my friend

In late October, my friend mentioned she was doing a wellness feature, for the month of November, on her blog. She asked if I could guide her, offer tips that kind of thing. I mentioned that our Foodstalking program was taking off and she was in. Done! We agreed I’d stalk her for the month of November (I hope she doesn't regret her decision).
With Foodstalking, stalkees send their food logs by 9pm.  By 9am they receive a tip for the day and feedback on their log. Aidan’s first entry on November 1st was from Halloween the night before.  I recall her first tip was “Sayonara Snickers” but very quickly her eating and habits improved. She wrote about her month. I chuckled when I read her recap. When she assessed her progress she made it sound a little like she was a little bit of a slacker or somehow didn’t do as well as she should. In my opinion, she had a stellar month that included more cooking, exercise, preplanning, certain supplements, less sugar etc.  Interesting.It’s easy to feel unhinged this time of year; however, if you are taking measures to maintain your good habits please pat yourself on the back from time to time.

We also sent our “Gifts for the health nut (or just the nut)” newsletter out this week.
We mentioned our Holiday Food First Aid Kit. This is another healthy crutch with some strategic contents:

  • Our nutcase (so that you don’t overnut)
  • Our new favorite bar in mocha or chai (I love the chai but Carolyn’s all mocha)
  • PuEhr tea- PuEhr is from the same plant as green (metabolism booster) but fermented Fermented foods help with mood, digestion and weight. How’s that for a holiday helper
  • Nibmor’s Spiced Drinking chocolate that I may or may not have spiked in Vermont last weekend.
  • And to save you from the peppermint bark, Eating Evolved Chocolate Coconut Cups

OK I’m now hungry and have clients to see and strategize with. Email info@foodtrainers.net for info on Foodstalking (starts every Monday).
What’s your favorite holiday treat? What do you find most difficult this time of year? Does Foodstalking sound appealing or scary?