Monday, July 25, 2016

How To Pick An Active Vacation or Retreat (from someone who knows)

Lauren and I are no strangers to airplane rides or adventures. I’m sure our shared history traveling on Semester at Sea and desire to live FULL lives are two of the reasons we work together so well. This past year, I made it a priority to say 'yes' to as many escapes, adventures and retreats as my calendar (and bank account) will allow. Rather than having a Year of Yes (great book by the way), I think of it as only saying YES to things that make my body feel really good. Food, movement, and good people are my priorities.
I should share that as an anti-type A person (more type Z), retreats are my favorite way to travel. After showing up in Thailand itinerary-less a few years ago, I’ve realized that planning, or outsourcing the planning, is in fact wonderful and necessary. Interestingly, Lauren is a self-confessed type A-person and likes outsourcing the organizing too. This way, she can obsess about something (or somewhere) else.

Here’s how to choose a retreat:

Pick your priority: is it to meet cool people, have some bootcamp and a little booze too? SurfYogaBeer is run by some of NYC fitness scene’s best, and they host worldwide fitness and fun retreats. I’ve met some of my best friends on these trips. But, if your priority is more to do “self work” and get a little hippy dippy with it, Kripalu R&R or YogaScapes retreats may be more for you.
(post bootcamp/hill sprints with SurfYogaBeer Amalfi)

Know your magic number: Everyone has their # of days that makes a vacation go from “best trip ever” to “I want to go home”. Mine is 5. Know your #.

(from an organic cafe we hunted down in positano, italy) 
Don't assume when it comes to the food: surprisingly even “health” retreats don’t always have the healthiest food. So do your research and ask questions – remember, you’re paying! You can request gluten free and extra veggies etc. Also, always pack your own safety snacks and search for local juice and smoothie bars. *But if you’re going to Italy, try the freaking pasta...
(my first time surfing w/ SYB Costa Rica) 
Try new activities: You absolutely do NOT have to be an avid yogi to go on a yoga retreat or have any surf knowledge to go on a surf retreat. Many people I’ve met on my past few trips are complete beginners. Don’t let your lack of experience keep you from trying something that sounds cool. For example, a retreat with a campfire cacao ceremony, anyone? 
(hiking the Path of the Gods, Positano)
Friends and family optional: when in doubt…. Pack up and GO! Go alone, go with friends, go with a love, go with your kids, just go. Recently I did this with a close friend on a trip to Moab, Utah with YogaScapes, not knowing anything about the destination or people (Type-Z strikes again), and it was one of the best trips of my life – and one of the least expensive ones, too.
(moab under canvas)
Cost contributors: Camping is a great way to save money (or glamping, Under Canvas is a cool alternative in national parks). There's something fun about going a little rugged, especially if someone else handles the tent set up.  Also, sharing rooms is not usually as creepy as it sounds and can make things much more affordable... but if we're being honest, Lauren pulled out of a meditation retreat at Garrison Institute because she had to have a roommate. Pick what's most important to you and pay for it.

(view from Capri)

Healthy vacations aren’t just for the 20 or 30-something or single! Lauren has done biking/hiking/camping trips trips with her husband and kids to Yellowstone, Zion and the Grand Canyon with Backroads. Many companies offer family trip options.

For me, my next “work” trip is a blueberry adventure with Lauren in Maine. And then I'm thinking a silent retreat – yup, no Insta AND no speaking… sounds terrifying, so I have to do it.

Where are you headed next? What have been your great retreat or travel experiences? 

Friday, July 22, 2016

My take on a blue latte AKA the Hillary latte

Yes, not a great photo I'm aware
I recently read about a blue latte created at a Melbourne cafĂ©. I was intrigued. My intrigue transformed into frustration at the thought that I couldn’t try this concoction. And if I’m being honest, I couldn’t Instagram this pretty drink. Twenty hours later I was drinking a blue latte.
I learned the blue was from a blue green algae E3 Live. I am a fan of E3, I’ve written about it, sold bottles of it at Foodtrainers but there was a problem. E3 live is best in shot form, it tastes like sh!t. I would make a blue latte but I didn’t expect to enjoy it.
The original blue latte was said to contain E3, ginger, lemon and agave (I may be omitting something). I assembled my line up. Out of E3 at home, I bought a shot (and a pack up shot) at Juice Generation. I put my pacific coconut milk in my frother and pulled out a glass cup. I decided on Wakaya ginger, lemon nustevia, peppermint essential oil and coconut oil.
I put about half the shot in my cup and stirred in warm coconut milk (for some reason it didn’t froth). Blue! I added a half teaspoon Artisana coconut oil and stirred it in. Next came the ginger, drops of stevia and peppermint. I ended up frothing organic half and half for a foamy top layer.
I snapped a few photos and took a sip. It was delicious. Peppermint definitely was the key it’s more of a peppermint blue latte than anything but that beats an algae latte, right?
Cheers to the weekend! Speaking of the weekend, maybe this is a Hilary latte.
Have you heard of the blue latte? Would you try it? Who do you think Hil will pick as a VP?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Five Years

I’ll admit, I didn’t realize today was the anniversary.  I hate using the word anniversary for something sad but I’m not sure how else to put it. On Instagram, Jen’s best friend and soul sister Alicia posted a silly photo of her (I wish I knew the two of them in those silly, carefree days) and 1971-2011. I paused, gulped some air and tried to take that in. I realized I couldn’t sit down at my desk to work. I grabbed my headphones and went out the door to run.
The image I always revert back to, and I’ve written about this before, is you in my waiting room. When I open my office door, some clients are emailing, others half asleep but not you. I actually think you were reading when I came to the door, on this day, but you stopped and looked my way with a smile that was spellbinding. We all throw around the term energy but five years later I still get the chills thinking about your energy and effect on me. Your force was so strong. 
 Five years, have I done things with these five years you’d be proud of? I know that sounds pitiful but you had high standards and weren’t shy about that. I feel some weird pressure to improve and enjoy myself because you aren’t able to. I don’t know if I can say I’m fearless, as you were, but I’ve made my way through some rough times, during these five years, and come out the other side. I’ve written a book and bungee jumped too but it’s when I’m running or listening to music and fully appreciating those things that I think of you most. 

It will always feel wrong that you’re not here. I wish you had more time to smile and I wish you had turned 45 this year. I miss you.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Paleo Phil, Mickelson Wins at Weight Loss

Most people watching yesterday’s final round of the British Open were likely focused on who would win the Claret Jug (or is it mug). I watched, and although it was as exciting as golf can be, I wasn’t fixated on the jug/mug. Two topics were more interesting to me. The first was that these athletes breaking records and duking it out were both in their forties. And second, Phil trimmed down.

It turns out Phil has gone Paleo and upped his fitness game and, as a result, he’s dropped 25-ish pounds (over 2 stones). I’m not sure that Phil got the idea from Lebron. It’s not as though Lebron started the paleo diet but of course “Phil lost weight following the Lebron diet” was a headline I came across more than once. Lebron was hardcore paleo for 67 days. This means their diets consisted of fruit, vegetables, protein, nuts and limited carbs (no dairy, no grains/gluten/sugar).
For me, it’s one thing for average people to pursue paleo but quite a shift from old-school “carbing up” for athletes to do it. A part of paleo I wholeheartedly endorse is the concern with better-sourced ingredients (grass-fed meat, wild fish etc.). I’m off to the beach in 10 days so I’ll give Mickelson credit and say I’ll be loosely following the Phil Plan.
Do you watch golf (it’s ok to admit it)? Did you notice Phil looked more fit? What do you think of paleo?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Best protein bars to eat and a couple to skip

We have an online shop and perhaps you know this already. Last week I mentioned, to a friend, “we have those in our shop” and she said, “shop, since when do you have a Foodtrainers’ shop?” Carolyn and I can add that to the list of under promoted, overthought work-related items but I’ll tell you why we have a shop. It’s not really to make money (I recently read the best way to make money is to do something for free for 10 years….almost there). It’s because some of our “Foodtrainers’ Favorites” are small, difficult to find brands. There’s enough to stress about. We don’t need you annoyed with us because you cannot find the protein bar we recommended.

 Speaking of bars, our Monthly Morsels newsletter today featured our top 10 nutrition bars. We didn’t delve too much into flavor specifics but my current loves are the strawberry coconut Yes Bar, peanut butter RX Bar and the chai by Yawp.I will also admit, over the course of a month, I made a good dent in the cranberry Perfect Bars they sent over. And my whole family approved the Clif nut butter filled bars that Carolyn and I brought home from California (Clif presented and had an outdoor yoga class too).

Years ago a frozen yogurt company (hint has a color in its name) sent me a cease and desist letter following a blog post. For this reason, I’m gun-shy about calling brands out I dislike. There are a couple of popular bars I don’t recommend. I don’t like soy protein in bars and so Luna is off our list (we told Clif this). And there’s a very well promoted bar starting with a “Q” with inferior ingredients.

Humor us, check out our shop. Taste test our top 10, there’s a lot of variety and goodness there.
What are your favorite nutrition bars? Any you’d like our opinion of? 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Picking the perfect protein powder, give peas a chance

‘Tis smoothie season and whether you’re at the smoothie shop (we love our Juice Gen) or picking a protein for home blending there are a whole lotta choices. Well and Good recently asked for my opinion of protein powder newcomer pea protein.

Protein Pros
In general, increasing protein can increase metabolism and decrease levels of a hunger hormone ghrelin, So, ”go pro” and don’t be too concerned about it. How much protein?  I think safe to go up to 1 gram per pound of body weight. So, a 150-pound person can consume 150 grams pro/day. Trust me, I don’t think you don’t have to count grams but some people need metrics.

Why Peas?
We hear about whey, soy (yuck) and even hemp protein powders but let’s give some props to pea protein. It’s a non-dairy, soy free, vegan protein made from yellow pea. Pea protein is a great option or those with allergies or food sensitivities. And rest assured, pea powder doesn’t take like peas or split pea soup.

Picking a Protein:
Look on your labels for pea isolates and organic if possible. Some of the best brands are Swanson, Sun Warrior blend (not 100% pea) and Naked Pea.

So expand your protein horizons, different proteins have different benefit. And if you need more "smooth" advice check out our 7 Steps to Smoothie Success video 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Healthy Travel- Dos and Don’ts for Airport and Airplane eating

Since I’ve been up since 4:30, (I kind of like Euro jetlag) and it’s fresh in my mind, I thought I’d offer up my two cents on airplane travel with examples from my most recent trip to Amsterdam.
Outbound 8pm flight
I’ll admit, I felt virtuous as I prepped for this trip. With no kids to pack for, it was an opportunity for selfish self-care.  I planned to take Le Pain Quotidien’s frittatas (they boxed them up with sliced avocado) and cut veggies to consume pre flight.  Best-laid plans…while sitting in traffic on the way to JFK, I realized my Eat Play Rose’ bag with frittatas and cruditĂ© had stayed home. I called my (yes my babysitter, kids are away) babysitter and she popped it all in the freezer. I still bitched and moaned for the remaining hour to the airport. Marc finally snapped at me, “you’ll live” I wasn’t so sure.
At the airport, I had to forage. Not only was I meal-less but the long-weekend traffic had delayed us. I ended up with a very red onion heavy tuna with capers and olives (first class sodium) and a small container of Caprese salad I scarfed these at the gate, bringing tuna and onions on a flight is an aroma offense I wasn’t willing to commit.
Once on board, I chugged a bottle of water, put on noise cancelling headphones, and a cashmere scarf, and airplane socks. I know my next move flies in the face of typical nutrition advice (oh well) but when the drink cart comes around I get a scotch and a glass of water. I take magnesium and Zyflamend nighttime (anti inflammatory with valerian root), use a disposable toothbrush and go to sleep.
I have a strict no airplane food rule (just like Anthony Bordain) so no dinner or carb-inental breakfast they offered. I’ll have more water and coffee before landing.
Return flight 10:40am
The way back our flight was during the day, which can be tricky. It’s easier to avoid eating when you’re asleep. We always try to have a hearty meal before take off. Luckily, we found omelets with ham and green smoothies. Once on the plane I had water whenever it was offered, Wakaya turmeric tea and New Primal jerky halfway through the flight. My husband had a Yes Bar and jerky.
We both felt energized having kept our eating lighter. Once home, we went for a bike ride and early dinner to acclimate.
What’s your airplane eating routine? Any road rules to share?