Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Five Last Minute Tips to Look Better in a Bathing Suit

Jada may love Will she loves Jada more.
As I mentioned in the water post, Marc and I were away, in Turks and Caicos, for a few days.  I could tell you about the sailing we did (I was reading Gone Girl which I wouldn’t suggest for a romantic getaway) or how excited I was that the local restaurant we went to noted gluten free on the menu or even the best crab salad I’ve ever had.
I would choose this over a bikini any day
However, two other things continue to stand out in my mind. On our first afternoon at the beach, just after we arrived, I saw an Italian family standing by the water. You couldn’t help but notice them. First the mother (50ish) was taking photos of her two 20-something daughters. The daughters posed like they were in the SI swimsuit issue; the bikini-ed mother posed as she clicked away. Then papa comes to take pictures of his annoying gorgeous family. Marc, watching this whole photo shoot with me said, “I should ask if they want me to take a picture of the four of them.” I told him I’d kill him if he gave them any more attention, we laughed.

We soon took a little sailboat out. As we were hopping in the boat, two women were getting out of another. These women were at least 15 years older than me. They weren’t physically perfect like the Italians. They had lumps and bumps but were seemingly unaware.  I am always drawn to this question of body confidence. See, I am of another persuasion. I love a good cover up (and love to cover up), when I’m on the beach in a bathing suit, I’m aware I’m basically naked and I’m happiest under an umbrella with a good book (kindle people, it’s hard to read kindles on the beach) taking it all in. There will be no attention-grabbing Slayton photo shoots. I would bet I’m not alone and if you need a little beach day encouragement here are some ideas:

Run- I like a good sweat before a beach day. Most of the time I go for an hour-long run. Part of me likes to move before planting myself in a lounge chair. More than anything, it feels good before sporting a swimsuit.
Tan and lube- I tweeted  “nothing like a BB (before bikini) workout” and a fellow nutritionist said “yes and a spray tan too”.  It’s true; tanning is a great camouflager and does make you look slimmer.  I worry about the safety of spray tans. There are organic options (there’s a place called O’live organic in NYC) but I stick to self-tanner. Look for a paraben free self tanner. I love Chocolate Sun.  As much as I love my Coola mineral sunscreen, I don’t love the white matte finish it leaves on my skin. I follow it up with a little oil.

Drink- while I’m sure a shot of tequila would eradicate any swimsuit hesitancy, I’m not a day drinker. Instead, Eboost and Pukka detox tea are my pre-beach beverages. Did you know that teabags don’t need hot water? Any water works. I was so thrilled the hotel gym had Eboost.

Pursue Potassium- we’re early beach goers, we get to the beach before it gets crowded and generally leave to do other things around lunchtime. Each morning away we’d pass people chowing down at the outdoor restaurant. Who can eat a buffet breakfast and then slip into a swimsuit? Oh yes, the Italians or the sailing ladies. Why not?  If you’re two-piece terrified, potassium is your pal. Potassium in your diet decreases sodium levels. Less sodium? Less puffy. Some ideas:
Eggs and Asparagus
Goat Yogurt (Coach Farms makes, easier to digest than dairy)
Fruits such as cantaloupe, citrus and my favorite avocado.
And let’s not forget the potassium power of coconut water.

Practice- my numero uno beach tip of all time was to change into a swimsuit when you get home from work for a week before a beach vacation. Clients loved this and emailed that they were making dinner, working on the computer and cleaning the house in their bikinis. Seriously though, part of the whole bathing suit thing if you didn’t grow up on the beach is just comfort. It’s also important to try on suits before you leave for a trip. What worked last summer, for various reasons, may not be doing you any favors this year. You don’t want your cup (or your “saucer” for that matter) to “runneth” over.  And a stretched out too-loose get-up isn’t helping your cause. And our causes, no matter how big or how small, need help.
Are you more like the Italians or a cover upper? What do you do to psyche yourself up for the beach? Any last minute tricks? Have you read Gone Girl or anything else good?
And the winner of the Mountain Valley Spring water is Nancy, congratulations.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Should you drink tap water, bottled water or filtered water? H20 Giveaway too

Today, I'm leaving on a jet plan (so, according to J Denver you're supposed to kiss me and smile for me). Carolyn brings you this post on water. You read about water, I'll be staring at turquoise water and understand you may no longer me "smiling for me".

 You’ve heard it a million times; tummy-rumbling hunger pangs are often thirst going incognito. And it’s true, a University of Washington study found that one glass of water put an end to late night hunger pangs for 100% of dieting participants.  Beyond satiety researchers have found that even being mildly dehydrated can cause a 3% drop in your metabolism.

For something that makes up ~70% of our bodies and 75% of our brains, water gets very little love. Instead, we waste it with 30 min showers (I’m guilty), pollute it and contaminate it with prescription drugs, birth control and antibiotics. Worst of all, we call water “boring”.

Compared to many other countries, our tap water is safe to drink. While your risk of getting dysentery is low, you may be guzzling down small doses of chemicals, carcinogens and even sex hormones - check out this EWG/NY Times project to find out what’s in your water. Freaky.

Water filters work to remove contaminants via carbon micro filters. They vary from your $15 Brita pitcher to fancy reverse osmosis systems. Reverse osmosis produces the cleanest water but also removes naturally occurring minerals. According to Consumer Reports, your “best buys” for filters are
Carafe: Clear20 ($15)
Faucet mounted: Culligan($15) or Pur ($30).
Reverse osmosis: Kinetico K5 ($1800… yikes)
We have Pur filters at home but love our office Ovopur (pictured above and not a snowman).

For on the go, Black + Blum has a new BPA-free water bottle plus filter. It comes with a stick of binchotan – an ancient Japanese charcoal that absorbs impurities while releasing minerals into water.  A WSJ article says “We binchotanized some New York tap water, and the difference in taste was drastic.”

Buying bottled water by the case isn’t necessarily the answer either; 49% of bottled waters are just tap water repackaged in bpa-leaching plastic bottles.  There are a few gems, one of our favorites is Mountain Valley Spring Water – glass bottles, no contaminants or leached chemicals, and it’s naturally more alkaline than most waters (pH = 7.8). Consuming alkaline foods and drinks benefits immunity, digestive issues and even your skin. MVSW has won best tasting water in the world  - and they are giving a reader the chance to try it - a combo case of still & sparkling.

To enter comment and tell us why you want to be entered and why water isn’t boring (show us your H20 love).
OR tweet “@Foodtrainers is giving away a case of @MtnValleyWater”
OR like Foodtrainers on Facebook. We’ll announce the winner Monday 7/30.
Are you a good hydrator? Do you drink bottled water? Filter your water? Ever think about what’s in your water?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Camp Visiting Day: Salmon, Gatorade and Dirt

Proud parents who just might kill you if you touched these shopping bags
My boys have been away for a month. I realize sleep away camp is a fairly Northeastern phenomenon. I have friends who don’t live here or didn’t grow up going away to camp who think it’s strange. I could make the case for how great camp is, to be in beautiful surroundings, doing sports all day long, making livelong friends etc. but let’s face it is strange. For two weeks, Facebook has been abuzz with photos of parents and child at the mid-summer visiting day. In these photos, there are smiling faces and happy families but there’s another part of visiting day and that’s the overhyped one-day chance to see your children that feels somewhere between New Years Eve and prison visitation (not that I know what that’s like).
Dying to ambush parents and see what's in coolers and suitcases, can you imagine?
People ask me all the time if I let my kids have junk. My general philosophy is that I don’t bring things into the house with questionable ingredients but that we have chips, ice cream just quality versions. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder but three weeks without my boys led my heart and the rest of me to Dylan’s Candy Bar. Typically, at a place like Dylan’s, I would look for the best options chocolate most likely or something non-neon. I wasn’t myself though, I was operating under the influence of parental guilt and anxiety and so I bought one child gummy sharks, the other gummy bears and it didn’t’ stop there I threw in a blue Yankee lollipop and stopped for chips on the way home. I can make myself feel better or give you some context and say, in their own way, all parents go nuts but I was willing to break every food rule in the state I was in.

Then there’s the question of camp food. Days before I saw my boys the New York Times ran a story about camp food. Camps, according to them, aren’t serving spaghetti and hamburgers but “cuisine”.  When we arrived, my son was excited to show me the camp’s farm. I was impressed, he told me when he’s hungry he can stop at the farm on the way to his bunk and have a snack like this.

The warm and fuzzy feeling didn’t last, at lunch (salmon and veggies but I was told that they never had that) I spotted something. 
So much for cuisine
My older son was quick to tell me he has only had it two or three times. It’s a pity, he was such a nice nose I’m so sad that’s it’s going to be growing…I may have been away from them for a few weeks but I know when I am being lied to.

As a parent, another of the many strange things about camp is the whole issue of self care. I thought we were good parents, instilling important habits in our children but one of my boys was a mess. Marc said, “I think he’s wearing the same clothes he had on the bus up to camp.” At home, I would’ve been horrified but on this day of rule breaking I ignored it completely. No showers or clean clothes? No problem.
Who says adult females are the only ones with shoe fetishes?
What do you see here? I see roller hockey equipment on a 90 degree day, contemplate what's growing in it, say nothing
So I’m sorry if you expected smiling pictures of my family. If you’re a Facebook friend maybe I’ll post one. I know we took a few. I just find parents waiting at the gate to see their children with suitcases of food, McDonalds shakes (one mom clutched these like it was a family heirloom) and the strangeness of this so much more interesting.
seven hours later, off they go, coolers empty
Did you go away to camp? What kinds of things did your parents bring when they visited? What did you bring this year? What emotions make you break your food rules?
Thank you so much for the amazing response to the Harmless Harvest post, the winner of the giveaway is Amber. We will contact you shortly.

Friday, July 20, 2012

One Year

Jennifer Lee Photography

If you knew that you would die today
If you saw the face of God and Love
Would you change?
Would you change?
Tracy Chapman

A year ago I was at work seeing clients, doing all that mundane/ just another day stuff when an email took my breath away. Jen had passed. Despite knowing she was so ill for so long, I was speechless. I sat staring at a photo of her on my screen and studied her smile but couldn’t smile. Two days later, I kneeled next to a friend and stared at another screen broadcasting Jen's memorial. You see there wasn’t room left in the main area of the funeral chapel. I wrote a post trying to make some sense of things, vowing to carry on more Jen-like.

Am I fearless?
Jen's platform was fearlessness and she embodied it. In May, I was running in a race. Iit didn’t go well and knew I could do better. After discussing how things went with a running coach I work with,  it seemed that as fatigue set in, I grew concerned. As my body started to ache, I pulled back. He corrected me and said that part of racing was noting the pain and pushing through it. For him, he assumed that the last half of any race wouldn’t be fun. I have a Scott Jurek shirt that says, “pain only hurts” it reminds me of this. This isn’t about masochism but noting the challenge and persisting anyway. Work in progress.

Am I enjoying the silliness?
Jen was the first person to spot my name in In Style, Life and Style or any other magazine. We joked she was my PR person. Jen was silly; if you didn’t know her you can see it in her videos. On Wednesday, her best friend organized a movie night. A bunch of us went to see Magic Mike. The movie was terrible, except for some eye candy, but after some crazy rain and hail, it seemed to honor Jen. I can be serious at times. I am a natural over thinker, silly is important. Silly is a pain reliever.

Am I supporting Cycle?
Cycle for Survival was Jen’s baby. It was just so fitting that Jen’s journey wasn’t just about Jen. It seems every week we hear of someone we know being diagnosed with some sort of cancer or having some sort of surgery or treatment. Monday, on my way to work, with Jen’s “anniversary” looming I received another email; the dates for Cycle 2013 were announced. Many members of our Foodtrainers team emailed immediately “I’m in”. Last year, we did a dance video for every thousand dollars we raised, what will we do this year?

I don’t know if it’s possible to live each day as if it was your last. I know I need reminders. I need reminders to see beyond myself and my stressors, I need reminders to be fearless (or less fearful) and I need reminders to be silly. It would be so much easier if my teacher was still here. 
Do you? Where do you find yourself fearful? Are you more inclined naturally to be silly or serious? If you knew that you would die today, would you change?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Harmless Harvest Coconut Water, Believe the Hype and Giveaway

I apologize if I’ve been somewhat inconsistent with my blog posts. I’ve been busy reapplying my natural deodorant, which I now do in plain sight like some would chapstick (only I don’t put it on my mouth, not yet anyway). I’ve also been spending time on another project that may or may not be my book proposal.I’m grateful writing has kept me primarily inside during this heat wave. I started a list of other things that make me happy when it’s hot as hell out.

Beastly Weather Gratitude Journal
  • I’m grateful for my tennis ball sized ice cubes.

I should note I’m also grateful for my jalapeno cocktail at Peels where I first learned of these cubes and for my friend Meg, a know-it-all in the best sense of the word, who was with us and sent me a link to the MOMA shop the next day.
  • I’m grateful for being female and for the multitude of sleeveless options we have, many of which are work appropriate. I realize I cannot go for a run shirtless and I should say I’m grateful to the men who wisely choose to retain theirs.
  • I’m grateful for the chocolate mint sorbet at ABC Kitchen, I may have said I’m not a dessert person, more salty than sweet…I may have lied.
  • I’m grateful for tartare and all its relatives ceviche, sashimi etc. Nothing is better in the summer and my vote goes to the tuna crudo at Mermaid Inn.
  • I’m grateful for cucumbers not only because they’re “cool” but also for the abundant juice you get from them. Anyone who has put a bunch of kale in a juicer knows what I mean.
  • If there’s one thing, other than sleep away camp, I’m most grateful for this summer it’s Harmless Harvest’s Coconut Water. This coconut water is raw and organic. Most importantly it’s insanely delicious. If you’ve tasted other brands and think you don’t like coconut water, I vote for a retrial. This is different. We have a whole shelf of them at work, I stockpile them at home, add some to smoothies, green juices and rice water. Heck (did I say heck, interesting), I would bathe in it but it’s a little pricey. While I’ve tried, young coconuts and I don’t play well together and I’m grateful that I don’t need to wrestle with them anymore.

You’re going to be grateful too, you know why? Harmless Harvest is giving away ONE CASE of their liquid heaven and t-shirts to one of our lucky readers.
To be eligible, leave a comment telling us why you like or want to try Harmless Harvest
OR retweet this post and include “@Foodtrainers @HarmlessHarvest #giveaway
OR tag @Foodtrainers on Facebook and spread the word about this post.
You have until Sunday July 22nd to enter, winner will be announced Monday July 23rd. 

What’s on your hot weather gratitude list?
Check out our "Drinks Around the Clock" July Newsletter for other refreshing ideas.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Please RSVP With Your Dietary Restrictions

There was a time when I loved reading the wedding announcements in the Sunday Times.  What’s odd about this is that I have never been particularly wedding-y but I enjoyed reading about how people met, looking at the photo to see if the couple seemed “evenly matched”, hearing whether these strangers had married or divorced parents. It’s amazing what you can surmise form a couple of paragraphs. A few years ago I realized that many of those taking the plunge were younger than me. All of the brides and bridegrooms (weird term) were five, seven sometimes over ten years younger and then the wedding pages started to depress me. So I moved onto the “Modern Love” column and only glance over at “Weddings/Celebrations”, hooray for the rise in gay weddings. On July 1, an article in Sunday Styles caught my eye before I could turn to “Modern Love”.  It was called “The Picky Eater Who Came To Dinner.

The main premise of the article is that people adhering to all different eating regimes (you notice I didn’t say diet…yet) can make socializing a challenge. “Our appetites are stratified by an ever-widening array of restrictions: gluten free, vegan, sugar free, low fat, low sodium, no carb, no dairy, meatless, wheatless macrobiotic, probiotic, antioxidant, sustainable, local and raw.” While I would argue that probiotic and antioxidant were added so that the author could make her list longer (who calls themselves probiotic?) the point is that this is a lot to think about if you’re the one hosting.

The first question is whether it’s up to the host to cater to everyone’s restrictions or preferences. I always feel that guests need to air on the side of not making waves but the article suggests “the locus of responsibility has moved from the eater to the hostess.” I’m not sure if I agree with that “locus shift” but what happens if the host asks about your eating? How much should we divulge? I know the stress eating around a nutritionist can evoke. If I ever said “ I don’t eat wheat, I only eat organic produce, wild fish and grass fed meat friends would rightfully run the other way. I think it’s fair game to state any allergy and give one “no” if asked “I don’t eat meat” or “I can’t have gluten” shouldn’t be off putting. It’s good to follow it up with “but I’ll be fine with anything”, even if untrue, or “please do not worry about me, I would never have mentioned unless you asked.” Manners and healthy eating can coexist.

For me, restaurants are a different case. I cannot tell you how gracious and knowledgeable chefs can be. From gluten free pasta at Maialino to a tuna burger prepared sans wheat at Atlantic Grill, honoring a dietary request goes a long way for customers and is somewhat expected.  Whether at someone’s home or out your eating regime, rules or diet (ha!) shouldn’t get in the way of you or your dinner companions having a good time.  People will have plenty discuss after you say goodnight, who wants to be remembered as picky? And the way things are going it’s only a matter of time before our eating preferences make the wedding announcements. Sally Smith, a vegan from Vermont, and Paul Perello, paleo from Portland, were married today…now that’s modern love.
Do you inform a host what you do or do not eat? Do you think that’s acceptable or rude? Are restaurants different? Do you read marriage announcements in the newspaper?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Is Diet a Bad Word?

A tweet sent last week from the owner of Green Mountain/Fox Run got my attention. It was a request to sign  “Declaration of Independence from dieting”. I clicked through and found a cleverly reworded declaration. Only, I didn’t find the truths to be “self-evident”
Dieting often demonizes foods making them more appealing as forbidden fruit.
Dieting generates stress and feelings of failure for many.
Dieting is the antithesis of healthy eating.
Dieting results in most people regaining the weight they lost and more

After receiving an “invitation” one has to RSVP, so I tweeted back
@MarshaHudnall @FuelinRoadie I'm all for independence from insanity but not sure "diet" synonymous with unhealthy or misery.
@MarshaHudnall @FuelinRoadie some workouts are dangerous but we don't say don't workout...about approach not word "diet"
Are we talking master cleanse, Weight Watchers or a vegan diet? Diets, unlike “men” aren’t created equal, I follow a gluten free diet and my eating isn’t “the antithesis of healthy eating.”I’m all for independence from guilt and negativity but “just say no” doesn’t really provide us with a roadmap for what to do. I tried again:
@FeedMeImCranky1 winging it doesn't produce a healthy relationship with body or food either. For some a "diet" isn't restrictive but planned.
It seemed to me that diets were getting unfairly treated and lumped together.
Seeking the Canada of language, I consulted Merriam Webster
Definition of DIET
a : food and drink regularly provided or consumed
b : habitual nourishment
c : the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason
d : a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one's weight It turns out one of those tweeting agreed with me somewhat. Annabel Adams (no relation to John Adams that I am aware of) had this to say: 
Annabel Adams @FeedMeImCranky1@Foodtrainers nothing wrong with planning & learning (I advocate those things); but the goal for me should always be #health not weight loss
Says who? I want to eat as healthfully as I can and want to look good in a swimsuit, No matter what we sign we’re not going to remove weight loss from the “empire”.I’m pushing for life, liberty and the pursuit of health (or weight loss).  Thankfully, we don’t all have to agree.
Do you think diet is a bad word? Are all diets bad? Can we realistically remove weight from the equation?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cupcakes and Butter, Blake, Paula and Nora

You may think that the end of TomKat’s sham marriage was the biggest celebrity news on Friday, but in my world, it was the fact that Blake Lively eats cupcakes and doesn’t workout. A distraught client sent this link to me with the question "is she lying or am I doing something wrong?”

The answer is yes, she is at least semi-lying and yes, despite your Foodtraining, you are doing some things wrong. Blake may love cupcakes but I can assure you she’s not subsisting on an all- Crumbs diet. Who knows? She may eat a cupcake a week. Her trainer was quoted as sating she eats oatmeal, berries, fish and veggies and she has a trainer so that contradicts the couch potato part. As to what you are doing wrong, first you’re around my height, so that makes you 5’2” ish? not 5’10” like Blake. Second, you’re not 24. That headline is annoying. She comes from a long line of skinny actresses who love to discuss how much they eat. Even if they eat a lot, I’d prefer they keep it to themselves. You would never hear them say "I do so little work and get paid so much" even though it's true, so why is it ok when it comes to weight? I loved when Kim Cattrall went on the record talking about the work it takes to stay in shape. As for Blake, the girl is beautiful but it’s only fair that she porks up after 30 and gets pimples or a yeast infection, from all the sugar, in the mean time.

And then there’s Paula, if you’d like to know what most of us earthlings would look like on the cupcake diet, look no further than Paula Deen BC. BC= before criticism that came when she went public with her diabetes and her position (getting millions of dollars) as a spokesperson for a diabetes drug.  In January, Paula downplayed the connection between food, weight and diabetes and stood by her recipes. People went nuts. Paula or her PR people got the message and here is slimmer Paula. She’s doing things differently now. Does this mean she’s going to modify her recipes? Of course not. She’s gone from Paula Deen doughnut queen to Paula Deen diabetes drug lord and now she’s a weight loss expert telling People magazine her “slimming secrets”. I’ll tell Paula a secret, she better not lose too much or she’ll be off of her meds and out of a spokesperson position, stay tuned.

This week also brought shocking news of Nora Ephron’s passing. I loved Nora’s movies, her books and just her good sense. I never knew how I’d answer that hypothetical dinner party question, you know “if you could have 3 people living or dead over to dinner…” but I now know Nora would be on my list. Since we were talking butter, I thought this Nora Ephron quote was apropos
Everybody dies, there’s no avoiding it and I do not believe for one second that butter is the cause of anyone’s death. Overeating may be, but not butter, please. I just feel bad for people who make that mistake. By the way the same thing is true of olive oil. What difference could it possibly make if there’s a little olive oil in your salad dressing? It does not take one day off your life.
And one from yesterday's Times
I don't think any day is worth living without thinking about what you're going to eat next at all times.

What are your thoughts on Blake, Paula, Nora (or TomKat), cupcakes or butter?