Monday, June 30, 2014

Are You Juice-Confused?

I juice and when I’m not juicing I’m spending (too much) money on juices from juice shops or taking pictures of my juices. In this juice-centric universe I live in it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that when most people think juice it’s still apple/orange/cranberry that come to mind. A client asked, “what do you mean when you say green juice” uh oh I assumed (remember the grammar school spelling trick- don't assume  it makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”). 

Since I'm an ass, I asked Joanna our Snack Queen to morph into a juice queen and answer some questions:
For my client and the others out there who are juice-confused, what is a green juice?
 It is exactly what it sounds, a juice made from greens. In the same way you get orange juice from an orange, green juice is derived from kale, spinach, collard greens, chard, watercress etc.
Ha, I always thought it sounds like a juice that is the color green. Greens are healthy but oftentimes there are other ingredients lurking; some juices are actually chock full of fruit, how do you pick a good one?
To steer clear of sugary green juices, your best bet is to choose a concoction with max ONE fruit per green juice not counting lemon or lime. You said in June’s Allure magazine that green juices can contain 6 teaspoons of sugar and that was shocking to me but sure enough options from Blue Print and Evolution have 19-24 grams of sugar (there are four grams of sugar per teaspoon).
How come people don’t think about organic when it comes to green juice and why is it especially important?  
Because so much produce (up to 6 to 9 cups) is used to make juice, you don’t want to be drinking a glass of pesticides. Some favorite NYC options to go for organic juices are One Lucky Duck, Gingersnaps Organics and Organic Avenue. And a great resource is Living Maxwell’s PressedJuice Directory that lists locations where you can find pressed organic juice all over the world. He also interviewed you about your juicing habit.
We’ve been on lookout for less sweet green juices (especially since we quit sugar our month ends today but still) what would you say are our top 5 less sweet concoctions?
1. One Lucky Duck -Mean Greens 
2. Juice Press- Mother Earth this was the first all-greens juice I really enjoyed, love the dandelion
3. Organic Avenue - Mellow Love  this is Carolyn's favorite.
These two have 1 fruit
4. Juice Generation Supa Dupa Greens- we have made with ½ apple
5. Gingersnap Organics- Go Kick -the pear makes this delicious.

Thanks J, see you at the Fancy Food Show. 

Do you juice? What are your favorite combinations? Any favorite juice shops in your area? 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Is being a foodie good for your weight?

Has anyone else notices a surge in slogan tees?
Sometimes clients come in and apologize. “It’s terrible, I just love food.” They’ll elaborate, “I enjoy restaurants and trying new foods.” I sit back waiting for the part they should be sorry for. Other times, in a session, I’ll talk about a recipe and clients will look at me surprised “wow, you really know about food.” Where did we all get this notion that being healthy or losing weight requires divorcing ourselves from food pleasure? I come bearing good news; nothing about Foodtraining or weight loss requires staying home eating undressed greens, sad yet skinny.

In many ways, I think my foodie clients do better. If you like a lot of foods, chances are you like a lot of healthy foods. Give me the fearless foodie over the picky eater any day. Foodies like flavor. I can get a foodie excited about a farm egg, oysters or the most delicious finishing salt. If anyone knows how to make healthy food exciting it’s the foodie.

But, yes there’s a but. I wish there was a way that life could involve daily cheese courses, free flowing cocktails (farm to bar movement anyone?) and loads of “freshly baked” everything but it can’t and shouldn’t. For most people you really cannot eat out every night, sample everything (trust me you don’t “have to”) and stay slim.

Amber Valetta, in a recent Allure interview, said that she loves great food (I believe her another misconception is that if you’re thin you must not) but that’s not what she eats day in and day out. Brown rice, quinoa and vegetables are staples for her. I like this way of looking at things. In a week perhaps there are some restaurant meals. There is a time for treats. But we also need those less exciting slightly Spartan options to balance it out. Maybe it’s my turn to apologize but I promise that even quinoa and vegetables with a miso dressing or harissa will be ok.

Do you consider yourself a foodie? Do you like that term? Do you think this is an asset or liability when it comes to weight?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Top 10 Savory Breakfasts

Why is breakfast a sugar fest? Even if you’re not eating cold cereal and pancakes what you’re having is most likely a desserty start to the day. Whether you’ve quit sugar with us for June or you’re just becoming more sugar conscious breakfast can be a challenge. I’ve suggested dinner forbreakfast before, but here are some of our favorites from the past couple of weeks.

Eggs- My son and I rush to the farmer’s market on Sunday morning to buy eggs before they sell out. There’s a huge difference in taste between these eggs and supermarket eggs so that would be my first suggestion.

  1. Try eggs scrambled in coconut oil (virgin if you like a coconut taste, refined if not). Sprinkle with a little hot sauce and voila.
  2. Green Eggs- in LBT I have our Green Eggs or muffin frittatas (see below)
  3. Be a Poacher- I'm currently conquering something I hadn’t been able to without a microwave and that’s egg poaching thanks to this there are many versions be sure what you purchase is BPA free.
  4. Paleo bread, without gluten the only bread I eat is this Paleo Bread from Food Matters- I’ve been topping it with coconut butter or avocado and Malden sea salt.
  5. For a little “tartine” try our Orgran quinoa crackers with and wild smoked salmon and Greek cream cheese
  6. Plain, unsweetened yogurt isn’t for everyone. I’ve been using Siggi’s plain and topping it with cinnamon or cardamom. Almond and coffee extract have been useful too.
  7. Sohha Savory Yogurt- Carolyn discovered this savory yogurt and if you can get your hands on it do so. I think we’re going to see more yogurt along these lines.
  8. If you're yogurted out try Nancy’s Cottage Cheese- this organic cottage cheese contains probiotics. Probiotics can improve mood, digestion and immunity. Probiotics also impart a little tang that I like but may come as a little surprise.
  9. Miso soup- if you were in Japan you’d have this for breakfast (or part of breakfast). It’s a fermented food, in my opinion it's the best soy to eat. My two favorite brands are South River and Miso Master. I would skip the tofu and instead use sea vegetables or mushrooms. Click the South River link for an easy recipe.
  10. Savory smoothie- OK so smoothies were a little sad when we first started this no sugar experiment. I don’t even need my smoothie super sweet but super bland was another story. I'm pleased to say I discovered the secret. Blend 1/2 avocado or 2Tbs unsweetened almond butter (or other nut or seed butter), 1/4 cup almond or coconut milk (yup unsweetened), 1Tbs protein powder (love my Green Dream), you can add greens or spiralina and then throw in a handful of ice. And drumroll….the key to smoothies that aren’t sweet and pretty much all of these breakfasts is salt. Add a nice pinch of Himalayan salt. You will not miss the sugar.
I’ve used lavender salt, truffle salt and Malden salt this week so a salty shoutout.

What do you usually have for breakfast? Have you thought about the sugar in your breakfast or your children’s breakfast (a whole other story)? Why do you think breakfast here is super sweet?

From The Little Book of Thin
Green Eggs 
Makes 4 Servings
1 cup sautéed or steamed kale (or other leftover vegetables though if not green, change title)
4 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
Black pepper to taste.
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Spray four cups in a standard-sized muffin pan with Spectrum cooking spray. Divide the kale between the 4 cups.
In a small bowl whisk together eggs, salt, paprika, chili powder and pepper. Pour eggs evenly over the kale in the muffin cups. Bake until just set, 15 to 20 minutes. Let the frittatas cool in the pan for 5 minutes then gently remove.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I don't believe in magic but I do believe in Dr Oz

Earlier this week Dr Oz appeared before the Senate’s committee on consumer protection. Senator Claire McCaskill took Oz to task for some of the weight loss products he has suggested on his show. Almost immediately following this there was a wave of Dr Oz bashing. People on my Facebook feed were declaring they “loved this senator” who grilled Dr Oz even though they probably knew as much (or little) about her as the  green coffee bean extract Dr Oz was under fire for.

Does Dr Oz use words like “miracle” and “magic”? He does. He has a television show. I would venture to say he’s not running into the operating room speaking this way. I'll never forget something from when I did my media training. I’m not a naturally hyper person but we did a take where I was about as animated as this Foodtrainer can get. I was smiling and enthusiastic (and as real as my hair color/ not so much). When I finished the person teaching me said, “Ok, now do it again but with much more energy” Dr Oz has that energy.

Before you say it’s not just Dr Oz’s passion it’s the topics on the show. Have you watched the show? The last three times I’ve been on we’ve talked about quinoa, label lies on cereal boxes and frozen food. Now if millions of people go out and purchase quinoa or have learned what a GMO ingredient is- why aren’t we talking about that? Isn’t that part of what’s been dubbed “the Dr Oz effect”?

As far as scientific rigor, I once learned an important lesson from Dr Oz that I think I’ve written about. I was interviewed for a GMA segment about a diet that was popular at the time. My office did some research, there were no sizable scientific studies and I went on air slamming the plan. Dr Oz was also interviewed and said something I’ll never forget. He said if people are getting results from something you have to take a closer look. Sometimes anecdotal evidence tells us things that studies have yet to “prove”. 

And I’m so happy the Senate has this committee to protect consumers. The same government that is outraged over raspberry ketones is fine with dangerous food dyes in children’s food, antibiotics in our meat and GMO foods side by side with “normal” ones. I wonder how MDs at the FDA or Senators with ties to Big Food would do under fire.

Please don’t say as a friend of mine did “it’s so sad Dr Oz was a brilliant surgeon”. He still is and he’s also a good man. And because I couldn’t resist, a little bit about Senator McCaskill’s “miracle” weight loss.
What do you think of the Dr Oz situation? Does he do more for good and health than evil? What do you think people love to bash? 

Monday, June 16, 2014

So we quit sugar but what are we eating in its place?

A week ago, the Foodtrainers’ team swore off sugar for June. Many of you jumped on board and I even convinced my “very sweet” husband to take a break from his beloved cookies. I’m not always a fan of cold turkey quitting but was inspired by Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar platform. We used her book as a springboard and set out our set of rules.

For me, without the option of having dark chocolate or tasting food samples that are sent to the office I knew I wasn’t “going there”.  We did allow a little fruit on our plan and that’s made things livable. Before you start to think this was all easy breezy a couple of notes. First, this wasn’t a piece of (uneaten) cake for all of us. Both Carolyn and Marc didn’t feel great at first. “Remind me why we are doing this?” said OneSmartBrownie (temporarily one cranky brownie). And I found Marc, my husband who is one of those full of energy people who never stops…crashed in bed after he came home from work.

As for me, there was no sugar but I know myself and there was “vice swapping”. The first couple of days I went overboard with nuts and cheese. I’m normally not a big grain eater but I had sushi (brown rice but still) versus sashimi and corn tortillas, you get the picture. I pushed the envelope of on what was “allowed” which does leave me wondering.

The only time of day I felt a physiological need for sugar was after lunch. I get this definite desire for a taste change. Usually I have a mint but without that option I used bitters to change the taste in my mouth and reduce cravings or a coffee. I have never felt the research in this area truly explained things. It’s not blood sugar dropping as my lunch always has some good fat, vegetables etc. Some say it’s related to stress and sleep but I noticed it Saturday after lunch. Regardless, what I noted this week is a taste change was as good as a sweet.

This all got me thinking about the most recent Time magazine cover. I posted it above; the headline reads “Eat Butter”.  Basically the article exposes the fact that fat may have been wrongly convicted. We didn’t benefit from skimming our milk (if you read LBT you know I agree with that). However, the reason I mention this is that whether we’re removing fat or gluten or sugar from our diet at the end of the day that’s not a food plan. What matters most is what we ARE eating. This past week I was solely concerned with not eating sugar. This coming week I need to make sure I’m eating plenty of greens, hydrating well etc. I’m curious how your week went.
Did you watch your sugar intake this week or quit? How difficult was it? Did you find yourself vice swapping? And any comments about the Time cover?
Giveaway winner is Rachel H; please let us know where to send your copy of IQS. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

With food (and only food), guy-like is the way to go

While I like to think my messaging and posts are unisex, weight loss advice tends to be female-centric. Male clients who read LBT give me a hard time  “the book is great but did you need to have a dress on the cover?” Or “I’m not wearing a bikini any time soon.” With Father’s Day approaching our plan was to focus on Dude Foods for our June Newsletter. Then, as we dove into the research on this dietary gender divide something occurred to me…when it comes to weight loss, should we all be more manly with our methodology?

More savory
Women tend to have more overall cravings than men. Ninety-seven percent of women report food cravings (no surprise) while for men it’s under seventy percent. Women also tend to crave sweet foods more often (and chocolate is the number one craving, yup) while men crave savory. So, what should you do? I love chocolate (good, dark, 70% chocolate) but after three days quitting sugar I am not looking for it. You can quit sugar with us for the remainder of the month or add non-sweet foods to your diet.  Start with breakfast I’m loving eggs with hot sauce, paleo bread with coconut butter and plain yogurt with cinnamon and cardamom.

Fewer Snacks
 It was interesting to see research supporting the fact that men snack less. Men, on average, have about two snacks a day whereas women have over three. Two is indeed the magic number We have some of our favorite savory snacks in our Dude Food Kit. Brussels sprout chips and the most amazing nuts in the world are not to be missed.

Less Fat Phobic- this is a big one. I still see clients who are petrified to skip their “skim” or look at me as though I secretly want them to gain weight when I suggest nuts or coconut oil. Men are not afraid of fat in their diet (and do not necessarily eat the good ones) but the right fats will make you thin. Think fish, avocado, seeds and coconut.

Eat Less Fruit- I am not anti fruit. I know many people were surprised that I suggested one fruit per day in the book. Nothing is going to happen if that one becomes two some days. Something is going to happen if you love summer fruit a little too much and have four a day, every day justifying it by saying “I eat only healthy, clean foods.”

Booze is OK but not girly booze
 Men drink more alcohol than women, men also metabolize alcohol differently than women (a topic for another day). I’m not here to tell you to booze it up. I am saying to be less “girly” in your drink choices. “On the rocks” will do much more for you than tonic ever has.

If I’m going to be totally honest, when you look at all the studies men are not necessarily eating healthier than women. The stereotypical dude foods they are far from a nutritionist’s dream however, while women may know where it’s at with so, so many things (this goes without saying) men’s overall approach to food that’s more fuel oriented and less guilt-ridden, less snacky and less sweet is probably the way to go.
From the criteria above are you more manly or girly in your food choices? Do you believe men and women fall into these catergories when it comes to food? If you’re quitting sugar with us how’s it going?

Monday, June 9, 2014

We're quitting sugar, want to join us?

First off, I know how annoying it can be for someone to tell you to quit something. I read an article yesterday and one of the suggestions was “cut out alcohol and caffeine” and I made a face at the screen, a mean face. After all, I’m the person who sees no reason not to have a cup of coffee while on a juice cleanse. Carolyn says “your cleanse your rules.” So when I started hearing about Sarah Wilson’s “I QuitSugar” book I was skeptical. I was skeptical until I read the book. It’s really, really good and gimmick free. I found Sarah's approach similar in many ways to Foodtrainers.

If you read this blog you may know I’m not someone with a raging sweet tooth. So when Sarah wrote,  “I was a sugar addict but didn’t look like one. I hid behind the so-called “healthy sugars” like honey, dark chocolate and fruit” I was surprised, she could’ve been describing me. And bottom line I know sugar finds its way into my diet and I’m curious to see how I feel without it. Plus, from years of having clients undergoing cancer treatment the line “cancer loves sugar” is a scary one to me. It’s not just about weight or mood but long-term health. And I love the idea of focusing on one habit and recently made what I feel are permanent gains in the hydration department.

So we tossed the idea around at the office and we came up with our version of quitting. We’re starting today and continuing through the end of the month (actually until we attend the Fancy Food Show 6/30 where we're professionally obligated to taste).  Here’s a summary of what’s in and out for the next three weeks.

  • Sweetener in coffee or tea. I realized there’s 8g sugar in a tsp. of the manuka honey I use; I only use a ½ tsp. once a day but still
  • Mints- I have these anise mints I keep in my purse, I’m anti gum for reasons beyond sugar but no gum either (keep a toothbrush in your makeup case)
  • Dried Fruit- I will miss you those raisins in my Juice Generation kale salad
  • Nutrition bars- I usually have a Health Warrior or Zing bar once a week
  • Stevia- as we say sweet begets sweet so no stevia and if you’re having yellow, pink or blue packets cut those out forever, not just the 3 weeks
  • Pops/Sorbet – so tempting in this weather but so sweet
  • Cakes, cookies, muffins or any other baked goods, gluten free or regular they're still sweet
  • Dark chocolate- this was a hard one for me to sign onto but if you're going to quit...

  • 1 fruit a day (this is different from what Sarah suggests)
  • 1 small coconut water per day (IQS informed me coconut water low in fructose) OR green juice (with 1 fruit) OR kombucha. 
  • Alcohol- we agree with Sarah alcohol has its own issues beyond sugar. However, alcohol is low in fructose. IQS suggests says wine, beer and pure spirits are ok. If you’ve read my book you know I think spirits are the way to go (sans mixers).
For the record, Sarah doesn’t recommend you go cold turkey/ cold sugar day 1.  She suggests a little time to assess where sugar is in your diet, to read labels and raise awareness. I have had the book for a couple of weeks and my “sweet-dar” (sugar radar) was heightened. Many gauges for sugar consumption are tossed around I would suggest aiming first for under 25 grams a day and ultimately going below 20 grams (approximately 4 grams is equal to one teaspoon of sugar).

Do you want to join us for these few weeks and give quitting a go? The Foodtrainers team is here for you on the blog, on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (@Foodtrainers. You know you can #TIDEI (tweet it don't eat it).  I would also suggest you pick up I Quit Sugar (and visit the website) it’s full of facts and encouragement not to mention fantastic recipes. At the start of the post I wrote that it’s not for someone else to tell you to quit something, from IQS “you’re doing this not because you have to, but because it might make you feel better. Please go gently and don’t punish yourself.” I told you this woman gets it.
Do you think about the amount of sugar you eat? How would you describe your relationship with sugar? Have you considered quitting? Read this book? Want to join us for these three weeks?
A couple of notes:

Since Sarah and I  connected, IQS read my book as well and posted some of my tips, they are doing a Little Book of Thin giveaway 
We're doing the same. If you comment here and retweet this post (or regram on Instagram @Foodtrainers) you'll be eligible. Our winner will be selected on Friday, June 13th.