Monday, September 29, 2014

The Juicing Summit and juicy Giveaway

Juicing and the Ace Hotel, I was happy
Last week, the city was absolute gridlock as President Obama was in town to address the UN. A little further west another meeting took place, a “summit” according to the invitation, to be more specific it was a Juicing Summit. Before we dismiss green juice as trivial compared to ISIS, I’ll point out that a conversation, sorry “summit”, about juicing does include discussion of climate change, organic farming, health and health care.
If only City Bakery showed up between client sessions with concoctions 
Edible Manhattan and Breville (have I told you lately that I love my Breville juicer?) organized panels on various juicing topics. In between each panel City Bakery provided juices. Here were some highlights:

  • On the first panel the business of juicing was covered. Has juice peaked? Martin Bates (formerly at Pret now heading Organic Avenue) explained that OA is branching out becoming  a “food business that also sells juice”. Maury Rubin from City Bakery cautioned against companies who tried to stick to juice calling them “one note businesses” (remember Crumbs cupcakes?).
  • Price is an issue that came up but it takes a lot of produce to make juice and produce prices have skyrocketed. We joked in the break that nobody is complaining that we spend $10 for another type of “evening” drink.
  • Have you thought about which process your juice is made with? The gold (or “green”) standard is cold pressed, organic juice. Juices with a longer shelf life (Blueprint, Suja) use a process called HPP, which stands for high pressure processing. Some find HPP inferior others felt for travel or a necessity in order for juice to reach parts of the country without juice shops.
  • There was some disagreement over shops selling bottled juices versus making a juice on the spot. I love the taste of freshly made juices. Maury from City Bakery put it well saying people “enjoy the theatre” of seeing their produce become juice in front of their eyes.  I couldn’t agree more.
  • The trend also seems to be away from juice cleanses (can I get an amen?) toward the daily ritual of having a juice. Marcus Antebi (JuicePress) hates the word cleanse. He joked for a crack-head a cleanse is no crack. Crack cleanse the next juice cleanse?
  • Max Goldberg (from Living Maxwell) and Latham Thomas (Mama Glow) discussed trends juice. These include probiotics in juices, juices geared toward men’s health (we love our dude food at Foodtrainers), juices as alcoholic mixers, juices for kids and also for fertility.
  • If you’re not on the juicing bandwagon, Joe Cross ( of FatSick and Nearly Dead a great food docu with a sequel coming out this fall) explained that with our health there are those who dive in to a change and those who walk in. I loved that; I think it’s important to realize what style of change works best for you. I am more of a “walker” but some of my greatest discoveries have come from diving into change full force.
  • Many brought up that juicing is inconvenient. I don’t buy the “it’s so hard to clean the juicer” after all so many of us clean a coffee pot without complaining. There are services like Farmivore geared toward encouraging people to juice at home. Farmivore makes juicing bundles and they’re worth checking out.
  • And finally Max reminded us the USDA just approved more GMO crops. As we juice and hopefully think about our health we have to focus on bigger picture.

Inspiring information and juicing- this was a pretty terrific day.

And speaking of juicing, my RD colleague Danielle Omar recently wrote a book called Skinny Juices; we’re giving away a copy. To be eligible please
Comment below and tweet out a link to this post saying “Foodtrainers has a juicy #giveaway”
Enter by Friday; we’ll announce the winner next Monday.

Do you juice? How often? Do you make it at home or purchase it? How is your juice made?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Mother In-law Challenge

Last week, I was in my office for client sessions. Many clients had Rosh Hashanah on their minds. For any special event, I try to gather information in order to formulate a plan. “Where will you be for the holidays?” On this particular day three clients informed me that their mother in-law was hosting. Each of these clients shared this with evident apprehension.  Humor is my favorite antidote for anxiety so I dubbed it “the Mother In-law challenge” and we went from there.

When my sessions were over, my mind drifted back to mother in laws and all the accompanying stereotypes. This definition made me chuckle.
 A phrase appended to names of relationship, as father, mother, brother, sister, son, etc., to indicate that the relationship is not by nature
There are books written on the subject including one from psychologist Terri Apter entitled…What do you want from me? And it will come as no shock that the most complicated relationships are between mother in-laws and daughter in-laws.

The food dynamic stems directly from the family dynamic. First, these relationships are “not by nature” these are not your parents where the comfort level is greater. And second, all family gatherings evoke some level of tension. This tension you may carry is as big an obstacle as your MIL. I will go on record and say my beautiful, Swedish MIL is a healthy eater and always has a Foodtrainers-friendly spread for family meals. However, I’m more at ease with my family…of course we have our issues but I’m used to them.

You have to be comfortable with eating well and that may mean foregoing certain holiday foods; you don’t need your mother in law to be comfortable with it or eat like her. I'm assuming you don't dress like her or act like her, right? If your mother in law carries the food-pushing gene, you have two choices. My first rule is “accept but don’t ingest” which I’ve mentioned in LBT and on the blog before. People are often more concerned with what you take or put on your plate than what you actually consume. If your MIL actually assesses your intake, I would employ the best food pusher advice “push back”. It's best to push back with a compliment such as “this is so delicious but I think I’ve had enough”. As far as the tension, mentally prepare yourself for that too. Walk yourself through with "I may be on edge, there will be lots of people but I'm going to be sure to put all my food on a plate and eat slowly." 

For better or for worse, you will have many more in-law meals and the sooner you carve out what works best for you in terms of strategy the better.

If you’re “Rosh Hashanahing” I wish you a happy new year.

What is the hardest part of holiday meals for you? Why do mother in-laws get a bad rap? Or should they get a bad rap?

Monday, September 22, 2014

What's in my bag? Nutrition edition

I am weirdly obsessed with what people have in things. What’s in their fridge, what’s in their shopping cart and Us Weekly’swhat’s in my bag”. It has nothing to do with wanting to critique. As I said in The Little Book of Thin, the fridge is the new medicine cabinet and I can’t help myself from wanting to snoop. Even if I don’t know who person is or don’t especially like the person the mint or makeup they swear by is interesting to me. And of course if someone has a Foodtrainers-approved snack or product they’re immediately on my “like list”.

US Weekly isn’t calling any time soon so in case you’re wondering (and I realize you may not be) here’s what I have.
In my Matt and Nat cork bag: I love these bags out of Montreal which are sustainable and ecofriendly with liners made out of plastic bottles.
  1. Foodtrainers’ Nutcase  always have a nutcase with me as this is my snack most afternoons. I'm currently loving SuperSeedz and always on looking for interesting nut mixes or flavors. No more overnutting or hangry afternoons.
  2. Swell Water bottle  if I’m carrying a bag it’s huge and there’s plenty of room for a water bottle. I'm loving these bottles from Swell for every one of these wood bottles sold American Forests plants a tree. Plus, these bottles will not open in your purse. Laptops do not need to hydrate.
  3. Vitamin case- I always fill a case with my “pills” du jour. Lately my every day vitamins have been saffron, evening primrose and Coq10.
  4. Teabags- I’ll generally take something with caffeine like a puEhr or Runa and something herbal. Pukka makes the best teas.  
  5. Fitbit Charger- I panic when my fitbit battery is low. If this charger isn’t connected to my laptop is always in my bag.  
  6. 21 drops- roll on fragrance is fantastic. We discovered the aromatherapy from 21 drops. MY favorite is Abstain, I love the spicy scent and let’s face it- worth a try when the dessert menu arrives. 
  7. Mykitch hair ties- there are always a few of these floating around my purse. When you have “fine” hair like I do the last think you want is a hairband ripping out precious strands. I run in the headbands too. 
  8. Lanyard- my younger son makes these keychains every summer at camp. This year he had me pick my colors on visiting day. This makes me happy whenever I see it in my bag. Who knows, maybe making lanyards is the next cure of evening snacking?
  9.  Ilia lip gloss- most women have their go to shade of lipstick or gloss. The Butterfly and I from Ilia is mine.  Aside from the versatile color, the ingredients are all safe and high quality. It’s not just what we put in our bodies…
  10. Woowoo bamboo-I’m anti gum and try not to mint too often. Yes, I carry a toothbrush in my makeup case. These from woo woo bamboo are great. You can see this one is used (ick but true).
So these are my top 10 purse staples. I left out the laptop, Ipad, phone, cork (of course) notebook etc. because a) I didn’t want my photo to look messy and b) I tried to stick to food or wellness items. So I cheated, I didn’t do the bag dump but you know what? I’m guessing  the ladies in Us Weekly don't either.

So now it's your turn, what do you always have in your bag? Any of items on my list you're curious about? Are you going to try making lanyards?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Keep drinking that coffee part 2

I should admit my bias off the bat and say I adore coffee. I also field a lot of coffee questions. Last week a client asked “in an ideal world should I quit coffee?”  No and that world would be far from ideal.  And It’s not just that you shouldn’t quit coffee because it isn’t that bad, coffee has its “perks” (couldn’t resist that pun , didn’t want to). The Bulletproof Coffee concept is also gaining popularity, an LBT reader asked “what's the deal with bulletproof coffee? Gross? Awesome?” I say awesome and wrote about it in the spring.

There are times I look back on an old post and want to update or rewrite certain things but this You Should Drink Coffee and the Best Coffee to Drink post still stands. So the next time someone tries to rain on your coffee parade, send them this. Or, just send them my way. I’m pretty protective when it comes to my “joe”.
Speaking of, what’s your favorite type of coffee (beans)? What do you make your coffee in? Hot coffee or iced coffee? And have you tried Bulletproof coffee?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Are you vegan, vegetarian, paleo? Shush….

I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~ Gerry Spence

Last week I sat in a new doctor’s waiting room filling out paperwork. It was standard stuff past medical history, family history, medication information (none for me) etc. Then there was a section about exercise and eating. I described my exercise routine, vitamin regime and then stopped at a question you would think was up my alley. The question asked “are you a ” and then listed various dietary regimes such as vegetarian, vegan, kosher and a few others. I settled on something to the effect of balanced eater.

The truth is I don’t subscribe to any particular dietary camp. I’m allergic to wheat, seek out organic produce and wild fish, love certain things paleo (but also like legumes and dairy) and I enjoy perusing raw food blogs and juice daily.  I was reminded of the blogger previously known as The Blonde Vegan whose story received a lot of attention this summer.  For serious personal reasons, this blogger transitioned away from a strictly vegan diet and switched the name of her platform to the Balanced Blonde. She received criticism and threats in the process for not being strictly vegan. 
 Last month a study and corresponding article in the New York Times about low carb versus lowfat made the rounds and I cringed again. The term low carb seems as outdated as low fat. Shouldn’t the conversation be about which carbs are best to eat and the right fats? 

My friend and colleague Ashley Koff has a term “qualitarian” which resonates with me but all of this segregation reminds me a little of why I am a more spiritual person than a religious one. Both religion and nutrition should be about improvement and for me it’s individual with aspects from various faiths and dietary regimes resonating with me.  And let's be clear you can have someone who's a junky gluten free eater subsisting on potato starch-laden products or a vegan mainlining white, bready items.

Why do we need the labels? I can only think the descriptions make sense when someone else is preparing your food. I go to a restaurant and mention my allergy or "gluten free", I can imagine “vegan” makes things cut and dry as well. Although I am fine with eating fish, meat and dairy I understand the desire to exclude all animal products. The second we’re judging someone as not vegan enough or devout enough we’re focusing on exclusion and that to me isn’t healthy.
How do you describe your eating? Are you a ________? Why do you think these camps or terms have become so popular? 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Beyond paella, saffron may be a secret weapon

It may not seem like it but when it comes to food products and certainly supplements I am a huge skeptic. Clients often email me photos of food products or links to articles and often my reply is “I wouldn’t bother.” Over them summer I received the following email
Hi Lauren,
Hope you’re enjoying your summer. I loved Little Book of Thin and have been following the 10 Steps to Svelte, broke up with sweeteners etc. I also started taking saffron supplements and I’m curious if they’re green lighted.  Maybe a good YOSA topic for the blog?
IF you’re not familiar with YOSA it’s our acronym for “yay or step away”.  After some digging I saw there was some research behind saffron and I have a soft spot for spices as I feel they have been used for so long. So I also ordered these capsules but didn’t expect much.

Saffron is that super expensive reddish spice that comes in threads and is most commonly used in paella. Saffron is actually from the stigma of a flower called Crocus sativus L (such a shame nobody plays trivial pursuit anymore). Saffron has centuries of use as a remedy in Indian and Chinese cultures but these saffron capsules contain much more saffron than the spice itself.

Saffron’s potential benefits are appetite reduction, mood improvement (thought many of the studies have been small) and one of the constituents of saffron, crocetin, shows potential in terms of cancerprevention and treatment. Saffron is absolutely not something I would recommend for pregnant women as it can cause uterine contractions or in dosages above five grams per day.

Here’s the part where I start to sound like an infomercial. I took the saffron as directed before lunch and dinner. I noticed the biggest difference at restaurant meals where portions are larger. I was pushing away plates left and right. And the few times I noticed I had that typical urge to pick or graze I had forgotten my saffron. Now, nothing is going to help if your basics aren’t in order. But if you’re like the reader above who is doing your basics or “10 Steps to Svelte” and feel your portions are too large or your appetite tremendous, this is worth a try. In terms of YOSA criteria I’m going to say “YAY”.

If you’re not a capsule person or don’t tend toward ginormous portions. I also love saffron tea. It’s a Moroccan tradition. I boil water and combine green tea and about ½ tsp. saffron. I let this steep for 5 minutes, strain the leaves/threads and add a little sweetener (Nustevia or honey).
For some more Fallspiration check out our Monthly Morsels newsletter which was delivered today

Do you saffron? How do you use it in cooking? What are your favorite spices? Have you heard of the saffron/appetite connection? Anything you'd like us to consider for YOSA?