Monday, January 25, 2016

Office Offender- meet Cookie Push

It’s hard enough to walk the healthy walk with our own “stuff”. Our sleep, work stress, family life, hormones and cravings are obstacles on any given day. But so are other people and sometimes it’s not even the people closest to you. We spend a lot of time at work and coworkers can affect your behavior. In the Little Book of Thin I talked about the candy bowl person.  There’s usually one candy bowl person per workplace but there’s another type of office offender.
A few weeks ago, I opened the door from my office to our waiting room. A client* sat on the white couch with an It’s Sugar shopping bag next to her. She noticed that I noticed and said, “It’s not for me” and stood to come into my office.  I had to ask, “So who is it for?” “It’s for someone at work, she loves Reese’s” my client said and proceeded to pull out a package of peanut butter cups the size of a shoebox (a shoebox lid). We joked a little, she told me to take a photo for Instagram (I passed not knowing it would help this post) and switched gears.
This past Wednesday, I saw this same client again. I could tell she was aggravated from the instant I saw her. Before the two of us could sit down she started spewing details from her week. After a two-second intro she said, “and there’s this evil bitch in my office who bakes” I nodded. “And she doesn’t even eat what she bakes, she actually bakes things she dislikes.” This is actually fairly common but my client wasn’t finished and I could tell there needed to be gushing before guidance. “I come to Foodtrainers, another guy has his nutritionist, my boss is attempting paleo and the person next to me is gluten-fucking-free for real, like celiac. None of us want to eat this.”  For the record, gluten fucking free is a direct quote.
The candy bowl person mentioned generally doesn’t eat the candy but Candy Bowl and Cookie Push are a little bit different. The candy bowl person generally enjoys people congregating near them, they exchange Werthers or Starbursts for office Intel. I realize you may feel I’m being cynical, couldn’t it be Cookie Push has pure intentions and my trying to walk the healthy walk client is misinterpreting things?
If I’m betting…no. I do not know Cookie Push personally. However, it’s very common in eating disorders to constantly bake (for some reason it’s baking more than cooking) for others. Cookie Push likely enjoys the feeling of control in resisting the cookies while others indulge. This is very different form someone sending a popcorn tin for the holidays or putting a sweet in the break room once in a while.
What to do? You can unionize, rather than making things personal, ban together with the other office mates and thank Cookie Push for the goodies but say something to the effect of “it’s January and we’re trying to be healthy and we don’t have the resolve you have” wink, wink. Or, suggest “if you want to bring something in maybe something that’s not edible like office flowers or if it is food possibly something healthy.” Cookie Push will get the message. Or, you can do what my client did and fight flour with flour, the ginormo Reeses were for Cookie Push.
Do you agree with my assessment of Cooking Push? What would you do? Do you have a Candy Bowl or Cookie Push at work?
 *I received permission from my client to blog about this 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Shroom coffee and a Four Sigma giveaway

*please note I've been meaning to post this all week. I didn't want to hit the weekend without it up but there may be typos etc. Know I'm aware of it, OK?

In our world (which I realize can be different from the regular world) medicinal mushrooms are all the rage.  And no, despite the fact that both Carolyn and I are Tulane alums, we’re not talking about those shrooms.  Medicinal mushrooms have various health benefits, and in the shroom sector Four Sigma is pretty much the best you can get. A few months ago, Carolyn and I received our mushroom indoctrination via Four Sigma.

The top four shrooms you should know about are Chaga, Reishi, Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps. All of these are food for the immune system and autoimmune conditions. It's interesting that many medications are derived from fungi. We’ve been so shroom-centric that we’re sharing our favorite mushroom with you today.

What I like about cordyceps is that it gives you energy but not jittery energy. It’s what’s called an adaptogen. Cordyceps helps your body produce more energy. Research shows it improves athletic performance and decreases fatigue during exercise (even among new exercisers). I’m always cautious to mention this but shrooms do  have anti-cancer properties, cordyceps inhibits cell proliferation (mostly animal studies). And cordyceps is great for those recovering from surgery or a prolonged illness.
This shroom also improves mental energy, memory and learning. It helps your natural stress response. And it has an anti depressive effect assisting with winter blahs.
After about 7 days “using” cordyceps, blood sugar seems to improve. This mushroom works by reducing insulin secretion (more insulin secreted, more fat stored). For all these reasons, it’s no wonder cordyceps are prized in traditional Chinese medicine. 

If you’re thinking, who doesn’t need cordyceps? I’m with you. The problem? On their own these do not taste very good. So our favorite way to get cordyceps into our bodies is with cordyceps instant coffee. We have our regular, super-strength coffee in the AM; this is our after lunch coffee. Our Whipping Week participants are loving it.

Four Sigma also make low calorie hot chocolate packets with various mushrooms.
If you’re shroom-curious we have a box of Four Sigma coffee, a box of shroom cocoa and a pretty wooden cup (also from Four Sigma) to giveaway to one of our readers.
To enter:
Please comment below and tweet out "Shroom coffee? Yup @Foodtrainers has a @foursigmafoods #giveaway on the blog "
You have until 1/24.

Have you heard of medicinal mushrooms? Have you tried them? Does it sound weird (my husband refused “coffee with mushrooms” but he dislikes mushrooms)? Which benefit of cordyceps appeals to you most?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I'm sorry Jennifer Weiner, "trying" doesn't make you superficial

We have another great giveaway coming your way, but an article I read this weekend pushed my “must write about” button.  Let me first say that I love Jennifer Weiner’s writing and I’ll even admit I appreciate her Bachelor live-tweeting. I didn’t enjoy  One Day We Can Stop Trying,Right?” I may be in the minority because multiple Facebook friends posted the link to it.
If you didn’t catch the piece, JW starts out with the observation that magazines tend to stop focusing on women after 60.  “It’s as if, for the purposes of good looks and sexiness, older women cease to exist.” Ouch I thought but JW takes comfort in the notion of being cut off as “a finish line, a point at which you were no longer expected to perform what sometimes feels like a woman’s major duty in life- looking good for men.”
Though “perform” and “duty” made me cringe, I used to wonder about what Jennifer describes. Will I care about my skinny jeans, bathing suit body and scale surges and dips when I’m older? I’ve learned from clients in their 70s and even 80s that answer is I probably will. I hope I do. My older clients are doers. They’re traveling, socializing, exercising and they want to feel (and look) good in the process. For them, there isn’t anything onerous about it, and they definitely aren’t trying to look good for men.
The article isn’t just about aging. Jennifer Weiner seems to have joined the “we’re above dieting, caring about our looks and weight” brigade. There are now anti-diet books. The words skinny and thin are taboo as if to be truly evolved means you need to wave a “looks don’t matter” flag. I’m not waving the flag, neither are most women or most men for that matter.
 It’s not just a matter of looks; Carolyn and I just finished the first of our January “Whipping Weeks”. We asked participants to describe how they felt before they started and we asked again last night. After a week they said things like, “energized, motivated, healthy and proud.” Trying can leave you feeling a whole lot better than not trying.
JW also pokes Oprah. I agree with her (and wrote about) that there’s something inauthentic about the Oprah/Weight Watchers ads. However, Weiner decided that Oprah is too old and accomplished to care about weight. “Oprah, of all people, should be open to the possibility that she already is the woman she’s meant to be. And when you’re 61 are you really still expected to be fretting over whether you’ve got your best body?” I say, regardless of prestige or personal growth, you are allowed to want to work on your body AND you may not feel your best until you do.
Weiner quotes one expert and concludes that any time you lose weight you gain it back. Again, she’s padding her case that you may as well not try.
The conclusion of the article is what had me cursing at my Sunday paper. First she says, “Women are encouraged to measure out our lives in 55-minute barre classes and four-ounce servings of chicken.” She suggests that we donate our dieting dollars to charities and add new things, new skills, new classes (just not barre classes I guess) versus always taking things away. But she saves the most judgy for last,“in 2016, let’s look beyond the superficial and all resolve to make more of ourselves, not less. Really? We have to choose? You’re either charitable and interesting or weight-conscious and superficial? If that’s the case, it’s amazing someone like me even reads The New York Times. I don’t know about you, I enjoy “trying”. But I can’t type any more, I have to go measure my four ounces of chicken.
So, do you envision or hope for a time when you will stop “trying”? Why do you think it’s frowned upon to care about appearance or weight? Do exercise classes and mindful eating indicate you’re superficial
And the winner of the Young Living, essential oil giveaway is Erin. Thank you to those who entered and tweeted etc.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year, New Wellness Magic (yup) & giveaway

So here’s the deal. At Foodtrainers we love our “secretweapons”. These are those little extras that can give you the wellness or weight loss edge provided YOU HAVE YOUR BASIC BEHAVIORS IN ORDER. Our vetting process goes something like this: We hear about a product/spice/tea etc,
We look at the research that exists and any safety concerns
We personally “test drive”
Then, if we feel something is helpful (for bloat or appetite or fatigue) and there’s some decent research (and no safety concerns) we’re sold. What I’m trying to say is that there are studies on turmeric and matcha and the two secret weapons I’m discussing this week (another tomorrow) but I’m not going to swear on my Boston Terrier that these are double-blind, placebo controlled 5-star, top-shelf, will impress a researcher studies you got it? Don’t email me about sample sizes.

Peppermint Oil
Hopefully the peppermint bark is long gone, for January enter peppermint oil.
There’s some interesting theories about aroma therapy and weight and just smelling peppermint oil throughout the day can reduce your appetite.  A New York Times article said “there’s been a theory around for a number of years that if you saturate your sensory system that you’ll not be as hungry.” Your brain thinks you smelled and therefore ingested something, We go one step further and suggest a drop (some brands are more potent than others) of peppermint oil in water first thing, before eating or in a morning smoothie.
The bulk of the peppermint oil literature focuses on peppermint and GI issues, one study of over 1500 participants found an 83% improvement in distention (flatulence was also reduced, yeehaw). For GI issues take the peppermint oil post meal.
And you can take capsules but the oil gives you the dual purpose of sniffing (ha) or drinking. Reduced appetite, less distended…happy Tuesday.
Young living has provided us with bottles of both peppermint and lavender oil to giveaway. To be eligible leave a comment below and tweet “@foodtrainers is discussing and giving away @younglivingeo on the blog today (you have until 1/10 to enter]

Have you heard of the aromatherapy and weight connection? Do you use essential oils? Do you believe in magic?
*For questions about the Foodtrainers' shop contact Kayla (she's awesome)

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Years Resolutions: Oprah, “Healhy-ish” etc.

We are all hypocrites. I realize that’s not the most motivational sentence to start the year but it’s true. My ears perked up with I heard Oprah’s soothing voice seemingly honestly recounting her weight struggles. “You look in mirror and you don’t even recognize yourself”. The press said that people were in tears over this narrative. In another TV spot she says, and I paraphrase, it’s not about a pair of pants but I want my best body (I’m confused, doesn’t the “best body” feel good in our pants?). I love O but she alludes to weight being about underlying issues and then the Weight Watcher’s logo pops up. Weight Watchers is about counting and points.  And if we’re talking numbers let’s just say that Oprah's "numbers" or should I say bottom line improved from this deal (and stock purchase)*

Then there’s Bon Appetit’s pretty January “healthy-ish” cover. Props to Bon Appetit for their health-conscious issue but “healthy-ish” reminds me of my most hated wellness phrase “everything in moderation.”  Why the euphemism? Is it that healthy sounds dreadful but “healthy-ish” is OK? It reminds me of when my book came out and people didn’t like word thin.  Sites and platforms that clearly appeal to women who wanted to be thin didn’t want to say “thin”.  For them healthy was ok. Not us, at Foodtrainers we’ll go out and say it –thin, healthy it’s all cool. 

Just when I thought I had escaped the healthy hypocrisy, I read the Sunday paper. There was an article about spanx and the popularity of these garments. Nothing wrong with spanx but I personally allied myself with Liz Lange who just can’t or doesn’t want to spanx. My two spanx-y experiences are 1) thinking I had a major GI issue and then realizing my digestion/wellbeing were being compromised by the contraption under my gown and 2) I was sent a “yummy tummy” and literally got stuck in it. Was my tummy too “yummy”?  Either way, I thought there’s nothing worth being uncomfortable for.
But soon after reading the paper I got dressed. You know what my reasoning was for choosing my skinny jeans and form-fitting turtleneck (usual ultra-glam Sunday uniform is hoodie/ loose jeans/uggs)? I donned those jeans because I found that I had a couple lbs “leftover” from a week of skiing (more like ski-eating). I wanted to wear an outfit to remind myself of that.  So I guess I’m a hypocrite just like you, sigh.
It’s a new year, maybe we’ll changein 2016.  Anyway, this year I’m looking forward to banglessness, writing and our Whipping Weeks (week 1 started today). And yes, these  “healthy” weeks will make your pants feel better.

Any resolutions? What did you think of the Oprah ads? And what about the word healthy-ish?
*please note that I initially cited the incorrect figures for Oprah's deal with Weight Watchers. This doesn't really change my thoughts and feelings about things but I apologize for my error.