Thursday, March 17, 2016

Foodtrainers' hits LA and the rain hits Foodtrainers

Lauren posted all about our Expo West Experience, but she left out our “adventure” getting there.
Here’s a travel day follow up, because there are always things (monsoons, traffic, room reservations gone missing) that throw off the best laid plans.

Foodtrainers' LA picks:

Pre-Flight breakfast:
As predicted, we omeletted it up with veggies and hot sauce (greens instead of toast), and tons of coffee. Lauren whipped out pre-flight probiotic coconut shots and I drank a liter ++ of water (thank god for aisle seats).

We had our nutcases, filled with living organic sprouted pecans, while plotting our Pre-Summer Squeeze Program. get excited.

Post-flight lunch:
Heaven is Gjelina in Santa Monica. Lauren and I could have spent all day there tasting -- and sipping -- but the winners were the tuna conserva over arugula (almost Nicoise but better), and the asparagus with crispy sunny side egg.

Bulletproof shop:
We were full but had to make a pit stop at the Bulletproof mecca. While the cafĂ© isn’t anything too exciting, we went for small bulletproof coffees and were all caffeinated for our 3 hours in traffic (not still annoyed, or anything).

Moon juice:
You know we love our moon juice dusts so we were excited to see what was in store at their home base. We saved our purchases for breakfast pre-expo – Lauren raved about her Fennel, Frond & Herb (Fennel, Cucumber, Green Apple, Basil), the Golden Milk was delicious too.

Packing House:
We found the one “cool” spot in Anaheim near the expo and while food was forgettable, the spicy margaritas hit the spot. We have to end a travel day with tequila; it’s a Foodtrainers rule.

So that’s our travel day recap, what are your fave LA spots?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Coffee, Crickets, Kombucha and other trends from Expo West

So sad this is among best photos with both of us from the trip
I’m sitting on the plane. My magazine binge is complete (Food & Wine’s “The New Healthy” issue good but Bon Appetit’s Culture even better), inbox has been cleaned out, the book I’m reading at a lull and it’s not yet time for a snack…so I thought I’d tell you a little about Expo West. Expo West is this massive Natural Foods Show; all the big players have booths and events and rookie players or new food companies come to get a jump-start. People spend days at this show. Carolyn and I were determined to see it all in one day and 23, 000+ steps later we did.

If I were to pick out a few trends or things we saw a lot of I’d say jerky is a big deal. These new offerings are a world away from Slim Jim. If you don’t think you’re the jerky type I’d do some taste testing. Carolyn said she felt many more products geared toward men and I’d agree. “Mancakes” is an example of this  (get it man + pancakes?). We saw some tea but coffee, particularly jazzed up coffee, was everywhere. There was coffee mixed with other ingredients (maca and guarana) and also coffee blended with nut milks. And our favorite of course….lattes on tap.

There was a whole lotta kombucha happening but many of the newer brands had more sugar than the Heathade and Synergy we covet. In terms of other beverages, a few of our favorite companies have come out with unsweetened versions. We’re saving our winner for May and our Pre-Summer Squeeze  program (so good, sorry to tease). In terms of sweeteners, monk fruit is making a name for itself. It’s zero calories and has no aftertaste. To be honest, I haven’t monkfruited a lot and initially dismissed it so I have to do some tasting.
And for anyone who said gluten free was a fad, read this study and take our word for it, it’s bigger than ever. And I’m not talking gluten free treats or gluten free crap but gluten free meal items like our beloved Banza. See their new packaging?

Carolyn and I were determined not to over sample. We tried to divide and conquer- Carolyn would taste sweet and I’d cover savory. We ended up both tasting both. I refuse to really ponder what I ingested but there was gluten free pizza (sample size but it was 9:30 am), Banza’s new mac and cheese, every coffee product offered, apple cider vinegar and more.  Did I mention we walked 10 miles? I said to Carolyn we’d need to do it again to make up for our excessive testing.

Oh and the nastiest item of the day was definitely a nutrition bar made from crickets  (not Exo…those are fine) and flavored with matcha. It had the worst aftertaste and we felt ill but as we rounded the corner Hu Kitchen to the rescue, a chocolate chaser makes every better.

Which of these trends or categories would you like to hear more about? Would you eat products made from crickets (you will likely see more…protein)? What’s your favorite magazine or podcast these days?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

What this Foodtrainer Eats on a Travel Day

Lauren and I have the travel bug in a major way; we are both Semester at Sea alums and plan our lives around our next trip. She’s off to Nicaragua; I’m Moab and Amalfi coast. But first we have a quickie work trip to California this weekend (Expo West, anyone?). Quick trips can actually wreck you more than long ones. There’s little time to recalibrate or workout but there are still restaurant meals -- ok and drinks too. We all can all fall victim to “plane pounds” if not careful.

So here is a sample day or a “walk through” for my travel day tomorrow:

Night before
I’ll pack my Foodtrainers’ Food First Aid Kit. I never go away without it. Contents vary but I always have our nutcase and nuts (current love: Organic Living cinnamon pecans), 1 snack per day away (I’m thinking Yes Bars) probiotics, tea, cocochia, natural calm and green magic.

En route to airport
Water spiked with with apple cider vinegar + coffee, coffee, coffee.

Pre flight fuel: 
2 hard-boiled omega-3 eggs (Lauren will likely force hot sauce packets on me)
Water and we’ll pop our probiotic
Pre-flight shots- green elixir

Beverage cart upgrade
I ask for hot water and lemon and add Wakaya ginger

Plane snack  
I'll grab a Greek yogurt once through security (I’ve even spied my beloved 2% coconut Siggi’s in many airports) and pair with a packet of cocochia

More water and tea, probably a green tea this time

Lauren has taught me the magic of the travel-avocado. If needed we’ll cut it in half; it’s the best snack on the planet (or at least on the plane).

Post flight bite
Gargantuan Greens
We’ll be on the hunt for a great salad, ideally a spinach salad (vitamin B6 is a VIP for trim travel) with salmon or tuna.

Afternoon Ammunition
Kombucha or green juice (1 fruit max) + nutcase.
We are hoping to hit up Moon Juice and the Bulletproof mecca, so afternoon snack is up for edits. (but trust me, we don’t skip snacks).

Early Bird Dinner 
Cocktail (ok maybe 2), poke or tartare/sashimi and we’ll likely go for cooked veg, if I’m dreaming there will be asparagus action.

Sleep Secret Weapon
Natural calm and BED! 7+ hours so we don’t get those “munchieZZZ

IF you’re traveling any time soon, check out our latest newsletter and pick up our beach bundle but 3/10 (today) is the last day orders will go out until 3/21. 

What’s your typical travel routine?  Any travel trouble or potential "plane pounds"?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Fave new snack because I heart ranch (anything)

order beach bundles by 3/9 as we're headed away too
I took tennis lessons when I was younger. I don’t remember anything about the lessons or the instructor. I don’t even know exactly what age I was. I recall taking a taxi home so you’d think I was
a teen or preteen but that wasn’t necessarily the case in my family. I’m thinking 5th grade but who knows? I do remember something and that’s the snack I had after EVERY lesson. I had cool ranch Doritos and cranberry “juice”.  I still remember enjoying this combo in the comfort of the taxi and thinking it was the best snack ever.
While my Dorito days are done, to this day I  like ranch flavor. We mentioned in our newsletter today that there’s something trashy about ranch but I don’t care. Whether it’s the memories associated with it or just the flavor, I like it…a lot.
Recently, I was reunited with ranch. Organic Living who makes sprouted, organic, top-notch nuts sent us a sample of Ranch Cashews (combined with Buffalo almonds). I had a Buffalo wing phase too but that happened in high school for obvious reasons (if not obvious see Carolyn’s Friday post). I had the sample, ordered the Ranch nuts for the office and have had them in my nutcase every day since.
If you’re team ranch flavor, you must try these. We have them on their own or paired with our other favorite spring break essentials in the bundle pictured above.
Any somewhat nasty items you enjoyed as a child? I’d love to hear.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Check food labels for an ingredient that can harm health and weight

There are certain ingredients many of you could identify as unhealthy. Artificial sweeteners, trans fats, BPAs and GMOs are likely on your radar.  However, a study in Nature raised health and weight concerns for a group of ingredients you may not even know about. Do emulsifiers ring a bell? I’ll be totally honest, I had to think back to Food Science classes…mayo is an emulsification. Without nerding out emulsifications are mixtures where one substance is suspended in another.
In mayo, the egg emulsify or combine things.

But egg yolks are natural emulsifiers, this recent study (and a couple prior) honed in on chemical emulsifiers. These additives are used in many products for texture and to extend shelf life.

I talk a lot about probiotics; kombucha, kefir, miso and apple cider vinegar are Foodtrainers’ staples.  Having more good bacteria can improve our mood, immunity and weight. But what if something prevalent in healthy food is harming gut bacteria? Yup, that’s what these chemical emulsifiers do and the net effect they have on out gut results in impaired satiety signals. When you are less satisfied you eat more. We do not need any assistance in the “eat more” department.

So what are these emulsifiers called? There are a ton of chemical emulsifiers- many have the word “gum” in the name.  The two emulsifiers tested in this study were
polysorbate 80  and carboxymethylcellulose. You will sometimes see polysorbate 80 called “tween 80” and the other one is abbreviated CMC or listed as cellulose gum.

Look for “tween” in ice cream, puddings, vitamins, chewing gum and condiments
Cellulose gum in used in  lowfat cookies, and jelly. What’s really sneaky is cellulose is listed as a fiber but this is not a good fiber.

In the study, these emulsifiers were given to rats with a compromised GI system and previously healthy rats. The rats with preexisting GI issues developed full blown colits and the “normal” rats gained weight. Some studies test amounts that far exceed what is typically consumed…not this time. These effects were seen with commonly consumed quantities. I’d like to take a moment to say…FDA seriously? You’ve deemed these safe? Let’s reexamine your testing methods.

In all fairness, only two emulsifiers (or gums) were tested. It is unclear if all emulsifiers have the same issues associated with them. The only emulsifier on my radar, prior to reading this, was carrageenan. Carrageenan has received a ton of bad PR. It has has been a concern as it has GI side effects (upsets your stomach) and because it’s a possible carcinogen. Perhaps the GI side effects occur because carrageenan acts like Tween and Cellulose gum messing with our good bacteria?

A lot of the coverage of this study talked about the prevalence of chemical emulsifiers in processed foods. If you aren’t big on processed foods don’t be relieved as these thickeners are also used in dairy free and gluten free foods. And we all blame sugar for increasing obesity rates following the fat free phase/ 90s…however, chemical emulsifiers are found in most “fat free” foods too. I examined the labels in our fridge and found two items with gums in them. Our gluten free bread had xanthan gum and organic cream cheese had “organic” locust bean gum. I reached out to the bread company and the owner told me she wasn’t concerned as the bread was one of the only sources of gums in her diet. I’m not sure I agree and urged her to look at the study.

What should you do? Look at the ingredients on packages in your pantry and fridge. If you see cellulose gum OR tween 80…I’d certainly toss those. I’d also encourage you to contact companies using these ingredients. Carageenan has been pulled from many products as a result of customer concern. Further studies need to test other gums so that we can assess their safety. One more vote against ingredients we cannot pronounce.
Have emulsifiers been on your radar? Any products you consume that have gums in them? Will you avoid them going forward?

Friday, March 4, 2016

The MUNCHIES: What too little sleep and marijuana have in common

If you read our manifesto, The Little Book of Thin, from cover to cover like you better have (wink wink), you know sleep is one of Lauren’s 10 Steps to Svelte. When you sleep your hunger hormones recalibrate. We’ve known that less sleep generally means more hunger but a recent study found that sleep deprivation could trigger eating similar to the “marijuana munchies”.  Uh oh. 

In the study, participants slept for different amounts of time (8.5 hours vs 4.5 hours). On the 4.5-hour nights, subjects report significantly higher scores for hunger and a stronger desire to eat. On the sleep-deprived nights, they ate about 400 more calories and almost twice as much fat when they were given access to a buffet full of cookies, chips and candy.

What does this have to do with POT?
Sleep deprivation produces higher peaks of a lipid in our bloodstream known as an endocannabinoid that seems to make eating more pleasurable – our endocannabinoid system is the same one targeted by the active ingredient in weed. Sleep restriction boosts a signal that may increasethe hedonic aspect of food intake”… Yup, too little sleep and you’re basically stoney baloney … without the fun.

So what should you do? Aim for 7+ hours of sleep per night and turn off those screens to avoid the “MunchieZZZZ” (props to the NY Post for that pun). And for our Non-religious lent, Lauren’s committed to going to bed earlier, join us for #NRL, it’s not too late!

How much sleep do you typically get a night? Have you noticed “munchieZZZ” when you sleep suffers? Do you still  get stoney baloney?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What to do when only a bagel will do?

Following my poke' post on Monday, a friend texted me the following question:

I read your post on lunch. Can I ask a professional question?  What do you recommend to overcome stress eating when only a bagel will do??

I’m sharing my response as I think many people feel entangled with bagel:

OK, step one is to methadone yourself with better carbs.
Try sprouted bagels or Free Bread gluten free toast
Step two is to vegify. When we’re on the carb coaster salad isn’t appealing. 
Have greens or a green vegetable with lunch and eat it first pre-bread.
Have better carbs and greens for a week.

Thanks!  I’m on the hunt for these to make my own East Pole/Le Pain Quotidien avocado toast. 

Send me pictures (proof).

I will!!  Love it. 

Can you relate to my friend's question? What do you do to cut carb cravings? 
If you try this you can send me photos too.