Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Foods to undo some of the holiday bulls#!t

Last night Carolyn and I had a talk to give. If you’re in NYC,  you know that it was an insanely rainy night. So, like the true professionals we are, we emailed our host 10 times saying “are you sure we’re on, it’s so bad out maybe people would like to do another night?” We were on and, as is often the case when you least expect it, it was great. We had a smart/fun group in a small, swanky 51st floor room. There was booze we didn’t drink and chandeliers we did NOT swing from (we didn’t know these people yet). The topic was top 10 foods you should eat to undo holiday damage.

Issue: Hangovers
Shockingly over 20% of people do not experience hangovers. Most of us do. Try our 1 for 1 rule and have 1 water for every drink you have or just stick to 1 drink (some people can do this). If you overdo it, think ginger. Most hangover issues stem from inflammation. We like Wakaya ginger Mix it with water after you drink or next morning or be like us and plop some in your clear spirit of choice.
Honorable  hangover mentions:  coconut water, eggs, vitamin B12
Skip: hair of the dog or bacon egg and cheese rituals

Issue: Sweet tooth (or teeth)
Sweets are a big issue this time of year or really every time of year. If sweets are your kryptonite- be ferm! I’m talking fermented foods. Your gut is really the control tower for your body and what’s going on there affects your cravings, especially sweet cravings. The “top shelf” ferm(ented) foods are  fermented  veggies (farmhouse kraut, bubbles pickles and BAO are great brands) & kefir (sort of turbo yogurt when it comes to probiotic count).

Issue- Dry, gross skin
Winter, sugar, booze and too much time inside = parched, sad skin.
If you haven’t started collagening, you have 2 choices:
collagen powder or bone broth. In NYC check out the new brodo shops west village and Bryant park.

Issue: Zero Energy 
First I’ll remind you to sleep more and hydrate (professional obligation). If you want a little metabolism boost, make that water ice cold. If  you’re seekinga more interesting upper, drink matcha. Matcha, because you consume the whole leaf via this pretty powder, puts plain old green tea to shame.
Matcha gives you a push without making you jittery. It revives you and calms you down at once, impressive. If you’re really feeling low, drink matcha with brain octane in it and thank me when you decide to take a break hours later.

Issue: Stress!!!
Once upon a time there was a mineral called magnesium. This super-crucial mineral helps you chill out and keeps your metabolism humming along. However, there’s also a demon called stress that runs around the city scopping up magnesium. I don’t’ know where I’m going with this but most of us are deficient in magnesium which means both our mood and metabolism are subpar.
Don’t freak out. I love magnesium bath flakes (Naturopathica makes amazing ones), you can supplement magnesium (we love pure encapsulations or natural calm packets). And you can eat real, potent dark chocolate, 70% or > and avocado morning, noon and night.

Issue: family 
Solution: I’ll get back to you on this one, Foodtraining can only fix so much.

Happy Holidays! Cheers to not feeling like Santa at the end of this season.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Don't be burned but heartburn meds

If you’re someone who takes medicine daily, any medicine, it’s important to step back and consider whether you still need to be taking it. I’d also brush up on the side effects. While I’d love doctors to focus on getting patients off unnecessary meds, let’s face it medicine is a business. But if you, or someone close to you, are one of the 15 million Americans who take a certain type of acid blockers, there are some serious side effects.

There is a class of acid blocking (“heartburn”) meds called PPIs. Examples of PPI’s are Prevacid, Nexium and Prilosec. The concerns about taking these meds long-term have been out there; however, almost daily I have a client in my office who feels they’re totally safe.

Whenever I see one of these meds in a new client’s chart I ask a few questions.
How long have you been taking this medication?
Have you tried going off of it?
What modifications do you make in your diet for your reflux or heartburn?
The answers are quite similar. Most clients have been on their acid blockers for a while- usually years. They haven’t tried to discontinue them and they “can eat anything on these meds so there’s no need to change their diets.” Sigh. It’s so backward. The meds are like pain killers; they aren’t improving the condition. And just because you “can eat anything” doesn’t mean you should.

Stomach acid has important functions. We need an acidic environment for maximum vitamin and mineral absorption. On PPIs you see more bone fractures because calcium absorption is compromised. There have been cardiac side effects researched as well. There is an increased heart attack risk on PPIs. There’s also less gut diversity or less “good” bacteria when there’s less acid. Our gut flora is connected to mood and food cravings. Stomach acid helps digestion and prevents infection.

These meds should be used short term or occasionally. If you are interested in going off of your PPIs, you need to wean yourself gradually you can have rebound symptoms. As you decrease your dose, address your diet. For starters, try decreasing alcohol, sugar and caffeine. You can try a spoonful of apple cider vinegar diluted with water before meals. I also like a probiotic, vitamin D and glutamine supplement to restore your gut health.

While I only focused on these acid-blocking medications, talk to your physician if you are interested in discontinuing a particular drug. And yes, there are certain cases where you absolutely need a particular med, even the acid blockers. More often than not, this isn’t the case.

Friday, November 4, 2016

If the Halloween candy "called" you, here's why

 Via Vo/shutter stock
There’s a definite pattern when it comes to adults and Halloween candy. Many adults resist candy on Halloween. Then, the next day if it’s in the house or at the office they start to pick. “Just a couple” pieces here, a couple there. The same thing goes for Thanksgiving. Day of, many clients are on plan. The next day? The leftovers take them down.
Why is this? Many people make a decision, ahead of time, not to eat candy on Halloween or not to eat the 5,000 calorie meal on Thanksgiving. It’s clear what the plan is for the holiday itself. The day after? There’s no plan for that and so deliberation begins. “Should I have it?”  and this line of questioning rarely ends well.

I read a thought-provoking Vox article, “the myth of self-control”. The first portion of the article is a little depressing as the case is made that it’s super tricky to pass things up. “Human beings are terrible at resisting temptation.” Then came the  interesting part. “The people who are really good at self-control never have these battles in first place.” It’s not that some people have more willpower, it’s that some people avoid having to exert it.

If you want to avoid the exhaustion that comes with fending food (or other temptations for that matter) off some ideas:

I talk about this throughout The Little Book of Thin. The fewer food decisions you make on the spot, the better. When you’re staring face to face with the muffin tray and negotiating, your odds are slim. A Foodstalking client has a coworker with a candy bowl or “bowl of bullshit” as she calls it. The bowl was her downfall every afternoon. “One or two things only” wasn’t cutting it. Instead she called out of B.O. B. and put it on her “no” list. No piece here or piece there, no contemplating no bullshit…period.

Reminders and reinforcement
 In research mentioned in the article, people were texted reminders of their goals to help them make good choices. A couple of years ago, we started our Foodstalking program. We were astounded by the success and demand for spots. In this email-based program, we are in touch with clients daily. This encouragement and accountability helps establish new behaviors. Having a buddy is another way of doing this. Enlist a friend or coworker (spouses aren’t best idea for this) and work together to skip the candy, make it to your workouts etc.

 “No candy” for some sounds daunting. In order to avoid the bowl of bullshit, my client has an RX Bar at 3pm every day. You can replace a food with a food or it can be a behavior. Taking a walk after dinner or meeting a friend for a workout instead of a drink are other examples of substitution.

So don’t beat yourself up for a slip. Instead, backtrack and see where you could’ve avoided that temptation all together. I’ll remind you about this  again before Thanksgiving and leftovers come into play.