Monday, November 25, 2013

You need this for Thanksgiving

As the word has started to spread about LBT, I have had a handful of people mention “I have a book I want to write” or “I started writing something but…” and the truth is although this book is happening, we all have projects and bucket list items some daunting, others annoying that we postpone. In our office, we’ve made lists of “food first aid kit” items for clients to bring on trips. Teas to combat “plane puffies” or fibrous foods to deal with ahem “vacation constipation” but oftentimes I worry whether clients will have time to gather their supplies before departure or if our snacks and supplements will be packed when there is dry cleaning to pick up, transportation to arrange etc.

With serious help from my fellow nutrition nerds we’ve developed our Foodtrainers' Food FirstAid Kit filled with everything you need to make it through Thanksgiving travel (or any other travel) unscathed. I am so excited about these kits as they've been on our project list for way to long. Whether you're traveling by plane or my car, you'll can have your nutcase if it's taking a little to long, a cup of deabloating tea after that holiday meal. From jet lag to leftovers (turkey on a GG cracker perhaps?) we have you covered.

But if you’d rather pack your own you can simply buy the kit I heard from a client who was stuck and used the kit as a clutch when away for work, they’re pretty cute.
I  cannot help you with overbearing relatives but snacks and nutrition “ammunition” that we can do.

And instead of facing the holiday with dread maybe think of a project you’d like to finish, a book you’ve been meaning to read or get started writing that book… Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
Do you pack a “Food First Aid Kit”? What do you bring? And any healthy recipes you’re cooking for Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Are you mindful of magnesium?

Vitamin D, omega 3’s are the nutrients du jour but these usurped calcium and Vitamin E. You know how it goes and many of you have the old supplement bottles demonstrating these shifts. Few things bug me more than the nutrition pendulum and often the pendulum completely misses the food, vitamin or mineral I feel we should focus on (clearly I don’t write the headlines). In this case, I’m wondering why we’re not mindful of magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral present in food and the body. Magnesium is required for muscle contraction (a reminder the heart is a muscle), nerve function and magnesium plays a role in blood pressure and bone health. So it’s important. The key issue though is that under mental or physical stress cells release magnesium and it is excreted, bye bye precious magnesium. If stress is chronic or extreme you may be deficient in magnesium.

 Low magnesium can affect GI function ("going"), exercise recovery and PMS-related mood changes. In one study, after a month of magnesium supplementation participants were found to have decreased PMS and improved mood as shown via their  “Menstrual Distress Questionnaire scores”. Oh my goodness, my family would give me such poor menstrual distress scores. Magnesium is also required for metabolic reactions such as the metabolism of carbs and fats to produce energy. Magnesium is  important for athletes as low magnesium levels result in higher heart rates during exertion. 

Most people don’t consume enough magnesium. Once again, seeds are significant pumpkin, hemp (pictured above) and sesame top the list. Spinach, cacao and lentils and black beans are also good. I also love a powdered magnesium supplement called Natural Calm I take at bedtime.

Unfortunately, testing to see if magnesium is low isn’t all that helpful. A low percentage of magnesium is found in blood. I think the better bet is to put magnesium-rich foods front and center (1 seed a day) during your day and consider a modest amount of supplementation. That is if your bones, blood pressure, mood or bowel function matters to you.
Is magnesium on your radar? Do you supplement magnesium? If so why did you start taking it? Any “menstrual distress”? 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Two Little Book of Thin Secrets to Say Thank You

Little Book of Thin illustrator Diana Marye Huff

Here we are, another Monday morning and I have two questions for you. Are you walking around with any thoughts along the line of “ugh why did I eat x, y or z this weekend?” My second seemingly unrelated question is do you know what you’re having for dinner tonight? If you answered “yes” to the first food-guilt question or “no” to the second planning question The Little Book of Thin is for you. I am so appreciative of those of you who have pre-ordered this book. I told you to save your e-receipts and I hope you did because I have a token of my gratitude to send you and these are not just any tokens they are "thin" tokens.

First, you’ll receive the LBT Victory List (oh my goodness my son just came in and said “mom don’t you mean BLT”). Parting ways with that food guilt is one of the cornerstones of Foodtraining and this Victory List will get you started, even before the book arrives. When we’re trapped in “I shouldn’t have had that” mode we’re wasting time that could be spent strategizing. Banish the word willpower from your vocabulary. It’s not about who will win you or the breadbasket, it’s about deciding whether you’re having the bread (or booze or dessert) before you’re in the tricky situation. With the LBT Menu Map you’ll start to wear your food-planning hat and an ounce of prevention is worth many, many pounds of fat.Life is too short to cry over a caramel or an extra cocktail but I know you want to feel your best, come January 1st 2014 (and now even before that) you can.

Here’s what to do: email your proof of purchase to and type “LBT preorder” in the subject line. We’ll email you your Victory List and Menu Map. And if you can’t locate your receipt, simply email your name and where you preordered from (Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc).

So let’s kick this week off on a positive note. What healthy item did you purchase or cook this weekend? Any fun fall workouts? Whatever you did for yourself it’s a victory, pat yourself on the back and one victory will lead to more.

**And bloggers I’m going to be doing a Little Book of Thin Blog Tour. Some of you have emailed expressing interest in doing a Q/A or receiving an advance copy. This will take place the first two weeks in January; contact me if you’re interested. It’ll be a great way to kick off the New Year and we can tailor the content to your audience or platform.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Vending Machine Dream Came True (almost)

Imagine this in our waiting room (of course then no clients could fit)
What do you dream about? Exotic adventures? Romantic encounters? Seeing someone you no longer can? Playing professional sports? I imagine those are fairly common. Me? I’m a little different (as you may know) and food-centric and so I ponder what life would be like if there was an Organic Avenue in every airport, if all burgers were “grass-fed” all coffee fair-trade things like that. Truth be told, I’ve never had an actual nighttime dream about a vending machine (yet) but it would probably be more of a nightmare. And stop- if you tell yourself you made  “better” choice  when you hit the vending machine c’mon better than a Twix bar doesn’t mean much. Vending machines are a last resort or guilty pleasure but healthy? Not so much.

Well that’s about to change, last week Farmer’s Fridge launched.Farmer’s fridge offers fresh salads and snacks and restocked every morning. You’ll recall last week Joanna posted about Salad in a Jar, Farmer’s Fridge offers multiple, beautiful jarred options in recyclable jars. Farmer’s fridge has also partnered with SPE Certified to confirm the quality of their ingredients. Kale salad or hummus and veggies with the push of a button? Pretty amazing.

I spoke with Farmer’s Fridge founder Luke Saunders yesterday. His background is in manufacturing (which had to help) and he is one of those people who brings a cooler and stocks up at the nearest Whole Foods when on the road. He realized people needed better solutions; not everyone is not on team “cooler” unless of course the cooler comes to them. Farmer’s Fridges are nice looking, wrapped in reclaimed bar wood, no need to tuck these away in a back room or at the end of a hotel hallway. 

The offerings are mostly gluten free, organic for the Dirty Dozen and affordable (salads start at $7.99). This is a game changing concept, the only sad part is that they launched in Chicago. However, Luke says to contact them on Facebook or Twitter and say “I want you here” they are working on their expansion plans. My dream vending machine would have kale, quinoa, salmon and Greek yogurt… and not it's a reality, it just has to come to NYC. I told Luke we’d be happy to test market at Foodtrainers.
What would your dream food-situation involve? What would you put in your personalized vending machine? Where would you like to see Farmer’s Fridge?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Are we all our own marketers? Randi Zuckerberg says no.

 It’s always funny which articles you read stick with you. While I gravitate toward anything food-centric,  the articles I clip (yes physically clip) from the weekend paper are often either those with writing I admire and want to reread or interviews.  Last weekend, a few parts of an interview with Randi Zuckerberg (sister of Facebook’s CEO) resonated with me.

In a discussion about Facebook (where she no longer works) she said friends would say to her “your life looks so amazing.” She’d reply “I’m a marketer; I’m only posting the moments that are amazing.” The interviewer than commented “that drives people crazy about Facebook- that it turns all of us into marketers.” Randi actually disagreed.

I’ve given a lot of thought to this topic as I’m in the “marketing” stage for my book and it's not my favorite part of the process. While I’m certainly not a social media wallflower: I blog, I tweet, FB and “gram” but it's often not super-focused on me. At a gathering with nutritionist colleagues one RD remarked “when you posted a photo of yourself on Halloween it was nice to see, you only post juices and smoothies.” At first I thought perhaps she wasn’t a juice fan but then I realized it was true. I like to stand back a little. I'm more than happy to talk Foodtrainers or nutrition but you will not see my face plastered on all our materials.

 At lunch with a friend, social media came up (as it often does). We talked about tooting your own horn. I mentioned a certain fitness professional I had to unfollow as the constant flow of selfies and me, me, me was irritating. I wasn’t learning about new workout but just being barraged with abs and boobs.  The conversation shifted to a personality who is building an impressive following and my friend said, “it’s just all about them, it’s relentless. She is never shining the light on someone else’s causes or stepping back.”

And so I think it’s a fine line. Yes, from makeup to media we are all shaping an image. I laugh when, on Instagram, people use the hashtag “no filter” to indicate they haven’t manipulated the color of a photo. “This one is real” they are saying even if they took 100 to get that one. Randi Zuckerberg thought of it in terms of storytelling. Maybe even if it is marketing it should be too blatant. Or perhaps in social media, as in life, it’s more interesting when it isn’t all about us. What do you think?
Are we all marketing ourselves? Where is "real" in all of this? And where is the "this person needs to stop" line?
I find it super ironic that there was no mention of Randi's two new books Dot Complicated "untangling our wired lives" or her children's book Dot in the Times article (who's doing her marketing?). And if you're curious about Dot it's "about a young girl called Dot who discovers the fun of playing outside when her mother takes away her tablet, laptop, cellphone, and desktop computer". Sad.