Monday, April 28, 2014

What we can learn from baby food

During the week I am not as diligent about reading the newspaper as I used to be. Part of it is the busy monster we all talk about (too much) but it’s more that I love the “real” paper we only receive on the weekends. This past weekend, other than the horrible story of the girl killed in her school hallway the day of junior prom, what first caught my attention was a series letters to the editor about salt.
In response to an article that I must’ve missed during most letters called the FDA out. One, from a pediatrician, asked “for how much longer will our country allow the producers of highly processed foods to cause heart attacks and strokes by force feeding us so much salt?” A couple other letters contained more of the same blame. And then finally one brief comment expressed what I had been thinking, it said “there is a solution to this problem that is often overlooked: home cooking. It is healthier, cheaper and additive free.” I wanted to hug this Allison Eisner who wrote the article.
Trust me, I am horrified by the FDA’s actions. Every week I read about an ingredient or pesticide banned by the European commission but permitted here. Innocent until proven guilty when it comes to our food is not something I support. But rather than bitch and moan (which I’m pretty good at) an article in the Business section supported Allison’s suggestion.
The article focused on baby food. Since 2005, mothers in droves have been making their own baby food. In turn, sales of commercial food have been falling. Now you’ll find Beechnut, hardly a  cutting edge brand, with quinoa and pomegranate and fewer preservatives. And there are an abundance of new companies in this sector that had stellar ingredients from the get go.
I know from my practice that there are no more motivated clients than pregnant women and new moms. Women who had never opened their registry pots and pans will make baby food when the time comes or forego sweeteners while pregnant for the sake of their babies. However, if and when we make these changes on behalf of ourselves, when we stop buying sodium bombs and convenience foods- the companies will have to follow suit.
If you don’t think it’s worth speaking up, I’ll give you a recent example why you should. It came to our attention that a supplement we endorse contained caramel coloring. We let the company know (ok we tweeted to them) we were concerned. Fairly quickly they let us (and the rest of the Twittersphere) know they were reformulating.
I’m happy to play bash the FDA but I think we’re better off showing the companies that go the extra mile our love by purchasing their goods and like my girl Allison suggested above taking control of our food by cooking more at home.
What do you think, should the FDA take a stance on sodium and additives or do we have to take matters into our own hands?
FYI  I received this interesting sodium visual which is relevant to the subject matter above.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Does “you look healthy” really mean fat?

Earlier this week our team was in a business meeting. The discussion turned to image and how people judge you based on that, it was fairly benign. Then, the person we were talking to mentioned a nutrition colleague of ours and stated “she looks too thin. You guys, on the other hand, look healthy.” I couldn’t resist “so you’re saying we look fat?”
Trust me, I have no desire to look too thin, that’s not the goal. And too thin for women over 35 equals more wrinkly. But I like thin (even like the word thin thus The Little Book of Thin even though some do not). The person went on to clarify that we look like we eat healthfully (I like that). She was lumping us into one category and I know One Smart Brownie and Snack Queen look great…so why then does that type of comment sit the wrong way? I started to feel nuts that this lingered in my head so I emailed Carolyn expecting her to quell my mental spiral and she said “funny I’ve been thinking about that too.”
I think this goes to show you that, even for nutritionists, weight is a touchy subject and comparisons probably not a good idea even if they aren’t mean-spirited.

What you do thin of this exchange? Would it have sat the wrong way with you? Is there a right way to comment on someone's weight? Or is it a subject best avoided?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Something Better than Therapy

I grew up in a nature loving family.  There were walks in nature preserves, gardens (both a regular garden and a shade garden), flowers and photographs of flowers. As amazing as this sounds, it didn’t click with me. I don’t think I’m a naturally visual person. As a child if I went on the walk, my thoughts would wander and I’d be less likely to notice anything around me. And when it came to the garden or plants, while I don’t remember much I do recall the stress of having to take care of them when my parents were not there. It didn’t come naturally.

A lot of this has changed. I still find it easy to get so “in my head” on a run that I tune everything out; however,  I am appreciative of the trees and the flowers even if I don’t really know one from the other with the exception of the obvious ones.

I adapted a post for Fitbit’s blog. While it’s no surprise that time spent outdoors is nice. It’s remarkable what it can do for both our mental and physical health. I also recently discovered the work of Louie Schwartzberg. Do you know of him? He’s a photographer and I guess you can say filmmaker. In a discussion on getting people to care about climate change and the Earth he said something that caught my attention. He said people don’t respond to lists of things they should do. “We protect what we love.”

Here is a glimpse of what Schwartzberg does, I watch this video almost daily and encourage you to check it out.  With Earth Day tomorrow, spend time outside today. See what it does to the trajectory of your day and then tomorrow we’ll be back with some actionable steps but I need you to fall in love first.
How much time do you spend outside each day? Would you consider yourself a nature lover? Were you always? What do you think is the best way to get people to care about the planet?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Top 10 Signs You Are An Instaslave

Off the bat I’ll say that I carefully consider my smoothie and juice ingredients so that the finished product will not only taste good but also so that it’s pretty. Greens in a carroty juice? Looks like sludge. And while I could lie and say I just like my food to be attractive, oftentimes I want it photogenic. And I’m not alone. I know this is the case because I read about a “tie dye smoothie” on Well and Good where you rinse the blender in order to make a multicolor final product hmn. Read the questions below to see if you are an “instaslave”:
  1. Do you find yourself hoarding reclaimed wood so that you can rest your edible creations on it?
  2.  Even though smoothies are consumed with a straw do you decorate the surface with gojis, kiwis and other camera-friendly foods?
  3. Do you get manicures so that those paws grasping your green juice or smoothie bowl will not detract from your pictures? Carolyn’s friend says the hashtag to used in these cases is #nailed it
  4. Do you request cappuccino art from your barista and snap coffee photos?
  5. Do you take selfies?  I mean do you take more than a few or who are we kidding more than 10 selfies until you get one you like? At an event when Snack Queen and I tried to selfie she told me she had the best "selfie "arms". 
  6. It actually seems the “shoefie” is the new selfie but true instaslaves probably know that up and coming is the “shelfie” for new book releases (for LBT we had the #lbtlookbook, I’ll admit shelfie more catchy).
  7. Do you race with friends to be the first to post something insta-worthy? OR are you like one of our fabulous Foodtrainers’ interns and make a pact with friends to stagger posts so that you’re not all duplicating each other?
  8. Do you strategically wait for those key times to post when you think you’ll get the most likes (Steph the  instaslave savvy intern informed me this was definitely a thing)
  9. Do you sulk when you start eating before capturing the “before” image of your meal?
  10. And finally, do you speak in #hashtags. Perhaps you even caught the Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake hashtag skit

Someone told me they had life envy for me I told them it definitely isn’t real life they were envying. I just hope I’m not guilty of #instabrag, I have to have good #instamanners.

Are you on instagram? Twitter or Facebook? How many on this list are you guilty of? Do you find this all silly or a little scary?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Should you quit sugar? Should your kids?

There is some saying (it may be more of an advertising saying) that you have to hear about something a few times to notice or take action. Last week, Jenna Helwig the talented chef who worked on the recipes for LBT and is also an editor at Parents tweeted me the following link. In response to the recently released Year of No Sugar, a book that chronicles a family forgoing sugar for a year, Parents was taking part in a day without sugar (it was 4/9 sorry to be late to spread the word).  When I first read I thought the magazine and book author were encouraging adults to test this out for a day. This is something we already do with Foodtrainers clients but they meant it for the whole family. Initially I had mixed feelings.

That night, when I got home from work my copy of  the book/cookbook I Quit Sugar arrived. A client had tipped me off to this Aussie’s blog a while back and I couldn’t wait to read it. It’s not often that I feel inspired by a health expert but the author Sarah Wilson’s tone and ideas are impressive.

And remember I said  something about 3s? Saturday I looked through my DVRd shows and Dr Oz had the mother from the no sugar year on with him.  My first response to things is often cynical and in my head I thought “what’s with these one-year experiments?” We’ve seen No Impact Man give up waste, I’ve written about the woman giving up makeup (scary) was this all started by Supersize Me?  Maybe it's just that I highly doubt I could forego anything I enjoy for a whole year. As I listened, I heard that her children were hardly sick in the year they went sugar free. The kids and their mom spoke about sweet foods now tasting too sweet and about being knowledgeable about where sugar lurks (everywhere).

So, with sugar on my mind, at dinner last night I brought the subject up. Even my husband, who has lived with me for 20 years, was shocked when I explained breads, tomato sauce and many seemingly unsweet foods with sugar. Even though involving the kids initially sounded a little diety for the younger set my 10 year old woke up asking “is today the day we’re going to skip sugar”? I’ll review I Quit Sugar once I have a chance to make some of the recipes and read the whole book but curious
What do you think of skipping sugar for one day as a family experiment? Is it like Meatless Mondays or too rigid? Aside from desserts do you pay attention to sugar in your meals?