Thursday, April 6, 2017

High Low High from the Week

Hi, guys! Happy Friday!

What a weird week. Nothing bad happened, but I feel like there were a lot of highs and low for me. Obviously, I’m all about keeping it real on CNC, and I figured it would be a good way to fill you guys in on what’s happening with my life lately, so here’s a High Low High post from the week. And, of course, I’d love to hear how your week went. Please feel free to share in the comment section below!

HIGH: Hiring and getting FOUR new coaches up and running at DTFN. We’re officially a team of SEVEN. Holy cow! And these ladies are the freakin’ best. We’re so excited to have them! We’ll introduce them over the next few weeks via DTFN social media and blog, so keep a look out.

WHOLEFOODS (62 of 65)

LOW: My GI doctor leaving MGH to pursue research. Ugghhhhh. You guys know how much I love my doctor (and I *might* have been drinking wine when I found out), so there were definitely some tears shed. I know I’m in good hands at MGH, but my doctor was truly the best. So sad.

HIGH: Qman passing his recent Early Intervention assessment with flying colors. He’s made such great strides in the past year, so he no longer qualifies for services, and we couldn’t be happier! EI for the win! 🙂

HIGH: New DTFN software updates! Woohoo! Our goal is to make the software better and better for our clients and coaches, so I’m pumped to see Phase 2 rolling right along!

LOW: Receiving the Ralph Lauren Janis in the mail, loving them (they’re so much cuter in person), but, unfortunately, they didn’t fit. Whomp whomp. I ordered my usual size 7, but they were much too big. It’s a bummer too because they were only $40!

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HIGH: My Sperry Top-Siders arriving a few days later and fitting perfectly! FYI: They run small (according to Zappos reviews), so I ordered a half size up (7.5), and they’re just right.

Speaking of spring fashion…

HIGH: I finally purchased my spring jacket! And it only took me two months decide! Haha! As soon as I saw this bomber jacket, I was in love. The fabric is super soft, and I love its casual/sporty look!

_MG_8299

HIGH: Graduating Physical Therapy! I had my last appointment on Tuesday. Woohoo!

HIGH: Feeling well enough to return to Orangetheory!!

LOW: My hip being sore the next day. Wah. Too much, too soon.

HIGH: Finding a new low sugar bar from Kashi (9g per serving) for Qman!

LOW: Qman only kind of liking them. He’ll eat the Kashi bars (if it’s that or nothing), but he prefers his “soft bars” from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

Speaking of Whole Foods…

HIGH: CNC and DTFN got a shout out in the spring issue of the Whole Foods Market magazine! 🙂

Question of the Day

Your turn! Please share a HIGH and a LOW from your week!

P.S. This round-up on Buzzfeed had so many amazing product ideas for meal prep! This salad cutter bowl is GENIUS, and I totally want an Instant Pot! If you have an Instant Pot, please tell me about it. It’s basically a fast cooking crock pot, right?

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5 Apps That Will Help You Master Meditation

Even though it’s been around for thousands of years, meditation seems to be especially trendy these days. It’s part of the mindfulness movement that’s been gaining traction in the health and wellness world. And it makes sense that more and more people are actively seeking ways to manage their stress: A 2015 survey from the American Psychological Association found that overall stress levels have increased in Americans in recent years. These higher stress levels can affect mental and physical health in numerous ways: 39 percent of those surveyed reporting overeating or eating unhealthy foods in the last month due to stress, and 46 percent reported losing sleep over it.

Given what a profound affect stress can have on wellbeing, it’s no wonder that people are looking for innovative ways to get that moment of zen. Meditation studios have recently popped up in some of the country’s big cities (there’s Unplug Meditation in Los Angeles, MNDFL in New York City). But there’s also a variety of helpful meditation smartphone apps on the market. You may already know about Headspace, which is one of the most-downloaded mindfulness apps. But here are five new or under-the-radar meditation apps worth a try. Because, in addition to relieving stress, meditating can also improve concentration and benefits digestion as well as cardiovascular and immune health.

 

Sway 
Cost: $2.99
While most apps in this space feature guided meditations, this brand new option—it launched in late March—focuses on your movement as way to help you achieve mindfulness. The app uses your phone’s gyroscope and accelerometer to measure your moves. In order for the app to work, you need to be moving in a slow, consistent motion (think swaying back and forth or walking slowly). Once you at you’re at the proper pace, the app will soundtrack your moves with soothing music. If you get distracted or your movements are interrupted, the app interprets that as a lack of mindfulness and reminds you to refocus. According to the makers of this app, this interactive meditation is one of the newest ways to approach the practice.

 

Muse
Cost: Free
Another app that offers interactive feedback is Muse. And while the app is free, it does require you to use Muse: The Brain Sensing Headband ($249) in conjunction with the program. The sensor-equipped headband monitors your brain activity while you mediate with a soothing soundscape (such as a rainforest or beach sounds) playing in the app. If you’re zoning out to beach sounds, for instance, the ocean waves get louder when you get distracted, and lower when you’re back in a calm zone. The app tracks your sessions so you can see your improvements and set weekly goals in your practice.

 

Sattva
Cost: Free (with in-app purchases)
This app has been around for a couple of years, but its recent updates have given Sattva an improved experience. For Apple iPhone users, the app now works seamlessly with the Health app, using info on your heart rate and blood pressure (tracking these stats before and after each session). If you’re obsessed with numbers and data, this is the mediation app for you. It features a timer to help you time and track your sessions, and stats like your longest session and longest streak are also stored in the program. And if you’re the competitive type, you can compare your stats to your friends who also use Sattva.

 

Pause
Cost: $1.99
Inspired by the principles of Tai Chi, the makers of this app help you achieve calmness by incorporating touch as well as sound. You move your fingertip along a small, colorful blob around the screen while soothing sounds flood your headphones. The act triggers the body’s rest and digest response, which helps you regain focus and release stress in a calm manner. If you’re not a fan of guided meditations, this is a way to relax without the pressure of a voice leading (and possibly disrupting) you every step of the way.

 

Meditation Music
Cost: Free
If you’re an experienced meditator, you might not need any gimmicks to help you stay mindful through your practice. Enter this Android app, which strictly provides music as the soundtrack to your session. The app features a variety of ambient sounds (from a soft piano playing to mystic temple music) that promise to help you relax. Simply choose your preferred music, set the in-app timer and just say “ohm.” A gong sound will gently ring to let you know your session is about to end. And if you consider cooking a meditative process, use this app as your kitchen timer and the background music as you make dinner.



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Spring Break Gone Wild

Wild animals, that is!

We’ve had a fun week full of warm weather. While I know it’s going to get a little colder for a bit, I am glad we’ve reached the “it’s probably not going to snow” part of the year. And it just might get up to the 80s! I think we hit 85 on Tuesday.

Mazen was still sad about leaving Bald Head so he wanted to blow up his beach shark for fun. I think he spent about an hour wrestling with it around the house on Tuesday morning. Much more fun than going to school, right?!

I had this amazing egg, cheese, and jam English muffin sandwich for breakfast. This was literally the last food in the house before we headed to Whole Foods to restock.

But before that, we walked/biked downtown to run a few errands, go to ACAC for a quickie workout, hit up the playground and have lunch. Somebody dressed up for the occasion : )

I have been wanting to go to The Spot for a while and it did not disappoint. This little green window on 2nd Street serves vegan and vegetarian food. It’s probably one of the healthiest lunches you can find downtown!

Not sure if you can read the menu, but everything sounded good! There is nowhere to sit, so you have to take it away, but we were headed to the park anyway, so that was no problem.

I had the Ginger Lemongrass Tofu with rice noodles and greens. It was delicious!!! Mazen had Christian’s pizza – his request!

After we worked up an appetite on the playground…

…we went to Chaps for ice cream. Their birthday cake flavor is THE BEST!

Happy Spring!

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Dear Readers: A Giveaway for Your Thoughts…

Question mark made of peas on a white plateI’ve got nutrition on the mind today. And I’m curious about your thoughts. Health trends and topics have evolved considerably since I first started this blog a decade ago. “Fringe” foods then are now thriving businesses. What was once nutrition heresy is today on the cover of mainstream publications. They’re far from standard, but Primal principles are getting more attention. Where do we go from here? And what’s for dinner? You tell me….

Today I want to know what you want out of MDA nutrition commentary, dietary research, and recipe development. What do you want to learn? What interests you? And since I get some form of the question often, what do you want to know about my own personal day-to-day diet?

I’ve covered a lot of topics and served up a lot of Primal recipes over the years, but there are plenty more to be explored. Tell me what you think should come next.

And to give you some incentive in exchange for your thoughts, I’ll give you a shot at winning some free stuff (because, why not?)

The Contest

“What nutrition question or recipe/cooking request do you have?”

My articles are constantly informed by the feedback of my readers. In the comments section below, tell me one nutrition related topic you’d like to see covered, one dietary question you’d like to see answered, or one recipe idea you’d love to see us share on Mark’s Daily Apple. I’m leaving this fairly open ended. No idea is too small or big.

A winner will be chosen at random. Agreeing with other people is allowed (and encouraged), but only the idea comments will be counted for drawing purposes.

The Prize

MDA_Post_collagen_fuel_van_400pxA prize package containing the following:

—A canister of my brand new PRIMAL KITCHEN® Vanilla Coconut Collagen Fuel (FYI: 20 grams of protein and more collagen than 2 cups of bone broth per serving)

—A box of PRIMAL KITCHEN® Coconut Cashew Bars

—A bottle of Primal Probiotics

The Deadline

Midnight (PDT), tonight!

Who’s Eligible

Everyone. We’ll ship this prize package anywhere in the world!

There’s More!

While only one winner will be chosen out of this batch, I invite you to also enter to win at another great contest I have going in partnership with Pura Vida, the cause-based bracelet company. Prizes include 2 canisters of PRIMAL KITCHEN® Vanilla Coconut Collagen Fuel and $100 to spend on Pura Vida bracelets. Enter here.

But wait!

Even if yours isn’t the random comment chosen to win, I do have a deal for anyone to take advantage of. (I’m THIS excited about the Collagen Fuel—a product close to my personal mission, not to mention my daily routine.)

Order a canister of PRIMAL KITCHEN® Vanilla Coconut Collagen Fuel and get a 6-Pack of my Coconut Cashew Bars FREE (one per person). It’s my Collagen deal of the year.

Thanks in advance to everyone that offers an idea. I’ll see what I can do to serve up answers (and recipes) to your Primal food interests in the coming months! Take care, everybody.

CF_Coconut_Deal

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The Worst Diets To Follow

Recently a friend showed me the annual ranking by U.S. News and World Report of what they consider the “Best Diets” in America. Taking a quick glance at their rankings, I knew that something wasn’t right. Why are they promoting diets that rely almost solely on unhealthy processed food full of additives linked to cancer and heart disease? Why did they rank diets that advocate for giving up processed food in favor of fresh, whole foods AS THE WORST on their lists? They’ve gotta be kidding, right?!?

Who is benefiting from rankings like this? Will this help Americans become less obese? Will this make us healthier? I’d argue that many of the “diets” in America are outrageously unhealthy and diet rankings like this are seriously misleading people about what it means to eat healthy.

Just take a look at what you’d be eating on some of these popular diets…

Jenny Craig

This diet relies almost 100% on processed food. With a diet like this, you are sure to be eating insane amounts of preservatives and added sugar, which are both linked to major health risks. Jenny Craig uses some of the worst additives in their food, like carrageenan (linked to cancer and intestinal inflammation), cellulose (linked to inflammation and weight gain), and the artificial sweetener sucralose (linked to leukemia and weight gain). How could anyone call this diet healthy?

Weight Watchers

This diet isn’t supposed to rely on processed foods, but Weight Watchers sells a huge line of majorly processed foods and officially endorses processed food brands like Jolly Time Popcorn and Progresso Light Soups. You’ve probably seen the new commercials that chant “Bring on the food!” while they talk about how NOTHING is off limits on Weight Watchers…. bacon, pizza, chips… “You can have whatever you want”.  So, it sure sounds like they are advocating for the continued use of processed junk food full of additives, instead of creating healthier habits that will teach your body to crave fruits and vegetables instead. Some of the recipes on their website call for processed foods like reduced fat vanilla wafers and even chocolate cake mix! Say Whaaaah?

SlimFast

It blows my mind that this is considered an acceptable diet by ANYONE. On this diet you essentially drink chemical-filled processed drinks for two of your meals, along with three of their processed snacks every day – and then you get just one homemade meal per day. You’ll basically be gulping down tons of artificially thickened sugary drinks every day. Gross.

Medifast

On this diet you eat five of their “100 calorie” products every single day and then one home cooked meal. So, the majority of the time you are eating food full of heavily processed proteins, excitotoxins, artificial thickeners and sweeteners, synthetic vitamins and amino acids (instead of naturally-occurring ones). This is nowhere near real food! Medifast products are LOADED with hidden MSG additives like textured proteins, sodium caseinate, yeast extract.

Nutrisystem

On this diet you’ll be eating boxed up and processed Nutrisystem food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – all filled with of dozens of chemical additives (some of which are addicting) blended together with the “correct” ratios of protein, carbs and fats, with some synthetic vitamins and fiber mixed in to make them look healthy on the “Nutrition Facts” label. Unfortunately, the “Nutrition Facts” label doesn’t tell the real story, and you’ll get a whole lot more than you bargained for when you choose to eat fake food like this.

Most diets put ZERO focus on the quality of the food itself and no emphasis on whether the food is unprocessed or free of chemical additives.

For instance – on the Mayo Clinic Diet, you can spread your toast with a “margarine-like spread” full of chemicals. On the DASH Diet you can start your day with a bowl of Shredded Wheat preserved with BHT or “light” yogurt sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium. On the TLC Diet you can snack on low-fat microwave popcorn with TBHQ. On the Biggest Loser Diet, you can make a sandwich with processed deli meat and sprinkle your plate with fat-free cheese coated in cellulose. On the Volumetrics Diet, you can eat sugar-free pudding every day for dessert. This is not real food!

More than 80 million of us are dieting, yet without a lot of success. What is it about diets that don’t work?

Any diet book will tell you to eat right and exercise, but what does that really mean? I’ve seen people “eat right” by eating unlimited amounts of red meat and fat, and I’ve seen people “work out” daily for more than four hours, exhausting their body and pushing themselves too far.

I decided to search for some answers. My search was inspired not by any diet book, but rather by an eye-opening article, “Science Compared Every Diet, and the Real Winner is Real Food.” The article summarized an independent study, published in Annual Reviews in 2014, that reviewed every major diet and concluded that, “A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with healthy promotion and disease prevention.”

I was pumped by reading this! It supported and validated what I had been doing and preaching for years: a natural, whole food, and predominately plant-based diet is the secret to staying in shape, feeling vital, and being healthy. Other diets just don’t cut it, and one reason is that they induce you to eat a lot of chemical calories and lock you into habits that kill your ability to maintain your weight. The old motto, “Garbage In, Garbage Out”, is so true! There is no doubt about it – you feel horrible when you feed your body fast and processed food.

The way to create lasting change in your body is to eat food as close to nature as possible – the least amount of processed food, the better!!! After I began eating this way, I have never had to diet again, despite the challenging environment we live in with an abundance of tricky marketing and addictive food additives. 

We can’t control what they are doing to our food, but we can control what we put in our mouths every day.

I’ve learned that the only way to feel great is to stop outsourcing my food to corporations and spend more time preparing meals at home. When I began cooking and eating whole foods, my health soared as a result – and now I never look back.

After I spent years juggling meal planning, food shopping and cooking, I consulted with a nutritionist and worked with my team to create an Eating Guide Program – not only for myself, but for all of you. This is more than a meal planning service, it will keep you on track, and help you develop HEALTHY HABITS so you can finally shed unwanted pounds or have an easier time maintaining the healthy lifestyle you may have already built. This program makes eating healthy food and losing weight practically mindless (and delicious)!

If you want my team and I to personally help you with your goals, this is the program for you! 

When you sign up, you’ll get recipes for new Food Babe meals every month (easy to make green drinks, breakfasts, lunches, dinners), a meal schedule, and a shopping list. These are brand new recipes that the Food Babe Team cooks up every month just for you that are absolutely delicious! You will actually LOVE the food you are eating, which makes creating new habits so easy.

You’ll also get my Starter Guide full of budget tips, diet strategies, and a list of the “Terrible 20” ingredients that keep you from losing weight, where to spot them, and what to eat instead. You can download these guides and recipes to your computer and keep them forever. Dozens of pages of knowledge at your fingertips INSTANTLY.

See everything that comes with the program here.

You’ll gain control your eating habits, while this program shows you how to eat wisely and well. As you continue eating this way, which will quickly become second nature, you’ll naturally start losing weight and keeping it off. You won’t have to count anything or obsess over calories or carbs, either. You just have to read labels, change some food-buying and food-prep practices, and enjoy food the way it was meant to be – natural and whole.

The only reason I’ve been able to maintain my ideal weight for over 10 years now and feel amazing is because of my habits, food choices, and routine, which is outlined in this program. If you haven’t already heard my personal story about what happened when I started eating this way and how much my health improved, read my story and see my before/after photo here. When I took a hard look at what I was really eating and changed my eating habits and food choices, things dramatically shifted in my life. I went from someone overweight and sick to a new being of vibrant health, and I want everyone to feel this way.

BONUS: If you sign up for an Annual Eating Guide membership by this Friday, April 7th I’ll also send you the BRAND NEW Food Babe Spring Slim Down:

  • 50 slimming recipes so you can look and feel your best by summer.
  • Includes favorites from my personal collection of recipes for breakfast, grab-and-go healthy lunches, family friendly main meals, soups, salads, juices, smoothies, snacks and desserts.
  • All designed to help your body shed unwanted pounds and detox naturally.

I have helped thousands of people develop new eating habits, lose weight, and feel their best. You can read a few of their stories here, here, and here. YOU can do this too and I can’t wait to hear your success story.

Share this post with a friend or family member who you can team up with. It’s always easier to develop new eating habits and tackle obstacles when you work together.

I hope you get on board!

Xo,

Vani

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Bald Head Day 3: Sunrise, Sunset

[Catch Day 1 here + Day 2 here]

I tried so hard to sleep in this weekend, but my body clock had me up at 6:30 every day. The only plus to this was that I got to watch the sunrise every morning! It’s not that often that you can stop to watch the sunrise and sunset in one day!

We had a light breakfast at the inn before heading out for Sunday brunch at the Club.

Can you spot the giant gator across the lagoon?! There are signs everywhere to be careful of alligators, but you don’t see them that often so this was quite exciting!

We had a chocolate egg hunt that Grammie put on. Mazen was second in charge, so that meant we had lots of rules and had to do the whole hunt twice!

On Sunday afternoon we rented bikes and cruised all over the island. I was thankful that there weren’t many hills!

Mazen chose to ride in the chill-out trailer again, but I think next time we’re here he’ll be ready for the kids’ tandem bike!

Late in the afternoon we went to check out some of the more remote parts of the island marsh and said hi to Old Baldy.

After showers we had cocktail hour in Grammie and Pea’s room – cheese and wine.

I gave my mom her birthday gift, which was a watercolor painting of the house they are moving out of this year after 33 years. Bruna Mebs, who did my drawing of Mazen, painted this for me, and my mom loved it!

We went to Delphina’s for dinner and watched the sunset over the Cape Fear aka “The Cake Fear” according to M!!

My mom brought Old Maid and Mazen loved it! He’s really getting into card games.

I ordered a seafood quesadilla, which was just OK, had a beer and ate too many chips.

After dinner, we sang happy birthday to mom!

Instead of having a cake made (which would be hard to bring on a long car ride and the ferry), mom made her hot milk cake and I brought Sweet Haus frosting, and we iced the cake on the spot! It was DELISH!

Ninight, Old Baldy!

See this face? It was the last bit of happiness we saw all day on Monday. Mazen was sooooo upset about leaving Bald Head. Just like last year, he whimpered the whole six hour drive home, saying how much he already missed the island. Until next time, my man!

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