Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Worst Ingredient In Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino & Why You Shouldn’t Drink It

When I first saw the new Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino I just knew that kids everywhere were going to be drinking this – I mean what kid isn’t going to want a drink that looks like this!  But of course…the first thing that popped into my mind was what the heck is it made out of? Well, we found out, and it’s not pretty. 

It’s full of additives that do nothing good for your body…

Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino Ingredients: Ice, Milk, Crème Frappuccino Syrup [Water, Sugar, Salt, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid], Whipped Cream [Cream (Cream, Mono And Diglycerides, Carrageenan), Vanilla Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid)], Mango Syrup [Sugar, Water, Mango Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Passion Fruit Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Turmeric, Gum Arabic], Blue Drizzle [White Chocolate Mocha Sauce (Sugar, Condensed Skim Milk, Coconut Oil, Cocoa Butter, Natural Flavor, Salt, Potassium Sorbate, Monoglycerides), Classic Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid), Sour Blue Powder (Citric Acid, Color [Spirulina, Water, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid])], Pink Powder [Dextrose, Fruit And Vegetable Color (Apple, Cherry, Radish, Sweet Potato)], Sour Blue Powder [Citric Acid, Color (Spirulina, Water, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid)].

The most shocking aspect of this drink actually isn’t the ingredient list – it’s the sugar.

Considering the average ADULT male isn’t supposed to be eating more than 36 grams of sugar in an entire day (and only 25 grams if you’re a woman) – just one of these drinks is going to put you WAY over the edge – making it even worse for kids.

The Unicorn Frappuccino grande has 59 grams of sugar and a shocking 76 grams in a venti size. It’s totally outrageous that Starbucks is promoting this drink at all, and especially to children! 

Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino Venti has more sugar than… 

Enough said. 

I hope this makes you think twice before you buy this for yourself or your kids. Please share with everyone you know!

Xo, 

Vani

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April Showers, Hand Flowers

^^ The best smelling bush in Cville!

We have a gorgeous day here today, and I’m trying my best to live in the moment and not look towards the cold, rainy, stormy forecast. But hey, it’s April, so April showers are to be expected.

I love running in warm weather, and for the second time this week I ate a light breakfast so I could run right after dropping Mazen off at school. Today I had an oatmeal bar and some coffee!

I ran 3.5 miles (4 if you could the walk to and from school first) on the pretty greenway near my house. Sport sunglasses stolen from Thomas…!

Post-run yogurt with some granola crunch.

I had two calls this morning and worked on two posts for next week. When the clock struck 12 I realized I still don’t have any salad greens in my fridge and really wanted a good one for lunch (grow, garden, grow!) so I walked downtown to The Salad Maker to pick one up before getting Mazen at school. I sat on a park bench and enjoyed it with a podcast. It was a nice little lunch!

Mazen wanted me to take a picture of his favorite superhero castle toy at school. He was deep into a game with two friends when I picked him up! (New Mini Boden shirt from Grammie!)

I love this hand-flower painting he did : ) Snapped this photo for my art college collection.

After my run and walks to school, downtown, etc I have covered over 7 miles! I bet I’ll be at 8 by bedtime, especially since I’m leaving the house once more : )

And finally, how about that Ozzy on Survivor last night! How long do you think you could hang on a pole? I’d probably last less than 10 minutes, and I think he and and Tai were up there for just under two hours!

Check back tomorrow for a sharp giveaway!! 🙂

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Solving Your Nature Deficit Disorder in the City: A Tree Grows…Almost Anywhere

Inline_Urban_Nature_DeficitToday’s guest post is offered up by Katy Bowman, biomechanist and author of the bestselling Move Your DNA and her recent book, Movement Matters, which examines our sedentary culture, our personal relationship to movement, and some of the global effects of outsourcing movement. I’m happy to welcome a good friend back to Mark’s Daily Apple to share on this topic. Just in time for Earth Day this weekend…

I recently held a couple of events in New York City. A question came up a few times: How can someone who lives and operates their daily life in a big city get the nature they both need and want when they’re unable or ready to change where they live? The answer can help many people in our culture achieve a deeper relationship with nature no matter where they live.

Step 1: Check your vacation.

Although the exact number and distribution of everyone’s vacation days range, if you’re someone who gets vacation time at work, take a good hard look at how you spend it. Do you spend this portion of your life—when you’re (supposedly) under the least amount of obligation—in nature camping or hiking? Start with this. Take seven or eight months to plan the wilderness experience you’ve been wanting. It doesn’t have to be expensive—see if you can borrow or rent camping gear, or share the costs of a campsite with friends. It can also be closer to home than you realize, and there are often organizations that help people connect to nature via public transportation or intercity buses.

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Step 2: Check your weekends.

Any nature there? Are you hitting the trails for a day hike or taking the family to the park for a picnic? Is it difficult to get to nature because you’re already scheduled for and immersed in non-nature activities? Figure out why and adjust as possible.

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Step 3: Check your time before and after work.

It may not be abundant time, but you can likely find 15-60 minutes at both the beginning and end of your day that are ripe for adjusting. Are you going outside for even 15-minute walks first and last thing? Do you ever step outside (or even look outside!) to gaze at and identify the phase of the moon? Ever get up early to revel in a sunrise, or is it too hard to get up that early? Hint: Going to bed earlier is sleeping in on the other side.

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Step 4: Identify the many components of nature.

Although I’d argue that nature is everything, nature as we often think and talk of it—that wild place where we can escape and be free—can be thought of as the sum of many parts. When you say you want more nature, what draws you to it, exactly? A few aspects of nature include:

  • fresh air
  • natural light
  • long distances for viewing
  • temperature variations
  • plant interactions
  • the rhythm of seasons
  • the speed of the wind
  • precipitation
  • wildlife
  • natural movement
  • quiet
  • rest
  • biophony (the sound of the natural world, as opposed to anthropophony, the sound created by humans)
  • water

Of course, there are far more parts to nature than this. Once you can recognize them, you can select those that feel most necessary to you. Then you can identify elements of nature you can bring into your home or everyday life, to increase your overall interaction with various parts of nature.

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Step 5: Adjust your environment.

If you love interacting with plants in nature but don’t have any on your desk, there’s a gap you can fill immediately, no matter your zip code. If you love the beauty of nature, decorate your windowsills or shelves with rocks and shells, and your table with bouquets of leaves or branches (from your weekend hike!). If you have or work with kids—or even if you don’t—keep baskets holding rocks, fossils, moss, snake skins, antlers, and bones where curious hands can find them easily.

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Practice natural movements for exercise, sit on the floor or seats of various heights to use your knees and hips differently, and add rugs with various textures to stimulate bare feet. Lower your thermostat or open the windows more often. This way, you can start interacting with the aspects of nature just outside the walls of your office or home by moving the thermal-regulating parts of your body.

Go without sunglasses more often, starting off early and late in the day, a few minutes at a time, and build up to being able to tolerate natural light. Or walk without an umbrella sometimes and experience a little discomfort (and recognize how exhilarating that can be).

Try to eat locally enough that you’re in touch with when things are growing in your region; get to know which foods are ripe when. Keep some containers of medicinal plants (aloe is an easy one), herbs, or vegetables in your house or on a balcony, or volunteer at a community garden.

Keep a pair of binoculars by your window and become an urban bird watcher. There are more than pigeons out there, and even if there aren’t, pigeons are fascinating to observe.

Put your phone down and turn off your GPS and start navigating by map and then by landmark—skills that you’ll likely call on during your wilderness vacation.

Read books and poetry about nature. What you read helps to form your worldview. What you read is where you’re putting your attention. What ideas are you spending time with?

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Step 6: Keep going.

When we have strong tendencies toward all-or-nothing thinking, we forget the value of small transitioning movements. Before you start a marathon, you’ve taken hundreds of smaller steps in small runs. In this same way, you can transition away from a nature deficit through hundreds if not thousands of small steps.

Where the magic happens is, once you take an hour or two to create a nature space on your desk (or wherever you start), you’ll find yourself thinking about how to change your weekend time. Once you decide to schedule your birthday party as a hike instead of a dinner party, you start thinking about how to get a garden started on your kitchen counter. As you adapt to nature, you sort of get pulled towards it. Just keep stepping, and you’ll see more nature appear…even in the heart of the Big Apple.

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Thanks for reading, everyone. Which of these ideas has inspired you the most today? Other ideas to add? 

Bio: Katy Bowman is a biomechanist by training and a problem-solver at heart. Her award-winning blog and podcast, Katy Says, reach hundreds of thousands of people every month, and thousands have taken her live classes. Katy is the author of eight books, including the best-selling Move Your DNA and Movement Matters, a collection of essays in which she continues her groundbreaking investigation of the mechanics of our sedentary culture and the profound potential of human movement.

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Sneaky Ways Supermarkets Get You to Spend More

If you’re like most folks who are on a food budget, you head to the supermarket with a list in hand. Oftentimes, however, you end up leaving the store with a cart filled with items that you had no intention on bringing home. Supermarkets are in the business of getting you to spend more, and many folks fall into their trappings. Here are 5 ways to help minimize overspending at the market.

Oversized carts

When you hit the grocery store to purchase a few items and are wheeling around a huge cart, adding a few more items may seem harmless. Those large carts filled with only a few items also makes you feel like you aren’t purchasing enough, playing on your feeling of guilt.

Instead: Use a hand-held basket, or many supermarkets now offer smaller sized carts that offer fewer items.

Hidden staples

How many times have you gone to grab milk and eggs and added just a few more items to your cart? To get to many perishable items on your shopping list, you’ll need to walk through other aisles which tend to be filled with snack foods and sugary beverages.

Instead: When walking through aisles filled with junk-type foods, focus only on what you need to buy. Also, make sure you eat before heading to the supermarket, so you don’t make these types of impulsive buys. Lastly, keep your kids at home if they tend to whine and beg for junk foods when you’re running through those middle aisles (my eldest son was one of those kids).

Variety

I just attended the Natural Food Expo West, where I saw thousands of new healthy food products, and there have never been so many options for exciting new options. With so many new healthy products hitting stores, you can’t help but want to try them all.

Instead: Choose one or two items a week to try. Choose a smaller sized or individual-size bag to start to check if you actually like it.

Healthier items are tougher to reach

Every time I’m looking for low-sodium canned beans they’re in the most obscure places. I can find all the traditionally canned beans (filled with sodium) and as I almost give up, I find the low or no-added sodium cans I’m looking for. Most folks aren’t as patient, and will grab whatever is within reach.

Instead: Take the time to find supermarkets that sell what you are looking for. Once you familiarize yourself with the placement of the healthier items, you’ll have an easy time finding it enabling you to make better choices.

Shelving chaos

How many times do you know exactly where each item is…and then the supermarket moves things around? The Trader Joe’s by me is famous for pulling this trick once or twice a year. This will make you spend more time in the store re-familiarizing yourself with everything, and hopefully have you picking up a few more items too.

Instead: Each time foods move around, take an extra five minutes to familiarize yourself with the new set up.

 

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.



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Clean Eating Spinach Dip Recipe

Clean Eating Spinach Dip Recipe

Spinach dip is a classic at many gatherings across the country. It’s right up there with onion dip and ranch dip, and it’s likely a good source of spinach for those who don’t typically enjoy eating the green, leafy stuff.

But good gracious! The fat content on most containers of spinach dip is enough to send you running for your closest pair of big-boy-pants. And even then, you may have to leave the button undone.

So in the interest of saving you from all that running…. errr…. I mean, saving you from having to wear your big-boy-pants ~ehem~, here’s my version of Clean Eating Spinach Dip.

YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY:

Recipe from the Gracious Pantry archives, originally posted 1/28/11.

Clean Eating Spinach Dip Recipe

 

Author:

Yield: Approximately 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) container cottage cheese (gluten free if needed)
  • 10 ounce container frozen spinach, thawed
  • 8 ounce can water chestnuts, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Using a blender, blend the cottage cheese until it is smooth and creamy.
  2. Put the cottage cheese in a large mixing bowl, and add all other ingredients. Stir well.

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March To Mother’s Day: Sewn Into History

I am honored to be a part of the March to Mother’s Day campaign here in Virginia! Our state is packed with history, as last week’s Tom Tom Festival posts showcased. I feel very lucky to live so close to Monticello and Ash Lawn-Highland, which was President Monroe’s house. Love being an easy drive to Williamsburg and Jamestown too.

Women’s history has always been close to my heart, and it was my focus of study at Davidson College, especially the women’s rights movement of the 1860s.

In partnership with the 2019 Commemoration, The Women’s Monument Commission and the Virginia Capitol Foundation are commissioning 12 statues of historic women on the Virginia State Capitol grounds. “Voices From The Garden” will recognize the diversity and achievements of twelve remarkable Virginia women.

One of those twelve women is Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley.

When I surveyed the list of women, I immediately recognized her name, and I realized it’s because there is a historic sign dedicated to her in front of the Burwell School in my hometown of Hillsborough, just a block from my parents’ house. It’s crazy to think that she and I walked a few centuries apart on the same ground in the same town.

Elizabeth was born into slavery in Dinwiddie, Virginia, in 1818 and eventually, was sent to Hillsborough to serve the Burwell family. While there, she suffered through horrific times, from a stern mistress to a forced sexual relationship with a wealthy man in the town, from which her son George, was born. After 1839, she was sent to St. Louis with the family. While there, she fell in love and began to participate in activities with the free black population. In 1855, Elizabeth and George were able to buy their freedom for $1,200.

During this time, she worked as a seamstress, gaining a following and building a business. A dress she made for Robert E. Lee’s wife caught the eye of Mary Todd Lincoln. Mrs. Lincoln hired Elizabeth as her personal dresser and dressmaker for six years. After the death of her George during the war, Elizabeth founded the Contraband Relief Association, later known as the Ladies’ Freedmen and Soldiers’ Relief Association. Later in life, she wrote an autobiography, Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave, And Four Years in the White House.

I especially admire Elizabeth because she did not let her life circumstances keep her from pressing onward. She was smart, persistent, strong, business minded, and a leader of her time.

I have so many women to admire in my own life. From my grandmother who was smart as a whip and could spout out wonderful historical facts, to my mother who has persisted with her writing because she loves it so, to the strong women I call my best friends, to my business-minded blog friends who inspire me every day, to leaders like Michelle Obama, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey. All of these women embody the same traits that made Elizabeth Keckley a remarkable figure.

From the Women’s March on Washington to posts on Facebook, women are coming together more than ever before thanks to modern communication and technology. As we do this, we honor the women who came before us. You can celebrate an inspirational woman in your life by giving to the monument fund. I hope you’ll join me in visiting when it is finished in Richmond!

This post is brought to you by the 2019 Commemoration / American Evolution. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the 2019 Commemoration.

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Just Like Old Times in New York City

Good morning! I’m in New York City right now—just like old times!

If you’re a long-time reader, you probably remember just how much time I spent in New York City. It’s a quick train or bus ride from Boston, and there was always an excuse to visit, so I found myself there just about every other week. Here are some of the blog posts that I’ve written about the Big Apple over the years:

New York City Marathon Recap

New York and Company

Reebok Fit Hub Store Opening in New York City

New York Minute {Weekend Recap}

Rainy Day in New York City

Less Than 24 Hours in the Big Apple

I’m Off to NYC for the Reebok ZQUICK Launch

New York Minute

Run and Done

More | Fitness Women’s Half Marathon

“The Skinny Rules” Launch Party with Bob Harper

You might notice some common themes among these blog posts, including fun blog-related events, running, rain (I’m cursed), and being in the city for a hot second… and this trip is no different!

I’m visiting for an event with CVS/pharmacy.

I’ll be in NYC for less than 24 hours (technically 23). 

It’s raining (of course).

I’m running with my friend Theodora this morning!

There you go: All the makings of a typical CNC trip to New York City!

And here’s a recap from yesterday!

My morning started with scrambled eggs mixed with roasted sweet potatoes. Easy-peasy, nutritious, and delicious!

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Before we left the house, I made everyone a smoothie. The boys had banana, blueberry, spinach, and Greek yogurt smoothies while I whipped up an iced coffee, banana, spinach, Brain Octane Oil, and coconut protein powder smoothie. I’m on a seriously smoothie kick lately!

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After daycare drop-off, Mal and I headed to Target to look at patio furniture.

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And buy hair elastics because I swear these babies have a mind of their own. WHERE do they go!?!

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After that, we did a little more window shopping for patio furniture at Lowes and Home Depot before Mal drove me to South Station to catch the train to New York City.

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I grabbed a decaf almond milk iced latte for the road from Starbucks. Surprisingly, it wasn’t all that delicious, but for $6.10 (!!!), I drank almost all of it.

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On the train, I worked, worked, worked.

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I eventually took a break for lunch, which was ground chicken mixed with Cowboy Caviar, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and spinach. I also had some baby dried bananas (from Trader Joe’s) mixed with Peanut Butter Puffins.

More work. And then right before I got off the train, I snacked on a thinkTHIN Bar.

When I arrived at Penn Station, Google Maps told me that I was only 1.3 miles from my hotel, so I decided to walk the distance instead of taking a taxi. I hadn’t exercised since Monday, and I only had a backpack with me, so I figured it’d be a nice walk through the city.

On my walk, I took a little pit-stop to get my nails done! 🙂

When I checked into the hotel, I received a fun welcome package from the folks at CVS/pharmacy.

Inside was all sorts of awesome snacks and travel items. I loved everything they selected… it was almost like they read my mind!

I immediately cracked open the CVS Health AirShield and added a tablet to a bottle of water. I was so thirsty after the train ride, and I almost always get sick when I travel, so I was pumped to have this product on-hand.

After that, I did a little work and then got myself ready for dinner at Jams.

The evening kicked off with a cocktail hour.

And concluded with the most amazing chocolate angel food cake! 🙂

The end.

Question of the Day

Have you ever visited NYC? If so, when was the last time you were there?

 

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