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Slim By Design

12 Oct

How do slim people stay slim?

Right now I am reading Brian Wansink’s new book, Slim By DesignI’m only about halfway through, but I can already tell it is a recommendation-worthy book. Brian’s theory is that it’s much easier to change our environments to be healthier than it is to change our brains (Amen, brother). Brian observed the habits of slim people in their native environments: their homes, restaurants, grocery store, workplace, and schools and discovered that everything from where you store your cereal to the size of your dinner plates can predict your weight.  Some of Brian’s strategies are already standard protocol in my home (fruit bowl front and center!), some are newly implemented based on his compelling research (check out my fridge below).

All of his advice revolves around one main concept:
Make unhealthy food less convenient and less visible, and make healthy food more convenient and more visible.

A few easy things you can do right now to design a slimmer home:

1) Store all of the snack foods out of sight and put a bowl of fruit on the counter.

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2) Move all of your produce out of the produce bins and on an eye-level shelf in your fridge.

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3) Mummify your treats! Simply opening the freezer and laying eyes on that carton of ice cream can trigger a craving, so wrap the carton in aluminum foil so it doesn’t catch your eye so readily. Every time I open my freezer our wedding cake topper taunts me. Although I would never consider digging in to it for fear of cursing our marriage (but mostly because I’m too lazy to undo they 10 layers of plastic wrap), it does trigger a craving for something sweet. So I mummified it in aluminum foil. Craving conquered.

If you want to know more about Brian’s Slim By Design tips, watch and read here and here.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple steps can make you slimmer!

 

And now for that LARABAR giveaway: Congratulations Stephanie Day! Email me at kayli@truefoodco.com with your mailing address to get your LARABAR goodies!

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Thanks for reading!

The Power of Putting Relationships In Motion

5 Oct

Yesterday JWD and I went for our first tandem bike ride, about 30 miles roundtrip to a microbrewery. For those who aren’t familiar with tandem riding, here’s a quick lesson (the sum of my knowledge when our adventure began): a tandem bike is built for two or more riders. The person in the front (the captain) pedals and steers and the person in the rear (the stoker) only pedals. I quickly learned something else about tandems: the tandem experience depends greatly on the state of the riders’ relationship.

Maybe some would advise against such heightened activities when your marriage is still in its fragile infancy, but we decided to take the risk ;). As we took off, I began to doubt our decision. As the stoker, I had to relinquish control to JWD, my captain, something I am not very good at. My obstructed view, limited mainly to JWD’s back, left me clueless to the treacherous terrane ahead (pebbles, puddles… you know, the really dangerous stuff). Admittedly, I started out as a pretty annoying backseat driver- giving tips on gear shifting and steering (things I know nothing about- this was, after all, my first time on a tandem), delivering a swift pinch to my captain when I thought he needed to slow down, gasping and swaying my body every time he took a turn…

After several miles of white-knuckling my breakless handlebars, I decided that the only way I was going to enjoy this day was if I let go of my desire to be in control and put my trust in my captain. Most of our twelve riding companions had been on a tandem before- many of them, in fact, were experts. I admired their trust in each other as they rode fluidly, communicated almost telepathically, and told wild stories of their tandem adventures. As I settled in to my stoker role, I felt JWD and I begin to fall into a similarly fluid rhythm. Based on the fact that he hadn’t killed me yet (and the culmination of our entire relationship’s history) I decided that he deserved my trust.

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Maybe it was the pints of pumpkin beer or maybe it was my decision to trust our relationship, but the return trip was was even more enjoyable. We rode along smoothly, feeling very much on the same page. Our strengthened connection with each other left us more able to enjoy the company of our riding companions. We only knew five people in the group at the start, but we walked waddled (saddle sores…) away with seven new friends and a deeper connection to those we already knew.

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Yesterday’s tandem fun left me with two thoughts:

  1. If you want to see what a relationship is made of, put it through an exercise test. Tandem riding (or really any type of group exercise) is a great metaphor for the requirements of a relationship. You must be in sync with your companion in a way that can only arise from trust. Maybe you will hop on the bike with an already established trust or maybe you will have to work to earn each other’s trust. Trust is built on communication, another key requirement of a relationship. If JWD fails to tell me that there’s a big bump coming or he decides to zig or zag without warning, he weakens my trust. Mastering trust and communication with someone delivers a great reward- human connection built to last.
  2. Building activity into your everyday life can be more sustainable and enjoyable than a structured exercise program. I’m not saying we should ditch structured exercise altogether (going to the gym, yoga class, etc.), but there is much to gain from exercising for fun with friends, family, and even strangers. Research shows that when we socialize in a context that requires nonverbal mimicry (pedaling along on bikes, flowing through the same yoga poses), we walk away from that experience with a stronger emotional connection with our companions. In short, moving together creates a bond. Also, as you talk, laugh, and share an endorphine-rich experience, the time and the miles will fly by. You get layers of life’s moments wrapped in one experience: spending time with your significant other, socializing with friends, exercising, decompressing, and self-care. Thirty miles felt like a breeze and we walked away from our riding companions feeling a little closer and a little more connected than when we started.

So if you want to put a relationship to the test, build a new one, or strengthen an existing one, put it in motion. Your relationships will be happier and healthier for it… and you will be too.

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You have until tomorrow to win those 20 free LARABARs! To win: share a link to Running on Sunshine via social media and sign up True Food updates here.

Thanks for reading

True Bites + A Giveaway!

21 Sep

JWD and I are professional snackers.

At any given moment, we have at least one snack each in our possessions. We have snacks stashed in every bag, glove compartment, suitcase, desk drawer, and even a few jacket pockets. Our elite-level snacking habits recently resulted in what is now referred to as “The Epic Ant Invasion Of 2014”.

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The reason for our snack obsession is simple: neither of us enjoys being hungry. We also don’t enjoy being caught somewhere, snackless and faced only with the dismal offerings of a vending machine. Or worse… a “hangry” and snackless person is too easily persuaded by the alluring smell of cinnamon buns and pretzels at the mall or even by yesterday’s stale donuts in the office kitchen (you know you’ve been there).

Snacking between meals isn’t right for everyone, but it is something to consider if you feel ravenous on a 3-squares-a-day plan (me, me!). When hunger kicks in, sensibility flies out the window. We’d all like to forget that time we dove head-first into that basket of bread or tortilla chips before we even ordered dinner (guilty as charged).

Snacks keep hunger at bay (and sensibility in check) and they can provide an extra boost of nutrition… when done right.

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Snacking has a dark side. Between-meal snacks are singlehandedly blamed for the sharp increase in American calorie consumption since the 1970’s. So where does snacking take a wrong turn? In 2 places: 1) when you eat “snack foods” rather than “whole foods”, and 2) when you simply add snacks in without subtracting from your main meals. So skip the chips, cookies, and candy bars. Snack on whole foods like fruit, veg, nuts, edamame, and hummus. Adjust the portions of your meals and snacks so you feel ready to eat (but not ravenous) when you begin and satisfied (but not stuffed) when you end.

At our house, we dig whole food, easy, and portable snacks.  Here’s our current favorite:

True Bites

Why “True”? Because customizing a snack that is true to you and your taste buds is what it’s all about!

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (I used sunflower butter)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup Sunwarrior Protein Powder (optional; simply increase the amount of another dry ingredient if you omit)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (honey works well too)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • Customize: use your favorite nut butter, add shredded coconut, chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit… whatever makes you happy!

How-To:

  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well-incorporated. If the mixture is too wet or too dry, simply add more of the wet or dry ingredients until you have a not-to-sticky mixture that will hold together.
  • Wet hands, and roll about 1 tbsp. of the mixture into a bite-sized ball. Repeat.
  • Pop in the freezer for 10-15 min. to firm up. Store in a covered container in the fridge.

 

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When batches of bites don’t happen on Sundays, we reach for another favorite: LARABAR. This is one of the only bars I will buy because the ingredients are whole and simple. My favorite flavor, Cashew Cookie, has just TWO ingredients! Simple snacking at its best.

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It’s GIVEAWAY time! As a LARABAR Ambassador, my kind friends at LARABAR sent me samples to share with you!

What you get if you win: 20 LARABARs of 5 different flavors, including a few of my favorites: Cashew Cookie and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip; and a super cool LARABAR sticker so that everyone knows you too are an elite-level snacker.

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Here’s how you enter to win:

  1. Sign up for our True Food Co. mailing list (first newsletter is out today!).
  2. Share a link to this post on at least one of your social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

I will randomly choose the lucky snacker in two weeks, go!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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