Japan: Embracing All of the Food and Finding Balance

Photo by Dustin Eastment

Two weeks ago packed bags in hand, I headed to the airport for a much anticipated vacation to Japan. In December despite having had time off for the holidays I was still feeling unsatisfied when I happened to stumble upon cheap airfares to Tokyo. Without much of a pause we decided to book the trip for late Feb. From the moment the tickets were purchased I started to get that usual feeling related to vacation, a mix of excitement and anxiety. One might wonder why I would be anxious, its a vacation. Well my anxiousness is not about going somewhere I have never been before, or going to a place where I cant speak the language. Instead it is always related to exercise and how will I maintain my daily routine while traveling. Let’s just say I have a tendency to be a little neurotic when it comes to vacations and fitness. Yes on vacation I will enjoy my time. I eat, drink, relax, but I also make sure I exercise daily in order to keep up with all of the vacation’s pleasures. Now this is not a bad thing and by no means am I saying one should not exercise on vacation or one should only exercise on vacation. What I am saying is vacation is also a time to rest, unwind, and enjoy a moment you do not always get. You need to make sure you are being authentic to yourself, what you need, and finding balance.

I can recall a trip to Portugal a couple of years back where after the 6th day of running in a row piled on top of miles and miles of walking my body ached. It was sore, tired, and hating me. Yet I pushed myself to run everyday until I left, 10 days straight. Why? Because I could not be satisfied with walking being enough for exercise. I was so afraid of being able to enjoy all of the food and drinks unless I did my daily sweat session. I ignored my body and followed my mind. I have struggled for years with embracing rest days. Even though mentally I know we need them as that is when our bodies actually change and physically I can feel when it is needed, but yet I tend to power through regardless.  Over the past 2 years I have been working really hard to find balance in all that I do and I have made huge strides from where I have been.

So where am I going with all of this? I know, I digress. Well after the ticket was purchased, the anxiety bubbled up, I pushed it back down, and I decided this was going to be the trip I find balance with exercise on vacation. I was going to use this time to listen to my body and just enjoy being in an amazing place with my favorite person. But if I am being honest with you all, I think this was also the catalyst and part of the reason I catapulted myself into almost 3 full months of eating Whole 30 and removing booze from my diet. If I could control my food choices prior to my trip it would make me feel better equipped to enjoy my time fully in Japan. See, I am still not perfect 🙂

A surprise at our hotel. A great omen to start the trip!

Now onto the trip! We flew down to LA the night before our direct flight the next morning to Tokyo. We decided spending an extra $80 for a hotel room was worth saving the stress of having to get up at 3:00 am in San Francisco and what a great decision it was. My morning started with a 6 mile run and a 20 minute weight lifting session. One obsession I have before long flights is getting a good run in as I like stretching my legs out before they will be sitting for extended periods of time. I also had been working my body really hard the month leading up to vacation, so after this session I felt fully ready to rest and take the vacation fully on. I pre-packed a ton of food (as per usual) to have healthy options on the plane. We ended up eating everything I brought, plus some, so it was a good use of time and backpack space.

Our AirBnb

The first half of the trip we spent in Tokyo. I took the first 2 days off of working out. My body needed rest, which I had been ignoring for the last month. Plus I wanted to be able to wake up each morning in my bed and enjoy a cup of coffee in sweats with my love. It has been probably 5 years since I have taken 2 days off in a row from working out, so it felt luxurious and empowering. On our first full day in Tokyo we crammed as much in as humanly possible. It started with a trip to the Tsukiji Fish Market, which was by far my favorite experience in Tokyo. There were rows upon rows of stands of food. We tried a bit of it all. Every taste was amazing, eclectic, and different from anything you could find back home. Instead of walking while eating, something we are very accustomed to in the States, you were expected to finish each treat at the stand with where it was purchased. Upon finishing you would say thank you and dispose of your trash. This was just one of the many differences culturally I enjoyed.

As the day progressed we happened to stumble upon the Tokyo Marathon on our way to the Sensoji Temple.  It was an amazing race with various acts of entertainment. You can think of a parade with Geisha’s, dragons, and more. After we had enough of the race we walked through to the temples, obviously trying more snacks from vendors along the way. Our last stop that day was to the Shibuya shopping district with the famous large intersection where thousands upon thousands of people are walking.  For those of you who have watched Lost In Translation this will look very familiar. Seeing the swarms of people was just astonishing and to me this was the iconic image I get in my mind when I think of Tokyo.

Photo by Dustin Eastment

The next day after all of the pure craziness that is Tokyo we decided to do a day trip down to a little coastal town Kamakura to see the Great Buddah among other various temples. The town was quaint and chilly, but worth the trek after the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. We enjoyed the quaintness and charm the town had to offer along with some great shops and cobbled streets.

That evening we came back to Tokyo and went for a drink in the Golden Gai district prior to our reservations at the Robot Restaurant. First let me paint a picture of what the Golden Gai district is. It is all of these narrow, tiny alley ways lined up side by side. If you were to just walk by you would not twice about what was there, but hidden in these small streets are over 250 bars. The bars are small, holding maybe a handful of guests in each, which makes it feel special and private. The best I can equate it to is like finding an entire alleyway built on the premise of speakeasy’s. This was nothing like the neighboring district it was in, which is kind of like the Las Vegas strip. The alley’s were dark and if you did not know what to look for you would completely miss it. We were there on the early side of the evening so most of the bars were still closed, but we did happen to find one open where we enjoyed some sake before heading out to the show at the Robot Restaurant. Now the Robot Restaurant is like stepping foot inside a Las Vegas show, but one that meets neon Anime. When we arrived we grabbed some drinks and were escorted down to our seats to wait for the show to start. The best way to describe the show is being entertained with music, dancing, visual effects, lots of costumes, robotics, and floats. Think if Alice in Wonderland met Dinosaurs met Robots met glitter, and flashing lights. The show was definitely a once in a lifetime experience and worth checking out if you visit. But mind you this is a total tourist attraction.

Our AirBnb

On our 3rd morning in Tokyo I woke up with a ton of energy and felt ready for a run. Plus I always like to run in every city I stay in. I did a 5 mile trek around the neighborhood of our AirBnB. It was a chilly 38 degrees out, but felt good once I got up and moving. After my run we packed up and headed down to Kyoto where would spend the rest of our trip. We took the bullet train, which was a really cool experience. Fun fact is the bullet trains can go up to 350+ miles per hour. We found some delicious treats in the station and had a leisurely brunch as we went.

 

Upon arriving in Kyoto we checked out their Niskiki Market, which if you have been to San Francisco is very similar to going to the Ferry Building. Lots of treats and snacks to taste and buy. This was by far one of my favorite parts of the trip (can you tell I love to snack on food). The food was amazing, with samples of everything. It was similar to the market we went to in Tokyo, but inside and with even more amazing food and gifts. Everything was served either on a stick or in a hand size portion.We went hear starving for lunch and although it took us a lot of little bites, we left feeling full and satisfied from the whole experience. Even as I write this I am yearning to go back and relive that market just one more time. I think I may have to go to the Ferry Building this weekend to fulfill my snacking craving.

Photo by Dustin Eastment

The next morning I decided to do a 30 minute at home barre workout mixed with a little cardio prior to us heading out to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. This was my favorite outdoor adventure we had the entire trip and I can see why it is written up year after year as the best attraction in all of Japan. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates. Very iconic and there were so many visitors with selfie sticks trying to get a photo in. Can I just mention I have never seen so many selfie sticks in all of my life!  The hike was about 2-3 hours with the first half all going straight up stairs. By the end of it I felt I had been on the stair master for a good couple of hours. After the hike complete we grabbed a drink and decided our bodies were in need of some TLC, so we went to a traditional Japanese massage house. I already am in love with traditional Thai massages  in San Francisco and the Japanese style was not too far off.  What was different is you laid on your side in more of a fetal position for the entirety of the massage, alternating sides throughout.  When the massage was done I felt amazing and ready to keep going on for the rest of the night. That evening we checked out an amazing cocktail speakeasy bar owned by a French man and operated by an Irish fellow, a Polish lady, and a German. It was fun to chat with all of them and hear what had brought them to Japan. A common theme you might guess, love for a Japanese girl.

Photo by Dustin Eastment

The next day I woke up and repeated my barre/cardio workout, although I made this one a little longer at 40 minutes. My legs felt on fire from the day before, but moving and stretching helped get me ready for the day. Our first adventure for the morning was to head over to a snow monkey park. What was cool about this place is  the monkeys are not caged and roam freely around you. Thus giving you the experience of almost like being in the wild with them. There was a steep 20-30 minute hike up to the top of the hill where they resided. Upon hitting the summit I was nice and sweaty despite the cold weather.

Photo by Dustin Eastment

After a couple of hours frolicking with the monkeys we hiked back down and walked over to the bamboo grove, another top tourist attraction. Pictures do not do the beauty of this place justice. The bamboo towers over you, making you feel small and insignificant. Light would peak through creating unbelievable picturesque moments. Along the way we grabbed a pork bun and sesame bun, which I only mention because it ended up being one of my favorite meals from the whole trip. That afternoon/early evening we decided to go to the sake brewery district and do sake tasting. One aged sake we tried tasted like pure whiskey. With a little buzz on and  having walked 30k+ steps during the day with little food we definitely indulged in a huge meal for dinner. It consisted of a lot of traditional food with our favorite, rice with a raw egg on top. You have to try! We were home and asleep by 8:30. Two crazy kids living it up in the big city.

Photo by Dustin Eastment

The next morning my legs were still exhausted so I took a rest day and also wanted to be ready for the 90 minute hike we had planned up in North Kyoto between two little towns, Kibune and Kurama. We started in Kurama hiking up the steep steps and meandering through the temples before getting on the path to the next town Kibune. The hike was beautiful and it was nice to be outside with nature. The hike took all morning so after we grabbed a quick bite and hiked back down to the bus station to head back to our place in the city. We had read about a craft beer movement starting to spur in Japan with Osaka becoming a central hub. So that afternoon after we decided to take the train down south and test out a few of the breweries. In my true snacking nature we got a little appetizer at each place with the beer. Allowing us to taste a few various things. After we had our fill of delicious beer we headed back to Kyoto.

Once back in Kyoto we ventured to a ramen shop for dinner. Most of our evenings consisted of sake and ramen for dinner as Dustin was obsessed with the dish. On this night we found an awesome spot where you had to order at a vending machine outside and bring your ticket into the restaurant to get served. A very common practice in Tokyo, but challenging when the menu is only in Japanese. Thank god for google translator. The ambiance of this place was on point and the food was amazing. Perfect end to our last night in Kyoto. This was by far our favorite ramen stop on the trip and weeks later Dustin is still talking about it.

The next morning was my last day in Japan. I woke up with a ton of energy and decided to go for a run. What started off as a quick 5 mile run ended up being 7 miles as my body felt good and it was nice to move it. I ran all around and through the imperial palace, a short jaunt from our place. Next we headed on the bullet train back to Tokyo where I went with Dustin to check into his next AirBnb. I had to be back in San Francisco for work, but Dustin was tagging on a few more days to explore Tokyo. Our last meal together was at a little restaurant I managed to find which had amazing food and was on the oldest gold fish farm in Tokyo. Not bad for a last minute find and a great end to the trip.

Overall our trip was amazing. It consisted of a lot of sake, beer, ramen, markets, outdoor adventures, and a mass amount of walking. When I say a mass amount on average throughout the trip we walked anywhere from 10-16 miles a day, with our average coming in at 12-13 miles. I left feeling in love with the Japanese culture. The way they approach living. Their cities are clean and safe. People ride bikes without locking them up, kids 6 years old take the subway by themselves to school. Everything a big city should be. Their food is fresh. Their people are polite, respectful and I am now constantly thinking about how I can continue to bring a little bit of Japan into my everyday life. If anyone gets the chance I highly recommend checking it out. Also happy to give any tips and tricks I have. Enjoy!

Advertisements

Topics to Enjoy Over Coffee

img_0714

Happy Monday friends! We finally have a break from all of the rain in San Francisco, therefore I am trying to get in every ray of sunshine I can before the rain comes again. It is amazing how you can take something like sunshine for granted till you don’t have it for a few weeks on end. It has brought a whole new appreciation for mother nature, which is just nice to stop and reflect on.

I am officially 44 days into my Whole 30. I keep debating when I am going to stop. I have a little bit of an addictive personality so it makes it hard to give up something when I start. Watching each day pass onto the next and seeing them all add up to a sum total feels like a big accomplishment.  With that said, I am not feeling all of the amazingness I had hoped I would. Maybe it is just me wanting it to be more then it really is?

At the end of the month I will be heading off to Japan for an 8 day vacation!!  I am planning on eating and drinking all of the food and sake to my hearts content. Therefore I decided I may need to start re-introducing foods this week so I don’t defeat part of the whole goal of Whole 30, to see if you have any food sensitivities. I am also trying to pull back on my fruit intake as I have currently been using it as a crutch for my sugar cravings and frankly eat an absurd amount. Yesterday and today I have gone cold turkey, which may not sound like a huge accomplishment, but trust me it is.  Fingers crossed I can keep up withholding. Goal as of now is to try and be fruit and alcohol free till the trip starts. I am starting  dairy for re-introduction as I just miss my greek yogurt. And if I am giving up fruit a girl has to have something to look forward to!  Then I am thinking gluten free grains and maybe soy and legumes. Will keep you all posted!

Interesting People:

IMG_0712.jpg

Tim Ferris: A couple of weeks ago a couple of us went to see Tim Ferris speak at the Castro Theater. I was introduced to Tim’s work through my partner Dustin as he is a big fan. Tim is best known for being a national best selling author, with his most note worthy book being “The 4-Hour Work Week.” In addition he is an entrepreneur, a pubic speaker, and has been an angel investor. He saw  potential in some of the top companies within Silcone Valley before anyone else did. For instance Facebook, Uber, and Twitter just to name a few. He hosts a weekly podcast, which I love not only for his content but his voice as well. It is just memorizing. Overall he is an impressive man and constantly pushes himself to the limit for self experimentation. It was an informative and inspiring talk and I highly recommend checking him out!

Valentines Day: Although I am attached and very much in love, I have never been a big fan of Valentines Day. Maybe it was all of the years of being single and having to see happy couples celebrate with flowers and expensive dinners, where I spent many years with girlfriends, over drinking, and sharing in all of our awful dating stories. With that said I thought I would share a couple of articles I found interesting this week. And they are not about being madly in love.

Here’s The Porn People Will Be Watching on Valentine’s Day

These New Burger King “Adult Meals” Come With A Toy — And It’s Exactly What You Think

Shocking Valentine’s Day Stats That Will Make You Rethink Your Marketing

Podcast: How I Built This– A friend shared this podcast with me a couple of months ago and I am obsessed! As the website states “How I Built This is a podcast about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity and insight — told by the founders of some of the world’s best known companies and brands. If you’ve ever built something from nothing, something you really care about — or even just dream about it.” I highly reccomend checking it out! My favorite ones thus far are the founders of Instagram, Air BnB, and Patagonia.

How I Built This logo

Whole 30 Week 4 and Workouts

img_0709

A few nights ago I dreamt of a cupcake. I was holding it, looking it up and down, assessing every inch of its deliciousness. It was not your conventional store bought cupcake, oh no. It was a perfectly baked, moist, treat. The flavor was simple, a vanilla cake with what I can only imagine to be cream cheese frosting. My eyes devoured it while my mind started to express the guilt I would feel for eating it, for breaking the Whole 30 rules. I took that first bite and the sugary goodness melted over me like being hit with a ray of sunshine on a summer day. Then I woke up.

A couple of nights later it happened again. This time not with a cupcake, but with alcohol. Whiskey to be precise. A beautiful cocktail in a stemmed glass. I swirled the liquid around, bringing my nose right to the top and smelling all it had to offer. The moral and mental battle raged on again before ultimately the first sip was taken. The warm liquid moved down through my body warming me up from the inside out. I felt calm, relaxed, and happy. Then I woke up.

Now I am not one to dream about food, especially foods I almost never partake in. Maybe once or twice a year I indulge in a cupcake or a whiskey cocktail, but neither are high on my can’t live without list. Which made it that much more interesting to see these treats pop up into my sub concise. My best guess for interpretation is after 28 days of nothing but pure obedience to the rules, my mind feels it is either tired of being so strict or maybe it feels it deserves a reward. Either way I am on the home stretch with 28 days complete and 3 more to go. Right now I am still debating if I want to continue on after the 31 days or start the re-introduction of foods instead. Most likely I will just keep going until something so amazing and tempting comes across my plate I can’t say no.

This week I had the pleasure of actually going to see Melissa Hartwig, the founder of the Whole 30 speak at a book signing. It couldn’t have been better timing since starting the program I have become slightly infatuated with her. It was on Thursday night up in Marin County, a pretty short 25 minute drive from my house over the Golden Gate Bridge. Ideally I would have had a partner in crime to go with me, but it wasn’t in the cards so a solo adventure it became.

img_0707

One of my favorite pastimes is seeing authors speak. I love to hear them describe their work, their passion. Hearing them describe how they came about the eloquent words they spent hours typing. I love the questions the audience asks and seeing how quickly they are able to gather their thoughts to respond back. (Which from personal experience is a pretty nerve racking endeavor.) I ended up being more then pleasantly surprised with Melissa, I was flat out impressed. She was fluid with her thoughts, personable with a happy demeanor, smart, candid, and relatable. After almost an hour of talking and Q&A I waited inline for longer then I should have to get my book signed by her and the other author at the event, Danielle Walker from Against the Grain. What ended up being my huge disappointment of the evening? Asking the stranger behind me to take a photo of us. Is it that hard to get someones whole head in a shot? It was a smart phone, not a complex point and shoot. Oh well, if that was my biggest annoyance of the week it was a good week.

Here is to the last 3 days, hopefully the food dreams will start to calm down. Its making it hard to stay on track!

Workouts:

Sunday: 60 Minute Barre Class at The Dailey Method

Monday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Tuesday: 60 minute Barre Class at The Dailey Method, 30 minute strength training at gym

Wednesday: 65 minute Spinning Class at Body Rok, 20 minutes of  strength training at gym. Technically class was only 45 minutes but I stayed on the bike a bit longer

Thursday: 60 minute Burn Class (mix of weights, cardio, and pilates board)

Friday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok. I was looking forward to this class all week! Not only was it taught by my favorite instructor in SF, but it was also an 80’s themed ride!

Saturday: 46 minute 7.10 mile run

Whole 30 Week 2 and Workouts

img_0698

Just last week I sat perched in one of my favorite neighborhood coffee shops writing my first Whole30 post feeling inspired. As I sipped on my decaf coffee with my Whole30 approved nutpod creamer, now a staple in my oversized purse, I felt confident, in control, and motivated. Sure I had been ravenous with hunger all week and yes I had been snacking way too much, but I was eating whole nourishing foods, most of which was prepared by my own two hands. I looked forward to the days ahead where if history repeated itself I would be feeling amazing and questioning why I ever ate any other way. As I write today, feeling annoyed and slightly discouraged,  I can’t help but think what a difference a week can make.

What happened in a week you might ask? Two words, Orlando Flordia. Yep, I had my first work trip of the year. Now managing eating healthy while traveling is nothing new to me. Years ago I embraced being “that girl” who had almost an entire carry on bag with homemade meals and snacks to last me through a good chunk of my trip. I am also quite skillful at researching what is around my hotels and typically have my workouts and grocery store lined up in order to prep for the week. Going into this trip I found one of my favorite barre studios along with a Whole Foods half a mile from the Hotel. As I boarded my plane on Monday, bag full of food in hand, I thought this week was going to be a breeze!

The first day was just that, a breeze. I had my  pre-made snacks and found an awesome all veggie salad at the airport from one of my favorite restaurants in the city Plant Organic Cafe.  I dressed the salad with my carry on sized coconut aminos, saving some calories from the high caloric dressing included with the salad. Upon arriving to the hotel I un-packed and headed over to Whole Foods. I walked up and down the islets at the hot food bar reading every items ingredients thoroughly as if I was going to be tested on it later. As I passed by each delicious looking veggie or meat dish I found there was either soy, dairy, or sugar hiding in it. I gradually became more and more annoyed with the fewer and fewer options I had to eat. Must we cook everything in soy or add sugar!  But at last I found some good options and went back to my hotel room to eat, watch Netflix, and prepare for the couple of long days ahead of me.

Day 2 started fine. I brought breakfast and lunch with me, a combo of groceries from Whole Foods and snacks I had brought with me. Later that evening my team wanted to go out to dinner. I of course wanted to be a good sport and spend time with them, regardless of my dietary needs. I was determined to make it work! At the restaurant I did my do diligence. I asked for the gluten free menu and after reading it thoroughly landed on the chicken lettuce cups with cashew cheese and a couple of sides of steamed veggies. As soon as the waiter laid down the beautiful plate in front of me I took one look at the chicken and knew there was some sort of sauce on it which would not be compliant. I had to be “that girl” and send it back t to be replaced with plain grilled chicken. I left the restaurant feeling proud of myself, I had navigated through my first dining experience out.

Later that evening as I laid in bed my stomach started to feel off. I decided to go online and look at the menu again just to make sure. Apparently the regular menu had more details then the gluten free and right there with the cashew cheese it said peanuts and soy sauce. Um not ok! What if someone who was gluten free also had a peanut allergy, it would have been nice for them to include that information in the regular menu.  Immediately my heart sank. The Whole 30 rules are very strict. You break a rule you start over, no matter what.

I sat there contemplating and debating back and forth on whether I follow the rules or carry on. Starting over meant the last 10 days would have been wasted. The sauce was on the side and I hardly used it, but rules are rules. However this was not a personal slip or from a lack of trying or lack of willpower. I was annoyed, but finally I decided I would just march on as if nothing had happened. I needed to feel motivated to keep going and giving up the last 10 days was not going to do it. Plus I figured at day 30 I could just add one more day. Then after that day, I will add on one more, and so on until hopefully I could make up the extra 10 days.

The rest of the trip and week ended up being smooth, as I just stuck to the meal prep I had. However I started to feel bored with what I was eating and frustrated in how every restaurant prepared food. As the week started to come to a close my emotions started to take a tole. I was now 13 days into the program and not feeling the amazingness I felt by this time on the last go around. Maybe it was the slip up I had, maybe it was the 3 hour time change with the trip, maybe it was the serious sleep deprivation, either way I was not feeling the ease of motivation to continue. Luckily I am pretty determined so once I set my mind to something I will see it through. Although it does make it a hell of a lot easier when you feel like you are getting something out of it. Oh well, now I am just hoping with this next week the tides will change and my body will become the amazing temple I know it can be.

Workouts:

Sunday: Rest Day

Monday: 55 minute spinning class at Uforia Studio.

Tuesday: 40 minute 6 mile Run. Plus LOTS of extra walking today

Wednesday: 60 minute Pure Barre Class. 1 mile run. 20 minute heavy weight set.

Thursday: 60 minute Pure Barre Class. Was going to run, but woke up with my legs extremely tired after walking 13+miles the day before on top of my workout. I am trying to do a better job of listening to my body.

Friday: 55 minute spinning class at Lavation. This studio is not my favorite, but is only a half mile from my house. Proximity just wins sometimes.

Saturday: 60 minute Burn Class. Burn is a mix of cardio ( burpees, mountain climbers, sprints, etc.) plus weights, and a pilates board with bands. Great full body workout

Welcome to December, Let’s Chat!

 

coffee

Happy Friday! I thought it would be fun to share some things I am finding interesting, thought provoking, or just simply fun this week. Enjoy!

I love reading and I love celebrities, so when you have celebrity’s who write books, there is a good chance I am going to read it. Luckily celebrity memoir’s and health/fitness/beauty books have become very trendy so there does not seem to be any lack of content out there. Last night I went to an event by Book Passage to see Anna Kendrick talk about her new book, “Scrappy Little Nobody.” I find it fascinating to watch celebrities in real life. We become so accustomed to the characters they portray on our TV’s or on the big screen and can easily forget that is not who they are as people.  Anna seemed to be exactly what you would expect. Bubbly, confident, full of energy, funny, she was non-stop throwing out zingers and one liners to the audience, however it seemed to be following a well rehearsed “real life” her. I left wondering if there was much authenticity or was it just the version of herself she wanted portrayed. Either way I have yet to read the book, but I imagine it is going to be amusing and filled with lot’s of humor.

Patagonia’s Black Friday sales hit $10 million — and will donate it all–  You know how people have spirit animals? Well for me, Patagonia is my spirit company. I dont know what it is about the brand, especially since I tend to be brand-agnostic, but I have always loved them. My crush started in high school. Anytime I saw anyone was wearing Patagonia I felt like they must be the most adventurous or authentic person out there. In college the admiration continued. I did a whole independent research symposium on outdoor retailers and their efforts on sustainability, which without dating myself was prior to anyone knowing the “Sustainability.” To no surprise Patagonia was leading the pack with all of the efforts. Next I read Yvon Chouinard’s book  “Let My People Go Surfing” right upon it’s release in 2005, fascinated by the man behind the brand. Which if you have not read it I highly recommend! Patagonia continues to impress me as a company. They have a clear cut vision and purpose, which is acted on continuously in their business practices. This year they made headlines by pledging to donate everything they made on Black Friday to help fund over 100 environmentally friendly companies around the world. Now that is something to be inspired about this holiday season!

9 Delicious & Gorgeous Bay Area Cookbooks to Gift This Holiday Season– I love cookbooks! I think there are two types of people when it comes to cookbooks. Those who use them religiously when cooking and try every recipe they can. And then  the second group of people like me who will try maybe a recipe or two, but mainly buy them to look through all of the pretty pictures and keep on a bookshelf to show off. Here is a list of beautiful books for either gifting to yourself or others all from local chefs.

ModCloth’s First Store Is Exactly What Shopping Should Be– This article appealed to me on a few different levels. The first being I work in eCommerce and daily research articles describing what is moving and happening within the segment. Second Modcloth is partially based in San Francisco, so again I found this interesting as the company is close to home. Lastly I personally found it very easy to relate to based on my own personal experiences. 9 years ago I had my first trip ever to Las Vegas with 2 of my girlfriends. Upon landing and checking into our hotel, we decided to go out shopping and find new outfits to wear out for the evening. My girlfriends became ecstatic when we passed by Betsy Johnson. They ran in, grabbing beautiful dresses off of the rack to try on. My stomach dropped before even entering the store. I knew there was not going to be anything in my size, which at the time was a 12-14.  As my girlfriends came out of the fitting rooms sporting their size 4 figures, they looked at me puzzled. Why was I not trying on dresses? I simply explained nothing was really my style and therefore was just passing. This was a bold faced lie! I loved all of the dresses. They were beautiful and it hurt me to not be able to try them on with my friends. Mod Cloth is looking to create a shopping space where all women can feel confident, sexy, and equal. This is a concept I can get behind. It is these small things that may seem insignificant to some, but can be make or break another someone else.

2013-07-29-KALE_original1

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 10/22/15

Crossing the Finish Line 25 Pounds Lighter– I love reading personal stories about health and fitness. The struggles people go through, how they overcome them. There is something so comforting about knowing you are not alone out there. To hear others face similar struggles as yourself just makes you feel connected. This story is just that, a personal struggle with re-finding the inner athlete.

Neurogastronomy 101: The Science of Taste Perception-I loved this article, very fascinating. “This new science, called neurogastronomy, merges the science and culinary worlds by studying the human brain and the behavior that influences how we experience eating and drinking. Essentially, neurogastronomy shakes up how we look at food and taste: Instead of investigating how researchers can alter the taste of food by re-engineering what we eat, this science concentrates on how we can re-wire the brain to perceive food differently.”

How Agriculture Controls Nutrition Guidelines– “For the first time ever, the expert panel had included in its recommendations some mention of sustainability, acknowledging that questions about human nutrition cannot be divorced from the logistics of how this nutrition is procured. It is impossible to keep politics out of nutrition, as long as nutrition is still received via food, and food is still a good that is produced and consumed.”

McDonald’s just committed to 100% cage-free eggs– I came across this article last month and thought it would be a great one to post. Alas life has been a bit busy and because of that I have not posted as many articles as I would like. However I thought this article was still relevant and worthwhile to read. I am a big advocate on big companies making changes.”The super-sized chain announced that it would fully transition its Canadian and American egg supply to cage-free eggs over the next 10 years. The chain attributed the change to consumer preferences.'”

 

2013-07-29-KALE_original1

 

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 09/08/15

What Science Can Teach Us About Flexibility– A friend of mine sent this article over  to me the other week and with how busy life has been I am just now getting around to reading it. It is a rather long and science based article, but has a lot of really good information on stretching and flexibility. “In yoga, “flexibility” is an attitude that invests and transforms the mind as well as the body. But in Western, physiological terms, “flexibility” is just the ability to move muscles and joints through their complete range. It’s an ability we’re born with, but that most of us lose. “Our lives are restricted and sedentary, so our bodies get lazy, muscles atrophy, and our joints settle into a limited range.”

Why Are Millennials So Obsessed With Food?- It is true, my generation loves food. Living in San Francisco it is part of your DNA to have food be a major part of your life. Now I am not just talking about any kind of food. I am talking about organic, natural, flavorful, unique food. We are spoiled to live in a city where there is a million in one amazing places to eat at. Everything is an experience, from the taste to the way a dish is plated. “In a digital-first era, many people latch onto food as something that engages all of the senses and brings people together in physical space.”

5 Ways to Think Yourself Skinny: The Harvard Study That’ll Shock You–  Being mindful is important. It not only helps you to be present, but it helps to make sure you are really in tune with your body. “Your mindset mediates the connection between exercise and health — that you may not be reaping the full mental and physical benefits of the “exercise” you do each day, but that, with some mental practice, you can totally lower your BMI, blood pressure, etc.”

6 Things To STOP Doing If You Want To Lose Weight”– I read this article and throughout it kept thinking to myself, “Yep this is all true and makes perfect sense. Why dont I do more of this?” It is good to check in sometimes with yourself, great tips!

5 Ways to Pack a Better Work Lunch– I bring my breakfast and lunch every day to work, well 95% of the time. It does get tough figuring out ways to spice it up and keep it healthy. Once you get into a routine though it does make it a lot easier. This article has some solid tips in it.

2013-07-29-KALE_original1

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 08/08/15

Stunning Photos From Around The World Bring Yoga Poses To Life– If you are like myself you are fascinated with beautiful images. Obviously with the popularity of social networking apps like Instagram, people are a fan of sharing and looking at photos. I for one love photos of people doing beautiful fitness poses. This article is all beautiful images of stunning yoga poses around the world.

The Makeup Tax-I have never paused to sit and think about how makeup affects my life. I really enjoyed this article for making me think about something in a new way. “Makeup, in short, is a norm, and nothing ruins a first impression like a norm violation. Some women contend they only wear makeup to “boost their confidence,” but the reason they feel less confident when they don’t wear it is that there’s an expectation they will. Makeup, in short, is a norm, and nothing ruins a first impression like a norm violation. One study found that participants were more likely to award “prestigious jobs” to women who were made up than to the same women when their faces were unadorned. Male (but not female) restaurant patrons tip morewhen female waitresses wear makeup.”

Choosing the Right Running Shoes– I for one know the importance of having the right running shoes. Shoes that do not fit well can very easily cause injury. I know this from first hand experience. “Perhaps most unexpected, running shoes designed to somehow “fix” someone’s running form turned out often to be ineffective and even counter-productive. In a series of studies, when military recruits were assigned running shoes meant to control their particular level of pronation, those soldiers were as likely, or even more so, to sustain running-related injuries than soldiers given shoes at random.”

The Evidence Supports Artificial Sweeteners Over Sugar– The sugar debate is one that is very interesting. This is the first article I have read supporting artificial sugar over regular sugar. It is hard to know what is true when there are so many articles out there contradicting one another. What I gather from it all is to just limit my added sugar consumption. “The available evidence points to the fact that there appears to be a correlation between sugar consumption and health problems; none can be detected with artificial sweeteners.”

Whole Foods Launches Store For Broke People– Business and Health, two of my favorite topics to read. This article is short, but interesting on how Whole Foods is looking to re-gain sales and marketshare. “Walter Robb, co-CEO wrote, “[W]e are excited to announce the launch of a new, uniquely-branded store concept unlike anything that currently exists in the marketplace. Offering our industry leading standards at value prices, this new format will feature a modern, streamlined design, innovative technology and a curated selection. It will deliver a convenient, transparent, and values-oriented experience geared toward millennial shoppers, while appealing to anyone looking for high-quality fresh food at great prices.”

2013-07-29-KALE_original1

 

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 07/14/15

Shoppers Buy More Junk Food When They Bring Their Own Bags– Of course living in a city where you are pretty much required to bring your own bag everywhere you go, seeing this article sparked my interest. There are some pretty interesting facts in this short article. “They found that people are 13 percent more likely to buy organic products when they bring their own bags—and they’re also 7 percent more likely to buy junk food, such as chips and cookies.”

Too much to drink? Apps, devices could help-We use our smartphones for everything. Tracking our steps, how much we eat, where we are, so it only makes sense we would start to use them to track our booze intake. This article showcases some of the new technology and apps related to tracking alcohol consumption.

No More Red 40! General Mills Gets Rid of Artificial Coloring From Cereals– Just a quick article on how companies are moving away from artifical coloring and starting to use more real ingredients. It is about time.

In Defense of Fruit for Dessert-I really enjoyed reading this article. It takes the authors past and show’s how we can think about dessert outside of the normal cookies and cakes. I for one probably eat more fruit a day then a human should, but I just love the stuff!

How to make fruits and veggies last-Now that we go to the farmers market almost every week it is important to know how to store and take care of fresh produce. This article has some great tips, I for one am going to start practicing some of these when I get home.

2013-07-29-KALE_original1

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 07/05/15

Why We Get Sick and How To Get Well– I found Chris Kresser from my incredibly knowledgeable boyfriend. The more I read his stuff the more impressed I am. I for one started to see a holistic doctor last year as I felt I was not getting what I needed from my western doctor. Regardless of your opinion it is interesting to read.  “The modern diet, lifestyle, and environment affect the expression of our genes and lead to pathology, which in turn cause disease and symptoms in the patient.” “In conventional medicine, the focus is often on diseases and the symptoms; it works “from the outside in. In functional medicine, however, we work “from the inside out”.

How Caffeine Is Removed from Coffee– It was about 6 months ago I switched from drinking regular coffee to decaf only in an effort to help support a loved one kick the caffeine habit. I for one have never felt much of a “jolt” from caffeine. I could have a cup of joe right before bed and fall asleep just fine. Moving to decaf was not a problem, as long as I was able to continue to get that taste I loved so much then I was good. One thing I did find when I swapped though was how much better I started sleeping through the night. I used to wake up multiple times throughout the evening, but once I made the switch I woke up minimally. Currently after hearing some research that decaffeinated coffee might not be the best I am re-thinking, however I stumbled upon this article and thought it was interesting to share on how decaf becomes decaf.

Trick your brain to avoid ‘portion distortion’– Learning proper portion sizes and how to indulge appropriately are easier said then done. This article gives some tips on learning how to do proper portions. “Portion control isn’t about depriving yourself — it’s about eating just enough to stay fueled and full. The key to success: Don’t follow every tip about portion control that you hear. It’s really about finding the select techniques that fit your personality, sticking with them and enjoying the benefits.”

Don’t Worry So Much About Whether Your Food Is ‘Processed’– I for one even get confused on what “processed” food technically is. This article is just matter of fact, eat more fruit regardless. It is simple and easy to get. “I think it’s interesting, even the question ‘fresh versus processed’… as though they were opposites,” he said. “You can have something that’s fresh and processed and something that’s fresh and not processed.”

This Is How Your Face Changes After 30 Days of Drinking Water– I for one have been trying to drink more water. For my body and how much I work out I need 2-3 liters a day. Some days it is super easy, other days more challenging. I find if I am not keeping track then it is easy to not get enough. Not sure how credible pop sugar is, but after seeing this article it is making me become more religious about trying to drink more water.

2013-07-29-KALE_original1