By Amy Carroll
Want to cut the crap? – Crappy food, that is.
What if, over the next few weeks, you cut processed foods, refined grains, added sugar, and trans fats from your diet? What if your every plate of food was abundant with local and organic plant fiber – and high in good fats, proteins, and vitamins? What if your pantry was stocked with nutritious ingredients for breakfasts, snacks, and salads? And what if, in this crap-cutting future of yours, meals will not only be prepared for you – but will be tasty, and do a ton of good stuff for your body?
A play on “You’ll feel better,” their name is both portmanteau and promise of their 28-day ReBoot program, E28. “I was born to tackle the challenge of making it easy to eat beans and greens,” says Founder and CEO Nadja Pinnavaia, Ph.D.
With a background in quantum chemistry, nutrition, and finance, and then-recent loss of immediate family from smoking, Pinnavaia says her OMG moment arrived a few years back to devise Euphebe in equal parts nutrition science and coaching. She devised a whole-foods and plant-based reboot and coaching plan, to give the brain what it needs to work for your body, and to achieve looking and feeling better.
I was not on top of the whole making-healthful-food-choices thing last year when contemplating E28. I lacked counter space and time – I had way more excuses than good intentions. Did I want to feel better? Sure. But in a typical week, how much neuro-space would I commit to follow-through? With Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the U.S. presidential election coming up, what could go wrong?
In spite of these portents of doom and belated grocery shopping and aversion to stepping on scales, I found my pre-holiday two-week Euphebe ReBoot to be fairly foolproof by design – Even for me.
Why grocery shop if Euphebe provides the food? The list of about 30 grocery items, I soon learned was for basic kitchen staples the nutritionists recommend, so you can prepare your own breakfast, snacks, and dinner salads.
And why bother with a scale if you just want to feel better? (My first stubborn minimalist thought.) I can tell you now: when you receive an email from Coach E explaining Set Points – your metabolic equilibrium – Upon learning how your stubborn old number can drop for you in week 2 or 3 to a new Set Point, you will be glad you have a scale.
What’s for Dinner?
On my Monday start, I met Pinnavaia, and Kayleen St. John, Euphebe’s Executive Director of Nutrition and Strategic Development, smiling from the canopied side of their truck, wearing shades and and brimming with good juju. Each evoking down-to-earth scientist. They gave me a cooler tote emblazoned with “Cut The Crap” and packed with the week’s meals.
The portioned six lunches and six dinners unpacked easily at home. I lined them up like neat nutritional soldiers in the freezer, and set about warming a creamy broccoli soup. Its label listed ingredients and a nutrition note: “Nearly 3 times your daily vitamin C suggested requirement.” Spiked with dijon mustard and one of my favorite spices, paprika, the taste and hearty liquid-to-solid ratio from the broccoli and cauliflower hit the spot. I was a convert.
My list of favorite dishes grew to include a wild mushroom farrotto (farro, made to mimic risotto), a sweet potato and bell pepper burrito, a spelt fusilli with bolognese, and a mushroom and black bean quesadilla. And kale was a mad-good choice to put in a tart. I had some challenges, too: a restaurant bread basket, raw sugar for hot cocoa, and wine. Red wine on election night – That was okay, right?
Over the weeks I drank more tea and water than usual, welcomed breakfasts such as egg on sprouted toast, and oatmeal with almond slivers, vanilla, and almond milk, and snacked on pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and dried fruit.
Handy email tips and FAQs from Coach E covered topics like coffee, dairy, meat, and sweeteners; eating out; salad rules for dinner; triggers for old habits; and demystified the three types of carbohydrates.
A Happy Satisfied Brain
One email explained the typical 2-hour “Crappy Food Cycle.” In absence of sufficient nutrients and fiber, we tend to: “Eat. Crash. Hunger. Eat More.” When deprived of proper nutrition, Coach E explained, the brain generates ghrelin, the hunger hormone, to prompt further food consumption. When sugar is introduced, dopamine is added to the equation, a key driver of addiction.
In contrast, she offered the four-to-five hour “Real Food Cycle.” When we eat whole foods and plants, there is a slow release of nutrients to the brain. This gives off leptin, the satiety hormone, resulting in a “happy, satisfied brain,” and a “better feeling and looking body.”
Did this explain my newfound snacking on raw spinach?
“Eighty percent of wellness is driven by diet,” Pinnavaia says. Beyond this huge nutritional benefit, and solving your I-don’t-have-time excuses, there is something profoundly nurturing in having someone preparing your meals. If you have ever been fortunate enough to receive that kind of care, you may know it again with the benevolent Coach E. And be warned, a rush of gratitude can come from it.
To learn more about and get in on the next E28 ReBoot starting Monday, March 13, or March 27, go to http://www.euphebe.com/ – and use the code “BeautyNews” (no space) good for $50 off a ReBoot! (new customers only, valid until March 31, 2017).