On July 24th the Rhythm Superfoods team stepped away from our desks to enjoy some of our favorite parts of Austin and beyond. Our mini retreat was filled with great food, team bonding and learning more about some of our favorite superfoods!
We started the morning off at the Rhythm office enjoying breakfast tacos from Torchy’s Tacos before driving to our first stop, Boggy Creek Farm. Located in East Austin, Boggy Creek Farm is one of the country’s first urban farms and home to one of the oldest existing homes in Austin. Fun fact, Austin use to be the spinach capital of the U.S.! Our friends at Boggy Creek Farm generously gave us some okra and cucumbers to enjoy in the office. We also learned that many Austin restaurants source their produce from Boggy Creek Farm. It’s great to be reminded that the community of Austin shares our passion for fruits and vegetables and a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
After our morning stop at the farm, we headed to CB’s Lounge at Stubb’s to dive deeper into what it means to be a part of the Rhythm Superfoods team. The team tasted some exciting new snacks while thinking about how we can better ourselves individually (challenging each other to improve our gardening skills with a gardening challenge) and as a team. Of course, our next activity also involved food because our team loves to eat. We watched (and later tasted) a fun and informative cooking demo from The Naked Bite, an organization focused on teaching and catering “plant forward” meals. Chef Amber taught us how to make raw cacao nut truffles and spicy tropical cauliflower ceviche with coconut milk and peanuts – both delicious vegan items!
Next we hopped on a duck boat for a tour of the city by land and water as we learned about the history of downtown Austin on our way to the water. The heat didn’t stop us from seeing some of Austin’s greatest sights including the Historic Sixth Street, the State Capitol Building, the Governor’s mansion and the beautiful Lake Austin.
Back on land, we headed out of Austin to Dripping Springs Hill Country Casitas. We continued our theme of learning about growing produce with a trip to Hawk’s Shadow Winery. Our curious team had lots of questions on the process of making wine. We enjoyed great views of the Texas Hill Country with our wine tasting and appetizers from Gourmet Gals. I especially enjoyed the beet & hummus bruschetta featuring our Naked Beet Chips! The team enjoyed a delicious dinner and catching up with old (and new) team members.
The next morning over breakfast we brainstormed innovative superfood snack products and flavors and ways to make our current products even better. We are so grateful that our team shares a passion for eating right with snacks that are both flavorful and nutrient dense. We are already looking forward to learning more about growing produce and enjoying great food and company at our next retreat!
…a follow up to “My Health Journey“.
It’s been over 90 days since Rhythm Superfoods CEO Scott Jensen went back on Rip Esselstyn’s Engine 2 Diet so we followed up with him to find out how things were going.
A: I feel really good! I think most people who go through a fitness or health commitment needs reinforcements early on to keep them going before it becomes habitual. Someone who works out all the time has made it a habit: wake up, workout, etc. versus someone just starting workouts who has former habits they need to break.
The habit breaking is hard, but you feel it quickly when the weight starts coming off – which right now I’m hovering around 9 lbs. less than where I started. You physically feel that and it’s a reinforcement to keep going. My belts are looser, you start looking through the closet for those old pair of jeans you might fit in again.
And the other side is when you’re carrying weight, you feel it too: getting out of bed, walking, running, or at the end of the day the compression on your knees. Believe it or not, when you are heavier you feel those things. You hear these clichés about being “in tune” with your body and when you are heavier than you want to be, you don’t talk about it as much, but you do feel those things.
Then suddenly you start shedding the weight and you notice there are less aches and pains. I feel more agile when I’m kicking the soccer ball with my kids. And I feel that with just 9 lbs. off…I want to lose another 20lbs.
The first couple of weeks, I was way more tired particularly from the change in the diet. I found myself unprepared for protein solutions, so the carbohydrates are giving you these quick ups and downs and adding the workout part of it meant I wasn’t prepared for how tired I was going to be. But you do see a swing where you figure things out and the workout energizes you and you start feeling more energy later in the day. So…it takes a commitment and a belief system that you’re going to see it on the other side of the tunnel. And that’s happening.
A: I’m really busy and keep a very full schedule. Trade shows, customer meetings, broker meetings…all that stuff is part of my life and those are habits too. Your calendar is what it is, and you’re involved in all these things, and you realize 85% of places that you’d normally grab a bite don’t have the things that you’re going to need. I don’t want to say that it’s not there. But because it was a habit, I’d look at the menu and not even realize that a ton of places have a vegan menu – even if it’s a separate menu, particularly in Austin and other larger cities. I found it difficult to be prepared with plant-based protein sources during travels. Whether it’s almonds or a No Cow Bar, you need the protein to level out your energy. Vega Protein Powder with rice milk has been a quick fix when I’m at home, but it’s hard to travel with. Also, I just didn’t prepare for that and wasn’t sure which powders I’d like so I tried several things over the first few weeks that I didn’t like.
Meals in the house were something I was accountable for, so the challenge was “what do I like that’s available?” Compared to when I first did this diet 7+ years ago, there weren’t many vegan options for quick meals versus how many options are available now. Rip’s focus is on cooking meals yourself, but because I’m on the run a lot I needed solutions that were quicker. I needed to adjust and find the things that were going to give me lasting energy throughout the day, so I found my favorites and stuck with those.
A: No Cow Bars, VEGA Protein Powders, Amy’s Kitchen, Gardein, and an Instapot for cooking up some beans and lentils. Trader Joe’s frozen veggie meatballs are also great! I’ve probably only tried 10% of what’s out there, honestly.
A: Besides the average 9 lbs. lower in weight, the bloodwork markers I discussed with my physician are all in a very good direction. LDL down 14%, Glucose down 10%, A1C in the “good” range. Triglycerides didn’t improve, but that could be an anomaly, so we’ll check in 3 more months.
A: Yes! It wasn’t until ~2-3 weeks in because that also needed its own kick-start. My wife started going to Orange Theory Fitness so I started going with her for early morning workouts. I had been a member of an awesome gym, but this just comes down to efficiency. The workout has got to be really close to home. I love the technology of Orange Theory Fitness – heart rate monitor, you see your numbers on the screen, you have splat points, etc. It’s fitting and motivating me. They have some great music too during the 55min workouts. No socializing, just hard work and that’s what’s working for me. Occasionally with a busier travel schedule, I have to shift focus away from workouts at times. When I’m not traveling as much I have more time to get in my workouts.
A: I fancy myself as a chef more than a foodie. I’m pretty good in the kitchen and the grill and I love doing it. The atmosphere of pulling different soup stocks together and creating different meat/protein-based meals, and the deglazing and creating sauces in a pan…I miss that. I miss the flavors. I think with some of the vegetable base stocks that I’ve got, I’m getting that “umami-ness”. There’s an umami mushroom powder that delivers on the savory flavor that you generally get with those other protein-based meals. But I’ve found some solutions, and there are ones that come really close and are satisfying. I also want to try the Beyond Meat Burger and Sausage to see how those compare.
A: Myself with food and my wife Cyndie for the workouts.
A: I’m now committed for another 6 months on this. I’ve had a couple of episodes at restaurants that weren’t on the Engine 2 Diet, but I’ve been able to get back on track immediately thereafter.
A: I still think there are dozens of resources available to motivate people to change their habits. There’s simply not one single way to go about it, so you have to let people find what works best for them and what motivates them. If it’s the infomercial guy, or a doctor letting you know it’s time for a drastic change, or even your friends at work committing to a Whole 30 program together – just find what works for you! There are many habit-changing triggers out there. Be open to the message. There is, however, no miracle pill to fix your health overnight. A moderation of calories (healthy calories) combined with a consistent moderation of exercise activity (in that order) has the greatest effect on most people’s health.
See you in a few months!