E2:🌭 Lazy Exercise, Hot Dog Love Letter

Plus: croissant hybrids, brain training, 'cage' and 'free-range' eggs, explained

Good morning! Starting with a shout-out to all of you, for being loyal subscribers. We can’t express enough how much we appreciate your support. Also, we wanted to ask a quick favor since we’re in growth and relaunch mode: would you be able to share this newsletter with a couple like-minded friends who would love it? As a reward, whomever has the most referrals by next Wednesday will win a $100 Amazon card.*

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Get ready for today’s diet of healthy, snackable news: we’re dedicated to providing valuable (and entertaining) need-to-know items that can help improve your morning/day/week/life. What we’re covering:

  • Is the couch (or your house) the new gym? How the seemingly laziest workouts—or just everyday movement—can have major benefits, too

  • This year’s ranking of ballpark eats, the best/worst types of hot dogs, and…our all-star, all-time fave plant-based snack is back at Fenway Park and Tropicana Field

  • Looking at snackanomics, why are croissant hybrids endlessly appealing? 

Move it

Turns out, lazy exercise is actually pretty good

Photo by Mollie Sivaram for Unsplash

Anyone else procrastinate going to the gym and decide to start their least favorite household chore when it’s time to leave? If that’s you (above), and you realllly don’t want to work out, you probably never really will. But guess what? You can exercise without even knowing it, and because the home has become a focal point for overall wellbeing, what better place to start than your couch.

The point is that even doing lots of small, seemingly insignificant movements is better than nothing at all. And this is great news for Gen Z, or anyone who might have Gen Z tendencies, since they’re not into all-or-nothing fixes and much prefer a more sustainable, “snackable” routine. So, here’s the lowdown, nice and slow just as you like it.

  • The Washington Post goes so far as to say that small exercise bursts might be “better than your regular workout.” This is good.

  • If you must bed-rot on occasion, go at it, but even the laziest of us can muster up enough energy for these five trainer-approved exercises that can be done on the bed or couch. For the slightly more advanced and energetic, Well+Good proposes this “couch workout,” which actually has you using the couch as opposed just lying on it.

  • According to Nerd Fitness, among the 45 exercises you may not have realized can burn calories are: fidgeting (up to 350 calories), geocaching (reminder: we are quoting Nerd Fitness), and sitting in a squat while watching TV or answering emails.

  • We’ve also learned the importance of stretching, for everyone, and Men’s Health offers this fantastic four-minute morning stretching routine. Seize the day, they say, by doing it within 10 minutes of waking up. (If not, you probably won’t get it done.)

  • Add to cart**: We own one of these foam rollers and can attest to its ability to make a high impact despite being such a low-tech item. Case in point: We had some knee pain recently, and after learning about “foam rolling for knee pain,” and following the workout for a couple of weeks, it went away. Also does wonders for low back pain and sciatica. Truth! To make it super easy, here’s our fave bundle of foam rollers. 

**While we only write about products that we genuinely love and have tried, if you purchase something linked in The Skinny, we may get an affiliate commission—but at no additional cost to you.

“The best exercise program is the one you actually do.”

Nerd Fitness
Seventh inning snacking

The best ballparks for food, ranked (plus, a hot dog explainer) 

Sausage & Pepper plant-based Bing, photo courtesy of MingsBings

Baseball season is now in full swing, and the excitement of discovering new stadium eats is right up there with our love of the game. We were beyond excited to see that our all-time fave, all-star plant-based snack—MingsBings—are available this season at Fenway Park and Tropicana Field. For those not in the know, these frozen East-meets-West mini-meals are created by Chef Ming Tsai and are known for their crispy rice-wrapper deliciousness. The plant-based cheeseburger and sausage & pepper options are available at the ballparks, but the brand also recently introduced meat versions (and the Buffalo Chicken will be at Fenway as well). All gluten-free. Finally, on their website is a pop-up offer for a FREE box of bings with the purchase of two (so easy – just text your receipt from any retailer, and they’ll Venmo you). 

Beyond Bings, excited to report that the 2024 best baseball stadium food report is out (see if you can guess the top three). As expected, many stadiums are serving up local specialties such as elote street corn at Petco Park, pierogies at Cleveland’s Progressive Park, beer cheese soup at American Family Field, and crab cakes at Nationals Park and Camden Yards (which also come in egg roll form at the latter). And naturally, stadiums in Chicago and others have their unique hot dog offerings as well. 

Now, let’s be frank: Hot dogs end up on pretty much every “unhealthiest” food list. That’s just how they roll, but WE LOVE DOGS and we’re not giving them up. As with everything, moderation is key (a once-in-a-while guilty pleasure), and—if you’re smart—you can make choices so they’re less-unhealthy. 

What to look for (according to the HuffPo article linked below): Dogs that are made of whole beef, turkey or chicken and that have less than 20% of sodium DV per serving or listed as “uncured” or “nitrate-free.” What to avoid? Anything labeled “ballpark” (sorry, ballparks), mystery additives/preservatives or evidence of byproducts and mechanically processed meats. In this list of the best (dietician-approved) and worst brands, you might be surprised to see that some of the “meatless” varieties are also on the “no” list.

What’s in a name

Will we ever stop waiting in line for croissants? 

Photo by La Miko for Pexels

You’ve seen the headlines: “Crookie craze grips NYC,” “The $50 cereal that looks good enough to justify the cost,” and “Cronuts still taking the city by storm 10 years later.” We get it—a proper croissant, in its flaky, buttery and sublime goodness, is delicious. And the media, and consumers on social media, love unique and oversized/undersized versions of classics (such as the XXL and the adorbs mini croissant cereal from Brooklyn’s L’Appartement 4F). But, according to this fascinating BBC story, the croissant has a “surprisingly complicated” history including origins in Austria, not France. Give it a full read, to not only learn about the Cronut, but also the Cruffin, Crombolini, and the latest—the Crookie. Some fun facts that we learned: 

  • Croissants that are straight and more “rugby ball-shaped” (as above) are made with butter, while “croissants ordinaires” are crescent-shaped and made with margarine 

  • They are made via a lamination technique, where dough is “folded around sheets of butter, creating 27 layers of butter encased in 28 layers of dough”

  • Croissants are categorized as neither bread (pain) nor pastry (pâtisserie), but rather viennoiserie (a nod to their origin)

OHM, THERE'S MORE

This week’s newsfeed

  • Au revoir, ​​Boisson? The NA spirits retailer announced that it will be closing its retail doors. More on this in an upcoming edition

  •  Our crystal ball: We predict that “brain training” will go mainstream as a part of one’s overall health & wellness regimen. Stress brain is no joke, and neither are the effects of cognitive decline on your overall well-being and life satisfaction

  • Shake Shack clucks back: Chick-Fil-A recently announced that it was dropping its “no antibiotics ever” policy, and Shake Shack has responded with a free Chicken Shack offer every Sunday this month (“so you can eat more antibiotic-free chicken”). Spoon University gives the scoop and how to redeem the offer

  • Eggstra: Following up on last week’s egg items, we realized there is more to discuss! Namely, what to know about food safety during bird flu. Also, The Hustle, in its “What’s the Catch?” series, looks at “cage-free” and “free-range” eggs, and why you might be wasting your hard-earned cash

  •  Fast follow: Affable train enthusiast Francis Bourgeois, who also may or may not be a Gucci model. We are all about the calming benefits of train travel, and here’s a new European sleeper train to check out