E5: 🏝️Vacation Dupes, the Most Filling Foods

Plus, Derby Day nips & noshes, how not to wear socks, chickles

Happy Wednesday! Thank you again for being here, and for being a loyal The Skinny subscriber. 

We’re up and running with today’s diet of healthy, snackable news: as always, dedicated to providing valuable (and entertaining) need-to-know items to help improve your morning/day/week/life. Today’s news includes:

  • Simple weight loss strategies, the latest walking news, and the most filling foods

  • From the Grand Canyon to the South of France, we have the best “vacation dupes”  

  •  Derby Day nips, noshes and fun facts

  • How to simplify your skin care, and how not to wear socks

  • Finally, chickles

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Weight loss made simple

The most filling foods, group fitness trends & the power of walking

Photo by Cocarinne for Pexels

The Skinny: One of us played the weight loss long game and dropped 15 pounds over the course of two years (and kept it off). Here’s how: the not-so-secret formula was a simple combination of routinely eating more vegetables/grains/fruits, walking and/or biking around the city (including a daily 40 minute walk with the dog), climbing a ton of stairs, and generally trying to not sit on our a$$. 

The other one of us went hard-core intermittent fasting to shed 15 of the “Covid 20”.

However, since some of us might need a different method, today we’re outlining some tips and news to absorb and find a formula that works for you. 

Walking: You may be surprised that there used to be a glossy magazine dedicated to this most basic human activity (yes, it was called… WALKING). Here’s what’s new: lofty and often unattainable goals such as 10,000 steps are not advised (or deemed necessary). And The Telegraph, in a story about how to set achievable health goal targets, reported this week about a study showing that “3,967 daily steps reduces an inactive person’s risk of dying from a range of causes.” The experts recommend aiming for 4,000 and working your way up. The more, the better. 

You probably know that you can “walk it off” in terms of stress reduction or weight loss. Lesser known are its abilities to help you sleep better and aid digestion, which—in addition to socializing with friends—is one reason why Italians take a well-heeled passeggiata after every meal.

Finally, include stair-climbing into your walking routine. Strength training is critical for optimal health, and climbing stairs is said to engage every muscle in your legs. Again, The Telegraph is here with the stats: scaling five flights of stairs daily “could reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases by 20 percent.”

Group Fitness: The ’80s = the glory days of fad fitness…when you wore leg warmers in the summer with pride, got your hair done before Jazzercise, and had a “Buns of Steel” mentality. (And behold, Brie Larson in a bitchin’ ’80s workout fit.) Let’s head back there—at least conceptually—as “Group Fitness'' is one of this year’s wellness trends. Today, this looks less like Jazzercise and more like what’s happening at the soon-to-be-opened Othership in NYC, which features a 90-person performance sauna. Also, step aerobics and mini trampolining are back, and Tampa is crushing outdoor group fitness. Sign us up. 

Eat the rainbow: Today’s magic number is 30 when it comes to the variety of plants recommended to eat each week for optimal gut health. However, this explainer from Women’s Health points out several surprising foods that count towards your 30, such as: coffee, olive oil, and chickpeas (our fave pantry powerhouse). Net-net: Eat more plants, lose more weight (and improve your gut health while you’re at it). 

A side salad comeback: But should you eat it before your meal, or after—as conventional wisdom might say you should, since that’s what the French do? Turns out that lettuce is one of several foods – such as whole oats, olives, and (again) chickpeas* – that can naturally help fill you up and curb your appetite. Learn more here (and the answer to the salad question): “Five foods that release the same ‘fullness’ hormone as Ozempic”. 

*Source: First for Women PRINT copy that we flipped through at Grandma’s house

Crème de la Skinny  

The ‘vacation dupe’ trend is everything

Photo by Sara Free for Pexels

The Skinny: Welcome to a new section, where we single out “the best of the best” out there, whether it’s a recipe, beauty tip, hack, meme, product, destination…whatever. Anything goes, and you know it will be our signature combination of high- and low-brow selects. If you have something to recommend for consideration, we’d love to hear about it. 

Today we are traveling through the vacation dupe trend, and what’s not to love? The Skinny on this is that savvy travelers, who want to steer clear of “overtourism” and crowds, are seeking out “dupe” destinations for the same-old, same-old spots. This saves money, since the popular spots are also usually the most expensive, but these also provide a more authentic, enjoyable experience. So, whether you want to stay in the U.S.A. (which BTW, ranked No. 1 on The Telegraph’s “World’s Most Beautiful Country” ranking that came out this week) or travel abroad, here’s the scoop on dupes. 

  • The best “European-like” spots in the U.S. include: Helen, Georgia (Germany); Charleston, SC (Southern France); Boone, NC (Ireland/Scotland); and St. Augustine, FL (Spain). Note – we are not 100% on board with this article’s nomination of Vail, CO for the Swiss Alps. One of us lives in Vail, and while we love it and do see some of the comparisons, an Instagram reel—with 317K views—makes a case that skiing in Switzerland is cheaper than Colorado. Many chimed in to disagree (special shout-out to the commenter upset that she “attacked the chicken tendies for no reason”), but worth researching when planning next year’s ski trip. Also worth a look;  Ouray, Colorado, the official “Little Switzerland of the U.S.A.” 

  • Nat Geo travels far and wide for this list of “go here, not there” dupes, such as Lake Atitlán, Guatemala (Lake Como), Tasmania’s Southern Lights (Scandinavian Northern Lights) and Letchworth State Park (the Grand Canyon).

The downside could be that some of these spots might then become overcrowded themselves. But, as a The Skinny reader, you’ll be one step ahead of everyone else and onto the next and better dupe destination.

Derby Day  

Nips & noshes for the most exciting two minutes in sports

Photo courtesy of Woodford Reserve

To drink: Obviously, a Mint Julep (120,000 of them are consumed at the Derby each year). Woodford Reserve, the official Bourbon of the Derby, offers this recipe for the perfect julep. The secret, says Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall, is to rub the glass with mint leaves first, to allow them to express.

Woodford Reserve Classic Mint Julep

  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey

  • 1/2 ounce Woodford Reserve® Mint Julep Cocktail Syrup

  • 3 fresh mint leaves

  • Crushed ice

Express the essential oils in the mint and rub them inside the glass.  To the same glass, add simple syrup, bourbon and crushed ice.  Stir. Garnish with more ice and fresh mint (the two “most important” ingredients being the crushed ice and fresh mint) and powdered sugar. Must-purchase: This OXO muddler, which has been tested/approved by a subscriber.

Fun fact: According to McCall, Woodford Reserve is crafted with the same “nutrient rich water that gives good flavor, and makes great bourbon, but it also also what helps the horses grow to be strong athletes.” Sounds like a winning sponsorship to us.

To eat: The famous Hot Brown Sandwich (open faced turkey, bacon, tomatoes and bechamel on Texas toast). And here, the former Kentucky Derby Executive Chef shares his Pimento Cheese recipe

For dessert: Whatever you do, don’t call it pecan pie. Brought to the world by the Kern family in 1954, their patented secret recipe, starring walnuts and chocolate in a delicate crust, takes center stage. If you don’t want to order a pie, we sourced a great DIY recipe for what is basically the best dressed-up Tollhouse cookie in elegant form that you can make. Highly recommend adding to your recipe box. 

Extra Credit from our friends at Full Pour media: What makes bourbon “Bourbon”? It turns out that a handful of very specific distinctions differentiate regular whiskey and bourbon. 

  • The mash bill (e.g., the grains that form the spirit’s base) must be at least 51% corn 

  • The mash must be distilled at no higher than 160 proof, and put into a barrel at no higher than 125 proof

  • No additives may be added to the mash

  • The bourbon must be aged in charred oak barrels

  • It must be bottled at no less than 80 proof

Shop the headlines**

Zombie Packs, Scrunch & Tube Socks, Chickles

Skin care: Younger and younger consumers (aks “Sephora kids”) seeking out [often expensive] skin care have been making headlines for months and now, new brand campaigns have emerged to dissuade this demographic. But according to dermatologists, a teen’s skin care routine is really quite simple (cleanser, moisturizer, sunscreen). For the rest of us, it also doesn’t have to be complicated—and we love this “Basic Skin Care” resource from the American Academy of Dermatology that has sections for Men, those over 40, face washing 101, and more. 

Add to cart: Zombie Packs. As part of your simplified routine, these packs easily revive facial elasticity with a twice a week application. Albumen, pennywort, aloe, lavender, and propolis work together in a mask that moisturizes and tightens skin. Each box contains 8 packs. What our tester loves: “It's cheap, simple, fast, and makes my skin soft and tight after a few sleepless nights getting kicked by my preschooler.” What others are saying: “Botox in a box!” and “Great at-home little facial!”

What to wear: We refused to be swayed by Gen Z’s dismissal of side parts and skinny jeans, but when it comes to their latest target—no-show socks, we are listening. TBH, we have thought no-show socks seemed kind of outdated for years, but never bothered to put in the work to find a replacement until this straight-up affront. Below, our recommendations if you’re looking to upgrade to crew or scrunch: 

Snacking: Whether in the form of dippers or chips, chickles (cheese + pickles) are here to serve, meeting you at the crossroads of savory and sour. Making the best chickles requires starting with the best pickles, so your first step are these tubs of the best pickles from our fave, Grillo’s (if you get the spears, you can cut into chips or longer pieces, depending on the type of chickle you desire).

OHM, THERE'S MORE

This week’s newsfeed

  • Support the undercookie: Thank you to The Hustle for alerting us to a conflict on grocery store cookie shelves: Hydrox vs. Oreo. This cookie intrigue includes allegations of retail intimidation (instructing workers who restock shelves to hide, misplace or move Hydrox to less desirable locations), and even mysterious “made in China” stickers on Hydrox boxes

  • On the socials: We will always caution against anything weight-loss related that is trending on social media (such as the “Oat-zempic” breakfast concoction with oats, lime and cinnamon), and this story explains why

  • Step it up: This is the only article you need to read about the best walking shoes (men’s & women’s), for pretty much every need and type (loafers, people with bunions, heel support, waterproof boots…you name it) 

  • That’s a lotta “loaf”: In announcing its new queso in a jar, we learned that Velveeta lovers purchase 125 million POUNDS of its loaf each year. As an effort to diversify its portfolio and appeal to different types of consumers (namely, those who wouldn’t buy the loaf to make the queso that feeds 20 people), the brand has launched three new queso-in-a-jar flavors: Jalapeno, Queso Blanco and Queso Con Salsa. 

  • The stone-age diet, revealed: Recent studies of ancient civilizations uncover some surprising facts about what they ate.

**If you purchase something linked in The Skinny, we may get an affiliate commission—but at no additional cost to you.