Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Race is Done. Now What?

Yesterday's Gazelle Girl Half Marathon marked the beginning of Run With Endurance Plainwell chapter's race season. We trained for 12 weeks, through snow, wind, and rain! We battled injuries and conquered challenges! It paid off and yesterday was a huge success!

So, now what? Some of us have other races in mind, while others want to maintain what they have worked so hard to gain.

The key is to train smart. A very important part of training is recovery. Below are some simple steps to follow post-race week to ensure that you are completely recovered and injury free for your next challenge!

Post Race Recovery Week

1.) Continue hydrating as you were during training.

2.) Eat 5-6 small meals per day to re-establish your body’s routine.

3.) Stretch upon waking up and before bedtime.

4.) Get a deep tissue massage and/or use a foam roller to help relax tight muscles.

5.) Ice achy and sore areas, especially knees, ankles, back, and hips. Place a thin layer of clothing or thin towel between ice and skin, ice for approx. 10 minutes at a time several times throughout the day. If muscle related, feel free to alternate ice/heat to stop inflammation and keep muscles relaxed.

6.) If you are not feeling moderate to extreme joint or muscle discomfort, do 2-3 short (3 miles or under) easy recovery walks and/or runs over the next week.

7.) After one week, resume your workout routine with your mileage base being your longest training run distance, meaning this is the longest you should be walking or running on your “long run day” if you are beginning another training schedule within 2 weeks.

8.) If you are still experiencing moderate to extreme discomfort anywhere after one week, continue steps 1 through 5 until discomfort subsides. If you are still experiencing any discomfort after 2 weeks, seek expert advice.

9.) CONTINUE YOUR TRAINING! You have worked too hard to stop now! Take care of your body and yourself! YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

FOOD FINDS - Munchies! For the snacker in all of us :)

I am a snacker! I love munchies - anything like chips, pretzels, crackers, popcorn. If it's sitting out, I'll be the one hovering closely grabbing small handfuls at a time, until I've consumed mindless calories that I later regret. This can be a big problem when trying to maintain a healthy weight.
Here are two snacks that I recently ran across that are healthy, satisfying, and taste great!
1.)  Popcorn Indiana Chip'ins All Natural Sea Salt Popcorn Chips
  • 120 calories per 20 chips
  • no saturated fat
  • 210 mg sodium
  • no sugar
  • 2% iron (important for women!)
  • all natural, with just 3 ingredients (vegan, kosher, and gluten free!)
2.)  Back to Nature Sweet Potato & Cinnamon Crackers
  • 130 calories per 30 crackers
  • no saturated fat
  • 190 mg sodium
  • 4 grams sugar
  • 4% iron
  • 15% vitamin A
  • all natural, made with real vegetables 

Place serving sizes in snack baggies and when you get the munchies, you can just grab a baggy and snack away, guilt free! :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Smoothies Pack a Healthy Punch!

Smoothies are ideal when you need to fit a whole lot of nutrients into your day quickly. The key is combining the right foods so that they're not only healthy, but they also taste good :)

Here's two of my favorites:

Lean Green Smoothie - Ideal for breakfast to help you feel full longer!

Combine 2 bananas, 1 cup baby carrots, 1/2 cup natural applesauce, 1 cup vanilla almond or soy milk, and as much kale as you can fit in a blender and mix well. Makes 2 servings. Store 1 serving in airtight container in fridge for the next day.

Mid-Day Energy Smoothie - Perfect blend of protein, carbs, and antioxidants to keep you moving throughout the day!
Combine 3/4 cup vanilla almond or soy milk, 1 cup frozen mixed berries, 1/2 cup natural applesauce, 1 1/2 cups chopped kale in a blender and mix well. Makes 1 serving.
These are two very simple ones to get you started on your own healthy creations. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The OTHER Part of Training

Runners work hard. We plan our schedules around training programs. We get up early and stay up late to ensure we don’t miss a run. We push through the pain.

The one area we don’t put as much energy into: Nutrition! After all, isn’t one of the reasons we run is so we can eat more? 
One thing is fact - the more calories you burn, the more you can consume. But, the catchy part is what type of calories are you consuming? More importantly, are your food choices of substance? In other words, are they meeting your daily vitamin and mineral needs?

Why put in all that hard work into training when your eating habits are not supporting it?
We need to educate ourselves on nutritional facts! We need to read labels and yes, this does take time. But like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get at it and the less time it takes.

I want to share the three most important things women need to look for on nutrition labels. I talk about the “Three S’s To Avoid” a lot, but they are that important:

Saturated Fat - One of the biggest causes of cardiovascular disease, diets high in saturated fat can also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Less than 10% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. So what does that mean? Let’s break it down:
If you consume 1,800 calories per day, less than 10%, or 180 calories should come from saturated fat. There are 9 calories in one gram of fat, so 180 calories of saturated fat divided by 9 calories per gram equals 20 grams of saturated fat.

Sodium - There is definitely a link between high sodium diets and heart disease among women. Sodium also causes water retention, sodium ions trapped just under the skin, giving the appearance of cellulite. When you sweat you lose sodium and the more you sweat the more sodium you release.
The big question when it comes to sodium - Should an athlete consume more sodium than the recommended 2,300 milligrams or less per day? The very general answer to this question is not unless you are working out, or sweating, for more than one to two hours per day. Of course everyone is different. If you feel any of the following symptoms during or immediately following exercise, you may have sodium depletion (hyponatremia): Grogginess, nausea, incoherent, or have trouble standing. Consuming a salty food will eliminate symptoms quicker than consuming an electrolyte sports drink as sports drinks are mostly water, which will defeat the purpose.
Hydration is a much bigger issue for runners than sodium depletion, so unless you experience symptoms, replenish with water over electrolytes.

Sugar - Sugar is a simple carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are made up of two categories:
1.) Simple Carbohydrates (blood sugar or glucose)- Foods containing simple carbohydrates are sweet tasting, like cookies, fruit, sugar, honey, candy, cake, etc… Simple carbs are already very close to being in the digested form, so they pass into your bloodstream almost immediately, unless no energy is being exerted.

2.) Complex Carbohydrates - These are found in foods prepared with grains and vegetables and take longer for the body to digest, having a lesser effect on blood sugar levels.  Even though both simple and complex carbs provide needed glucose, the complex carbohydrates provide several nutritional advantages, such as additional vitamins, minerals, and fiber needed for good health and performance. 
So basically, carbs are sugar or starch. Apples, oranges, potatoes, grains, candy, bread are all carbohydrates. Carbohydrates break down into glucose molecules. When used as energy, carbohydrates become fuel for your muscles and brain. If your body does not have any use for the glucose, it is converted into glycogen and stored in the liver and muscles as an energy reserve. Your body can store about a half a day's supply of glycogen. If your body has more glucose than it can use as energy, or convert to glycogen for storage, the excess is converted to fat. Yes, FAT!

Wonderful rule of thumb - Consume nearly all of your carbohydrates in ‘whole’ form: fruits, vegetables, whole grains. This is the best short term and long term energy an athlete can consume. You will also avoid the ‘crash’ often experienced with some of the high sugar energy sources. Bananas, orange slices, and raisins are ideal whole food choices for quick energy replenishment.
Everyone’s nutritional needs vary, but the following daily guideline summary is good start:

-Consume less than 20 grams of saturated fat
-Consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium
-Consume refined sugar sparingly

Keeping track will take some daily effort. But I assure you, it’s worth it! Improved athletic performance, improved overall health, and an ideal body weight are worth taking a little bit of time to research what you are putting into your body. By simply getting a handle on your food choices and monitoring these three things, you will begin consuming healthier, more productive calories, thus seeing results!

You Are Worth The Investment J  

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday's Table For Two - God and You: You Are What You Eat

"Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body."
1 Corinthians 6:19, 20

Of course, we've all heard this before: "You are what you eat." And it is true - what we eat plays a huge role in how we feel, how we look, even how we act.  But, what are some of the things we consume specifically doing to our bodies?

Let's take a look at what I like to call the 3 S's to avoid:  
Sugar, Saturated Fats, Sodium.

Sugar can suppress the immune system and contribute to a weakened defense against bacterial infection.  Because the chemical structure of glucose is similar to vitamin C, it actually competes to enter your cells, slowing your immune system down to a crawl.

Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.  Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.

Sugar can contribute to breast cancer by causing a quick increase in insulin levels.  High insulin levels are one of the biggest risk factors and promoters of breast cancer. Women with high insulin levels have a 283 percent greater risk of breast cancer.

Sugar can cause varicose veins due to slowing of blood circulation.  Too much sugar can fill your blood with fat.  Your body can't metabolize a sweet snack as fast as you can eat it.  So your liver puts some of the snack's glucose into your bloodstream or stores it for later use.  But, if your liver's tank is full, it converts the excess to fat.

Sugar can change the structure of protein causing interference with protein absorption.

Sugar can contribute to type 2 diabetes.  Diabetes means your body can't clear glucose from your blood.   The negative effect of eating a lot of sugar is a rise in glucose.  When glucose isn't processed quickly enough, it destroys tissue.

Sugar can cause damage to the blood-filtering units of the kidneys that keep protein inside the body.  Your body needs this protein to stay healthy.

Saturated Fats The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of saturated fats to 16 grams per day based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Saturated fat is one of the biggest causes of cardiovascular disease.

Saturated fat raises the level of cholesterol in your blood.  High levels of blood cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Sodium The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy adults eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.  This amount of sodium is equal to about 1 teaspoon of salt.

Sodium can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart and vascular problems, stroke, and kidney disease.

Sodium can cause water retention, which is actually sodium ions trapped under the skin.
It pays to educate yourself. Read labels, search the internet, find out if the food you're eating is lining up with your health goals.  You are what you eat!  If you want to be healthy, you have to eat healthy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tuesday's Table for Two - God and You: Giving family favorites a healthy makeover

I made a wonderful sidedish last night, if I do say so myself!  My guys couldn't eat it fast enough!  And it was a veggie - a dark green leafy veggie at that!  Ready? ...... Collard Greens!

My great grandma Bessie use to make some sort of greens with almost every meal.  They were filled with animal fat, butter, and heavy cream for that silky thick goodness.  They were delicious!  But, I could seriously feel my body carrying the bloat as soon as I finished eating them. I was young and could still eat anything I wanted, so I didn't care.  Now that I'm a little older, and wiser, I've "healthied" them up a bit and I think Grandma Bessie would be proud :)   

So here's the easy recipe:

Chop and crisp up 3 strips lower sodium bacon in pan over med-high heat (make sure pan is large enough to hold your greens). Reduce heat to low-med.  Remove bacon pieces with slotted spoon and lay aside on paper towel.  Add 5-6 cups greens to pan and stir to coat with bacon flavor.  Add a splash of low sodium chicken or vegatable broth - just enough to deglaze bottom of pan (if you prefer  creamier greens, add a splash of organic skim milk instead).  Stir and cover, letting greens wilt and cook down, stirring occasionally.  After about 10 minutes, add about 2 handfuls of mushrooms (we're a mushroom family, so I add them to almost everything!).  Cover and cook for about 5 minutes longer.  They are done when they're completely wilted and bitterness is nearly cooked out.  I like a little bite to my greens, but if you prefer a cooked spinach feel, just cook a little longer. 

This is so simple and makes a perfect bed for any meat.  I placed sauteed chicken breasts atop mine with sweet potato fries on the side.  I should've taken a picture!  It was that pretty :)

What's better - they're full of nutrients.  1 serving (about a cup cooked down) has just 25 calories, 15 mg sodium, 10% calcium, 110% vitamin A, and 50% vitamin C!  And with 3 g fiber, you'll feel fuller longer!

Coming up with new ideas for sidedishes can be tough.  Be creative.  Take your own traditional family favorites and "healthy" them up!

Thanks for the inspiration on this one, Grandma Bessie :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday's Table for Two

Welcome to Tuesday’s Table for Two!  With the Plainwell Run with Endurance Chapter beginning our annual 21 day sugar fast, I thought we could all use a reminder of how important it is to invite God to our dinner tables!   More importantly, include Him in the entire meal planning/preparing process. Feel free to drop in every Tuesday for healthy tips, recipes, and encouragement J 
First, I think it’s crucial to get your family on board.  I realize this may be easier said than done!  I used to make 2 dinners: 1 for my husband and son and 1 for me.  Why?  Shouldn’t they be eating healthy too?!  I now make only 1 dinner, a healthy dinner.  (Ok, ok - not EVERY meal is a model of complete health.  But, even when we “splurge”, I still sneak in a veggie or 2 J)
I’ll admit it took a little while for my family to get used to whole wheat pasta, baked chicken instead of fried chicken, and sweet potato fries with no butter, but once they started feeling and seeing the effects of eating healthy, there wasn’t one complaint.  Now, even when my son says, “Chicken! Again?!” my reply is, “Yes, because I love you.” 
Secondly, plan ahead!  You are less likely to grab fruits or veggies to snack on if they’re not washed or cut up!  Plan enough time for grocery shopping to include time for food prep.  This might be washing/portioning out fruits and veggies, washing/trimming chicken breasts, or placing serving size portions of almonds or snack mix in individual baggies to grab throughout the week.  Don’t have the extra time?  Buy food prewashed/prepackaged!  They even have 100 calorie snack bags of almonds now!  It may cost a little more, but you’ll save money in the long run by not having to throw out the veggies you never washed!
Consult God on your food choices.  Remember that our bodies are not our own.  What better way to honor God than to not only take care of your health, but do your part in taking care of your family’s health too!