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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Run, Eat, Repeat!

So here we are at another running season and I’m still a fatty and my minute per mile run time is so slow, I might as well be walking. I’ve been running for over 10 years so what’s the problem you ask… I’m greedy! It’s really that simple. With the amount of knowledge and experience that I have collectively about nutrition and running in my brain, I should be an Olympic Gold medalist at this point in life. The unfortunate thing for me is that I eat way more than I run, and the things I eat are generally detrimental to my running… the struggle continues! *sigh*

This season I’ve decided to run with a run coach because the “let’s wing this sh*t and hope for a personal record” approach just isn’t working. Also, starting tomorrow (right after I get through this last box of Cheez-Its), I’m deciding I should probably up my nutrition game. To get a jumpstart on this, I recently had a chat with my runner friend Alli to not only share my thoughts on nutrition and running, but also to pick her brain regarding her approach to running and nutrition. Here’s an excerpt of that fab conversation:

Alli: If you run first thing in the morning, do you find that it’s better to run on an empty stomach or eat something before beginning your run?

Nekesha: For me, I find that it’s better to run in the late afternoons. However as the temps rise in the summer months, early mornings are more achievable. If I’m opting for early morning run or race, I typically don’t eat (if running 3-4 miles or less). If its a longer run, I suggest eating something small (i.e. banana, LäraBar, etc.) at least 30-45mins prior to the run to allow for proper digestion.

Nekesha: What about you, do you prefer/recommend morning workouts and if so what are your suggestions as it relates to early morning runs/workouts? How does the climate in the North affect your decision?

Alli: I prefer evening runs, after the workday is over. Running always seems to clear my head and gets rid of all the stress that occurred in the day. I find that I can relax and enjoy the rest of my evening after a good run. However, in the summer months, I do make an effort to go out for early morning runs, due to the temperature (just like you noted). I can’t stand the humidity, so I will make myself get up and go out for a 6am run a few times a week during the summer. BUT, this really only occurs in the summer, since it’s very difficult for me to drag myself out of bed that early! And just like you, I don’t typically eat anything before a shorter run. But if I’m going to do 5 miles or more, I’ll often eat a Nutri-Grain bar about an hour or so before I run.

Alli: Is there a particular food that you like to eat before running that provides you with sustained energy during your run?

Nekesha: I try to stay away from sugary foods and carbs because contrary to popular belief; those things can make you quite sluggish. I know its been said that carb loading before a long run or race is advised but the truth is, for carbs to replenish glycogen stores and give you energy, you would need to eat them at least a week before the run. Therefore eating them the night before or morning of probably does you more harm then good. Here’s two articles that talks more about that:

Nekesha: What about you, is there a particular food you like to eat before running?

Alli: Since I often run in the evening, I’ll usually eat a granola bar while still at work around 4:30 or 5pm. Since my commute is about an hour, I don’t usually get to run till around 7pm. This gives me plenty of time to digest the bar and it gives me some energy to get through the run. I agree about staying away from those sugary foods – they may make you feel great at first, but as you get into your run, you’ll start to feel sluggish and tired.

Alli: Do you notice a difference in your running based on your diet? For example, consuming a high-fat diet versus a diet lower in fat?

Nekesha: Absolutely YES! Currently my diet is in shambles. I eat whatever I want and my running has been adversely affected as a result. That old saying: You are what you eat is so true. If you eat nachos and doughnuts, you feel like a big fat doughnut while out running… and that’s if you even have the energy to go run after consuming all that bread and sugar. A balanced diet of all 3 macronutrients (good carbs, good fat, protein) is what I always recommend for optimal performance. Perhaps one of these days I’ll take some of my own advice!

Nekesha: Alli, what are your suggestions for new runners or runners looking to return to the sport as it pertains to diet and have you noticed that changes in diet have positively/negatively affected your run performance?

Alli: A well-balanced diet is a must for any runner – whether new to the sport or not! Have you ever tried working out while your hung-over? It’s terrible! Why? Because your body isn’t properly nourished. One tip that is easy to follow is to stay hydrated. I fill up a huge cup at work and drink water throughout the day. I also take a general women’s multi-vitamin, to help fuel my body with all the proper nutrients. And finally, yes, I try to eat a somewhat healthy diet, consisting of a lot of lean protein like chicken to provide me with sustained energy. I found a great book on Scribd: 100 questions about sports, nutrition and exercise [by William Carlos Butler]. It addresses a lot of topics, including the timing of meals and snacks as it relates to exercise and information on vitamins and minerals for an athlete’s diet.

Nekesha: Wow and its a FREE book too #Winning. Thanks Alli for the conversation and reference materials. Hopefully something we’ve said will help our readers (and myself) to get up, get out, and get running… and eating better!

For more info on Alli’s running antics, click HERE to visit her blog.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Food, Marist IMC, Running

 

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When you eat better YOU will live better!

When you eat better YOU will live better!

My graduate school classmate (André) and I decided to interview each other this week for his blog; it’s a twist on guest blogging. The discussion pertains to healthy eating and the holistic approach to living your best life. Check out the original blog post below. #SocialMediaTactics at its best!

Inspiration & Motivation for daily living

Improving one’s life is a process that encompasses different areas to be worked on.  A holistic approach is necessary to becoming the best YOU possible. You can not stimulate and work on your mental state and neglect your body.  The benefits of eating healthy are enormous and have long lasting effects. Today I am joined by fellow blogger Nekesha Green , as she shares some tips for a healthy holistic lifestyle.

eat-better-feel-better

André: What would you say is the first step to eating healthier?

Nekesha: Hey Andre first I want to thank you for having me as guest blogger this week. It’s always good to not only receive but give some perspective on topics that are close to my heart. To answer your question, the first step to eating healthier will vary per person depending on their/your goals. My goal currently is to shed a few pounds, gain some muscle and improve my…

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Posted by on February 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Healthy Doesn’t Have to Hurt… The Pockets

So the great recession has subsided but the unemployment rate in the United States is still holding steady at 7.3%. This means that over 20 million people in this country are still unemployed… T.W.E.N.T.Y million people! This got me to thinking about all the things I take for granted, like the ability to even eat healthy. Some 20+/- million people don’t even have that option because lets face it; healthier options are generally more expensive than the non-healthy alternative. For example McDonald’s quarter pounder with cheese meal (includes fries and large drink) cost a mere $5.49 and if you’re feeling fancy, you can opt for a deluxe quarter pounder meal for a whopping $5.79. Now considering that The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,000 milligrams (mg) per day, and the deluxe quarter pounder alone (not including the fries and 2-3 other meals per day that you still have to eat), has 1280mg of sodium by itself, now what? Paging Dr. Oz!

On the flip side of the equation, the only thing $6.00 is going to get you in a typical grocery store is 1 pineapple ($4.99) and some mushrooms ($1.99)…Yum! And there’s still that little thing called tax, ok so forget about the mushrooms 😦 . So now what’s a normal non-culinary chef trained person who can make something spectacular out of pineapple and mushroom to do?

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That got me to thinking about how to eat healthier on a budget. There are several ways that I know to do this and this week I wanted to share some alternatives that have worked for me:

1.) Trader Joe’s is your friend: This isn’t to say that there aren’t a ton of other grocery store options but I’m particularly a fan of this chain because:

  • They offer an array of antibiotic-free meat and poultry
  • Their products are sourced from Non-GMO ingredients
  • TJ’s buys direct from suppliers whenever possible; this results in direct savings passed onto the customer. Most grocers charge their suppliers fees for putting an item on the shelf. This results in higher prices for the customer, so TJ’s decided not to even bother with that.
  • Last but not least, my favorite: TJ’s has its own snazzy iPhone app #winning

2.) Buy frozen: Frozen fruits and veggies often are half the price of fresh, in some cases have an infinite shelf life when kept in freezer, and you can buy in bulk to get more of a discount.

  • Also because time is money, buying frozen is great because the produce is usually pre-washed and pre-cut, which saves preparation time.

3.) Buy generic: I like Kellogg’s frosted flakes as much as the next person and I know you get what you pay for but in the spirit of eating to live instead of living to eat, raw foods like rice, pasta, eggs, milk, etc. most times taste just like branded foods once you get used to them, and buying store brand will save you money on packaging and advertising.

4.) Go Local: Try a local farmers market, pick your own farm, farm sharing service or food co-operative

5.) Choose wisely: Many stores have websites that allow you to see what’s in stock and on sale. Take advantage of the Internet to find what’s on sale/special this week. Also other websites like the Food Network offers a myriad of suggestions (i.e. Healthy Foods Under $3) pertaining to buying healthier food alternatives.

I’m sure there are other guaranteed ways to eat healthy on a tight budget. If you’re reading this, do you have any healthy eating on a budget tips that you use? if so please let us know…after all sharing is caring 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2014 in Food, Marist IMC

 

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Got Milk? Don’t Believe the Hype

Word on the street is that “milk does a body good,” but did that ad campaign specifically say it should or had to be cow’s milk? Perhaps it was implied, but I’m of the opinion and research shows that:

  • Cows milk isn’t all it’s cracked up to be… and besides, shouldn’t cow’s milk be consumed by baby cows?
  • After a human mother has finished nursing her baby, something odd happens — a cow takes over! Why is that? This makes us the only mammal on earth that consumes milk in their adulthood, and as a matter of fact, we are the only species that consumes the milk of other species.  *insert blank stare*

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I know what you’re thinking, here’s yet another super healthy, PETA loving, eco-conscious weirdo trying to tell us that something we grew up on is quite possibly dangerous. On the contrary, I’m by no means employed by the Healthy Police, and my membership in the, “make everyone go vegan or die” club, expired ages ago. My philosophy: If you like it, I love it! But as somewhat of a health food blogger, I like sharing the reasons why I’ve chosen a specific lifestyle or eating regimen, and for those looking for alternatives, it’s my hope that my blog or Pinterest pages can/will provide those suggestions.

So back to the cows… there have been many articles written about the fact that human beings are not designed to drink any milk except human milk. Additionally, not only is consuming dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream) not healthy for humans, its not all that fun for poor Mrs. Cow either. Here are just 6 of the myriads of reasons I found why we should eliminate or at least reduce the consumption of dairy:

  1. Cows produce milk for the same reason humans do―to nourish their young, so for ever gallon of milk in your grocers freezer, there’s a calf in a pasteur somewhere thirsty as hell.1
  2. When not on a factory farm (producing milk for other people’s children), cows can live to be 20 years old, but cows used for milk are usually slaughtered for low-grade hamburger meat when they’re around 4 years old.1
  3. There are 9 million cows living on dairy farms in the United States. They spend most of their lives in large sheds or on feces-filled mud lots, where disease is rampant.2
  4. Prominent medical doctors now claim that dairy consumption is a contributing factor in nearly two dozen diseases and ailments in children and adults (i.e. iron deficiency anemia, allergies, diarrhea, heart disease, colic, cramps, gastrointestinal bleeding, sinusitis, skin rashes, acne, increased frequency of cold and flus, arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma, autoimmune diseases, etc.).3
  5. If for whatever reason, you still want to consume cow’s milk, you should know that after pasteurization and homogenization, most of the nutrients and benefits of milk are destroyed.4
  6. Contrary to popular belief, drinking cow’s milk is nutrition-less due to modern farming methods. There is evidence to prove that nearly all cows (unless raised by you or a farm you know well) are full of toxins, pesticides, antibiotics, bacteria, and hormones.4

Ok I know what you’re thinking now, so where am I supposed to get my calcium from now that you’ve thoroughly grossed me out and scared me milk-less? Don’t fret; there are tons of alternatives (i.e. almond, coconut, cashew milk) that have all the calcium you need. I don’t suggest the boxed, overly processed variety of these milks either. Recently I’ve begun making my own milk and it’s easy as 1-2-3; processing time takes less than 10 minutes.

Here’s a picture of my process using sunflower seeds. Note I’ve started using a simple strainer instead of squeezing liquid through a nut milk bag (noted in the video below) and it works perfectly:

ImageHere is a “how to” video link by Chef Joy. She shows you two super simple ways that you can make Almond milk. You can use her process with any nut/seed you prefer.

Cartoon Photo Courtesy of Natural News

6 Reasons Courtesy of:

  1. http://www.peta.org/features/dairy-industry-cruelty/
  2. http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/facts/environmental-health-reasons-dairy.htm
  3. http://www.waoy.org/9.html
  4. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/is-cows-milk-meant-for-human-consumption-part-1/
 
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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Food, Juicing, Marist IMC, Paleo, Whole30

 

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To Blend or Juice: That Is The Question

Most people that know me well know that I am a fan of juicing. Although it’s recently become quite the phenomena, I’ve been a fan of the lifestyle for several years. Admittedly, I don’t do it as often or as consistently as I should, but it’s something I’m definitely a proponent of… despite what critics say.

What never ceases to amaze me is the overwhelming amount of questions I get regarding the difference between fresh juice and smoothies, as well as the confusion between juicers and blenders. Another question I get asked all the time is, “which one is better?” My belief: Juices and smoothies both play an important role in any wellness program and I believe that both juicing and blending are very beneficial, just in different ways. The objective is to finally get in the habit of cleaner eating and to do/use whatever works for your taste buds.Image

Juicing

  • Equipment needed: Juicer – For those new to juicing I recommend a Breville because they come in a range of prices, are available at most major department stores as well as online, and are a solid name brand among the juicing community. For more detailed info, check out this juicer-buying guide.
  • Fresh juice is basically a smoothie without the fiber. Juicing is the process of extracting water and nutrients from produce and discarding the indigestible fiber; without all the fiber, your digestive system doesn’t work as hard thus making the nutrients readily available and quickly absorbed into the body.
  • Texture generated from juicing fruits and veggies results in a pure liquid form.
  • Be aware: When fiber is removed from produce, the liquid juice is absorbed rapidly into your blood stream so if you are only juicing fruits or high glycemic veggies (i.e. carrots), this can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar. To combat this, I suggest that your juice includes an even mixture or 1 parts fruit, 2 parts vegetables (i.e. kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, beets, etc.).

Blending (i.e. Smoothies)

  • Equipment needed: Blender
  • Unlike fresh pressed juice, smoothies consist of the entire fruit or vegetable, which mean smoothies are packed with fiber. Blending them makes the produce much more easier to digest than eating the whole fruit/veggie.
  • Texture generated from blending fruits and veggies results in a slushy or milkshake-like consistency.
  • Be aware: Although, smoothies are more filling than juice, they can be a trap for unnecessary calories. Many vendors use lots of high-calorie fillers in their smoothies (i.e. frozen yogurt, regular yogurt, sherbet, ice cream, sugary frozen fruit, milk, etc.). Therefore those extra great tasting milk-shake concoctions that you are getting from your local juice/smoothie-bar are less than ideal. Most are a whopping 500 calories or more… you might as well have had a Big Mac and fries. Your best bet is to make your own using fresh organic produce, thus ensuring you’re getting more vitamins and minerals and less processed crap.
 
For juice/smoothie inspiration, recipes, and fruit/veggie combination ideas, click the photo below, visit and follow my “iJuice” board on Pinterest. 

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WARNING: Pinterest board contains excessive amounts of wonderfully delicious content; you may feel compelled to never eat solid foods again!

 

**Juicer vs. Blender photo courtesy of our friends over at Real Foods Witch**

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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