A Double Dose of Healing Power – Turmeric and Ginger Smoothie

Jannine Myers

Turmeric and ginger are botanically related to one another; turmeric originates from the Curcuma longa plant, which is part of the ginger family. Both turmeric and ginger are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and are also recommended as natural remedies for gastrointestinal problems. Since runners are often injured and/or plagued with “tummy” issues, I thought I’d share a turmeric/ginger smoothie recipe that’s creamy, zesty, and hopefully healing.

Ingredients

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  • 1/2 large ripe banana, previously frozen is preferable
  • 1/3 cup fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh ginger (1 small knob, peeled)
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric (or sub cinnamon)
  • Approx. 1/2 cup raw carrot sticks
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (~1/2 small lemon)
  • 1/2 cup (240 ml) unsweetened almond milk

[Optional: I also added a chunk of tofu (about 1/4 cup), and about 1/4 cup of Purity Organic Orange Carrot Turmeric Mango juice]

Found this at the Foster commissary, in one of the small refrigerators near the Delicatessan

Found this at the Foster commissary, in one of the small refrigerators near the Delicatessan

Directions

Simple – blend everything together! And enjoy……

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[A slightly modified version of this recipe]

Ultra-Running Tips From An Ultra-Running Winner

Jannine Myers

With so many new members of WOOT, and several of you also new to both trail and ultra-running, I wanted to give you some great insight and advice from a Hammer and Nathan-sponsored athlete, as well as Altra Running Ambassador and winner of the 2014 Tahoe 200. Let me introduce you to 34 year old Gia Dawn Madole:

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Me: Where do you live Gia, and what do you do besides run?

  • Gia: I was born and raised in OKC and currently live just east of OKC in Harrah, OK. I trained horses professionally and taught lessons (Hunter/Jumper and Dressage) after graduating UCO with a business degree in 2003. In 2012 I went back to UCO and got my accounting degree. I worked at a CPA firm until the Spring of 2014 and I just couldn’t stand having a “desk job” any longer. I started doing personal training at that point which allowed me more time to run and train myself. I still take a few client horses for training and continue to teach lessons. I have also recently begun coaching other runners and love being able to help them achieve goals that they only once dreamed of :-)

Me: When did you start running, and when/how did you get into ultra-running?

  • Gia: I used to HATE running in high school. I played varsity basketball and running was always our punishment when the team screwed up. A friend talked me into doing a Warrior Dash the summer of 2012 and I thought 3 miles was insanely long; it was so hard and I was so sore after, but it was fun. I didn’t run again until I decided to do a 5k turkey trot. I placed 4th in my age group with a 21:20, so the competitive side of me wanted to see how well I could do if I actually trained and ran more frequently.  I ran several 5k’s following the Turkey Trot and was planning on doing the OKC Memorial Half Marathon, but decided the Friday before to switch to the Full Marathon. This “doing a race on a whim” thing has turned into my theme.
  • I ran my first 50K in September 2013 and my first 50M the following October. In December 2013 I heard about the Tahoe 200, and thought “Why not, it looks pretty.” The first of March I decided I should probably run a 100 miler before then, so I signed up for Prairie Spirit the end of March and Bryce the middle of June. I learned a lot at Prairie Spirit, mostly that during a race is not the time to try to lose weight by burning calories and not eating; you really need to eat more than once every 30 miles!  If I had only known then what I know now about nutrition (thanks to Hammer) it would have been a much more enjoyable experience.
  • As I journeyed into the Ultra Running scene the one thing that always stood out to me and one of the main reasons I love it so much is the people. At every race I have met people who are now lifelong friends, and at every race people have been kind enough to help me. I don’t think I would have finished my first 100 if Mason, who was a total stranger at the time, hadn’t offered to pace me and let me borrow warm clothes.

Me: What was the first 50k race you did (mentioned above), and how did you do?

  • Gia: My first ultra was the Do Whacka Do in Eric, OK – one year to the weekend before I ran the 2014 Tahoe 200 – I “chicked” the guys and got 1st overall :) I learned a lot about hydration at this race, mostly that carrying only a small water bottle on a day where the temps reached 100 and you are running on a completely exposed trail, is not a good idea. Even to this day when I know it’s going to be hot, I make sure I have plenty of water.

Me: How many ultras have you run since your first 50K?

  • Gia: 50K – 3, 50M – 3, 100K -1, 100M -3, 200M -1

Me: Tell me about your most recent ultra, the Cruel Jewel 100; did you anticipate a top-3 win? When did you start training for it, and how did nutrition play a role in both preparation and racing?

  • Gia: I think with running ultras, anyone can out-run anyone else on any given day. Training definitely plays a part but there are so many variables that can happen out there. Going into CJ I was confident that I was fit and could run a good race and whatever place that landed me I would be happy with. CJ was more of a prep race for Bigfoot than an actual goal race. Of course I wanted to do well, but I am saving my super big peak weeks for next month as I get ready for BF.
  • I can’t really say there is a definite “time” that my training started for it. I stay active and run year round. I ran a couple of races earlier in the year as prep races for CJ. I let all my races feed into each other and use them to help prepare me for the next one.
  • Nutrition is huge when it comes to ultras. I have found that you have to find what works best for you and everyone is different. On shorter races (50k, 50M) I use mostly a mix of Hammer Heed and Perpetuem, and supplement with Hammer Gels. On longer races I supplement my Heed/Perpetuem with real food. I have found that I get really hungry if I try to rely on just the Heed/Perpetuem and gels during those races. Through trial and error I have found that my tummy really likes grilled cheeses but other food will do if those are not available. My stomach issues at CJ came from not getting enough calories at the beginning of the race. Most aid stations will have some real food available and I usually rely on them to get that real food. Next time I will make sure my crew has real food with them; once I started getting behind on calories my stomach began getting nauseous and it got even harder to get the calories in. I was finally able to get caught up but it wasn’t until around mile 75 that I started feeling good again. Getting behind on calories is one of the worst things I feel an ultra runner can do during a race. I shoot for roughly 150 calories/hour and if my stomach starts growling and I feel myself getting hungry, I’ll consume more – up to about 200/hour -but I try to do it in calorie-dense foods so that there isn’t a lot volume-wise sitting in my stomach.
  • In training I don’t run as hard as I do when I race so I tend to consume calories based on when I start to feel hungry instead of sticking to a strict calorie per hour plan. One of the MOST important things, I feel, runners can do in training in regards to nutrition, is to pay attention to their recovery nutrition. I will frequently have 2 to 3, sometimes 4 workouts a day, and can feel a huge difference when I am not able to consume a Recoverite drink after a workout. I feel this is what allows me to be able to successfully complete several workouts per day. Consuming a balanced diet (minimal processed food and sugar) will help an athlete train to their optimal ability.

Me: What tips do you have for someone getting ready to train for their first ultra? Or for those progressing to a greater ultra distance?

  • Gia: You just have to get out there and do it. I think sometimes people get worried about what other runners are doing or how fast they are going, how far they are going …etc… instead of just enjoying the run they are on at the pace and distance they are running. I like to think of running ultras as an adventure and a chance to learn more about myself (whether its about what I need to eat to make my tummy happy, how to best prep for a race, or mentally how far I can push myself). If you’re unsure about what to do (training, nutrition, gear etc) don’t be afraid to ask – the ultra community is a very friendly group and I have yet to run into someone who is unwilling to help. A coach to help guide you can also be very beneficial in getting runners on the right track to enjoy the experience to the fullest. Most importantly …. Go have fun :-)
Me: One last question, do you still participate in road races, or do you stick to trail races only?
  • Gia: I still go back every year and run the Edmond Turkey Trot but that’s all the road racing I now do.

There you have it ladies (and men); some great advice and tips from a great athlete, who like many of you, just kind of “fell into” the world of ultra-running. Granted, most of you probably won’t experience the rapid progressions or victories that Gia has, but you’ll definitely get to experience the same joys of ultra-running, provided you make your journey your own.

If you enjoyed this interview with Gia, check out next week’s post as I’ll be sharing with you what a typical training week looks like for her. Finally, here’s my favorite quote from Gia, taken from an interview on runprettyfar.com:

  • “When I decide to do something, then it’s done and decided. Then I just ask, ‘Ok, how do I make this happen?‘”

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Gia’s Race Stats:

Tahoe 200 75:56 – 1st Female 10th Overall
Bryce 100 24:48 – 3rd Female 10th Overall
3 days to 100K 8:54 – 1st Female 1st Overall
Ouachita 50M 9:38 – 1st Female 8th Overall
Post Oak 50K 5:15 – 1st Female 7th Overall
Turkey and Taturs 50K 4:55 – 1st Female 2nd Overall * New Course Record
Palo Duro 50M – 8:18 – 2nd Female 3rd Overall
Do-Wacka-Do 50K 5:26 – 1st Female 1st Overall

 

More Running Buddy Product Reviews

Jannine Myers

Earlier this year I reviewed the Buddy Pouch from Running Buddy, and just recently I was asked by a marketing representative to review two new Running Buddy Products: the Buddy Pouch h2o, and the Buddy Brite. First up is the Buddy Pouch h2o, another hands-free/belt-free pouch but this time a smaller one that holds a 7oz. water bottle.

On the Running Buddy website you can see the pouch being worn on the front side of a runner’s shorts, but for some reason the pouch did not sit comfortably when I tried to do the same. I tried re-positioning it several times, around the front and sides of my hips, but the minute I started running it bounced significantly and tugged my shorts down. Once I moved it to the back however, I had no problems with it at all – although I did need to tighten the drawstrings of my shorts.

On that first run with the Buddy Pouch h2o, I ran approximately five miles and included some faster pick-up strides; the pouch remained nice and secure. I have since run with the Buddy Pouch h2o several times, and I love it! I’d recommend this mini-hydration system for shorter runs that last less than an hour, and especially for those of you who live in hot and humid conditions where even a 30-minute run without water can result in a heat-related illness.

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The second product I was asked to review is the Buddy Brite; it’s an Ultra-Brite LED that clips around the back of your running shoe.

Buddy Light

I already own several types of reflective running gear and apparel so I have to admit that I wasn’t overly excited to try out this product. But surprisingly, I was impressed with the level of visibility and I kind of like the bright neon green color! Check out this photo taken from an upper level balcony; I am down on the street and while it’s difficult to see anything in the pitch black darkness, you can clearly see the Buddy Brite on the back of my shoe!

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I tested the Buddy Brite while walking my dog one evening, but I also wore it on an hour-long run to make sure that it would stay in place, and it did. This a great new product that can be worn by runners, cyclists, walkers, and even skaters.

At just $14.99 and $13.99, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with either of these products. It looks like these prices may be temporary however, so don’t wait to order if you think you’d enjoy them!

Coconut Cashew and Cranberry Bites

Jannine Myers

I typically exercise in the early mornings, just as the sun is rising, and around 8am I sit down to eat breakfast. Since the start of the summer break however, my daughter’s morning swim team practices have caused me to adjust my routine a little. On “swim days,” I don’t have time to exercise until later in the morning – between 8am and 9:15am – when my daughter is in the pool. I’m pretty hungry by that time, so to stave off hunger I have been eating these delicious and naturally sweet “Coconut Cashew and Cranberry Bites.”

Give these a try; they’re easy to make and just the right size to satisfy your hunger as well as provide a little energy before your run or workout.

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Ingredients

1 cup raw and unsalted cashews

1 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup dates

2 tbsps cocoa or cacao powder

1 tbsp finely shredded and unsweetened coconut (plus extra for coating)

1 tbsp coconut oil

 

Directions

Soak the cranberries in hot water for 5 minutes. Pulse the cashews in a food processor until a nice crumbed consistency is achieved. Drain the cranberries and add to the processor, along with the dates, cocoa powder, and tbsp of coconut. Process until fully combined. Add the coconut oil and pulse a few times, then transfer the doughy mixture to a small mixing bowl. Take pieces of the dough and roll into small balls, and coat in the extra coconut. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Lazy Sunday Afternoon Detox

Jannine Myers

I don’t know about you, but every once in a while I find myself craving a big bowl of liver- cleansing vegetables! Okay, so maybe a few of you are still reading……..but if you can relate you’ll probably appreciate this post.

The months of May and June in Okinawa kind of feel like the busy Thanksgiving/Christmas season; there are always lots of end-of-school-year events, as well as PCS farewell events, all of which seem to involve copious amounts of eating! Now as we’re heading into July, I am starting to feel the negative effects of endless lunch and dinner dates. Since I was home yesterday with no plans, and feeling kind of lazy, I decided to give my body a little bit of TLC by making a huge pot of healthy and nourishing vegetable soup.

When I make a vegetable soup for cleansing purposes, I don’t really follow a specific recipe; I typically just choose a selection of in-season vegetables and try to add ingredients that cleanse and support the liver. Some of the best ingredients you can add to a “detox” soup include the following:

  • Broccoli – contains valuable phytochemicals, that once released into the body, help to flush out carcinogens and other toxins.
  • Leafy green vegetables  – are high in plant chlorophylls and help to eliminate environmental toxins from the blood stream.
  • Turmeric – is a great detox spice because it assists enzymes that specifically work to flush out dietary carcinogens.
  • Ginger – is beneficial in so many ways; it nourishes the liver, promotes circulation, helps to unclog blocked arteries, and even helps to lower blood cholesterol by as much as 30 percent.
  • Garlic – activates liver enzymes that help flush out toxins.
  • Carrots – are high in plant flavonoids and beta-carotene, both of which help to stimulate and improve liver function.

There are so many other vegetables, herbs, and spices that help to cleanse and support the liver, and vegetable soups are perfect for detoxing because you can include a wide variety of “detox” ingredients in one meal.

Take a break from eating out and spend an afternoon at home making a delicious cleansing soup – your body will thank you for it.

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Second Place Is Nothing More Than First Loser

Jannine Myers

I remember when I first heard the saying “Second place is first loser.” I didn’t like it. I felt that it smacked of ignorance and a poor loser attitude. But a couple of weekends ago, at the annual Futenma Magic 10 Miler, I took second place and got a sense of what it feels like to be the “first loser.”

In a nutshell here’s basically what happened: I held the lead (among the females) until literally the last turn before the finish line. Unfortunately I was blindsided and caught completely off guard by another female who sprinted right past me, all the way to the finish line; I didn’t stand a chance of catching her. Losing a race in that way is so disappointing, and it certainly diminishes the joy of a second place victory.

Incidentally, I once read an article about a study that rated the “happiness level” of Olympic silver and bronze medalists. The results suggested that bronze medalists are much happier with their win because a silver medalist tends to compare him/herself with the winner, while a bronze medalist is more likely to compare him/herself with everyone else who did not win a medal. However, getting back to the point of this blog post…..

As disappointed as I was, I was also impressed with the Japanese triathlete who beat me; not only did she ride to and from the race – a long distance I’m sure – but she also gutted it out over the last few hundred meters by lengthening her stride and picking up her pace with significant power and speed. That’s how I wish I had been able to finish, but I had neither the strength or energy to do so. I dismally lagged behind and ate her dust as she crossed the finish line ahead of me.

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First Place Female, and me – First Place Loser

My goal now is to train in such a way that I am not only able to maintain a strong pace throughout the race, but so that I am also able to find that extra kick at the end if I need to. The following is a list of training tips, for both competitive and non-competitive runners, that offer advice on how to finish strong:

1. Coach Christine Luff says, “Although most of us runners aren’t going to lose out on money or medals if we get beat in the final stretch of a race, it’s still very satisfying and thrilling to have a strong finish.” She recommends doing the following to improve your finishing kick:

  • Practice doing some, not all, of your runs in a negative split (finish the second half of your run faster than the first)
  • Do a few miles of your long runs at race pace
  • Incorporate hill repeats into your training cycle, as they make you stronger as well as improve your running efficiency and increase your lactate threshold
  • Add strength exercises such as squats, lunges, and plyometric drills to build strength and explosive power
  • Don’t start your races too fast; this is probably one of the most common mistakes made by runners.

2. In a RunnersWorld.com article, author Caitlin Chock quotes Nike employee coach, Sean Coster, who says that “An athlete’s finishing power ultimately decides between a win or a loss.” Developing a speed reserve that can be tapped into during the final finishing stretch requires a certain type of training, and according to Chock’s article, specifically a two-pronged approach: 1. training the body to recruit as many fibers as possible, and 2. learning to utilize that recruitment when the muscles are fatigued. Some of the workouts suggested include:

  • One day a week of either all-out 20m-100m sprints, or short, steep hill repeats, or plyometric drills. Power-based workouts such as these need to be done in a “refreshed” state, with full recoveries between.
  • Steve Magness has his runners do three sets of 4 × 400m at 3K pace with 3 × 80m hill sprints between sets.
  • Magness also suggests that advanced runners combine strength and plyometrics by running 100m strides for example, and alternating with sets of squats and lunges. The idea, he explains, is to force muscle recruitment, and then learn to use it while running.
  • Read the full article here to see more tips on developing a strong finishing kick

3. In another RunnersWorld.com article, author Lindsey Emery shared these fast-finish workouts:

  • Out-and-back
    The details: Head out to a designated point, turn around, and run the return slightly faster. Start with about 20 minutes (10 minutes out, less than 10 minutes back), and gradually work up to 60 minutes, depending on your goal distance.
  • 400s
    The details: Do 4 to 8 x 400 meters with a 100-meter recovery jog between each. Run the first 2 to 4 repeats at a comfortable pace (10 to 30 seconds per mile slower than goal pace). Speed up successive repeats so the final 1 to 2 laps are 10 to 15 seconds per mile faster than race pace.
  • 2000s
    The details: Do 2 to 4 2000-meter intervals (5 times around a track) at race pace with a 400-meter recovery jog between each. End with 1000 meters (2.5 times around) at slightly faster than goal pace.
  • Progressive long run
    The details: Run the first quarter of your total distance easy (goal pace plus 45 to 60 seconds). For each successive quarter, run your goal pace plus 30 seconds, plus 20 seconds, plus 10 seconds. If possible, run the last mile or so at goal pace.

Try incorporating one or more of these workout strategies into your training routine and see if it makes a difference in your next race. As for me, I’ll be focusing on the 400s with successively faster repeats, and if I ever take home a second place award again, it will hopefully be because I sprinted past another runner!

Welcome to WOOT on Okinawa

Anna Boom

Just finished Amy Poehler’s memoir, Yes Please and enjoyed it very much. She is super funny and supports women in our WOOT fashion. One of her quotes, “Good for her! Not for me.” got me thinking this morning on my run. Amy also uses lists like another Amy author I love, Amy D Hester. So here is my numbered list:

The 11 things to become an Okinawan WOOTr:

  1. Run happy. (Jeesh, I hope Brooks didn’t trademark that slogan). It’s true as PollyAnna as it sounds, let happiness show on your face, flow through your body and if it hurts, fake it til you make it.
  2. Embrace the moment. The secret to accomplish #1, is pull yourself out of the negative thoughts your mind is running through (this hurts, this is too hard, I can’t do this, I’m not a runner, I am too…, etc.) and look around. Look at your body and what it is doing for you: your feet taking another step, your arms helping propel you forward, the green trees growing around you, the smells of outside. Be thankful you can do what you are doing at that moment.
  3. Unchain yourself from mile/kilometer per pace bond. It has no value when you are running trails here due to the different factors: scorching sun, intense humidity, 30% inclines, 5 inches of mud. You get the picture. On our 50 mile run to Okuma, we were ecstatic with a pace of 10:20+ per mile. Would that have qualified me for Boston? Nope, but we were moving forward, relentlessly moving in the right direction.
  4. Support our tribe. WOOT’s founding quote is by C.S. Lewis,“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’”. Doing the thing: the setting of the alarm, the rolling out of bed when it’s still dark, the putting on the sports bra and lacing up the shoes, driving to a place to run together. Doing of the thing binds us together and makes you part of the tribe of weirdos who go to bed early so they can wake up early. Our tribe needs you, so Welcome, Friends!!
  5. Stop comparing yourself to other WOOTrs. If you spend your time worrying about if you’re fast enough, good enough, fill-in-the-blank enough, you stop yourself from enjoying the moment. Believe me, I have to work hard and try different tricks to keep myself from wanting to run as great as other WOOTrs.
  6. Try a new Adventure. Yes, capital “A”dventure. Running trails on Okinawa is like nothing you have done or seen before. “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings
  7. Be aware, there is danger. Okinawa has poisonous wildlife, in case you hadn’t heard. Be aware they are there and have a safety plan and,
  8. Don’t go it alone. Getting lost, tripping and falling into the jungle, twisting an ankle, encountering #7, you do not want to be out there alone. Women work well as a group. We bond, we laugh, we encourage each other. That is another of WOOT’s core tenets.
  9. Learn to use your GPS and learn the trails. Don’t fear technology. GPS can help you get back to where you started so take that cool gadget and spend a few hours learning how to use it. That way, when you need it, you won’t be lost. And learn the trails. Watch the turns you take, notice the big and little things around you. This falls in line with supporting our tribe. Helping to lead a group run is a great way to help WOOT out.
  10. Forget about the shoes. It’s not the shoes. It’s you. Running. Every week we get the question of what trail shoes we recommend. Come out and run with whatever shoes you have.
  11. The best way to be a good runner is to run. Be consistent. Run when you don’t want to (barring injury), run when it’s hot, run when it’s raining, run when it’s windy, run when it just really sucks. Unless you hate running and in that case, this group may not be your flavor. And that is ok too :) Remember, “Good for her! Not for me.”

See you out on Trails soon!!

Restrictive Diets and Social Media Creating a New Kind Of Disordered Eating

Jannine Myers

fad-diets

I know I share a lot about food and diet, but that’s because I appreciate how food can either aid or harm the body, and as an athlete who cares about health, performance and the ability to remain active throughout my lifetime, I think it’s important to know what’s going on in current nutrition circles. So, when I heard a brief interview recently on TVNZ One News, with Media Nutritionist Claire Turnbull, a few of her comments caught my attention.

In recent years, major health organizations have been insisting that obesity has become an epidemic in America, and that the problem must be addressed and solved. On the other hand, nutritionists such as Turnbull, are now saying that not only is obesity a concern, but so is a new kind of disordered eating based on an extremist approach to diet.

Like it or not, among those who Turnbull labeled as “extremists,” were those in the Paleo, Vegan, and All-Raw camps. My initial reaction was a little defensive (even though I don’t personally follow any particular diet), but she went on to explain that anyone who places extreme restrictions on their food choices – and here’s the catch – to the point where they a) become anxious about food, b) have distorted perceptions of body image, and c) constantly try to adhere to a “perfect” lifestyle, is setting the bar way too high for themselves and everyone else observing them. What they’re trying to achieve, she says, is simply not realistic nor necessary to be healthy and happy.

Turnbull added that social media is largely to blame for the rising number of food and diet extremists. What we see posted in print and online, by health aficionados, is typically a “photo-shopped” version of someone’s life. I can attest to that actually; I only ever post food pictures of all the “healthy” things I eat. I can see how that might cause people to think that I never indulge in the other foods that I also enjoy – foods such as ice cream, and chocolate, and custard mochi (my favorite by the way). In fact, I can even take that a step further and truthfully say that I have run into friends or acquaintances at the commissary for example, and before I even had a chance to say hello, they quickly gave an explanation or apology for the food that was in their cart!

Furthermore, Turnbull said that those who tend to follow extreme and rigid eating plans seem to have a common personality type; they tend to be people who like to be in control. Everyone, to some degree or another, is wired to want to be accepted, and for some personality types, being able to control what they eat and how they look is one way of feeling like they can achieve acceptance. This type of thinking is what Turnbull believes is creating an increase in unbalanced approaches to health and happiness, and ultimately, mental or emotional issues.

Admittedly, I do seem to fit the stereotype described by Turnbull (health aficionado, food blogger, control freak), but I’m actually not that person. I agree wholeheartedly with Turnbull’s statement that food anxiety, coupled with rigid dietary practices and the pursuit of perfection, is not the answer to health and happiness. On the contrary, I believe that health and happiness is best achieved without “absolute” restrictions in place. My “healthy food” blog posts are published not with the intent of encouraging a perfect diet, but with the intent of promoting a healthier way of life. And by a “healthier way of life,” I am simply advocating a move from mostly processed junk food, to mostly fresh and chemical-free food. 

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Is Running Making You Eat More Than Usual?

Jannine Myers

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For some, running is primarily about weight loss. Running is after all, listed as one of the best forms of exercise for maximum calorie burning. But in some cases, weight loss goals can be thwarted by frustrating urges to overeat. This post will look at some of the reasons why some people tend to eat more than usual when they start a new running program.

1. Going too long (after a run workout, or throughout the day) without eating:

Runners who are on a mission to lose weight often make the mistake of “holding off” on eating after a long or intense run. The successful completion of a tough run can feel like such an accomplishment that it breeds an irrational fear of eating; in other words, there is a fear that eating will undo all the benefits of the exercise just completed.

It’s never a good idea to delay eating after a workout, not just because it may result in overeating, but because it will also impair the body’s ability to recover. Don’t ignore your body’s hunger cues; eat when you’re hungry and try to eat mindfully so that you recognize when you’re getting full.

2. There may be a biological connection between exercise and overeating:

In a study that tested the food-reward region of the brain, researchers put two groups of people through a vigorous bout of exercise, and then gave them various food cues to see if their brains would trigger a desire to eat unhealthy food. The first group, which consisted of relatively fit and lean individuals, hardly responded to the cues at all, but the brain activity of the second group (made up of heavier-set and less active individuals), completely lit up. The researchers concluded that individuals who are overweight and who typically don’t exercise, are more inclined to want to reward their workout efforts with food – and not necessarily with healthy food. On the bright side however, lead researcher Todd Hagobian, believes that consistent exercise, over time, affects the brain in such a way that unhealthy food is eventually seen as an undesirable post-exercise reward.

The biological changes that occur in the food-reward region of the brain, as well as hormonal changes that stimulate appetite, are referred to by some scientists as the “Compensation Effect.” Not everyone eats more as a result of increased training or exercise, but as indicated above, those who are untrained and overweight, and also women, are especially prone to the compensation effect. The best way to combat strong urges to overeat, is not to try and suppress or ignore the urges, but to fill up on nutrient-dense foods that a) are highly satiating, and b) promote optimal recovery – foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, lean meats (and other healthy protein options), as well as healthy fats and dairy foods.

3. Miscalculation of calories expended and calories consumed:

This is a mistake that is easily made by both beginner and advanced runners. A lot of runners don’t really spend a lot of time calculating how many calories they expend and consume, but they’ll make assumptions which are often far from accurate. In many cases, a runner may assume that he/she is burning x-amount of calories and consuming y-amount of calories, when in actual fact, the x-number is too high and the y-number is too low.

When runners make large discrepancies between their calorie intake and expenditure, they lull themselves into a false sense of security by believing that their increased exercise (running), gives them room to eat much more than they should. To avoid making incorrect assumptions, try using a calorie counting and exercise App, such as MyFitnessPal.

4. Last but not least, training and diet disciplines are not the same:

Even when a person knows everything there is to know about exercise and nutrition, the will to eat healthy never seems to match that of training hard and consistently. For some reason, many runners can stick to their training plan and get the workouts done, and yet fail miserably when it comes to sticking to their dietary goals.

If your diet needs a major overhaul, and you’re struggling to break old habits, try breaking just one bad habit at a time. Sometimes the big changes are only possible when small and gradual steps are taken; the process might take longer, but the results stand a far better chance of being permanent rather than temporary.

Mason Jars – Convenient Meal Vessels For Busy Athletes

Jannine Myers

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A few weekends ago, on Mother’s Day, my daughters gave me two mason jars, which I really love! I personally like using them as drinking glasses, but mason jars can also be useful for people who want to take easy-to-make, healthy meals to work. Breakfast and lunch can both be made the night before, stored in mason jars, and easily carried to work the next day. Here’s three recipe examples that show how versatile mason jars are:

1. Green Smoothie

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Any smoothie recipe will do, but for the one above, I simply threw all of the following into a blender:

  • A small handful of Japanese salad greens
  • 1 kiwifruit
  • 1/2 of a frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 single serve packet of Green Smoothie powder (Japanese product)

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2. Cherry Chia Breakfast Oatmeal

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This was more like two and a half, or three, servings for me, but the nice thing about this recipe is that the chia seeds bind everything together so as long as you keep the jar in the refrigerator (with a sealed lid), you can eat it over a couple of days. Here’s how I made this fresh cherry oatmeal:

  1. Mix together 3/4 cup of oats, 1 cup almond milk, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and a dash of cinnamon to an airtight container. Gently whisk and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.
  2. Add about 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries and 1 tbsp maple syrup to a high-powered blender. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes or until completely smooth. Pour into an airtight container and stir in 2 tbsps chia seeds. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
  3. In 3 small mason jars, layer the oats and cherry chia mixture. Garnish with chopped cherries (or other berries) and almonds, if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

 

3. Chickpea, Brown Rice, and Green Salad

P1070028The thing you want to remember with mason jar salads, is that the dressing should be at the bottom of the jar, then beans and hearty vegetables should be added next, followed by grains and pastas, then protein, and finally greens, nuts, and seeds. You can either eat your salad right out of the jar (after giving it a good shake), or you can transfer it to a salad bowl. Here’s how I made this chickpea, brown rice, and green salad:

  1. In a rice cooker, I added about 1/2 cup of brown rice, and a single packet of mixed beans (you can find various types of mixed bean combinations – for use in the rice cooker – at any Japanese store). Once the brown rice and bean mixture is cooked, let it cool slightly and give it some flavor by adding a little olive oil, salt, and a couple of pressed garlic cloves. Mix together and put aside.
  2. Make a quick dressing by mixing together a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a tsp stone ground mustard, salt and pepper, a sprinkle of Italian herbs (optional), and a tsp of honey.
  3. Drain and rinse 1 can of chickpeas, and mix together with some sliced green onions. Add enough of the dressing to give it a good coating.
  4. Now you can start layering your salad; start with the chickpeas (stir a little more dressing in if needed), then layer with the rice and bean mixture, followed by a handful of freshly diced tomato, your favorite greens, and a sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese.

[What’s your favorite Mason Jar recipe?]