Monday, July 30, 2012

Food Facts Friday(Okay, Monday): Restaurant Nutrition Apps

I've been busy! 
For the last several months, I have been trying to get another nutrition internship position, aside from the one I have at the Rehabilitation Center.
It's great - I love working for FREE!
I love it! Really, I do ...
There are a few, very well-known and respected Sports Nutritionists (RD's), with whom I would love to work with. Over the last several months, I've been trying to get an internship with one of these great RD's who lives in my area ...and to make a long story short, I have been given an incredible opportunity to work with her! So, lately, I've been doing a ton of research for a project that she is currently working on. Let's hope I hit the ball out of the park and she will continue to want me to "work" with her.

As part of some of the research for this project, I have been asking everyone what they eat, when they eat out. Even the poor unsuspecting NJPIRG, public interest employee that rang my doorbell asking for a donation.
Me: Hey, do you want some water, it's awfully hot out there.
Unsuspecting NJPIRG Employee: Oh my gosh, YES! Thank you!
The poor girl, she hadn't a clue!
Me: So (filling up her Kanteen with ice and water), What do you eat when you get hungry?
Unsuspecting NJPIRG Employee: Huh? (Oh God, I got a crazy on my hand, just gimme the freakin' water B@&tch!)
Me: Well, I'm working on a project and I'm wondering, your on the road all-day, your office is in New Brunswick (very familiar with NJPIRG in my 'save the world from plastics' life phase!)  ...what do you eat when you get hungry and your on the road?

You'd be surprised at how comfortable people are telling you their personal food habits. This unsuspecting public interest employee told me that she never snacks, but she does eats ALL her meals out. She went on to explain that she doesn't own a car, so she can't drive to the supermarket and she shares an apartment with a bunch of people, who don't usually cook their own food, either, so for now, this is her way of life.

Unsuspecting NJPIRG Employee: I'm not proud of the way I'm eating, right now, but it works for now.
Me: I'm not judging you. I'm asking everybody, "What do you eat when you go out to eat? And where do you go?"... so where do you go, when you eat out?
Unsuspecting NJPIRG Employee: I go to Panera Bread or a Deli during the day. My friends and I will eat Italian, Mexican or Chinese a couple of nights a week. That's about it.

Oh my gosh, how will I ever keep track of all these types of foods in all these different restaurants? I decided to do a search at the App Store, on my iPad. I typed in "Restaurant Nutrition" and came up with a whole bunch of Apps popped up. These Apps are great for people who are 
  • On the road, didn't pack a snack, and are hungry or starving
  • Have a business lunch/dinner at a local chain restaurant & don't want to blow their diet,
  • Had a rough day at work, just want to grab the kid(s) and get something to eat 'cause you are starving and too tired too cook!
  • Or are an unsuspecting public interest group employee, who is young and wants to relax and hang out with friends at a restaurant after talking to a bunch of Half-Crazed Runners people all day!
Some of the Apps that caught my eye are:
Restaurant Nutrition
Restaurant Nutrition: This App isn't as user friendly as some of the others. Still, the App does have over 250 restaurants & 60,000 food items are included in this App. Users can find (via map) the location of a particular restaurant, rate menus to keep track of their favorites, or mark their favorite foods at each restaurant. The App gives you calories, grams of fat,  carbs, protein & fiber (no sodium info) for foods selected. 
Fast Food Calorie Hunter
Fast Food Calorie Hunter: If you wanna figure out if that cheeseburger is better than the salad smothered in Caesar Dressing, then this App is for you ...well, maybe - some glitches with this one. It sometimes closes unexpectedly and some folks have reported that some of the calorie, carb, protein and fat counts are off. Not bad for a quick reference, but I found that Lunch Facts and Compare Chains
Lunch Facts
Compare Chains
offer the same restaurants with more info (calories, grams of fat & saturated fat, cholesterol, carbs, protein, fiber and sodium in any food item) and they don't close unexpectedly. Both Fast Food Calorie Hunter and Compare Chains also give you maps with restaurant location overlays.
Restaurant Calorie Counter
Restaurant Calorie Counter (or Restaurant Points Calculator Plus HD): This would be perfect for our unsuspecting NJPIRG employee 'cause you pick a restaurant, select your food and add it to the day's total calorie tracker: "I ate this". Once downloaded, it does not require Internet connection, so your not tied to a particular restaurant because it offers free WiFi. This App is really amazing - there are over 15,000 food items from 100 top restaurant chains.  Nutrition Facts include calories, grams of fat & saturated fat, cholesterol, carbs, protein, fiber and sodium. There is also a way to track your exercises for the day, to calculate Energy Intake vs Energy Expenditure! This App makes tracking calories fun. I guess that's why the reviews on this one are great!

Go Meals HD
Go Meals (or GoMealsHD): This App is my favorite because it is more versatile than the others. With this App, users do not only get information for the Chain Restaurants, like all the other Apps, but that's because I only eat out - maybe 2Xper week. With this App, users can search for info three different ways: 1) By typing in any food you want to eat, like, Spaghetti & Meatballs, OR 2) You can search by Type of Cuisine (Italian, Mexican or American Bistro) 3) Search by Restaurant by Name, OR 3) You can do a general search for Grocery & Generic food items - here, users can even find popular packaged cake, cookie and dessert mixes! Like some of the other Apps, it lists general info on calories, grams of fat & saturated fat, carbs, protein, fiber and sodium per serving size, but once you found the food you are eating, and hit the "Add to Plate" button only your Calories, Protein and Fat are calculated for that particular meal. Users can track Calories, Protein and Fat per day, week and even 1month!
WikiWeight: I wasn't crazy about this App. It's similar to GoMeals in that you can search foods by Type of Food, like salad dressing, potato chips, pretzels or candy, or by Restaurant, but the information per food item is very limited: calories, fat, fiber, protein and carbs - no saturated fat or sodium info. This App supplies users with a rating per food items - the only thing, the App doesn't explain this rating in the App - you have to go to the WikiWeightScore website to find out how this score was determined.

There are tons of Apps out there claiming to provide information on "every" menu item listed per restaurant chain. Unfortunately, that's not true. There are also great Apps out there that are voice activated, come with a barcode scanner and will give users lots more detailed info on foods eaten at home ....but I'll save that for another blog-post! Until then,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday at the track: Uncoordinated!

Even though Coach is enjoying his new Granddaughter (so excited for him!), he sent me an e-mail with my "homework" for the week. This included today's track work out.

I have had some weird issues going on with my Glutes/Hammy/IT band on my left side, which have again, been pulling on my knee. After last Saturday's 13miles, I drove to my chiropractor's office. My chiropractors are a husband and wife team, and I usually see Dr Lou, but when I saw Dr Jayne, I was soooo happy. I just wanted a good old girl to girl time - especially talking about my ARSE!. Any way, Dr Jayne adjusted me and cold light layered my entire left side: Glute/Hammy & IT Band. At the time, my knee was fine and I felt pretty good for the rest of the day.
Love cold light laser!
On Sunday morning, I volunteered for my local running club's 5K Park Race - I didn't realize how gross ripping off the bar code at the bottom of a race bib could be - and, I'm sorry, but some people really need to man-scape!
Sweat & Hairiness = Gross!
That's right, this is what I'm talking about!
After the volunteering, I ran a recovery run, about 4miles. That's when I noticed my knee acting a little funny, again.
Yeah, not cutsey-funny like this!
Sad, miserable funny, like: What the heck?
And when I ran on Tuesday, at the gym, I felt uncoordinated. I told Side-kick, it's like I don't have full control over my left leg - it's like being right handed and trying to write with your left hand. Soooo, back to the chiropractor, I went. Dr Jayne thinks that the whole Glute/Hammy/IT Band area is so inflamed that it's pressing on some nerves, which are not sending the right message to my left leg, which is why I feel as if my left leg is not cooperating when I run. This is good, kinda', I guess, 'cause for years, my Sissy has been calling me a "Spaz" and I thought maybe she was right on, after all! You know, I run 'cause I can manage going forward - but that even seems to be challenging lately!

That's why today's track workout was challenging. I ran a 2mile warm-up, stretched and did four 100meter strides. I was off by 3-4seconds per stride. I couldn't help it because I felt very uncoordinated. It's a very weird feeling.

Next, I had to run four 300meters at 6:40 pace. I did not quite get down to that pace, but took full advantage of the 100meter jog between sets. After this, I stretched some more and headed over to a hilly part of the park for some hill training.
This was the best part of my work out!
I ran up the hill, at a good tempo pace. The hill inclines for about 1/4mile. I didn't think I could do it, but I kept a good solid <8minute pace going up the hill, for all three runs!
After the hills, I jogged back to the track and ran four more 300meter sets at about 6:50-7:00minute pace. The last set, I forgot to stop at the 300meter mark and ran the entire 1/4mile. That's what happens when I don't have Coach there screaming, "Stop, (whistle, whistle), STOP!" I had to laugh at myself - I go so into pushing out that run that I forgot to stop!
I cooled down with a mile run and lots of stretching afterward. 
On the brighter side, I am up to 8 (consecutive) minutes with my planks!
Three minutes front elbow planks!
Two minutes left side planks, Two minutes right side planks!
Happy Training & Running!

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Coach is a Grandpa!

If you follow this blog, you know I think the world of my coach. 
Well, for the last 9months, he has been expecting. Ehem ...correction, his daughter has been expecting. Coach has been so excited and it's been rather enjoyable getting to know this side of him.
See, training sessions usually go like this:
Coach: Nooo! (Scowl) I said two times around the track. 800meters. That's1:40 at 400meters and 3:20 at 800meters. C'mon Let's go. (Ugh. When will this girl process two times around the track = 800meters?)
Me (Totally brain glucose deficit): Duuuuh, what pace?
Coach scribbled these paces down for me, about 2years ago.
I'm still trying to learn them. 
Coach is straight forward when it comes to training. There's no room for any sissy-crap. It's a tough workout every Wednesday, at the track. I often feel like a race horse, with snot and spit hanging out of every facial orifice, huffing, puffing and staying focussed in Lane #1.
When track work is done, there's time for small talk and we catch up on the week. During this time, I love to ask Coach about his daughter and how her pregnancy is going. The man's face totally lights up. He goes from 'Stern Track Coach' to a 'Softy' in seconds flat .... 'Oh, she's doing great. We heard the baby's heart beat. My daughter gained another pound' and my all-time favorite response of his 'You know I'm buying my Grandbaby her first Nike sneakers! Little pink Nike running sneakers!'
Well today, at 9:32AM, Ellie Grace was born!
Congratulations Coach!
All of God's blessings to Ellie Grace, you and your family!
I hope to get a picture soon, so I can share here on my blog!
Until then ...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Food Facts Friday: A Magic Food Cure

If you were given just a short amount of time to live, would you go hog wild and eat everything you fancied?
Pig Out Time!
Would you care if you ate healthy? 
Would eating even matter if you were in pain? Food probably wouldn't even appeal to you, if you were sick, in pain or not feeling well. Everyday at the hospital, I see people who either love, are indifferent or can't stand the sight of their food. Some folks are excited to complete their menu, some look at it as if it's just another chore, and others tell me they don't care, they have no appetite, everything tastes the same or they feel sick to their stomach when they see, smell or even think of food.

I like the idea that food can nourish us and make us strong, protect us against infections and diseases, and/or heal us when we are sick and tired, and even comfort us when we are sad.

Wouldn't it be great if there were some kind of magical food? A Magic Food Cure! Something I could introduce to the hospital that could be written on the menus. It could help people get stronger, fight whatever ails them, heal or feel better.

No, I'm not going crazy ...not even Half-crazy. I just wish I had A Magic Food Cure. There are so many people I would give it to. One in particular, my friend, Anne.
My Friend
I've known Anne since I was 22. We went to Aetna's Engineering Skills School together, up in Connecticut. Six weeks of learning everything from restaurant, warehouse and elevator safety to construction safety, chemical storage and what to look for when inspecting the fifth wheel of a tractor trailer!
We didn't get to choose who are roommates were, 
but fate couldn't have planned it any better. 
I fell in love with Anne's Oklahoma accent, long strawberry blonde hair, gorgeous big blue eyes, and her kind, sweet personality. And smart, boy oh boy is she ever smart! We had the best fun in that short six weeks. One weekend, we took a drive and she spotted a "Hock"
Anne: Look there. Quick, it's a "hock"?
Me: Where?
Anne: Up there?
Me: Where? What the heck is a "hock"?
Anne: Right there (pointing to the sky).
Me (think New Jersey accent): That's not a "hock", that's a "hawwwwwk"!

Anne and I have kept in touch through all of life's ups and downs. Boyfriend woes, weddings, marriage, baby births, kids growing up and sadly, September 11th when I lost my best friend, my husband, John. It was good to hear her voice, back then, knowing my friend, half-way across this country, was praying for me and rooting for me to carry on with my kids.

About 1year after John was killed, Anne called to say she was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. After Anne's surgery and chemo, they found that the cancer traveled to her humerus, which doctors eventually replaced with a steel rod. Next, they found breast cancer cells in her brain, but, as she told me, "The good news is that I have been on so much chemo that these breast cancer tumors are already dying!"

Anne fought the cancer and started to heal. In 2004, I took my children to visit her.  She was amazing. Still a little weak, but so happy she could walk and get around. I remember her telling me a story of how the Physical Therapists put her in a pool so she could relearn how to walk. It is a gift to be able to move freely. I hope I never take for granted the ability to run, never mind walk.

Anne's story is amazing. She is amazing.
It has been a blessing that she has been in remission for the last 9 years!

A couple of months ago, I noticed that Anne stopped posting on Facebook, so I "inboxed" her. She said that she was fine, just feeling tired, and maybe just a little too lazy to post. She told me that I wasn't the only one who asked her why she wasn't posting stuff. Little did we know, but Anne was most likely feeling the repercussions of another brain tumor. This time, it is not breast cancer cells, but cancerous brain tissue.

You know, social media tools are amazing. Now, patients or their families can set up patient pages on websites, like CaringBridges. I have been tracking my friend's progress from surgery to rehab.

Today Anne called.
The prognosis regarding her brain tumor was shocking.
They gave Anne 1year to live.

Anne is at peace, knowing that she will follow the doctor's orders, but that God may have other plans for her. Anne feels blessed that she had been given these past 9years, based on all that she went through with the breast cancer.

I am in shock. 
I must be brave for my friend. 
I just wish I had something I could give her,
something like A Magic Food Cure.....

Train Smart Today!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thursday at the track: 3mile test

I guess my last few runs prompted my Coach to see where I stood, so today, after a slow 2mile warm-up, and six 21second 100meter strides, I ran 3miles on the track.
My goal pace: 7:20.
Talk about self-talking
Yes, I can!
Yes, I will!
I am doing this!
I repeated the first two "Yes, I can and Yes, I will" about a gazillion times, after the first mile. Then, about 2.75mile mark, I added the "I am doing this." 

I had to force myself to repeat, "I am doing this". Like when you have a cavity or need a tooth pulled and have to make a dental appointment. You really don't want to go, but somehow you convince yourself that everything will be fine and it will all work out. You may even envision yourself going through some pain, but then the moments afterward are all types of sugar and bliss and you say to yourself: "I am doing this!" Next thing you know, you're making the dental appointment total denial of what what is really going to go down!

That's pretty much how it was when I was looking down at my beloved Garmin, seeing the 7:30minute pace, but saying, "I am doing this" - ignoring the aching hamstring, gluteus, IT band and heel pain, but hey, on a scale of 1-5, it was only a 2.5, which had no time to register because I was already thinking:
Yes, I can!
Yes, I will!
Then, only 800 meters left and "I am doing this" was the only thing my feeble brain could focus on!
Overall, my 3mile test resulted in a 7:22pace.
Not bad. 
Still room for improvement! 
My cool down was 2more slow miles (~8:50pace), which was really enjoyable after all that pushing!
Love the positive self-talking. It's a great way to 
Train Smart Today!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday: Not at the track

I'm in a carpool and today was my day to drive, so Wednesday at the track will happen tomorrow and be ....wait for it ...
Thursday at the Track!
Instead, this morning, I went to the gym and trained. Since I hurt my knee, I've been incorporating some new leg and core exercises. My favorite new leg (really glute and hammy) routine includes the USALifeline Monster Walk Resistance Band.
Yeah, only I'm not all smiles when I'm pushing these puppies out!
These are tough. 
I go forward and back, about 20feet, repeat about 4times and do the same thing, moving sideways. Yowser. I feel like I look ridiculous when I do these exercises. I feel like a baby with a full diaper - you know, when they first figure out how to walk and they're avoiding your chase to wrestle off that smelly, gross, way too full thing. So, Monster Walks really shouldn't be my favorite new exercise, but they are because when I'm done with these exercises they make my ass feel like it's about 20years younger!
Note: Did not say ass looks 20years younger!
For more glutes and some quads, I've been doing body squats. Two sets of 50. I like to tuck my pelvis under on the way up and engage my hip flexors. Keeping those hips tucked helps to keep the lower body aligned & reduces potential for low back pain/soreness.
More pelvic tuck in the stand position (left pic.), and more sticking out of the but (right pic),
Gotta stick your but out like you're hovering over a gross Port 'o John toilet seat!
(That's redundant, isn't it ...gross & Port 'o John?)
I also mix in some isometric leg extensions with ankle weights:
Like these, but with ankle weights and hold straight out with a little up/down pulse.
These extension exercises start out easy, but after about 90reps (small up/down movement), my quads are burning! I do this exercise with my leg straight out and to the side (at a 45*angle). I repeat lots of sets (9-10) with a bunch of different foot positions: pointed, flexed, inward & outward.
Bottom Line:
 These exercises must be working because I haven't needed any tape, since last Wednesday!
After the carpool, I ran 5miles. It was like running in an oven. This heat is getting to be too much. It's like running in jelly, uphill.
Gratuitous pic. to evoke feelings of sorrow and pity for me
during my 90*F (32.2*C) five mile runs.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Food Facts Friday: Potatoes

Last night, it was just Girlfriend and me. Side-kick was away on business and Mini-man is at camp. Dinner was very simple: Grilled chicken breast, potatoes and a tossed salad.
These potatoes were mmm, mmm, gooood!
I love potatoes served just about any way, except deep fried, a.k.a. french fries. No one else in my home likes potatoes as much as I do, so the starchy carbs are usually pasta, rice or quinoa. But with half the people out of the house, Girlfriend had no choice!

Potatoes are so versatile (and cheap) and they're available year-round. You can boil them, quarter them or mash 'em, bake 'em whole or sliced, put them in salads, frittatas or just eat 'em whole with a tiny bit of salt. They are an excellent source of fiber, niacin, B6 (great for endurance & cellular-energy), vitamin C, copper, iron, magnesium and potassium. Potatoes are also a great source of over 50 types of phytochemicals, like flavanoids, which help to boost heart health and protect against lung and prostate cancer.
Potatoes also contain a chemical called kukoamines, which help fight hypertension, which, everybody around me seems to have!
Eat your potatoes, dude!
Whenever I make potatoes, no one eats the skin - I love the skin. The skin contains a special type of flavanoid, quercitin. Research on quercitin has shown that this flavanoid can bolster immunity, fight inflammation and increase mitochondrial growth (---> > ATP ---> >ENERGY --> Happy Running).

Unfortunately, potatoes are on the EWG Dirty Dozen list, which means, unless they are organically grown, they could be contaminated with lots of pesticides, which are hard to wash off. You can use a peeler and dodge some of those pesticides, but then you will be cheating yourself out of those great phytochemicals, which are mostly found directly under the skin. I recommend buying organic potatoes, this way you get to keep the potato skins and dodge the toxic pesticides.

Another great tip for potatoes is in preparing them. Some research shows that acrylamide, a potential carcinogen, forms when potatoes are cooked over 248*F (120*C). But by simply soaking potatoes 2hours before cooking them, you can reduce acrylamide by ~50%, give them a quick rinse and you reduce acrylamide by about another 20%. And if you still want to take precaution, you can slice your potatoes and microwave them for 30seconds to reduce levels of acrylamide by about 60%.

So, last night, I soaked my potatoes (about 5new red potatoes) for about 2hours. Then I rinsed them off, cut them (about 1/4inch thick slices) and placed them on a foil sheet that I coated with EVOO. Next I chopped up fresh parsley (enough to sprinkle over each slice), chopped up 1/2 of a sweet onion and about 4cloves of garlic (enough to sprinkle over potatoes slices) and sprinkled a bit of sea salt. Next, I sprayed the slices with some EVOO with my Misto olive oil sprayer and covered with another foil sheet and crimped the edges tightly on all four sides.
Love the Misto!
Since it's been so hot and humid, I decided to cook these potatoes outside, on the grill. I cooked them for 15minutes on one side, flipped them (it's all in the wrist), and cooked them for another 15minutes on the other side!

They came out perfectly! So delicious and so perfect with the grilled chicken breasts and salad! With the fresh parsley, the potatoes came out a little sweet, and with the bits of roasted garlic and caramelized onion, they were delicious!

Of course, the next day I wreaked of garlic, but so worth it!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday at the track: Self-Talking

I did it! My first track work out without taping up my knee!
I was very pre-occupied with getting my daughter off to her summer camp - L'il Red has been accepted into the very prestigious PaperMill Playhouse Conservatory Program, a program once graced by the lovely Anne Hathaway -  and I forgot to tape up my knee.

I must admit, I was a bit nervous, but I figured, I'll take the 2mile warm-up slow and go from there. During the warm-up, I kept repeating to myself that I'd be okay, you know, self-talking!

Ever since I hurt my knee, I get this strange fear and anxiety that I will get injured during my track work outs and never be able to run again. In the past, I just had to deal with the regular anxiety:
Will I be able to run as fast as Coach says I should
Can I run 6:40 pace for 
400meters: Oh my ...head game time, palpitations and severe doubt.

I even opened up to my Coach - you know, like how psychologists are always saying that when you express your feelings, you feel better? Yeah 'cause announcing your fears actually releases you from them ...
But I did, I tried that tactic and I told my Coach: I'm afraid I'll get hurt. Maybe I should run home and get the tape?
Coach: No. You'll be fine.
Me: I can be back in 8minutesssss
Coach: No. You will be fine.
Me: You know, I get so nervous on track day. Scared and anxious, like I won't be able to run as fast as you say I should. (Self-talking: Ech. He's gonna think you're a basket case).
Coach: That's normal. A lot of people do. You will be fine. Now, c'mon, start your 100meter strides. Don't go all out ...take the first few slow and build up.
Me: Okay. 
More self-talking: 
It's normal, It's normal, these feelings are normal. 
You can do this. You can do this. You can do this. 
C'mon, girl, quit acting like a baby, pull yourself together and nail this workout!

Strides: Six 100meters, most between 20-21seconds. Not 18seconds, but I was still standing! I'll take it.
Ladder: 400meters@ 6:40. 200meters@ 6:50. 300meters@ 7:00 and 400meters@ 7:10. 

Not all 6:40 pace, 
but after hundreds of 'I can do this, I can do this, I can do this',
I was okay.
Actually, No.
I was better than okay because
I'm inspired by people who overcome their fears. Last week on the track, I met an incredible woman, let's call her Ms.Triple Dare. She opened up to me and told me her story of obesity, her relationship with food, past and present, and her current unbelievable relationship that she now has with running. After two knee surgeries, she decided to lose weight (100pounds!), train for a 5K and then, for a marathon!
Now, that's a triple dare, if ever I saw one! 
And so inspiring!

Sometimes fear can be a motivator, propelling us forward to places we never thought possible. Like with Ms.Triple Dare, she used her fear to propel her forward - fighting her fear of failing another go at losing weight, running after two knee surgeries and the possibility of not being able to finish a race or a goal she hoped to accomplish. 
Fighting fear is not easy.
It takes a lot of work and dedication.
It takes a lot of self-talking.
Ms. Triple Dare is not fearless, she just has the courage to keep trying.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Food Facts Friday: The Best Diet of All!

Sometimes, I feel as if I am the only one who cares about the health issues in my family, community, state, country, heck ...the world.

That is, until today ... 
I can't believe it, the London Assembly may ban Coca-Cola AND McDonald's from the 2012 London Olympics! One month to the Olympic games and the London Assembly, est. year 2000, has urged the International Olympic Committee to adopt strict criteria regarding which companies can and cannot sponsor the Games and that means:
No Coca-Cola
Micke Dees!
This is crazy, Coca-Cola is the longest running sponsor of the Games - since 1928! And McDonald's has been a sponsor of the Olympic Games since 1976! Together, they contribute more than 40% of Olympic revenues!

McDonald's executives defended their products, touting the healthier items (albeit, less popular) on their menu, such as the grilled chicken wraps, salads and fruit smoothies.
I'm Lovin It ...I think.
Now, I am not a Coca-cola soda drinker, although I do drink (and enjoy) diet Coke every now and then. I also do not eat McDonald's. (Shhh, don't spread this around, but I think I'm the only American that does not like french fries!). For reasons like the London Assembly, I refuse to promote products from ANY company, that promotes enzymatically-altered ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup, or chemically-altered or genetically modified ingredients because I am disgusted that companies exploit basic human need for food to turn out cheaper products for a profit.

Also, as far as fast food, there is just no place for it in my diet. I think of fast food as the last resort, when you are starving, and have no choices around - like when you are traveling by car on the highway and must stop because you simply cannot go any longer without food.
Desperation could lead me here!
But, what about financing The Olympic Games? 
Without Coca-Cola & McDonald's, 
the Games will be in some serious financial woes!

Well, like everything political, I am sure there will be some revelation, where Coca-Cola and McDonald's will prove their "self" worth and regain their tight advertising and sponsorship hold of the Olympic Games!

Maybe, Coca-Cola and McDonald's would be interested in an article entitled, "The Best Diet of All", published in The Daily News, back in June, this year. The article was based on a two year study of 811 overweight and obese men and women. In this study, each participant lowered their daily caloric intake by 750 calories, however, they all did it differently. Randomly, they were assigned one of the four following diets:
Low-fat/Average protein
Low-fat/Average Protein
High-fat/Average Protein
High fat/High Protein

Participants were required to prepare and eat food, according to the diet they were assigned. Researchers met with the "dieters" periodically to make sure they were sticking to their assigned diet and to assess their progress.

After 6months, researchers were happy to see that most of the people in all four groups were sticking to their diets. After 6months, on average, participants lost 12% fat and 3.5% lean body mass, which, according to the article was "healthful".

After 2years, though, researchers reported that adherence to all four diets was poor. On average, those participants, who did not hold steadfastly to their diet, gained back about 40% of what they lost at the 6month mark.

Only the participants who stuck to their diet for the full 2years continued to 
keep off the weight that they lost at the 6month mark.
The type of diet did not matter!
It only mattered that 
the dieter stuck to 
the reduced-calorie diet!
(Hint: If you're looking for a diet plan, choose one that you think you'll be able to stick to!)

The article goes on to report an explanation for this research, which was given by  Dr Bray, chief of clinical obesity and metabolism at Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.
The explanation was very simple, supported by basic human metabolism: 
You either burn off, or do not eat, 3500 calories 
to lose one pound. 
It does not matter if these calories come from fat, protein or carbs!
A calorie is a calorie!

So, to the London Assembly, I say: Maintain some financial security, and secure sponsorship from Coca-Cola or McDonald's because,
(OMG, I can't believe I'm going to say it ....)
These companies are not causing obesity!!!

Wow, would you have ever guessed it? 
People's behavior and over-consumption of Coca-Cola and McDonald's products is causing obesity!

And...get real, just because the London Assembly says "NO" to 
Coca-Cola or McDonald's,
obesity is not going to go away, for
"It is easier to change a man's religion, than to change his diet" 
~ Margaret Mead ~

Heck, that's like me thinking this blog can actually make a healthy difference in my family, community, state, country, or the world. I can dream....

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Leaving my ego at the door

Running provides a bunch of little life lessons, 
some of which can be very humbling. 
Today was a perfect example. 
The pain from yesterday's workout at the track, only got worse throughout the night. Somewhere around where the posterior side of my left upper hammy meets my pelvis, specifically by my sit bones (Tuberosity of  the ischium), I am inflamed!
And damn, it hurts!
Only pic where I could find
Ischial Tuberosity/Hamstring Insertion
I feel really uncomfortable going to my chiropractor and saying, "Hey can you do that cold light laser somewhere by my lady parts/groin/ass/hamstring area." So, I decided what I needed, was to just run.
I know, I am pitiful.
But, and this is a huge BUT ...running has always been there for me. It has gotten me through so many fearful, anxious, sad, happy, fretful, innocent, angry, etc., etc., etc. times in my life.
Surely running cannot be the very thing that is causing me pain ....
Besides, Coach's homework included a 5mile run, today. 

I decided to go to the gym. At 11AM, it was already 98*F (36.6*C) - so, the air conditioned gym seemed reasonable, in spite of my unreasonable goal to accomplish 5miles with all this tightness and pain in my whole left-side pelvic/ass/hammy/whatever region.

I got to the gym, started the treadmill, pushed the "SPEED" button and got up to 9miles/hour pace, when, all of a sudden,
OUCH: Knee pain! 
Slow down, Half-Crazed!'
Oh, no. Not the knee pain, again. I thought I was done with that ... What's going on? 9miles/hour is slow for me. Remember me, back in January, I was rockin' it on the treadmill
I paused the treadmill.
The tears welled up in my eyes,
I took a deep breathe and thought,
"You just gotta leave your ego at the door, and take it slow."

I restarted the treadmill, at 15miles/hour. After about mile 3, I built up to 10miles/hour, and held it for 1 more mile.
No, I didn't run all 5miles, I only ran 4.
Yes, I cried at the end of today's workout ...but I did it.
And that's an even bigger BUT!
I finished with lots of stretching, foam rolling and some abs/core exercises.
Today's was very humbling.
But, that's running.
And sometimes, 
you just gotta leave your ego at the door.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wednesday at the track: Happy 4th of July!

Today I woke to rain, achilles fasciitis heel pain, and an awful headache, which eventually moved into my stomach! Not a great motivator for "Wednesday at the Track".
But I pushed, 
ran a very slow 2mile warm-up 
and six 100meter strides at a 21second pace.
I was actually proud of my stride pace since I've been experiencing some piriformis and hamstring pain, again. It's a bit frustrating because I've been rolling and stretching and strengthening - so I'm getting impatient. I'm also beginning to wonder if I have reached my fastest speed and I will never get any faster.

The workout for today was a ladder, up and down and up again
 ...but no back down. 
I ran 1,2,3 & 400meters with a 100meter jog between each, then I went back down, 4,3,2 & 100meters, again with a 100meter jog rest between each. I was supposed to repeat the ladder (up & down), but it was so hot, and I was experiencing this darn left side/leg pain, that I told coach, I was only going back up the ladder and not down - I repeated 1,2,3 & 400meters again, taking a much needed leisurely jog rest between each set. I was happy that I was able to push out a 6:30/6:40pace, but it was so hot that my H/R raced up close to my MAX range - This was another reason why I didn't want to go back down the ladder. Three times the ladder was plenty in this heat!

Afterward, I ran my mile cool down, with some more pain. Ech!
And ended with lots of stretching.
I'm glad it's a holiday! I can rest, relax & take in some sun!
Davila, Flanagan & Goucher representing!
Happy Fourth of July!