Friday, September 28, 2012

Food Facts: Read To Lose (Weight)

A new study from the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela in Spain (Published in the Agricultural Economics Journal) found that reading food labels could help you lose weight!
And females (pay attention here)
who read food labels,
weigh about 8.8pound (4kg) less 
than those who do not read labels! 
Yeah, yeah, I know ....you were all hoping I was going to say that all you haft-a do is read Fifty Shades of Grey and you'd lose weight.
No, of course I wasn't going to say that. 
I am too boring for that! 
Reality Check:
I just got in a late day 6mile run, and here I am on a Friday night with the
thought that stretching, foam rolling
and eating grilled veggies with goat cheese on fresh panella 
is the perfect end to a hectic week!
Zzzzzz!
No Fifty Shades.
Sorry, just Food  & Label Facts!
This study makes a big correlation specifically amongst women who read food labels and their weight versus men who read food labels and their weight. Perhaps this is because there are only about 58% of men, compared to 74% of women, read nutrition food labels?
So, what are you waiting for guys?
Read your food labels!
Why?
'Cause on average, women who read nutrition fact labels have a Body Mass Index (BMI) value that is about 1.49 less than the women who do not read labels!

The study also pointed out that people who do not regularly make healthy, conscious decisions, like those who smoke cigarettes, usually don't read food labels, and subsequently, tend to be heavier!
So, I know what your wondering ....
'What do I need to know when I look at the Nutrition Facts on a Label?'
They make the labels so complicated these days!
 What do I really need to look for?
The Food & Drug Association has a great website on how to understand the Nutrition Facts on a label. They break it down into about six or seven easy sections: Serving Size (Portion Control is key, here), Calories per serving, Nutrients you should limit (like saturated fat or trans fat), Nutrients you want to get enough of (vitamins & minerals) and the difference between being "LOW" in something (5% or less) or being "HIGH" in something (20% or more) and lastly, Percent Daily Values.
Check out the FDA Site.
Learn How to Read Food Labels
and
TRAIN SMART TODAY!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A New PR: Nashville Lady Speedstick Women's Half Marathon Recap

This past Friday, I flew down to Nashville, Tennessee, the place where music calls hometo run in the Nashville Lady Speedstick Women's Half Marathon.

Hard Rock Cafe
Nashville, Tennessee
Sidekick and I almost missed our flight because there was so much traffic on every highway we tried (and we tried three!) driving to the airport. There is nothing worse than running through an airport, trying to get to a gate before they close the doors! Anyway, we made it and I was so relieved. I have had to cancel two runs this year because of knee problems, so thinking I missed the flight, made me want to cry. The problem: I was trying to be "Super Mom". This was the second time I ever took a trip without my kids - they were too busy to come (do you believe it?) - so before I left, I made dinner and wanted to have a "Family" meal. It was so rushed, every one got upset with one another - it was awful - not quite the "quality" family time I hoped for.

We got to our hotel in Nashville about 11PM. I set everything up for the next day's early morning 7AM start: Garmin, Road ID, Running shirt, shorts, Bra, Hair clip, one Clif Shot gel with safety pin to attach to my shorts, socks, sunglasses, Rock tape for knee and racing sneaks with obnoxious laces! I was all set, very excited, and hoped I would be able to sleep.

Even though the Lady Speedstick Half does not advertise packet pick-up in the AM, I called the race coordinators to see if they make any exceptions for people coming in from out of state. I work on Friday, and Girlfriend has been sick, so I had to take her to the doctors that day at 12noon. You can imagine how relieved I was when the race coordinators told me that I could pick up my packet early Saturday morning. So, there I was, 5:45AM, Saturday morning (after a good night's rest!) off with my Side-kick, only to make one stop for coffee, a water bottle and a Clif Bar. Do you believe the little coffee shop had no bagels? 
Poor side-kick, I was a nervous wreck. 
If I don't eat 1hour before the race, 
I could run into huge potty problems - like in Virginia - and that is absolutely No Fun
We were off to the race, and I shoved that Clif bar in my face and sipped back that coffee like I had been starved for a month! All was good, I made it to the packet pick-up area, got my number, looked at my watch and saw it was time for my warm-up. Coach gives me a pre-race warm-up, jog about 1/2 mile and do about 4-6 thirty second strides to wake-up my legs and get them to turn over quickly.

The race started in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame. After my warm-up, we were walking around. Do you believe there is no star for Stevie Ray Vaughn?
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
hey, that's me, and I want you only!
 I am late for everything (Re: my Dolly Parton goal), but never, ever the start of a race. So, it was line-up time, and I met a great person, who after we got to talking, I found out that her niece suffers from Crohn's disease, like me. The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation was the major recipient of proceeds from this race.
This young lady, on my right,  ran to raise money and awareness
for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation.
I am embarrassed to say that I have never run to raise money for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America - instead, every time I run a race, I donate to Tuesday's Children. I need to reach out to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America - maybe they want to sponsor me? I did notice lots and lots of port-o-johns, LOL! And, I was tempted to use one around mile 8, but (no pun intended) I managed to deal with the pain, discomfort and nausea, until I passed the finish line! Then, I was so happy to see all those port-o-johns lined up, welcoming tired old Crohnnies runners, quite like myself!

Before the race, they had the singing of our National Anthem. After 9/11, I can't help, but cry at the singing or playing of our National Anthem. This past 9/11, my daughter sang our National Anthem at the Mets Baseball game. I was really proud of her. I think she sounded beautiful. Check out Girlfriend, singing the US National Anthem - tell me what you think.

After the anthem, I was psyched to start!
Thumbs up!
The race was challenging. In the first mile or so, I met a gentleman carrying a sign: 1:35. I told him that's my ultimate goal, 1:35, but after another mile, he politely said, "I'm sorry, but I have to run a little ahead!" Oh noooo, my illusive 1:35 getting away, again. How  can he run faster than me carrying that sign, in the wind? Ugh!
Just run, girl, just keep running!
I was doing pretty good. I felt strong - even up and sown the hills, twists and turns - it was a very hilly and twisty race - I think that's what made it so challenging! And all the women in the race were so nice. If I passed someone, I would hear: 'keep it up", or "you look great", or "you go, girl'!
Love running in the "All Woman" races!

I kept telling everyone, "Thanks, and I have Crohn's." I know it's stupid, but it means something to me, to be able to run with a chronic illness because I manage it with food and medicine (I take 6 Pentasa per day!).
The crowd was great, too. One person even yelled out, "You go person with the tape around her knee. You just keep going!" Thank you, whoever that was, you really made my day!
Thumbs are still up!
There was only one person, a by-stander, who "lied" - he yelled out, "C'mon, last mile, it's all downhill from here." I yelled back, "Really? You better not be lying to me."
He was! 
I say we had to climb about three more hills before the finish. I was tired. All I could think was, "Just hurry up and finish. Then, you will be done and you can STOP!" You know that feeling, in a race, when all you want to do is stop running? Well, I was there, about mile 11/12. I pushed to the end, though. I wanted to reach at least 1:38.
Last couple hundred feet to go!
Pump those arms!
I did it! So many nice volunteers!
I did it! 
And I set a new PR by seconds: 
1:38:34
Just look at this medal!
Yes! I think I was 16th, overall - they don't have all the results in just yet. What a fun race! So many nice goodies in the race bag, too, including great sweat-wicking t-shirt, which, this time, I kept instead of giving it to my Side-kick. After the race, there was a great band playing some Country Rock. 
Rock on!
Overall, it was the start of a beautiful day in sunny, downtown Nashville, Tennessee, with my Side-kick.
Lotsa boot stores in downtown Nashville!
And live music, everywhere you go!
Hey, Side-kick, thank you for supporting my running efforts <3!
TRAIN SMART TODAY!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gasp! I completed my Daily Mile Run 1000Miles in 2012 Challenge!

When I first signed up for the Daily Mile "Run 1000 Miles in 2012 Challenge", I thought, "Sure, girl, go ahead. You're running anyway - might as well join in." So, I did ....and each week, I would check my progress. 
That's when I started to see who else was participating in this challenge.
Some runners were amazing - running an incredible numbers of miles each week. Wow, I thought, 'Same interest, same challenge, maybe they want to be my "Daily Mile Friend"? So, every once in awhile, I would ask one of these runners to join my "Friends" group.
For those who know me, and know how private I am,
I hear your gasps!
I know, it's a shocker, but I did - I made "online" friends!
Gasp!
Kate, dear, your even gorgeous making a shocked face!
What gives?
And it's been pretty cool!
Through this challenge, I have met so many nice runners - from all over the world!
And even though I completed this challenge, we are still friends. We can still see how we are training and tracking miles, encourage each other when trying to reach a new goal and congratulate each other when we finally reach that goal.
Looks like it's time for another challenge, 
and maybe some new friends,
'cause (woo-hoo)
I completed my Daily Mile Run 1000Miles in 2012 Challenge!
Third to last, there I am!
TRAIN SMART TODAY!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Food Facts: Not orthorexia, just a little concern

It's been said that in my reporting of food, (i.e., processed food), I put the fear of God in some people! I'm really not trying to promote Orthorexia, nor do I want to create a blog that instills fear of eating certain foods, but geeeeze, there is a lot of scary stuff out there! Like the arsenic in our rice - when you hear that there's arsenic in our rice, it can be a little scary. 
Yeah, I know, arsenic is naturally occurring in our soils, and a certain trace amount is going to be found in fruits and veggies grown in soil, but that's not what the news is highlighting. Above and beyond the naturally occurring organic arsenic, there is another type of arsenic, an inorganic arsenic, which has just a litttle different chemical structure than the naturally occurring organic arsenic. It is this inorganic arsenic, that is the cause of this most recent scare.
So what, who cares, right?
I love Fred!
I care!
Exposure to high levels of arsenic can raise a person's potential for cancer, 
heart disease, and inhibit a developing child's IQ and intellectual function.
I hate that our food may be tainted because somewhere along the line, all some people could see was how to make money, and didn't think, 'Will this hurt people, our environment, our children?' 
Like the US poultry industry - they have been known to feed arsenic to chickens to help reduce chickens from contracting certain infections. Oh, yeah, this arsenic has an "added" benefit - it helps give chicken flesh a nice pretty "fresh pink" glow. 
Why would they do that?
Money, money, money, money ....monaaaaaay!
Okay, so how does it get from chicken food to our soil? 
Chicken Manure! 
Chicken's make a great big mess, and this mess is sold as fertilizer ...to rice farmers ....even organic rice farmers! And around and around we go. Sadly, most of the rice grown in the US is in the southern states, where industrial poultry farming is big business. To add insult to injury, there may also be higher levels of arsenic in the soil in the middle southern states, where industrial poultry farming is huge, due to arsenate pesticides that were (up until the 1980's) used on the cotton fields, which were also grown in this middle southern state region.

So, why rice? Why not corn, or wheat?

Apparently, rice picks up arsenic from soil more effectively than other grains because it is grown in lots and lots of water: Think rice paddy...
Rice Paddy
When the rice drinks up the water, it also drinks up whatever is in the soil, like the inorganic arsenic. 

Are some brands worse than others?
Since the brown rice is less processed, it contains more arsenic - right, that added hull, that is a great source of fiber,  is also now a great source of arsenic. Yeay! Through Consumer Reports, I have discovered that among the rice tested, the highest levels of arsenic were found in Martin Long Grain Brown rice, Della Basmati Brown, Carolina Whole Grain Brown, Jazzmen Louisiana Aromatic Brown and Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value Long Grain Brown Rice.
Okay, so we got the facts, now what?
Well, first off, thank goodness the US Food and Drug Association and Consumer Reports were cool enough to report the arsenic rice exposures. Now the US FDA just has to set some limits and tell us how bad is bad? Currently, there is no federal limit for arsenic in food - there is a limit in drinking water, and that's 10parts per billion (which is twice the level acceptable in New Jersey). According to Consumer Reports, those (Latino & Asian Americans) who regularly consume rice have 44% higher arsenic levels than those who do not. 
Hmmmm, these numbers got me thinking...
Think, girl, think ...
....what about people who don't consume rice, but consume rice products ....hmmm, what products are made with rice? Rice cereals, rice cakes, rice energy bars, crisps and cookies, or rice milk, or what about ....

RICE FORMULA?
See, it's a concern - especially knowing the health dangers (listed above) that arsenic in our rice and rice products could potentially present. I didn't make this up, and I didn't go hunting up how to scare people ....heck, it's all over the airwaves, and television, it's all over the web, and in our newspapers. I even had a patient ask me, the other day, why we still have rice on the menu at the Rehab Center ..."don't you know it's full of arsenic?"


So, do we need to avoid eating rice?
Well, the FDA is working hard to protect us from arsenic tainted rice (so I'd like to think, at least), but in the meanwhile, what do we do?
The FDA says, "Do not change your eating habits" 
But
Consumer Reports' scientists advise differently!
The Consumer Reports' scientists advise that adults consumption of rice and rice products be limited to no more than two servings of rice per week. Consumer Reports also advises that children avoid rice drinks, and limit their consumption of rice to one serving of rice per week. Note: One serving is equal to one quarter cup. I have also heard, (but I have not read or found this in writing, yet) that you may want to buy rice that was grown in a region that has less arsenic in the soil, like rice from California.
So, what's a Mom to do?
Well, believe it or not, I am serving rice tonight!
No, I am not crazy!
I like the Near East rice, it's my favorite. I can't tolerate brown rice, and the white Near East rice, with the long grain rice, sits well with my tummy. I tried to find out if the Near East company released any reports about arsenic in their rice, but I couldn't find any, to date.
My solution: I added in some lentils. My thinking here was that I will reduce my potential exposure by adding in the lentils, thereby lowering the amount of rice I am eating and serving to my family.
Mmm, mmm, good.
With a little chicken and a salad - you got a great meal!
I know dilution is not the solution to pollution, but I want to prove a point:
There is no room for orthorexia, here, just a little concern, to ensure healthy eating habits, by eating a balanced diet, so we can all
TRAIN SMART TODAY!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday at the track: Brrr!

It was pretty cold out when I got to the track today! 
The temperature read 58*F (14.4*C)!
I didn't realize the temp dropped last night. I was only in a pair of shorts and an Under Armour Tee, so my 2.25mile warm-up felt a little chilly! When Coach saw what I was wearing, he told me that I should be wearing something on my legs to warm-up in. Apparently, when the temperature gets this low, you should wear warm-up pants over your shorts to warm-up your legs, and avoid injury. Before the track work out starts, you can then take off the warm-up pants.
Then Coach said, "C'mon, let's go. Four 100's".
It was pretty windy ...I'll blame it on that ...'cause I felt a little slow on those four strides. My legs felt heavy. I think, it was the lunges and squats I did on Monday ... maybe my legs just didn't fully recover, yet?

After the strides, Coach had me run 3/4 of a mile with a 1/4mile jog. This was followed with a short stretch-rest, a 200meter stride and a 200meter jog. I repeated this four times. I had to keep my "elusive" 1/2 marathon goal pace of 7min20sec/mile, which was a piece of cake after those strides against the wind! All in all, though, it was a pretty challenging track work out.
I finished with 1.25mile warm-down run.
During this warm-down run, I just couldn't get over how many leaves were already on the ground.
Between the cool weather, the leaves starting to change color & fall to the ground, it's already starting to feel and look like Fall. It's crazy too - the grocery stores are already selling pumpkins!
Time seems to be whizzing by. 
Like this past weekend ...I can't believe we celebrated Girlfriend's turning 18!
WOW!
Girlfriend
I swear, she was just a baby last week!
Just,
WOW!
TRAIN SMART TODAY!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Food Facts For A Squeaky Clean Colon

Okay, I'll admit it:
I am a closet Van Halen fan! 
And, I will also admit that I just loved how cute Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli looked together, as a couple ...
Aaaaaw!
And this week, when I heard that Eddie was clinging to life after swallowing a cayenne-based diet concoction, part of the Master Cleanse Diet, I was shocked.

Apparently, fad diets, like some cleansing diets, can increase stress and pressure on the colon to the point where the colon could rupture. In Eddie's case, he had a pre-existing condition, called diverticulitis, which is like having tiny little pockets in your colon. If food, like seeds or nuts, get caught in these tiny pockets, an infection could start. If the infection progresses, or if stress or pressure is put on an inflamed colon, the colon could rupture, spilling feces into your abdominal cavity. If this happens, you could die - which was pretty much what almost happened to Eddie Van Halen this past week.

So, what's the big idea behind these colon cleansers. Do we really need a little rotor rooter action? Do they help?

Detoxification and cleansing have been around for a long time. In fact, the first saunas were designed so humans could sweat out toxins from their skin. Still, never before has the idea of a colon cleanse been more promoted and accepted, than in the last decade. The theory behind cleansing is that in our modern-day, developed, chemical-ridden/dependant world, toxic compounds in our air, water and food pollute our bodies. Let's face it, this part is true, which is why I buy organic products and try to avoid pesticides in my food, hair and skin care products! If exposure to these toxins is greater than what our bodies can naturally neutralize, or detoxify, the toxins will build up in our bodies. Toxins that are not removed, either by being processed in our liver or kidneys and eliminated via sweat, urine and feces, will most likely get stored in our fat tissues - and possibly even other tissues, as well.
So, then, it makes sense, right?
We need to 'take control' and give our body some help. 
After all, how could anything that detoxifies your body be negative?

Well, not everyone agrees that a cleanse or detox diet is good thing. I'm sure Eddie Van Halen will vouch for that!
My Master Cleanse experience felt like I was running with the devil!
Supporters of detox diets believe that toxins don't leave our bodies, but hang around in our digestive, lymph and gastrointestinal systems - and even our skin. Proponents of cleansing diets believe that the toxins that linger in our system cause problems like headaches, tiredness, nausea and illness.
But ...
Detox diets are not all created equally. Most detox diets instruct dieters to eliminate certain foods that are thought to contain toxins in order to purify the body. Others may require fasting, and the dieter must give up certain foods - foods like processed and packaged foods or refined carbohydrates. For a runner, this would mean no power or protein bars, no protein shakes, sports drinks or gels or pasta.

Some detox diets concentrate on consumption of liquids, like juice, vegetable broths, teas and water. The thought here is that food stresses out the GI tract and by drinking juice, your giving your GI tract some rest. Then, over a period of time, the dieter can gradually introduces some foods back into the diet.
OMG! I didn't ever think I'd see the day when I could eat these again!
Some detox diets require the dieter to eliminate certain food items, like animal products or cooked foods, and yet others encourage using a colonic irrigation, or enema to "cleanse" the colon.
I'm talking, the REAL DEAL, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, here!
The bottom line is that because detox diets impart certain restrictions, they do not allow the dieter choice of food groups, so there is no balance of the food groups. 
Major Food Groups
I guess this is okay for those who believe in the power of the cleanse on an annual or biannual basis,
BUT ...
We can see from Eddie's experience that detox diets are not for everyone. 
They are especially NOT FOR those who have a pre-existing condition like diabetes, heart disease, or diverticulitis. They are also not recommended for pregnant women, or people with an eating disorder. With an eating disorder, some people may feel a sense of power in restricting caloric intake, or in "cleansing" via an enema - this could lead to abuse of this activity and result in serious health problems. Also, if the detox diet requires laxatives, a person could become dehydrated, lose important minerals and electrolytes or worse, become dependent on laxatives.
Above all, detox diets are especially not a good weight loss plan. 
Restricting calories during a detox effort may allow you to lose a few pounds, but it's mostly water and muscle. The more muscle you lose, the less metabolically active (calorie burning) tissue you have, and the more likely you are to regain the weight once you start increasing your caloric intake again.
So, then, why have detox diets, like the one created by Stanley Burroughs in 1941,
The Master Cleanse, 
made such a come back since 1990?
Simple: It's a Fad
And it could be a dangerous one!
The human body is designed to purify itself, but our bodies can also store and potentially not rid itself of toxins. A more efficient way to detox is by encouraging your body's natural ways to detox.
Start by limiting (note: not e-liminating) fast and packaged foods,
eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies (in every color of the rainbow), whole grains, legumes, nuts (walnuts for some great omega-3's) and seeds (pumpkin seeds are also full of omega-3's). 
Eating these foods will make for a fiber-packed diet, which is great because the fiber will help draw out wastes, as well as bile (which will also help to lower your cholesterol).
For the love of fiber, eat a balanced meal!
Also, make sure you are eating enough protein from lean meats, eggs or fish, and enough calcium for healthy bones. Of course none of this will be any good if you don't drink at least eight-8ounce glasses of some kind of beverage (other than alcohol) to rid the body of toxins via sweat, urine & feces.
Last, but certainly not least: 
Adopt a healthy lifestyle:
Exercise regularly and avoid XS-alcohol.
And ....
 TRAIN SMART TODAY!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9Eleven

To some, he was a neighbor, to others, a friend. 
 I have heard him called, "A great grandson, cousin, nephew, uncle, brother and son."
By far, the sweetest name I have ever heard him called is "Daddy".
But, to me, he was my husband, 
my best friend,
you know, the person that knows everything about you
 - all the good, all the bad, all the ugly - 
and still loves you, in spite of it all!

104th floor, WTC, September 11, 2001
I know you didn't really leave me, John, because I feel your presence everyday.
I hear your music in our little girl
and
I see your smile in our son. 
We talk in my dreams ...and I love when you tell me, "You'll be home!"
Until we meet again ...
I love you ....TONS!


TRAIN SMART TODAY!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Food Facts: Salt

I just completed my first research "report/submission" for one of my internships. For this research, I looked at menu items listed on the largest fast, convenience and chain food restaurants. One thing that stood out to me was the amount of fat and sodium in these foods - it was just jaw dropping!
Shocked!
The United States Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) recommends an adequate sodium intake (AI) equal to 1500mg (~2/3tsp.) with an upper limit (UL) of 2300mg (1tsp). Some items in the chain restaurants had more sodium in one meal than the USDA's upper limit of 2300mg!

Just to give you an idea, the Bellagio Chicken at the Cheesecake Factory, America's #1 Chain Restaurant, contains about 2500mg of sodium. Okay, forget it, you say, 'cause when you go to the Cheesecake Factory, you want healthy, so you go for the Weight Management Asian Chicken Salad ...wait for it ....
2400mg sodium!
Yup! 2400mg sodium, more than 1 days worth! Forget it, you don't care, now you're just gonna order their Old Fashion Hamburgers ...same ...2400mg sodium! Even a Big Mac from McDonald's has 1400mg less sodium than Cheesecake Factory's Old Fashioned Hamburger!

The current figure on how much sodium the average American consumes is now 3400mg/day!
I think this is out of control crazy! 

Yes, sodium has its rightful place - especially in sports. We all need sodium for fluid balance, muscle strength and nerve function. And we especially need to replace sodium after a sweaty work out. Eww!
Sweat is gross- except when fashioned by a cute l'il emoticon!
And I am the grossest!
By the time I'm done with my long run, 
I have salt crystals on my arms, legs, back, chest, neck and face! 
Since sweat is made up of more than just salt (sodium chloride) and you lose potassium, calcium and magnesium, I am intent on efforts to replace these minerals. I like coconut water - I keep lots of Coco Libre in my frig.
Helps to replenish all electrolytes lost in sweat:
sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium
But when 1 in 3 Americans (about 65million American adults) suffer from high blood pressure, and reducing dietary sodium levels can help lower blood pressure, you wonder if people are actually aware of how much salt they're actually eating?

It's really scary too 'cause high blood pressure can lead to some pretty serious events - like strokes, heart attacks and heart failure - and I see the results of this every day at the Rehab Center. It's sad. Of course, excess alcohol (more than 1drink per day for women and more than 2 drinks per day for men), stress, inactivity and low fruit and veggie consumption can also drive up blood pressure - it's not just salt - but salt is definitely the slyest culprit. I mean, we can tell about how many drinks we're sucking back, we know if we haven't worked out in a while and I'm pretty sure we can tell when we are under stress, especially if it has something to do with your home,  job, or sickness affecting yourself, a child, parent or friend. But, we may not always be aware of how much salt we are eating.

So, how much is too much?
I think becoming aware of where salt lurks is is the best place to start. Then, we can figure out if we are consuming too much. Most excess salt we eat doesn't come from the shaker on our stove top or even from the shaker on our table, most (about 77%) comes from processed foods, like foods that are packaged or canned and foods from the drive-thru or that restaurant you love to frequent!
Only about 12%of sodium
comes from sodium that occurs naturally in foods. 

So, learn where sodium may be lurking in your diet:
Some surprising sources of sodium include: Salad Dressing, Pre-packaged Rice & Noodle Mixes, Soup, Diet Iced Teas, Bread, Flour Tortillas, Breakfast Cereals & Granola Bars, Cheese, Pizza, Prepared Sandwiches, Chips, Crackers & Pretzels, Poultry (manufacturers may inject with sodium to make the meat juicer), Pastas, Sauces and Condiments (like catsup, relish and mustard). 

If you've been told to reduce your sodium intake, or just want to reduce your sodium intake,  start by reading labels. Look for foods that are less than 300mg sodium per serving (and make sure the serving size isn't ridiculously small). Know that Low Salt = 14mg sodium per serving and Very Low Sodium means 35mg sodium per serving, while reduced sodium means 25% less than the original version - which could still be too much! Also, learn some of sodium's aliases that may be hidden in the ingredient's list: monosodium glutamate, sodium citrate, sodium nitrate, sodium bicarbonate (heartburn meds.) and sodium alginate.

At home, you can try to flavor foods with other spices and herbs or lemon - at the Rehab Center, we offer Mrs Dash. When cooking or preparing food, you can combine high sodium foods with low sodium foods to dilute foods high in sodium, like salted nuts, soups, & some ready-to-eat cereals - better yet, use less by adding extra veggies to soups or fruit to cereals! And don't forget to rinse foods that come canned.

When your eating out, look to make healthier choices - Check out some of the The Restaurant Nutrition Apps. to get a feel for how many calories, protein, fat and sodium are in some typical entrees, or in fast and convenience food items. Like me, you will be most likely be shocked looking at these values.

Overall, the two best ways to reduce sodium in your life is
#1
Strive to eat 2cups of fruit and 3cups of veggies per day
The USDA says that Americans need to fill half their plate with fruits and veggies! Fruits and veggies are a great source of vitamins and minerals, like potassium - and current research shows that if you increase potassium to 2X more than sodium, you could reduce cardiovascular disease up to 50%!
#2: (my favorite!)
Stay active
C'mon baby, give it all you got!
Usaine knows: You don't hold back!
  TRAIN SMART TODAY!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wednesday at the track: Exhausting!

I'm exhausted!
Today, I did a very short work out, but it was very intense! I want to kick back, not worry about any chores, like dinner, laundry or my medical nutrition therapy (MNT) readings.

I started out running a 2mile warm-up. I took my time, but it didn't matter, I was drenched by the time the warm-up was over. It's been raining a lot due to Hurricane Isaac and even though I didn't get caught in the rain this morning, it felt like I did because it was super humid!

I met up with my Coach, who gave me four strides. I didn't question him, but I thought, 'Hmm. He's going easy on me, only four strides? Heck, it's so stifling out, keep quiet, Half-Crazed, and just run!'
And so, 
POW!
I was on those strides.
Two in 20seconds and two in 19seconds!
Twice as long as those olympians, but I was on it!

Then, came my drills for the day and ooooh, my poor unsuspecting little soul. I had to run this:
I ran strides, diagonally across the football/soccer field. When I reached the corner, I jogged up along the end zone/goal line to the next corner to stride another diagonal. This continued for 7minutes. After the 7minutes, I rested for three minutes - it was lush, but as soon as I caught my breath, the torture started again. I repeated the stride/jog sets for five minutes, got a 2minute break, then repeated it again for three minutes with a 1minute break and then did the final set for just one minute.

It doesn't sound like much, but I'm sore. I climbed 4 flights of stairs to get to my MNT class today and my legs felt very heavy! Then, after sitting in class, going down those stairs wasn't much easier!

I really think the beet juice I drank yesterday helped with my speed and endurance. My average stride pace was 6:10minute/mile. And if it weren't so humid out, it probably wouldn't have felt so torturous.

For the rest of the day, I'm going to concentrate on consuming a little more protein to help with muscle recovery, make sure I take my Omega-3's to help reduce the inflammation in my legs and stare at some feel good vacation photo's for some uplifting and motivation to continue on with those chores.
Mini-man, Girlfriend and me.
Bryce Canyon Mule Ride
Still can't get over how my kids coerced me to ride a mule down Bryce Canyon in Utah. Now that school has started, I'm channelling those same efforts to get them to do their homework! Wish me luck
and
TRAIN SMART TODAY!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Food Facts and "Passing Wind"

Over the years, I have developed an aversion to some foods. I just don't tolerate them, so I avoid them. I see them, my tummy goes, "ouch, gas, farts, pain". I make the sign of the cross, and quickly look the other way.
Demon Foods, Stay Away!
These are not horrible foods, in and of themselves ...they just give me ....GAS!
But you know, I'm perfect and my farts don't smell ...well, at least not as bad as my 15year old son's farts - which are absolutely, traumatically horrible. I guess that's why the Low FODMAPs diet caught my tearing eyes. 

FODMAPS is an acronym that stands for: Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These seem like crazy, complex terms, but they really just stand for a collection of molecules, found in the foods we eat, which are not very well-absorbed. Once consumed, these food molecules travel along the digestive tract, and eventually make their way to our large intestines - where our good bacteria hang out. Our large intestine bacteria
love
love
LOVE 
FODMAPs ...they just eat them up! Literally!
The result: GAS!
Eric Cartman, King of Cartoon Farts!
I like researching things like this because as a runner, little bubbles in your gut can ruin a perfectly good run and absolutely destroy a great race. Runners are constantly fighting IBS (irritable bowl syndrome) type symptoms - it just comes with the territory - all that jostling. So, why not be aware of foods that might give you gas?
So, what are FODMAPs? 
The idea of FODMAPs is relatively new - it's part of Dr Sue Shepard's PHD research since 2001. Dr Shepard is a dietitian, from Victoria, Australia, who developed the Low FODMAPs diet to help patients suffering from lactose and fructose intolerance, but found that it also helped her patients suffering from IBS and IBS-type symptoms.

Since the original FODMAPs list, there have been some changes. The list I present here, although the most recent, will probably be fine-tuned again, some time in the future.
Dr Shepard's up-to-date list includes the following:
Fructose (Polyols): Honey, apples, apricots, cherries, mango, nectarines, pears, plums, prunes, & watermelon. Some veggies: avocados, cauliflower, & mushrooms. Also, sweeteners: High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids as well as artificial sweeteners: Sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, xylitol and isomalt.
Fructans: Onion, leeks, raddichio lettuce, artichokes, asparagus, chocolate excess wheat, rye and garlic as well as inulin (a starch marketed as fiber & used in processed foods like juice and yogurt - aka your prebiotic).
Galactans: Pulses and beans: Chickpeas, Lentils, Kidney beans, Navy beans.
Lactose: Milk, ice cream, custard, evaporated milk, milk powder, yogurt, margarine, soft cheeses (ricotta, cottage cheese, cream cheese, mascarpone).

Personally, pears, watermelon, beans, soft cheeses and all sugar alcohols (those ending in ol) 
can make me double over in pain.
On the other hand, I am completely fine with apples, mangoes, garlic and onions ...
In other words, 
if you find yourself a fervent farter, 
take ownership of this FODMAPs list 
Use it as a reference 
to understand your potential unfaltering farting dilemma!

Dr Sheppard's Low FODMAPs diet is about balance. I believe she chose the word "low" purposefully - it's not a total avoidance of all foods on this list. The FODMAPs list links foods that share common characteristics. These foods may behave differently when consumed by each person, but knowing which foods are on the list, could help you become aware of foods that cause you to have gas. And maybe you want to avoid passing wind on certain days - like long run days, race days, long car rides with your teen-aged son, first day on the job, anniversary or special event, maybe like your wedding day?
Knowing the Low FODMAPs diet is just another way to 
TRAIN SMART TODAY!