Friday, February 28, 2014

Barley: Love it? Or leave it?

Aside from being Healthy Heart Month, 
February is also the month that the 
I must admit, I'm not what you would call a big fan of Barley. I do have a bag at the bottom of my pantry. Its been there for awhile.
One day, I thought of making some Barley Soup. I don't know what I was thinking - I really can't stand the slimy feeling that barley leaves on your tongue when it's in soup. So the bag just sits there.
Have you ever done that? 
Bought something with good intentions of make a certain recipe, 
but when you got home and unpacked the groceries thought
'What was I thinking?'
For Barley's sake, there are some noteworthy qualities. 
One cool fact is that Barley is the root of of the English measurement system. Yup - back in 1324, Edward II of England standardized the inch to equal 3 grains of barley, dry and round, placed end to end, lengthwise.
"I now pronounce that three grains of
barley equals 1 inch!"
One reason why a bag of organic hulless barley even made it to my pantry is because its got some great nutritional qualities - and I'm not talking about how it's fermented to make beer! Seriously, Barley has some great qualities - it has more fiber than any other grain (17-30% vs 3.5% in rice and 10% in oats), and it's high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Look for hulled barley or hulless barley because pearl barley is stripped of its bran layer which contains most of the fiber, vitamins and minerals. You can really see the difference here - the pearl barley looks anemic.

Pearl Barley
The hulled and hulless varieties have been shown to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, help control spikes in blood sugar, and strengthen the immune system due to it containing beta-glucans - which is just a fancy name for a type of sugar found in the cell wall. Beta-glucans are found in yeast, algae, and oats, too. One of the more fascinating qualities of beta-glucans is its immunoprotective qualities that have shown to benefit cancer patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy.

Each time I write about a new grain, I make a commitment to try a new recipe. Like with oats - I tried, and fell in love with the spicy oat crusted chicken. I changed the recipe - instead of egging it, I coated the chicken with honey and dijon mustard before drenching it in the seasoned oats. It was a huge hit - mini-man, girlfriend and side-kick loved it. This time, I'm thinking with more snow on the way with temperature dropping to single digits, the Thai Barley Stir Fry seems like a nice hot meal to make after a long Sunday Run!

Speaking of running, I got a race coming up in Washington DC on 3/15/2014. I hope I can place in the top 10 in my age group. This is the last year I'm in this age category, so I best go out with a bang! I've been working out at the track one night a week - you bet it's cold (and dark) - running hills on my faithful treadmill, and running long runs on Sundays. It's been a tough winter for runners, but I hope my consistency, strength training, and hard work will pay off this spring.
Have you been keeping up with your training this winter?
Do you have a favorite barley recipe?
Have you ever tried barley flakes, 
I wonder if it's that much different than rolled oats?
Stay warm! 
Only a couple more weeks until spring!
Train Smart Today!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Weather Forecast: More Treadmill!

I'm lovin' my Diabetes Rotation!
First off, my preceptors are great! 
So, I get to work with two really cool women, who are smart and easy to approach and ask questions.
Second, the patients come to them. 
So, in the hospital you have about 10-15 minutes to talk to someone about managing their diabetes. A couple of months ago, I spoke with a patient who was in so much pain (MRSA on both amputated feet). I knew he didn't want to listen to me - heck I wouldn't have wanted to listen to me either!
But at the Diabetes Education Center,
the patients are interested, and want help. They WANT help! Woohoo! They spend about an hour or more with these great Diabetes Educators and leave armed with knowledge they can use to improve their lives and reduce their risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, nerve pain, kidney disease, loss of vision, and stroke.
Speaking of strokes, 
I ran my three miles for the Stop Stroke Shuffle today! I had to run it in on the tread mill. I had a good excuse ....
Oh, the weather outside is frightful!
Looks like we're getting 10 inches!
Aaaaagh! there's no place to put the snow. Northern New Jersey streets are small - there are mounds by each corner, which makes turning a corner treacherous these days. I've been going out at 7AM on the weekends to avoid traffic. And I still get knuckleheads playin' chicken with me! During the week, I've been running on the treadmill. I've tried to make it interesting. This AM, I started with a very slow 11minute warm-up mile, then ran the next three miles for the Stop Stoke Shuffle.
Stop Stroke Shuffle Run!
I ran the 3miles with 7:30 200-meter pick-ups every 1/4-mile, at a 1% incline. 
Not bad for a basement inferno run!
Looks slower than it felt!
I don't know why, but I cannot run that fast on the treadmill. All the articles I read say that you should be able to run faster on the treadmill because the belt is helping you move along. IDK, not me!
Do you run faster on the treadmill?
Well, hope you are all staying safe in this winter, and having a better time than me at finding roads not covered in ice and/or snow!
Train Smart Today!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Stop Stroke Shuffle: Won't you join me?

I love this:
I was reading Running with Attitude, and she posted a challenge:
Stop Stroke Shuffle
It's a virtual race posted by Dani at Weight Off My Shoulders
Dani is raising money for the American Stroke Association. Any one can run it - you can organize an "event" with some friends, or if you are like me and don't have running friends (because you can never commit to any particular time and squeeze in runs whenever) you can run it by yourself.
Just donate $25 to Dani so that she can raise money 
Tedy's Team in the Boston Marathon this year. 
Proceeds from the virtual race will go toward Dani's goal to raise $5,000!
I plan on running in honor of all the stroke patients and families that I have so generously been given the opportunity to help with medical nutrition therapy in my Dietetic Internship.
I'll never forget F.S. ... 
I hoped that I gave some comfort by rubbing your shoulder each time you winced with the electro-neuro-stim swallow exercises.
And the woman who finally passed her swallow test.
She was so elated that she could start eating real food again! She was so proud of herself - and I will never forget her smile!
Check out the American Stroke Association website.
Read the risk factors and how you can prevent a stroke.
And remember these signs and symptoms of a stroke:

Visit Weight Off My Shoulders and join me on this virtual run!
And ...
Train Smart Today!