Saturday, January 25, 2014

January Grain of the Month: Oats

I love oats.
I can't let January sneak by without posting on oats!
Oats are January's Grain of the Month
Why January?
Looks like people buy more oats in January than any other month!
And here are some good reasons to do so:

1. Fun facts: No matter how they are processed (oat flour, steel cut, rolled oats, quick or instant oats) they most always have their bran and germ, so you're getting a whole grain. Here's a great explanation as to what makes different types of oats, like old fashioned vs instant different.

2. Health Benefits: Eating oats may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood pressure, risk of type 2 diabetes, and dependance on laxatives. Hey, let's give credit where credit is do due!
Gotta love that Fiber!
The rolled oats on the right have just been flattened out.
"Steel" a great way to get some fiber!
Fiber can help you feel fuller longer, aiding in weight control! 
Oats are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than most whole grains. Oats are also high in anti-oxidants, and have anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties!

3. Cooking Tips: My favorite way to eat oats is as a cereal.  I buy steel cut oats, cook them overnight in my pressure cooker/slow cooker, scoop out about 1/2 cup or more in the morning, mix in a tiny bit of milk, grate some cinnamon on the top, and gobble them up! So warm and delicious - a great way to face our latest Polar Vortex.
Alton Brown's Recipe
The Spicy Oat Crusted Chicken sounds pretty good too. Maybe I'll try that recipe tomorrow ....

4. Cool to know: Oatmeal was rated #1 amongst breakfast foods & #3 in "satiety" by Australian researchers. And even though oats are naturally gluten-free, they may be contaminated with gluten during the growing and processing. If you suspect a gluten allergy or sensitivity, look for certified gluten-free oats.
Gluten Free Certified
Do you like oats?
What's your favorite way to eat 'em?
Train Smart Today!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Four R's to Recovery

So far this week, I've met a few people who are starting a new exercise routine. I guess it's part of a resolution, but I hope there's a goal: To lose/gain 5 pounds, have more definition (arms, legs, abs), tighten the ole keister, or train for a 5k, 10K, Half or Full Marathon.
Either way, I love when people 
take on a new exercise regimen.
I get so excited for them!
I ask a million questions, and then I get, "What about those recovery drinks or protein bars? One person today said that she and her husband joined a gym (Yeay!). Now her husband bought a protein powder for recovery.
So what are the guidelines when it comes to recovery?
Do you drink protein shakes, 
or consume any recovery drinks post exercise?
Great concept! 
Too often reality!
Optimal recovery is essential for good health and for warding off injuries.
Many trainers push protein and some even push those protein recovery drinks. After years of research showing that water and carbohydrates make for a great recovery drink, new and recent research shows how protein is important in recovery because it helps to repair muscles, stimulate muscle protein synthesis, and support adaptations resulting from training - such as increase enzymes, increase mitochondria (energy factories in our cells), increase capillarization (increased capillaries to carry >blood and more oxygen).  Hence, the four R's:
Repair: Consume some protein after exercise. Research shows that lucine, an essential amino acid (building blocks of protein) is great for muscle repair. That's why you will hear people drinking chocolate milk as a recovery drink. The whey protein in milk is a great source of leucine. Researchers do not recommend a large intake of protein, followed by a long period without protein. This would be like gulping down a huge protein shake. Instead, try to consume about 20-25g (about 80-100 calories) of protein over the next 24-48hours post-exercise. This could be a glass of milk or chocolate milk, then some yogurt, and later some edamame as a snack.
Refuel: After a workout, carbohydrates will provide energy and rebuild energy stores in your muscles. How much you need depends on how intense you exercise. A good rule of thumb is 1-1.2g/kg within the 1st hour after exercise. To get weight in kilograms (kg) simply divide your weight by 2.2. Then multiply by 1 or 1.2 to get grams of carbs. So if you weigh 110pounds, divide that by 2.2 = 50kg, then multiply 50kg by 1 (= 50g) or 50kg by 1.2 (= 60g). So a range of how much carbohydrate a 110pound person would eat is 50g - 60g (or about 200 - 240 calories) of carbohydrate to maximize post workout recovery. Great sources of carbs for recovery include milk, yogurt, banana, or a bowl of cereal, quinoa, rice, or oatmeal.
Rehydrate: The best way to determine how much you need to rehydrate is if you weigh yourself before and after you work out. For every pound you lost, you want to consume from 16oz to 24oz of fluids.
Re-invigorate: Go for whole, unprocessed foods: Yogurt and banana vs Muscle milk or Gatorade with protein. The yogurt has probiotic which will enhance your gut flora. The banana has phytonutrients and antioxidants. Probiotics, phytonutrients, and antioxidants work to keep your immune system strong, help you to fight disease, and inflammation. Bonus for those looking to lose weight: healthy gut flora has been linked to weight loss and improved metabolism.
So, based on this:
Are you recovering properly?
What's your favorite recovery food?
My favorite recovery food, hands down, is greek organic yogurt (full of whey) with blueberries (full of phytonutrients and antioxidants) and walnuts (a great source of Omega-3)
Train Smart Today!