Category Archives: health

Cardio & Kitchen Abs: November Challenge

Well this post is about seven days late, but not a dose-of-ab-inducing-awesomeness short. Don’t you worry.

My colleague and fit-buddy, Melissa, brought me onboard for her November “Abs Challenge”, and you know I can’t turn down a monthly goal. The first week’s focus: the kitchen & the cardio workout.

It’s a pretty common misconception to think that you’re 1,000 crunches away from a six-pack. Rather, those abs may never been seen if you don’t tackle nutrition and cardio, too. Core strength can be achieved in a variety of ways, but if you want visible results you have to take it a few steps further.

Exhibit A: the interval workout.

Track Interval GRP workout_Dietitian on the Run

I’ve spent more time with the 6-lane oval in the past 6 months than I have in the past six years. (But it’s worth noting that you certainly don’t have to run in ovals to get in a quality interval workout!) With any interval/speed workout, make sure you give your muscles a proper warm-up with some walking, jogging, strides and/or plyometrics (depending on how much/fast you intend to whomp yourself). Then, hop to it!

If you’re training for a race, have your goal-pace in mind (goal race pace = GRP). If you’re just out working on your fitness, go by feel and your level. Ex: recently raced a 10K for the first time? Go for that 10K pace by feel. Turn the hurt up a notch for the 800s (GRP – 30 seconds). Something comfortably hard. Don’t be all chatty during that 1 mile or any of the 800s, but don’t reach that finish-line-puke-threshold level.

Cool-down. Recover. Refuel!

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Now that we’re in the kitchen, we have Exhibit B: Quality Carbs.

natures carbohydrates_Dietitian on the run

Newsflash: most people eat plenty of carbohydrates! Rather, most people eat them in excess. And the body is so used to this that is has plenty of mechanisms in place to put the extras away for later. In case we, you know, randomly go into starvation mode or suddenly find ourselves with NO FOOD ANYWHERE or maybe decide to hibernate. All of which are such unlikely circumstances today that what actually happens is we store layer upon layer upon layer of extra carbs. Some of it can be found in the liver and muscles for quick use, but because those stores are pretty full, too, guess what’s next? Your belly! 

And your abs don’t take precedence here. They hide in the shadows.

So, rather than pile on the extras, let’s hop on nature’s carb party! If your goal is to build lean body mass (muscle), shift your focus to natural sources of carbs and leave it at that. They happen to also be full of fiber and water, so you fill up pretty quickly! We’re looking at things like squash, potatoes, fruit, beans and legumes. And did you know some nuts have carbs, too? YEP. See, plenty of nutrient-dense options!

These are just a few of my personal favorites:

Natural Carbs_Dietitian on the Run

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Ready to join? It’s okay if you’re late, too. Check out Melissa’s posts for some more food & workout ideas, and let us know if you’re in!

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Filed under challenges, exercise, food, Goals, health, Nutrition

In Case You’re Wandering: Health Reads & Eats Edition

Guys. It is RAINING here. I don’t even know what to say about this. My rainboots are dusty. My rain-jacket hasn’t been used in months. I’m so used to eating lunch outside in the sunshine that I really had to think about where to put my plate today. (All, 100% #firstworldproblems. I know.)

Meanwhile, the farms all around the central coast of California are rejoicing and you can hear the Hallelujahs from miles away! So, good for that.

Since I can’t sit here and watch a movie with you on this rainy day, I’ll keep you busy with something else – pretty damn good reads and quotes I’ve found by wandering around the internets recently. I’ve taken the 15+ browser tabs open on my Chrome right now and passed the highlights right along to you!

No problemo, amigos.

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Coach heather sign

The Truth About Cholesterol
– Whole9Life.com

Do you know your numbers? We test them for our clients and I spend a lot of time discussing TG, HDL, LDL and other acronyms related to health risks. As per usual, the Whole9 team gives a great, easy to comprehend recap.

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trailhoghalf_H3

Is your Hydration drink making you Dehydrated?
Interview with Osmo’s Dr. Stacy Sims – OutsideMagazine.com

I’ve received a little tough-love from the coach lately about hydration and endurance training. That little 12-oz water bottle I’ve finally learned to carry around on runs and during races isn’t doing me quite as many favors as I once thought. I’ve gone from Nuun to Skratch Labs mix (because of the sugar alcohol in Nuun), and now to Osmo Nutrition drinks. It’s a long story. Let’s let Dr. Sims do the talking.

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California International Marathon (CIM)
Running Tips 

Speaking of running, a big race in a little city of California is coming up and a certain someone in this house is running it! He’s got a lofty goal in mind, and I’m pretty pumped to see him crush it after months of dealing with me giving him MAF runs. We’re about 5 weeks out from his race-day and the plans are coming together (lodging, shuttle-catching, race-day strategizing, etc.).

Any other hands-raised for this one?

Alternative read: Josh Cox’s CIM race report

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What you eat affects your productivity – HBR

In other words, the above-pictured lunch may not be your best workday option. A goal set with a lot of my clients is to revamp the midday meal, because it can drastically affect how the rest of your day plays out.

“Unhealthy lunch options also tend to be cheaper and faster than healthy alternatives, making them all the more alluring in the middle of a busy workday. They feel efficient. Which is where our lunchtime decisions lead us astray. We save 10 minutes now and pay for it with weaker performance the rest of the day.” Read more by clicking above.

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pumpkin-soup-dietitian on the run

What kind of Halloween post would this be
without some PUMPKIN love?

33 Pumpkin Recipes a la Anne @ fANNEtastic food

My favorite (spiced) pumpkin soup                 &

How to make your own pumpkin puree (skip the can!)

(And while I may not be dressing up this elaborately this year, I give you this 2006 flashback. Mmhm. Purple-people-eater was the exact color, in case you’re wondering.)

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And last but not least, this thought has consumed my post-MCM mind. Let it sit and let it change a decision you’re having trouble making.

never give up

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Filed under Dietitians, food, health, in the News, random, recipes

Salad Towers: Salmon, Squash, Seeds & Sesame Toppers

My brain and your eyes could probably take a break from all this incessant MCM talk. Today’s a mind-taper day, and a reminder that there’s another big aspect of training – well, life, in general – that has gone mostly unmentioned here. THE EATS.

Working from home allows for more flexibility with meals. If I were in the office, you’d still see a lot of pumped-up salads, they just wouldn’t be plated quite so nicely. And they wouldn’t be consumed in the backyard sunshine – my way of supplementing lunch with some Vitamin D. I choose a salad for lunch because it ensures a huge vegetable serving, is completely versatile for flavors and toppers, and gives me a high volume of healthy foods.

WIN, Win.

Let’s walk through a basic salad construction….

I don’t consume meat or poultry, but protein is always part of the salad equation here. I opt for one or more of the following: fish (usually leftover from the night before – baked/grilled), pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts, hard-boiled egg and/or avocado.

You don’t have to have “greens” to make it a salad, but I usually do. I buy the organic mixed greens from Trader Joe’s and may mix in some raw kale, arugula and/or spinach for extra nutrients. Then I pile on the rainbow! My goal is to have at least 3 colors in my salad, which may come from peppers, onion, carrots, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, dried/fresh fruits, avocado and/or leftover roasted veggies from last night’s dinner.

At the end, I go for a little flavor with a “dressing” of sorts. I never do a store-bought dressing, nor do I take the time to mix anything together. I keep it simple: fresh lemon squeeze, drizzle of EVOO or a drizzle of Sesame oil.

Here are a few salad towers I’ve created lately:

2014-10-20 13.09.51

The season hasn’t changed much here in California, but the display at Trader Joe’s suggests it may officially be fall. And therefore we have squash.

Tower toppers: leftover roasted salmon (seasoned with chili powder), roasted kabocha squash (seasoned with cumin, salt/pepper), chopped cucumbers, red peppers and carrots, sunflower seeds. Dressing: sesame oil.

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If there’s only one thing you takeaway from this post: you cannot have too much avocado on your salad.

Toppers: tomatoes (still farm-fresh at the farmer’s market!), cucumbers, avocado, red pepper and sunflower seeds. Dressing: lemon squeeze, salt & pepper.

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I like to have my salads with a side of brain-puzzle, too.

Toppers: baked Mahi Mahi (seasoned with dried green chile powder), chopped carrots, cucumber and pistachios. Dressing: drizzle of EVOO.

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What are some of your go-to weekday lunches?

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Filed under health, Nutrition, recipes, training, what to eat

Healthy Habits of the Traveler in {MCM} Training

Fact: it’s a challenge to keep up with your daily habits while you’re traveling, no matter what category they fall into. The layers of difficulty can quickly pile up depending on where you’re going, for how long, why, how you’re getting there, and you know, any other life things you may have going on at the time!

I never turn down an opportunity to travel, simply because it means branching out of the norm and getting some sort of experience. But as of late the travel has been frequent, so I’ve had to get creative in maintaining some sense of normalcy for my system-in-marathon-training.

Last week I got to head up north to Seattle for four days to conduct a few coaching trainings. I love that city. Love it. But in those four days my schedule also included three runs – one of which would be over 3 hours. I wanted to eat healthy for those runs, to avoid being the girl in Seattle seen frantically searching for public bathrooms in her running attire. And I wanted to keep stress levels low so that my heart wouldn’t decide it had its own plans for those miles.

Here’s how that stay-on-track strategy looks, in my world….

1) Bring what you love (and what you need*)!

I packed peanut butter, fruit, homemade trail mix (pepitas, almonds, cashews, dried blueberries and raisins), Larabars and a refillable water bottle. I also packed my Long-Run *essentials: handheld water bottle, hat and fuel.

2014-09-10 07.46.18-1

I’ve learned to pack nut-butter in tupper-ware, as the TSA deems the ‘jar’ a liquid in some cases. And that’s been confiscated. And that was a bad day.

2) Shop for the rest!

Once I got myself to the hotel, I immediately looked up a grocery store. As you might assume, the Seattle area is saturated with healthy options! So, this one was easy. I headed straight to Trader Joe’s after lunch (see: leftover Thai food, ‘Thank you!”) and stocked up on the good stuff:

2014-09-10 14.51.10

Obviously that tiny tupper-ware of peanut-butter wouldn’t suffice for the whole weekend. The other things: bananas, salad for lunch the next day, organic peaches and apples, plums, (not pictured) sparkling water and sea-salt + almond dark chocolate.

This was one of three grocery-store stops in 4 days.  Just trying to do my part for the health food store economy!

3) Use the web to plan ahead! 
  
  It’s full of (mostly good) information. Exhibit A: MapMyRun.com

MMRbellevue run_MMR

Friday morning had “3:10 // 20 miles” on the schedule (i.e. run for that amount of time, as prescribed, and don’t exceed 20 miles). I did a quick search of the hotel’s zip code with a mileage filter and found a ton of options. This search also led me to quite a few park trails in the area, which would be ideal for many miles during the Friday morning commuting hours.

Another vital MapMyRun tool while running in Seattle? The elevation chart. It took me a while, but I finally mapped a route that only included approximately 1,000 ft of climbing over those three hours. That’s skill.

4) Stick to your workout ‘plan’ (make one, first).

Exploring new cities with a run is always fun, but I rarely feel motivated to do so before tying up the laces and convincing myself to GO. As soon as the legs get moving, I’m happy. In three runs I discovered crazy-hilly neighborhoods, a cute little park near my hotel and a lovely downtown area to return to for some afternoon sun-soaking and planking.

Having a plans works wonders; I don’t do as well with the “we’ll just see what happens!”. On this trip I wanted to check a few training boxes and, of course,  stick to the plank challenge!

2014-09-10 18.06.02 
When on vacation, attempt a new plank-hold record. At least when your arms and legs start shaking, no one’s watching your craziness…or judging your continuous plank-selfies…

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5) Head back to the grocery store!
I.e. Take advantage of the Whole Foods (
or similar available option
) hot + cold bars.

In four days I managed to only eat “out” twice. I was lucky to have stayed in the Hyatt House Hotel, where each room is stocked with a few kitchen supplies and a full-sized fridge. But even a mini one would have sufficed here – there’s luxury in having a real plate to eat off of, along with real utensils. Bliss!

Thursday afternoon I went to Whole Foods and picked up the following from the buffet bars:

Dinner (Pre-LR): honey-ginger salmon, steamed kale, roasted vegetables (squash, onions and peppers), roasted cumin sweet potatoes.

2014-09-11 18.52.03

Breakfast (Post-LR): two hard-boiled eggs and tomatoes (from the salad bar), plain roasted sweet potatoes, 1 avocado (from produce section). (I already had my pre-run banana + Peanut-butter ready to go – see picture above.)

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Before heading to the airport on Saturday, I made my third trip to WF in as many days. I wanted to make sure lunch was full of fresh deliciousness, since dinner in an airport is rarely promising…

2014-09-13 12.27.34

From the WF salad bar: mixed greens, grated carrots, marinated mushrooms, tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, diced celery, Italian dressing and a side of roasted sweet potatoes. To drink: lemon-flavored sparkling water.

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All-in-all, pretty successful trip. I eased right back into training – thankfully with the new pair of kicks that finally arrived on my doorstep. The only thing that’s different is I’ll be right back to running along the bay this week, jonesin’ for that PNW sunshine and already-cooked, ready-to-eat meals.

For those who travel often – work, or wanderlusting – what are some of your must-dos to keep things feeling somewhat normal?

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Filed under challenges, food, health, marathon, Nutrition, training, travel

Eat The Green Spoon: Whole Food, GF, Home-Delivered Meals (DC, VA)

If someone offered to deliver a locally and sustainably sourced, gluten-free, chef-cooked meal to your door, would you turn that down?

Yah, I didn’t either.

eatgreenspoon_Meals

Hanson, owner and founder of The Green Spoon, personally reached out to see if I had any interest in taste-testing their meals. His pitch needs little to no pizzazz. The company’s values speak for themselves, and they speak loudly to the target demographics!

Do I want a gourmet meal prepared by a trained chef, that happens to also be gluten-free, sourced locally and sustainably, nutritionally balanced and, of course, full of flavor, delivered to my doorstep? Well, sir, I can’t think of a person who would say “No” to that question. So, yes, absolutely!

I was anticipating one meal. If the Chef was feeling generous or the kitchen had leftovers or some other luck-of-the-universe situation happened, maybe a meal for him, too.

I provided the address and he gave me a time of delivery; perfecto, I’ll be there! What I wasn’t expecting when I opened the door was a bag FULL of meals (see above). We didn’t need to cook for the rest of the week!

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thegreenspoon_infographic

Our sample meals included:

Mahi Mahi Napa Salad | Salmon with Mango Salad & Brown Rice | Grilled Rib-Eye with Tomato Relish & Balsamic Steak Sauce over Mashed Sweet Potatoes | Almond-Crusted Fish Sticks, Broccoli & Carrots (steamed) with Cauliflower Mash | Seared Halibut with Citrus “Soy” Sauce, Brown Rice with Bok Choy, Sweet Peppers & Cauliflower Mash | Chicken with Zucchini (GF) Waffles with Mixed Berry Agave Compote & Vegetable Medley

The Details:

Sources are listed for all foods.
Meals are organic.
Meals are gluten-free.
Produce is determined by seasonal availability.

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eatgreenspoon_fish

eatgreenspoon_fishsticks

A few of these were dinner, while a few were a very handy, healthy packable lunch. They’re easy to reheat and taste like they were freshly cooked, no matter how you warm them up (instructions included). Flavors between the protein, vegetables and starches were all very complimentary and we enjoyed the meal’s variety of textures and colors. Each sample received two-thumbs up from the respective taste-testers (my pescetarian tastebuds & the meat-eating fiancée).

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If you’re in the DC area, check these guys out! Order something. Branch out of your dinner-eating comfort zones!

They specify delivery zones and, as I’ve mentioned, bring it right to your door. While I’m not one to order weekly meals, I think this could be a creative solution to small dinner parties, or a date-night “in”, or perhaps fooling the family while they’re in town?

You decide how you’d like to enjoy your Green Spoon plate, but just know that you’ll be happy to support this crew.

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eatgreenspoondc.com

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Full disclosure: All meals were provided free of charge.

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Filed under DC, dinners, food, health, lunches, Nutrition