Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Road ID

Several months ago (yes, I'm a bit slow) I was given the chance to try out a road ID. The kind people there let me pick out what type I would like and customize it. I chose the Wrist ID Slim mostly because I wanted something around my wrist, but nothing too bulky or annoying. I'm definitely a minimalist when it comes to running - I just want some good running shoes and a watch.

Personalizing the Road ID is super simple and straight forward. You pick the color, the size, and the info on it. Then you are good to go!

To be honest, I’ve never really worried about my safety while running the streets of my hometown neighborhood. Still, though, I really like wearing this whenever I am running. I know that if something were to happen, I would be able to get the help I need without questions or misunderstandings. All the info is right there!

So, the next step is for everyone to get one! They are reasonably priced and for your safety. What more could you want?!

~Do you have a road ID?
~What do you do for safety while running and biking on the roads?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Soda or Pop?

I think it is important to be educated on what we put in our bodies. This education might not lead us to completely change our diet, which is fine. But it should lead us to think things through a bit more and really analyze what is going in. So, today I will hit on some main points from this article on soda and how it can create some major health problems. 

Depending on where you are from, some call it soda, others call it pop. Whatever you do call it, you should know what you are drinking before naming it. This fizzy drink lacks nutritional value, but what you will get are caffeine, carbonation, simple sugars, fructose or, even worse, sugar substitutes along with food additives such as artificial coloring, flavoring and preservatives.

The problem is, what once used to be a "treat" or a "once in a while" drink, is now consumed everyday all day. This isn't good. An abundance of research is attributing this increase in soft drink consumption to numerous health problems including nutritional depletion, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, the formation of kidney stones and more. Fruit juice is also being implicated in weight gain and other health issues, and some believe it should be eliminated from your diet right along with soda.

 At the top of the list of harmful ingredients is sugar...and plenty of it! To give you an idea of how much, consider this: the recommendation from the USDA for sugar consumption for a 2,000-calorie diet is 10 teaspoons of added sugars a day. Many 12-ounce soft drinks contain nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar alone, which is the maximum allotment for your entire day in just one can!  

Here is the thing...our bodies can only handle so much sugar. 
"After your body receives a large amount of sugar at once, your pancreas goes to work producing and releasing insulin. In time, however, your body may be unable to keep up with the demands for excess insulin, and your cells can also become increasingly resistant to it, putting you at risk of diabetes.
This sugar overindulgence can also end up being stored as fat in your body, resulting in increased risk for obesity, heart disease and cancer."

A study found that women who drank three or more regular cola-based drinks a day experienced almost four percent loss of mineral bone density in the hip, compared to women who drank non-cola drinks that didn't show any bone density loss.
It just so happens that those harmless looking, tingly bubbles on the surface of soft drinks contain phosphoric acid, the culprit to severely depleting blood calcium levels, the essential component that makes up the bone structure. As these calcium levels become depleted over the years they can eventually drop to the point of irreversible damage to your overall bone mass and density.

According to a major study of 51,603 women over a four-year period, those who drank one serving of soda or fruit punch a day tended to gain much more weight and had an over 80 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who drank less than one serving of soda a month.
The average weight gain of women who drank a sweet drink a day was over 10 pounds compared to those who consumed less than one a month that gained under three pounds.

 Also, beware of that juice you are handing your kiddos. According to research, grabbing that gallon of juice to fill your child's sippy cup may not be much healthier than giving them a cup of soda. "All of these beverages are largely the same. They are 100 percent sugar," Dr. David Ludwig, an expert on pediatric obesity at Children's Hospital Boston, told CBS News. "Juice is only minimally better than soda," he added. Fruit juice also elevates your blood sugar level faster than whole fruit, which may contribute to insulin resistance and even diabetes.

Even though the American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines stating that fruit juice shouldn't be given to children under six months of age and to limit juice to 4 to 6 ounces a day for children up to 6 years old, the USDA revealed that 60 percent of 1-year-olds are way past that limit and are drinking 11.5 ounces of juice as part of their daily diet.

Wait...before you go and grab that diet soda, check this out:

Justifying drinking soda by opting for diet or sugar-free versions as the better alternative is not the answer, as one study showed that drinking any kind of soda, whether it was diet or regular, resulted in a 30 percent increased likelihood of gaining weight around the midsection.
In both drinks, caffeine is also a troubling culprit because of its ability to deplete your body of calcium and act as a stimulant to the central nervous system increasing stress levels and cases of insomnia. As mentioned earlier, there is also a risk of osteoporosis due to the bubbles containing phosphoric acid that severely decrease blood calcium levels, a structural component of bones and teeth.

And before you reach for your next can of diet soda consider this:
  • Studies found that drinking diet soda stimulates the brain, increases sugar cravings and encourages poor food choices
  • Diet soda is filled with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose or saccharin that have been linked to harmful side effects and actually activate sugar cravings by disrupting your body's ability to accurately assess the amount of calories being consumed -- thus putting cravings into overdrive
  So let's all be a little more aware of our bodies and what they need. An occasional drink won't kill you, that is for sure. But there are so many better options for our every day health needs!

 ~Do you call it Pop or Soda?
~Check out this inspirational runner's story!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Remember how I said we have a plethora of lemons at our house? Well, I decided to search for a Lemon Blueberry Bread recipe. Like last time and the black bean brownies, I found several and then sort of made my own. we have it!

Lemon Blueberry Bread
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. white flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. yogurt
1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
2 t. lemon zest
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 c. oil
1 c. blueberries
1/3 c. lemon juice

In one bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, sugar). 
In a separate bowl, mix together the yogurt, honey, eggs, vanilla, oil and lemon juice. 
Mix the wet and dry together. Once mixed, fold in the blueberries and lemon zest. Pour into a bread pan (or you could make them into muffins I'm sure!) and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Eat up!

Monday, June 20, 2011

look a little deeper

Why exercise? For the strong body, lean muscles and tight stomach...right? Well, maybe sometimes. But you are doing a whole lot more for your body when you exercise. So let's look a little deeper!

Heart - Regular workout sessions can lower your systolic blood pressure (the top number) as much as some medications do—an average of 5 to 10 mmHg.

Whole Body - Raising your heart rate for about an hour a day (running, cycling, walking, hiking) reduces your overall cancer risk by 16 percent.

Bones - Research shows that just 10 minutes of high-impact exercise (like plyometrics, running, jump rope) three times a week can boost women's bone strength.
 Brain - Staying active cuts your risk of cognitive decline by about a third. And a 4,000-person study found that those who exercised had fewer symptoms of depression.


Pancreas - Shedding just 5 to 7 percent of your body weight can delay and possibly prevent type 2 diabetes.

Intestines - Twenty to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity three to five times a week beats most other treatments for irritable bowel syndrome.

See all the benefits? And this is only to name a few. So do yourself a favor and get active today!

~What are some benefits you find from getting your sweat on?
~What's your favorite form of exercise? 


Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday’s Favorites

Another round of Friday’s Favorites! Here we go

~Got any links to share? Please do! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vary Your Greens

I’ve been on the “green smoothie” kick for a few years now.

I love it.

I crave them every day, and I love how I feel after I have one.

But I’m not very good at branching out…I pretty much put the same old spinach and fruit combo every day. So when I cam across this article on other options for greens in smoothies, I loved it. Here are some of the other options I learned about:

Swiss Chard – Similar to spinach in the texture and the way it blends. Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K magnesium, manganese, potassium and iron. It has a slight salty aftertaste, but that often can’t be tasted with other fruits in the mix.
Collared Greens - Collard Greens have tough leaves that taste slightly bitter, but are easily masked by fruit in a green smoothie. They are a great source of vitamins A, C, K, folate, manganese and calcium! Know to help in detoxing and supporting the heart, lungs and immune system.
Parsley – There are two kinds of parsley…curly and Italian. Italian is less bitter and works best in smoothies. It is a great source of vitamins A, C, K and folate as well as iron and calcium.
Dandelion Greens – Looking to make a detox smoothie? Dandelion greens are where it is at! Dandelions are used to cleanse the liver and gallbladder and to help support kidney function. They may help stabilize blood sugar and lower bad cholesterol. Dandelion greens are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, K, calcium and iron. Since they have a slight bitter taste, be sure to add some sweet fruit like berries or bananas.
Kale – We already know kale chips are delicious. But you can also add kale to smoothies! They are a great source of calcium. Since they are a bit tougher than other greens, a quick chop before the going in the blender is a good idea.

Get blending!

~What are your favorite greens to add to your green monsters?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tennis Players: How to Beat the Heat

This summer, same as the last, I am a Sports Camp Counselor. Each week the sport I work with changes, and this week it is tennis. So in honor of all the tennis girls I will get to spend my time with this week, I thought we would talk about something they have to worry about quite a bit: muscle cramps due to the heat.


I’ve grown up in a family where tennis is a part of our lives. My parents play, my sisters play, and I pretend to play. But it can get super hot outside, which means you need to be careful. (this can also be helpful to all your exercisers/runners out there that like to do it outside!)

In general, muscle cramping results from muscle fatigue. However, athletes that spend a large amount of time outside can suffer from heat cramps. These typically arise as the result of dehydration and electrolyte loss that can come with sweating. Because of this fatigued muscle, there is a change in the way the nerves communicate with the muscle. This results in a contraction or a spasm.


Since we know the cause of most muscle cramps, fatigue and dehydration, we know that the best thing to do: stay hydrated and stay fueled.

As far as preventative measures, fitness plays a huge role and every player should strive to develop a strong base of fitness.  Maintaining proper hydration, and drinking fluids before, during and after play can help with this. Also, if you suffer from electrolyte loss, try to increase sodium in your diet. That is frequently what you lose most of.

Listening to your body and being smart about when you play are always important. Try to play earlier in the morning or later in the day with more shade. And when you feel muscles starting to tighten, maybe it is time to call it a day.

Stay cool!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Deceivingly Delicious

A few weeks ago my sister came over and told me about a cooking show she saw on TV where they were putting black beans in everything to make them more healthy and still taste great.

So, I decided to give it a go.

I searched the internet for the well known “black bean brownies”. I found lots of recipes, but wasn’t sold on any of them. So I sort of mixed up what I read and made my own!

Black Bean Brownies
the blender is your friend!

15 ounces of black beans
1 banana
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 T. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. raw oats
1/4 c. milk

In a blender, first grind the oats down into a flour. Then add the rest of the ingredients. (Real tricky, eh?) Blend until silky smooth. It will happen. Then pour into an 8x8 dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
A little chocolate chips on top never hurt anyone…


These brownies are pretty fudgy. So if you like less fudge, up the oats by another 1/4 c. Enjoy!

~Got any black bean tricks up your sleeve? Let’s hear em!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Little Pick-Me-Up

Here are some videos to help you get past the middle of the week slump!

Monday, June 6, 2011

More Bang For Your Buck

Training can be is incredibly time consuming. Any kind of health regimen and workout program can be. So how can you make time for other things while still getting your sprints, hills, tempos and long runs in? Here are some ways to double your running productivity:

"Doubling up is great for targeting different systems in one workout—speed, strength, mental toughness, and more—which makes you fitter and better prepared for race day," says Susan Paul, program director for Track Shack's Fitness Club in Orland.

Depending on the distance you are aiming for, run the first 2/3 at your long run pace...usually about a minute slower than race pace. Then for the final 1/3, pick up the tempo and finish at race pace. If you're running more than 16 miles, use the same formula, but only run the last three to four miles at marathon pace.Then follow with a cool down.

This one is my favorite, because it is really similar to what could happen in a race. It trains your body to slow down to race pace after a spurt of speed, as if you were passing someone in a race. Because we always are, right?! For this workout, run 1 mile at or above race pace, followed by a 400 meter in a much faster pace. Repeat this for a few miles, then follow up with a cool down.

A combo like this helps the legs push through that heavy feeling that you sometimes get in the middle/end of races. Start with an easy 2 or 3 miles. Next do a set of squats, lunges, and calf raises and repeat 3 times. Then finish with another 2 or 3 miles. Your legs should feel this one!

Most important about these two is to teach your body what it feels like to put forth consistent effort. Hills are obviously more difficult, but when follower by a flat you want to recover while picking up the pace and preparing for the next hill. A treadmill helps to control speed, and you need to pay attention to effort. When running up a 2-5% grade for 2 minutes you should feel the same effort as when you are at 0%. So you will need to up the speed.

 Happy training!

P.S. A lot of these could be done walking or on the eliptical! No need to be a runner to get a great workout. Also, these can be pretty strenuous on the body. So be sure to follow up with fuel and a cross training day if you were pounding the pavement for a while.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Blood Sugar Check

When I cam across this article on blood sugar I was quite intrigued. In recent years hypoglycemia has been talked about frequently, many people thinking they have it because of the way they feel when they haven't eaten in a while. Headaches, forgetfulness, depression and lack of sleep were all the things they believed to be symptoms. Well, it turns out that hypoglycemia isn't as wide spread as we thought. No doubt there are problems with blood sugar that we can all work on, and we all need to be aware of.
 "Careful studies proved that, aside from diabetics, very few people have blood sugar that gets seriously out of whack. Good thing, too, because persistent hypoglycemia is a signal that something is very wrong. 'The diseases that cause hypoglycemia are serious, with major health implications,' says Mayo Clinic endocrinologist F. John Service, MD, a longtime expert in the field. Which doesn't necessarily mean that your mood and energy swings are unrelated to blood sugar. If the hormones that regulate it are just a little overeager, you may be prone to a host of unpleasant symptoms that have nothing to do with being ill or abnormal, and everything to do with the way you eat."

So what can we do to help out our blood sugar woes? Here are some tips:

1. Begin with Breakfast - Not only should you make a point to eat breakfast every morning soon after waking up, but you also must eat one that helps your blood sugar. Beware of the fast-burning simple-carb breakfast (donuts, cinnamon rolls, sugary cereals) that causes blood sugar to spike and then dive, pushing your body's alarm buttons. Instead, begin the day with a meal that includes protein and a little fat, both of which delay the absorption of sugar into the blood and take longer to digest. Or some good whole grains.

2. Don't Let Yourself Get Too Hungry, and Don't Let Yourself Get Too Full - When you go too long without food, the next time you see food you devour it. You know what I'm talking about. And usually the stuff you devour is the stuff that spikes blood pressure. So eat smaller meals frequently. But also beware of overeating. It takes your body 20 minutes to recognize it is full. If you think you are still hungry after a snack or meal, wait 20 minutes, drink some water, and reassess.

3. Fuel Workouts - Be sure to properly fuel before and after workouts. Your body needs food to exercise, and then it needs food to recover.

 4. Beware of Caffeine - There is some evidence that caffeine can increase sensitivity to low blood sugar, and make the symptoms much worse.

 5. Pay Attention & Plan Ahead - Be aware of when your body usually starts to slump, and plan ahead with a snack ready or eating a little something before it happens. By being aware of when blood sugar drops you can save yourself from some uncomfortable side effects.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Gone Greek.

I think you know what I’m talking about.

Greek Yogurt!


It’s a pretty big craze right now…and for many good reasons too! (More than just the yummy taste…)Let’s take a look at some of them:
  • protein: Greek yogurt usually has about twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt
  • high taste with low sodium: Greek yogurt has lower sodium by up to 50%…yet it still tastes fabulous
  • low in carbs: not only does this mean that it is nice for those wanting to watch their carb consumption, but it also means it is easier to digest. Less carbohydrates = less lactose (the sugar in dairy that is hard to digest)
  • texture: because of the way Greek yogurt is made (strained), it has a thicker and creamier texture than regular yogurt, which really helps you to feel satisfied after eating it!
  • yogurt cultures: these are the good bacteria found in yogurt, also known as probiotics. Your large intestine needs these “good” bacteria to function. These good yogurt bacteria boost our immune system, which then helps the rest of our body function properly, helps prevent illnesses and ward off infections.
What better way to celebrate this yummy stuff than with a cookie recipe?!

Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cookies 

Mix together the dry ingredients: wheat flour, white flour, baking powder, cinnamon, brown sugar and oats


Then mix together the wet ingredients: yogurt, canola oil and honey


Mix together the wet and dry, then plop them on a cookie sheet and flatten out a bit and top with some chocolate chips before putting them in the oven.


Bake, cool, and enjoy!

(although this picture looks the same as the above one, they are cooked and about to go on the cooling rack!)

Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cookies
3/4 c. wheat flour
1/4 c. white flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. oats
1/2 c. honey
1 c. yogurt
1/8 c. canola oil
chocolate chips

Bake at 350 degrees for 17 – 20 minutes
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