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Train…Race…Inspire

Kid Friendly Paleo Salad

So, recently I have been researching the “paleo” way of eating and the benefits it boasts for athletes as seen in my article Paleo 101. Throughout my search I have been looking for recipes that are “kid friendly” being that my two and five-year- old boys are not always an easy sell on new food. The following is a recipe I discovered from Paleo Kids/Paleo Recipes.  Believe it or not my kids are big fans.

Nutty Peachy Arugula Spinach Salad Recipe
Ingredients:

– 1 1/2 cups fresh Arugula
– 1 1/2 cups spinach
– 1/2 cup blackberries
– 3/4 cup slice peaches (peaches cut in 1/8)
– 1/2 cup walnuts soaked
– 4 to 6 slices bacon (fried)
– 2 tbsp. virgin coconut oil
– 1 boiled egg
– 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
– 1 tsp nutmeg (optional)

 

Preparation:

– Wash arugula, spinach and blackberries set aside to dry.
– Slice walnuts in halves
– Saute sliced fresh peaches (whole peach cut in 1/8). Saute in virgin coconut oil until tended and set aside.
– Crumble crisp fried bacon into bits.
– Shell boiled eggs and finely chop egg.
– Mix arugula, spinach, bacon bits, blackberries, egg bits, walnuts, cinnamon and nutmeg.
– Top salad with sauteed (grilled peaches) and add balsamic dressing of choice.

 Paleo Balsamic Dressing Recipe

In a small bowl combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey (to taste). Combine dressing ingredients to taste. Orthodox Paleo diet does not allow honey but honey used in many Paleo Recipes. Serves 4

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Paleo 101 for Endurance Athetes

If you have been an endurance athlete for long or have even thought of going the long course chances are you have heard of the Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet is said to aid in recovery, reduce the need for carbohydrates during a training session, aid in sleep, and create less of a chance of “bonking” during a race.

So, what is the Paleo Diet? It was a way of eating that was developed by Loren Cordain, Ph.D., whose book, The Paleo Diet, was published in 2002. It later became popular with endurance athletes after a sequel, The Paleo Diet for Athletes, was published three years later.

The rest of this article can be seen at my site on the Examiner at: http://www.examiner.com/article/paleo-101-for-endurance-athletes

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Once a Year!

It’s awefully  hard to write about anything that doesn’t have something to do with the holidays this time of year. So bear with me, I have a few “gifts” for you and a little encouragement and a couple suggestions.

Gifts first. I heard that the best way to offer someone advice is to encourage or compliment them first. So, in the interest of hoping you’ll hear me out, let me give you something to chew on, literally. (:

Here are some great holiday recipes that are so good for you, you can eat them every week of the year if you like. And, I promise you, I’ve tested them out on company and they have passed with flying colors. First off, who can do Christmas without pie? Pumpkin or pecan, anyone?

It’s relatively easy to find a healthy pumpkin pie recipe, so let me offer you a great version of pecan pie. Brought to you courtesy of Chocolate Covered Katie. (I recommend her as an excellent resource for dozens of recipes.)

vegan-pecan-pie_thumb_3

Secondly, you won’t find eggnog on the shelves past New Year’s. That’s probably in your best interest, but still, who can avoid indulging once a year? So, here’s a version you can make that is ridiculously light, and the ingredients are available year-round. This one is courtesy of Hungry Girl.

1nononsensenog_sml

Now, for the encouragement. Another excellent health resource is Chantel Hobbs. She has a remarkable story of losing over 200lb. and keeping it off. However, that was after yo-yo dieting to despair. Now, she is an athlete, a bold Christian, a nutritionist and a personal trainer. Here’s something to keep in mind as you face down the holiday table:

Food isn’t the enemy.

In fact food is a gift meant to be fully enjoyed. Why else would we have built-in taste buds? The issue for someone who is struggling to loose weight, is how to find the balance between loving food in moderation and loving food too much, too often.

Lastly, I promise to keep the advice to a minimum. When you’re trying to decide what to put on your plate, consider choosing only those things you can’t have all the time. You can usually find mashed potatoes without too much trouble. Grandma probably makes her chocolate chip cookies fairly often. But, like the recipes above, there are a few holiday treats that only make a showing once a year. Enjoy them. And get your mashed potatoes next week.

Merry Christmas!

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Don’t Do Your Workout In the Kitchen!

I’m willing to bet that you’d rather put in a good, sweaty workout than join the crazy kitchen marathon that always ensues around the holidays. There are races to be run down supermarket isles, heavy lifting with shopping bags, too much work, too little rest and then more pounds to show for it! How does that work? At least with a quick bootcamp you can shed the extra pounds!

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from my little sisters. But this awesome tip from my baby sister, Rachelle, has to be one of the best. Before I share it, let me also tell you that Rachelle is the founding artist of WeavingSunshine.chelle

Rachelle and her husband both work full-time. Living in Dallas, she will spend half of her life stuck in traffic. She’s expecting and she has a fun puppy. She has far too many things to be wasting time in the kitchen. So last week, she decided to put in 5 hours in the kitchen one Sunday, so that she could reap the benefits of many a restful weeknight in the future. The recipes she used make more than enough for 2 people, so they will enjoy at least two dinners from every meal.

I found this set of recipes and the grocery list, courtesy of another group of sisters. I hope this saves you oodles of time and energy both during the holiday season and in the midst of many future busy, delightful days of life!

Six Sisters’ Stuff

 

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Cinnamon Rolls – you know, those things you’ve avoided?

Years ago, I worked at a health and supplement store in a strip mall on Fort Bragg. Right across the narrow isle stood Cinnabon, (not nearly far enough away to disguise the enticing fragrance.) The beguiling pastry chain was cleverly positioned on the corner so that every patron had to muster their will to pass by and enter the main mall for whatever the day’s errands called.

The task of passing by must have been difficult for occasional customers, but imagine the temptation working directly across from the sticky lusciousness every single day! Most days I drank a gallon or so of their cinnamon flavored coffee and tried to pretend that it tasted just like a gooey carmel pecan roll or cinnamon stix. As devoted of a coffee lover as I am, it was a poor substitute.

I’m always on the prowl for healthier versions of the most delectable goodies I’d rather not live the rest of my life without. I’m all for eating intuitively, de-classifying good and bad foods and learning to enjoy all food with freedom (instead of society’s insistence that we be perfect dieters with our weight and appearance as our only obsession.) However, if something wonderful can also be good for me – bring it on!

Therefore, I bring you my newest healthy discovery! Cinnamon rolls! The version here is actually very healthy all on it’s own. I made a few minor changes, which I will footnote.

Credit for this wonderful recipe goes to Deconstructing the Home. You’ll find this recipe on that site here.

Healthy Low Calorie Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:
¾ Cup pumpkin puree
1/3 Cup buttermilk (or 1/3 cup skim milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of vinegar)
¼ Cup Splenda
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ Cup applesauce
1 Cup flour
1 ½ Cup whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Filling
¼ Cup butter
¾ Cup Splenda
1 ½ Tablespoons molasses
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add pumpkin, buttermilk, Splenda, vanilla, and applesauce in food processor. Mix till combined. Add in flours, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix until dough forms a large ball. Lightly flour surface and knead dough until it loses its stickiness and becomes elastic. Roll out into a rectangle ¼ of an inch thick.
2. Melt butter and spread over dough. In a small bowl combine Splenda, molasses, and cinnamon until well combined. You may have to smush it with the back of your spoon to get it to mix well. Sprinkle mixture over butter. Roll your dough into a log. Cut into twelve rolls and place in greased 9×13. Place in oven and bake for 15-18 minutes until rolls are golden. Remove from oven and top with cinnamon roll glaze. Dig in!

My changes: I didn’t have buttermilk, so I used unsweetened almond milk. Also, I didn’t have molasses so I used brown sugar and I added a TBS of sugar free instant butterscotch pudding (I heard that is a common ingredient in monkey bread, another one of my favorites).

Cinnamon Roll Glaze Recipe

Ingredients:
4 oz fat free cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 Cup powder sugar

Directions:
1. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Mix in powdered sugar a little at a time until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Smooth glaze over warm cinnamon rolls and dig in!

For the glaze, I used 1/4 cream cheese, 1 TBS sugar free instant cheesecake flavored pudding, vanilla, 1/4 milk

These came out beautifully and I didn’t share a single one! I actually only made 8.

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Whatever It Takes

How badly do you want to be thin? What would you trade? Would being thin make you ultimately happy – even if you don’t really believe that  – do you think that? Would life be easier, happier, more fun, (add an adjective) if you were thin?

A recent study revealed that many women would give up a year of of their lives to be thin.

Another study discovered that most women would give up sex to be thin.

In April, the New York Times, reported on a new, disgusting trend. Women, mostly brides, in a last ditch effort to be thinner (and therefore in their perception: more beautiful on their wedding day, make that special day happier, etc.) have resorted to feeding tubes.

At first, I was shocked. I remember being inpatient for my eating disorder. One of the sweetest little girls I have ever met, greeted me at the facility’s entrance. Alicia became a quick confidant and encourager for  me. But it was hard to look at her without crying. Alicia was 12, but she had stopped growing when she was about 5. Because of her refusal to eat and seeming determination to starve herself, Alicia wore a feeding tube. This disfiguring device looked just like it sounds. A long tube ran up her nose into her stomach. It was taped in various places down her little body until it attached to a pole, nearly twice her height, where hung a plastic bag of liquid nutrients. Everywhere little Alicia went – to counseling sessions, to watch TV, on pass into the the little town nearby, to bed, to worship – everywhere, her tube went along.

Now, imagine a grown woman, preparing for her wedding day, strapped up with a feeding tube. A little more visually appealing, these brides carry around a purse with their “food” bag instead of Alicia’s pole. Nonetheless, they have a rubber tube snaking up the side of their face, through their nose and into their stomach – to supply them with starvation’s subsistence – a mere 800 calories. How far have we fallen?

Here are some other facts for your consideration:

2/3 of dieters regain the weight they lost within about 4 years of any diet

About 44% of women admit to being on a diet at any given moment

And guess what! Despite all our paranoia, drastic measures, social mores, fitness obsessions, fad diets and self help books, political intervention and endorsement – despite all these things, recently an advocacy group reported that by 2030, more than half of the population in the majority of states will be considered obese. So, apparently, our strategy isn’t working.

Happily, there’s a small, underground minority that is working hard to reverse the trend. Have you heard of Intuitive Eating? Sounds interesting and logical, doesn’t it?

How about a new book, by Greg Archer, whose provocative title (albeit accurate) I’ll encourage you to check into yourself.

Another wonderful person whom I consider a champion of this movement toward reprioritizing our weight, our diet, our life goals, is Emily Wierenga.  It was a recent article on her blog, Chasing Silhouettes, that launched me onto my soapbox again.

Enjoy her words of wisdom:

No longer [should food be] an object to be feared. It is a necessity to be enjoyed and embraced.  It is another form of communication, another way of sharing in this thing called life, of relating with other humans through a means devoid of words. It is the breaking of bread, which Christ calls us to.

So, as you wisely set health goals, lace up your sneakers, breathe deep during a jog or slice your paring knife through the pale green skin on a tart, fresh apple, wonder : Why am I doing this?

And then do whatever it takes to honestly answer that question with:

So that I might, “present [my] bod[y] as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is [my] spiritual worship. [I will] not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of [my]mind, that by testing [I] may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

 

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I started to apologize that this post is appearing so late on the promised day. But truthfully, (if you live in Northern Virginia) I hope you were outside with me enjoying this delicious weather – not inside checking out blogs, Facebook, Twitter or otherwise.

Today was one of those days when fall begins an argument with summer. Summer is relentless, hateful to release it’s strangle hold on the thermometer. But fall has started to stealthily sneak in over night. Each morning is a little cooler, a few more leaves dust the ground and all of a sudden the sun is going to bed before nine’o’clock at night! I love this!

Every corner parking lot sprouts a farmers market. Plump pumpkins are pushing strawberries off the farmers’ tables. Hay bales are the new fresh flowers. Don’t you love autumn?

In honor of this most favored season (my personal opinion) I am going to share a new healthy pumpkin recipe that I have discovered. Actually, I just recently discovered Georgie and her blog. She has numerous delicious recipes, only a few of which I have had a chance to try yet. However, this pumpkin bread has been tested and proved true. Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Bread that’s Good for You

3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup Splenda for Baking (or 2 tablespoons honey or stevia to taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (or 1/2 cup cooked and pureed winter squash of your choice)
1 1/2 ounce walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil the inside of two mini loaf pans.

2. Mix the almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and Splenda in a large bowl. I like to use a whisk to break up any lumps.

3. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, eggs and stir until combined. Gently fold in walnuts and scrape batter into prepared pans. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until they feel springy on the top when touched.

4. Allow to cool before slicing. Enjoy!

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Keeping It Clean

In last week’s article I discussed “the Raw Food Diet” and I mentioned that I would go in to more detail about clean eating. Both Abby and I follow clean eating principals in most of our meals. I do it for more energy, healthier skin and body, and I believe that it helps me keep my energy levels stable whether I am competing or not. For those of you who are not familiar with this practice let me go in to a little more detail.

 

What Is It?

In a nutshell, eating clean is the practice of eating whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. It also means staying away from many foods that typically make up the standard American diet. These foods include man-made sugar, hydrogenated and trans-fats, preservatives, white bread, and any other ingredients that are unnecessary. An easy way to remember if a food is clean is: “if it is man made, don’t eat it or keep it to a minimum.”

 

What Do You Eat?

There are a variety of foods you can eat while eating clean. The following are a few principals that encompass the “Clean Eating Diet”:

  • Eat whole foods: The foods you eat on this plan are straight from the farm: whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, grass-fed and free-range meats, low fat dairy products, unsalted nuts, and seeds.
  • Avoid processed foods: Processed foods are any food that has a label. A label means that more than one ingredient was used to make that food. You do not have to eliminate pasta or whole grains just try to get them in their simplest form.
  • Eliminate refined sugar. Refined sugar provides nothing but calories. Other sweeteners can be used, but with all the good foods you add to your diet, refined sugar really has very little place in the eating clean plan.

How Do You Eat Clean?

Volume and timing are key component to the clean eating way of life.

  • Eat five or six small meals a day. By eating smaller meals throughout the day you can help rev up your metabolism and reduce the chance of “falling off the wagon”. You never get so hungry on this plan that you feel deprived or feel the need to cheat.
  • Combine protein with carbohydrates. When you do snack or eat a meal, make sure that meal is balanced. If you combine a protein with a carbohydrate you will give your body the furl it needs as well as keeping yourself from feeling deprived or hungry.

The reasons to eat clean are endless. Better health, avoiding certain diseases, having more energy and looking better overall are just a few of the main reasons I eat clean. It is really about how healthy foods make me feel and about what they do for me, my health, and the health of my family. Next time I will talk about how clean eating, exercise, and family all roll in to one for me.

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Going Raw

I just recently purchased an amazing blender called the OmniBlend V. I have to admit that I have been coveting the Vitamix and the Blendtec for a while but could not bring myself (and my budget) to purchase it. With the blender came a book written by Carmella Soleil called “Deliciously Raw”.  In the cookbook I found amazingly simple and delicious recipes as well as Carmella’s story about moving to a fully raw diet. Both Abby and I have long since been a proponent of Clean Eating, which I will go in to more detail about next time, but I felt I needed to do more research about what raw eating entailed and its proposed benefits. Here is what I found out:

What it is:

The raw food diet is based on the belief that the most healthful food for the body is uncooked. Although most food is eaten raw, heating food is acceptable as long as the temperature stays below 104 to 118 degrees Fahrenheit (the cutoff temperature varies among those in the raw food community). Cooking is thought to denature the enzymes naturally present in food. According to raw foodists, enyzymes are the life force of a food, helping us to digest food and absorb nutrients. If we overconsume cooked food, our bodies are forced to work harder by producing more enzymes. Over time, a lack of enzymes from food is thought to lead to digestive problems, nutrient deficiency, accelerated aging, and weight gain.

What do you eat?

There are different ways that people follow a raw food diet. Most people who follow a raw food diet are vegan. Some consume raw animal products, such as raw milk, cheese made from raw milk, sashimi, ceviche (raw fish), or carpaccio (raw meat). Some people eat only raw foods, while others include cooked food for variety and convenience. The percentage of raw food is usually 70 percent or more of the diet. I also found that there were a variety of websites out there that offered recipes and ideas of how to incorporate the raw lifestyle in to a working one. A few are:

The Sunny Raw Kitchen: http://thesunnyrawkitchen.blogspot.com/

Rawmazing:  http://www.rawmazing.com/rawmazing-recipes/

Gone Raw: http://goneraw.com/recipes

We Like It Raw: http://www.welikeitraw.com/rawfood/raw-food-recipes.html

I am not sure that I am ready to completely stop cooking my food but the information out there about the Raw Food Diet is pretty convincing. Since purchasing my blender and doing the research I have tried to incorporate even more raw foods in to my diet then before. I have to admit that I can feel the increase in energy. Any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions?

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Healthy Equations Pt. 2

Years ago, I tried the Body-for-Life ™ program. One of the components of this approach to diet and exercise is a “free day.” Basically, you eat healthily, within boundaries, six days per week and on the seventh, let loose. If I had read the fine print (figuratively speaking) and I wonder how many people do) I would have understood that Mr. Phillips was not suggesting a weekly binge.

I remember one particular Saturday when my little sister was visiting me. She didn’t say anything, but her bulging eyes should have clued me in that I was out of control.

Even then, I was a dedicated exerciser. I hit the gym or went running nearly every single day. That morning, we went to the donut shop and I had a couple treats that I hadn’t had since childhood. Next, we stopped at a gas station and I filled up with a 24 oz. sugar-laden, French vanilla cappuccino. When she suggested McDonald’s for lunch, I snagged more than my share of her fries, salving my conscience because I didn’t order anything of my own. That night, near Christmas, we joined a potluck thrown by my church. Since all week long I avoided sugar like the plague, and it was Saturday, my free day, I ate 10 or more cookies, tried every cake there, slurped down mint hot chocolate and went home miserably sick to my stomach.

But, I popped up the next day and went for a run. Case closed, Body-for-Life™ was working for me. Crazy.

Allowing yourself to completely lose control and mindfulness of your food intake is never good. But relaxing the Nazi-like, self-imposed standards is.

Which brings me to the 80/20 rule. Just like the 90/10 rule, this isn’t heavily researched and documented, but it is proven by the experience of myriad individuals.

Basically, the rule states that if you follow a clean diet regimen 80% of the time, the other 20%  is for relaxing and enjoying your favorite, less-than-healthy foods. 

Whether you are maintaining, or trying to lose weight, in fact, even if you are working to gain weight, this standard is safe and effective. Twenty-percent equals about 4 of your 21 weekly meals.

That’s a relief isn’t it? That’s doable, right?

So chill out a little, or get a grip. Which side of the equation do you land on? What action do you need to take? Remember, that this rule applies to an active individual. Like I said last week, 90% of your progress hinges on your diet, but you need that 10% (exercise) to reach 100% of your goals.

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