Friday, April 29, 2011

FUEL Foodie Friday

FUEL Foodie Friday offers insights and expertise for any who shares a common interest in making smart food buying choices for their families. Also for the health conscious consumer that is tired of the same ole grocery list.  I will be your supermarket guinea pig and report on everyday finds at supermarkets, big-box stores, and the neighborhood health food stores.
Pasta Company

EDEN Organic is a principled natural food company. It has been independently owned and operated for over 40 years. They use only the finest food that can be procured from growers and handlers that know and trust. They offer full transparency – complete disclosure of ingredients and all handling. Their products are free of genetically modified foods (GMO) and their canned products are bisphenol- A (BPA) free. Product packages are made from recycled materials and are recyclable, with a tasty recipe from Eden's kitchen on the back.

They have 25 pasta flavors made from whole grains. Their pastas are good for your health, endurance and the environment. You can find EDEN ORGANIC in most groceries for around $3-$4.00 a box.
FUEL Tip: Replace enriched pastas with EDEN ORGANICs for your pre-race dinner meal to top off glycogen stores for the main event!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

FUEL Better: Pasta

Kung Fu Noodles...

Did you know that noodles actually originated in China?

They are also a rich part of the culinary culture in Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Korea and Indonesia. Asian pasta offer a wide variety of flavors, textures and nutritional benefits sometimes not found in the traditional American noodle.  Most located in local health food stores or specialty groceries.

Next time you make your favorite pasta dish try one of these:

Soba Noodles:
o   Made from buckwheat flour, nutty-tasting Japanese soba noodles area good source of complex carbohydrates, protein and the antioxidant rutin, which may help lower cholesterol and protect against inflammation. 

o   You can replace any traditional noodle with soba noodles. Try them in miso soup or tossed with thinly sliced vegetables and spicy peanut sauce for an Asian kick.

Shirataki Noodles:
o   Thin, chewy shirataki noodles can be bland on their own, but they readily pick up accompanying flavors. Made from yam starch, they’re very low in calories and are a good source of fiber.

o   Use them to add a fresh twist to your homemade chicken soup or as a base for your favorite stir fry. You can also half and half them with traditional angel hair pasta. This will cut down on the calories of the dish as long as you do not eat twice as much!!

Bean Thread Noodles:
o   These delicate, translucent strands, sometimes called glass or cellophane noodles, are made from the starch of mung beans. They’re a good source of gluten-free complex carbs, iron and selenium.

o    Try them in a cool salad with a healthy dose of herbs and tangy Asian inspired vinaigrette.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Race Week FUEL Strategies

There is a saying about the days before a big race or event. “There is nothing you can do in the week before a race to help yourself. You can only do things to hurt yourself.”

There is some truth to this and it should be used as a warning not a let-down.
What does the statement really mean? It is meant to caution runners to not work out too much or try to “fit it all in” before a race. It implies that the main focus in the week before a race is to rest and enjoy the end of the current journey.
There are obvious things that could hurt yourself in the week before a big race: trying to squeeze in one last long run; replacing “easy” runs with other high-intensity workouts; or simply being excessively busy and tired- all of these will hurt performance on race day.

However, many leave out an important factor and that is the FUEL strategies leading up to a big race. Just as training adjust to a “taper,” where mileage and intensity decrease in preparation for the event so should dietary habits.

You can also hurt yourself  in the week before a big race if you are dehydrated, over hydrated, undernourished, over nourished, or have a bought with food poisoning or food intolerance.  

Some dietary things to keep in mind over the next week:   

This is not a time to make majors changes in your diet. Stick with familiar foods. Be aware that when training decreases to “taper” so should calorie intake to avoid excessive weight gain. Note: It is not uncommon to see a 2 or 3 pound increase on the scale the week before, this is water weight.  The body is storing adequate water to be hydrated for the event.

FYI: For every gram of glycogen (fuel) your body stores away in the muscles, it also packs away 2.6 grams of water.   Having extra water on board is a great advantage during hot and humid conditions!


Non-elite runners are notorious for gaining up to 5lbs+ race week due to counterproductive, over eating practices.  I realize you may be nervous about not having enough energy or rationalize with yourself that you will “run it off Saturday” but you will have enough and you will not run it all off.

The day and night before a race:

Please remember the quote on this day: “There is nothing you can do in the week before a race to help yourself. You can only do things to hurt yourself.”

If you have been eating a proper diet or follow a Runner’s FUEL meal plan in the weeks leading up to the race you are well prepared. You can NOT undo weeks of poor dietary habits in one 24 hour period.

However, it is important to “top” off your fuel tank.  Increase carbohydrate consumption by 200-300 calories the day before.  This is NOT an all you can eat buffet. This is NOT all at one meal (read and repeat out loud).

Gradually add extra carbohydrate rich foods to each meal through out the day. Do not over fill the fuel tank at once because it will store as FAT not fuel, this is counterproductive. A little added throughout the day ensures glycogen (fuel) tanks are topped off and at maximum capacity.

FUEL Tip:  If a trip takes 500 gallons of fuel but your car only holds 50 gallons at a time you must stop and “top it off” periodically to reach your destination.  

What to eat?

Focus on fruits and foods that are juicy by nature: Bananas, peaches, cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew melon, along with vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams. Snack on dried fruit.

Do not forget to include lean protein and fat with each meal or snack to keep your blood sugar level.

Reduce dietary fiber to allow for calmer digestion of foods in preparation for the next day’s race.
Race Morning

Wake up early enough to have a decent breakfast 1-2 hours before the events starts. Give the stomach time to digest and have time to answer Mother Nature’s call before the race starts.

There are a few Pre Race FUEL Goals to remember:

1.     Satisfy Hunger:  The longer breakfast is delayed the greater the risk of starting under fueled.  Why important? Muscle and liver glycogen (fuel) will be depleted from the start and there is no possible way to fill back to capacities once the race starts.

FUEL TIP: Your body (car) will not be fuel efficient if started on empty.

2.     Restock carbohydrates stores depleted by the overnight fast:
The body repairs and replaces tissues as an ongoing maintenance routine at night since birth! Other energy demands through the night include – breathing, cardiac activity, movement, digestion, and other functions. When we awake after sleep stores are naturally depleted. Replacing the expended calories is important to immediate athletic performance!

3.     Include a heart healthy fat: Fat is the second fuel source the body utilizes once the carbohydrates have been depleted or aerobic activity has set at “cruise control”.  Dietary fat also helps stabilize blood sugar and increases satiety.  

FUEL Tip: Dietary fat improves the bodies (car) fuel (gas) efficiency so you get more miles out of a single tank.

4.     Hydrate but do not OVER hydrate:  Prevent the onset of dehydration during exercise by being well hydrated before. Research suggests that consuming adequate fluids relative to thirst reduces protein breakdown during exercise. Consuming to much fluid will flush out precious electrolytes and increase potty stops!

FUEL Tip: 16-24 oz before the race over a 2 hours span

5.     Keep the meal low in fiber and caffeine, unless previously tested.

Examples of Pre Race FUEL Choices

·       Oatmeal with 2 eggs
·       Fruit with 2 eggs
·       Smoothie with protein powder
·       1 slices toast 1 tbsp peanut butter with 1 medium banana
·       Bagel with peanut butter
·       Bagel with cream cheese  
·       Hammer Protein Bar
·       Lara Bar

If you already have a routine stick with it…

RUN Healthy and Good LUCK!

Friday, April 22, 2011

FUEL Food Friday

FUEL Foodie Friday offers insights and expertise for any who shares a common interest in making smart food buying choices for their families. Also for the health conscious consumer that is tired of the same ole grocery list.  I will be your supermarket guinea pig and report on everyday finds at supermarkets, big-box stores, and the neighborhood health food stores.
Organic Valley Stringles 
Organic Valley's Stringles® is one of the best portable snacks available. A good source of calcium and protein, they are the perfect snack for all ages. Now available in Mild Cheddar, Colby Jack, and our original Mozzarella, Stringles are an outstanding choice for people on the go! 
My favorite part about this string cheese the small, legible ingredient list that is USDA certified organic! Organic Valley Stringles are made from organic skim milk, salt, and microbial enzymes. For only 80 calories a serving offers 7 grams of protein and 20% of your daily calcium requirement.  Found at most major grocery stores and cost ~$4-5.00 for a pack of six. 
FUEL better by eating sting cheese paired with a piece of fruit or whole grain before or after a run.   

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

FUEL Better: Seeds

Sprinkle seeds here...
Sprinkle seeds there...

Seeds are loaded with heart healthy oils and disease fighting phytonutrients. They can help increase satiety (keep you full longer), fight heart disease, and may help prevent cancer. Seeds add crunch, texture and extra flavor to salads, smoothies, or any dish!

Try adding one of these four seeds to your next favorite dish:

Sesame Seeds: 
Two (2) Tbsp offer 156 mg or 12% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium.

Sprinkle: 2 Tbsp into brown rice, grains, mashed potatoes or coat salmon with 1 tsp olive oil and cover in sesame before baking. 

Pumpkin Seeds:
1 oz provides magnesium, copper, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, and 7.5g of protein.

Sprinkle: 1 oz crushed seeds into soups or grains. 1 oz whole as a snack or onto salads and yogurts.

Flax Seeds:
1 Tbsp ground seeds provides heart protecting omega-3s, cholesterol lowering lignans and dietary fiber.
*Seeds must be ground to receive the benefits of the omega-3s*

Sprinkle: 1 Tbsp ground seeds into pasta sauces, sautéing vegetables, oatmeal, even warm tea or milk. 

Sunflower Seeds:
1 oz provides almost twice the vitamin B1 of 3 oz raw salmon which is 28% of the RDA.

Sprinkle: 1 oz into salads, roasted beets, whole wheat pasta, yogurts or cereal

Monday, April 18, 2011

Keep Life Simple

Keep Life Simple.
The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.  Hans Hofmann
Think about it: Would you rather have your job made simpler, or more complicated? How about your relationship? Your finances? Those instructions to assembling your kids new toy?

More Simple, right?

Okay, how about your diet? Wouldn't you prefer to make your diet less complicated as well? Especially if you knew that more simple was also healthier? Then why do so many of us insist on choosing the most complicated foods we can find, when the most simple foods are always better?

Case in point: Let's say you had a choice between two seemingly similar products. Both had about the same number of calories, and had similar tastes. Based on the ingredient lists, which would you choose? 

Beverage #1: Water; high fructose corn syrup; concentrated juices of orange, tangerine, apple, lime and/or grapefruit; citric acid; ascorbic acid; beta-carotene; thiamin hydrochloride; natural flavors; modified food starch; canola oil; cellulose gum; xanthan gum; sodium hexametaphosphate; sodium benzoate; yellow dyes #5 and 6.

Beverage #2: Fresh-squeezed orange juice.

If you picked beverage #2, you'd be getting three times the vitamin C and about one-eighth the sodium, as well as a nice hit of calcium. But if you picked #1, then you'd be getting a nutritional cocktail made up primarily of water and high fructose corn syrup, with a variety of scary surprises. (Canola oil?!)

Yet many of us pick #1 on a regular basis—those are the ingredients for Sunny Delight original, by the way—because we seem dead-set on complicating our diets. And complicated is always less nutritious. Simple is always healthier. Speaking of nutritionally empty drinks, watch out for gut-busters with ingredients most of us could never, ever pronounce—
What's Really In …
150 calories
8 g fat (1.5 g saturated)
180 mg sodium

The concept is, well, sort of brilliant: Nachos and cheese without the hassle of a microwave. Or even a plate, for that matter. You just tear open the bag and start eating. And as a parting gift, Dorito's leave your fingers sticky with something that looks like radioactive bee pollen. Now here's the question: Do you have any clue what's in that stuff? Here you go:

To create each Dorito, the Frito-Lay food scientists draw from a well of 39 different ingredients. How many does it take to make a regular tortilla chip? About three. That means some 36 ingredients wind up in that weird cheese fuzz. Of those 36, only two are ingredients you'd use to make nachos at home: Romano and cheddar cheeses. Alongside those are a cache of empty carbohydrate fillers like dextrin, maltodextrin, dextrose, flour, and corn syrup solids. Then come a rotating cast of oils. Depending on what bag you get, you might find any combination of corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, and sunflower oil. Some of those will be partially hydrogenated, meaning they give the chip a longer shelf life and spike your heart with a little shot of trans fat. (The reason you won't see this on the nutrition label is that FDA guidelines allow food manufacturers to "round down" to zero.)

And then, after the fats and nutritionally empty starches, there's a seasoning blend, which includes things like sugar, "artificial flavoring," and a rather worrisome compound called monosodium glutamate. Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is the flavor enhancer largely responsible for the chip's addicting quality. The drawback is that it interferes with the production of an appetite-regulating hormone called leptin. A study of middle-aged Chinese people found a strong correlation between MSG consumption and body fat. What's more, the FDA receives new complaints every year from people who react violently to MSG, suffering symptoms like nausea, headaches, burning sensation, numbness, chest pains, dizziness, and so on. Talk about radioactive bee pollen.

What's Really In …
210 calories
2 g fat (0.5 g saturated)
410 mg sodium

Okay, so you're probably not in the habit of ordering a la carte bread loaves at Subway, but there’s a good chance you've eaten at least a few sandwiches built on this bread. The good news is that Subway actually delivers on the nine-grain promise. The bad news: Eight of those nine grains appear in miniscule amounts. If you look at a Subway ingredient statement, you'll find every grain except wheat listed at the bottom of the list, just beneath the qualifier "contains 2% or less." In fact, the primary ingredient in this bread is plain old white flour, and high-fructose corn syrup plays a more prominent role than any single whole grain. Essentially this is a white-wheat hybrid with trace amounts of other whole grains like oats, barley, and rye.

So outside of the nine grains, how many ingredients does Subway use to keep this bread together? Sixteen, including such far-from-simple ingredients as DATEM, sodium steroyl lactylate, calcium sulfate, and azodiacarbonamide. But here's one that's a little unnerving: ammonium sulfate. This compound is loaded with nitrogen, which is why it's most common use is as fertilizer. You might have used it to nourish your plants at home. And Subway does the same thing; the ammonium sulfate nourishes the yeast and helps the bread turn brown. What, did you think that dark hue was the result of whole grains? Hardly. It's a combination of the ammonium sulfate and the caramel coloring. Seems like Jarod might frown on that sort of subterfuge.

Of course, in terms of calories, Subway's still one of your best allies in the sandwich game.

What's Really In …
250 calories
2.5 g fat (2.5 g saturated)
47 g sugars

They're sweet, chewy, and brightly colored. Now, what are they? Well, the basic formula for each chewy neon orb is a gross mashup of sugar, corn syrup, and hydrogenated palm kernal oil. That explains why every gram of fat is saturated and each package has more sugar than two twin-wrapped packages of Peanut Butter Twix.

So those three ingredients plus a few extra fillers are basically all it takes to get the general consistency and flavor, but to achieve that color spectrum, Skittles brings in a whole new list of additives. When a Skittles ad tells you to "taste the rainbow," what it's really telling you to do is taste the laboratory-constructed amalgam of nine artificial colors, many of which have been linked to behavioral and attention-deficit problems in children. A few years ago the British journal Lancet published a study linking the artificial additives to hyperactivity and behavioral problems in children, which prompted the Center for Science in the Public Interest to petition the FDA for mandatory labels on artificially colored products. The FDA's response: We need more tests.
In the meantime, there's a very large-scale test going on all across the country, and every Skittles eater is an unwilling participant. And that doesn't even factor in the blood-sugar roller coaster you go on when you ingest a Skittles' bag worth of sugar.

What's Really In …
540 calories
30 g fat (8 g saturated)
1,020 mg sodium

It's Italian, it's Mexican, it's . . . well, it's got a whopping 64 different ingredients, so it's hard to tell just what exactly it is. On the face of it, this meal doesn't look too bad. There are two pizza shells, ground beef, beans, pizza sauce, tomatoes, and three cheeses. Nothing alarming, right? Even the nutritional vital signs, while high, compare favorably to most fast-food pizzas. It only gets scary when you zoom in on what it takes to stitch those pieces together. That's when you see all of those 64 smaller ingredients, including an astounding 24 in the ground beef alone. Yikes.

Now, some of those ingredients amount to little more than Mexican seasonings and spices, but there are also loads of complex compounds such as autolyzed yeast extract, maltodextrin, xanthan gum, calcium propionate, fumaric acid, and silicon dioxide. Any of those sound familiar? That last one might—if you've spent any time at the beach. But chances are you normally refer to it by its common name: sand.

That's right, sand is made from fragmented granules of rock and mineral, and the most common of them is silicon dioxide, or silica. This is also the stuff that helps strengthen concrete and—when heated to extreme temperatures—that hardens to create glass bottles and windowpanes.

So why exactly does Taco Bell put sand in the Mexican Pizza? To make it taste like spring break in Cancun? Not quite. As it turns out, Taco Bell adds silica to the beef to prevent it from clumping together during shipping and processing. The restaurant uses the same anti-caking strategy with the chicken, shrimp, and rice.

Is it unusual to add silica to food? Yes. Is it dangerous? Probably not. The mineral actually occurs naturally in all sorts of foods like vegetables and milk.
Even so, you can save hundreds of calories if you just make your pizza at home.
Leonardo DaVinci said it best “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” The most educated in nutrition and food system know the answer to weight maintenance, optimal health and wellness is simple.  Live by the rule of thumb 5 ingredients or less, can you pronounce each ingredient, and did it come from a farm or a factory? Good health is only a simple choice away….

Saturday, April 16, 2011

FUEL Foodie Friday: on Saturday

FUEL Foodie Friday offers insights and expertise for any who shares a common interest in making smart food buying choices for their families. Also for the health conscious consumer that is tired of the same ole grocery list.  I will be your supermarket guinea pig and report on everyday finds at supermarkets, big-box stores, and the neighborhood health food stores.
Bear Naked Fit Granola 
Granola is often thought of a healthy, light breakfast choice or refuel snack.  Although this is true not all granolas live up to its “lighter option” reputation. Some granola brands can pack as much fat or sugar as greasy bacon or doughnuts!! Some granolas are hiding a dirty little secret in the ingredient list of high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. Please do not trust just any ole granola brand… Read the label!
But if you do not feel like reading labels but still want to enjoy that crunch on top of your yogurt or fruit in the morning then select Bear Naked Fit Granola! 
 Bear Naked Fit Granola is made with real whole grain oats and less sugar and fat than the traditional granolas.  Made with all natural ingredients you can read and minimally processed. NO artificial flavors, cholesterol, hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives or trans-fat. It is vegetarian and vegan friendly. 
Enjoy Bear Naked Fit Granola on yogurt, fruit, or with nuts as a travel mix. It is found at most major grocery stores in the cereal and breakfast aisle and cost average $3.50 a bag. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

FUEL Better: Yellow Peas

Yellow Peas belong to the same family as lentils and beans.  Dried peas date back some 10,000 years.  Peas originated from the Middle East and spread through the Mediterranean region on into India and China.  Split Peas are the most common form and were domesticated before 6000 B.C. Peas became important to civilization. They are easy to grow and harvest.  Dried peas are convenient for storage. Not to mention peas are a rich source of macro and micronutrients. Greek and Romans relied heavily on dried peas. Europeans used peas to ward off a famine in 1555.
Yellow Peas are unique in the way they are prepared and shaped. Once yellow peas are harvested and dried their skins are removed allowing them to split on their own.  Legumes in general are known for packing a multi-faceted nutrition punch and yellow peas are no different.  
A ½ cup serving of cooked yellow peas provides a variety of macro and micronutrients and is rich in dietary fiber.  Researchers from the University of Manitoba show that adding just 1.8 oz. of yellow pea flour to a diet can reduce insulin levels, insulin resistance, and dangerous abdominal fat.
A ½ cup cooked serving yields:  144 calories, 10 g protein, less than 1 g fat, 26 g carbohydrates, 10 g dietary fiber, 2 mg sodium and 0 mg cholesterol.
Yellow peas are rich in two (2) macronutrients; protein and carbohydrates, both yield energy.  They are rich in the amino acid tryptophan and ½ cup serving meets 25% of your daily requirement. Tryptophan is needed to manufacture the brain chemical serotonin, which regulates mood, appetite, hunger and sleep. Certain proteins found in the yellow garden pea appear to help lower blood pressure and delay, control or even prevent the onset of chronic kidney disease, at least in rats, a Canadian study has found.
However, yellow peas are not considered complete proteins because they do not contain all of the essential amino acids.  Pair ¼ - ½ cup yellow peas with ¼ -½ cup brown rice to make a complete protein.
Yellow peas are also rich in vitamin B1 or thiamin and folate.  
Thiamin is needed for proper nervous system function and energy metabolism. Thiamin helps convert food into energy.  A serving yields 12% of the daily requirement.
Folate contributes to heart health, enhancing immune system function, prevents birth defects and forms red blood cells. A serving yields 16% of the daily requirement.
Yellow peas are also mineral dense offering phosphorus and potassium. Phosphorus when consumed with adequate calcium aids in the development of strong, healthy bones. Potassium regulates the heartbeat and blood pressure.  Yellow peas are high in the trace minerals molybdenum and manganese, which are involved in metabolic reactions in the body.
Fiber Benefits
A serving of cooked yellow peas offers 10 grams of total fiber; 7 g insoluble fiber and 3 g soluble fiber.  Insoluble fiber promotes healthy digestion, softens stool and encourages regular bowel movements, while soluble fiber offers other benefits. According to Colorado State University Extension, soluble fiber aids in weight management by enhancing the feeling of "fullness," helps decrease blood cholesterol levels and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
Suggested Use:
Peas often break down while cooking and therefore they make an excellent choice for thick and hearty soups. Peas can also be used to make a mock cream soup for people avoiding dairy products.
Split Peas are most commonly used in thick soups and stews. The peas break apart when cooking, adding to the texture of the soup. Split Peas can also be used to make dips and spread or they can be included with other ingredients in baked casserole or stuffing's.

Monday, April 11, 2011


There is much debate over the proper way to fuel before a run or exercise.  I often get the same questions regarding this topic: To eat or not to eat?  How soon should I eat before exercise?  What should I eat before a run simple or complex carbs, protein or no protein? All are very good questions but as with most things there is no one cookie cutter answer; however, there are some key recommendations to keep in mind.
Most think of the pre run fuel as the calories consumed 1-3 hours prior to exercise or event. This is true by definition but as an athlete in training the actual pre run fuel starts at the post run meal from the previous exercise. Confused? Don’t be. Let me explain.
Post run meal has one objective to aid in proper recovery and restores vital muscle glycogen (fuel) that was depleted by exercising.  If you have a proper recovery meal after each workout your muscles (fuel tank) will always be full and ready for the next exercise.
*Remember glycogen is the fuel or energy source that our bodies run off of and without it we zero energy. Car (body) has to have to gasoline or fuel (glycogen) to operate.
The body stores glycogen (fuel) in two different places. Muscles stores 80% of your total glycogen and the liver holds the rest. There is always a variable amount in our blood stream (blood sugar). 
Still wondering how this affects your pre run fueling strategy?
Muscles best refill their glycogen (fuel) tanks immediately after being depleted. The process of active recovery or re-fueling happens between 30 minutes and 4 hours after exercise is completed. This means it is IMPOSSIBLE to refill your muscle glycogen tank 1 to 3 hours prior to exercise with a pre run meal.
So what is the purpose of pre run meal?
How can it help my run if it doesn’t benefit muscle glycogen stores?

The purpose of your pre run meal is to top off liver glycogen stores, which your body has expended during the night or through daily activity.  Pre run meals also replenish electrolytes and stove off hunger.  By ensuring you are adequately hydrated and fueled before exercise will decrease the amount of stress placed on the body, allow the body to work harder and perform better, and require less recovery time.  

Always consume a pre run meal 1-3 hours prior to exercise lasting 60 minutes or longer.

What to eat:

1.       Consume 150-200 calories for women and 200-400 calories for men 1-3 hours before exercise.
2.       Take in mostly carbohydrate
    • The body’s first choice for fuel during exercise is simple carbohydrate. Simple carbohydrates also digest quicker which limits GI distress during the workout.
  1. Include heart healthy fat and some protein
    • Heart healthy fat satisfies hunger and offers secondary fuel source
    • Some protein eaten prior to exercise has shown to help stimulate protein synthesis (muscle building)  post exercise
    • Both slow and steady the release of glycogen (fuel) into the bloodstream. This allows the body to become fuel efficient and delay the onset of fatigue.
  2. Avoid: high fiber, dairy and caffeine.
    • These particular foods have been known to cause GI distress during a run. 
    • Practice! Figuring out what works best for you will boost confidence in eating before exercise.
  3. Drink 10-12 ounces of fluid each hour up to 30 minutes prior to the start. Minimum of 24 – 30 ounces total fluid intake 1-3 prior to exercise.
Examples of Pre Run Fuel:
1-2 tsp. peanut butter + 1-2 slice wheat toast
1 scrambled egg + 1-2 wheat waffles (frozen)
1 boiled egg +  1 cup cooked oatmeal
½ ounce nuts + medium fruit
¼ cup hummus + wheat pita
¼ avocado + half a bagel
½ cup trail mix
1 hammer bar
1 larara bar

Friday, April 8, 2011

FUEL Foodie Friday

FUEL Foodie Friday offers insights and expertise for any who shares a common interest in making smart food buying choices for their families. Also for the health conscious consumer that is tired of the same ole grocery list.  I will be your supermarket guinea pig and report on everyday finds at supermarkets, big-box stores, and the neighborhood health food stores.
FAGE Greek-style Yogurt
Greek-style yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt. It is strained to remove the watery whey and leaves concentrated milk solids packed with protein.
In the world of Greek-style yogurt FAGE is my favorite!! FAGE Total comes in 2% and 0% fat. You can get it plain or with fruit added. Both are creamy, delicious and indulgent with tons of protein (20 grams per serving) and little to no fat! 
FAGE has been around since 1926 and is located in Athens, Greece. It is created using authentic Greek recipes with zero added ingredients, stabilizers or preservatives.
While there are plenty of Greek-style yogurts on the market I encourage you to try FAGE once! You can find it at some large grocery stores. Price varies depending on the store purchased. Ranges $1.50-$2.50.

Although buying Greek Yogurt in an individual container from the store  is easy, quick and more convenient than whipping up a batch at home, homemade "Yogurt Cheese" has its benefits. Homemade Greek Yogurt or Yogurt Cheese is cheaper, smarter, and often, so much better.
Yogurt Cheese
It's the creamy white cheese you get when liquid whey drains from yogurt.  It's all natural -- and the best way to add calcium to your diet without adding fat.  It's low in sodium and lactose but high in protein.  It's FAT FREE when made from nonfat yogurt.

Yogurt cheese takes on the flavor of whatever you mix it with. That means you can "thin out" the fat calories from ice cream, peanut butter, mayonnaise, etc. by mixing them with yogurt cheese.

If you're on a diet low-fat or low-sodium diet or you're lactose intolerant yogurt cheese can help you stick with it. That's because it taste so rich with no sodium or chemicals added, as in commercial "lite" or “fat free” foods.

When you make yogurt cheese from sweet yogurt (like lemon or vanilla), most of the sugar drains out in the whey. But the sweet taste stays in the cheese!

Bagel & Cream Cheese:  spread a bagel with plain yogurt cheese.
Danish:  split an English muffin in half, toast it, and spread with sweetened yogurt cheese. Sprinkle with cinnamon and heat under broiler until bubbly.
 Peanut Butter:  mix 1 tablespoon peanut butter with 1 or 2 tablespoons yogurt cheese
 Mayonnaise:  mix 1 tablespoon commercial mayonnaise with 1 or 2 tablespoons yogurt cheese. This is great for tuna / chicken salads!
 Baked Potato Topping:  add sour cream flavor buds, chives and/or herb mix to yogurt cheese.
 Whipped Cream:  mix 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla to vanilla yogurt cheese.
 Ice Cream:  mix 1/4 cup commercial ice cream and 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt cheese.  
Lemon Tart:  place a thin cookie in the bottom of a cupcake paper; spoon in lemon yogurt cheese;  top with slice of fruit. Chill.
Chocolate Mousse: add 1 packet low-calorie chocolate drink mix to 1 cup yogurt cheese.
Vanilla Frosting:  mix 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with 1 cup vanilla yogurt cheese. Chill. Spread on cake just before serving.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

FUEL Better: Yogurt

Greek Yogurt vs. Regular Yogurt

Yogurt is a wonderful quick, easy and nutritious snack that is available year-round. Researchers are finding evidence that milk and yogurt may actually add years to your life as is found in some countries where yogurt and other fermented dairy products (like kefir) are a dietary staple.

Yogurt is a fermented dairy product made by adding bacterial cultures to milk, which causes the transformation of the milk's sugar, lactose, into lactic acid. This process gives yogurt its refreshingly tart flavor and unique pudding-like texture, a quality that is reflected in its original Turkish name, Yoghurmak, which means "to thicken."

Both have health benefits

Yogurt is a very good source of calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin-vitamin B2 and iodine. Yogurt also is a good source of vitamin B12, pantothenic acid-vitamin B5, zinc, potassium, protein and molybdenum. These 10 nutrients alone would make yogurt a health-supportive food. But some of the most health benefits come from its potential inclusion of live bacteria.

One of the latest diet buzz words has been “probiotics,” specifically those that exist in yogurt. This type of “good bacteria” has been shown to boost immunity and help maintain healthy digestion, and one of the prime sources of probiotics is yogurt. Dannon’s Activia yogurt has built its entire marketing campaign around the bacteria, but the company has recently been slapped with a $35-million false advertising lawsuit saying Dannon made false claims about the medical benefits of eating the product.

While the amount in Dannon’s Activia may not be as much as claimed, probiotics are still an important part of a healthy diet.  Find the highest concentration of yogurt probiotics in Greek Yogurts.

Greek yogurt vs. Regular yogurt

Greek yogurt is strained of extra liquid which makes it thicker and richer than regular yogurt, and typically contains lower sugar, higher protein and higher amounts of probiotics.

Greek yogurt can contain up to six strains of probiotics, while regular yogurt usually contains just two. These high levels aid in converting milk lactose into lactic acid, making it easier to digest, especially for those who are lactose intolerant.

My favorite brands: Fage, Chobani and Oikos. Found in any major grocery store and specialty groceries.
If you’re new to the Greek yogurt bandwagon, Chobani is the best Greek yogurt: creamy, mild and available in many different flavors. If you have a more advanced palette, Fage is slightly tangier and a bit sour (i.e., more authentic). Either way, Greek yogurt reigns supreme over regular yogurt when it comes to taste, nutrition and probiotics.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

12 Food Additives to Avoid

This is a great article from MSN Health and Fitness. I wanted to share the information.
12 Food Additives to Avoid
By Jean Weiss for MSN Health & Fitness

Whoever coined the term food additives had it all wrong. Including something new in a food doesn't always add up to more, at least when it comes to your health. Studies that test the safety of additives are based on animal trials. It is difficult to deduce whether the results of an animal study equate to human health, though many of these studies show that some additives could be cancer-causing.
1. Sodium nitrite
The list of the 12 most dangerous additives to red flag—until we know more—includes the preservative sodium nitrite, used to preserve, color, and flavor meat products. Sodium nitrite is commonly added to bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, smoked fish, and corned beef to stabilize the red color and add flavor. The preservative prevents growth of bacteria, but studies have linked eating it to various types of cancer. "This would be at the top of my list of additives to cut from my diet," says Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., M.P.H., R.D., L.D.N., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. "Under certain high-temperature cooking conditions such as grilling, it transforms into a reactive compound that has been shown to promote cancer."
2. BHA and BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are additional additives to red flag. They are antioxidants used to preserve common household foods by preventing them from oxidizing. Both keep fats and oils from going rancid and are found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils, but there is concern that they may cause cancer. "The structure of BHA and BHT will change during this process [of preserving food], and may form a compound that reacts in the body," says Gerbstadt. "BHA and BHT are not stable or inert. They're not just hanging out and being excreted by the body." Gerbstadt says that they are obviously not added for the purpose of giving people cancer, but for some people, some of the time, there may be that risk.
3. Propyl gallate
Propyl gallate is another preservative to avoid. It's used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling and is often used in conjunction with BHA and BHT. This additive is sometimes found in meat products, chicken soup base, and chewing gum. Propyl gallate has not been proven to cause cancer, but studies done on animals have suggested that it could be linked to cancer, so it is an additive to be concerned about. "It's important to read the label," says Gerbstadt. "You really have to carry a cheat sheet around in the supermarket. I try to buy as few foods as possible containing preservatives." 
4. Monosodium glutamate
Monosodium glutamate is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and restaurant food. It is commonly associated with Asian foods and flavorings. MSG can cause headaches and nausea in some people, and animal studies link it to damaging nerve cells in the brains of infant mice. Gerbstadt recommends replacing MSG with a small amount of salt when possible. "Why bother using MSG when you can live without it?" she says. "MSG can cause migraine-like headaches and create other adverse affects for certain people. It is a flavor enhancer, but you’d be better off putting in a few grains of salt."
5. Trans fats
Trans fat makes it onto our dirty dozen list because eating too much of it leads to heart disease. "Trans fats are proven to cause heart disease, and make conditions perfect for stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and limb loss due to vascular disease," says Gerbstadt. "It would be wonderful if they could be banned." Manufacturers have modified product ingredients lists to reduce the amount of trans fats, and are required to label trans fats amounts, but restaurant food, especially fast food chains, still serve foods laden with trans fats. Experts recommend we consume no more than two grams of trans fat per day, an amount easily accounted for if you eat meat and dairy.
6. Aspartame
Aspartame, also known by the brand names Nutrasweet and Equal, is an additive found in so-called diet foods such as low-calorie desserts, gelatins, drink mixes and soft drinks. It also comes in individual packages used in place of sugar as a sweetener. The safety of aspartame, a combination of two amino acids and methanol, has been the focus of hundreds of scientific studies. Conclusions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, the ADA, and the Food and Agriculture Organization indicated that the additive is safe. Conversely, the Center for Science in the Public Interest gave it their lowest ranking in a review of food additives, quoting animal studies in 1970 and in 2007, which suggest that there is a link between aspartame and cancer. Gerbstadt, spokesperson from the ADA—an organization that supports the general safety of aspartame—says that the additive might be unhealthy for some people—especially those with the disease phenylketonuria, an enzyme disorder—because it contains phenalalanine. "Some people may be sensitive to it, and it's easy to avoid," she says.
7. Acesulfame-K
This is a relatively new artificial sweetener, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1998 for use in soft drinks. It is also found in baked goods, chewing gum, and gelatin desserts. Acesulfame-K—the "K" is the chemistry symbol for potassium—is considered 200 times sweeter than sugar. While Gerbstadt isn't specifically concerned about this sweetener when used in moderation, there is a general concern that testing on this product has been scant. Some studies showed the additive may cause cancer in rats, but the substance makes top 12 lists of additives to avoid because further study is needed to conclude whether or not acesulfame-K is harmful.
8. Food colorings: Blue 1, 2; Red 3; Green 3; and Yellow 6
You may think that all dangerous artificial food colorings were banned by the FDA long ago, but there are five still on the market that are linked with cancer in animal testing. "Always opt for the product without the color, if you have a choice," says Gerbstadt. "I'm not saying to avoid all coloring. Many are made from natural sources. But some specific dye colors do promote tumor formation, in the right combination and conditions." Blue 1 and 2, found in beverages, candy, baked goods and pet food, are considered low risk but have been linked to cancer in mice. Red 3, used to dye cherries, fruit cocktail, candy, and baked goods, has been shown to cause thyroid tumors in rats. Green 3, added to candy and beverages, though rarely used, has been linked to bladder cancer. Studies have linked the widely used yellow 6—added to beverages, sausage, gelatin, baked goods, and candy—to tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney.
9. Olestra
Olestra, a synthetic fat known as the brand name Olean and found in some brands of potato chips, prevents fat from getting absorbed in your digestive system. This often leads to severe diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and gas. "If you eat fat when taking Olestra, the fat is going to go right through you," says Gerbstadt. More significantly, though, Olestra inhibits healthy vitamin absorption from fat-soluble carotenoids that are found in fruits and vegetables and thought to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. "It blocks fat absorption, but it also blocks vitamin absorption," says Gerbstadt.
10. Potassium bromate
Potassium bromate is rare, but still legal in the U.S., and used as an additive to increase volume in white flour, breads, and rolls. Most bromate rapidly breaks down to an innocuous form, but it is known to cause cancer in animals—and even small amounts in bread can create a risk for humans. California requires a cancer warning on the product label if potassium bromate is an ingredient. 
11. White sugar
Some foods, such as fruits and carrots, naturally contain sugar, but watch out for foods with added sugars, such as baked goods, cereals, crackers, even sauces and many other processed foods. Gerbstadt includes white sugar on the list of 12 because although it is non-toxic, large amounts are unsafe for our health and promote bad nutrition. "Simple sugars shouldn't take up more than about 10 percent of the total calories you consume daily," says Gerbstadt. Yet most Americans already are eating way over that amount, consuming 20, 30, or 40 percent of their calories from simple sugars, she says. Too much sugar not only leads to problems with weight control, tooth decay and blood sugar levels in diabetics; it also replaces good nutrition. "In addition to providing unnecessary calories, your body needs nutrients to metabolize sugar, so it robs your body of valuable vitamins and minerals," says Gerbstadt.
12. Sodium chloride
A dash of sodium chloride, more commonly known as salt, can certainly bring flavor to your meal. But salt is another hidden food additive that can lead to health issues. "Small amounts of salt are needed by the body and are beneficial in preserving food," says Gerbstadt. "Excessive amounts of salt can become dangerous for your health, affecting cardiovascular function, leading to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure."