Friday, July 1, 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.
Land O’ Lakes Butter
Margarine versus butter: Who wins the fight?
Margarine is made from vegetable oils, so it contains no cholesterol. Margarine can be higher in “good" fats — polyunsaturated and monounsaturated — than butter. Butter, on the other hand, is made from animal fat, so it contains cholesterol and higher levels of saturated fat, which gave it such a bad rap for so long.

But not all margarines are created equal — and some may even be worse than butter. In general, the more solid the margarine, the more trans fat it contains — so stick margarines usually have more trans fat than do tub margarines. Like saturated fat, trans fat increases blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. In addition, trans fat can lower good cholesterol levels.

I am a butter lover!  Land O’ Lakes stole my heart with a few simple words: sweat cream, canola oil, salt. Yes, you just read the ingredient list! Note that natural butter is not low calories butter. Land O’ Lakes offers a light version and per serving has less fat and calories than regular butter does. The important thing is to use them wisely and in moderation.  

Check out Land O’ Lakes website for great recipes and coupons!

FUEL Tip: Spread a teaspoon of Land O’ Lakes Butter on wheat waffles drizzled with honey to FUEL a morning long run!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

FUEL Better: Farmer's Market Style

Southern as a Peach
It is peach pickin’ time! Peaches are a popular fruit in the South and many have memories of picking peaches off a tree barefoot.  No peach tree? The next best thing is to enjoy fresh peaches from your local farmer’s market.
Peaches can be dried, canned, made into jams, jellies, and preserves, used a filling for desserts, and used as an ingredient in many other dishes, from appetizers to entrees. Although it is peachy keen to enjoy the different forms all year long take advantage of the health benefits fresh peaches have to offer.

Peaches are good sources of lycopene and lutein.  Lutein gives the red, orange, and yellow colors to the fruit.  These phytochemicals are especially beneficial in the prevention of heart disease, macular degeneration, and cancer.  A study in China found that those who ate peaches more than two times per week had less risk of developing cancers of the mouth than those who did not eat peaches. 
One cup of sliced peaches has only 60 calories and composed of 80 percent water and packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Rich in iron and potassium, peaches are the perfect post run snack; they help balance fluid and electrolytes in the body, and replenish muscle glycogen (FUEL) stores.
Is peach fuzz a put-off? Like most fruits and vegetables, the vitamins are found in the skin, so try to enjoy peaches skin and all.  Choose fragrant peaches without blemishes and not overly firm. Fresh peaches are highly perishable, don't buy more than you plan to use. Even when unripe, they spoil easily. Peaches that are greenish colored were probably picked too early should be avoided. Sweetness does not increase after picking, so ripe-picked fruit is always the tastiest.
FUEL Tip: Peaches that are dried, canned made into jams, jellies or preserves are high in sugar and calories - enjoy these in moderation!

Peaches at Fresh Way Farmer's Market

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Perfectionism Trap

A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault.  ~John Henry Newman

It is important to be focused on your diet and exercise, but striving for perfection sets you up for failure. Perfectionism is a state of mind that assumes anything short of perfection is unacceptable.  Perfectionism is unproductive.

Too often people view health as “all or nothing”.  They classify themselves in distinct categories: on the wagon or off the wagon. The journey to health and wellness is not that black and white rather shades of grey.  To focus on perfection leads to constant irritation, self-depreciating behavior, stress and inability to achieve a balanced relationship with food or yourself.  Your own struggle with self-perfection will ultimately lead to a downward spiral to reality…. Reality is you’re never on or off a wagon yet on a lifelong journey packed with roadblocks, detours, and u turns.   

To fight perfectionism you must first change your thinking. Never use words “good’ or “bad” to describe food, you or your eating behavior.

Use a GPS approach to slip-ups. A GPS will automatically direct you to the next possible U turn to get you back on track if a wrong turn is taken! When you make a poor food choice use the next meal opportunity as a U turn and get right back on track. The longer you wait to make a u turn on the interstate in the right direction the more miles (calories) you will have account for.

Establish a range for daily goals. This allows for more flexibility. Example: Limit soda intake to 1-2 today. Replace 2-3 pantry items with healthier options at each grocery visit.

See and visualize the BIG picture…  Image each day is a basket ball game with positive versus negative choices. If team positive makes ten baskets for every one basket team negative makes who wins the game?  Even if team negative makes a full court three (3) pointer at the buzzer who still wins the game?

Every time you choose the healthier approach you score a point. Don’t under estimate the small one pointer they end up winning you the game in the end. Examples: Make the choice of water vs. sodas, hold the cheese or mayo, opt for half vs. whole entrĂ©e portions, and take the stairs more often than not.

Sometimes... when you hold out for everything, you walk away with nothing.  ~From the television show Ally McBeal

Be patient. Nothing causes more frustration than thinking you should be losing or running faster than you are.  Be persistent.  Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.  ~Harriet Braiker. Be realistic. Reality is there will never be the perfect time to get healthy and you will never be perfect at it. No one’s everyday reality is identical therefore; no one’s every day journey will be identical.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm…. Winston Churchill

Friday, June 24, 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.
Organic / Natural Ketchup
Pass the Ketchup, please! A universal phrase heard around American cookouts, restaurant and dinner tables. In the United States, we pass the ketchup to the tune of over half a billion bottles a year. F&J Heinz Company began selling tomato ketchup in 1876 and by the end of the nineteenth century; the glass bottle became a house hold name and dinner table staple.
Whether you get it from a glass bottle, squeeze bottle, fast food pump, or individual packet; ketchup is much more than a tasty side kick. Since ketchup primary ingredient is cooked tomatoes it is loaded with the antioxidant lycopene. Research suggests that lycopene fights the free radicals that can interfere with normal cell growth and activity, potentially leading to cancer, heart disease and premature ageing.
Ketchup is comprised of few ingredients; however, over time manufactures have began to produce it using high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  HFCS is corn syrup that has been modified to increase the level of fructose improving the taste and shelf life. It has become a popular topic in the discussion of obesity and chronic illness in America. Although, it is has not been proven that there is a link, I highly recommend reducing and removing products containing HFCS from your diet.
For that reason I recommend organic or natural ketchup varieties. They offer the same great taste, texture, and name brands without the added HFCS.
Brands in local grocery stores:  
Heinz Organic
Anne’s Natural
Hunt’s Natural

Whether, it is ketchup or catchup choose an organic or natural variety to increase your antioxidant potential. Please note: Ketchup contains 15 calories and 4 grams of sugar (whether natural, organic or conventional) per tablespoon. Portion control and avoid having ketchup with your ketchup.  Condiment calories count!

FUEL Tip: Keep passing the ketchup!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

FUEL Better: Farmer's Market Style

The tomato is arguably the mascot of summer vegetables in the South. If you grew up south of the mason dixon line you have at least one childhood memory of a sweet and juicy vine-ripened tomato. Even though you can purchase tomatoes year-round, the summer months mark the pickin’ season. A tomato is a versatile vegetable making them a must buy at your local farmer’s market. 
Whether you view the tomato as a vegetable or a fruit – either way – they sure taste good and are good for you.

Tomatoes are a happy-looking vegetable and come in many different colors besides bright red. They can be found in orange, green, pink, purple, yellow, and even white selections. Tomatoes make a rather attractive addition to any recipe. Add tomatoes to a salad, dress up a burger, top off a pizza, salsa your way to Mexico, enjoy a taste of Italy and pass the ketchup!
Enjoy an assortment of styles and colors of tomatoes but choose the bright red variety for a nutrient rich punch. Why? The bright red color contains a powerful antioxidant, lycopene.  Lycopene is a natural pigment responsible for the deep red color of several fruits.

Consuming lycopene often can fight against cancer, heart disease, macular degeneration and improve fertility in men. To maximize absorption seek out crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and cooked tomatoes. Lycopene is a fat-soluble substance, and requires the presence of dietary fat for maximum absorption through the digestive tract.

FUEL Tip: Eat fresh tomatoes in a salad with oil based dressing or cooked tomato based sauce with olive oil to enhance the lycopene absorption.  Or just simply pass the Ketchup!

Monday, June 20, 2011

FUEL Strategies for Race Week

During the summer many endurance athletes or reaping the benefits of hard training over the winter and start competing in events. Race week can be an emotionally daunting week. Mileage decrease, free time increase and so do the nerves and excitement. You will play out every possible scenario in your head from winning the crown to facing your worst fear of a DNF (did not finish). But to avoid the later there are a few important things to remember during the week leading up to your big event.

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. Obvious things to avoid the week before a race are running one last long run; not going easy on easy runs; and being over worked and under rested will hurt performance on race day.
Often forgotten, race week FUEL strategies are just as important. Dehydration, over hydration, undernourished, over nourished, or a bought with food intolerance or poisoning will hinder performance.
Race week is not a time to make majors changes to your diet. Stick with familiar foods.  Be aware that as you taper (decrease) your miles taper your calorie intake to avoid weight gain.

Avoid carbohydrate or calorie loading for an entire week. Non-elite runners can gain up to 5lbs+ during race week due to counterproductive, over eating practices.  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.

If you have been eating a proper diet or follow a Runner’s FUEL meal plan in you are well prepared. You can NOT undo weeks of poor dietary habits in 24 or 48 hours.

Twenty four (24) - forty eight (48) hours before and event start to increase your daily carbohydrate consumption by 200-300 calories.  This is NOT a buffet. This is NOT at one meal (read and repeat out loud). Add one extra carbohydrate rich foods to each meal through out the day.  

Focus on fruits such as; bananas, peaches, cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew melon.  Add vegetables such as; potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams.  Include lean protein and heart healthy fat to stabilize blood sugar.  Reduce dietary fiber to allow for calmer digestion of foods.

The morning of the event, 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.

Be sure to satisfy hunger.   The longer breakfast is delayed the greater the risk of starting under fueled.  Restock carbohydrates stores that deplete naturally by the overnight fast Include a heart healthy fat to help stabilize blood sugar and increases satiety.  Hydrate but do not over hydrate. Prevent the onset of dehydration during exercise by being well hydrated before. Consuming to much fluid will flush out precious electrolytes and increase potty stops! At least, 16-24 oz (2) hours prior to start.

Examples of Pre Race FUEL Choices
Oatmeal with 2 eggs
Smoothie with protein powder
Bagel with peanut butter
Lara Bar

FUEL TIP: If you already have a routine stick with it…

RUN Healthy and Good LUCK!

Friday, June 17, 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.
Kashi TLC Honey Sesame Crackers
Everyone enjoys a tasty cracker. A great cracker adds flavor and texture to a meal or can stand alone as an all in one snack. The Kashi TLC Honey Sesame Cracker does all of the above. When you want a snack but cannot decide between salty or sweet, or want a partner for your favorite nut butter or cheese spread this is the perfect option.
Remaining true to Kashi standards, the TLC cracker is full of seven whole grains and contains zero grams of trans fat. The best part to me is the serving size of 15 crackers! For 130 calories and 3 grams of unsaturated fat you can enjoy 15 bite size crunchy moments. Although the ingredient list is a tad long they are all legible and natural.  Sold at most large grocery stores for about $3-4 dollars a box.
FUEL Tip: Pair Kashi TLC Honey Sesame Crackers with natural peanut butter for the perfect pre run snack.