Coffee Overdose

So about my birthday weekend 2017…..I may have overdosed on the coffee. I try to keep track of coffee/ caffeine intake, since I’m sensitive to it; but it’s tricky sometimes.

It was the perfect storm, lack of sleep, wanting caffeine for performance, and trying to stay awake. It started Friday morning. After November Project, I got some coffee at Panera Bread, then at the gym I got some coffee, coffee at work, and a frozen coffee bar at Trader Joe’s. I made it through Friday unscathed, but you can see that was a lot of coffee; upwards of 7 cups. Saturday- coffee before the 8k race, free dunkin coffee shots, 20oz large cold-brew on an empty stomach….and down for the count. My symptoms- elevated heart rate, dizziness, headache, and the caffeine shakes. My only option was to wait it out. Hydrating and eating well can help deal with the symptoms of too much caffeine, but only time will flush the caffeine from your body. Caffeine is metabolized by the liver, so you just have to give your liver time to work. I rested for the rest of Saturday and survived.

Don’t worry, I’m still drinking coffee. I just had to get back to my regular intake (2-3 cups a day). 1 cup in the mid-morning, 1 cup mid- afternoon, and another cups and/or caffeinated gels on the weekend.

Coffee has lots of health benefits. In normal amounts, its hydrating, can boost performance, and extend your lifespan. Coffee can boost performance, but be sure to try it out. Caffeine can cause nervousness and the jitters, especially if you aren’t use to it or sensitive.  Usually 1-2 cups of coffee is sufficient to keep you alert and boost performance.

Tips to keep track of coffee/ caffeinated drinks:
  • Stick to schedule! Drink coffee at regular times i.e. 10am, before a workout, etc.
  • Sneakier foods- chocolate, tea, frozen coffee bars, etc. all have caffeine and need to included
  • COLD BREW- aka devil iced coffee. It’s great. My favorite, actually; however due to processing it does have more caffeine per cup than regular coffee. This varies per brand, so just be careful.

Here’s some information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Smoothie Bowls

I’m passionate about smoothie bowls…and often their ridiculousness.  Smoothie bowls seem and look so healthy, but often they are deceiving. I recently came back from a run and started ranting about smoothie bowls. Although to be fair, I often rant about many things after a run; something about the endorphins, I suppose.

Let’s talk about smoothie bowls…

Instagram famous, they are, those gorgeous smoothie bowls. They’re packed with health- Superfoods, Antioxidants, and Omega-3s! So, of course, they’re the ultimate health food, right? Errmmm….maybe not.

Pros– I love the crunchies (toppings- nuts, seeds, fruit, etc.) and the fact you EAT a smoothie bowl. Studies have shown that eating and chewing can help signal your brain that you’re full. So you’re more likely to listen to your body and know when it’s full. Satiety is important to know the right amount of food to eat.

Cons– Often smoothie bowls are very large portions with high calorie ingredients. Made with lots of fruit, granola, nuts & seeds, smoothie bowls can have lots of sugar and calories. While, fruit is good for you, overdoing it, isn’t good for you. I’ve seen smoothie bowls on menus with more calories than a meal! There often isn’t much protein, so it’s not a great choice for athletes or as a meal replacement. If you want a smoothie bowl to be a complete meal, make sure it has protein (look for dairy or plant based proteins).

Solutions:

Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to ask restaurants- what’s in your food and how they make it. I was recently a “secret shopper” at a cafe and the employee tried to explain to us, the base of their smoothie bowl. The base was banana, acai, and chaga tea. The acai smoothie bowl was served in a giant overflowing a container. I can only guess there was 2-3 bananas and lots of acai berries. If eating a banana by itself, I can usually only eat one; they’re very filling to me. Chaga tea is apparently medicinal mushroom tea, which seems a little over- hyped since there’s not much research on it (and also how much was really in the smoothie bowl).

Sharing! Large cafe acai smoothie bowls are be great for sharing between 2 people!

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Example of large acai smoothie bowl

Make smoothie bowls at home! Pre-portion the ingredients and think about what you would normally eat. Would you normally eat 1 banana, 1 cup of yogurt, 1/2 a cup of berries, and some nuts? Then do that and make it a smoothie bowl. Make your smoothie bowl your own. Own it. Own your smoothie  bowl.

Simple smoothie bowl recipe

  • 1 cup of base (kefir, yogurt, milk, almond milk, etc.)
  • 1/2-1 cup frozen berries, mangoes, pineapple, etc.
  • 1/2-1 frozen banana
  • optional 1 single-serve packet of acai (trader joe’s)
  • Toppings- 1/4-1/2 cup granola, hemp seeds, chia seeds, etc.
  • Superfoods- experiment with 1 superfood at a time. Keep it simple is my motto. Goji berries, blue-green algae powder, kale, etc.

Also, check out these balanced smoothie bowl recipes.

Don’t fall into the hype of smoothie bowls! Many are hyped to be full of health, with an expensive price for frozen fruit. Instead, look for smoothie bowls with protein and properly portioned for you!

P.s. if you’re in Chicago, check out the Lifeway Kefir Shop. I’m thankfully to work for a company that supports health and doesn’t fall into the smoothie bowl hype. LKS’s smoothie bowls are all nutritionally-balanced with a few fruit servings, superfoods, and boast 20-37 grams of protein per bowl.

 

 

Accepting Myself

That Pink Shawl & White Tank Top

I remember the first time someone commented on my body. Middle school. We were in the hallway. I was wearing jeans, a white tank top, and a pink tie-up shawl. A boy (that I liked, of course, making the situation worse) called out to me. He told me that I shouldn’t be wearing the white tank top & pink shawl combo, because I was too fat. The boy and his friends laughed down the hallway; I quickly entered a classroom and tried to pretend it didn’t happen. But, of course, it did happen.

I never wore that pink shawl again. I had picked it out at my second favorite store (Aeropostale) and looked in the mirror numerous times. I thought it made me look good (and slimmer). My mother even confirmed it was a good outfit. It was difficult to explain to my mother, why I never wore the pink shawl again. It was tossed into the back of my closet and later donated to Goodwill. I just tried to claim that I didn’t like it anymore. I never shared the whole story. (Sorry, mom. I apparently wasn’t ready to talk about it).

I still recall this whole experience with a very clear memory. I know this about how it’s impacted future experiences. I still avoid white tops and shawls….which I may have just realized. Now, that I’m older (and wiser?), I have more a “f**k it attitude,” you can either accept me as I am or not. Which is exactly what I told the boy that asked why I didn’t have 6-pack. Because, I accept myself and body as it is, right now.

It’s interesting how it’s taken becoming a runner and yogi to accept my body.  Research supports this; just 30 of minutes of exercise can change how you see yourself. 30 mins of exercise and you’ll feel stronger. Now, I am more focused on what I can do rather than how I look. My goals will always be focused on wanting to be stronger, run faster, be more flexible, etc., rather than just looking good. It’s important to be present and accept myself in this moment.

Lane 9 Project

I recently came across the Lane 9 Project, which really resonates with me. The Lane 9 Project is a community of active ladies and lady activists speaking out about women’s health, nutrition, fertility, and running. I support their mission and follow them on the social media. Being a part of Lane 9 makes me feel like I can talk about my own body image and health issues (look for more to come). Last month,  we (Lane 9 in Chicago) had a meetup in coordination with the Sports Bra Squad Day Run. We ran, walked, and coffeed. We talked about body image, running, and nutrition.

P.s. I’ll be hosting another run and meetup in Chicago next weekend. If you’re in another area, check out the socials for other meetups. Also, sign up for their newsletter, it’s loads of fun! The memes are my favorite.

 

 

Veggie-Herb Bruschetta

Veggie Packed Herb Bruschetta pairs well with Rose for a light appetizer or snack.

Serves: A small group (or yourself a few times)

Ingredients

  • baguette
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup of basil
  • 1 tablespoon prepared pesto (or 1 tablespoon of Parmesan and another 1/2 cup of basil

Directions:

  1. If desired slice and toast baguette (I prefer my bread untoasted, so I don’t do this), and set aside.
  2. To make the topping, blanch the vegetables.
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    Blanching! 
    1. Grab a mixing bowl and fill with cold water and some ice.
    2. Boil water and steam frozen peas, spinach, and basil for 1 minute.
    3. Immediately place veggies in cold-ice water. This ensures that they stop cooking and sets their bright green color.
  3. Place blanched vegetables and pesto in the blender and process to desired consistency.
  4. Top baguette with vegetable-pesto mixture.
  5. ENJOY with a glass of rose.

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Adapted from: The Feed Zone Cookbook

Global Running Day 2017

Happy Global Running Day! Well, throwback edition! With all the hoopla of social media and Instagram,  Global Running Day exploded! I loved watching and seeing all the runs! A day just to celebrate running…isn’t every day meant to be spent enjoying life and running? But of all the special day holidays, I think this is one that makes sense! Running brings people together. During group runs, people share- people share their day’s, stories, and more. What’s better than a day created to celebrate the shares and community? Brands, run teams, people, and beer were all brought together on Global Running Day.

By being injured and not running, I’ve missed the social time with friends. So why not show up to a group run and enjoy some apple cider and food? Because, really isn’t that what Global Running Day is about? (Bringing people together.)

P.s. I also planned a couple group runs with Lane 9 and Sports Bra Squad on Global Running Day. More to come on this!

Protein Periodization

Protein Timing

The timing of protein is very important, because the body can only metabolize 20-25grams of protein at a time. Extra protein is turned into fat in the body. This is why spacing your protein throughout the day is important.

Protein Sources

A source of protein should be included at every meal and at snack time. This ensures fueling and refueling for muscle recovery.

Protein  Sources

2 lg  Egg, 12 g

16 oz  Milk, 16g

1 can  Tuna (5 oz) , 25g

6 oz  Chicken or Beef , 45g

Vegetarian Protein Sources

1/2 cup beans, 6g

1/4 cake tofu, 6-8g

2 TB peanut butter, 7-8g

Amount

As runners and athletes, typically carbohydrates are considered the most important and protein is perhaps forgotten. Protein is especially for important for recovery.  In order to build and repair muscle, protein is needed. How much depends on a few factors, your training, gender, weight, etc.

Dedicated Athletes: .8-1 g/ kg

Endurance athletes: > 1 hour a day, slightly more protein, 1.2-1.4g/ kg

Resistance Athletes: Strength trainers- 1.6-1.7g/kg

Meatless? Monday and Protein

So, its another Meatless Monday! Yikes, what actually counts as Meatless? Does diary count? What about eggs? As a lacto-ovo- vegetarian (90% of the time), I regularly eat dairy and eggs. So my food recall for today does include eggs (ovo) and diary (lacto).

Why I do dairy….In particular, I choose to consume dairy not just because it tastes good, but research has shown that dairy proteins (casein and whey) help support muscle repair and recovery.  Dairy foods are also complete proteins e.g. they contain all the essential amino acids required by the body. What’s an essential amino acid, you ask? The building blocks of life, and so you better eat them!*

Let’s see what I ate….Food Recall time

Pre run breakfast classic: PB toast and COFFEE

Protein= 3g (from rye bread)

Post run Breakfast: Spinach Scramble with Seitan Bacon and Brown Rice and COFFEE

Protein= 23 grams (2 grams from brown rice, 6 grams from 1 egg, 15 grams from seitan bacon)

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Scramble and COFFEE

Pre lunch snack: Kefir* and COFFEE

Protein=11 grams of protein

 

Lunch: Subway….(I forgot my lunch at home?) Also, who knew Chicago subway’s had giardiniera? Falafel Veggie Sub

Protein= 33grams (9grams bread, 24 grams falafel)

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Falafel Veggie Sub

Post lunch snack: Kefir* , peanut butter cups, and COFFEE

Protein=11 grams of protein

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Coffee…the 4th cup, it seems I have a problem.

 

Dinner: TBD, let’s hope its something good. Although, I am sorta full from that sub at lunch….

Also…boom, doing the math I perfectly hit my 1.2 grams of protein per kg of body weight already. And it was fairly spread out throughout the day, more on protein timing later. 🙂

Note for vegans: If you chose not to do dairy, no worries, there’s plenty of creative ways you can get your protein in, too (seitan, tofu, etc.).

*Disclosure: I do work for Lifeway Foods; hence the kefir. 🙂

Next up: Protein timing and protein utilization!

 

Sources: 

Food Recall= myself, obviously.

1.Hansen, M., Bangsbo, J., Jensen, J., Bibby, B. M., & Madsen, K. (2015, April). Effect of whey protein hydrolysate on performance and recovery of top-class orienteering runners. Retrieved March 27, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/250297032.

2.Naclerio, F., & Larumbe-Zabala, E. (2016, January). Effects of Whey Protein Alone or as Part of a Multi-ingredient Formulation on Strength, Fat-Free Mass, or Lean Body Mass in Resistance-Trained Individuals: A Meta-analysis. Retrieved March 27, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26403469

3. Rosenbloom, C. (2012). Sports nutrition: a practice manual for professionals (5th ed.). Place of publication not identified: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.