The Cost of Sugar

Did you know there is sugar in almost every product you buy? I’m not talking about the naturally occurring fructose in fruits. I’m referring to the added sugar in our foods. Next time you go shopping, grab an item of the shelf and read the food label. You might be surprised how much sugar you’re consuming on a regular basis.

Whether you are aware of your sugar intake or not, there are millions of Americans who are not. Sugar is found in almost everything and too much sugar can lead to metabolic diseases, weight gain, and obesity. Food companies are loading foods with sugar and people are consuming it in large quantities, whether they are aware or not.

According to Judy Corliss at Harvard Health, “Over the course of the 15-year study on added sugar and heart disease, participants who took in 25% or more of their daily calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those whose diets included less than 10% added sugar. Overall, the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar in the diet—and that was true regardless of a person’s age, sex, physical activity level, and body-mass index (a measure of weight)”.  In short, the odds of dying from heart disease increase based on the percentage of sugar in your diet and this was true regardless of sex, age, activity level, and body-mass. Sugar is empty calories with no nutritional value, but evidently lethal as well.

Americans have been overconsuming sugar from some of their favorite food sources for years with no understanding of the impact on their bodies. Sources like sodas, energy drinks, and sport drinks are the biggest culprits, but according to the ChooseMyPlate.gov website, you can add candy, cakes, cookies, cereals, pies and cobblers, bakery items (sweet rolls, pastries, and donuts), fruit drinks, and desserts to the list.

The biggest hidden issue is the added sugar in foods like ketchup, cottage cheese, yogurt, protein bars and granola! Sugar is added to the foods to make it pleasing to our taste buds, but that means getting more sugar than you realize.  Also be very aware of the “no sugar” or “sugar free” items on the shelves. There are often artificial or other sweeteners added to make that "low sugar"  food even more palatable to us.  These sweeteners may not show up in the calorie or  carbohydrate section, but they are on the ingredient list. Know that in terms of added sugars, while the FDA does recognize sugar in its many forms (brown, white granulated, raw, and invert), as well as honey, lactose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose it DOES NOT recognize cane juice, evaporated corn sweetener, crystal dextrose, glucose, liquid fructose, sugar cane juice, and fruit nectar. 

The next time you read a food label and you’re considering what you are putting into your body, read the ingredient section carefully. According to the ChooseMyPlate.gov, these are ingredients found in many processed foods that we should be aware of:

  •        anhydrous dextrose
  •        brown sugar
  •        confectioner's powdered sugar
  •        corn syrup
  •        corn syrup solids
  •        high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  •        malt syrup
  •        maltose
  •        maple syrup
  •        molasses
  •        nectars (e.g., peach nectar, pear nectar)
  •        pancake syrup

The American Heart Association suggests that women take in no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories) of added sugar, while men should take in no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories). To put that in perspective, a 12-ounce can of regular soda contains about 9 teaspoons of sugar, so drinking even one a day would put all women and most men over the daily limit.  Please note that FRUCTOSE in fruit is NOT on this list and fruit has many health benefits.

If you attended our January Wellness nights, you will know that reading labels is important. Awareness is key.  Choose those labels with the fewest ingredients and eat as much from the outside of the grocery store as possible!

Potato Vindaloo Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

POTATO VINDALOO.jpg

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound red potatoes, 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 pound purple potatoes, peeled, 1/2 dice
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, 1/2-inch dice
  •  1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • (up to) 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onions, potatoes, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.  Cook and stir occasionally for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the onions are softened.  [Side note:  If you feel like the vegetables are sticking to the Dutch oven, add a little water or vegetable broth and deglaze with a flat wooden spoon].

Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, cardamom, cayenne, and cloves, and cook for 2 minutes.  Deglaze by gradually adding in the water and scraping the bottom of the dish.  Add the bay leaves, mustard seeds, and bring to a simmer.  Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the potatoes are tender, roughly 15 minutes.

Lastly, add the tomatoes and vinegar, and simmer uncovered until the sauce has thickened slightly, roughly 15 minutes.  Discard the bay leaves, stir in the fresh cilantro, and season to taste.

Serve with rice and top with additional fresh cilantro if desired.

Pasta and Lentils


 4 servings; makes about 7 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup dried brown lentils

  • 6 cups water, or more as needed

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced

  •  1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more as needed

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 12 ounces dried whole wheat pasta (we used rotini)

  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped

  • I can diced tomatoes, drained

  • 2 cups greens (We used baby Swiss chard)

DIRECTIONS

Pour the lentils into a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven and add the water (to cover); bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Uncover; stir in the garlic, red chili flakes and oil, then cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in  the pasta, cover and cook until al dente, stirring regularly to keep the pasta from sticking and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a minimum of bubbling. Depending on the pasta variety, the cooking time may take about 5 minutes longer than indicated on the package, so begin tasting the pasta once the suggested cooking time has elapsed. Continue tasting every minute or two until it is cooked through but still firm. The resulting dish should resemble a thick soup; if the mixture seems too dry, add a little water to reach the desired texture, keeping in mind the pasta will continue to absorb liquid as it cools.

Once the pasta is done, add thyme and tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally,  until tomatoes are hot.  Add greens, stir until mixed in, cover and let the mixture sit for 2 to 3 minutes, then uncover and serve!

30653355_10156175788182159_209224637425385472_o.jpg

Spinach Chickpea Paella

Adapted from the Washington Post: 

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 4 cups homemade or no-salt-added vegetable broth

  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts

  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder

  • 2 large or 4 small shallot lobes, thinly sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup uncooked arborio, bomba or other short-grain rice

  • 3 cups (2 ounces) packed baby spinach leaves, chopped

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained (or if canned, use no-salt-added, drained and rinsed)

  • 4 tablespoons roasted red peppers, cut into strips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the broth in a small saucepan over medium heat until barely bubbling at the edges; reduce the heat to very low and cover. (Or heat the broth in a microwave-safe glass measuring cup, microwave on HIGH until boiling, about 2 minutes, and cover to keep hot.)

Sprinkle the pine nuts into a  12 inch cast-iron or other heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Cook, shaking the pan frequently to toss the pine nuts, until they are brown and fragrant, a few minutes. Immediately transfer them to a small plate so they don’t continue cooking and burn.

Return the skillet to medium heat and pour in the oil. Once the oil is hot enough to shimmer, sprinkle in the curry powder and let it sizzle and bloom for a few seconds, then add the shallot and garlic and saute until tender, a few minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for another minute or two, until the rice grains are well coated. Add the spinach and chickpeas and cook, stirring, until the spinach wilts, a minute or two.

Pour in the hot broth and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the liquid is gently bubbling. Taste the liquid and add salt as needed, then cook, swirling the pan occasionally to keep the rice hydrated, until the rice has swelled and absorbed much but not all of the liquid (it should be slightly soupy), 8 to 10 minutes.

Scatter the red pepper strips on top of the paella. Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the rice is al dente, or mostly tender but with a little resistance at the center of the grain, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Uncover and return it to the stovetop over medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes, to brown and crisp the bottom. Scatter the toasted pine nuts on top.

Spoon the paella out onto a plate, or eat it from the pan.

Roasted Carrot & Crispy Kale Salad with White Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 lb carrots
  • ¾ cup farro
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups curly kale
  • 2 Tbsp sweet white miso
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 tsp mixed sesame seeds
  • 2 cups white beans, drained and rinsed
  • olive oil, coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper

Method

  •  Roast vegetables: Preheat oven to 425°F. Halve onion and thinly slice half.  (I use my mandolin to  slice thinly) Peel carrots, cut in half lengthwise and slice in quarters. Toss carrots and sliced onion with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2teaspoon salt, and some pepper  on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until vegetables are golden and almost tender, 20–25 minutes.
  • Cook farro Meanwhile, combine farro, remaining half onion, 2½ cups water and 2 tablespoons vinegar  in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook until farro is tender, 15–20 minutes; drain if necessary and discard onion.

  • Prep kale Remove stems from kale and tear leaves into bite-size pieces. Toss kale with white beans and 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Add kale  and beans to sheet with carrots and onions and continue to roast until kale is slightly wilted and crispy in spots, about 5 minutes more.

  • Make dressing Whisk miso, honey, remaining tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dressing is thin enough to drizzle.

  • Toast nuts & seeds Place pine nuts and sesame seeds on a separate rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden, about 4 minutes.

  • Finish Transfer farro to a platter and top with vegetables. Drizzle everything with dressing and top with pine nuts and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Black Bean Mash (Or Black Beans on Toast with Avocado & Tomato)

Adapted from Vegan for Everybody

This makes a great breakfast, lunch or snack!  Paulo likes to eat just the mash with a side of brown rice.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz cherry tomatoes, quartered

  • 2 cups black beans (rinse and drain if using canned beans)

  • Pinch of pepper

  • 1/2-1  tsp chili powder, (I prefer Penzey's Chili 3000!)

  • 1/4 cup boiling water

  • 1/2 tsp lime zest, plus 1 tbl lime juice

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped

Method

  • Place beans, boiling water, lime zest and juice, pinch of pepper, chili powder and cilantro in a bowl.  Mash with potato masher until coarse puree, leaving some whole beans intact.
  • Toast bread and spread mashed bean mixture evenly on toast.  Top with tomatoes and avocado ! 

 

Vegan Udon Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 package buckwheat Udon Noodles
  • 1 thumb ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 scallions, white and green, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli, cut in to bite size pieces
  • 1 cup each carrot and red peppers, cut into match stick size pieces
  • ½ cup frozen edamame
  • 1 cup sliced shitaki mushrooms
  • 1 TBL sesame oil
  • ¼ cup Tamari sauce
  • 1 TBL thai chili sauce (or to taste)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  •  

Method

  • Place a large saucepan on a medium heat and add sesame oil. When hot, throw in the garlic, ginger, scallions, carrots, red peppers, edamame and broccoli and sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Add in the mushrooms and saute for about another 2 minutes, not allowing mushrooms to lose their texture.
  • Next, add Tamari sauce, chili garlic sauce and vegetable stock.  Bring the soup to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook udon noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
  • Add the noodles to your soup and serve up with a handful of chopped cilantro in each bowl!

 

Balance and Stability Training.

ATHLETE50 Blog #3 Balance and Stability

 

 

“Oh Crap”

 A friend once told me that the key to staying injury free AND being competitive in a game or match depends on our ability to recover from the multiple “Oh Crap” positions we find ourselves in during play. “ Oh Crap” positions are those where we are almost out of control but are able to come back into full control. I find this to be even more important for athletes+50!

As we age a number of physiological changes happen that affect our balance and stability as well as our ability to RECOVER FROM those unbalances and instabilities.

 

Balance:

The ability to control and maintain our body’s position is BALANCE.  Obviously, this is a crucial attribute to an athlete. The inner ear interacts with our eyes, joints, muscles and bones to keep us balanced. 

Possible causes of losing our balance and stability are:

1)   Inner ear disturbances.

2)   Vertigo.

3)   Poor eye sight.

4)   Joint issues.

5)   Muscular weakness.

 

 

Improving Balance and Stability

If you suspect that numbers 1,2 and 3 above are the causes or are contributing to balance problems then go see a doctor right away.  Glasses, antibiotics for inner ear infections, or prescription corrections for your glasses may just do the trick.  If it’s more complicated than that, you’ll definitely be glad you went to see the Doc!

As far as numbers 4 and 5 above are concerned, our work in gym can do a lot to improve balance. Sensors in the joints and muscles detect things like joint angles and pressure and muscle tension and send this information to the central nervous system to maintain balance and stability.

The old adage of use or lose it applies here. If you don’t train,they will only get worse so keep training them!  Detraining of these proprioceptors and muscles affects our balance negatively.   Routinely doing exercises that tax your balance system such as working on a BOSU ball or using a TRX System or simple exercises like one leg hops are great ways to improve our stability. BUT don’t neglect the benefits of strength training or plyometrics training to help us recover from the “Oh Crap” positions.  Once our balance is lost –and that will happen- we need those fast twitch muscle fibers powerful and ready to act.

Six exercises-- 2x/week-- 4-8 weeks=Balance^  Stability^

 

BOSU Squats (2 setsx10-15 reps)

BOSU Pushups (2 setsx10-15 reps)

BOSU Squat Hops (2 setsx10-15 reps)

TRX Rotational Rows (2 setsx30-60 seconds each side)

Loop Hops (2 setsx60 seconds each leg)

One Leg Deadlift (2 setsx10-15 reps each side)

 

Click here to see a sample balance and stability video

 

https://youtu.be/YsqbM6FHwds

Compete!!

Mushroom Bolognese

Adapted from America's Test Kitchen "Vegan for Everybody"


Ingredients

  1. 2 pounds Cremini mushrooms, trimmed & quartered
  2.  2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  3. 1 small onion, chopped
  4. 1 (28 oz) can organic whole peeled tomatoes
  5. 3 TBL extra virgin olive oil
  6. 1/2 dried Porcini mushrooms, rinsed & minced
  7. 3 gloves garlic, minced
  8. 2 TBL organic tomato paste
  9. 1 cup dry red wine
  10. 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  11. 1 TBL soy sauce or Tamari
  12. 3 TBL soy unsweetened creamer
  13. 1 lb whole wheat linguini (also works well with spaghetti squash!)

Method

  1. Working in batches, pulse Cremini mushrooms, carrots, & onion in food processor until finely chopped, about 5-7 pulses.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Pulse tomatoes and their juices until finely chopped, 6-8 pulses.  Set aside separately.
  2. Heat oil in dutch over over medium heat until shimmering.  Add processed vegetables and Porcini mushrooms, cover and cook, stirring occasionally  until they release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high and cook until vegetable begin to brown, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in wine & simmer, stirring occasionally until almost evaporated, about  5 minutes.
  4. Stir in processed tomatoes, broth, soy sauce, 1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper.   Reduce heat and simmer until sauce has thickened but is still moist. Stir in soy creamer. Continue to stir occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions and drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Return to pot.  Add sauce and toss to combine.  Adjust consistency with reserved cooking water as needed.  Season with salt and pepper to taste & serve.

Life is Good in Your 50s!

As 2018 rolled in, I began to reflect on how good life can be when you are in your 50’s and 60’s!  We as women generally have more time to devote to our personal care.  If you have had children and are not an emptynester, (and I am not!) chances are your children are old enough to do most of their self-care, drive to their sport or music practices and help out with chores around the house.  That opens up time that we had spent earlier in our life, caring for pre-school and elementary school children.  Even if you work a full time job (and I do!) you can take more time before and after work to do the things you could not do when you were getting children up and fixing their meals.  If you have never had children, chances are your career is established and you can negotiate time for self-care.  The 50’s and 60’s truly ARE the decade to dedicate time to ourselves.  We are wiser, have more free time and ready to prioritize ourselves.

For this New Year, my list of goals hasn't changed much, but I am making them more specific. I am still going to focus on my distance running by picking two half marathons to train for. I will focus on strength training 3-4 days per week with a four-week program set out each month.  I am going to set aside time to practice my meditation and mindfulness daily.  And I am going to continue to grow my knowledge in our plant based eating through reading, research and following the example of several leaders in this field. 

I would love to have you join me in this challenge for 2018.  Remember to make SMART GOALS:

Specific.  Specific refers to what you are going to do.  Use action words such as exercise, eat, and coordinate.  Think about why you are choosing this particular goal.  A good idea of a SPECIFIC goal is: I am going to walk 3 miles in 45 minutes by March 1st.

Measurable.  If you can measure it, you can’t manage it.  Choose a goal with measurable progress.  You may have a long-term goal, but have smaller measurable steps along the way.  For example, if you want to run a 6-mile race in the spring, you should set your training program to build your mileage each week.  

Achievable.  Set goals that are achievable for YOU and you only.  Your friend may want to run a marathon in May.  This may not be important or attainable for you.  You may need to set a goal of running a 5k in March.

Realistic.  This does not mean easy.  It means Do-able.  Set the bar high enough to feel satisfied when you attain your goal, but not so high that the thought of your goal is overwhelming.  For example, rather than setting a goal not to eat sweets all month, it may be more realistic to set a goal to eat only one sweet per week.

Timely.  Set a time frame for your goal.  Next week, next month, by spring.  Putting a clear target in front of you gives you something to work toward and allows you start on it right away.  Remember though, if your time is more than a few weeks in the distance, set interim goals to get you there.

 I would love to hear from you about your goals for YOU in 2018. Good luck and let me know how I can help.

 

10 Steps Towards Better Self-Care

     Recently I posted 10 steps toward self-care for 10 straight days on social media.  I think these are important to remember, especially at this time of year when we over-schedule ourselves, attend more parties, the kids are home from school and we generally have less time for ourselves than normal. Think about them and see if they make sense in your life.

1.    Take time to laugh daily.

2.    Drink more water.

3.    Eat healthy foods.  Don’t skimp on veggies & fruits.

4.    Meditate or find alone time every daily.   Take a moment to notice your breath.

5.    Give more, but don’t be afraid to say no.

6.    Get up and move every hour.

7.    Be wary of those you allow in your personal space.

8.    Get to sleep on time.

9.    Exercise Daily.

               10.   Take time to be grateful.

 

Butternut Squash, Kale and Quinoa Bake

Adapted from The Minimalist Baker

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 3 cups butternut squash, chopped into small, bite-size cubes
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or avocado oil, divided
  • 3⁄4 cup quinoa
  • 1 ⁄2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1⁄2 medium red onion sliced in thin rings
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces cremini, button, or baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • 1⁄2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 3 cups loosely packed kale, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Penzey's Mural of Flavor
  • Sea salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add cubed butternut squash and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with a healthy pinch each salt and pepper.

3. Toss to coat and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until just fork tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. In the meantime, thoroughly rinse quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer. Add to small saucepan with vegetable broth and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until liquid is fully absorbed and quinoa is fork tender—about 15 minutes. Set aside, covered.

5. Heat a large oven proof large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion, and garlic. Season with a pinch of pepper.

6. Cook until onion is soft and translucent ( 4 to 5 minutes) stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and continue cooking for 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are lightly browned.

7. Add kale to the pan. Season with Mural of Flavor, red pepper flakes and pepper. Stir to coat. Cook until kale is just tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

8. Once quinoa is finished cooking, reduce oven temperature to 375°F Add cooked quinoa to skillet. Top with vegetable-walnut mixture and roasted butternut squash. Lightly stir/toss to combine.

10. Bake uncovered for 5 to 7 minutes to warm through. Serve immediately.

 

Portobello "Steak" Fajitas

Adapted from http://whattheheckdoieatnow.com/2015/09/16/portobello-steak-fajitas/

Ingredients

  • 6 large portobello mushrooms
  • Marinade (this will be divided)
  1. ½ cup grapeseed oil
  2. ½ cup fresh lime juice
  3. 4 tsp dried oregano
  4. 4 tsp ground cumin
  5. 3 tsp chili powder
  6. 1½ tsp salt
  7. freshly ground pepper

The Rest:

  1. 1 large red peppers thinly sliced
  2. 1 large yellow pepper thinly sliced
  3. 1 large orange pepper thinly sliced
  4. 1 large green pepper thinly sliced
  5. 1 large red onion thinly sliced
  6. 6-8 whole wheat flour tortillas
  7. 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  8. Cilantro
  9. Sliced avocado or guacamole (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the portobellos. Scrape out gills and remove stems with a small spoon. Wash gently or alternatively wipe with a damp cloth. Slice into long ½ inch wide strips.
  2. Thinly slice peppers and onions
  3. Prepare the marinade by whisking together the grapeseed oil, lime juice, dried oregano, ground cumin, chili powder, salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste).
  4. Add cut mushrooms to one large flat baking dish and peppers/ onion to the other.
  5. Set the pepper/ onion mix in the fridge until later.
  6. Toss the mushrooms well with about ¾ of the marinade. Set the remaining ¼ of the marinade aside for later. Leave the mushrooms marinating for at least half an hour (preferably longer) tossing every 30 minutes as able. Cover and refrigerate.
  7. When you're ready to eat, toss the pepper mix with the remaining marinade. Preheat a large skillet and pour in contents of the bowl containing peppers/onions/ marinade. Saute over medium for about 10 minutes or until veggies are softened.
  8. Meanwhile preheat a grill pan over med or high heat. Lay the marinated mushrooms on the pan and grill 3-5 minutes per side until they have nice char lines.
  9. Warm tortillas in a separate skillet.
  10. To assemble:
  11. Place tortilla on a plate and layer with mushrooms, pepper/onion mix, or avocado if using, cilantro and any other desired toppings. Roll and enjoy!

Muscle Imbalance and Training to Minimize it!

ATHLETE50 Blog #2 Muscle Imbalance.

 

If you are a switch hitter (can bat from both left and right sides) in baseball or softball, then you can skip this article!

The rest of us play our sports primarily with our dominant side:  We always hold the racquet with the same hand, we always swing the golf club from the same side, we always hit the softball from the same side of the plate, we mostly kick the soccer ball with the same foot and we mostly shoot the basketball with the same hand.  This means the same muscles are used in the same way over and over and the same joints are stressed in the same way over and over.

 

 

What does this mean to the body?

The resulting repetitive and unilateral stresses on the musculature and joints means that the used muscles get stronger and usually bigger.   It also means that some joints end up taking most of the stresses in the same planes of motion.  Once dominant, over developed muscles start pulling on the skeletal system in an unbalanced, unsymmetrical manner fatigue, pain and injury are more likely to occur. And the joints are more likely to wear unevenly and painfully!

 

Bad news/Good news:

The bad news is that we are never going to be able to train the non dominant side enough to get it in balance with the dominant. The good news is that by following some smart exercise guidelines you can reduce the level of imbalance and therefore reduce the level of fatigue, reduce the level of pain and hopefully reduce the severity of injury.

 

Recommendations:

1)   DON’T DO BARBELL SQUATS—do instead weighted lunges and step ups, preferably with rotation.  This insures that both sides of the body are working evenly.

2)   Try TRX System training—because of the inherent bilateral stability needed to perform most exercises, both sides of the body are involved in all exercises.  Try the step back lunge, the one legged squat, the rotational row and the pushup!

3)   DON’T DO BARBELL BENCH PRESS—do instead unilateral dumbbell bench presses.  Stability and balance.

4)   Try the dumbbell clean and jerk with rotation—instead of barbell clean and jerk or the deadlift.

5)   DON’T DO BARBELL SHOULDER PRESS—do instead unilateral dumbbell presses.

6)   Try performing your exercises using the BOSU or stability ball. This engages more stability muscles on both sides of the body.

7)   Work your obliques by doing rotational abdominal work to BOTH sides.  Ball slams with rotation and balance plank are great for it.

 

 

Click here to see a video demonstration of the exercises mentioned above

https://youtu.be/RnN24_XhJnI

 

Compete!!

A Healthier You in 2018

A Healthier You in 2018

 

A 4 Part Lecture/Activity Series presented by Paulo & Stephanie

 

Monday at 6:45 beginning January 8th

Includes Healthy Snacks!

 

Register for all 4 for $100 and bring a spouse, partner or housemate for FREE!

Lectures can be purchased individually for $30

 

·      Lecture 1: 10 Steps to a Healthier You

Learn the small steps you can make daily to lead you to a healthier life, including nutritional changes as well as plans of behavioral change

·      Lecture 2: Food & More

Includes information on: Eat this, not that, Grocery Shopping Tips & Kitchen Hygiene

·      Lecture 3: Incorporating Movement & Mindfulness Daily

Learn the basics of Mindfulness & Meditation and 10 easy ways to get more movement in your day

·      Lecture 4: Let’s Have Dinner

Everyone gets to prepare and share a healthy recipe they have enjoyed!

 

Space is limited; register today!

Steph's NEW Famous Slow Cooker Chili (VEGAN)

Finely chop the following:

  • 2 stalks celery

  • 2 large carrots

  • 1 seeded red pepper

  • 1 seeded green pepper

  • 1 small broccoli crown

  • 1 sweet onion

  • 1 cup mushrooms

  • 2 small seeded jalapenos

  • 2 tsp garlic

  • 2 large tomatoes (or 1 can no salt organic can tomatoes)

  • 3 cups of your favorite beans, rinsed & soaked (or 2 cans of your favorite            beans, rinse thoroughly

  • 3 Tbl Chili Powder (I prefer Penzey’s Original and I only use Penzey's   spices)

  • 2 Tbl Cumin

  • 2 Tsp Oregano

  • 1/2-1 tsp Cayenne

  • 1 tsp Chipotle chili powder

  • 1 tsp Smoked paprika

Method:

Layer the veggies in the slow cooker  and cook on low all day.  Stir frequently as it starts to cook.

Adjust the spices to suit your taste and serve with brown rice or oven baked sweet potato and top with fresh cilantro if desired

 

The Importance of a Warm Up

The other day I asked one of my tennis player clients if he had warmed up thoroughly before playing. He thought about my question for a couple seconds then he said “warm up is in the same category as flossing:  We all know we should do more of it but we never quite get around to it!”   After I stopped laughing, I explained why warming up properly and thoroughly can be the most important thing one can do to yield the best performance possible on any given day!

We all remember as youngsters jumping into a pickup game of soccer or tennis or basketball without even THINKING of warming up first. At that point in our lives tendons and ligaments were supple and flexible, the list of injuries was short (if any) and the excitement to get playing was too strong.  For Athletes 50+, the excitement to get playing is just as strong but the tendons and ligaments are not as supple or flexible and the list of injuries has grown considerably.

The benefits of a proper warm up:

A)   Increase Muscle Temperature- as this happens (up to a point), a muscle’s contractile efficiency increases and therefore its function improves.

B)   Increase in General Temperature- an increase in systemic temperature (up to a point) makes the whole system function more efficiently.

C)   Increase Blood Flow to Muscles including the Heart- as the blood vessels dilate and carry more blood to the working muscles, including the heart, more oxygen gets delivered to and more waste products are removed from those muscles.

D)   Increase Range of Motion of Joints- a proper warm up allows you to slowly and safely increase the range of motion around joints as the exercises progress from easy to hard, slow to fast and unidirectional to multidirectional.

E)   Increase Psychological Readiness (Focus)- as we go through the warm up our minds are becoming more ready for the task that’s coming up by eliminating distracting thoughts from the day’s events and visualizing what we want to accomplish during the game.

F)    Increase Neuro-Muscular Efficiency- as the warm up moves from general exercises to sport specific exercises, the nervous system/muscular system connection becomes sharper and faster resulting in better technique.

G)   Decrease Risk of Injury- all the previously mentioned benefits will result in fewer injuries to tendons, ligaments, joint structures and muscles, of which the heart is one.

H)   Decrease in Post Match Soreness- less stress at the cellular level means there will be less soreness from damaged tissues.

Guidelines for a Proper Warm up:

Generally speaking, sports that require change in direction such as racquetball, squash, soccer, basketball, etc. should follow the following sequence:

Stationary --> Low impact straight line activities --> High impact straight line activities --> Low impact lateral activities --> High impact lateral activities --> Change of direction activities --> Sport specific activities

Click here to see a sample warm up video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7NpOuXukRk

Perform each activity for 30-45 seconds or for 10-15 repetitions.  Repeat as many times as you feel you need.

Compete!!

Tuscan Farro White Bean Soup


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup farro, spelt or barley
  • 1 cup dried white beans, soaked for several hours or overnight
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (canned are fine; do not drain)
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable stock or water, more as necessary
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, optional

Method

·  Put oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat; a minute later add onion, celery, carrots, a pinch of salt and some pepper. Cook until vegetables are glossy and onion is softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, and stir; add farro, beans, tomatoes and stock, and stir.

·  Bring to a boil, then adjust heat so mixture simmers steadily. Cook until farro and beans are tender, at least an hour, adding stock or water as necessary if mixture becomes too thick. Stir in spinach, parsley and basil (if using), then cook another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning

Cauliflower & Chickpea Curry Adapted from Epicurious.com

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-large cauliflower (about 1 3/4 pounds/800g), trimmed
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • A large pinch of dried chile flakes
  • 1 (14-ounce/400g) can plum tomatoes, chopped, any stalky ends and skin removed
  • 1 (14-ounce/400g) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 8 oz organic light coconut milk
  • Organic low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (I prefer Penzey’s Sweet Curry)
  • 8 oz spinach or other greens
  • A good handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  • Cut the cauliflower into medium florets. Put into a large pan, cover with cold water, add some salt, and bring up to a rolling boil. This will partly cook the cauliflower. Take off the heat right away, drain well, and keep warm in the pan.
  • Heat the oil in a second large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the ground coriander, cumin, chile flake, and some salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes with their juice and the chickpeas. Stir well, then add the parcooked cauliflower. Pour in coconut milk and enough vegetable broth to almost but not quite cover everything (1/3 to 3/4 cup/100 to 200ml) and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the cauliflower is tender.
  • Stir in the garam masala, curry powder, greens and half of the chopped cilantro, then check the seasoning. Serve scattered with the remaining cilantro and accompanied by brown rice.

Why Paulo & I Dipped Our Toes into Plant Based Eating

Oh my gosh!  September 9th was such a transformative day for me. I partook in Mindy & Bruce Mylrea’s One Day to Wellness workshop because I have been trying to “Raise my Healthfulness Game” in 2017.  This year I started with the goal of practicing meditation and mindfulness daily, while increasing my knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating.  When I read about the workshop, I thought it might be just what I needed. I had no idea it was going to be as educational and motivational as it turned out to be.  It raised my awareness game and seriously began our personal experiment into vegetarianism and vegan eating.

 

Bruce & Mindy spoke about their experience in what they called their “transition” to plant based eating, but they also presented significant amounts of the current research behind plant based eating.  More and more research is linking animal protein consumption to cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  There is a significant amount of research that support a relationship between high protein diets and kidney disease. (Even Arnold Schwarzenegger is turning VEGAN!)  And it is difficult to ignore the impact of animal food production on the environment, not to mention concerns regarding the ethical treatment of animals.

 

So, Paulo & I decided it was time to listen to science and see how our bodies responded to a change in eating style.  Right now we are 3 weeks in to our MOSTLY VEGANISM.  Admittedly, learning to eat this way is taking some practice.  There is a lot of volume of food required and we are rethinking our meals and meal planning.  But, we feel good.  Maybe a few pounds lost and body fat is down.  We are committing to our plant based eating style for the next month and checking the results of our experiment at our next checkups!   For the next chapter, stay tuned!