Cold vs. Hot

Cold is used to counter inflammation, to encourage vasoconstriction and to numb pain.

Ice Bath–> Many athletes swear by the postworkout ice bath which say helps reduce inflammation and move waste products from the muscles. If you live near the ocean, a quiet river, or a stream you may have natural cool baths handy. After a hard or long workout that has created trauma in your legs is when an ice bath can be useful. Long runs for two hours or longer or a 90 minute run with intensity calls for ice baths. The intensity of sitting in the cold usually grows for a few minutes because you’re body is responding by constricting the blood vessels, moving fluid away from the skin and toward the core. There’s no need to remain in for more than 20 minutes. The standard protocol is to apply ice for 10-15 minutes and sometimes to repeat after 20 minutes off up to 3 times a day.

Heat:

Many cultures have long used heated rooms and baths for therapeutic treatment. In a heated environment, blood flow to the skin is increased, along with perspiration. For athletes, cold is more appropriate then heat. Spending time in the sauna can be beneficial because it’s been shown to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive subjects and help those with respiratory diseases. Be sure to stay hydrated during and after the visit to a sauna. A whirpool or hot tub combines warm temperatures with the benefits of water therapy. The hydrostatic pressure of water is beneficial for reducing swelling and the movement of water over the body will relax both muscles and mind while increasing circulation. Heat can loosen stiff muscles and increase circulation. 

 

Source: Rountree, Sage Hamilton. The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery: Rest, Relax, & Restore for Peak Performance. Boulder, CO: VeloPress, 2011. Print.

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Supplements

Supplements are designed to cover deficiencies in your diet. If you eat a varied, healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, you should be setting yourself up for maximum recovery. Supplements are not subject to Food and Drug Administration approval. Many haven’t been under clinical testing required for FDA-approved drugs and producers aren’t required to substantiate their claims about their products’ effectiveness. If you’re eating a varied diet full of plant-based foods and your weight is holding steady, you’re receiving adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals and have no need for a daily multivitamin or mineral supplement. If you’re limiting your diet or don’t eat a certain food for ethical or personal reasons, a multivitamin may help ensure you get adequate amounts of B vitamins; vitamins C, D and E; beta-carotene and selenium.

Essential fatty acids are called essential because we must take them in through our diet. The typical Western diet contains far too much of omega-6 fats which can promote inflammation in proportion to omega-3 fats which can combat inflammation. You should correct this imbalance by consuming more omega-3 fatty acids from cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, flaxseed, and walnuts. There are also fish oil supplements on the market. You should look for one that has eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) because these are the omega-3s the body needs.

Marketers try to convince athletes they need protein powder to help rebuild muscles during recovery periods between workouts. But the average Westerner is already eating more than the amount of protein required per day. There’s really no need to supplement with protein powders; eating lean protein from healthy sources will be just fine.

Snack after workouts

The importance of a recovery snack after a workout depends on the context of your training. If you finished a moderate-intensity run and won’t do another moderate of hard workout for two days, you’ll probably get the nutrients needed for recovery from your regular meals. If you’ve finished a three hour ride in the morning and have an evening run planned, the recovery snack and its timing become much more important. Your recovery nutrition begins before your workout. You’ll need to check that you’re entering the workout with enough food in your stomach. While you may not have full glycogen stores, you want to have enough energy to complete the workout. Fat is needed for endurance workout and glycogen for higher intensity efforts. The carbohydrates consumed in the first 30 minutes after exercise will lead to higher glycogen levels than if you wait for two hours after the workout to begin eating again. Your recovery snack should be a mixture of fluids, sodium, carbohydrates, possibly some protein and not too much fat. Fat can interfere with your body’s ability to process carbohydrates and the protein.

Fluids are needed in a recovery snack because they help offset the fluid lost during the workout. Weighing yourself pre and post workout occasionally will show how much water weight you’re losing. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) suggests to drink 16 to 24 ounces for every pound of weight lost during the workout. Sodium needs to be restored to your pre workout  balance. It can come from a sports drink, but many sports drinks don’t have enough sodium. Sodium helps pull glucose and water into your cells so it’s important to get the stores refilled.

Chocolate milk has been an ideal recovery drink since a study showed that it aided recovery as well as or better than Gatorade. This is good when a liquid snack is most appealing. When you can, aim to prepare your own recovery snack in order to control the ingredients when possible. Other recovery snacks include: bagel with jam, cream cheese, peanut butter, or a slice of turkey, a smoothie, fruit and yogurt, cereal with milk, fresh juice and a handful of nuts. Include water or sports drink while eating these foods to rehydrate you. 

Blueberry Waffle Cakes

Nondairy milks such as rice, oat, almond or soy milk work well with baked goods. They’re equivalent to a 2% milk in consistency.

Makes 12 (4-inch) pancakes or waffles

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

2 tablespoons spelt flour

2 cups spelt flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup soy or rice milk

1 egg

1 tablespoon agave syrup

Instructions:

1. Toss the blueberries in the 2 tablespoons of spelt flour and set aside

2. Combine remaining ingredients (except syrup) in a blender until smooth

3. Pour 1/4-1/3 cup batter onto heated waffle iron and cook until steam diminishes for about 1-2 minutes

5. Remove to a plate; can top with yogurt, agave syrup and/or blueberries!

*When using fresh blueberries in the batter, increase the cooking time. For the waffle recipe, wait an extra 1-2 minutes after the steam diminishes. You may have to experiment with time depending on the size and temperature of the waffle iron.

Nutrition per pancake/waffle:

Calories: 90

Fat: 1.5 g

Protein: 4 g

Sodium: 12 mg

Carbohydrates: 16 g

Fiber: 3 g

Source: Cormier, Nicole. The Everything Guide to Nutrition: All You Need to Keep You–and Your Family–healthy. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2011. Print.

Aduki Fudge Brownies

Enjoy this healthy alternative to regular fudge brownies without spiking your blood sugar levels! Chestnuts provide balanced sweetness that’s low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates. For a delicious treat, serve in a parfait topped with raspberry jam and almond creme!

Ingredients; Serves 12 people:

1 cup cooked aduki beans

3/4 cup roasted chestnuts

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1/4 cup raisins

1 tablespoon grain coffee

2 tablespoons almond butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup toasted almonds chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons agar flakes

1/4 cup apple juice

Steps:

1. Mix the beans, chestnuts, rice syrup, and raisins in a large saucepan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Put mixture through a food mill or grind in a food processor until creamy.

2. Add grain coffee, almond butter, vanilla extract and almonds

3. In a large saucepan, mix agar flakes in apple juice and add aduki mixture. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes stirring constantly

4. Pour into a cake pan and cool in refrigerator until set. Cut into bite-sized squares

Nutrition per serving:

Calories: 161

Fat: 5 g

Protein: 4 g

Sodium: 14 mg

Carbohydrate: 25 g

Fiber: 3 g

Source: Cormier, Nicole. The Everything Guide to Nutrition: All You Need to Keep You–and Your Family–healthy. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2011. Print.

Sugar

Refined sugar causes your body to crave more refined foods, suppress the immune system and causes your energy levels to spike then crash. There are more than 20 different names for sugar. The average American consumes about 150 pounds in one year of sugar. A person can lose 15 pounds in one year just by cutting out sugary sodas. The body is designed to utilize sugar in food as energy. Carbohydrates found in natural sugars and starches are broken down into simple components so they can be absorbed and converted to energy. However, refined sugar, also known as sucrose, has no nutritional value. Even though it’s derived from plants, it’s depleted of all other nutrients. All that’s left is pure carbohydrates that the body isn’t built to use. Since all of these empty calories can’t be used, they’re stored in the liver as glycogen. When the liver is full, excess glycogen is taken to the blood in the form of fatty acids and transported for storage all over the body, particularly to areas that usually are inactive– belly, butt, breasts and thighs. Once your body uses up the sugar, it craves more and sends you into withdrawal. If you don’t consume more, you experience a crash.

Human babies respond to sugar early in their life. The taste is pleasant because the calorie rich carbohydrates are an essential energy source for humans. The taste for all things sweet develop as you age. In the 20th century, the demand for sugar was high. Americans went from an annual consumption of about 5 pounds in the 1890s to the current intake of 150 pounds a year. Soda is a major contributor to our increased sugar intake. Sugary beverages won’t quench your thirst. They are literally like drinking liquid candy. Many Americans consume sodas with every meal, both kids and adults which may be a leading problem to the obesity epidemic in our society. Sugar absorbs water, so in your body you become thirsty. Drinking beverages with sugar to quench your thirst just makes no sense. Hidden sugar is also a problem. Sugar is in almost everything you eat. Some obvious foods are soda, cookies and candy, but look at the labels of ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressings, fruit juice, bread, cereal, soups, pasta, pizza, yogurt and cheese! You will see sugar that you never expected. Also, when foods are marked fat-free, check the label because it’s a great possibility that sugar is increased to raise palatability! Remember sugar goes by other names like dextrose, glucose, fructose, lactose, corn syrup, sorghum, galactose, invert sugar, and malt or maltose!

Granulated sugar, also known as white sugar or table sugar, is made both from sugar cane and sugar beets. Cane sugar is preferable for candy because it tends to crystallize less than beet sugar. Brown sugar is white sugar that has molasses added to it. In today’s manufacturing process, it’s more economical to refine all sugar, then add molasses back into it to make brown sugar. Light brown sugar has less molasses and less flavor. Molasses is a by-product of the sugar refinement process. It’s mostly used for its flavor and color. Unsulfured molasses is known as the finest quality and is made by boiling ripened sugar cane. Sulfured molasses is made from green sugar cane that’s treated during extraction with sulfur dioxide, which acts as a preservative. Corn syrup is sweet syrup made from corn starch. High fructose corn syrup has the same level of sweeteness as sugar and because it’s less expensive, it’s used more frequently. Americans now consume more high fructose corn syrup than any other form of sugar. Honey is twice as sweet as sucrose and has a unique flavor that enhances baked goods. It’s rich in antioxidants and long-term use has been shown to provide benefits such as improved digestion and stronger immune system. Stevia is the sweetener that’s extracted from a herb that’s 300 times sweeter than granulated sugar but with a glycemic index of 0.

Source: Cormier, Nicole. The Everything Guide to Nutrition: All You Need to Keep You–and Your Family–healthy. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2011. Print.

Weight and Balance

Our country as a whole is overweight. The American lifestyle has evolved into a sedentary pattern. Many people do not engage in any physical activity. Most Americans drive to work and sit at computers, then drive home and sit in front of televisions. Kids get driven to school, where they sit all day until they come home and sit at their computers, TVs or video games. Also, the supermarkets are filled with cheap, good-tasting, high fat and high calorie foods. Coffee shops wait are on every corner to give us a boost of artificial energy in the form of caffeine and sugar and fast food companies are located in our markets, shopping malls and airports for a quick ready to eat meal.

Overweight people run higher risks for heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, infertility, stroke, diabetes, and cancers. An ideal weight lets you maintain and allow you to be active, enables you to have energy through the day and lets you sleep at night. An individual is unique and that lifestyle that works for that individual might not work for another.

There are plenty diet plans, programs, pills and shakes that only want your money. The only way to healthily lose weight is by controlling portion sizes, understanding what foods your body really needs and incorporating exercise into the daily routine.

To fuel your metabolism and motivate yourself to participate in daily activities you need to manage your daily food intake by balancing your calories in and your calories out. You also need to balance the food groups you consume at each meal, the time between meals and the rate when digestion occurs. Eating a small snack or meal every three to four hours can help manage blood sugars, energy levels and hunger through the day.

Most meals should be that more than half of the plate has vegetables and fruits and the rest should have lean protein and whole grain. A protein and fiber should be in every meal. These work together to slow the digestion and prevent blood sugar from increasing or falling. Learning to put combinations together at each meal and most snacks will help to keep blood sugars at a balanced level.

Source: Cormier, Nicole. The Everything Guide to Nutrition: All You Need to Keep You–and Your Family–healthy. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2011. Print.

Beans

Beans are thought to have originated in Central America. Individual countries tend to favor particular varieties including black, borlotti, cannellini, kidney, navy and pinto beans. The adzuki bean is native to tropical Asia while the Lima bean originated in South America. The high nutrient content of these beans has elevated the to the status of staple foods in the diets of many people around the world. Nutrition research focuses on chronic disease and diet and suggests beans play a role in protecting against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. The protein content of beans that’s meant the difference between life and death for millions of people throughout history. When other protein sources were scarce, like animal products, beans have been there to substitute for them.

The protein in beans is of lower quality based on its ability to support growth than found in foods like meat and dairy products because it lacks the full complement of essential amino acids. In a mixed diet, other foods can make up for the deficiency.

Beans can be stored for long periods of time without it affecting quality or nutrient content. The typical preparation involves soaking the beans overnight or for at least 5 hours. Cooking time varies depending on the soaking but generally requires one or more hours. Beans can also be purchased in canned form. Canned beans retain their nutrients, but manufacturers tent to add sodium or salt which can be a problem for those on a restricted sodium diet.

Common beans are an excellent source of folate, fiber, protein, thiamine, magnesium, manganese, iron, potassium, copper and zinc. They are also a good source of riboflavin, calcium, and omega 3 fatty acids. The fiber that is in beans is partly soluble fiber which helps control blood glucose.

Adzuki beans have a nutty, sweet flavor. In Eastern cuisines they are boiled with sugar to make red bean paste which is used in cakes and sweets. Black beans are particularly popular in Latin American cuisine. They are popular in stews, soups, and sauces especially in Central and South America and the United States. Borlotti bean is a variety of the cranberry bean which originated in Colombia. The borlotti was cultivated in Italy where it is very popular and an ingredient in several traditional dishes. The cannellini bean is popular in Italy especially used in soups and pasta dishes. The kidney bean is used in the United States in chili with corn dish and also red beans and rice. Kidney beans are also an important part of cuisine in northern India. The lima bean is also known as the butter bean. A favorite way to serve lima beans is boiled and dabbed with butter. Lupin beans remain popular in the Mediterranean, especially in Italy. Pale yellow in color and large and flat, lupins are often pickled in salty brine and eaten as a condiment like pickles and olives. Pinto beans is the usual choice for the dish known as refried beans.

In one cup of black beans there are 227 calories, 15.2 grams of protein, 40.8 grams of carbohydrates and 15 grams of fiber!

Plums

Plums originated in China. Their season is early spring until autumn with the peak harvest late in summer. One cup of fresh plums contains 76 calories, 1.2 grams of protein, 18.8 grams of carbohydrates and 2.3 grams of fiber. In 1/4 cup of prunes there are 104 calories, 1 gram of protein, 27.8 grams of carbohydrates and 3.1 grams of fiber. Plums are also popular in their dried form, known as a prune.

Plums are excellent sources of vitamins A, C, and K and fiber. They are also a good source of potassium and copper. They contain anthocyanins and the antioxidant carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Plums are best used fresh to retain vitamin C and they make a nutritious addition to salads. Prunes can be chopped and added to a variety of baked goods to boost nutrition value as well as rice dishes to add antioxidants and minerals.

Source: Reinhard, Tonia. Superfoods: the Healthiest Foods on the Planet. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2010. Print.



Nectarines & Peaches

In one large, fresh nectarine there are 69 calories, 1.7 grams of protein, 16.5 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.7 grams of fiber. In one large, fresh peach there are 68 calories, 1.6 grams of protein, 16.7 grams of carbohydrates and 2.6 grams of fiber.

Nectarine and peach are the same species and some studies show that the only difference between them is the gene responsible for the fuzzy skin of the peach. The peach has been cultivated in China for 3,000 years. It was mentioned in ancient Greek writings in 300 BC. The origins of nectarine are obscure: the French term brugnon which means fuzzless peach came from the Middle Ages and the word nectarine didn’t appear in England until the 1600’s. The nectarine came into the United States in 1906.

Both fruits are an excellent source of vitamins A and C and fiber and a good source of vitamin E, potassium, niacin, and copper. The peach is also a good source of vitamin K and manganese. Both fruits have high antioxidant carotenoids and flavonoids.

Nectarines and peaches originated in China. Their season is late summer. Fresh nectarines and peaches provide the maximum nutritional benefits. Slicing fresh fruit and adding to cold cereal, green salads, fruit salads or yogurt is delicious! Canned nectarines and peaches are lower in vitamin C but retain antioxidants. You should choose canned fruit preserved in juice rather than syrup.

Source: Reinhard, Tonia. Superfoods: the Healthiest Foods on the Planet. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2010. Print.