11/8/12

Product Review - EGDPro, Gel flask, running top, bike lights

It's been a while since I have done a product review so I wanted to share a few things that are helping me stay active this fall.


Easy Go Dispenser

 
Earlier this year I was contacted by Blake Schroedter, who is the Chief Executive Officer, inventor and the Co-founder of Easy Go Dispenser LLC. Blake wrote to me about a product called EGDPRO and I could feel his passion and excitement through his email. A few months later, Blake contacted me again after I told him I would love to try his new product, since I am an active athlete who is always on the go. What's so great about Blake's story is that he is more than a "fitness" product inventor. Blake has eleven years of military service, a bachelor degree in psychology from the University of Illinois UC and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in clinical psychology Military Track Program. OIF/OEF Veteran.
 
For only $20, the EGD Pro™ is designed for athletes, outdoor enthusiasts, and military personnel who need an instant protein shake. The EGD PRO™ will carry a full day’s worth of protein or drink powder and will easily dispense a 15 gram serving into any water bottle or shaker cup with the twist of the knob. The base storage unit keeps your powder fresh, preventing unwanted moisture or contamination. The center metering unit dispenses precise amounts of powder to the upper funnel section and eliminates the need for a separate funnel. This ensures all of your powder easily goes directly into the water bottle or shaker cup with no spillage. With the EGD Pro™ you will receive the correct amount of protein to help rebuild and recharge you body immediately after an intense workout. The EGD Pro™ is the only product on the market which combines storage and dispensing functionality, with superior design and portability.
 
What I love about this product (Coming soon: BabyGo dispenser) is that it is durable and practical. For all the athletes and fitness enthusiasts who consume protein powder either to help meet protein needs (I recommend no more than 1 scoop daily of protein powder and to get protein from real food, consult a RD if you need help) or to help recover from workouts, this is a very practical bottle for athletes and active individuals who need somewhere to hold protein powder. Whether you choose whey, soy, hemp, pea or brown rice protein powder, this is a simple product to have in your house if you are someone who struggles with making time. Most protein powder scoops hold around 30-40grams (which is the weight of the powder, not grams of protein) so with a turn of the key, you can easily fill your water w/ a precise amount of protein powder. This is also ideal for group workouts, couples who train together or for individuals who enjoy a recovery drink at work (or on the way home from a workout). It's nice to not carry around a scoop and bag of powder when you travel so this will come in handy for our trips, since I typically travel w/ protein powder either to boost my protein intake while traveling (always tough as a vegetarian to meet my protein needs on the road) or for Karel and myself if we travel for a race or for training. More than anything, I think this is a great idea from a group of amazing veterans and I'm so thankful that I was provided a bottle and I can now support this great invention just before Veteran's Day.
 
Check out the website for more info, ordering as well as a video.
 


You probably think I am crazy talking about a short sleeve top for the fall and winter but this top serves several purposes. First off, this top is perfect under a light jacket when you are warming up for a run. The top can be worn on those slightly cool fall or spring days when you aren't ready for a long sleeve  or tank top but don't want to over/underdress. I have this top in a few colors and above all, it is really comfortable. Because every runner is bound to get warm on a "winter" run, this top is great for it's O Hydrolix™ moisture management so that you can sweat and not feel "gross" in a short sleeve active top. Also, this top is perfect for cycling because we all need a good base layer under a jersey when the weather gets cold but we don't want to overheat with lots of layers. The top also comes in long sleeve w/ a half zipper (which I also have - and LOVE). And ladies, the Align bra is fantastic, I highly recommend it. I wore it at Branson 70.3 and I wear it all the time (during workouts and under my scrubs at the hospital). You will love it!

Bontrager bike lights
 
 
With the darker evenings and foggy mornings, no bike should be without lights. I'm lucky being married to my bike mechanic and when I came home the other day, Karel had my bike all tuned-up and he told me it was ready for winter. In other words, my bike is keeping me safe on the roads.
There are many types of lights available to cyclists so I recommend a headlight and taillight that will not only help you see where you are going but will help increase your visibility to cars and people around you. After you get your lights, be sure to get your Road ID.

Gel Flask


 
On Tuesday evening I spoke to a running group about pre race and race day nutrition.  Here in Florida, we are getting into "running" season and Jacksonville is known for having some great races like the Subaru Thanksgiving Half Marathon, Jacksonville Bank Half and Full Marathon (Karel and I will be doing the Half Marathon), Gate River Run and Donna 26.2. I always get comments from athletes about struggling w/ nutrition on race day because they can't tolerate a full gel. I have always been a fan of the Fuel Belt because I like to train w/ my sport nutrition and race with my sport nutrition. When I work with athletes, I encourage my athletes to think about race day and how they are going to get their body prepared for a race. I am a firm believer in sport nutrition in that it has a place during workouts. I'd rather see my athletes fueling for all workouts, even the one hour run where they may think they only need water, and considering what and how they are eating later in the day instead of skimping on fluids, electrolytes and carbs when the body needs it the most.
At my talk, an athlete asked me if there was an easy way to take in gels so I got excited and talked about my favorite thing ever - the Gel flask!
 
 
Branson 70.3

I have been using the Hammer Gel Flask (or we also have leftover EFS flasks from Karel's cycling races) for a few years and it works perfect for me. First off, I like to run with something in my hand as it helps my form but I don't like the way a water bottle puts strain on the neck and messes with an athletes' running form. The gel flask is also great for consistent fueling because I don't believe in taking in calories at periodic intervals (ex. 30, 60,90 minutes or miles 4,7,11, etc.) but rather every mile. I'd rather take in 20-40 calories every mile (or 10 minutes) in order to keep my energy stable and to help postpone residual fatigue. Also, with the cooler temps, I find many athletes are not feeling like they need water (or sport drinks) during shorter runs and are finding themselves dehydrated during the day or overeating when they are actually thirsty (we have poor thirst mechanisms as humans) so this is an easy way to make sure you are staying hydrated during workouts. Certainly, this 4-6 ounce flask will not cut it for a workout over 45-60 minutes as I encourage at least 20 ounces of fluids per hour so you can plan on using aid stations in races for water or set up a bottle for refueling on your running route. Also, this flask is perfect during long bike rides or in a triathlon for it eliminates the need for handling/opening gels and wrappers and fits nicely in your jersey pocket (or fixed on your bike).

And to be extra creative, your extra fuel belt flasks make for great containers for your milk post workout (or for your oatmeal at work). For a discount on your Hammer Order - use 97495 at check-out.
 

11/6/12

Eggplant stew-fry and 6 healthy living tips

Last nights dinner made us YUMMM a lot more than normal. Every bite was delicious - too good not to share.

 
I'm not sure if I would call it a stir-fry or stew so how about we call it a stew-fry.
 
Eggplant, zucchini and chickpea stewfry1 eggplant (chopped)
1 large zucchini (sliced)
Corn (about 1 cup)
Chickpeas (rinsed and drained, 1 can)
3 cloves garlic
Marinara sauce (about 1/2 cup)
Onions
Tomatoes
spices: rosemary, chili, pepper, sea salt (a pinch)
Olive oil
Veggie crumble meat (or your choice of protein)
Brown rice

1. Cook brown rice according to package/bag
2. In large pot, cook ingredients on low heat, tossed in a tbsp or two of olive oil. Add a little water (about 1/2 cup), seasonings and cover. Stir occasionally and cook until veggies are soft.
3. Add marinara sauce and turn off heat. cover and stir for a minute.
4. In shallow bowl, place 1 serving brown rice and top w/ veggie mixture. Enjoy!

In the October 2012 issue of Cooking Light Magazine there was a great article (as always) on Healthy Living pg 56.
Brian Wansink, PHD is the author of Mindless Eating: why we eat more than we think.
Here are 6 tips for healthy living according to Brian:

1) Slow Down - Because it takes a few minutes for your stomach to relay signals of satiety to your brain, eating too fast means you pile on calories unawares. Slow down and you'll feel your body's signals sooner and eat less. When you sit down for a meal, make an eat-slower pledge.

2) Abandon the Clean Plate Club - In one Wansink study, Parisians were asked how they knew when to stop eating. Their answer: when they felt full. Chicagoans' answer: when everyone else is done eating or when my plate is empty. Think like a Parisian.

3) Be selective about what you put on the table: Plate entrees in the kitchen and then serve lower-calorie veggies and salads family-style at the table. Proximity can make the 20% difference (eating 20% less by not counting calories but still enjoying your food).

4) Think about the color of your dishes - If you're having mashed potatoes, you'll eat 18% more if they're served on a white plate than if they're served on a plate that offers more contrast. The reason is that the higher the contrast, the more aware you are of how big your serving is.

5) Face your food - Never eat directly from a package. Always portion food out into a dish so you must face exactly how much you will eat. We consume 20-30% more when we eat straight from a box or bag. And the bigger the package, the more we consume. If you buy in bulk, repackage snacks into individual containers or zip-top bags.

6) Remember the movie - munchie rule - Moviegoers who ate popcorn from a large bucket at 53% more than those who chose a medium-sized bucket. The takeaway: get in the habit of choosing and serving smaller portions all around. Give people a lot and they will eat a lot. It's just human nature.

11/5/12

Blueberry Zucchini muffins

 
I love to be in the kitchen. It's a place that gives me so much creative freedom, sometimes I am overwhelmed by my options.  I don't have a Rolodex of recipes but rather, I am inspired by ingredients. I love to visualize or see meals and create them in a way that pleases, teases or excites my taste buds. There may be a creation here or there that is not blog worthy (I have yet to create a cauliflower or Brussels sprouts recipe that makes me excited) but most of time the time, I take pictures of my food because I am so proud of what I put together. I invite you to take pictures of your meals as an easy way to see what you are putting into your body. Anything from a bowl of cereal to a 4 course dinner, enjoy, appreciate and savour the foods you choose to put into your body.
 
I love to cook but I wouldn't call myself the best baker. I try, especially around the holidays with a few Czech dessert recipes, but baking is a science. There's little room for creativity in baking and for someone like me who likes to eye-ball and guesstimate, that doesn't fly when it comes to making the perfect cake or pie.
 
But, I found one thing that allows me to be super creative when it comes to baking.....MUFFINS!
If you search my blog, I have lots of muffin recipes. I love to add in veggies to my muffins and try out different ways to add sweetness and fiber. Certainly, my muffins don't compare to a baker for mine are a bit on the dense-side and to the dislike of many, not very sweet. But that's ok - we love them in our house and they make for the perfect pre-training snack or dessert.
 
I hope you enjoy my blueberry zucchini muffins!

Blueberry zucchini muffins
 
 
Ingredients:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup instant oats (uncooked)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg (each)
1 tsp all spice
1 cup plain non fat or low fat yogurt
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large egg
1 medium zucchini (shredded - about 1.5 cups)
1 cup frozen blueberries (if in season, fresh is fine)
Water - add as needed to help bring batter to a slightly thick consistency and barely dripping off mixing fork/spoon
Favorite crunchy flak cereal (ex. Great Grains) for topping
Pam - to spray pan

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray muffin tin (12 tins) w/ non stick spray
3. Combine dry ingredients (until yogurt) in bowl and mix until combined.
4. Combine wet ingredients in bowl, stir well.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet until evenly mixed. Add a little water as needed to help w/ mixing.
6. Spoon into muffin tin, until 3/4ths full. Batter should make 12 muffins. Sprinkle with a pinch or spoonful of cereal before baking.
7. Bake for ~18-25 minutes or until top of muffin is firm to the touch.
 
Nutrition facts:
(I used my software program Diet Analysis Plus)
Servings: 12
Serving size: 1 muffin
Calories: 118
Fat: 3.5g
Carbohydrates: 19g
Sugar: 8g
Fiber: 3g
Sodium: 74 mg
Protein: 4g

11/4/12

Stuffed green pepper and lentils

 
This was a very exciting weekend for many as athletes from around the world took part in IMFL. Sadly, the NYC marathon was also to be held this weekend but instead, a lot of well-fueled, tapered bodies are running around the city to deliver goods and help clean-up. My thoughts are with everyone up North and just keep staying strong.
No easy way to change topics during this sad time but let's keep remembering how great life is and why it should be lived to the max, every day.
 
Six years ago today I crossed my very first Ironman finishing line. Inexperienced, naive, stubborn and determined, I didn't have any fears about swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles or running 26.2 miles, for my mind and body were ready for the challenge. My biggest fear was the unknown of how my heart would beat so hard and how my body would function for a 140.6 mile event. 11 hours and 47 seconds later, I realized that anything is possible if you prepare.
 
I posted earlier this weekend on my facebook page about catching the endurance athlete bug. It can be very motivating to watch others participate in an event and to want to sign-up/register and experience the similar thrill and excitement of crossing a finish line. But let's not forget that an inspiring one day effort requires months if not years of training. It comes with obstacles, highs, lows and a lot of support from others. It requires, patience, time, money and help from others. Keep in mind that the process of training your mind and body for an event should be respected as something time-consuming and slow.  In order to keep life balanced, here's a blog I did on
consistency.
 
After Branson 70.3, I took about 3 weeks off from structured activity. Perhaps some would argue not long enough but let's also keep in mind that I did not do an Ironman this year, I don't race a lot and my average weekly training hours for my "long distance" races are around twelve a week.  Although I train hard, I also recover harder and my nutrition, sleep and attitude are three key areas to keep me strong, fit and healthy. Here we are with cooler races and I am excited to work on my running in order to get more efficient, stronger and faster.
 
I have a lofty running goal of breaking 1:30 in a half marathon. I'm not letting my slow-twitch body stop me from having this goal because I love training hard for great performances. I don't allow time goals to determine my success in sport but they often become a driving force as to what I am focused on when it comes to training and this helps me stay focused when it comes to training. It's not about a time goal for a PR but rather, setting goals that are challenging and that require me to step outside my comfort zone.
 
Let me tell ya....this goal is years in the making and season after season, it is taking 1/2 and mile repeater after repeater to teach my body how to run faster. Certainly, dealing with my chronic hip (piriformis/iliopsoas) injury for 3+ years put a damper on my true potential as a runner but with lots of strength training and smarter training, I'm finally seeing progress. This year, I am able to run faster than ever during training so I think it is only a matter of time (hoping not another season for I think my endurance body hates me sometimes when I train for a half) before I can squeeze out an average pace of 6:50 min/mile for 1:29:59 for 13.1 miles instead of my PR of 1:31 (7 min/mile average). Seriously, you'd think it would be easy to drop 10 sec per mile but hey, if it was easy, everyone would do it.

Originally, I was going to do a half marathon in St. Augustine on Nov 18th but I don't feel ready. I still feel like I can make more progress so I won't rush this process. Sure, I can run 13.1 miles, but I want it to be a strong 13.1 mile run. I want to dig deep and truely, put my training to the test. That can not be done quickly so I will give it a go in December for the Jax Bank Half Marathon.
 
Earlier this week I posted a super delicious, comforting stuffed bell pepper creation on my facebook page. Per request of the Trimarni creation fans, here you go.....Enjoy!
 
Did you know 1/2 cup cooked lentils have 115 calories, 8g fiber and 9g protein? Also, 1 cup of cooked lentils can meet 90% of your daily folate needs and ~36% iron needs! Because lentils are a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, they are good for both your cholesterol and digestive tract.
 
Stuffed Bell Pepper w/ lentils, tomatoes and mushrooms
Ingredients:
Lentils
Steak,vine or baby tomatoes
Mushrooms (Sliced)
Bell pepper
Cooked whole grain of your choice (I used quinoa in the bell pepper)
Cheese (I used farmers cheese)
Olive oil
Garlic clove

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Cook lentils according to package on stove top (allow around 20 minutes). I used 1 cup lentils uncooked and I had lots of leftovers. Season w/ a little sea salt and pepper if you wish.
3. On baking sheet, toss mushrooms and tomatoes (whole) in a little olive oil. Season w/ your choice of herbs/spices.
4. Cut off top of green pepper (use a knife and cut around the stem) and remove. Lightly rub w/ olive oil around pepper. Place in oven and cook for ~8-12 minutes or until mushrooms and tomatoes begin to brown.
5. Fill bottom of washed pepper w/ a little cheese and pack with grain. Be sure pepper is sturdy when placed on pan.
6. Drizzle the grain w/ a little olive oil and place on separate small baking sheet (plan 1 pepper per person).
7. Carefully place pepper in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until sides of pepper begin to brown.
8. Remove from oven and on shallow dish, place pepper in center of dish.
9. Slice tomatoes and place w/mushrooms on lentils (I recommend use ~1/2 - 3/4 cup per person).
10. Sprinkle with fresh chopped garlic.