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Posts from the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Alkaline vs. Acidic Foods

In addition to teaching Spanish, I also lead the CHS Wellness Club at school. We do yoga, learn about nutrition, and drink veggie juices. I love it. (I’m also trying to organize a 3 mile run/walk fundraiser for the One Fund Boston but am still waiting on approval.) Today, the  local juice bar provided us with some samples of delicious veggie juices (kale, carrots, apples, celery, lemon, and all sorts of yumminess) and we watched this great video on alkaline vs. acidic foods. The impact it had on my students was profound and I think it’s worth the 9 minutes. As I told them at the end of the meeting, go PLANT POWER!





I don’t plan to go vegan again but I need to get on board with a few more veggies in my diet. I mean. if I plan to live to be 100 (God willing), I certainly want to be as healthy as possible Less meat. More veggies!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


My New Favorite Peanut Butter

I have a problem and unfortunately it comes in the form of peanut butter. 190 calories, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and that’s just for one serving. But who can really stop at just one serving of peanut butter? I certainly can’t.

A few weeks ago my dear friend Emily brought us a sample of PB2, a peanut powder. To turn it into actual peanut butter, just add 2 tablespoons of powder and one tablespoon of water and voilà, you have peanut butter. The best part? It’s only 45 calories, 1 grams of fat, and 4 grams of protein. Now no, it doesn’t taste exactly like delicious fresh roasted peanut butter, but it’s quite similar. And there is even one with chocolate. Ingredients include peanuts, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Deliciousness.

Delicious peanut butter and chocolate

Delicious peanut butter and chocolate

Bell Plantation:

Peanut butter has always been a staple for the health conscious and physically active. But even peanut butter can be improved. PB2 reduces fat through a chemical-free process. Like all Bell Plantation products, PB2 and Chocolate PB2 are all natural, preservative free, and contain no artificial sweeteners. And that makes them a sweet alternative for active lifestyles, dieters, and moms who want healthy snacks for their kids.

You really can mix this stuff with any liquid you want. You can add it to smoothies, oatmeal, or even to your baking. It’s yummy, 85% less fat calories than regular peanut butter, and convenient. Thanks Emily for the sample! I now have a new problem, but at least it’s less fattening.

It comes in a powdered form

It comes in a powdered form

Happy Trails and happy Running,


Recovery Update: I am actually feeling a lot better today. Hip is still sore but I feel like my back has opened up a lot and I’m doing a better job of engaging my lower abs when I walk. I’m crossing my fingers I can start some active recovery runs next week.


I feel like not enough people know about the awesomeness of kefir. I’ve only known about it for a year or so but it is now a staple in our household. Kefir is basically fermented milk that tastes a little on the sour side. It can be made from any type of milk and it is full of nutrients, probiotics, and awesomeness.

Chris Kresser:

Besides containing highly beneficial bacteria and yeasts, kefir is a rich source of many different vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids that promote healing and repair, as well as general health maintenance. Kefir contains high levels of thiamin, B12, calcium, folates and Vitamin K2. It is a good source of biotin, a B vitamin that HELPS the body assimilate other B vitamins. The complete proteins in kefir are already partially digested, and are therefore more easily utilized by the body. Like many other dairy products, kefir is a great source of minerals like calcium and magnesium, as well as phosphorus, which helps the body utilize carbohydrates, fats and proteins for cell growth, maintenance and energy.

Kefir is a source of vitamin K2, which apparently is lacking in most American diets. It can also help protect against gastrointestinal disease (it has a LOT of microflora) and can improve lactose digestion. A 2003 study of 15 adults who had difficult digesting lactose, found that drinking kefir reduced lactose maldigestion symtoms by 70%. That’s a big deal if you like your occasional piece of cheese. But perhaps the best reason I like Kefir is it makes an amazing  spinach smoothie, way better than almond milk, soy milk, water, or anything else.

If you’ve never tried it before, go for it. Just  be sure to get the plain kind. There is so much sugar in the fruity one. .

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: Well I ran today. The thing that is killing me is aerobically, I feel awesome. A 7:12 mile feels very normal and easy for me. However, my leg is another story. I can definitely tell my left side is opening up. I am running like I should be. But it feels like my leg isn’t use to running this way (the right way). Therefore, there is a lot of stress on some of my leg muscles. Maybe if I take a lot of Advil before the race, I’ll be fine. Saturday is soooooo iffy. Stats from today are here.

Clean Eating

There is no specific definition of what is clean eating. Generally speaking, I consider myself to be a pretty clean eater. In any given day, the worse thing I eat (other than a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate) is a handful of plantain chips. (My sweet potato chip habit has been traded.) However, this year I want to focus on really clean eating. I’m a firm believer that food is fuel and that it is also medicine, which heals the body from the inside out.

Why do I want a cleaner diet? First, I want energy and lots of it! Caffeine energy is not the same as an overall feeling of oh my gosh, I feel amazing and can do any and everything. That’s the feeling I want. Whenever I’m on my green smoothie kick, my mornings are so productive, it’s unbelievable. And as a runner, that extra energy can go a long way. The second reason I want a cleaner diet is because I want better gut health. Maybe I’ve listened to a few too many Ben Greenfield podcasts, but it seems gut health is a pretty important part of your overall health. Did you know about 80% of your immune system is in your gastrointestinal tract? Here’s a podcast with Mr. Greenfield himself discussing how gut health can also affect endurance performance. Like I said, it seems pretty important. And the third reason I want a cleaner diet is because I want to be kind to my body. My body has carried me through a lot and I believe in order to do its best, it needs the right fuel. I’ve been reading a lot about how the body will always try to maintain a state of homeostasis. By eating cleaner, I am helping that.

I’ve been researching recipes for clean eating and came across this website. So far, I’ve tried two recipes and they were quite tasty. Another one of my favorites is Oh She Glows. Her stuff is pretty awesome as well.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: Today was a rest day and I actually took the day off! No gym. No running. Nothing. It was nice.

Chicken, veggies, and endives

Chicken, veggies, and endives

Increasing ATP

Friday I briefly wrote about ATP and the different energy pathways in the body. In trying to speed up the process to being a faster marathoner, I concluded if I can increase ATP in my body, then my oxygen energy pathway will have more to use which in turn may improve my abilities as a marathoner. So how can I increase ATP?

Turns out there are no known ways to definitively increase the amount of ATP the body produces, but there are supplements that may help boost levels of ATP.  They are creatine, a 30 to 200 mv daily supplement of coenzyme Q10, and a B vitamin complex.  CoQ10 is involved in the body’s production of ATP and can help increase energy levels. Certain B vitamins are also necessary for the production of ATP. You can read more about increasing ATP production here.

I’m horrible at remembering to take any sort of vitamins or supplements. Vitamins can sit on my kitchen counter for 6 months before it dawns on me to take one. However, I’m always interested in trying new things and being that it’s a new year, maybe a goal for 2013 will be to take my B vitamin complex. 🙂 Does anyone have a suggestion for the best brand of these supplements? I prefer all natural – no red #40 or any other crap that gets put in a lot of vitamins.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: I was suppose to run 6 miles but ended up going 7. I should plan my route better. I did have to make an effort to slow down because I want to be ready for my workout tomorrow – mile repeats at half marathon pace. Overall, I felt great and stats are here.

Photo Credit: UIC

Diet Pepsi

Did you hear? Diet Pepsi is switching up their formula. Now instead of just one dangerous additive in your drink, you get two – aspartame and acesulfame. Yummy! Twice the danger! (Just in case you didn’t already know how I felt about fake sugars…)

Associated Press:

John Sicher, editor and publisher of the industry tracker Beverage Digest, said the synergistic effect of mixing the two sweeteners is intended to help keep the drink’s sweetening power at a constant level, making it taste fresh longer. Read more


Many years ago, I read It’s Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong. That was the first time I ever heard about muesli. While in Switzerland, Mario and I went to a yummy breakfast place that served muesli and that was the first time I actually ate it. Recently, I’ve been buying it from Trader Joe’s and since we were out of the normal pre-run food this morning, I had a bowl for breakfast. I mean if Lance Armstrong recommended it as his breakfast before a long training ride, I thought it would be suitable for a 12 mile run.

So what is muesli and why should you eat it? Read more

Eating Before an Afternoon Run

One thing that I really do not like about my work schedule is that I have to run in the afternoon. Morning is my favorite time of the day. Asking me to function past 4:00pm is asking a little too much. My best efforts start around 5:00am and I’ve always preferred to see the sun rising instead of the sun setting.

One reason that I do not like running in the afternoon is because I do not know what is best to eat beforehand. Sometimes I think I may overdo it with the healthy foods early in the day and my stomach let me know it today. Today’s hill repeats were somewhat of a disappointment. I think it was a combination of running too fast yesterday, not enough sleep, and too much spinach for lunch. My failure to hit my target times got me reevaluating my meal plan during the day. What is best to eat for a 4:00pm run? Read more

Greens Energy Bars

Although bars aren’t my favorite thing to eat, they are sometimes all I can manage while teaching 100 students during the day. This morning I was eating a Greens Energy Bar and my students were quite curious. They all wanted to know what’s in it? Deliciousness I told them.

I picked up the Greens Energy Bar per recommendation of the cashier at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago. Since then, I’m 100% sure they are the reason why our grocery bill has gone up quite a bit. They aren’t cheap but they have SO much good stuff. According to their website: Read more

Sweet Potato Gratin

Sweet Potatoes are one of my favorite foods and there is no better time to eat them than Thanksgiving. I want to share a recipe that I came across that I  plan to try out soon (hopefully before Christmas).  Maybe I’ll find another way to consume my favorite potato other than as fries.

The Stone Soup:

Most people associate gratins with loads of cheese. As some French friends of mine pointed out recently, traditional French potato gratin is just made with potatoes and cream.

When I first mentioned this to my Irishman, he wasn’t very keen to try it. It’s definitely one of those more unusual dishes that tastes much much better than you can imagine. The salty peanut butter does a great job of contrasting the rich sweet potato.

Click here for the recipe.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: Ran 10 miles this morning and it was cold and windy. I ran along the hilly part of the marathon course and it actually wasn’t too bad. However, I didn’t feel like I found my stride until about mile 7 and I was a little light headed because I had not eaten since 6 pm the night before. Run stats are here. And how do you like the pic of my delicious breakfast?