wellness wednesday

Wellness Wednesday: Top 5 Power Snacks

We asked Loni Markman, an Integrative Nutitrion Coach, what snacks she recommends to her busy, athletic clients. Check out her Top 5 Power Foods.

As runners, I am sure you are thrilled about the early Spring weather we are having here in NYC.  I bet this means you are spending more time out running more and looking for the right foods to help fuel your run. As an athlete, your approach to nutritional can mean the difference between peak performance and sub-optimal energy and recovery.  I am often asked which energy bars or protein shake is best for my workout. Well, my answer is usually none.  Turning to “power” snacks is essential but we have to make sure they are not packed with sugar and limited in nutrients. Below is a list of my top 5 power foods to help you run faster and further and ease the recovery process.

1.      Acai –  Acai (ah-sigh-ee) is a tiny berry that is found in the Brazilian rainforests and has been used for centuries as medicine with the local tribes. It became popular through martial arts and was brought to the states in 2000 by surfers who used it in Brazil to support their intense workouts. Recent studies have found that the Acai is one of the most powerful foods in the world. The acai berry packed with antioxidants, has a nearly perfect amino acid complex to support muscle contraction and ease joint pain, has healthy fats to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health plus it increases energy levels and speed up metabolism. Thus making it a nearly perfect food to support your running.

HOW TO EAT IT: You can have it for breakfast in an Acai Bowl or add it to your smoothies and drink it on the go.

2.      Quinoa -  We all know your need to increase your carbs for your runs but you certainly do not need to turn to pasta or processed carbs for your fuel. Enter in my favorite superfood for super energy, Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wa). Quinoa is an ancient grain (it actually falls more into the greens family but that is for another blog post)  that originated in South America and brings to the table a gluten free complex carbohydrate that is packed with protein, fiber, iron, magnesium all essential nutrients for runners.

HOW TO EAT: Quinoa is quick and easy to make. You can enjoy it sweet for breakfast or as a savory side dish. Click here for some recipes. http://elementsoffit.com/recipes/quinoa/

3.      Green Smoothies – It’s just like a fruit smoothies but packed with the nutritional powerhouse that greens offer us. These easy to make or buy smoothies are a healthy alternative to all those energy drinks out there and can really make a difference to your recovery and performance.  Greens have more vitamin and minerals than any other food out there plus they contain chlorophyll, which helps promote and carry oxygen in the body.

HOW TO EAT: Green smoothies serve as a great mid-afternoon pick me up or breakfast. The basic recipe is 2 cups of greens, 2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of filtered water blended in the blender and enjoyed!

4.      Bananas – Now I know you probably already know this one but being that it is one of the easiest on the go grabs I had to include the potassium packed banana. They didn’t only make my top five because all that potassium helps prevent muscle cramps but they are super easy to digest and will give you the energy you need to sustain a good run.

5.      Coconut water -  As you know hydration is key when running and getting a good sweat and coconut water, not Gatorade,  should be your answer to replenish your electrolyte levels.  Coconut water is natural and not filled with sugars and artificial coloring and sweeteners like so many other electrolyte drinks on the market. Why should you love it? Because it is rich in 5 essential electrolytes, potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.  These electrolytes are critical to proper recovery after you run or workout, making coconut water one of the best runners’ recovery drinks available today

About Loni: 
Loni Markman is not your typical Nutrition Consultant! Loni has been working in the field of wellness for almost a decade, helping clients find nourishment and balance in their everyday lives. She focuses on self love, weight management, pre and post natal and general women’s health. She has a true passion for educating and inspiring others on their journey to better heath.

Loni holds a Masters Degree in Health, a Bachelors in Business, a Certification as a Holistic Health Counselor from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, a Certification in the Psychology of Eating with Marc David, she holds a Certification from Power Pilates and has extensive studies in Emotional Freedom Technique. All of which she infuses into her integrative coaching with clients. You can learn more about Loni on her websites –www.elementsoffit.com and www.positivebodyprogram.com.

Wellness Wednesday: Supa Food

Our favorite Ayurvedic practitioner, Deacon Carpenter, is taking your nutrition questions and answering them every Wednesday. Today is he explains superfoods, read on:

For many of us, when we hear the term ‘superfood’, we automatically think of exotic foods, like goji berries or cacao nibs from far-flung locations which promise super health and nutrition – all with an air of elitism.

Although the idea of eating exotic ‘superfoods’ is quite attractive to many of us, the cost is higher than domestic foods, and there is a larger carbon footprint. Believe it or not, you can actually find ‘superfoods’ which have been grown right here in the US.

Let’s start off with our beloved spinach. Spinach is an anti inflammatory, it’s been suggested that it can prevent certain types of cancer (specifically stomach and prostate).  It's loaded with calcium and vitamin K, so it helps build strong bones and muscle tone.  I recommend steaming a healthy portion of spinach and mixing it with a good extra virgin olive oil and some sea salt after a run. It’s amazing how quickly your body can recover! This leafy green is packed with the following nutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Magnesium, Foliate, Manganese, Iron, Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Dietary fiber, Copper, Selenium, Niacin, Omega-3 fatty acids & Protein

Let’s keep it green, and move onto another superfood: broccoli. It too has been determined to prevent colon, breast and prostate cancer; it’s an anti-inflammatory, it helps the body purge toxins as it’s a powerful anti-oxidant, it supports cardiovascular function and helps maintain clear skin. I used to call them little trees when I was a boy, but you can’t deny that broccoli can rock your world with these nutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K Magnesium, Foliate, Manganese, Iron, Calcium, Selenium, Zinc & Phosphorus.

For those of us with a sweet tooth, I recommend blueberries. They can be found in many nutrition bars in some variation, but fresh and in season blueberries pack the biggest punch. We all know that they are an amazing anti-oxidant, but blueberries can also lower triglycerides, raise HDL (good cholesterol), improve memory, support eye health and, because of their high content of anti-oxidants, they have been studied as a way to prevent certain types of cancer. Blueberries also contain Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Manganese, Iron, Calcium & Dietary Fiber.

Lastly, there’s the humble yet delicious red table grape. I live in Sonoma County, California, so between the Napa Valley and Sonoma County we produce more wine grapes than we know what to do with. Ok, we know what to do with them, but did you know that the red table grape has been shown to reduce the risk of a heart attack and heart disease, can reduce your chance of a stroke and getting colorectal and breast cancer, and prevent you from getting Alzheimer’s disease? They are packed with Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K & Manganese.

In Ayurveda, we believe in eating seasonally, which also means eating locally. If you can, visit your local farmers market or farmers coop.  I personally love connecting with the local farmers in my area, mostly because we are using several local ingredients for our line of Nutrition bars.

You can find your local farmers market at LocalHarvest - or by downloading the free Itunes app, Farmers Market Finder.

Deacon founded Daily Veda after working in Global Advertising for 16 yrs. He practices yoga, runs and promotes healthy living through natural eating and Ayurvedic medicine. His Veda Bars are AMAZING. Best tasting bar ever and you can pronounce all the ingredients! He’s a wealth of knowledge and fun.

Wellness Wednesday

Stress is all around us. That's why it is important to take time out and relax. A run is a great way to disconnect and feel free. We recommend one more step - stopping and breathing. You can call it meditation or you can just call it a relaxing few minutes. The point is to stop, close your eyes and take deep breaths.

We recommend taking 5 minutes in the morning or at lunch to stop and breath. Sit in a comfortable position (or lie down), close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Count your inhalations and your exhalations. So, on the inhale, count (1,2,3) as you inhale and then count (1,2,3) as you exhale. It's okay if your mind wanders, keep coming back to the breath.

Even if you can only do it for 1 minute today, take the time. Your body and mind will thank you. Happy Wednesday!

Wellness Wednesday: Pre-Run Fuel

Our favorite Ayurvedic practitioner, Deacon Carpenter, is taking your nutrition questions and answering them every Wednesday. We are drawn to Ayurveda because it takes the whole person into account and provides guidelines based on you and your body; not arbitrary guidelines based around calories, proteins or carbs. If you have questions, send them to us at hotbirdrunning@gmail.com and we'll get them to Deacon. He is answering your questions every Wednesday. Here are his suggestions for pre-run fuel.

"How do I fuel my run with out feeling too heavy or running out of gas?”

Many of my clients are athletes, and this question comes up quite often. One of my clients was so overwhelmed with his research that he felt eating ½ box of pop tarts before one of his 10-mile runs would be ideal. Suffice to say that he crashed and burned at mile 5, and didn’t feel so hot shortly after.

As a runner, I know that eating appropriate foods before a run can take a little planning, but the better the fuel we put in, the better performance we put out. Therefore, I tell my clients who are runners that there are four golden rules to pre-run fueling from an Ayurvedic perspective. They are:

1. Eat foods which are easily digested. Oatmeal with a little ghee (clarified butter) and maple syrup, brown sugar or sucanut is ideal. Would also add some raisins or dates to the mix as it’s cooking. It’s a great blend of carbs, quick-burning and slow burning sugars. You can also spices like cinnamon or a little cayenne pepper. You can switch out oats with white basmati rice. If you simply can’t bring yourself to cook that much in the morning, choose a simple cereal and add hot milk.

2. Cook your food! Eating cooked grains actually allows our bodies to digest food faster versus eating a bowl of cold cereal or an energy bar. Cooking food is a form of pre-digestion, so when it hits the stomach, there has been some breakdown already, so your body turns food into fuel faster. Although cooked food is pre-digested.

3. Give it 30 minutes. Ideally, you should wait up to an hour after eating to run, but since many of us want to get up and go. Running 30 minutes after eating will give the body enough time to get the digestive process started, and give you enough fuel to get moving. It will also prevent you from getting a cramp or feeling too weighed down.

4. Eat until you are 2/3 full. It’s an odd fraction, but you want to not completely fill up on breakfast, otherwise, you’re risking a food coma. You want to eat until you are satisfied, not full. If this happens, I recommend waiting an hour before running.

Remember, a cup of coffee and an energy shot is NOT fuel for your run. Your body needs the fuel, so eat, otherwise, you may risk passing out!

For more information on Ayurveda or to understand what foods are best for your body type, visit Daily Veda and email Deacon.

Deacon founded Daily Veda after working in Global Advertising for 16 yrs. He practices yoga, runs and promotes healthy living through natural eating and Ayurvedic medicine. His Veda Bars are AMAZING. Best tasting bar ever and you can pronounce all the ingredients! He’s a wealth of knowledge and fun.