Thursday, February 11, 2016

Healthy Foods to Go - Meals for the Road

Good to roll. Power foods to go.
Now that temps are hovering around 23 degrees, many of us are opting for time at the gym or a even an indoor spinning class. I like to pack healthy snacks and perhaps a tasty lunch for after my workout. Here is my movable feast of easy to tote foods, drinks and snacks which are so gym ready:



BFree Gluten Free whole grain bagels and wraps.

Bread is the Staff of Life
I know from experience and clinical studies that eliminating carbohydrates is a BIG mistake when trying to fuel a workout. That's because whole grains have energy sustaining B-vitamins, fiber and Omega Fatty Acids. Now if you are also concerned about wheat and gluten, BFree is a really delicious line of healthy bread products. The bagels are SO light and perfect toasted or right out of the bag. Likewise the Quinoa & Chia Seed Wraps contain wholegrain teff and flax seeds. Very easy to wrap nearly anything yummy and take it along. One of my favorites is a tuna, avocado and alfalfa sprout wrap as shown below. Easy to make and take along in a thermal cooler. So good! See all the varieties of BFree baked goods online.


Tuna, avocado & sprout wrap on a quinoa & chia seed wrap.

GoAvo Avocado Spread to Go
Another wonderful food to go is Avocado which is full of "good fats"so necessary for energy. GoAvo is an easy to squeeze avocado spread that can be used in place of mayonnaise. These spreads come in plain, basil and chipotle flavors with the bottles being small enough to smuggle along in a lunch bag. Really the perfect size to pop into your lunch tote. See all the flavors at GoAvoSpread.com


GoAvo Avocado Spread in Basil and Chipotle


Goavo avocado spreads go great on BFree wheat & gluten free wraps.


Coconut Milk Goodies to Go
Coconut Milk and Coconut Water are amazing recovery drinks so I really like the very portable serving sizes available from CoCo Joy. Their Pure Coconut Milk Coffee Smoothie is one of my favorites and a great treat after my workout session. Also the CalifaFarms.com dairy free BetterHalf Coconut Cream & Almond Milk is SO fantastic in your coffee and carrageenan/soy free. Some people add coconut oil to their morning cup of Joe but I like the milks and smoothies better.


Califa Farms BetterHalf & Coco Joy Pure Coconut Milk Coffee Smoothie


Portable Fruit
Fruit is one of the things we often fail to get enough of in wintertime. There's not much in season at the stores but that doesn't mean you should skimp on them. Freeze Dried Crunchies come in a zippered pouch and are perfect for adding to smoothies, cereals or just eating right out of the bag. The freeze dried bananas are crazy good as are the berries and pineapple. Nothing but fruit, there's no sugar added and each pouch gives you about three servings of fruit. Check them out at CrunchiesFood.com


Crunchies Freeze Dried Fruit

Go Organically Fruit Snacks
These "gummies" are made with real organic fruit, have 100% of your vitamin C requirements and are excellent sources of vitamins A & E. They do have added "organic cane sugar" but no preservatives, artificial flavors or colorants. See all the fruity flavors at GoOrganicallyFruitSnacks.com


Go Organically Fruit Snacks


Honey to Go by Everyday Eclectic
In the Bible, David's best friend, Jonathan brought back up his energy levels after a battle by having a little honey. Sometimes the gym can feel like a war zone too! That's why I like to pack along these little Bee in Your Bonnet Organic Infused Raw Honeys. Add them to your herbal tea (pack along a few tea bags) or other foods for a quick blast of energy that's natural and organic. These come in delicious infusions like Harvest Spice, Cinnamon, Ginger Snap and Vanilla. Check them out at EverydayEclectic.com


Bee in Your Bonnet Infused Raw Honeys

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Top Uses for Lemons for Athletes

Fresh California Lemons from Limoneira
Fresh Lemon is so very versatile for everything from a master cleanse with cayenne and honey to cleansing your skin! Sometimes we forget about putting on sunblock and dark sun spots can appear on exposed areas. Lemons to the rescue. Even though lemons are full of citric acid and vitamin C, they have a alkalising effect on internal organs and body chemistry. High acidity is often associated with high meat and processed food consumption. These conditions make for a perfect environment to foster inflammation and disease. When you workout, you use oxygen which leaves behind free radicals which act like rust to our cells. Lemons (both skin and pulp) are rich in antioxidants and free radical quenchers.

So when someone gives you lemons, make more than just lemonade! Here are some top benefits and super uses for lemons.

Use lemons as a marinade for fish and chicken.
Lemons as a Marinade for Chicken & Fish
I keep frozen salmon fillets and chicken breasts in the freezer and splash on a marinade of fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, smokey rub and coconut oil. I let the fillet sit refrigerated overnight and either grill or pan sear it the next day.
The Benefit: Not only does it make chicken and fish taste bright and fantastic, it helps diminish possible carcinogens which can arise from high cooking temperatures. Here is a recipe for both a lemon based marinade and citrus vinaigrette for salads. The citrus component helps you absorb vitamins and minerals from the salad greens and garden vegetables.

Lemon Marinade/Citrus Vinaigrette Recipe

1 tbsp minced garlic

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

3 tbsps fresh lemon juice

2 tbsps fresh orange juice

1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine first 6 ingredients in a small jar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Shake to blend, this Vinaigrette can be made up to a week in advance.

The Citrus Vinaigrette tops a salad and marinades the fish.
Fresh Lemon Juice and Hot Water in the Morning
This is a very easy morning detoxifying cleanse that you can do when you wake up. Start with a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice with pulp stirred in at least 8 ozs of hot water. Drink it before you take any of your morning supplements as it will help in the absorption of vitamins and minerals. It also helps cut through morning phlegm when used as a gargle.




Add lemon juice to your vegetable juices to help absorption of vitamins & minerals
Lemon Juice in Your Smoothies
Vitamins and minerals found in most pithy vegetables and greens are often hard to extract. Lemon juice helps provide the proper environment for nutrients, especially minerals, to be absorbed and utilized. To effect this, you can add 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice to your favorite vegetable or fruit smoothie.


Lemon Juice makes a great, natural fruit & vegetable wash.
Lemon Juice as a Fruit & Vegetable Wash
Even if you buy mostly organic produce, there are a lot of bacteria, e. coli and other impurities present on the skin. Make your own effective fruit and vegetable wash by adding one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice into a pint spray bottle. It is a natural disinfectant and leaves the produce smelling very fresh.

Lemon juice for skin and hair care.
Lemon Juice for Skin and Hair Care
My skin is very oily, especially in the summer time so I like to use fresh lemon juice as a toner after cleansing. Also my freckles tend to show more after a day in the sun as can be seen here after my workout class in Montauk Point on Long Island. It's part of life and if you run, walk, bicycle or do anything outdoors, it will effect you.

Sun Spots: I take a small wedge of fresh lemon and rub it over the darkened freckles after cleansing at night. You can make a lemon based toner with 1/2 strained lemon juice to 8 ozs of water and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Decant onto a cotton ball and apply to effected areas of sun damaged skin.


As a Hair Rinse: Using the pool and sweating during a workout leaves behind deposits that can cause your hair to turn dull, brassy and limp. A light lemon juice rinse helps to remove old hair styling residue which coat the hair. You can add 1/2 lemon to a pint of warm water. Save it for the final rinse but you can follow up with a cold water rinse to close the cuticle and add shine. Lemon juice when rubbed into the scalp helps treat flaky dandruff as well. 






Lemon Juice for First Aid
I often add a slice of fresh lemon to my icy water bottle for my bike rides. Did you know that same lemon wedge can disinfect a road cut or rash and help stop bleeding and infection? You can squeeze the juice directly on the cut or onto a cotton ball and hold in place. Simple!

These are just a few uses for lemons if you are pursuing a healthy, fit lifestyle. Keep a bunch of fresh lemons in your house as you can see the benefits of lemon juice to your natural  lifestyle. Visit Limoneira Company of Santa Paula, CA for more information on the benefits of lemon.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Natural Solutions for Soft Tissue Injuries and Sore Joints

Cold wrapped compress on my ankle.
A few weeks ago I ran a 10k for The FEED Project in a different pair of road shoes than I have been training in. You can read all about it HERE.  Now I'm not often sidelined by soft tissue injuries as I always try to protect them with proper technique and equipment. All the same, here I am with very sore Achilles tendons that have made even walking painful.

Tender Times
You may need to see what new training routines you can try to lessen the stress on the injured area. This may seem intuitive but if any of your lower extremities such as knees, ankles, shins and hips become over-worked to the point of being painful, you'll do better to give them a rest. My ankles actually got WORSE days after the 10k which I was not expecting. I have a busy schedule so staying completely off them was not an option. Each night I make sure to take at least 500 mgs of Calcium Citrate in addition to my usual Turmeric supplements. Even with all of this, it has taken time to rebound so....patience, patience.

Increase your anti-inflammatory foods and supplements.

Adding Some Anti-Inflammatory Foods
In addition to taking extra Calcium Citrate and turmeric, I also make sure to add foods rich in omega fatty acids like: sardines, salmon, walnuts, sesame oil, etc. One of my favorites is pan seared salmon. I add a smokey apple wood rub to salmon fillets which have been marinated in lemon juice. A little flour and a quick turn in the pan with a bit of sesame oil makes them SO juicy! I also increase my antioxidants by adding a side of sweet potato fries which are rich in Vitamin A. You can also buy natural sweet potato and squash soups in cartons at the super-market. This way they are ready to heat and eat making it more likely you'll consume enough while recovering.

Squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes are all rich in Vitamin A

Another natural pain reliever, especially for people with arthritic or stiff joints is something very delicious. Sweet Tart Cherries. I like Dried Montmorency Tart Cherries which are grown in Michigan. Add them to granola, Greek yogurt, poultry stuffing or simply eat right out of the bag. Just a few a day helps me ditch the pain of sore knees and ankles.

Seeing the LED Light
You may simply need to employ the RICE method which is an acronym for Rest Ice Compression and Evaluate. Now while this mostly applies to acute sprains, it can also help when injuries tend to linger a bit. While my leg is up, I also use LED Lights placed just over the joint or ankle area. The lights cycle for 15 minutes and you will usually notice a difference after only one or two treatments. A lot of sports medicine practitioners have LED lights in the locker room, ready to go to work on team members. They really work well in helping to speed blood flow, thus helping to increase the body's response to inflammation. This 2 panel model is perfect for positioning over joints as well as lower back strain. See them online at Louisa Grave's website under LED Lights

Red LED Light Therapy helps soothe sore joints and tendons.
Wrap It Up and Chill
I've used and re-used these cool wraps by Arctic Ease. I like to put them in the refrigerator first so they get nice and chilly. Next I unroll it and wrap the offending joint. They feel great on and give a lot of instant relief for times when you just can't stand it. These reusable cold compression wraps come in different sizes and re-hydrate easily with just a little water. See them at ArcticEaseWrap.com