Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition’

A long time ago in a land far, far away (London to be exact), Donna from Beating Limitations wrote a review of the book The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table by Tracie McMillan.

In her review, Donna wrote:

I enjoyed the way the author extensively researched and footnoted throughout the book. This is not a flippant piece of work – but a very well thought out journey from farm to table – including thoughts on public policy evolution and the agricultural technology revolution.

Donna offered to pass along her copy of the book to an interested blogger in the hopes that that person would then review the book and pass it along to yet another blogger. I was the lucky recipient of the book, and while it took me a long time to wade through the detailed information it presented, I am glad I read it all. McMillan spends several months working in the farm fields of California, stocking produce at Walmart in Michigan, and in the kitchen of Applebee’s in New York, all while trying to feed herself on the minimal salary those jobs provide. The insight she is able to gather while undercover in those jobs is fascinating and informative. But she doesn’t just leave it at that. She backs up her experiences with extensive research and insight into the food industry in America. This is one of those books I wish everyone would read. If you want the chance to read it, leave a comment to this post. On March 31st, I’ll pick one commenter at random to receive the book. If you win, you’re under no obligation to post your own review and pass the book along, but I hope you will!

Read Full Post »

Are you tired of paying for expensive sports drinks full of unnecessary food dyes and artificial flavoring? Try this recipe for 40 ounces of homemade natural sports drink:

Homemade Sports Drink Recipe

30 ounces of water
10 ounces of 100% fruit juice of your choice (see some options below)
3 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 rounded teaspoon of salt

Shake well to dissolve sugar and salt.

(The suggested ingredients for this recipe were shared with my running academy group by chiropractor and clinical nutritionist G. Douglas Andersen, DC, DACBSP, CCN. I researched several different juices for the recipe and compared them with commercial sports drinks below).

What type of juice should be used to make a homemade sports drink?

Any kind of 100% fruit juice works, but keep in mind that the calories and other nutritive values will vary by the type of juice (see sample information below — I am not a nutritionist but I did some research on various types of juices). I always prefer organic juice. You might have to play around with a mix of juices to get the right flavor, sugar, and salt balance for you. Some good choices:

Cherry juice: one study found that drinking cherry juice can reduce muscle soreness due to exercise. (Source: WebMD Juice Wars Slideshow)

Pomegranate juice: this juice has a high level of antioxidants. (Source: Mayo Clinic)

Pineapple, orange, lemon and lime juices (not from concentrate, and preferably fresh-squeezed). You might want to limit the lemon and lime juices to a small amount for flavoring and pair them with other juices. Lemons and limes have high acidity levels that can cause stomach upset.

Note that no matter which juice you choose, you always want to try out a sports drink first on several training runs and not on a planned long run or race!

Nutrition Information Per 20 Fluid Ounces of Sports Drink

I used 20 ounces of sports drink for this comparison because it is half the recipe and nearly fills most standard sports bottles (I prefer the 21-25 oz. CamelBak sports bottles (not an affiliate link)). It also compares well to the G2 powder pack which is mixed with 20 ounces of water.

Fruit juice (5 oz. juice in 20 oz. sports drink):

Granulated sugar: 72 calories, 18.9 g carbohydrates (source: USDA Nutrient Database entry for 4.5 tsp. granulated sugar)

Table salt: 0 calories, approximately 98 mg sodium (source: USDA Nutrient Database entry for 1/8 tsp. table salt)

How does a homemade sports drink compare to other sports drinks like Gatorade G2 and Fluid?

Let’s compare homemade sports drink with pomegranate juice to Gatorade G2 Fruit Punch Powder for 20 oz. water and Fluid Performance Sports Drink Blueberry Pomegranate for 20 oz. water (When I buy sports drink I choose Fluid because it’s what has been offered on course for both of my full marathons and I make sure to train with what will be available during the race. I have also tried the G2 powder packs which are very convenient but I do not like the red dye). Of course, you could always adjust the homemade recipe above to approximate your favorite sports drink.

Calories per 20 ounces:

  • Homemade pomegranate: 157 calories
  • Homemade cherry: 153 calories
  • Homemade orange: 266 calories (again, you could reduce the added granulated sugar to adjust this amount)
  • G2: 130 calories
  • Fluid: 167 calories

Carbohydrates:

  • Homemade pomegranate: 39.5 g
  • Homemade cherry: 38.9 g
  • Homemade orange: 63.6 g (less if you add less sugar)
  • G2: 32 grams
  • Fluid: 40g

Sodium per 20 ounces:

  • Homemade pomegranate: 112 mg
  • Homemade cherry: 110.5 mg
  • Homemade orange: 102 mg
  • G2: 230 mg
  • Fluid: 334 mg

It is interesting to me that the homemade recipe is so much lower in sodium. Consider your needs and adjust the salt or supplement with salt tablets on your run. See the interesting Active.com article How Much Salt Do You Need While Running?

Potassium per 20 ounces:

  • Homemade pomegranate: 336 mg
  • Homemade cherry: 256 mg
  • Homemade orange: 860 mg
  • G2: 70 mg
  • Fluid: 109 mg

Magnesium per 20 ounces:

  • Homemade pomegranate: 11 mg magnesium
  • Homemade cherry: NA
  • Homemade orange: 47 mg
  • G2: NA
  • Fluid:  18 mg

Have you tried a version of this recipe? What do you think? It takes some experimentation to get the mix right for you. I like pineapple juice but plan to play around with other flavors to get the salt and sugar balance just right.

Do you have a favorite homemade sports drink recipe? Feel free to share your own recipe or link in the comments.

Read Full Post »

Happy Saint Paddy’s Day everyone! A leprechaun visited my house in the wee hours of the morning. He left shamrocks and little green pots of “gold” (quarters) for me and the kids to find.

My house might not always be tidy but I do keep a beautiful bouquet on the table as a bright spot amidst the chaos. The leprechaun approves!

My house might not always be tidy but I do keep a beautiful bouquet on the table as a bright spot amidst the chaos. The leprechaun approves!

My kids have always known the true identity of the leprechaun-bunny-fairy-claus but still enjoy playing along.

After our treasure hunt the leprechaun made us all some green eggs. I politely declined artificial green food dye so Mike came up with a creative alternative. He made his own natural green dye from water and a crushed leaf of swiss chard with the stems removed!

It's extra classy when you use a wine cork as your muddler.

It’s extra classy when you use a wine cork as your muddler.

Once he strained out the crushed leaves, it made a beautiful bright green dye:

eggs with natural green dye

and some delicious green eggs!

green scrambled eggs

Speaking of greens, I love this graphic from No Meat Athlete on seven healthy, tasty greens that are often overlooked in favor of spinach and kale:

Seven greens graphic info

Obviously I’ve had swiss chard, and I’ve tried arugula too. I haven’t had turnip greens but I have had beet greens (sautéed in olive oil with garlic and salt – yum!) The rest I will search out the next time I make it to Whole Foods!

Are you Irish? Yes, I’m a whopping 1/16th Irish!
Did you run the L.A. Marathon or any other St. Patrick’s Day race today? How did it go for you? I have heard many good things about the L.A. Marathon and hope to run it someday.

Read Full Post »

Monday meant back to school for my kiddos and that meant back to “work” for me. Three or four weeks per year I bring the snack for the preschool class. What compelled me to be on the list for the week after winter break I don’t know. Thank goodness I put it on my calendar and remembered! I even researched a healthy, fun snack that was inexpensive and easy to prepare. It turned out so cute I’m thinking of serving it for the next kids’ book club meeting for my 2nd and 5th grader and the rest of the moms.

Cucumber Cups with Ranch Dressing and Carrots for Dipping

Ingredients for 30 cucumber cups, 2 each for 15 people:
5 large organic cucumbers (you want to leave the skins on)
1 large bag of at least 60 organic baby carrots (you could use regular, peeled and cut carrot sticks)
1 bottle of organic or homemade ranch dressing

Tools:
melon baller or similar scooper
knife

Prep time:
20 minutes

Rinse and scrub the cucumbers. Slice off the ends of the cucumbers. Cut them into 2-inch sections, about 6 sections per cucumber depending on the size. Use a melon baller to scoop out the center of each section, creating a “cup” for the ranch dressing. Reserve the scooped-out cucumber to use in a salad or cucumber soup.

Step one: cut a two-inch section of cucumber and scoop out the center, leaving a cucumber "cup."

Step one: cut a two-inch section of cucumber and scoop out the center, leaving a cucumber “cup.”

Into each cucumber “cup,” pour a small amount of ranch dressing and add two baby carrots or carrot sticks.

These fun dipping cups end up looking like rabbit ears or sushi.

These fun dipping cups ended up looking like rabbit ears or sushi.

I knew I had a hit on my hands when my 8- and 10-year-olds wanted to help me make — and EAT — these before school. The preschool kids loved them too. When I asked my 4-year-old if the class liked them, she said they loved them. “Everyone ate 2, or 3, or 4, or 5! I had the most!”

If you’re looking for other healthy snack ideas, check out:

Ants on a Log
Four Fun Pirate-Themed Snacks

Read Full Post »

Recently we played Name That Fruit. Now it’s time for Name That Vegetable:

malanga

I’ve started a new game with my husband. When he goes to the grocery store for me, I challenge him to buy me an interesting new fruit or vegetable. This one stumped me for sure. Thankfully it came with a Melissa’s brand tag that explained:

Malanga is a tropical tuber used in Latin and African cooking. This starchy tuber has a nutty flavor. It can be prepared like a potato: sliced, diced or mashed. It is a great complement to spicy sauces or served with meat.

The label said a single 3-ounce serving of malanga has 91 calories, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein.

“My” malanga came all the way from Ecuador. I felt a little bad about that — it’s not exactly shopping locally — but I felt good about trying something new. I baked it like a potato and ate the insides. The tag was right about the nutty flavor. Later in the week I ate some roasted chestnuts and the chestnut meat reminded me exactly of the flavor and consistency of the malanga insides. It’s more dense and flavorful than a potato. I have a feeling I’d love it if I hadn’t grown up on white potatoes. As it is I thought it was interesting, if not delicious.

“Malanga” is the Spanish-speaking name for this tropical vegetable, but some cultures call it eddoe or Chinese eddoe. In the Urdu and Hindi languages of South Asia, it’s called arvi.

Have you ever tried a malanga? What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten lately?

Read Full Post »

What kind of weirdo has thoughts on celery, and goes so far as to think anyone else would like to hear those thoughts? Me of course. Stick around, especially if you’re not a fan of celery.

1. You must buy organic celery for the best flavor and to reduce pesticide consumption. For years my husband hated celery. He didn’t like the taste, and even thought he might be allergic to it due to some odd reactions he would get if he ate it. Then we started getting organic celery in our CSA farm share box, and he loved it! It’s no wonder. Celery is #2 on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of the 12 vegetables with the most pesticide residues on them. Organic celery might not have more nutrients in it than conventionally grown celery, but it has a lot less pesticide and a lot more flavor!

2. Do the strings in celery bother you? Peel them! No, I don’t mean you should spend your lunch hour painstakingly picking out each little string in your celery stick. If the stringiness of celery offends your delicate taste buds, then get out a vegetable peeler and peel the outside curve of the celery just like you would peel the skin off any other vegetable. I learned that little trick from watching chef Emeril Lagasse teach someone how to make celery more tender and appealing. Personally the strings do not bother me and I am way too lazy to take the time to peel celery, but I can totally see doing it if it would help a picky eater in my family enjoy another green vegetable!

3. Dress up your celery. Sure you could eat celery plain or dip it in some dressing, but I like to fill the inside curve with peanut butter and top it with a line of raisins. Crunchy, salty and sweet — it’s the vegetable version of a chocolate-covered pretzel. Around here, we call it Ants on a Log, but you could also stand those little raisins on end and create yet another pirate-themed snack — Pirates Walking the Plank!

Pirates Walking the Plank

Weigh in with this weirdo celery lover. Celery: yay or nay? Peeling: necessary or not?

Read Full Post »

Name That Fruit

You get a nutritional gold star (not to be confused with a nutritious gold star, which I’m pretty sure does not exist because even though the super-rich like to decorate their food with edible gold flakes, such flakes don’t provide any nutritive value), if you can name this fruit:

Mystery fruit #1

These beauties came in my CSA box from Tanaka Farms the other day. I had no idea what they were until I looked up the delivery list for the week. I thought they looked like some kind of pear, but some of them were more round than pear-shaped. My first clue should have been the yummy smell of the ones that were starting to ripen and turn yellow:

Mystery fruit #1 pic 2

Can you guess? (This reminds me of a story my mom tells of the time she gave her dad a present when she was a little girl. She was so excited when she handed him the gift, she said, “Guess, but don’t guess hankies!”)

So, guess, but don’t guess Asian guavas! Yup, these fragrant fruits are organic Asian guavas. My husband and my 4-year-old gobbled them up at dinner yesterday. According to Trethowan Organic Farm, here’s how to eat them, and the benefits they provide:

Don’t peel them, just remove the seeds. Not only do they possess an exotic flavor, they have a long list of health benefits: Guavas are low in calories and fats but contain several vital vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and potassium. Guavas are also a good source of B Complex, Vitamin E and K.

What new fruit or vegetable have you tried lately? Have you ever tasted an Asian guava? I tried a bite of Asian guava but I’m not a huge fan of guavas. I would definitely remove the seeds and then blend these up in a smoothie. Or, you know, save them for Mike and my youngest girl, who devoured them like they are the nectar of the gods.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »