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Archive for November, 2009

According to Tershia D’Elgin, in her book What Should I Eat: A Complete Guide to the New Food Pyramid, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are very beneficial to our bodies and we should try our very best to include the recommended servings in our diets. She explains that these fats help reduce the risk of health problems like cardiovascular diseases while also improving our body’s cellular functions.  Additionally they help keep our “bones, skin, hair, and eyes” healthy among other things. When we cook with these beneficial oils, however, the heat can cause these oils to become saturated, making them unhealthy and significantly lowering their nutritional value. D’Elgin suggests that we steam our foods first and then drizzle some unheated oil on top.  It is not impossible to cook without oil, in fact there are countless of recipes and ideas both in books and online about alternatives in lowering the amount of oil used in our cooking. I suggest using an olive oil or canola oil spray when cooking things like eggs to reduce sticking. Also, having non-stick pans is great because you do not have to worry about adding oil to the foods you cook so they do not stick to your pan. I am not an expert in baking, but I have used apple sauce in replacement of oil in muffins and I have also heard of people using yogurt in baking.  Lastly, many of us love our fried chicken, and like the name implies, we would be convinced that we cannot obtain good crunchy fried chicken without frying. Remarkably, well seasoned chicken breasts coated in crunchy corn flakes or panko (Japanese bread crumbs) baked in the oven can be as satisfying or even more satisfying than a battered piece of deep fried chicken (since you will be eating a much more healthier piece of all white meat chicken without all the calories from the deep frying).

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One of the easiest (and most fun) way to not only make sure you run through the winter but to get faster while you’re doing it is to train with a group. If you know there are other people out there waiting for you to show up, chances are you’ll get out there–rain, snow, or sleet. Some of my favorite runs actually have been with groups in less-than-favorable weather. Nothing bonded my high school track team more than our first meet of the season when we had to race in our singlets and shorts through a hail storm. This summer, almost all my track workouts ended up total wash-outs, but the feeling of finishing that last 400, water sopping through your socks and shoes, everyone ditching their soaked-through shirts in the in-field, with your teammates was the greatest. So was knowing how tough we all are!

Groups not only hold you accountable for your runs, but training with a group can reinvigorate your solo training routine with intensity, competition and inspiration. How much can you really push yourself in that last 800 rep if there isn’t someone’s footsteps catching up to you and someone else’s shoulders bobbing ahead of you? It’s hard to realize how fast you can be if you don’t have a group of runners to push your limits. Running with a group also provides you with inspiration (If she broke 3:30, maybe I can too …) and people to bounce training, eating and racing ideas off of.

Lucky for us in NYC, the New York Road Runners has a ton of great clubs; some focus primarily on racing, others on socializing, but there’s all different paces, practice schedules and coaching styles, and most clubs encourage you to check out a few practices before deciding to join.

I’m going to be training for Boston this winter, and I can’t wait to spend my winter break training with Montgomery County Road Runners’ Boston Bound program!

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Sometimes I can’t stop myself from craving something nice and sweet and not so healthy!  To quench my sweet- tooth I have discovered the BEST guilt free cupcakes.  These cupcakes are about as big as a quarter and taste amazing.  They are stuffed with deliciousness.  These amazing cupcakes can be found downtown(at Spring and Broadway) at a cute little shop called “Baked by Melissa”.  So when you are craving something sweet hop on the subway and get these amazing cupcakes!

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Finally, it’s that time of year again … and I’m not talking about Christmas just yet; it’s the one right before, the holiday that brings together family, friends, loved ones, and not to mention loads of delicious food! Yes my friends, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. As colorful, crisp leaves pile up on the sidewalks, and the streets become a model runway for new high-end winter coats, you can get ready to kiss your homework goodbye for four days and welcome in Thanksgiving break.

Yet scrumptious turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and a plethora of desserts can occasionally be a bit too tempting, and it becomes easy to go overboard.  But, never fear, a cure to holiday over-eating has arrived!  Thanks to one of my favorite magazines “Self,” I’ve got an awesome dessert recipe that allows you to indulge while simultaneously remaining mindful of your whole grain, fruit, and fiber intake.  A guiltless treat!

Check out the magazine’s link: http://www.self.com/?intcid=navigation_home

Apple- Pear pie:  Welcome a tasty new way to savor both the pick of the harvest and an unusual, low-sugar, filling, dessert.  Now you can have your pie and eat it too! Plus, it’s an excellent way to impress friends and family with your new and exotic baking skills… so girls, enjoy the holiday and your dessert!

Apple Pear Pie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds baking apples (such as Gala or Golden Delicious), peeled, cored and sliced
  • 3/4 pound pears, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 lemon, zested, then juiced
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pastry flour
  • 2 frozen pie crusts, thawed slightly

preparation:

Heat oven to 350°. Toss apples, pears, zest, juice, rum, ginger, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Sprinkle with flour and toss again. Scoop fruit mixture into one crust; top with the other crust (remove it from the tin). Cut slits and crimp edges together. Bake until golden, 45 to 50 minutes.

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A few weeks ago, Larabar was kind enough to send Barnard Barbelle a plethora of bars to sample. The selection included two of their new flavors; peanut butter and jelly and tropical fruit tart.

As I’ve professed numerous times before, energy bars often do not constitute the ideal snack. Most contain copious amounts of sugar and are designed specifically for endurance athletes. I realize, however, that college students lead hectic lives and throwing an energy bar into a purse can be a convenient option.

When selecting an energy bar, try to select one whose ingredient list contains items you can pronounce. Larabar provides an excellent example of this. Many of their bars contain fewer than five ingredients,  dates usually being the primary one. This ensures that you are fueling your body with nutritional powerhouses, rather than artificially-engineered ingredients.

All of the flavors sampled tasted great, with the favorites being PB&J ( oh, the nostalgia), and tropical fruit tart. Larabar  did a great job in creating their newest flavors! The bars may initially come across as less-sweet than the usual brand, but your taste buds will quickly acclimate and enjoy the nutty texture.

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Announcement

Bootcamps are cancelled until further notice. Thanks!

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winter-runner

Think it’s too cold in the winter to run outside?  Experts claim there is no danger to running in chilly weather as long as you take care of yourself.  If you dislike jogging in the gym as much as I do, you might want to keep up your outdoor exercise routine while keeping these 10 tips in mind:

1. Dress in layers

Try dressing for weather that is 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature (so if it is 25 degrees outside, dress for 45 degree weather). Sweat-wicking materials are great, since wet clothing can cause a severe chilling effect, especially if it is windy outside.

2. Wear a hat

About 40% of your body heat is lost through your head!! If you can, wear a hat that covers your ears.

3. Protect your extremities (hands, ears, etc.)

Mittens are better than gloves…but in general, I’m just fine with gloves.

4. Moisturize

The amount that you use and what needs moisturizing varies…I moisturize my hands and lips daily.

5. Take it easy

You’re more likely to pull a muscle in the cold, so warm up slowly and easily.  I like to stretch during (at stoplights) and after running.

6. Don’t ignore warning signs

If you do feel uncomfortably cold, go somewhere warm as soon as you can (even if it means stopping in a heated restroom in Riverside Park for a couple minutes)

7. Wear bright/reflective clothing

It gets dark early.  Bear in mind that if you start running at dusk, it will probably be dark before you return.

8. Run into the wind before running with the wind

This way, you won’t deep-freeze on the way home once you’ve worked up a sweat!

9. Be careful of ice

Riverside Park is super-icy in the winter.

10. Stay hydrated

Once you’ve finished your run, reward yourself with some chocolate milk!  (Research shows drinking some is a great way to replenish your muscles after an intense workout.)

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