Category Archives: nutrition

Weeks in Review: 2/13/17 to 2/26/17

There’s no filter to undo those circles…

2/13/17 to 2/19/17

Monday: Early morning snowshoe run for 45 minutes because the snow was just too amazing to not play in. Plus, I’m signed up for the Northeast Snowshoe Championships so I figured I’d better get out and practice!

Tuesday: 8 miles with 4 miles at tempo pace. Downhill skiing in the afternoon.

Wednesday: 4.28 mile recovery run.

Thursday: 8 miles with 4.5 miles at steady state on the treadmill.

Friday: 3.25 miles easy.

Saturday: 45 minute snowshoe run at my parents. SO hard in all the snow.

Sunday: Off day.

Total Miles: 23.5 plus 90 minutes of snowshoe running.

2/20/17 to 2/26/17

Monday: 8 miles with 5 by 2 at interval pace followed by a mile at steady state.

Tuesday: 5 mile recovery run

Wednesday: 6.65 mile regular run

Thursday: 5 mile progression run

Friday: 10 miles of classic skiing at the State Meet.

Saturday: Long call. Lots of hospital walking but no run. 300 abs routine before bed.

Sunday: 11.3 mile long run.

Total Miles: 46.0

The last two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. When we’re on Inpatient Medicine, we typically work six days a week with one weekend day off. Since the State Meets fall on weekdays, however, I had to stack some weekends so that I could have the time off. This past week, my “off day” from the hospital was very much an on day at the rainy, windy classic State Meet. Needless to say, I’m pretty wiped out and amazed I ran at all!

The toughest girls you’ll ever meet.

And my resilient, wonderful boys relay team.

My workouts have felt pretty good lately, which I attribute in part to my being fastidious about taking my multivitamin with iron. I stopped taking extra iron after last summer because my running had decreased and the high sweat loss season was done. However, because of the size of my hematoma, I decided to add a multivitamin with iron back in and have felt much peppier on runs lately.

I finally feel like I’m getting in a rhythm with my early morning runs…which must mean it’s time to switch schedules again! I have one more week on Inpatient Medicine, then switch to Surgery Boot Camp. This has a later start time but I think I’ll continue to do my runs in the morning. As ski season winds down, I’ll also be looking to add Body Pump back in for strength training.

Good Eats: Lemon Couscous, Raisin Bran Muffins and Thug Kitchen

Finishing interview season has been a bit like coming up for air after trying to swim the length of a pool. It took me a week to figure out how to live at home again but once I did, I was right back to menu planning and recipe experimentation.

The first thing that has been rocking my world is the Thug Kitchen 101 cookbook. If you haven’t heard about Thug Kitchen yet, it’s this awesome vegan cookbook (no, I’m not vegan but I like vegetables) with expletives throughout. Totally entertaining way to cook. Anyway, Joe got this for Will for Christmas and in the style of TK, we have been cooking the **** out of it. At $12 on Amazon, get it and be open minded. Goodness knows we could all eat more veggies…Things we’ve loved so far:

  • French Crushed Chickpea and Artichoke Heart Salad
  • Sun-dried Tomato Carbonara
  • Creamy Squash Mac and Cheese with Hot Sauce Bread Crumbs (feeds an army, just FYI)
  • Red Curry Noodes (our first recipe and omg…I was in love and I don’t even LIKE curry)
  • Quinoa Taco Mix (fed this to teenagers and grown men who only eat meat with no complaints)

The next recipe I made was a Lemon Couscous Cucumber Salad to accompany Chicken Picatta. Since we are 100% moving in May, we have started the extremely painful process of trying to clean out our house which includes our cabinets, fridges and freezers. As such, I came across a jar of capers and a bag of Israeli couscous and voila. For the chicken, I had chicken cutlets in the freezer already and didn’t bother with buying full breasts and butterflying; if you’re averse to that kind of prep like I am, I can attest that cutlets were equally delicious and cooked in about 2 minutes.

Finally, I made the boys two dozen Raisin Bran muffins with some stale cereal that’s been haunting the cupboards for months. I made mine with almond milk instead of buttermilk (lactose hurts at least half the house) and added in a half cup of dried cranberries to up the fruit content. Mostly because I didn’t pre-read the instructions and the over was already preheated, I skipped the 45 minutes to let the cereal soften. No one seems to be complaining and there are only 8 muffins left less than 24 hours after they came out of the over.

Book Review: The Endurance Diet AND Giveaway

One benefiit of “frequent” airline travel is that I’ve had the opportunity to read more books in the past few weeks than I’ve read in all of medical school. A few weeks ago, a publisher reached out to me to see if I was interested in reading an advanced copy of Matt Fitzgerald’s new book The Endurance Diet. As I talked about in my post on nutrition recently, I’ve been looking for ways to improve my diet even with my hectic schedule so I said I would be happy to.

In full disclosure, I was skeptical before I started reading. I vehemently disagreed with Fitzgerald’s prior book on nutrition (Racing Weight) where he advocated that runners all have an optimum racing weight and provided a calculation that for most regular people, would leave them hungry and thin. I’m glad I gave him another chance, however, because he hits it out of the park with The Endurance Diet.

Based on interviews with elite endurance athletes across the world, Fitzgerald essentially reviewed their diet logs during training and looked for trends in general approach to diet and the balance of macronutrients (fats, carbs and proteins are your macros). His initial hypothesis was that there would be differences depending on sport and region of the world but what he found was that there was extraordinary similarity between all top level endurance athletes AND that when an athlete had experienced a performance breakthrough, a shift in diet towards the endurance diet had preceeded the change.

From this, Fitzgerald deduces five key habits:

  1. Eat everything.
  2. Eat quality
  3. Eat carb-centered
  4. Eat enough
  5. Eat individually

None of this is revolutionary, of course, but Fitzgerald takes it a step farther with his Diet Quality Score and associated app (available on iPhone and Android). Basically, you get positive points for quality foods and negative points for less quality foods. Your goal is to get to +20 quality points a day. The catch? All foods can be both, so for example, your first glass of wine for the day is a +1 because of the known benefits of wine  and beer for health. The second (and third and fourth) areall -1. Similarly, the first few servings of fruits and veggies are +2 but after a few, they become zeroes and then negative. The whole idea is to eat a range of healthy foods in moderation. What a concept!

My own performance has been mixed. My first day was a +4, in part because I had just gotten home from a trip and we didn’t have much in the way of food. I had a granola bar for breakfast (-1 for refined grains, -2 for sweets because of its sugar content). The next day, however, I had 19 points after a grocery store run and a big, green salad and fresh fruit. Days when I’m home, my quality score is near 20. When I’m traveling or on an interview day, I’m lucky to break 5. What this has led me to conclude is that I need to have two goals; 20 for normal days and 10 for interview days since I don’t have control over what is served. Example of how my behavior has started to shift? I’m sitting in the airport writing this and instead of getting a dressing soaked salad, I had raw veggies, an apple, two hard boiled eggs and almonds (+8 if you were curious…) Although I don’t know what I’ll have for dinner tonight, I am confident I can find a cup of green tea, a glass of wine and another piece of fruit during my journeys.

The only major drawback that I can see is that Fitzgerald isn’t prescriptive about serving sizes and even says that his are variable; for example, when he makes a sandwich, he counts the two slices of bread as one serving of whole grain because who makes a sandwich with one slice of bread…Although this flexibility and individuality are nice, it could set some people up to be too permissive with serving sizes and be counterproductive.

All in all, I highly recommend all endurance athletes of all levels give this book some attention. It is a reasonable, accessibly approach to nutrition which is something most of us real people could sorely use.

I do have a copy of Fitzgerald’s book to giveaway to one entrant.** There are four ways to enter and you can do one or all of them to up your chances!

a) Comment on this blog post: What diet approaches have you used in your running in the past?

b) Follow me on Instagram (@runswatrun) between now and December 20th and shoot me a message on that platform to let me know you’re entering.

c) Follow me on Twitter (@runswatrun) between now and December 20th and send me a DM letting me know you’re entering.

d) Share this post on your own social media accounts and tag me as you do!

**The book is released on December 27th, 2016 so I will get the copy to the winner after the first of the year.

 

Sting or Bee Stung: Welcome to the Hive

honeystinger_nobuzz_color

I am undoubtedly one of the luckiest people on the planet as I get to run and chase my dreams while being supported by an amazing group of sponsors who go out of their way to cheer me on and set me up for success. That being said, I’m pretty picky about who I partner with both because I need to use the products authentically and because despite being just a blogger in a small corner of the world, people trust what I say!

When the opportunity to join forces with Honey Stinger arose, I jumped on it and hoped they would see me as a good investment. I first encountered Honey Stinger when training for the Vermont City Marathon a few years ago. Although I’ve improved markedly in this area, I used to get extremely nervous before races and eating any substantial meal was out of the question. I was able to successfully nibble on a Honey Stinger Waffle, however. At that time, there were no fancy flavors like now, just basic honey flavored waffles. Once I’d discovered that I could tolerate them, however, they were always in my bag in case of pre-race anxiety emergency. Now that I’m a little less nervous but my schedule is 100% more chaotic, there are waffles and chews tucked all over my life; in the glove box, in my white coat pocket, in my locker, in my ski bag etc. They are super portable and if they get crushed, they still taste good! I’m currently obsessed with the Gingersnap and Caramel flavors. If you can be patient, melting the caramel over your coffee or tea makes a delicious treat. I’ve also been experimenting with the Grapefruit Chews. I’m not sure how I’ll attach them to my body for racing (I may not be successful on this front), but they are a great pre-workout boost if I’m starting to get hungry before a run.

As I get back into more long runs, I’ll be trying out the gels as well and will report back. Another great feature is that Honey Stinger features quite a few gluten free waffles, which is a great option for athletes who have celiac disease. One of the hardest things about celiac is having a quick snack to grab before your workout (because so many carbs are gluten-containing), so it’s great that Honey Stinger has a full collection.

As always, full disclosure in this crazy world of blogging endorsements and sponsorships is my goal. While I am not paid by Honey Stinger to discuss their products, I do receive a discount and occasionally free items from them as part of my role as Hive Ambassador. My goal, regardless of my sponsor affiliations, is to always be honest and transparent and you can expect that in this setting as well!

Nutrition Intervention

I’ve always prided myself on my approach to nutrition. The daughter of a Registered Dietitian, food planning and preparation have always been relatively easy for me and I legitimately prefer real, nutritious food to junk food. That’s not to say that I don’t like treats but if I have a donut for breakfast, I’m still looking for a berry smoothie to feel done with the meal.

When I traveled to Asheville a couple of weeks ago, I had a few hours on the plane to think in peace and was reflecting on many things, one of them being my nutrition. I have been in and out of my home (and my kitchen) since March of 2015 when I was in Maine for Family Medicine and since March of 2016, I’ve lived in Norwalk, Chicago and Asheville. Needless to say, any semblance of routine has been hugely disrupted. Add in all my recent travel and long coaching days fueled by…adrenaline? and I found myself feeling severely undernourished. Sure, I was eating food and getting through the day but couldn’t recall the last time I had a salad or planned a whole day of nutritious food. Diet Coke had crept back into my life after a few years and I found myself eating more candy and sweets than usual. Interview meals are a whole other issue; you eat what the program provides and quickly, since someone is almost guaranteed to ask you another question before you can swallow.

Travel makes it hard but I’ve spent the last two weeks working hard on planning and preparing so that I have access to as much nutritious food as I can. I’m back to roasting root veggies on Sunday for salads and packing a cooler of food for when I’m on the road. I hand mixed a new trail mix that has enough fat, protein and carb to power me through even the longest interview meet and greet. I throw a couple of Light Muscle Milk cartons in every bag so I always have an easy, portable option for protein to tide me over. I’m aggressively paying attention to my caffeine to water ratio and bringing tubes of Nuun with me everywhere to combat hotel room air. (Why ARE hotel rooms so dry?!) I even had the opportunity to pair up with Honey Stinger for 2017 (more on this later), so I now have a great supply of Stinger Waffles for pre-run or even survival in my carry-on.

In some ways, it would be easier to just take a grab and go approach. After all, my time is limited and trying to make it to 20+ cities on time, in a suit and looking vaguely professional is enough of a challenge without trying to do food prep. But after two weeks of being much more intentional about my fuel, I’m feeling so much better. I’m not waking up starving or crashing during runs, I don’t drag through the day and I generally feel better. If I’m going to be short on time, I’d rather feel good for the time I do have.

What are your tricks for eating healthy when your schedule is tight? Any favorite meals to prep on Sunday or great grab and go snacks? How do you keep a routine when you travel?

Good Eats: Fall Favorites

I think it’s virtually impossible to live in New England and not have a moderate obsession with all things Fall. From incredible foliage (this year was spectacular) to the crisp air, as the nights get cooler, I am all about fall flavors and recipes. Here’s what I tried from Pinterest this week.

Apple Gouda Stuffed Chicken: This was a slightly fancier chicken dish that I did a trial run of thinking that it would make a good dinner party option. It tastes great but the presentation isn’t that pretty, so if I were to make it again, I’d try to come up with something to make it fancier. On the list is a complimentary rub or poultry string to hold it together and give it a dinner party appropriate look.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger: Ah, the hunt for the perfect homemade veggie burger continues. I love veggie burgers and am always looking for one to make at home that is healthy AND holds together. These were delicious but unfortunately, they just didn’t hang together as well as I wanted with pan cooking. When I make them again, I’ll do an initial bake in the oven to warm everything then do a flash pan fry in canola oil to make the outsides crispy and keep the burgers together.

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad: Nom, nom, nom. In terms of fall flavors and powerhouse ingredients, it doesn’t get much better than this. I couldn’t find (and don’t particularly like) pumpkin seeds, so I substituted raw sunflower seeds instead and it was equally crunchy and delicious.

Moroccan Chickpea Quinoa Power Salad: The absolute hit of the week. I am OBSESSED with this salad and want to make it every day. I cooked up some chicken breast and added it in for a complete meal. Since I had sunflower seeds leftover from above, I substituted those for pistachios and of course used maple syrup instead of honey for the dressing. I thought this salad was perfection as it was but Joe thought it was a little sweet for his taste so on my next rendition, I may add in just a touch of rice vinegar to cut the sweetness for my picky testers. Seriously, make this salad ASAP. It is life changing.

Good Eats: The Garden Overrunneth

I’ve traveled a lot over the past few months and although I love adventures in new places, I missed my kitchen terribly. Apparently my garden missed me too because I am overrun with produce, especially of the zucchini variety. I also have a metric ton of ridiculously hot jalapenos that I’ve yet to come up with a good use for. Anyway, since getting home from North Carolina, I’ve made a few great dishes to celebrate being back in my beautiful kitchen. The joke in our house has now become, did Sarah hide zucchini in this? And the answer is yes, I probably did. 

Zucchini Rice: This first dish is a DELICIOUS side dish or perfect vegan/gluten free filling for burritos. I did coconut oil instead of butter (to keep it vegan**) and otherwise made it as listed on Damn Delicious. Like other dishes of its sort, you could swap out the kind of bean and corn to change the flavors. For example, kidney beans or navy beans plus italian dressing could make a delicious Mediterranean style dish while garbanzo beans plus curry powder and coriander could take it in a Middle Eastern direction.

Zucchini Chickpea Quinoa Salad: Another vegan, gluten free option that uses up zucchini and is delicious. I made this for a team dinner and quadrupled the recipe which made mixing the ingredients a bit difficult. If I were to do it again, I would do it in two bowls and then combine so that it was easier to stir. The other thing I did was cook the zucchini; I’m not sure why, but raw zucchini doesn’t appeal to me at all. It probably added a little liquid to the salad but it was delicious.

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken: Perfect for serving with the zucchini rice as above! I changed this recipe quite a bit because I didn’t have all of the ingredients and am trying to work through some stockpiled supplies but I’m sure her version is totally delicious too. I did fresh jalepenos from my garden (2, cut with gloves on…) instead of the green chiles and left out the liquid smoke. I also used chicken thighs; they have a higher fat content and I think they make a better shredded meat than chicken breast. They are also significantly cheaper, a must for me with crockpot cooking.

Caprese Calzones: I love homemade pizza and any combination of cheese and basil rocks my world, but what I liked most about these was that I could make them before practice and then just throw them in the oven when I got home. I used tomatoes and basil from my garden and they were delicious! I highly recommend splitting a portion of pizza dough into 4 so you can make roll size calzones. It created a much better stuffing to crust ratio!

Finally, the best for last: Homemade Falafel. Holy s&*$. I love falafel but it’s hard to find good falafel around these parts so I often just wait until I’m in a city to have some. I’ve made falafel at home once before and it was a bit of a disaster, so I was anxious about how this would turn out. However, this recipe is AMAZING and I can’t wait to make it again. I did add more flour than she called for which paid off when I started to fry them because they stayed together beautifully. For the frying, I put 4 tablespoons of oil in a skillet on 6/10 heat until it was warm and then started frying. I found that about 2 minutes per side was just perfect. I didn’t make the tahini sauce and instead served them with just fresh tomatoes and lettuce and they were perfection.

** I have a number of athletes who are vegan (much to my chagrin but I pick my battles) and friends who have Celiac, so I’m always on the hunt for recipes that they can enjoy that are healthy and hearty.

I do lots of recipe discovery on Pinterest; want to see what I’m planning next? Follow me here.

Recently Read: On Running as a Woman and Olympic Rundown

The good: Jenny Simpson brought home the bronze in the 1500, the first American woman to do so. I don’t know Jenny but really admire her work ethic and her sportsmanship year after year.

The hard but good: A really important piece by Allison Schmitt on depression and the athlete. Although I’m sure the Olympic arena is an even more potent setup for depression and anxiety, it’s an ever-present issue at all levels of competition. Even at our own training camp last week, athletes offered stories about the depression, anxiety and stress that they had either experienced in the past or were currently experiencing. I spend a lot of time talking to people while coaching or doctoring and am acutely aware of how prevalent these issues are but it’s always amazing to hear my girls say things like “I didn’t know anyone else felt this way!”

Not sure I’m crazy about this: There seems to be a current obsession with eating clean, which in my not so humble opinion is just a synonym for disordered eating. One of my favorite blogging runners who I always admired for eating real food and having a normal body while running fast has recently fallen into this trap, shilling her “new style of clean eating” while posting pictures of her shrinking frame and lamenting her recent poor performances. This article seems to perpetuate a similar theme.  I think it makes total sense to make the bulk of your diet based on real foods (grains, fruits, veggies, proteins) but to do a juice fast or “meticulously” plan food just heads down a rabbit hole.

Finally, another important piece that I’ve thought about and talked about with female running friends recently in the light of another set of attacks that have left many of us (or at least, our mothers) on edge. I run alone almost all the time and often very early in the morning. When the attack in Massachusetts occurred, my sister sent me a text imploring me to be careful and I’ll admit, I pushed my morning run to the afternoon the next day because I was a little spooked by the whole scenario. The following morning, however, my alarm went off at 4:30 and off into the darkness I went, a move that was in some part a protest against the idea that I am inherently vulnerable by virtue of being female and a runner.

Good Eats: Spaghetti Squash, Butternut Squash and Berry Bundt Cake

One of the hardest parts of being in Norwalk was that we didn’t really have a functional kitchen. UVM puts us up in very nice apartments but as anyone who cooks knows, it takes a long time to build a great kitchen and these kitchens lack the knives, pans and other accessories to really pull off a big meal. I made simple things every night but missed pulling off elaborate meals or trying new recipes.

The only new one I tried while I was there was spaghetti squash with bacon, goat cheese and spinach. This recipe tasted delicious but the presentation was not as pretty as pictured and it took a fair amount of time to prep. The best part of the recipe was the new-to-me suggestion of how to cook spaghetti squash. In the past, I’ve either split the squash in half long ways and baked it or boiled it in half, neither of which are particularly easy to work with afterwards. Slicing the squash into rings and baking it was BRILLIANT. Still, for a gluten free meal, this is a delicious one that most people are likely to enjoy.

For Mother’s Day, I wanted to make a special meal for my mom and went with rubbed pork chops on the grill, butternut squash bread pudding, roasted Brussel sprouts with maple syrup and berry bundt cake.

The butternut squash bread pudding was unique and delicious but made enough for an army. Cutting this recipe in half would still yield plenty to feed four people so unless you’re having a large dinner party, I would suggest that. I used muenster cheese instead of gruyere and it was delicious. The only thing I added was rosemary and oregano in addition to the sage and it gave it a stuffing like taste that went perfectly with pork.

The cake was also a success, if only because it slid easily out of the pan instead of clinging on as bundt cakes usually do. I used frozen, bagged berries from the grocery store and made the mistake of the mix containing strawberries, which created big craters when baked so would avoid that in the future. Otherwise, frozen berries worked well. I also made my own buttermilk (3/4 cup of whole milk + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice –> sit for 10 minutes until clabbered) instead of using Kefir or purchasing buttermilk. I did attempt to make the icing but unlike the icing in the picture, mine looked thin and running and I opted to leave the cake “naked” instead, which turned out to be a great idea because it was plenty sweet on its own AND served as Will’s muffins for the week.

What have you cooked lately? Any great late Spring recipes to share?

Week in Review 2.22.16 to 2.28.16

Monday: Tempo run. 15 minutes at T pace then 2 by 1 mile at M pace.

Tuesday: 4.5 mile trail run in Sunny Hollow.

Wednesday: 4 mile run on the treadmill.

Thursday: 6 mile run.

Friday: 5 mile workout with 10 by 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy. Felt really clunky at first but great by the end.

Saturday: 6 miles of skiing at Sleepy Hollow.

Sunday: 11.7 mile long run. Was somehow flying for this run, which is encouraging for Spring 2016!

Total Miles: 43.2

Better week! Happy to get two workouts in and even happier with the way my long run went today. It was windy and I worked all morning but I just clicked in and ran 7:30 pace that felt like jogging for almost 12 miles. I attribute some of this to my being excited to get an outdoor run in and some of it to switching up vitamins and learning to tolerate a bigger dose of iron. Regardless, it makes me excited for the season to come.

For this coming week, it’s States Week, so much of my energy will go to supporting the MMU team as they aim to win the championship on both sides. Running-wise, I’ll be doing a steady state run, another time based interval workout and a 1:40 long run. On my recovery days, I’m hoping to get back onto some trails but we have sketchy weather coming through that may make it too icy to be safe.