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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Don’t Let the Holidays Sabotage Your Workouts asond Waistline

The holidays are here overflowing with parties, yummy treats, alcohol, stress, and lack of time for workouts. Heavy eating and drinking during the holidays can make you feel sluggish, interfere with the intensity of your workouts, and cause you to jump on the weight loss New Year resolution bandwagon.
 
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You could hide under a blanket in an attempt to avoid the celebrations and delicious foods.   That’s not fun.  The key is balance.  Here are some ways you can even out the playing field and emerge from the holiday season still fitting into your favorite pair of jeans:

·         Don’t show up to holiday parties hungry. If you show up to a party low on fuel, the end result is piling your party plate sky-high with fatty, salty, albeit delicious foods. And you may go back for seconds. Before heading out to a party, have a small snack that will quiet a grumbling belly. For example, try a ¼ cup of trail mix, 2 teaspoons peanut butter on a slice of bread, or a ¼-1/2 cup low fat whipped cottage cheese mixed with 1 teaspoon jam.
·         Hydrate. The abundance of alcohol can dehydrate you. While it’s great to kick back and relax a bit, going overboard can lead to dehydration, greatly impacting your damage-control workout the day after. Be sure to stay well-hydrated throughout the day, and drink water in between your holiday glasses of wine.
·         Load up on healthy stuff.  While at a holiday party, survey the choices. Is there a green salad? Roasted veggies? Sushi platter (not ‘tempura’, aka, fried)? A platter of grapes or fruit salad? Try to load your plate up with the healthiest choices, and save a small portion of your plate for the savory, rich foods.
·         Find a goal to keep motivated.  Keep unwanted pounds away by signing up for a holiday run in your neighborhood. Many towns sponsor a “Ho, Ho, Ho” or “Jingle” run. Check out a website like www.active.com to find out what races are near you. Is your gym holding a holiday challenge? Sign up! This time of year many gyms also start to offer discounts on personal training packages. 
·         Something is better than nothing. We are so busy this time of year, it can be too easy to ditch your workout.  Search through workout magazines and websites for short, yet effective workouts you can squeeze into a 30 minute window.  Many workout DVDs are focused on short, intense workouts lasting 20-30 minutes. The Runner’s World website posted the article “Three Workouts to Maintain Fitness Through the Holidays” featuring short duration, high intensity interval training workouts on the treadmill that may boost post-workout metabolism and possibly help improve speed.  Whatever workout you choose, 30 minutes is always better than nothing!

Should the holidays get the best of you and leave you feeling defeated, remember, you do not need to give up. Pick yourself back up again, find a race or gym challenge that motivates you, urge friends to join you, and get back into the swing of your workouts and healthy eating. Happy Holidays!

Alison Barkman, MS, RD, CDN is an adjunct professor for nutrition undergraduates at LIU/Post in Brookville, NY. She is starting a sports nutrition practice in Garden City, NY, and is available for nutrition counseling, sports nutrition clinics for athletes, and nutrition communications consulting.  She can be reached at AlisonBarkmanNutrition@gmail.com or 516-220-9320. 



Monday, December 15, 2014

Can Walnuts Increase Improve Your Exercise Performance?


                Regular walnut consumption is associated with several health benefits including healthy brain aging, improved cognitive performance and heart health. (1, 2, 3)  But, in case that’s not convincing enough to make you want to add a handful of walnuts to your diet daily, I have another reason. Walnuts may even the ability to improve exercise performance!

source

                Researchers of a study published in the Journal of Laboratory Animal Research, investigated the anti-fatigue effect of walnuts on the forced swimming capacity in mice. (4) A forced swimming test is essentially like dropping you into a water tank where you cannot stand or hold onto something. This type of test acts as both an endurance and a stress test. The mice in the experimental group were given either 300, 600, or 900 mg/kg a day of walnut extract, while the mice in the control group were only given water.  It turns out that the mice who were given walnut extract coped much better than mice in the vehicle control group.
                The increased swimming times by the mice given walnut extract are suggested to be in part due to decreased levels of lactate and ammonia. The accumulation of blood lactate and ammonia are known to cause fatigue and decreased exercise capacity. Therefore, it is suggested that the walnut extract exhibits an anti-fatigue effect. And, while all dosages of walnut extract resulted in increased endurance, 600 mg/kg appears to be the optimal dosage. The walnut extract dosage of 600 mg/kg a day was based on human equivalent of the recommended intake of raw walnut – which is about 42 grams per day, or roughly about a handful.
                Walnuts complement a wide range of flavors and they are great to add to just about anything. Try adding walnuts to your morning cereal, toss some in with your salad, sprinkle them on pasta, or even use them to make delicious dips and spreads!

Gavin Van De Walle is an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, a freelance writer on topics of fitness and nutrition, and a dietetic student at South Dakota State University. Once Gavin becomes an RD, he will aim to achieve the distinguished Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) credential. Gavin can be reached at gavin@supranutrition.com
References
1.       Willis, LM., Shukitt-Hale B., Cheng V., Joseph JA. Dose-dependent effects of walnuts on motor and cognitive function in aged rats. Br J Nutr. 2009; 101(8): 1140-4.
2.       Pribis P., Bailey RN., Russell AA., et al. Effects of walnut consumption on cognitive performance in young adults. B J Nutr. 2012; 107(9): 1393-401.
3.       Berryman CE., Grieger JA, West SG., et al. Acute consumption of walnuts and walnut components differentially acute postprandial lipemia, endothelial function, oxidative stress, and cholesterol efflux in humans with mild hypercholesterolemia. J Nutr. 2013; 143(6): 788-94.

4.       Kim DI, Kim KS. Walnut extract exhibits anti-fatigue action via improvement of exercise tolerance in mice. Lab Anim Res. 2013; 29(4): 190-5. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Beet Recipes: Red Velvet Smoothie and Roasted Beets

Tis' the season!  We learned from Kym's last post of the benefits of beets and exercise.  These two recipes show us how to incorporate more of this seasonal color into our diets.  



Red Velvet Smoothie                                               Serves 1

All you need:
¾ cup 1% milk
½ cup roasted beet cubes (about 1 - 2 whole beets)
3 pitted Medjool dates
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 scoop chocolate or vanilla whey protein powder
½ teaspoon Truvia
¼ cup instant oats
¾ cup ice cubes
1 tablespoon dried cherries
All you do:
1.      In a blender pitcher, combine milk, beets, dates, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, whey protein powder, Truvia and oats. Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. 
2.      Add ice cubes and cherries; blend again to reach desired consistency (1-½ to 2 minutes for a smooth texture).
3.      Pour into a serving glass and serve.

Roasted Beets                                                                                    Serves four


Use roasted beets in the smoothie recipe, above, without olive oil, salt and pepper or serve these roasted beets over a baby spinach or arugula salad. Use a simple vinaigrette made with fresh orange juice, orange zest, olive oil and Dijon mustard.  Top with fresh goat cheese, pistachios or sunflower seeds, leftover roasted chicken and thinly sliced fennel.


All you need:
4 medium beets (about 1 pound without greens)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper


All you do:

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Trim all but about 1 inch of the stems from the beets.  Wash the beets well and remove any dangling roots.  Wrap the beets individually in aluminum foil and place the wrapped beets in a shallow roasting pan or a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast until a skewer inserted into a beet comes out easily, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Remove the beets from the oven and carefully open the foil packet (make sure to keep your hands and face away from the steam).  When the beets are cool enough to handle, carefully peel off skins.  Slice the beets ¼ inch thick.  Toss the beets, oil, and salt and pepper to taste together in a medium bowl.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe serves 2

Calories: 455
Calories from fat: 30
Total fat: 3g
Sat. fat: 1.75g
Cholesterol: 30mg
Sodium: 130mg
Total Carbohydrate: 98g
Fiber: 12g
Protein: 19g
Vitamin A: 10% DV
Vitamin C: 5% DV
Calcium: 25% DV

Iron: 15% DV


Kym Wroble RD, LD earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and dietetics and minored in food science at Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois. She completed the clinical component of her dietetic internship with Iowa State University at Great River Medical Center in Burlington, Iowa. Her previous experience working as a nutrition educator at Scott County WIC provided her with additional focused training in several areas including pregnancy, postpartum wellness, breastfeeding and infant and child nutrition. In June of 2009, Kym completed the CDR Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management.  Kym is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) and the Iowa Dietetic Association.  Additionally, she is also a member of several dietetic practice groups, including the Dietitians in Business and Communications, Food and Culinary Professionals dietetic practice group and the Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition dietetic practice group. She has a particular interest in culinary nutrition and enjoys cooking, baking, recipe modification, and learning about food and wine. She played varsity volleyball at Dominican University and continues to enjoy an active lifestyle jogging, biking and weight training.
Follow Kym Wroble, RD, LD, on Pinterest. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Last Call for SCAN Dietetic Internship Applications

Designed to support SCAN student members in the completion of their dietetic internship, the SCAN Dietetic Internship Award provides funds for up to ten SCAN student members each year. Students are eligible if they are a SCAN member at the time of time of application submission and remain a member during the year funds are received.

For additional information on applying click here

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Dirt on Beets: Improving Athletic Performance, One Sip at A Time

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, beets are proving to be one food you may want to consider adding to your training repertoire.  As fellow SCAN blogger Gavin Van De Walle wrote, beets have the potential to improve athletic performance and cardiovascular health, thanks to their high nitrate content.  Through a series of reactions, the body converts nitrates to nitric oxide; nitric oxide, essential to body function, has several beneficial effects, including blood vessel dilation, lower resting blood pressure and increased blood flow to tissues throughout the body.  Recent evidence indicates that supplementing the diet with inorganic nitrates lowers the oxygen cost of exercise, making muscles more efficient, and may enhance athletic performance by increasing time to exhaustion, power output and exercise tolerance. 1 

The synthesis of nitric oxide occurs at the time of low oxygen, low pH and intense physical activity, Nitrate consumption is especially beneficial for short (5-30 minutes) bouts of intense, aerobic physical activity, such as running, sprinting or rowing. 2, 3  Researchers are starting to discover that nitrates may also be helpful for team sports, where repeated bouts of high-power, high-intensity energy are required (such as football or volleyball).4


Beets and beet juice have been researched most extensively at doses equivalent to approximately 1-½ cups roasted beets or 500mL of beet juice, providing approximately 500mg of nitrates. Other high-nitrate foods include spinach, escarole, lettuce, celery and arugula; it’s likely these other foods would also prove beneficial.  Considering that “whole foods” also contain fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients that have beneficial health effects, opting for whole beets instead of beet juice would be beneficial. 
If you don’t care for beets or beet juice, there is the option of Beet Elite.  Using a low-temperature dehydrating process, the folks at Beet Elite create a powdery substance made from organically grown beets.  Though the company’s patented technology, the nitrate-nitric oxide conversion occurs more quickly, allowing you to consume the drink just 30 minutes prior to your workout (rather than two to three hours).  Mix the crystals with ½ cup of water and voila!  Your pre-workout beverage is served.  Each serving is the equivalent of six beets. The smaller serving size (1/2 cup liquid vs. 2 cups of juice) is also appealing.  Unless you enjoy eating beets, daily, before your workouts, you may want to consider this route.
I was skeptical of all these promises but after using Beet Elite before my “short but intense” rides for my most recent century ride training, I can attest that my workouts felt easier and I was able to ride stronger than when I did not use it.(Not exactly a high-quality scientific experiment, but perhaps helpful, nonetheless).  How does it taste?  Definitely a little, ahem, “earthy.” It definitely tastes of beets but black cherry-flavored Beet Elite is definitely palatable and something one can tolerate for the added performance benefits.


There are a few caveats to using nitrates as an ergogenic aid, however.  First, the nitrate-nitric oxide cascade begins in your mouth by salivary bacteria; use mouthwash containing alcohol and you kill off those good bugs and prevent the reaction from occurring.  Second, nitric oxide in blood peaks two to three hours after nitrate consumption; if opting for whole beets or other nitrate-rich foods, meal planning is essential.  Third, a daily dose of nitrates (or Beet Elite) is required to keep plasma nitrate levels elevated.  Finally, most studies have tested activity that is short in duration (30 minutes); for longer bouts of activity, the research is still out but folks at Beet Elite recommend a second dose (after four hours, not exceeding two doses in 24 hours) for longer endurance events.  



Kym Wroble earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and dietetics and minored in food science at Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois. She completed the clinical component of her dietetic internship with Iowa State University at Great River Medical Center in Burlington, Iowa. Her previous experience working as a nutrition educator at Scott County WIC provided her with additional focused training in several areas including pregnancy, postpartum wellness, breastfeeding and infant and child nutrition. In June of 2009, Kym completed the CDR Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management.  Kym is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) and the Iowa Dietetic Association.  Additionally, she is also a member of several dietetic practice groups, including the Dietitians in Business and Communications, Food and Culinary Professionals dietetic practice group and the Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition dietetic practice group. She has a particular interest in culinary nutrition and enjoys cooking, baking, recipe modification, and learning about food and wine. She played varsity volleyball at Dominican University and continues to enjoy an active lifestyle jogging, biking and weight training.
Follow Kym Wroble, RD, LD, on Pinterest. 
http://pinterest.com/wrobkymb/


References
1.      Jones, A, Dietary Nitrate supplementation and exercise performance, Sports Med. 2014: 44(Suppl. 1): 35-45.
2.      Murphy, Margaret et al., Whole Beetroot Consumption Acutely Improves Running Performance, Jour of the Acad of Nutr and Diet. 2012: 112(4) , 548-552.
3.      Lansley KE, Winyard PG, Bailey SJ, et al. Acute dietary nitrate supplementation improves cycling time trial performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011: 43(6):1125-1131.
4.      Wylie, Lee et al., Dietary nitrate supplementation improves team sport-specific intense intermittent exercise performance. Eur Jour of Appl Phys. 2013: 113(7): 1373-1684


Friday, November 28, 2014

Tis the Season: Table Scrap Safety for Dogs

The holidays are a time of gathering while fighting weight gain.  Those of us who are “dog parents” are more likely to exercise and meet the federal criteria for regular exercise.

As we are approaching that time of year, our homes welcome in visitors or we are guests at someone else’s home.  By the time you sit down, you may be welcomed by an eager canine who wants a treat.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has holiday recommendations that you and your guests should heed when it comes to Fido’s safety.

The Society recommends avoiding the following:

Chocolate—may cause vomiting, fever, seizures, abdominal pain, and possibly death.

Grapes and raisins—are associated with kidney failure with some dog breeds.

Macadamia Nuts—can cause tremors, weakness, and fever.

Onions, garlic, shallots, and scallions—these aromatics can damage red blood cells.

Raw bread dough or raw cake batter—will cause pain and bloating to the animal and may require surgery.
  
Regarding cake batter, dogs can become sick from salmonella.

Turkey—a few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, may not cause a problem but don’t allow your dog to eat too much as it can cause Pancreatitis.

Try your best to keep your dog (and maybe yourself too) on a normal diet during the holidays.  If you’re feeling guilty, consider giving your pet a new chew toy or take them for an extra-long walk to tire them out before guests arrive.  When in doubt, don’t feed dogs table scraps.  If your new four legged friend is guilt tripping you, ask the host for a dog approved treat to give.  


Gina (Lesako) Volsko is a Columbus, Ohio based RD and the SCAN blog coordinator.  Contact her at glesako@gmail.com to be a SCAN blogger.  You can find her blogging at Sport2Fork.

Monday, November 24, 2014

SCAN Dietetic Internship Award: Deadline is December 5th

Designed to support SCAN student members in the completion of their dietetic internship, the SCAN Dietetic Internship Award provides funds for up to ten SCAN student members each year. Students are eligible if they are a SCAN member at the time of time of application submission and remain a member during the year funds are received.

For additional information on applying click here