Monthly Archives: August 2013

Fuel Your Workout with Plant-Based Foods

plan based foodsRegardless of the intensity of exercise we all need to properly fuel our workouts.  We all have different needs based on the intensity, length and type of exercise we perform.  There are nutrients found in specific foods that will help push us through our workout and assist the recovery process.

Coconut Water

Instead of grabbing a bottle of Gatorade try some coconut water, nature’s sport drink.  It contains sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium and is just as effective in rehydrating the body than any commercial sports drink.  Coconut water also contains calcium, iron and vitamin C, an antioxidant which helps with recovery.

Potato Protein Isolate

This is a favourable alternative if you’re unable to digest whey protein isolate or follow a vegan lifestyle.  The branched chain amino acids assist in muscle growth and recovery and enable your body to fight fatigue.

Beet Juice

Great to help you run that extra mile!  Beet juice opens up your blood vessels allowing you to take in more oxygen.  It reduces your systolic blood pressure, and the complex carbohydrates provide lasting energy.

Apples

Apple peels contain high levels of phenolic compounds and antioxidants.  Antioxidants are crucial to fighting free radical damage done to muscle tissue when we exercise.  Eating antioxidant rich foods or taking antioxidant supplements can greatly reduce muscle strain and injury.

Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice also contains an antioxidant which can help to relieve joint and muscles pain by reducing inflammation.  Try drinking some tart cherry juice about a week before and during a long distance running event.  It may help to reduce muscle pain and inflammation after the event.

Orange Juice

Great to drink after exercise for quick recovery, orange juice is a nutritious and natural way to give your body the glucose that is needed to replenish your body’s energy stores.

Lemon Verbena Extract

Lemon verbena extract contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties which help to reduce muscle damage, decrease muscle soreness and improve recovery time.

How do you fuel your workouts?

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5 of the Best Yoga Poses for Runners

yogaI’ve recently added running to my workout routine and I must say, I’m rather enjoying it.  That’s something I thought I’d never say because running any kind of distance is something I’ve always dreaded.  This body, with the super heavy, muscular legs, was built for sprinting. So, running anything more than 200 metres has always been a challenge. I think I’m enjoying the running because I’m challenging and pushing my self and it puts me in a “zone” or some kind of meditative state, much like yoga.

Both running and yoga help to clear my mind and focus on the present moment. Yoga offers so many benefits that can be used to improve my running skills which will encourage me to stick with it!

How does yoga tie in to running?

  1. During a yoga class you’re encouraged to focus on your breathing. This helps to keep you in the present moment and helps you to push through the more difficult poses. Focusing on your breathing while running can help you get through a longer run by keeping you calm and centered.
  2. Yoga keeps you physically balanced and strong. It strengthens your core which develops balance and alignment.  A strong core will also help to maintain good form when your legs become tired.
  3. Yoga poses will improve range of motion and increase flexibility by loosening up the hamstrings, quads and calves. Doing some yoga poses after a run will help to decrease muscle soreness.

The following five yoga poses are ideal to add to your routine after a run while your muscles are still warm:

Thunderbolt

thunderbolt-pose

  • stretches the leg muscles, soles of the feet and ankles
  • strengthens ankles to prevent rolling

Eye of the Needle

eye of the needle

  • opens the hips for more mobility
  • stretches hamstrings and glutes

Reclining Spinal Twist

reclining spinal twist

  • stretches the iliotibial (IT) band
  • stabilizes hips and knees when running

Balance the Cat

balance the cat

  • improves balance
  • strengthens core muscles

Kneeling Lunge

kneeling lunge

  • stretches hips and thighs

As with any new program be sure that it’s safe for you to start.  Both running and yoga can place a lot of strain on your knees so pay attention to any sign of pain. Give these poses a try and let me know what you think.

Namaste 🙂

Food Combining for Optimal Health

food_pyramid     The concept of food combining for optimal health and well-being has been around for a long time. Learning to combine the right combination of foods can improve digestive issues and promote weight loss. It also improves your metabolism and increases your energy by ridding the body of toxins.
Here’s the concept:

Eating proteins such as poultry, fish, meat and eggs causes your body to secrete hydrochloric acid.  The enzyme pepsin will break down the food in this acidic environment. Eating starches such as potatoes, breads and pastas causes your body to release the enzyme, ptyalin, which creates an alkaline environment in the body. This combination creates an imbalance in the body’s pH level. In other words, these foods will neutralize each other and create some digestive issues.
Also, food that is not properly digested will rot in the intestines and create acidity in your blood. This can lead to more than just digestive issues. It can lead to allergies, headaches, depression and cancer.
So What Does This Mean?
This basically means that you really shouldn’t eat that delicious steak and potatoes meal that we all love. Proteins are best eaten with non-starchy veggies such as broccoli, spinach, lettuce, peppers, etc. Starches are best eaten with non-starchy veggies such as broccoli, spinach, lettuce, peppers, etc. Non-starchy veggies can be eaten with anything except fruit.

Finally, fruit should be eaten alone. To help improve digestion it’s best to eat fruit alone, 30-60 minutes before a meal. Fruits have a lot of water and take less time to digest. You never want to eat your fruit after eating a meal because the fruit will sit on top of that meal and ferment. Besides creating a lot of gas, the fermentation will cause poor absorption of nutrients from other foods and create an environment for yeasts, such as candida, to grow.
Does it really work?
The research supporting effective food combining is very little. Everybody is different and you have to find what works best for you. If you have digestive issues, educating yourself in this area is well worth it. If you have digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, colitis or bloating after meals, by removing gluten and dairy from your diet you’re practicing food combining anyway.
When it comes to weight loss food combining will work for two reasons:

1. Your body is properly digesting food which increases your metabolism
2. By food combining you’re consuming fewer calories which will, naturally, lead to weight loss
Whether you chose to practice food combining or some other method to improve digestive issues, always consult your doctor to ensure what’s best for you and your health.
Have you ever practiced food combining?

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