Friday, July 3, 2009

Train, Grains and Gains

Last week I did so much that I think I'm burnt out this week. Last week's totals:
Run: 13.05mi
Bike: 53.93mi
Spin: 1hr 30min
Swim: 6000yards
Strength: 1hr 46min
and I also walked/hiked about 3 miles and did my last kettlebells and kickboxing classes at Aiki. I've been getting a pitiful 6 hours of sleep a night lately. I've been trying to get myself to sleep earlier, but I end up getting sucked into the internet doing nothing in particular. I've been kind of dragging in all my workouts this week. Spin class has been the exception, the teacher made both classes this week Michael Jackson tributes! I was rocking out both classes and it was a lot of fun. My insane teacher at one point screamed, "MJ's lookin' down on you guys, and he's like... meh... PUSH HARDER! DON'T STOP TIL YOU GET ENOUGH!!!" Have I mentioned before that my spin instructor is insane? Well if I haven't, now you know.

I'm so happy I got to bike outside twice last week! Finally! I've been getting a lot better at dealing with the clip pedals, which is great. I'm feeling confident on the bike again and now look forward to riding again. I think going to spin is helping my speed on the bike, so I'm going to continue going at least once a week. When the canal path is empty, I'll hammer away and think back to how much I push myself in spin class. I ask myself, "If you can push yourself so hard in spin class, why are you holding back now?" Usually that will motivate me and I will get up to 20-21mph! Now if only I could get that as my average speed!

Last week I really pushed myself swimming too. I've been using old workouts from Trifitness, and have been trying to do the A or B group workouts. A is advanced, B are moderate, and the C group ones were the newbies/slow swimmers. Last week was the first time I swam over 3000 yards in a workout. My arms were killing me by the end but I was really proud that I'm adding more distance.

This week I went to a Naturopathic doctor. I decided I do not want to treat my stomach with harsh antibiotics and medicines. Speaking with the doctor I felt relieved, finally a doctor that takes my lifestyle into account. You'd think all doctors, especially concerning stomach problems would care about how I was eating. Neither my primary care doctor or my gastroenterologist really asked about my diet. I think they take one look at me and just assume I'm healthy. The naturopath has doubled some of the vitamins I take already, as well as added some more and some herbal remedies. I'm going to get a breath test to see if I do in fact have an H. pylori infection. He says I should avoid dairy for 3 weeks, which I've been okay about. I did cave completely yesterday and had soft serve ice cream, pizza AND chocolates. My hormones have been insane this week, my face broke out and my cravings are out of control. TMI be damned, my PMS some months is ridiculous.

I haven't been very raw this week at all, and I'm okay with that. I think it's best for me to eat raw foods but also get plenty of whole grains. Training as much as I do, I need more substantial carbohydrates, which is very similar to Brendan Brazier's views. Also, I can't bring myself to eat salad! It's like I go on a salad kick and I eat salad every day for a few weeks, and then the sight of greens makes me gag. I've been eating a lot of quinoa! Quinoa is an awesome super food! Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It is a recently rediscovered ancient "grain" once considered "the gold of the Incas." -

I tried quinoa last year, but it was too earthy for me. This year I incorporated my new habit of adding vegetable bouillon (which I do to add flavor to brown rice) and I've found it makes quinoa so much better. Quinoa is a lot faster to make than brown rice, and can be made in around 20 minutes. Compare that to the hour or so it takes to make brown rice! (Unless of course you're using a more instant brand.) Below are the food charts from WHFoods:

As you can see quinoa has iron and other nutrients that brown rice lacks. "Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source." (Wikipedia) I've been making quinoa with beans, frozen spinach and mixed vegetables. I bought Eden Foods brand quinoa, but the best bang for your buck is to go to your local health foods store and buy it in bulk. It's super easy to prepare. Wash the quinoa with cold water in a collander that is mesh metal, and has very tiny holes. I grab the quinoa with one hand and rub it against itself. This cleans off the quinoa's natural coating called saponins. If you ever played with Floam as a kid, you'll have some nostalgic flashbacks when washing the quinoa. It gets bunched together and is just like the foam pellet putty from back in the day. Bring 1-1/4 cups water to a boil and add in a cup of quinoa; simmer, covered for 15min (or until all water evaporates). Remove from heat and cool, covered for 5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork, and it's ready to serve!

I've also been on a HUGE Kashi kick. Kashi Go Lean Crunch has been on sale at Stop and Shop, as well as their TLC bars. I've always been kind of weary of Kashi, being part of a big corporation and all, but I've given them a second chance. The more I look at their nutritional labels, the more I realize how great their products are. All their products are packed with protein, fiber and healthy fats and very little sugar. I have to admit, right here, I work for a company that sells Kashi. Really the only advantage I get, is an employee discount, making it more of an incentive for me to buy their products. The other day I was in a grocery store I never go to, looking for healthy vegetarian options for me, since I was having dinner at my meatatarian friend Dan's place. I was craving an oatmeal raisin cookie. I looked all around but found no healthy options until I went in the granola section. I found a box of Kashi's TLC Oatmeal Flax Cookies. Wow, not only are they a decent size, but they were the healthiest option I could find for an oatmeal cookie.

When I buy instant oatmeal to eat at work, I buy Kashi's Creamy Truly Vanilla oatmeal. I went through a huge search, as only a nutrition nut like me would, for the "perfect" instant oatmeal. So many instant oatmeals, from Quaker to the most organic "healthy" brands out there add SO MUCH SUGAR to their oatmeal. I was eating Quaker's Weight Control Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal for the longest time, but it tastes like aspertame. (Funny side note: My coworker for the longest time would always mention how he loves the smell of my oatmeal until he realized it was the Quaker's Weight Control one and was so disheartened. He's tried it in the past too, and said it was too awful to finish!) Also, the Quaker portion was so small, it never filled me up. Kashi's oatmeal is awesome because you can add more water. You can't just add hot water, you have to microwave it too, to really cook the grains in it. Nuking it makes it fluffy and creamy and a lot more filling.

One last endorsement. Kashi waffles, oh man. I don't get the Kashi waffles on discount, and this is a real bummer. They've been recommended to me by a few people, and I finally decided to try them out. They are a great treat to buy! If I ever see them on sale, I'm stocking up! I've had them with apple spread and with fresh peaches, but they'd be great with any fruit, or none at all. I add a little Earth Balance spread and drizzle on agave nectar. I have to say, I've tried Van's waffles too, and these are great, but comparing their nutritional value, Kashi wins. Kashi's has less fat, less calories, and more protein. If you are vegan though go with Van's, Kashi's uses dairy and eggs, unfortunately.

In summation, adding back the whole grains into my diet has helped a lot. I feel I have more endurance, and feel stronger in general. I still have a smoothie in the morning, and mostly raw fruits and veggies for snacks with the addition of a Kashi bar. Now I just have to work on getting in more sleep, and I should be making even more progress!


Lillian,  June 20, 2013 at 11:33 AM  

Sometimes it is really hard to stick to the certain regime, especially when it comes to diet and working out. Lack of food makes you exhausted and you have no strength for exercising. Still, I have found a solution. Athletes usually take dietary supplements, the same could be done by other people, you just have to find the supp which is best for you. In my case it is Navy Seal Formula manufactured by MGNutritionals. Just 2 capsules 30 minutes before workout - and you are full of energy!