Sunday, November 2, 2014

Motivation

Sometimes we need external motivation to help us achieve our health goals.  Recently, a song by the English indie band Alt J inspired me to do something that I haven't done in many months.

I like the fact that Alt J is different than other bands.  I've never heard them on the radio.  They definitely are not on America's Top 40.  Alt J songs are a combination of instrumental and vocal, but I can't always tell what the vocalists are saying.  The music is great for chilling and most of their songs help me relax.  My favorite is called "Hunger of the Pine."

The music video for "Hunger of the Pine" was released this summer, but I only just watched it this past week.  The video was nothing like I expected.  It starts with a guy running through the woods.  Arrows are flying all around him, whizzing past his body.  He gets hit by one arrow, then another.  But he keeps running!  You won't ever guess what happens at the end!


Once a runner, always a runner.  I used to run competitively in high school and college.  Lately, my rock climbing and yoga have taken precedent, but the urge to run never really goes away.  Ever since I moved into my new place (near the Huntington Metro) in August, I've been wanting to run across the across the Potomac River / Woodrow Wilson Bridge to the Capital Wheel at National Harbor, MD.  Saturday afternoon, I finally decided to do it.

For once in my life I did not look on Google Maps to determine how far it was.  However, I knew from driving that stretch of road many times that I might need a little extra something to keep me going.  So I bought the new Alt J album (This Is All Yours) on Amazon, loaded it onto my ipod shuffle, and ran out the door.

It was a chilly fall day.  Overcast.  Windy.  I don't remember which song played first, but I hadn't been able to exercise in a number of days so my body felt good and the song didn't matter.  I ran east on Huntington Ave, turned left on Richmond Highway, and followed the pedestrian path to S Washington St to arrive at the bridge.  As I started across, I saw other pedestrians wearing hats and gloves.  I tucked my fingers into my long sleeve performance top and kept going.  The view at the top of the bridge was spectacular, Washington DC in the distance and the wind drawing patterns on the water below.  This was the farthest I had ever made it before.  I kept going.

On the east side of the bridge, I followed the switch backs, up and over the steady stream of beltway traffic and then back down the other side to run parallel to the water's edge, the Ferris wheel drawing ever closer.  I had listened to several Alt J songs at this point, maybe six or seven, but still hadn't heard "Hunger of the Pine."  I was beginning to wonder when it would play.  I considered shuffling ahead but changed my mind.  I kept running.

I made it to the Capital Wheel at 34.23 minutes into my run

As I turned around, a gust of wind hit my chest and I realized that I had been running with the wind at my back since I left the bridge.  I groaned internally, looking back at the path from where I came and thinking about my tired legs, my tight hips.  Then my song started playing!  Images of the guy running through the pine trees came flashing into my mind and instantly I was motivated again.  I made a new goal: run negative splits to get home faster than it took me to run out.

I picked up the pace, charged up the switch-backs, breathing heavy as I thought "I'm the female rebel" to myself over and over.  Each time the song ended, I clicked the button to restart.  I probably listened to the song three or four times by the time I reached the top of the bridge.

Starting back down the other side, I felt my hips and calves getting tighter, the bottom of my feet pulsating from the abuse of feet pounding the concrete.  I forced myself to stride out and take longer, lighter steps on the second half of the bridge, down the pedestrian path, left on Richmond Highway, right on Huntington, all the way to my front door.

I finished the run in 68 minutes.

Monday, September 29, 2014

"Sugar free" may not be as healthy as you think!

I have always been an advocate of eating REAL food.  If I am going to indulge with a cookie, I want a REAL cookie made with REAL butter, eggs and sugar - not Crisco, Egg Beaters, and Splenda.

Homemade brownie cookies and berry muffins

Why? First of all, imitation cookies do not taste nearly as delicious as real, homemade treats and, secondly, they might be worse for your health than eating the real deal.  Certainly we've seen this with trans-fat (a.k.a. margarine, shortening, partially-hydrogenated oils).  The verdict is still out when it comes to eggs.  But new evidence shows that artificial sweeteners may not be as health-promoting as originally assumed.

A recent study published in the journal Nature found that, instead of helping people lose weight, consuming artificial sweeteners - such as saccharin, sucralose and aspartame - can alter the gut microbiome which may lead to increased risk of insulin resistance - a factor influencing metabolic dysfunction, obesity, and diabetes.

Read the Washington Post article here (which was sent to me by SmartBrief for Nutritionists on Sept 18).  Read the article from Nature here and an abstract of the actual study here.

In addition to the deleterious health effects, here are some other reasons why adulterated "impostor" foods are on my "Do Not Eat" list:

  1. When people eat foods with a health claim like "fat free" or "sugar free" (which are not calorie-free), they sometimes end up eating more of that food (and more of the calories) than they would have eaten if they had chosen the real deal. You really only need a few bites of a decadent dessert to feel satisfied.
  2. Many of my colleagues believe that, when artificial sweeteners are consumed, the body "interprets" the sweet flavor to mean "calories coming in" but once the body realizes that there are, in fact, no calories in these fake sugars, they body reacts with increased food cravings and consumption later.
  3. Food additives are chemicals which must be processed and eliminated by the body, usually via the liver. High consumption of food additives puts stress on the organs of elimination and can result in toxic build-up in the body. Signs and symptoms of a toxic body include poor elimination, poor digestion, bloated stomach, gas, low energy and fatigue, irritable skin, headaches, brain fog, poor memory, low immunity, low libido, yeast problems, and food allergies. Certainly there are many ways to support the detoxification process, but eliminating food additives (like artificial sweeteners) is a great place to start!
Here is a list of foods that may contain artificial sweeteners:
  • diet soda
  • juice
  • flavored water
  • chewing gum
  • yogurt
  • candy
  • bread
  • coffee creamer
  • ice cream
  • jams and jellies
  • salad dressing
  • pancake syrup
  • meal replacement bars and powders
  • vitamins
  • medications
The only way you can be 100% sure that a product is free of artificial sweeteners is to read the Ingredients.  All of the following are artificial sweeteners:

  • Acesulfame potassium (Equal, Sweet One, Sunnet)
  • Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, Twin Sugar)
  • Erythritol
  • Glycerol
  • Lactitol
  • Maltitol
  • Mannitol
  • Neotame
  • Polydextrose
  • Saccharin (Sweet N Low)
  • Sorbitol
  • Sucraole (Spenda)
  • Tagatose
  • Xylitol
Did you find this post helpful?  If so, please let me know by leaving a comment!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Welcome to Eating with Integrity (re-post)

Not all food is created equal. In addition to the many species and cultivars of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, there are a multitude of processed products that we regularly consume. With billions of choices lining the supermarket shelves, how does the average American decide what to purchase and eat? What makes a food nutritious/healthy, anyway? Is there a “perfect” diet, and if so, what is it?

this is me, Adair (not a-truth)
This blog will strive to answers these questions (and many others) using a mixture of anecdotes, quotes, and facts. As a future dietitian hoping to Revolutionize Health in America (Read: help people eat better) it is my goal to maintain an optimistic tone and provide useful dietary advice for any visitor to this site.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Greenfest DC (May 31 - June 1)

The mourning dove eggs have hatched, fledged and flown away.  How time flies when you fly for a living.  I never expected my 75% travel job to be so, well, nonstop.  In the flurry that was spring, I was unable to move around my work schedule to attend the Functional Medicine conference in San Fransisco.  Bummer!  However, instead of a trip to gain knowledge, I now have the opportunity to spread knowledge.

What am I talking about?  DC Greenfest!  Being held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on May 31 - June 1.

Genesis Today, the company for whom I work, is sponsoring a booth (#364) at the DC Greenfestival and a speaking opportunity.  I will be talking about Cleansing 101 at the Good Food Stage at 1pm on Saturday, May 31 (see schedule here).  If you've been following my blog, you know that I completed a 3-week cleanse in January 2013 and that I've been on several elimination diets.  I cannot wait to share my knowledge (and humorous analogies) with you!

If you are in the area, I invite you to attend show and visit me at the Genesis Today booth (#364) from 10-6pm either day.  To make it even more enticing, follow this link and use the code: EX014GF to get your FREE ticket!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mourning Dove vs Container Garden

Look out the sliding door onto my porch and you will see many things.  A small table, some chairs, a blue compost bin, and several potted plants.  If you look closely, you will also that one of the pots no longer contains a plant, but a bird nest!

The view of my porch on a sunny day
When I cook, I use real food - onions, carrots, celery, asparagus, oranges.  And instead of throwing the food scraps into the trash, to add to the landfill, I re-purpose them.  The onion skin, carrot peels, and celery bottoms I put into a plastic bag labeled "Mirepoix" which lives in the freezer until I have enough raw material to make vegetable stock (Thank you, Marie Donadio, from PCC Cooks for telling me that I can use scraps instead of whole vegetables to make stock!).  The other veggie and fruit non-edibles I usually compost, placing them temporarily in a small bowl in the kitchen to take out later.

The last time I went to put the vegetable scraps in the compost, I was greeted by a petrified Mourning Dove.

Ready to fly away if I got any closer, but obviously not wanting to leave the nest!
Mourning Doves build flimsy platform nests of twigs. They usually lay two white eggs,which hatch in 14-16 days. Both parents take turns keeping the eggs warm, the male sits on the nest during the day and the female usually incubates at night. Once hatched, the baby mourning doves fledge (develop wing feathers that are large enough for flight) in about 12-14 days. The parents continue to care for the fledglings until they are 25 to 27 days old.

It looks like I won't be able to add my food waste to the compost bin for about a month.  I also have very little hope for the two rosemary plants that are far enough under the eaves that rain will not reach them.  Such is life.  My garden held hostage by a family of mourning doves!