The NYT published an interesting story yesterday about foods that claim to be healthy. A perfect example is Cheerios. TV commercials claim that eating Cheerios can lower your cholesterol because it has fiber. While Cheerios may have fiber, the amount of Cheerios you’d have to eat to see a positive effect is insane. The article continues by saying that all these foods and drinks that are marketed to us as being nutritional, really aren’t.
Ultimately, I believe your best bet is to buy food that is fresh and as natural as possible. In other words, get fresh tomatoes instead of a can of tomatoes. Get fresh apples, instead of artificially sweetened apple juice. I understand sometimes you just have to buy canned food, but in those cases, always read the labels. Knowing what you eat, knowing how you fuel your body, is just as important as the exercise you do every day.
This is one of those studies that invites more questions than it does answers. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that men with the highest blood percentages of DHA — an omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in fatty fish such as salmon — have 2.5 times the risk of developing aggressive, high-grade prostate cancer compared to men with the lowest DHA levels. In other words, there’s an association between the two. (It’s not certain that x leads to y. Just an association at the moment.)
Omegas-3s are highly beneficial for cardiovascular health, so this study throws everything for a loop. Now, there are some holes in the story which invite more questions. Was the fish they ate farmed? What other details do we know about the men who developed prostate cancer, in particular about their lifestyle? If anything, this study reminds us that moderation is really the key to any healthy lifestyle.
Is it worth changing your diet because of this? Most definitely not. I’d continue eating as much fatty fish as possible. Afterall, heart disease is the real killer in this country.
This week I’ve been spicing up my homemade juices with a little bit of ginger root. I personally love the heat that ginger provides and while I realize it’s somewhat of an acquired taste, here are a few more reasons you should give ginger a shot:
* it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor effects on cells
* it’s very effective in preventing motion sickness or nausea
* it lessens (arthritis) pain and swelling
* it induces cell death in ovarian cancer cells
* it boosts your immune system
As much as I love talking about my workouts, from time to time I will talk about what I eat. These past few days I’ve been very selective with what I eat. I’ve mentioned before that I juice about 6x week. I’m shortening that to 5x week. The two days I don’t juice I try to eat at least 5 servings of fruits/veggies. (I actually shoot for that everyday, but more so when I don’t juice.) Here’s the rundown of what I’m doing:
*Juicing 5x week
*Eating min. of 5 servings of fruits/veggies per day
*Eating an apple or Asian pear once a day
*Eating plenty of fresh blueberries
*Eating Greek yogurt w/ walnuts after my workouts (both cardio and weight workouts)
*Eating fish (especially salmon) at least 3x week
*Cooking only w/ extra virgin olive oil
*Eating about 4 avocados per week
*Eating lots of green/leafy veggies along with colorful veggies (like beets)
*Drinking water only!
*Avoiding red meat / poultry / pig / eggs
*Eating lots of black beans and chick peas
*Eating broccoli (not juicing it) at least 2x week
*Looking at nutritional labels before buying food (esp looking at sodium count)
*Buying fruit/veggies that look fresh and are either local or organic
*Making sure I eat a good variety of fruits/veggies
*Hitting the steam room 6x week
One other thing I’ve done in the past year is limit the amount of hard liquor I drink. I don’t care if it’s a 20-year old whisky, I’d rather drink red wine than hard liquor. I haven’t eliminated hard liquor completely (maybe once a month I’ll have that whisky), but like I said — I’m trying to eliminate it as much as possible. Red wine I’ll have maybe once or twice a week.
I’ve been following this diet for at least 6 months and I feel really great. I wouldn’t even call it a diet, it’s more a lifestyle that I’m leading and while this is my personal/customized nutrition plan, I highly recommend one or any of these tips for your own nutritional plan. It’s not cheap (I try to keep costs down by buying seasonal produce), but it makes me feel great, and there’s no price on that feeling.
Last week my girlfriend got me a gift certificate for Suburban Organics. Suburban Organics delivers organic fruits and veggies straight to your door on a weekly, bi-weekly, etc. basis. (They only deliver to the tri-state area within New York.) Each week you log onto your account to see that week’s menu and you’re allowed to make up to 5 substitutions. So if, for example, you hate onions and that particular week onions are included in your box, you can substitute them for something else. I like eating healthy so this gift was perfect for me.
I quickly set up my account (you’ll need a credit card) and last Thursday I received my first shipment (I opted for the smallest package called the “little box”). The Little Box costs $25 (shipping included) and is described on SU’s site as the “perfect starter box for the single cook, roommates, or a couple.” I would agree with the single part, but for a couple, it’s a tad too little in my opinion. Anyway, my box included 4 bananas, a head of garlic, 2 kiwi, 2 apples, 2 danjou pears, 1 avocado, half a head of red leaf lettuce, a bunch of carrots, and a bunch of broccoli. The produce is wrapped in a clear plastic bag and shipped in a brown box. (I have a doorman, so delivery was not an issue for me.) The good news is that everything looked and tasted great. The kiwi was delicious and sweet, the avocado arrived ripe and ready to eat, the broccoli was nice and purplish in color, and the bananas were thin, but sweet. As far as quality, I give SU a perfect score.
This week I decided to do a taste test so I got some kiwi from my local Whole Foods and believe it or not, but Whole Foods’ “Italian” kiwi was nowhere near as tasty as SU’s California kiwi. Whole Foods’ kiwi was actually a bit bitter. I noticed that Whole Foods also sells braeburn apples and danjou pears, but I wasn’t able to do a direct price comparison because SU doesn’t always tell you what each item in your box costs. They do, however, list weekly specials which you can add to your box for an additional cost. This week blueberries were the special item. SU sells 6 oz. of blueberries for $2.99. Whole Foods sells 16 oz. of blueberries for $4.50. I realize SU must factor in the cost of shipping, but if Whole Foods’ blueberries are also organic, then SU isn’t really saving me money now is it?
And that brings me to my only gripe with SU. I can’t tell if it’s saving me money or not. Granted, SU doesn’t claim to be a money-saving service, but in today’s economy, I don’t want to spend more money than I need to. My Little Box didn’t last me a full week and Saturday afternoon I found myself back at Whole Foods shopping for more apples and some produce (such as celery) that wasn’t included in my box. My second SU box arrives tomorrow and this time around I’ll try to do a better price comparison.
I read this interesting article on Runner’s World today about what you should eat after you run. Back in the day, my trainer would tell me to eat light — something along the lines of a fruit salad. Nothing heavier than that. Perhaps at the time that advice was appropriate for me, but now that I have a marathon and lots of mileage behind me, it’s time I switch that up. A few of the meals the editors at Runner’s World recommend:
After a 45-minute run
Freeze a fruit and yogurt smoothie and take it out to defrost before your run. The trick is to get both carbs and protein.
After a short run
High-fiber foods such as nuts or a plain bagel.
If you run just before going to bed
Try graham crackers with peanut butter and a bowl of berries. You don’t want to overdo it since you’ll be in bed shortly.
Small confession. I had 1.5 Blackhound cakes this Friday. I normally don’t indulge that way, but I figured it’d be a nice treat for my girlfriend and I. (We bought 3 small cakes, but individually ate about 1.5 cakes.) I have to admit, I felt guilty eating them. Don’t get me wrong, they tasted great, but that night around midnight I got up, put on my gym clothes, went to my building’s gym, and I ran. I ran for 35 minutes and my bpm hit 180. It felt great. I felt like all that sweat was erasing at least some of the calories I had eaten earlier.
Saturday I hit the gym again and my diet went back to normal. Black beans, avocado, and broccoli for dinner. I don’t know why, but I’ve become so obsessive with what I eat and with my exercise regimen lately. (I guess that’s a good thing, huh.) When shopping for food, I look at sodium count, cholesterol, calories, sugar, you name it. Ideally, I like to choose items with no sodium or cholesterol. It’s do-able, but you really have to shop around. So my tip for today is to try doing that for a week. Look at the sodium, cholesterol, fat, and sugar count for the food items you buy. And if you see something high, choose something with a lower count. No food item is worth a compromise to your health.