Many of you have been asking, "What should I eat?" I am really happy that you want to work on this aspect of your health. Proper nutrition is one of the quickest ways to make significant improvements in your training. This page is dedicated to tips on nutrition, recipes and other ideas for improving your health.
*Want to know about the nutritional value of a food? Click here for a helpful resource from Self Magazine. Type in the name of any food, and an easy-to-read chart will give you the highlights (or lowlights) of the food you are researching.
*Like fruit, but don't eat enough of it? Start making smoothies! They are a delicious way to eat fruit on the go. Here is the one I made this morning:
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh strawberries
1/2 cup fresh red grapes
1/2 cup raw spinach
2 slices of lemon with peel ON
1 cup ice
Throw everyone in the blender, and put the ice on TOP. Blend until thoroughly mixed. Enjoy!
Why it's amazing for you: The brighter the color, the better the fruit or veggie is for you. Berries are high in antioxidants, which help your body recover from hard workouts. All these ingredients are also high in fiber and high in yumminess. Do you feel like fruit always goes bad in your house? Feel free to substitute with frozen berries. Check out some other recipes by clicking here.
D's Meal of the Week
Beef Stew: This recipe comes right from my mama. :)
Total time to make: 2.5 hours (totally worth it, though)
2 pounds lean stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons unbleached flour
1 teaspoon ground thyme
ground pepper (to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 red potatoes (at least)
one small sweet onion
2 cups apple juice or cider
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1. Put the flour, ground pepper and thyme into a bowl and mix together.
2. Put stew meat into the mixture and coat all sides of all the pieces.
3. Put the olive oil into a large pot and heat to medium-high.
4. Brown the stew meat.
5. Turn down the heat and add the apple juice, apple cider vinegar and water, then turn the heat back up and bring the liquid to a boil.
6. Reduce the heat and let the meat simmer in the liquid for 1.5 hours.
7. Chop the onion, celery, carrots and potatoes into the size you want to eat and add to the pot. I usually eyeball the amounts for each item. Let simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables reach your desired doneness.
8. Enjoy with a salad and some bread to dunk in the yummy stew juice.
Why it's good for you:
1. The beef contains iron, protein and other vital nutrients.
2. The potatoes (if you leave the skin on) contain Vitamin C, B6 and potassium.
3. The carrots are awesome for Vitamin E, Thiamin and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6 and Manganese.
4. Celery contains Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Potassium and Manganese. It also helps flavor the stew without having to use salt.
5. Onions contain Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. I have also read some interesting studies about the chemical that makes you cry when you cut onions; there is a lot of data to show that the chemical also has an anti-inflammatory effect in the body, which helps your body recover from hard workouts.
6. It makes you feel good on a cold winter night!
I know these are not authentic by any means, but they are yummy! You can change up the ingredients to suit your tastes, but here's how I make them.
Total time to make: less than 30 minutes
One whole mango
Chopped cilantro, to taste
Juice from one lime
1 pound flank steak (or other lean protein of your choice) Romaine lettuce
Fresh spinach leaves
Shredded cheese (I use chihuahua cheese--it melts very well and is yummy!)
Whole wheat tortillas
1. Season the steak to your tastes--I use fresh ground pepper, red pepper flakes, ground chipotle and paprika. Rub the seasoning into the meat, and grill. Flank steaks cook very quickly since they are so thin; about 4 minutes on each side should do. Let rest for 5 minutes, then cut into small pieces.
2. Chop the mango into small cubes and put into a bowl. Chop the cilantro into small pieces and add to the mango. Finally, juice the lime over the "salsa" and mix. Some people like onions in this mix--feel free to add to taste! Onions provide many essential nutrients, so do not shy away from them! Set aside salsa.
3. Chop tomatoes into small cubes and set aside.
4. Chop romaine lettuce and spinach and set aside.
5. Clean the avocado and cut into thin slices and set aside.
6. Wrap tortillas in a damp towel and microwave for 60 seconds.
7. Set all ingredients out for a "taco bar" and create your own taco! Make sure you get a variety of the ingredients to maximize the benefits!
Why it's good for you:
1. The cheese is a good source of calcium and potassium and offers some protein, too.
2. It's filled with fresh fruits and veggies: not only do they all provide fiber and water, but individually, they provide many essential nutrients: mangos are high in vitamins C & A, both of which help you recover from workouts; tomatoes are high in lycopene, maganese, magnesium, potassium, niacin, vitamins A, B6 and C; romaine lettuce is super-high in fiber as well as vitamins A & C; cilantro is high in many vitamins as well as pantothenic acid, which aids in digestion and absorption of key nutrients; and spinach is your best friend--it's high in iron, calcium and a host of other essential nutrients. Since it does not have a strong flavor, you won't notice it mixed in with your lettuce.
3. The flank steak is low in saturated fat and high in protein, iron, zinc and other essential nutrients.
4. Whole wheat tortillas provide fiber which makes you feel more full, as well as helps with digestion. You need at least 25 grams of fiber a day for good health. Whole wheat tortillas also are a bit sturdier than white flour; your taco won't fall apart! They also provide carbohydrates, which are the fuel of a distance runner. :)
5. Avocado--it gets it's own props. It is a great source of monounsaturated fat. This kind of fat (along with polyunsaturated) is REALLY good for you. It helps regulate your cholesterol as well as your blood sugar. Check out this article about fats from the Mayo Clinic.
Yummy Citrus Cream Pasta with Crab Meat
This past summer, my husband and I went to Rome and ate a variation of this delicious dinner! When I got home, I searched for a recipe that was similar. I have changed a few things for my own tastes. Click here if you want to see the recipe that I worked from.
Total time to make: about 30 minutes!
What you need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon unbleached flour
2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese, grated fine
1 orange (zest and juice)
1 package imitation crab meat (not all imitation crab meat is equal! Read the label and look for one that is low in sodium and high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Here's a link the one I use: Kanimi. You can also substitute with shrimp, chicken, or another lean protein. I use Kanimi because it is already cooked and shortens the prep-time).
*Salt and pepper to taste
*1/4 cup fresh basil, cut in thin strips
*Pasta of your choice (I used fresh wheat ravioli, but you could use any type of pasta. Try to stick with whole wheat--it's a better form of carbs).
**To make the meal really balanced, make a small fresh salad with romaine lettuce, spinach, carrots, or whatever other veggies you like!
1. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook pasta. Set aside.
2. While standing on your left leg, in a large sauce pan, warm olive oil over medium heat. Using a garlic press, mince garlic and add to olive oil. Stir until you can smell it (about 30-60 seconds).
3. Switch to your right leg, and add flour. Use a whisk to stir the flour into the oil and garlic mixture. Keep whisking until all lumps are gone.
4. Switch back to your left leg, and add skim milk to pan and mix thoroughly.
5. Add cheese (I prefer Romano, but Parmesan works, too!) to pan and mix thoroughly. Turn heat down to medium-low and add salt and pepper.
6. Zest an orange (wash orange first, then use a zester or grater to grate the orange peel into the sauce. The pieces should be very small--only zest the bright orange part...not the white-ish part of the rind) into the sauce and let sauce thicken.
7. Cut the orange in half and "juice" both sides. (if you don't have a juicer, you can just squeeze the orange or use a spoon to help smush the juice out. Slowly add to the sauce, stirring as you add.
8. Slice the basil into thin strips and add to the sauce.
9. Add the crab meat and pasta to the sauce. Let the crab meat get warm (2 minutes or so).
10. Serve with grated cheese on top and enjoy!
What makes this recipe good for you:
1. The crab meat provides 8 grams of lean protein and 60% of your RDA of omega-3 fatty acids.
2. The pasta (if whole wheat) provides about 37 grams of GREAT carbs, 7 grams of protein, and 6 grams of fiber.
3. The sauce includes vitamin C from the orange and 1 gram of fiber from the zest. It also includes about 8 grams of protein and 50% of your calcium needs from the milk. And the garlic? It contains Phosphorus and Selenium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Manganese. These work together to act as an anti-inflammatory--nature's Advil, if you will.
4. If you eat a fresh salad before the main course, you will have a very balanced and healthy meal!