Archive for the ‘nutrition’ Category

What do you eat before you run?

What do you eat after you run?

Do you have a tried and true method for race day eating success or do you just wing it?

What I love about my dietetic program is that I’m learning the science of food.  Now eating isn’t so much guess work, but the result of a scientific equation to provide my body the energy it needs in different circumstances.
I wasn’t always this sure in my food choices.  When training for my first marathon in 2008 I gained 8 pounds.  I also ate peanut butter M & M’s and Gatorade for a pre-race meal.  Good stuff! 🙂

Yeah- I was a little bigger in 08. That’s the difference high intensity weight training and good nutrition makes! And avoiding bags of peanut M&M’s! And yes that really was my race number.

Here’s the science and the generally accepted pre/post workout food recommendations. Just in case you’re a nerd like me and wanted to know!

– Carbohydrates

  • They’re good. Mr. Atkins kinda cast them in a bad light, but in terms of performance they are your bestest friend!  
  • Your body uses carbs for energy during prolonged exercise and carbs require less oxygen to burn than protein or fat.  Less oxygen to burn = more oxygen to breathe! 

– Pre-exercise

  • A high carb meal pre-exercise will maintain blood glucose and maximize glycogen stores in your muscles.
  • The meal should be moderate in protein, low in fat, and low in fiber. Why? Well the fiber one should be easy to figure out (hello port-a-potty)…for the fat…fat  takes longer to digest.  If you’re digesting fat, your body can’t commit all it’s resources/energy to helping you run better.
  • The amount (in grams) of carbs you should eat depends on how far out you are from the start of your event.  I like to use the hour rule:
    • If you event is in 1 hour: 1 gram of carbs per kilogram of body weight.  To determine your weight in kg divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 For me that’s 130/2.2 = 59.1kg. So that’s 59.1g or carbs or 236 calories from carbs. 1.25 cups of cereal has about 27g and a banana has 19g. Add a swig of Gatorade and I should be good to go!
    • If your event is in 2 hours: 2g of carbs per kg
    • If your event is in 3 hours: 3g of carbs per kg
    • If you event is in 4 hours: 4g of carbs per kg
  • Test your pre-run meal.  Everyone’s stomach is different so find what works for you.
Kyle’s pre race meal

– During the race

  • If your event is over an hour your body will need not only water but food to fuel you!  
  • A good rule of thumb is 30-60g of carbohydrates during exercise.  This can easily come from sports drinks, chews, or gu’s.
  • Be aware that fruit alone might not be your best mid-race choice.  Fructose (the sugar in fruit) isn’t as quickly absorbed.
– Post- race
  • You did it!  Now eat!  If it’s a race you finished I’m sure you’re off to celebrate with a “cheat” meal…I know I do! 
    • If it’s a training run, however you might want to me more strict with your post race meal.  Post run/workout meals are vital, because that’s what helps refuel and repair your muscles for your next workout.
  • 30-45 minutes is the window in which you need to eat!
  • Aim to repair with 0.5g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight.  For me that’s about 30g of carbs.  A little more then a banana.
  • Protein is also key here to muscle recovery so aim for 10-20g after endurance training.
  • It’s often said to recover in a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein and chocolate milk is a great example of a perfect post workout food.
Would we call that a good post race food? It has carbs!

– Fatigue

  • If you’re feeling exhausted during training/races here are some nutrition related causes of fatigue to look into:  insufficient calories, insufficient carbs, iron-deficiency, or dehydration.
For my race on Sunday I had my traditional race breakfast of a whole wheat bagel with 1T of peanut butter, coffee, and a banana.  I could also have had 1 cup of Kashi + 1/2 cup of chex + raisins. Both set well with my stomach. I’ll also have some honey and a sports drink 30 minutes before the event.

Once you’re fueled then it’s all on your and your training to have a great race!

What’s your favorite pre-race meal?

Kyle’s typical post race cheat meal

Love and glucose, 
Carissa & Kyle


The health benefits of papaya

Posted: August 4, 2011 in nutrition

Do you frequently eat papaya?  Probably not.  But you should.

In an exercise in my nutrition class we had to rank 12 fruits from the “best” nutritionally to the “worst”.  
Who came in at numero uno?  PAPAYA!

Tropical fruits took the podium with papaya, kiwi, and mango going 1,2,3!

Rhymes with “papaya”???

Papaya has way more “bang for your buck” nutritionally than a standard apple.  Sorry Mr. MacIntosh.  

The papaya’s greatest achievement comes from an enzyme it contains called “papain”.  Papain helps you digest proteins and “clean” your digestive tract.  Papaya is the only natural source of papain.

Papaya is also a tough-free radical fighter!  It’s loaded with antioxidants from Vitamin C and E and it helps prevent colon cancer.  It is touted for its anti-inflammatory effects and thought to aid in the management of rheumatoid arthritis.  

It has very high levels of folic acid, potassium, 20% of your daily fiber needs, and Vitamin K.  Oh yeah- it also contains Arginine which aids male fertility. 🙂

If you’re going to pick a fruit- pick papaya!  

It’s great raw or with a little lemon/lime juice squeezed on top. You could also add papaya to a fruit salsa or smoothie. Kyle and I had lots of papaya on our honeymoon in Cancun. It has a buttery texture that may seem odd at first.  You can eat the seeds too, but they have a peppery taste.

Breakfast on the balcony in Cancun.

Just remember, if you cut it and expose it to air it will oxidize.  That means that some of these awesome cancer fighters will escape.  Cut it and eat it right away or seal the papaya wrapping the cut end tightly.

This afternoon’s snack.

If you were wondering about the rest of the fruit ranking list, here’s how it went down: 

  • papaya, kiwi, mango, pomegranate, strawberry, orange, honeydew melon, grapes, banana.  It’s not a comprehensive list, however a ranking of just those 10 fruits.

Now I am off to reply to some neglected emails and get our Italian “feast” fixed for the premiere of Jersey Shore!  TTTTTT-SSSHHHIIIRRRTTTT Time! 🙂

What’s your favorite fruit and why do you love it?

Love and the tropics, 
Carissa & Kyle

>Hello friends and hello to some of my new followers!  We’re so happy to have you!  

I like to think that I am pretty fitness/diet saavy.  I spend…I least 4 hours a day thinking or talking about one of those topics.  That being said I still find times where I don’t make the right food choice or I blank on what healthy snack to have.  That’s why I surround myself with fitness magazines, health journals, and other awesome bloggers to remind me of things that I might have “forgotten”.  

When Kyle and I are really honed in on clean eating we keep a copy of our diet plan in plain view on the fridge.  I’m shocked how many times I look at it and go, “What am I eating?”  It just proves that for weight loss success you have to be MINDFUL and PREPARED!

For all of us who might need a little diet-brain re-start here is another sample diet for ya!  Remember I am not a registered dietitian (yet) and every person’s body and metabolism is different.

This diet is a little less strict than our Clean Eating diet. I’d give it a 4 out of 10 for difficulty.  As always:

  • Try to keep your food as clean and unproceesed as possible
  • Eat 5-6 times a day
  • Include protein at every meal
  • Fill up on veggies especially in the evening
  • Drink tons of water
  • Don’t forget the fiber 🙂
Fit2Flex Sample Diet:
  • Breakfast-  Smoothie on-the-go- 
    • Mix one scoop protein powder, 1/4c oatmeal, fruit, ice, and any liquid.  Optional- flax seed, chia seeds, spinach. You can also sub Greek yogurt for protein powder
  • Snack 1- 
    • 1 apple with peanut butter or Luna/LaraBar and apple
  • Lunch- 
    • Power wrap- Whole wheat tortilla with chicken, spinach, tomato, hummus, and feta (or any combo of healthy ingredients)
  • Snack 2- 
    • Mix1 protein shake or Greek Yogurt or cottage cheese
  • Dinner- 
    • 4oz lean chicken, shrimp, or lean beef with 1 cup steamed veggies, 1/2 sweet potato, and a spinach salad with a vinegar based dressing
  • Dessert- 
    • Sugar Free Jell-o or 1/2 cup of pineapple
Keep focused and keep healthy!  If you have a weight loss goal- tell us.  The support will only help you achieve your goal!

What’s your favorite “diet” food?
Here are some other diet posts you might enjoy- Clean Eating dietPreparation, Clean eating in photos, the importance of breakfast, beating junk food cravings

Love and dropping ell beeees, 

Carissa & Kyle

>My friend Kim is awesome.  Not only is she a genius, but she attacks all obstacles in her life with optimism and courage.  Kim also has celiac disease.  Since I was talking about going gluten-free this week I thought it would be important to see how not being able to have ANY gluten can affect your life and how to thrive.

If you know someone who has Celiac Disease or any gluten intolerance please share this with them.  Kim makes some great points and provides many helpful tips.

Take it away Kim…

When I was first diagnosed, it seemed like a life sentence, if that makes sense.  No more good food for me!  Plain white rice and dry chicken for my wedding, and apple slices instead of wedding cake, will be awesome.
But then I talked to a dietician, who said to me, “Let’s change your thinking around.  Rather than thinking about what you CAN’T eat, let’s think about what you CAN eat.  Your homework is to write me a list of all the things you can eat, and star the things you love the most.  Then make a list of the things you can’t eat, and star your favorites there as well.”  

So I went home and did my homework, and as it turns out, she was right.  The list of things I can still eat was exponentially longer than the list of foods I can’t eat, and the number of stars on the CAN list was 3 times the number of stars on the CANT list. 
All fruits and veggies.  All meats.  All beans.  Out of the 30 grains I can name, only 3 are on the CANT list.  Milk.  Yogurt. 

There were lots of foods that I could eat.
Here’s some other advice – Stay away from gluten free products, if possible.  

Gluten free substitutes are generally full of refined carbs – remember, refined carbs doesn’t just mean white Merita bread.  It also includes rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, etc – those flours are gluten free, sure, but they will also spike your blood sugar and set you up for a crash later.  You’ll then also be tempted to “cheat” if you are at rock bottom of your hypoglycemic crash.  My advice would be to choose one, maybe 2, gluten-free substitutes a week.  I love, love sandwiches, so I always have Udi’s Bread waiting in my fridge for a grilled cheese and Amy’s Low Sodium Tomato Bisque soup.  

Quinoa and corn blended pasta is a go-to – I don’t make pasta a lot, as I don’t necessarily miss it, but sometimes, when the urge strikes, it’s nice to have spaghetti and meatballs.  I’d honestly rather have spaghetti squash, because with the substitute of the squash for a bunch of needless carbs, I’ll let myself use ground beef in the sauce, or maybe even some spicy sausage for a treat.
 But generally, it’s all about concentrating on what you CAN eat.  

And it’s also about using a fork.  I never thought much about it until I went gluten free, but think of all the forkless foods that are out there – should we really be eating any of them?  Probably not.  Things that require a fork, for the most part, are far healthier to begin with.  I can’t drop by a deli on the way home and pick up a sandwich to eat while walking home, or driving home.  Chick Fil A is delicious but they use flour and nasty malt in their chicken, so that’s a no go.  Pizza, same thing.  Those things are all forkless foods.  

I also like to think of it as, “Who was the last person to do something substantial to this piece of food? God, or a machine?”, and that applies to Gluten-Free and Gluten-Full people.  God created things that need forks.  Machines make food that you can eat while driving with your knees and applying mascara at the same time.
Don’t think that you’ll lose weight.  You might, but most likely, it’s because you probably went from mindlessly eating to examining everything you put in your mouth.  Cutting out what could be a food group for people (fast food food group, cookie and cupcake food group) will automatically make you lose weight, but rather than being like the Atkins diet, where you could keel over and die from a heart attack like the Atkins founder, you will be drastically improving your health if for no other reason than you are now fully aware of everything that passes your lips. 
Soy sauce is the bane of my eating.  I like asian food.  But I only cook it at home now.  Cheap soy sauce, most of the time, has wheat as the SECOND ingredient.  WHY?  Rice Krispies, too – think they are just rice?  Nope.  Coated in barley malt – though Kelloggs rep guy told me last year they were going to make Rice Krispies GF soon.  I don’t believe him.  

Reading labels is a must for clean eating but also GF eating.  You can discover that something that, if you made it, would have 3 ingredients, but when a machine makes it, it has 11, and the names are 68 syllables long.  Our US labels require specifically calling out wheat when it is a main ingredient – but we don’t require gluten to be labeled.  Hello, malt flavoring, or scarily, hordeum vulgare (scientific name of barley that they use to hide it, sneaky bastards).
Things to look for:  wheat, enriched flour, hydrolyzed protein (protein of what?? could be soy, could be wheat), orzo, graham, semolina, sprouted wheat (ezekiel bread), spelt, vinegar (they dont’ have to specify if it’s malt or not), tricale, couscous, etc.  And beer.  Sad.  Bard’s and Redbridge GF Beers are pretty good though, and don’t forget about wine.  And liquors are fine, because the protein is not carried over during distillation.
I eat Corn and Rice Chex religously, meaning I eat a box of each per month, all by myself.  It used to be worse, when I let myself eat Cinnamon Chex nonstop throughout the day.  They are like small pieces of crack, coated in cinnamon.
Thanks Kim for writing and sharing all this wonderful advice.  I don’t envy you.  Eating gluten free, like eating clean, requires more thought (and more forks).  However in the long run you are treating your body right.  And that my friends – is the moral of the story.

Love and cinnamon chex, 
Carissa and Kyle Kim

>Goodbye Gluten

Posted: June 15, 2011 in diet tips, nutrition


Dear gluten,
       I don’t think we can see each other anymore. Its not you. Its me. I hope we can still be friends (and maybe meet up for an occassional late night bready call) .
Your friend, 

That’s right. I think I’m breaking up with gluten.

Gluten Free Brownies for me please!

What exactly is gluten?  Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barely…breads, pasta, etc….  It is a major culprit in Celiac’s disease and now public-enemy-number-one in many “gluten-free” foods.

So why the sudden split for me?

For the past 2 weeks, as part of our clean diet, I have had very little gluten. The few carbs I had came from oatmeal, brown rice, fruits, and sweet potatoes. On my cheat day I gobbled down my processed friend gluten…chomp, chomp, chomp. And then I looked like I had a food baby and I felt lousy. I really did. I’ll spare you the gruesome details.

So I used my advaced knowledge of science and hypothesized that possibly gluten was to blame for this pain. Possibly.

I talked to my friend Kim who suffers from Celiac Disease and she let me know that gluten sensitivity is not uncommon. (ps- I have a great post from Kim written about dealing with Celiac’s tomorrow. Don’t miss it!)

It has been said that 12% of the general population (outside of Celiac sufferers) may have gluten sensitivity.  12 out of 100 people!  That’s a lot!

Even if you don’t suffer from gluten-malaise, I feel confident that eating cleaner and less processed is important, healthier, and will help me and you feel better. So im kicking gluten to the curb!  The cavemen didn’t have gluten and they were pretty cool. Right?

I think it’s important to talk about gluten, because the prevalence of “gluten-free” foods is increasing.  Going gluten-free is not a diet and it probably won’t help you lose weight.  Celiac Disease is a real disease that 1 in 133 Americans suffer from.

Gluten Free goodies

I’m all about education.  Maybe you’ve been suffering and didn’t know it could be from gluten.  Maybe you didn’t know what the buzz about GF foods was.  Maybe you just wanted to be sure you could nail any gluten question on Jeopardy. But there is power in knowledge, so I hope you can share your knowledge with someone you know.  

Tomorrow’s post will talk about how to live and thrive gluten free.

Love and coconut flour, 
Carissa & Kyle

Coupon Alert- Udi’s is a GREAT gluten-free company.  Click here for a $1 off coupon for any Udi’s product.  Make sure you print it twice!