Tag Archives: health

A Cinderella Story

Shoes. When one talks about Cinderella, they talk about the shoes.

Brooks Ghost 5 Running Shoes

A few days ago, I had my own version of a Cinderella story… this isn’t the story of pumpkins or Prince Charming, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself here. Let me start from the beginning.

For the past few months I’ve been training for the Soldier Field 10 Mile, increasing my mileage and pace at a moderate, but doable rate. Everything was going along wonderfully until it wasn’t. I started getting calf pains on my longer runs. Then I started getting pain on my shorter runs.

Finally, I could barely run a mile without almost paralyzing cramps/pain along the inner side of my calves/shins. Lesson learned: I should have addressed my discomfort much, much sooner. Turns out, it seems likely I’m currently suffering from shin splints, which is disappointing with a race a few weeks away.

I’ve been (actively) resting with yoga, the elliptical and strength training. And most importantly, I opened my eyes to a brand new pair of shoes. Thanks to a running specialty store in my area, I had my gait analyzed and was fitted for a high-quality proper shoe. I’m now the proud owner of a pair of Brooks Ghost 5.

I took them on a short test run this afternoon (I’m still not completely pain-free) and I loved them. I felt lightweight, quick and cushioned while running. To say these shoes are an upgrade, would be a major understatement. The only problem is I’m getting antsy waiting to get back to running the way I was prior to the injury.

I’m not sharing this story to help Brooks sell shoes or to seek sympathy, but just to shed some light on how important it is to have a solid pair of shoes beneath your active feet. That and above all, listen to your body. Pushing through pain doesn’t make you strong, it makes you vulnerable to injury. Strength comes from being in tune with your body and allowing it to do what it needs.

Have you ever had a running injury? Were you fitted by a specialist for your running/workout shoes?

Nose in a Book

PSA: If anyone needs me, please note my nose will be stuffed in a book.

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Thanks to the library and Amazon, the lovely stack of books above is mine all mine. Over the past couple years I’ve grown to love reading about nutrition, food and health and how those three topics intersect. If this selection of books is any indication,  I can’t seem to get enough.

First up is It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.

You may have heard of a popular website and diet trend called Whole 30. (I use the word diet loosely here – maybe meal plan is a better term.) Anyways, the premise behind Whole 30 is to eat only whole, clean foods such as veggies, meat, healthy fats (think paleo-style) for 30 days. I was intrigued by this concept, so I checked out this book from the library. It explains the meal plan in more detail and gives the science behind it. I’ve only read the first few chapters, but it’s certainly interesting and I’ve learned a bit about the psychology of eating.

The next book I’ve been waiting for somewhat patiently: Cooked by Michael Pollan.

Within the last six months or so, I’ve read two other books by Michael Pollan and thought they were thought-provoking and informative. You can read more about my thoughts here and here.  When I saw he was releasing a book about cooking, I knew I needed to read it. I’m pretty excited about this one; it’s what prompted the Amazon order.

Lastly, I’ll be diving into Food Politics by Marion Nestle.

I’ll be 100% honest here – I’m not too sure what I’m getting into with this one, but I bought it to get free shipping (don’t judge). However, going off the summary, it will discuss “big food” and how the industry influences what consumers buy and eat. Again, this topic sounds enthralling to me.

I’ll make sure to check in when I finish these books just in case you are wondering how they turned out. If you find these topics incredibly boring, well then sorry. Back to your regularly scheduled day.

What are you reading lately?

Fighting Workplace Health Risks Sitting Down

It’s Monday and most of us have made it back to the 9-to-5 grind after what was hopefully an enjoyable  and probably more active weekend. Thank you summer-like temps.

Desk jobs have us sitting and staring at computer screens more than ever and the media is having a field day with this information. Seems like everywhere I turn, there’s a new article discussing why sitting all day is killing me. A bit dramatic, yes. Are they right? Yes and no. While I don’t think death is going to fall upon you if you sit at a desk for most of the day, but it’s not good to be sedentary all day either.

Since I love infographics, I thought I share this piece on working out in the workplace. Let me know how those cubicle wallsits and desk pushups go for you.

Eat Meat & Die???

There’s been a lot of talk going around the health and nutrition world about red meat. The consensus in the media? It’ll will probably kill you if you eat it. Um, dramatic much?

I don’t believe there is one single food that will contribute to disease or even kill you – everything in moderation and consult your doctor or a registered dietitian to determine your own personal nutritional needs. However, I wanted to shed some light on this topic through two interesting sources I’ve read in the past weeks.

The first is a blog post from The Aspiring RD on why she enjoys steak night Fridays and why we should be weary of all the articles we read. Hint: most journalists aren’t statistics majors. As a journalism school graduate, I can vouch for this being true. Therefore, stories in the media are hindered by how well a particular journalist is with health statistics and also by how much time they have to actually research and write the story. Usually not much in this world of 24 hour news cycles. Moral of the story here: Don’t just beware of what you eat, be aware of what you read.

The second is the following infographic on why read meat will in fact kill you. Based on the previous article I presented, I’ll let you be the judge of this one. Whether you find it informative or not, it is entertaining nonetheless.

Red meat infographic

The Not-So-Sweet Sugary Soda Truth

The graphic above caught my attention recently and really got me thinking about all the sugary, calorie-laden beverages available to all of us so easily on a regular basis. Ironically enough, the message really hit home while sitting at a restaurant one Friday night after dumping a sugar packet into my previously unsweetened iced tea. If I added the rest of the sugar packets in the small container on the table, I wouldn’t even come close to the 22 packets that could be found in a regular 20 oz. soda. YIKES – that’s a lot of sugar!

In fact, 46 percent of added sugar in our diets comes from soda, energy drinks, sports drinks and sugar-sweetened fruit drinks (source). Not only is all of this sugar bad for our waistlines, it is awful for our overall health. Excessive sugar intake can lead to chronic disease such as diabetes or heart disease as well as contribute to obesity, high blood pressure and nutrient deficiency. The more calories consumed in foods with added sugar, the less room in the diet for other foods with natural sugars (fruits, vegetables, etc.) and the less essential nutrients our bodies get to function properly.

So if a large portion of our added sugars are coming from sweet beverages, why are so many of us avoiding the cookie jar like it is the next coming of the black plague with a sugary, high calorie soda in our hand? According to the Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip cookie recipe, one cookie has 10 grams of sugar which comes out to about 30 grams less than a 12 ounce can of Coke. Think about that. You could eat 4 cookies and it would equal the amount of added sugar in one soda beverage. (Note: I’m not advocating that cookies have better nutrition value overall, just that they have less sugar than a soda. I by no means think you should replace soda in your diet with cookies — this is just an observation used to put something into prospective.)

No one is perfect and we can’t expect to cut sugar out of our lives completely, but it is best, like everything else, in moderation. Luckily, kicking a sugary soda habit may be easier than you think. I’ve found that with strong will and by filling up on plenty of water, your body begins to feel different, better in fact, making it easier to keep up with the healthy choices you’ve previously made. If you are looking to lose weight, small changes are key. A simple change like ditching sodas and other sugary beverages just may jump start the pounds falling off.

Take away: We don’t (usually) eat all the cookies in the cookie jar without remorse, so why are we drinking all the soda in the fridge without a blink of an eye? Cut out or cut back on sugary beverages and get healthier.