Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Healthy fats and Omega-3's

If you, like me, have spent the last 10-20 years of your life thinking all fats are bad and the secret to weight loss is to slash all fat... you're doing yourself a major disservice.

In fact, all fats are not created equal. It's true that some fats are hazardous to your health (such as the dangerous trans fats that are working their way out many foods), but we need some fats to survive. In fact, some kinds of dietary fat (like mono-unsaturated fat or poly-unsaturated fat) actually energize our bodies, like protein and carbs do.

No doubt you have heard the words "omega-3"s by now. Now here is an example of a healthy fat! This powerful fat can reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, as well as reduce symptoms of ADHD, joint issues, some skin issues, depression, hypertension.... and there is research showing how it can help protect us from Alzheimer's. All by its ability to encourage all the body chemicals that help keep inflammation under control- in your joints, your bloodstream, your muscles.

So why aren't we getting enough omega-3's? A lot of us don't know where to find it. We can get it in many cold-water fish, like salmon and anchovies. But after the FDA started warning us about mercury in fish, people started to freak about eating fish. The good news is- a couple of servings of salmon a week will do ya'. And two 4 oz servings of salmon is certainly well under the 12 oz limit the FDA wants us to eat... so DO NOT BE AFRAID! Fish = good.

If you're not a fish person, here are some other ways to get your omega-3's in:

* WALNUTS: Just a handful of walnuts will pack about as much as a 3.5 oz serving of salmon.
* FLAXSEED: You can find flaxseed just about anywhere these days, but I can attest to the deliciousness of Meijer brand organic flaxseed bread.
* EGGS: Not all eggs... but Meijer organic brown eggs and Eggland's Best both have omega-3's added by way of feeding their chickens flaxseed.
* VEGGIES/FRUITS: cantaloupe, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, grape leaves... all sources of omega 3's.
* BEANS: Beans are a superfood for a lot of reasons, but kidney beans will help you out with some omega-3's.

Just don't go crazy and go out and buy a bunch of fish oil capsules. We rely too heavily on supplements, which the body just does not absorb as effectively as real vitamins from real food. It's not that hard to get a couple of servings of these omega-3's in, just a few tweaks to your shopping list!

If you'd like more info on healthy fats and omega-3's, check out this "healing foods pyramid" from U of M.

until later....

Lois: So doctor, is Peter healthy?
Doctor: My goodness, you'll be dead within a month.
Peter: What?
Doctor (revealing comic he was reading): Oh, Hagar the Horrible, if you keep up that lifestyle of pillaging and eating giant turkey legs, you'll be dead within a month. Now, onto you.
Peter: So, what do you think? Pretty healthy, eh?
Doctor: Well, Mr. Griffin, let's take a look at your physical results. Argh! There's a spider in here. Now, here we go. Mr Griffin, you're going to expire in a month.
Peter/Lois: Argh!
Doctor: This is your driver's licence, isn't it? Now, unfortunately, I'm afraid you're going to die...
Peter: Argh!
Doctor: ...when you watch these Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts.
Lois: Will you just tell us how Peter's health is?!
Doctor: Ah, Mr. Griffin, I'm not quite sure how to say this. Kim Bassinger? Bass singer? Bassinger? But now, onto the cancer.
Lois: Oh my goodness!
Doctor: You are a Cancer, right? You were born in July? Now onto these test results. My, they're much worse than I thought.
Peter/Lois: Oh!
Doctor: My son got a D minus on his history test. Now Mr Griffin, that liver's got to come out.
Lois: What?!
Doctor: It's been in the microwave for three minutes, it'll get dry. Now-
Lois: Please, please, we can't take any more schtick.. Please just tell us, is Peter healthy?
Doctor: Oh, yeah, he's fine, he's just really fat.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Marathon Looms....

I totally had an "OMG" moment when I realized this marathon I've been steadily pounding towards is just a little over a month away. What happened o, "Oh, I have five months of training, it's so far away"???

On a recent long run, I took the time to think about the marathon. I mean, REALLY think about it. Now that the snow has dissipated (I'm hoping permanently, but this is Michigan, after-all), it's a lot easier to get out there and think clearly. With the snow, it was always "Wow, I'm running so slow but I feel like I'm exerting so much effort!" So it's especially nice to have clear roads for a clear head.

It's important to have goals when striding into a storm like this. Without goals, how do you have anything to work for, to hope for? I encourage all of you, whether you're running a marathon or training for your first 5k, to set some goals for yourself. The tricky thing with me and goals is, of course I don't like to be disappointed. Who does? So I figure, the more goals I set, the less likely I am to be disappointed if I don't meet ALL of them.

I have had a notorious "hit or miss" attitude this winter. It has ranged from, "Wow, what a terrific speed workout!" to "I hate that it's mile 15 and I'm all by myself because the rest of my team is so much faster than me, wah ,wah wah...." I have, admittedly, been very had on myself. No more of that. The time has come to focus on myself, not every other runner I know. I can only do the best "I" can do, not the best "everyone else" can do. I have trained hard, I have overcome obstacles, I'm doing well. And I will keep doing well.

This may seem like an obvious one, but hell, I've never ran 26.2 miles before. I could drop into a puddle of my own sweat in mile 23. So yes, I would like to run across the finish line. But I will also walk across the finish line. Or cartwheel across it. Or maybe crawl across it. Or piggy-back across it? As long as I get across it.

Do I think I can finish this thing in 4.5 hours? Yes. 4.15 hours? Probably. 4 hours? Maybe. I think this is a good window of goal for me to feel like I'm comfortably pushing myself without making outlandish promises I can't keep.

This may seem another obvious choice. But from beginning runners to experienced ones, I think it's really easy to fall into the trap of knocking yourself down for "not being good enough". The fact of the matter is- if you lace up your sneakers and walk 5 minutes on the treadmill, you're a winner. If you're running a 14 minute pace, you;re running, and you're a winner. You don't have to qualify for Boston or get a medal to win. You just have to put your mind to something, whether marathon or 5k, and push your limits. Believe in yourself. And be proud of your effort, and your accomplishments.

"The challenge of a significant physical journey on foot unleashes some primitive connections to our identity as human beings." ~ Jeff Galloway, Marathon runner