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Eating Paleo: Food Staples in Our House

15 Sweet Potatoes

The biggest change and challenge from moving to the Paleo style of eating is being prepared and having foods ready to eat.

There is some food preparation required and forethought when you go to the grocery store, but it all became much easier for our household once we nailed down the staple foods that make 65% of our diet. Grocery trips are faster (and cheaper) and sticking to the Paleo plan is pretty thoughtless once you find your groove.

Below are the Paleo food staples in our house, these are things that we always have available and make in large batches on the weekends. Find your staples and you will find success in daily healthy eating!

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Creating Healthy Habits

4 healthy habits

The Whole Life Challenge is at it’s half way point. For 28 days I have been eating 99.9% Paleo, stretching, working out and picking up other healthy habits along the way.

As I enter the second half of this challenge, including a week long vacation, it is now time to figure out how to implement those healthy habits into everyday life when I am not being held accountable by a challenge.

This topic was brought up last night by my better half, how do you apply a challenge to the every day?

I’ve learned over the past few weeks a few things about myself and striving for my “healthy.” The first piece of that is creating healthy habits. Below are the steps that have worked for me during this challenge, but also in the past when trying to wake up earlier, pick up a skill for cycling or a new routine at work. They work for me and maybe they’ll work for you too.

Steps to Creating Healthy Habits

1. Submersion

I find that the first major step for me is completely submerging myself in the healthy choice I am looking to make. Whatever healthy choice you are tackling first embrace it, hug it tight and become very educated with it. Maybe you are starting to go to the gym, wake up early, or eat healthier – back your decision up with a lot of sound research on why you are making this HEALTHY choice. This will come in handy when you’re doubting yourself in a few days or when going gets tough.

Sign up for a group, buy a sleep app, save a ton of recipes to try and keep submerging. Task yourself to become an expert on this healthy habit. It will become so much of your every day that it really changes from a healthy choice to a healthy habit.

This is when you know you are fully submerged and ready to move on to the next healthy choice.

2. Limit the Options

In our house the only option for meals are Paleo. For the first 3 weeks in the challenge we hid the foods that we thought we would return to after the challenge, but ended up giving them away when we realized we didn’t want or need them in our diet. For myself, I bring lunch every day to work and the only option if I run out of food is a smoothie 4 blocks away from work. That is my only optional food at work.

If your only choice was between a chicken or a bison burger, you are doing great. If your only choice is to run at lunch or go to the gym, you’re an athlete. If you limit your choices, cut out the fat and give yourself less things to ponder, you will always succeed. Do not allow yourself the option to bail, skip a workout (unless sick or injured) or eat the crap. Those aren’t options, really they aren’t. When you don’t give yourself the option or choice, you don’t have to have will power to overcome it.

Think of one healthy habit that you practice in your life. This could be basic like doing laundry every Saturday morning so that you have clean clothes for the week, or taking your dog for a walk everyday after work. This is a healthy habit that you don’t even think of as an option, I bet.

3. Community

The Whole Life Challenge was a purchased community. With the challenge came forums, comments and a community to push us to be better. Thankfully, cycling and CrossFit both have tight knit communities to push us. As the challenge winds down I plan on submerging myself even more in these communities to feed off others positive and healthy choices.

What community, meetup or group can you join to help this new habit?

4. Prepare for Success

This is honestly my favorite mental switch that I have found during this challenge.

Through out my life I have been prepared for failure. It’s ingrained in my makeup and not something I am proud of. By submerging myself into healthy cooking and a new sport, limiting the options of failure, and leaning on a great community when I’ve needed an upper I have set myself up success. Success in healthy habits that has led to a healthier, happier, and stronger me!

What are you preparing for, success or failure?

[Luke:] I can’t believe it. [Yoda:] That is why you fail.

5. Commit

This will be the hardest step of creating healthy habits. If you have built the foundation of healthy choices on all the above steps you will be left with only one thing, committing to these choices so that they can soon become habits.

More than anything, remember you are committing to yourself and your family. A healthier you is the best commitment you could ever make.

Conclusion

Try not. Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda

Photo Credit: scribbletaylor

 

 

What is One Healthy Choice You are Making Today?

24 Healthy Choices

We make choices every moment of everyday.

What time are you waking up? Do you hit the snooze? Do you allow yourself to be distracted? Who do you call? Who do you answer? Once you start thinking about what choices you are making in the moment, every moment, you can start seeing how many you are making. Hopefully, you can also see those pile up and can be the sail to your success in life or the weight to your failure.

As I entered this Whole Life Challenge I wanted less choices and making the ones I did make, better. When my alarm goes off, I get up without a choice of hitting the snooze button. The choices of foods to eat for the day are in my kitchen, I do not give myself the choice to eat out and the food we made for the week is tastier and better looking!

As you get your day started today think about what choices you can make to be healthier. What choices can you take out of the picture so that you have no option but to make the better choice?

If you had to make one healthy choice for today, what would it be?

My healthy choice for today:

Going to sleep early, to wake up early

Review: Power Hungry Cookbook

3 Power Hungry Cookbook

If you know me, you know that I’m not a culinary expert. While I have being doing my best in 2013 to tackle learning how to cook better please know I am not a genius in the kitchen (or grocery store!) This review is a true real world, clue-less cook, review.

Power Hungry Cookbook: The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook

ingredients

If you are reading this there is a good chance you have eaten some sort of Clif Bar, or Powerbar over the past few weeks. If you are anything like me you are burnt out on the textures, taste or cost every time you swallow one of those $2-5 bars. This is exactly why my interest was peaked when this book showed up for review. Time to branch out of my comfort zone and hopefully make yummy goodies!

The actual book of the Power Hungry Cookbook

The first 30 pages are under “The Power Hungry Pantry” which explains ingredient choices, substitutes and even how to make your own DIY glucose syrup. As a beginner at this, the Pantry pages were helpful and smoothed out some confusion of substitutions.

The book is broken down into a few chapters to easily find something that may tickle your taste buds. Super-Natural Knock-Offs, Activity Bars, Endurance Bars, Protein Bars, Raw and Almost Raw Bars. Something to note, this book doesn’t just make bars but also gel blocks, brownies and cookies.

Reading through the recipes they are easy to follow. As with any cookbook, it’s always good to read through the ingredients and instructions twice before heading to the store. After each recipe there are Bar Tips, Bar Keeping and Bar Variations, all helpful especially after you’ve had a few batches and want to change things up a bit.

Recipes and Rating

Emily and I tried three recipes on our first go around. In the process we created our own rating system from 1-5, it’s a great way to see what we like, or don’t, and what we want to keep making even as we try more recipes. The rating on each recipe reflects an average of our individual ratings combined.

Power Hungry Cookbook

Brewed Awakening Cappuccino Bars – Rating 3.75

Calories: 220 Fat: 9.7g Carbs: 31.3g Protein: 5g 

espresso

Main ingredients: Rolled oats, walnuts, almonds, coconut, brown rice, some espresso powder and other goodies. These are under activity bars, and make about 16 bars a batch. They are perfect for your jersey pocket, or to chow for breakfast.

Pumpkin Pie Power Bars – Rating 4

Calories: 127 Fat: 2.3g Carbs: 15g Protein: 12g

Power Hungry Cookbook

Main ingredients: Rolled oats (processed into powder), pumpkin puree, whey protein, greek yogurt and eggs. Fall “crack” bars are what these should be called. Perfect to head into fall with one of these in your lunch or jersey pocket. Without any additional chocolate or variations it taste much like the filler of pumpkin pie but in a fluffy bar. These are considered endurance bars and make 10 bars.

Seeds of Power Bars – Rating 2.75

Calories: 199 Fat: 9.2g Carbs: 24.8g Protein: 6.1g 

mix

This was my least favorite bar, but Emily loved it. It does have a great taste, but I can’t get over all the seeds and it was by far the most intensive of the three bars. These are under endurance bars and make 20 bars.

Ingredients and Side Notes

The ingredients for the recipes we decided on weren’t the easiest to find but with some proper searching and inquiries at local stores we found everything in one afternoon. 90% was found at our local natural food store (Sprouts), the local grocer had everything else. The initial investment was around $70-80 but mostly due to us not having many ingredients for baking in our house. We went to the bulk section for all the seeds and nuts so we could buy very little for this first round. The whey protein was the most expensive at $20 for the jug, but it stores well and will also be used in smoothies. Once you have the key ingredients the cost per bar will go down the more you make them. Don’t go too heavy on recipe specific ingredients until you know you love those bars and that you will make them again.

We plan on trying out some of the knock-off recipes to see if we like our versions better than the store bought. Our rating system uses this idea of store bought compared to final product. I do believe two of our three recipes tested so far were better than what I can buy at the store. Being able to edit and try out new things helps as well. For example we are almost out of Pumpkin bars so I’m simply going to go downstairs tonight and whip up a batch. No need to spend more money or remember to order them so I don’t starve on the next ride.

I highly recommend this book for yourself and it will be a great Christmast gift for active friends in your life!

Visit the author’s website or buy your copy on Amazon.

Disclaimer: This product was provided at no cost for review.

 

Review: Clif Bar Sierra Trail Mix

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Clif Bar is one of the original energy bars on the market and are a pretty standard energy snack on the trail or in a cyclist pocket. It’s great to see when they add more flavors to their options to keep people interested and not burnt out on their selection

Clif Bar Sierra Trail Mix $15 per box of 12

WCB13_388-Nutritionals_Clif-Bar_STM

Ingredients

Organic Brown Rice Syrup, ClifPro® (Soy Rice Crisps [Soy Protein Isolate, Rice Flour, Barley Malt Extract], Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soy Flour), Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Peanuts, Chocolate Chips (Dried Cane Syrup, Unsweetened Chocolate‡, Cocoa Butter‡, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract), Organic Raisins, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Peanut Butter (Organic Peanuts, Salt), ClifCrunch® (Organic Oat Fiber, Inulin, Organic Psyllium), Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Roasted Sunflower Seeds (Sunflower Seeds, Sunflower Oil), Organic Date Paste, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Natural Vitamin E (Antioxidant).

IMG_3576

Taste Test

This bar really tast like a great bag of trail mix in a bar but with some additional moisture so you don’t have cotton mouth. It’s a welcoming difference of many bars with it’s chocolate chips, soy rice crisps, raisins and pumpkin seeds. Yummy goodness! I

f you are looking for an easy choice for calories in a wrapper, give this your own taste test and let me know what you think!

Musings on Active & Recovery Nutrition

3 Ice Cream Ride

There are many schools of thoughts in the athletic world about what you should or shouldn’t eat. Many of my friends have gone with the Paleo eating habits, personally I try to look at the ingredients, make an educated “Yes or No” thought in my head and then try it on training rides. These days it takes a scientist to breakdown and to be able to explain what all the moving parts are doing in many “sports food”. For ease of use I’ve always been a fan of the “systems” that have a during and an after just so I don’t have to think too heavy.

These musings are due to a press release from Osmo Nutrition that Cannondale Pro team picked Osmo for their Pre, Active and Recovery hydration.

After the brutally hot first two stages of ATOC, Cannondale Pro Cycling turned to Osmo’s leading science and proven performance, with Sagan and the team used Osmo PreLoad Hydration before stages, Osmo Active Hydration during the racing, and Osmo Acute Recovery after stages. The results have been immediate, with Sagan winning stage 3 and the final stage of the week-long race, bring his total stage count to ten.

At the end of a spectacular stage that began in San Francisco, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, and headed north along the legendary California coast, Cannondale Pro Cycling wound up their Pro-Tour leadout train, delivery Sagan to a sprint finish. “The team got me in position and I went from 300 meters,” said Sagan immediately following his win in Santa Rosa. “I felt very strong. I hit 1,750 watts, more than I’m used to seeing. Osmo helped for sure.”

“Having Peter and Cannondale Pro Cycling win the final stage in Santa Rosa is truly special for Osmo,” said co-founder and chief scientist Stacy Sims. “Just one year ago we launched Osmo at the Amgen Tour
of California and today we gave the rider with the most stage wins in ATOC history the hydration and recovery edge he needed to take his 10th career victory at the race. This just speaks to the rapid
acceptance of Osmo’s products, all developed with peer-reviewed science.

While I realize a decent amount of this is media hype, it reminds me of the times I have used those gels at the perfect time for a last kick or how when I forget my recovery drink I wake up feeling hung over.

Nutrition is a very personal thing, depending on the level of your sports you would probably benefit working with a nutritionist to learn what you burn, what your body responds to and proper timing of it all.

Last night’s ride for ice cream and two quarts of strawberries reminded me that we can all be strict about eating, especially when we have a pair of jeans to fit in or upcoming race. We also need to enjoy the living and experience the joy that a simple (hilly) bike ride for an ice cream cone can give you!

I also have to mention one of my friends that has completed (strongly) many Ironman distance races is known for going to McDonald’s the night before for a large order of chicken nuggets. And good ole chocolate milk has always been my goto recovery drink.

What do you use and what have you learned over the years?

17 Day Diet Cleanse

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The the meaning behind and the word itself “diet” is hard for me. I’ve never understood eating crappy tasting food, bars or whatever to lose weight.

Last year I gave a go on the 17 Day Diet. To me it really is a cleanse, a reboot, a solid start to the season. I get easily sucked in to daily life and eating whatever. Now, let me say I don’t eat Big Mac’s or drink too much soda, but my habits aren’t as clean as they once were. The 17 Day plan really cleans the crap out of your diet by going cold turkey. Lean meats, certain fish, egg whites, vegetables, some fruit, carbs only in the form of yogurt and fruit, only a couple servings of “probiotic” a day, not eating late, lots of water and lots of green tea.

Sounds “healthy” right? Well it is. It’s also a test of will power and mental strength. I want waffles & I crave an asiago bagel. (Yes, I love carbs.)

I’m eating lots of turkey, chicken, vegetables, making smoothies, and all those good things. Egg whites are my friend and I look forward to green tea.

What else does it mean? I’ve cut back on my riding and exercise for this week. Starting tomorrow I’ll go for a longer road ride, probably in loops to gauge how I feel. I’m trying to figure out what I can have as snacks other than fruit in my pockets.

12 days left, 11 when I wake up tomorrow. Next week I’ll be traveling down to Charleston, SC and then to Memphis, TN. I’m not worried about once I get to my destination, but it’s on the road snacking I’m worried about. Making smart food choices when tight on time and no kitchen to make it will be trying as well.

If you have feedback, please let me know.

 

The Ultimate Century Nutrition Plan

2 Fuel Factor

Our guest article today is from, Kimberly Mueller, MS, RD, CSSD, the founder and owner of Fuel Factor Nutrition, is a Registered Dietitian, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, and competitive athlete who provides custom meal planning, nutrition coaching, and event-nutrition guidance to athletes worldwide.  More information on Fuel Factor services can be found at www.Fuel-Factor.com.  Kim can be reached at kim@Fuel-Factor.com

 

Kimberly Mueller

Whether you are professional cyclist pushing some serious wattage to win a race or a cycle-newbie excited to explore the countryside, implementation of a sound nutrition plan will be a huge determining factor in how your body will respond to the century challenge. Fueling peak cycling performance involves a trio of steps including: 1) tapered training and carbohydrate loading the 2 weeks leading up to the ride, 2) eating a meal the morning of the ride, and 3) consuming foods and fluids during the ride itself. Here’s a nutritional countdown to help your century preparation:

Two weeks and counting….

Many athletes actually dread the taper leading up to a big event, such as a century ride, but from a nutritional standpoint, when you complete your peak training volume about 2 weeks out from race day, muscle glycogen (carbohydrate) stores are about 30% lower than capacity, not an ideal place to be at for peak performance. Therefore, a two-week taper is appropriate before a century ride as means to allow your muscles to nutritionally reload.

In the first week of your taper, training volume should be reduced by 40% with the cutback being reflected on all your normal weekly rides. On race week, not only will training volume be reduced by another 40% but carbohydrate concentration in your diet should increase approximately 25% representing about 80% of your total caloric intake. However, while increases in carbohydrate are necessary, this is not an invite to blindly pile on the pasta till your pant button explodes. Calorie intake needs to match output so if you find yourself gaining more than 2% of your pre-load weight, you are consuming too much. Most athletes require ~15 calories per pound of body mass to support basic metabolic needs and tapered daily activities.

One day and counting…

While you may be eager to explore the pre-race scene, it is important that you maintain a ‘taper focus’, keeping your activity and time on foot to a minimal the day prior to a century. Make sure to stay hydrated, sipping on fluids until your urine maintains a pale yellow appearance. Continue your carbohydrate-focus but keep your diet low residue, meaning fiber content should be reduced a bit in favor of ‘easier-to-digest’ options (e.g., banana instead of an apple; white pasta over whole wheat pasta). In addition, fat and protein at your evening meal should be kept minimal as these nutrients take longer to clear the gut and can cause nausea on race morning, especially if the meal is eaten after 6pm. Make sure to stick with familiar foods, saving the more exotic local cuisine for post-ride.

Ride morning….

While a training taper and coordinated increase in carbohydrate intake is proven to prime your muscles for peak cycling performance, a carbohydrate-focused meal on ride morning will help restock your depleted liver glycogen stores, ultimately giving you that mental boost to perform at peak during the initial stages of the century ride. Our liver has the capacity to store approximately 100 grams (400 calories) of carbohydrate making this the target for consumption in the 2 hours leading up to race start. Much like your carbo-loading regimen, limit dietary fiber intake and instead use up to 25 grams of protein (e.g., egg, yogurt, soy milk) to help stabilize energy levels. Small amounts of fat (up to 20 grams), like that found in a couple tablespoons of peanut butter, can provide additional satiation value. Finally, aim at drinking ½-1 liter of fluid or enough that your urine runs pale yellow in the hours leading up to event start. For those vulnerable to cramping or premature muscle fatigue, consuming up to a gram of salt as part of your pre-ride fuel, whether found naturally in your food or added like that in a sports drink, has been shown to help mute the onset by a good 20% during endurance events such as a century ride.

Meals on Wheels

Meals on WheelsAll the nutritional work during your taper and carbo-loading regimen and pre-ride meal is not enough to carry you through a century ride making ‘meals on wheels’ essential for protection against the mental ‘bonk’ and muscle wrenching ‘wall’. Because both pedaling and digestion of food require oxygen nourishment, it is impossible to replace 100% of cycling output, which falls at 500-1000 calories/hour for most endurance cyclists, but, while a 30-40% replacement rate is optimal for most, the goal is to test that limit as means to mute the fatigue seen with depleted glycogen stores.

Note that with increases wattage, effort, and/or heart rate, there will be increases in calorie output yet the ability to absorb nutrients will decrease making the onset of muscle fatigue more probable. Therefore, cyclists who are racing a century should focus primarily on easier-to-absorb liquid carbohydrates (e.g, sport drink, gels with water), utilizing multiple carbohydrate sources (e.g., maltodextrin + 1-2 simple sugars) to help improve rate of uptake and accommodate their higher calorie outputs. All cyclists should avoid piling on the calories at sag stations as this will only divert blood/oxygen/water to the belly increasing the likelihood of cramping and/or nausea post-feeding. Ultimately, experimentation with different products during training is key to help create a plan that will work best for you on event day.

Want help creating an ultimate cycling nutrition plan? Kimberly Mueller, MS, RD, CSSD founder and owner of Fuel Factor Nutrition, is a Registered Dietitian, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, and competitive athlete who provides custom meal planning, nutrition coaching, and event-nutrition guidance to athletes worldwide. More information on Fuel Factor services can be found at www.Fuel-Factor.com. Kim can be reached at kim@Fuel-Factor.com .