How to Stay on Track While Working

For many people, it is hard to stay on track at work or while working. I have actually been experiencing the opposite — I stay on track really well during the week and while at work and tend to indulge here and there on the weekends. The absolutely biggest key to staying on track is being prepared. If you are prepared, you are golden. To prepare well, you need to know your body and your habits, then plan accordingly. Knowing myself and planning accordingly, this is how I prepare for the week ahead:

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I’m fortunate enough to not have to do a full food shop right now, but I still try to get to the store so I can buy my own necessities, especially ones for work. This is just a snapshot of a few of my staples:

  • organic oats or granola — I like Nature’s Promise Organic Oats or Organic Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats and Ola Granola (found at Stop and Shop)
  • organic coconut palm sugar — for oatmeal, coffee and other sweetening
  • unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk — I like Silk and So Delicious brands because there is no carrageenan. I use this for coffee at the office.
  • greek yogurt — I’ve been getting Chobani 100 recently because it’s all natural and only has 7 g of sugar; that’s half the sugar of other greek yogurts, unless they are plain. I’m not really a fan of the plain, so I consider this to be pretty good! I have these as a snack or part of my lunch.
  • fruit — for snacking or to pair with lunch
  • organic gluten-free superfood crackers — I am LOVING Mary’s Gone Super Seed Crackers. I usually have a few with lunch.
  • organic bars — Also loving Pure Organic bars (banana coconut and chocolate brownie). I have these on hand for when I need a snack between breakfast and lunch.

Other great staples:

  • organic baby spinach — for salads and smoothies
  • organic dark chocolate — for a delicious treat that’s also nutritious. I LOVE this organic, nonGMO, fair-trade and soy-free THEO dark chocolate made with coconut!

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  • nut butter — this vegan Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Butter is amazing. It has no sugar and is made with coconut oil. I like to either have some with my Mary’s Gone Crackers or have a little scoop before I head home to workout.

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  • nuts — it’s always good to have these on hand. I usually go with roasted unsalted almonds but am now trying a cashew pistachio almond mix from Back to Nature — made with these 3 nuts and sea salt.

I like to pack a salad for lunch and aim to have some meat with it, like chicken or a turkey burger. But when I eat breakfast at 5 am and eat dinner at 6:30 pm, a simple salad at 11:30 am is just not enough. And that’s okay. So I aim to have a source of protein around 9 am, when I start to get a little hungry (a yogurt, a bar or some nuts), and I have some crackers and fruit or a yogurt with lunch, depending on what I had for a snack. I have a pretty big lunch, but I need that to get me through the rest of my day.

I then try to have a little something before I workout since I don’t get home til about 4:30 pm. This could either be a scoop of peanut butter, a handful of nuts, a banana with peanut butter or simply a piece of fruit if I am doing something light like going for a bike ride or taking a walk. Fueling up before a workout helps your body prepare for the workout ahead and can actually lead to burning more calories during and after your workout. It also helps me from being ravenous by the time I eat dinner.

We cannot be afraid to eat or underestimate the power of our food — our bodies need nourishment from good food.

I dedicate 12 hours a day to work alone between commuting and being at the office. Adding in a workout and anything else that comes up in the evening adds up to a long day! But I’ve adjusted quickly and amazingly. I go to sleep early, eat smart and workout regularly; all of which have helped me tremendously. I could not do this if I did not take the time to plan. Sure, sometimes I don’t want to prepare my lunch the night before, make my breakfast or stop at the store after a full day’s work, but I do it because I know the next day I am going to say to myself, “Thank goodness I went to the store,” when I get hungry at work or “I am so happy my breakfast and lunch are already made,” when I’m getting into my car at 4:50 am.

Planning will make or break you. You either suck it up and do it or wish you had later on. Which would you prefer? And when you get hungry at your desk, it’s nice to know you have this waiting for you in your drawer /in the refrigerator:

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I hope this encourages you to prepare and choose wisely!

Good food, good tips, good moves, good for you

xo Kim, Running on Good

How to Recover from Vacation the Healthy Way

Recovering from vacation the healthy way.


We often return from vacations, weekends away or long holiday weekends feeling like we need to turn up our healthy habits and recover from the weekend damage. The 4th of July is just around the corner so it’s the perfect time to be discussing this. I also just returned from vacation and implemented these methods to bounce back to my pre-vacation self.

In order to bounce back, you do not need to go to any extremes. That means no skipping meals, no 3 hour workouts, nothing like that. All you need to do is get back to your regular routine and stick to this guide: 

1. Workout hard. I don’t mean go crazy or do something you aren’t trained for. I simply mean work your hardest. Do not half-ass it. I’ve recently been working out for 1 hour, going hard for probably 45 minutes and using the remaining 15 minutes for my in-between rests and stretching at the end of my workout. Intensity is more important than duration and will give you better results faster. HIIT workouts are a great way to do this. I will provide more details about my workout below.

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2. Eat 3 meals a day. Eat a nutritious and satisfying breakfast, lunch and dinner. Shy away from snacking. I will outline what my meals are typically like below.

3. Snack with a juice. I lied a little bit. You can snack and you should snack. But only on one thing — green juice. It can be fresh or an organic cold-pressed juice like SUJA, Evolution Fresh, Blue Print or something else like that. But make it organic and cold-pressed. Also look for a juice with greens and lemon. Wheatgrass and ginger are good things to look for too. IMG_3444   IMG_3718IMG_4138

If you do this for 3 days, you can do a green juice on your first and third day and another kind of vegetable juice on your second day. Something like beet or carrot with apple is a great choice. (click images to enlarge)

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4. Drink lots and lots of water. Drink. Drink. Drink. Try to drink half your body weight in water. So if you weigh 130 pounds, I want you to drink 65 ounces of water throughout the day. It also helps do drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning upon rising, before each meal and before bed. This helps with digestion and is really good for your internal organs.

5. Add lemon and/or mint to your water. I prefer to drink plain water when I first wake up, before I eat and before bed. My other water, throughout the day, typically has some mint leaves or lemon slices and mint leaves. Both are great for cleansing the body, fighting off cravings, healthy digestion, detoxifying and work as natural diuretics.

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6. Sleep and be patient. Try to get 8 hours of sleep each night and just be patient. Your body needs time to get back to its “normal.” It will take a few days, maybe 3-4. You can follow this guide for as many days as you like. You can even use it as a guide for weight loss.


In more detail…

The workout: I typically start my workouts with some form of cardio. I do this because I enjoy it and it makes me feel good. If you hate cardio, make sure you at least warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk, some jumping jacks, some squats and a side-to-side step with a punch. You want to move and target as much of your whole body as you can to lubricate the muscles.

My cardio is usually running, but I injured my heel a few weeks ago and cannot run. Therefore, I’ve been biking for cardio. I go on the spin bike and bike for 20-30 minutes depending on the day. I do intervals of moderate to high intensity. I’ve typically been doing 20 minutes because my HIIT and strength training circuits are pretty tough and I want to reserve some good energy.

My circuit or HIIT session for the day is one of the following: (I rotate and sometimes mix it up)

  1. Either the leg, arm or ab workout from Kayla Itsines’ free workout guide. You can download it from her website — go to download now.
  2. The drill pictured above from SWEAT Fitness. I do it twice through along with the following drill.
  3. A 2 move drill of squats and squat thrusts. You will do a decreasing count of the two moves in circuit form. If you workout regularly, I’d say you can start with a count of 15 and do another 5 or 10 if you complete it and feel you can do more. Better to be safe than sorry! Okay, so you do 15 squats (weighted or not) followed by 15 squat thrusts, 14 squats followed by 14 squat thrusts, 13 squats followed by 13 squat thrusts… until you get to 0. Make sense? Do it and do not stop until you get to 0.

The meals: If you have a healthy routine, get back to it. If you need some guidance, this is what I usually do for breakfast, lunch and dinner:

  • Breakfast: Superfood Protein Oats — cook oats with egg whites, 1 tsp coconut or coconut palm sugar, 1 tbs Nutribullet SuperFood SuperBoost mix (chia, goji, cacao, maca), 1 tbs organic almond butter or peanut butter, 1-2 tsp ground flaxseed or wheat germ and 1 diced banana. To make the oats with egg whites: cook your oats for close to 2 minutes, whisk in 1 egg white or 1/4 c egg whites and cook for another minute.
  • Lunch: Big Green Smoothie — spinach, fruit (usually 4-5 whole strawberries, frozen mixed berries, frozen peach slices and/or cantaloupe — just mix up what you want), 2 tbs hemp protein or 1 scoop of your favorite protein, 1 tbs Nutribullet SuperFood SuperGreens, 1 tbs Nutribullet SuperFood SuperBoost or Fat Burning Boost or Energy Boost, coconut water and unsweetened almond milk.
  • Dinner: Salad with Veggies and Chicken — I like to make a big salad loaded with organic romaine lettuce, organic carrots, organic tomato, organic cucumber and top it off with some almonds and organic raisins. This has been my favorite way of making my salad as of late. I love the tiny bit of sweetness that the raisins add. I get Earthbound Farm organic raisins and use 1/2 a box per salad. If you don’t like raisins, you can simply slice and toss in some grapes. Pineapple is also a nice addition. But choose 1 fruit, no more. I also use 1 whole heart of romaine, so this is a big salad. I then dress my salad with some organic extra virgin olive oil and organic balsamic vinegar. Yum!

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  • If you need more — Like I said above, I suggest you have a juice somewhere in your day. I typically have mine somewhere between lunch and dinner. If you need some more sustenance, that’s perfectly fine. Here are some things you can have with your juice to hold you over until dinner:

1. Raw Revolution Bar — they sell full size and minis! Perfect. I love Spirulina Dream.

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2. Two Mom’s in the Raw Granola Bar — only have 1/2

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3. Quest Bar — choose a flavor without sucralose! My favorites are chocolate peanut butter and double chocolate chunk. If you like Quest bars, have 1/2 alongside your smoothie and the other 1/2 alongside your juice.

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4. A small handful of nuts and/or seeds — whatever you like but make sure there are no added oils. You simply want the nut or seed. That’s it. These are my favorites:

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With this you should be good. Stick to your workouts, healthy eating and water drinking for 3-4 days and you should bounce back to normal pretty fast! And remember to take rest days with your workouts. After 3-4 days, take a rest day. Your body needs to recover. Rest by walking, taking a yoga class or just spending the day out and moving around gently. Recovery without any extremes… that’s the way to do it!

Good food. Good tips. Good moves. Good for you.

xo Kim, Running on Good

 

 

Beat the Heat! 3 Simple Recipes

Finally, it feels like summer is on its way! It’s been pretty hot here in New York and my body can feel it. Our bodies know the different foods we need in different seasons — warm filling foods in colder times and light refreshing foods in warmer times. Right now fruit is about the most appetizing thing to me. Fruit is water dense, light, refreshing and delicious — the perfect summer food.

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Photo courtesy of Google Images

So I have 3 delicious ways for you to beat the heat, two of which include fruit.

1. Watermelon-Strawberry Refresher

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Ingredients:

  • Frozen watermelon chunks
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Unsweetened almond milk or pure coconut water

What to do: simply blend all 3 ingredients together in your Nutribullet or favorite blender. I made this one with almond milk, but if you’re having it mainly as a beverage and are going to enjoy it outside, coconut water may be the more refreshing option. If you need it to be a little more filling, then opt for the almond milk.

2. Frozen Banana Slices

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Ingredients:

  • 1 sliced medium-large banana

What to do: simply slice and freeze! Let freeze for a few hours, serve in a cup and enjoy.

This is possibly the easiest and most delicious treat there is. And it’s hardly a “treat.” It’s just banana for crying out loud. But it tastes like banana ice cream. Remember Dippin’ Dots? Are those still around? Well, you no longer need them. These banana slices are like slices of banana flavored Dippin’ Dot ice cream. Except they are good for you and you know exactly what’s in them — good ol’ banana.

3. Iced Coffee — organic all around and no sugar!

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A girl who loves iced coffee, such a shocker right? I know coffee is kind of a hot button issue… to drink it or not to drink it? Well, I decide to drink it. I typically have one or two a day, and I drink tons of water so it doesn’t bother me.

How do I take my coffee? I take it all around organic, meaning organic coffee and organic full-fat half & half, with a teensy tiny bit of stevia. That’s ideal and how I like to make it at home. I can’t always get it like that, but I don’t freak out about it. If I’m going to freak out, I’d rather not have it. Save me the stress. If it’s not gonna stress me out on a particular day, I’ll take it the best way I can at the present moment.

Ways to make your iced coffee healthy and guilt free:

  • Opt for and brew organic fair-trade coffee
  • Use a little bit of stevia to sweeten it, if you must (but be sure to check your stevia, I like Sweet Leaf)
  • Make it creamy with: organic full-fat half & half, organic whole milk or unsweetened almond milk with no carrageenan (I like Silk. It’s also non-GMO). You could also choose another non-dairy milk, but I really recommend you get one without carrageenan. Read those labels!

Don’t know what carrageenan is and what to read more about it? Here is an article with everything you need to know about carrageenan by Kimberly Snyder. Again, it’s something people take a side on. I choose to avoid it. It’s not that difficult to avoid, and I feel better doing so. Read up on it. You are then free to make your own choice.

As the season goes on and we actually enter summer, I hope to bring you more meals that are ideal for the warm weather. Here’s to hoping that creative chef’s hat finds its way onto my head so I can deliver. In the meantime, embrace fresh fruit, fresh or cold-pressed organic juices, green smoothies, fresh or grilled veggies and these 3 cool treats. You should be refreshed and satisfied. Now get out and enjoy the weather, we’ve all earned it after that horrific winter. 🙂

Good food. Good tips. Good moves. Good for you.

xo Kim, Running on Good

Osteoporosis Awareness and Body Regeneration

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your health and wellness?

Your heart? Your fat percentage? Your endurance and ability to engage in physical activity? Those are all important factors when it comes to our health, and they are probably the factors that get the most attention. But what about your bones? May is Osteoporosis Awareness month, so I’d like to talk a little bit about our amazing bones, bone health and osteoporosis prevention.

“Osteoporosis accounts for more time spent in the hospital than diseases like diabetes, heart attack and breast cancer among women over 45. . . . One out of every two women and one in four men over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. The most serious osteoporotic fractures are hip fractures.”   -The American Recall Center

I find that most people don’t think about their bone health until a later age, and I think it might all be because of perception. As you can glean from the information above, women over the age of 45 and men over 50 are at highest risk for bone fracture and osteoporosis related injury. How often do we hear that? A lot. Probably because it happens a lot, so awareness is targeted at those who are at risk. But how does that make sense? Shouldn’t awareness be something all people are, well, aware of? And what about prevention? “Children and teenagers form bone faster than they lose bone,” and shouldn’t they know that? They are at the prime age for setting their bodies up for success later in life. And by starting healthy habits early, they are more likely to carry them out for the rest of their lives. Isn’t that what we want? I find that most people are under the impression that young people can do whatever they want because they are young and “bounce back.” When in reality, that is so far from the truth.

Our bodies are constantly regenerating themselves. No matter our age.

Yes, our bodies are constantly regenerating themselves. That means our bones and our organs are regenerating, or remaking themselves, every few years. This gives truth to the old saying, “You are what you eat.” Your body takes the nutrients from what you eat and drink to remake bones and organs. Typically this process slows down as you age. Of course you can’t slow down or stop the aging process, but there are other things you can do to give your body it’s best fighting chance. You do not have to be “at risk” just because of your age, and you do have to care for your body as long as you can. I refuse to believe that young people can eat and drink whatever they want and that a number will defy what you and I can do.

So what exactly is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when you lose too much bone, make too little bone or both. Your bones become porous and weak, putting you at risk for fracture or break.

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What can you do specifically to uphold good bone health? Practice healthy lifestyle habits such as following healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise.

Food for good bone health: opt for organic food from grass-fed animals and seasonal produce

  • Organic, grass-fed, full-fat dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese
  • Fresh fish: sardines, salmon, mackerel and tuna
  • Organic fruit: tomato, raisins, papaya, oranges, bananas, plantains, prunes, grapefruit, strawberry and pineapple
  • Organic vegetables, especially dark leafy greens: collard greens, turnip greens, kale, okra, spinach, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, mustard greens, dandelion greens, beet greens, artichoke, red and green peppers, and brussels sprouts
  • Although they were not part of this list, avocado and almonds are also good for bone health

Exercise for good bone health:

  • Weight-bearing exercises: running, dancing, hiking, jumping rope, aerobics, walking, stair climbing and tennis are a few examples of high and low-impact exercises
  • Muscle-strengthening exercises: lifting weights, using resistance bands, lifting your own body weight and practicing functional movements such as standing and rising on your toes
  • Yoga and Pilates are other forms of exercise that will improve strength and flexibility, but be careful if you have a pre-existing risk of bone injury or already have osteoporosis. In this case, modifications will likely have to be made for certain moves and poses. If you do not have any type of bone-related issue, you should not have to worry.

Osteoporosis is serious, common and costly. “Osteoporosis is responsible for two million broken bones and $19 billion in related costs every year. By 2025, experts predict that osteoporosis will be responsible for approximately three million fractures and $25.3 billion in costs each year.” You have the choice – invest in your health now or pay for it later. This goes not only for osteoporosis but for every chronic disease. Your lifestyle will determine your future, not statistics. Make a change and give yourself a better future.

For more information on bone health and osteoporosis prevention, please visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Good food. Good tips. Good moves. Good for you.

xo Kim, Running on Good

How I Feel About Specific Diets and Weight Loss

(sigh)… Well, every so often something comes along that makes us just say, “Wow. Really?” And this is one of those things. Currently trending on Facebook is a video from Jimmy Kimmel Live! of people who are gluten-free and don’t even know what gluten is. While the video is funny, it is also just plain sad. I mean, c’mon people. If you are going to avoid something — no matter what it is — you should know what it is and why you are avoiding it.

Google Images

Google Images

I feel like there is a specific-diet epidemic going on right now. I personally follow a whole food diet, eating mostly organic whole unprocessed foods. I do try to opt for naturally gluten-free foods when I have the option, and I like to keep my gluten intake to a minimum. The gluten that I do ingest mainly comes from organic whole unprocessed foods like organic sprouted bread and organic oats. My reason for watching my gluten intake is that I have hypothyroidism and there is a ton of research that suggests gluten is not hypothyroid friendly. So I am conscious of my intake and try to keep my it to a minimum. Whether you have a medical reason, want to explore the elimination or simply feel better avoiding something, just know what it is and why! Otherwise, you are just a fool. And the Jimmy Kimmel video proves it.

As a believer, follower and practicer of holistic health and nutrition, I agree that every body is different. I believe that a diet full of organic whole unprocessed food is a great place to start when making a dietary change. Ditch the processed food, abandon the fast-food and start eating fresh food from nature. Another important part of this process is paying attention to your body. Test, explore and figure out what works for you. Nothing says that you have to be a vegan, gluten-free, raw vegan or paleo in order to be healthy. Your body tells what you have to be in order to be healthy. Listen to it. What works for me may not work for you. Some people have serious medical reasons, intolerances and sensitivities that lead them to obtain a specific diet. Their body is telling them, “Hey! Something isn’t right here!”

Google Images

Google Images

There could also be a personal or ethical reason why someone chooses to follow a specific diet. And I firmly stand behind anyone who does just that. Your body is your body. If you want to eat a certain way, then do it. However, I do advise and hope that each person put their health first. I do not recommend following a specific diet for the sole purpose of losing weight. That is not a long-term method to keeping weight off, and you are likely to be miserable during the entire process. Just change your lifestyle. Find something that works for you and something that means something to you. The intrinsic motivation from an inner desire or purpose is a very powerful and lasting tool. I actually think it is necessary for long-term health and success. Most importantly though, follow the diet correctly. Eat the most food you can by eating all the variety of foods open to you. You do not want to create a hormone imbalance or nutrient deficiency from improper nutrition. Like I said, nobody knows what is best for you better than you and your own body. If you need some guidance, you can start by checking out this article and asking yourself these 4 questions.

So if you are following a specific diet or thinking of adopting one, please:

  • Know what the specific diet is: what you eat, what you do not eat and why
  • Have a reason: medical, ethical, personal, or what have you
  • Do not do it for the sole purpose of losing weight
  • Put your health first: get checked for proper hormone levels and vitamin/mineral deficiencies (this is a big one! do not create an imbalance or a deficiency in your body by cutting out foods/nutrients that you need!)
  • Ask yourself these 4 questions

Want to read more about this topic? Here are 3 articles that I really enjoy in relation to specific diets and how following one can be the wrong decision for you:

  1. The Truth About the 80-10-10 Diet
  2. 5 Types of People Who Think They Are Healthy Eaters (But They’re Really Not)
  3. How I Made My Way from Strict Vegetarianism All the Way Back to Chicken

Looking to shed some pounds? I know, I know… summer is around the corner! I’m working on myself right now too, but that doesn’t mean we all need to go to extremes or be miserable. I am working on becoming more mindful and sticking to what I know works best for my body. While I make excellent food choices, I have made some other slip ups. So, I am now regrouping and working hard to stick to what works for me.

Here are my tips for losing weight without going to extremes:

  1. Eat whole foods and cut out processed foods
  2. Eat 3-4 well-portioned balanced meals a day
  3. Be active every single day — even if it means going for a 10-20 minute walk (here’s a great way to fit in some moves every day — the treadmill desk!)
  4. Sit down and eat your meals mindfully; do not eat on the go or standing up while multi-tasking
  5. Stop eating out so much
  6. Do not make yourself miserable — eat food you enjoy and find exercises you enjoy
  7. But challenge yourself — try to broaden your horizons with different foods and challenge yourself in your workouts (if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you)
  8. Get outside — get up and do more things outside, it should lift your mood and force you be more active
  9. Sleep
  10. Enjoy indulgent foods in small portions

Those are my main tips for losing weight. None of them are extreme and none of them should make you miserable. These are all things I try to do when I want to slim down. Want more? Here are two articles related to natural weight loss including foods that could help you slim down:

Those are my thoughts. Specific diets are everywhere these days, and I find that many people resort to them when they want to lose weight without thinking about the impact these diets can have on their health when they aren’t followed or supplemented properly. Not to say that it can’t be done. Certainly, it can be. Just know what you are doing and why. Be smart, be safe, be happy, be healthy. That’s all I want for you.

Good food. Good tips. Good moves. Good for you.

xo Kim, Running on Good

If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy the following posts by my blogging friends from around the web pertaining to specific diets and dietary changes:

  1. Anxiety: What’s in Your Head Can be Related to What’s in Your Gut
  2. Paleo Weight Loss Tips

Getting Started on Real Food + The Worst Nutrition Advice in History

Hi friends! Are you thinking about adopting a real food lifestyle? Or are you past the thinking stage and ready to start but don’t know where to begin? Advice and tips are everywhere these days, thanks to the trusty — or not so trusty — internet, and it can get confusing. Nutrition is probably the only field where one can prove opposing theories true. With that said, I think we need to go back to the basics and trust our common sense. Because for me, most of it is common sense. And it can be for you to! You just have to ignore all the nonsense and stick to a few basic principles.

Photo: Google Images

Photo: Google Images

We need to stop complicating nutrition and breaking everything down so much. We are beating this stuff into the ground and making it more complicated for ourselves. Of course there is a time and a place for the nitty-gritty; we do need to understand the science of it after all, but I think we have created this unfortunate habit of taking it a little too far. People end up getting confused, frustrated, and just lost in it all. Therefore, they end up throwing their hands in the air saying, “I can’t do this. This is too much. I can’t keep up.” But when you follow a few basic principles, you will see how easy it really is and how it all leads back to basic common sense. So I’ve done a little research and some of my findings were happily stumbled upon in my free time — I peruse sites dedicated to running and holistic health just for fun. So let’s begin and take a look at what I found.

1. How to get started on real food.

Start small. What I always try to tell people who are working on making a change is to start small. Set maybe two small goals that you can achieve at a time. Give yourself two weeks to carry out these goals, then try to tackle a new one. Two weeks later, another. And keep going until you have implemented the change you want. These goals do not have to be crazy or extreme like eliminate everything that isn’t organic from your home. That is extremely overwhelming. I am not even at that level. I’m not even sure I’ll ever be at that level.

So what is an appropriate small change to make? Take a look at your lifestyle and acknowledge any “processed habits” you may have: do you drink soda? do you frequently eat fast-food? do you buy a number of snack foods at the grocery store? A good first goal to have is to limit your intake of processed foods and beverages. If you are a soda drinker, your first goal can be to have 2 sodas a week, max. After two weeks, see if you can go with 1 soda and then 0. It may be a challenge, but you will be better for it. Also, keep in mind that your first two weeks does not call for you to quit cold turkey. Instead of focusing on the fact that you only get 2 sodas, focus on the fact that you will be drinking soda. Change your perspective.

If you frequently visit fast-food joints, I am going to recommend that you replace those fast-food meals with real meals. Period. As much as I hate soda, I think I hate fast-food more. There’s no particular reason behind it, they are both awful for you, but I think it’s easier to replace a fast-food meal with a delicious real-food meal. There are more options. When trying to replace soda with a natural alternative, people can be very picky and sometimes difficult to work with. Why? Because sugar is addicting and soda is loaded with sugar. Diet soda? Loaded with artificial sweeteners that are worse than real sugar and make you want more soda. So weaning yourself off the soda and kicking the fast-food to the curb would be my advice. However, if you are a rockstar and ready to ditch the soda right off the bat, then be my guest! Some natural alternatives are fruit enhanced water or fruit enhanced seltzer water. This will be 100% natural carbonated water. No flavors. No ingredients. No additives. Infuse it with your own fresh fruit like lemon, lime, strawberries, and even mint. Delicious 🙂 Plus, it will quench your thirst and be more refreshing. And those processed snacks? Replace them with fruits, vegetables, smoothies, organic granola bars, organic tortilla chips, organic yogurt, organic granola, and other reliable snacks. For packaged foods you can snack on and trust, check out my post Snack Attack! Part One: Out and About. Part two, with homemade snacks and goodies, is coming your way soon!

Ready to take it up a notch? You’ve ditched the soda, fake iced tea (you can easily make your own if you love iced tea, it doesn’t have to be something you give up), fast-food and processed snacks, now let’s get a little more into it…

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2. Make your food real, whole and organic (majority of the time).

Does your food have an ingredient list? Then be cautious. Read it. Make sure the ingredients are pure and whole, not things concocted in a lab. Try to build your diet on rich, nutrient dense whole foods — majority of which do not have a label.

This includes:

  • organic produce = vegetables + fruit (anything with a thick peel that you do not ingest, you can get conventional if you want)
  • organic whole grains [organic oats, quinoa, brown rice, organic sprouted bread]
  • organic/grass-fed meat and dairy products [full fat organic dairy: yogurt and milk]
  • healthy fats and oils [coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, grass-fed butter, organic grass-fed ghee and coconut ghee, avocado, nuts and seeds]
  • superfoods [chia seeds, flaxseed, hempseed, cacao, maca powder, fermented foods, kombucha, chlorella, spirulina, wheatgrass, goji berry]
  • try to eliminate GMOs

This may sound like a lot, but just break it down and try to tackle one step at a time. Here’s a great article, from Kirsten at Cheerfully Imperfect, on how to get started on real food by implementing these changes. Quick tip: when you are shopping, shop the perimeter of the store and avoid the middle aisles. That is where you will find most of the chemically laden processed foods.

Worrying about conflicting information? “Eat whole eggs!” “Use coconut oil!” “Fat will kill you.” “Saturated fat is horrible!” It goes on and on. Like I said, nutrition can prove true a lot of conflicting information. The only trust-worthy truth teller is time. And over time, we have been advised to avoid fat, especially saturated fat. Well, where are we now? Fatter and unhealthier than we have ever been. Except, that’s all starting to change. There is a major real food movement going on and it is awesome. More people are learning that fat, especially saturated fat, will not kill you. In fact, it has a multitude of health benefits. It just has to be from the right source.

So, here is an article with the top 5 contenders for the worst nutritional advice in history. The contenders are:

  1. Throw away the egg yolks, the most nutritious part of the egg
  2. Everyone should eat a low-fat, high carb diet
  3. A calorie is a calorie
  4. Use polyunsaturated vegetable oils for cooking
  5. Replace butter with margarine

If you already eat plenty of fresh natural produce, you can kick-up your real food mission by going against these ^ rules. Conventional nutrition has pushed this advice for years and it has gotten us nowhere. Therefore, it is best  to:

  1. Eat the yolks! Eggs are nature’s multivitamin. They are a source of life and contain healthy cholesterol. Do not worry about the yolks.
  2. Eat the fat! Healthy sources of fat are: organic/grass-fed meat and dairy, coconut oil, sustainably sourced palm oil, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, organic/grass-fed butter and ghee
  3. Know that all calories are not equal. Real food will always, always be better than processed foods. No matter the calorie count.
  4. Use butter, ghee and/or coconut oil for cooking. Olive oil can be used at low temps, 200 degrees F and below (best at room temperature stored in a cool, dry and dark place).
  5. Always choose butter. I also like to use organic grass-fed coconut ghee because I loooove the taste, especially on a piece of toast 🙂

Runners: are you thinking, “How am I possibly supposed to fuel myself for my hard and long runs eating like a bird?!” You will not be eating like a bird, and you will be nourishing your body so well that your running will probably benefit from implementing these changes. While it is best to eat a majority of fresh produce, you should be eating plenty of whole grains, fats, meat, milk and dairy — as pure and natural as you can get.

Here are some great tips for runners from an article that I stand behind 100% — How Good Nutrition Can Fuel Your Running.

  1. Cut out processed foods. We’ve talked about this ^.
  2. Stop obsessing about the protein. While protein is important, you do not need to go crazy. Try to eat a little protein with each meal and you’re set. I like to have a meal sized green superfood smoothie with protein after my runs and workouts. 
  3. Flood your body with nutrients. My post-workout green superfood smoothies do just this: flood my body with nutrients. This is how I like to recover and refuel. Bonus: berries, which are filled with antioxidants, are awesome post-workout because the antioxidants battle any free radicals and toxins that could be floating around your body after an intense workout. I usually toss a few whole strawberries into my smoothie and enjoy a small handful of blueberries while I put my smoothie together. Juices are also a great way to flood your body with nutrients!

My favorite juices: raw and organic (fresh or cold pressed)

  1. greens + apple + orange + lemon + ginger
  2. beet + carrot + orange + apple
  3. sweet potato + carrot + orange + pear… utterly life changing

If you need more convincing, here’s an article from the runner’s bible itself, Runner’s World: The Healthy Runner’s Diet.

The 6 rules of The Healthy Runner’s Diet:

  1. Eat seeds or foods made from seeds
  2. Eat 5 different colors of fruits and vegetables daily
  3. Eat plant foods with their skins intact
  4. Drink milk and eat milk products that come from [organic grass-fed] animals
  5. Eat foods that cold from [fresh] cold water

I have one word to say to these rules — YES!! Do these things and you are golden. See how all these things have overlap? That’s the common sense! Practice it, live it and before you know it, everything will become so second nature that you won’t even have to think about it.

I hope this wasn’t overwhelming, but I felt that all of these points and articles were really important to grasping the entire picture. Hopefully you see the overlap and how sticking to a few main points will keep you healthy, happy and fueled up for whatever you have ahead of you. Eat up, drink up and enjoy.

Good food. Good tips. Good moves. Good for you.

xo Kim, Running on Good

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the following posts regarding real food and avoiding chemicals by my blogging friends from around the web:

  1. Foods That Reduce Inflammation and Other Pain Relief Strategies by Mind Body Oasis
  2. How to Grow Your Own Greens by Ribas with Love
  3. Toxic Chemicals in Food Packaging by Lindsay Dahl
  4. Natural Flu and Cold Remedy & Prevention by Overthrow Martha
  5. How to Make Almond Milk by Ribas with Love

Recipes: Green Recovery Smoothies with Vega Sport

When I was at the Boston Marathon Run Expo, I got a sample packet of Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator. At the expo, I sampled a taste where the tropical accelerator was mixed with water. This past week I decided to add it to my post-run green recovery smoothies. It is soooo incredibly delicious in a green smoothie, no matter how you make it! But here are two smoothies I whipped up this past week that were just phenomenal.

Green Smoothie #1

IMG_3573

*I use organic ingredients and made this in my Nutribullet, so I didn’t measure my liquids.

  • 1 big handful of kale/spinach mix
  • 1 big handful of frozen peach slices
  • 3 whole strawberries(tops included)
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1/2 packet Vega Sport Tropical Recovery Accelerator
  • 2 tsp hempseeds
  • some organic milk (maybe 1/2 cup or so)
  • plenty of coconut water (maybe 1 cup)
  • Blend til very smooth and enjoy! 🙂

Green Smoothie #2

IMG_3559

  • 1 big handful of kale/spinach blend
  • 1 handful of frozen mango chunks
  • a few frozen peach slices
  • a few whole strawberries (about 3 or 4)
  • 1/2 chopped zucchini
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1/2 packet of Vega Sport Tropical Recovery
  • 2 tsp of hempseeds
  • a small handful of almonds (raw or roasted — no salt)
  • organic milk (about 1/2 cup)
  • coconut water (about 1 cup)

Mmm 🙂 These were so delicious, it was hard not to go back and make more. But there is always tomorrow. I love my green smoothies and this tropical accelerator really took it to the next level. Try them out and remember to use the hashtag, #runningongood so I can see your creations! ‘Til next time… keep running on good.

 

Good food. Good tips. Good moves,

Kim, Running on Good