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The “Go To” Summertime Snack!

I add cucumbers to salads or eat them with hummus for a nutritious, hydrating snack.

I add cucumbers to salads or eat them with hummus for a nutritious, hydrating snack.

My Five Reasons For Eating Cucumbers!

As a distance runner, I like to eat lots of nutritious snacks to keep my energy levels up after a long workout. One of my “go to” foods is cucumbers on a small salad or just plain with hummus…here’s why!

-Cucumbers are loaded with water ( 95 per cent!) which can help you stay hydrated on a hot summer day.

-Believe it or not this vegetable which contains lots of water, also contains poly phenols called lignans which may help lower your risk of breast and ovarian cancers. They also contain phytonutrients which have anti cancer properties.

- Cucumbers may help reduce the inflammatory response in your body.

- Cucumbers contain an anti-inflammatory flavonol called fisetin that appears to protect brain health. It helps improve your memory and protects your nerve cells from age related decline.

- Cucumbers contain lots of nutrients and vitamins: vitamin k, B, and C and manganese and copper. *

Remember, folks, food determines how we feel and heal!

* Source: Check out www. articles.mercola.com for more on the health benefits and reasons for munching on cucumbers.

Today’s Super Food Lunch!

Today's protein packed lunch--  without using meat!

Today’s protein packed lunch!

As a follow up to this week’s post, Chickpeas: This Month’s Super Food, I am posting a protein packed salad recipe that will leave you feeling full for hours!

Ingredients:

2 Cups of arugula

1/2 onion, thinly sliced or chopped

1 TBSP of soy or turkey bacon, crumbled

2 TBSPs of crumbled feta cheese ( optional, use dairy free cheese if you’re vegan)

1 cup of sliced cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup of chopped cucumber

1/2 cup of chopped avocado

1/4 cup of shredded carrots

2 ( HEAPING!) TBSPs of hummus made from chickpeas

Olive Oil and Balsamic dressing to taste

Directions:

After cleaning and prepping the vegetables and arugula, place them in a bowl and toss. Add the crumbled soy bacon and feta cheese on top. Then, add the hummus for the final touch. Hummus serves as my dressing. But for those who want to use olive oil and balsamic dressing, use just a bit for taste. Enjoy!

For more on the health benefits of chickpeas, read my post, Chickpeas: This Month’s Super Food: http:// http://www.beefitwithtracy.com/2014/08/06/chickpeas-this-months-super-food/.

Remember, Bee Fit folks, food determines how we feel and heal!

 

 

 

Chickpeas: This Month’s Super Food!

Raw cauliflower with hummus ( made from chickpeas ) makes a great afternoon snack!

Raw cauliflower with hummus ( made from chickpeas ) makes a great afternoon snack!

Garbanzo beans are rich in fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Recent studies show that including a cup of garbanzo beans twice a week in your meals can help balance blood sugar and lower your levels of LDL-cholesterol (the bad kind), total cholesterol and triglycerides. Garbanzo beans also help us feel satisfied longer, which can be super helpful for weight loss and weight maintenance.

Just one cup of chickpeas contains:

• 13 grams of fiber (half your daily requirement, and most of it is insoluble fiber, the best kind!) 
• 15 grams of protein 
• No sodium 
• 8% of your daily value for calcium 
• 26% of your daily value for iron 
• Just 270 calories

Even small servings of chickpeas have proven to be health boosters: in one study, after one week in which participants ate only one-third a cup of chickpeas per day, every participant saw improved blood sugar levels and insulin secretion. (Source: http://www.whfoods.com/ citing Effects of a Controlled Diet Supplemented with Chickpeas on Serum Lipids, Glucose Tolerance, Satiety and Bowel Function; Pittaway JK, Ahuja KDK, Robertson IK, et. al.)

Other qualities that give garbanzo beans its SuperFood status is how easy they are to include in your meals. Buy organic no-salt added in a BPA free can, and just drain, rinse, and put them in your salads, soups and stews; mix them with quinoa, brown rice and other whole grains; blend them for dips and spreads, and roast or bake them!* 

Remember, folks, food determines how we feel and heal! :-)

*Source: Crave Marketing, LTD. and http://www.whfoods.com. 

Diet Drinks Are NOT Your Solution to Losing Weight!

Look at what diet soda can do! Opt for flavored water instead!

Look at what diet soda can do! Opt for flavored water instead! (Picture from “Fighting for Fit” )

A lot of people think that diet soda is a healthy choice, but unfortunately, that’s just not true. Studies show that diet soda does not help with weight loss; instead, the intense sweetness of artificial sweeteners actually triggers the body’s craving for sugar and fools the brain into thinking you are about to eat something sweet. This can actually promote weight gain!

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, drinking diet soda with artificial sweeteners causes your body to produce insulin (the fat storage hormone), which increases your belly fat. He cites a study, saying, “The rats that consumed artificial sweeteners ate more, their metabolism slowed, and they put on 14 percent more body fat in just two weeks (even while eating fewer calories).”*

And that’s not all. Long-term studies have shown that diet sodas can cause migraines, stomach distress and dizziness; contribute to obesity and type 2 diabetes; and weaken bones and deplete calcium, among other side effects. Also alarming, artificial sweeteners make diet soda addictive.

For more on how harmful diet soda is to your health, read this most recent article by clicking this link: http://rt.com/usa/diet-soda-consumption-heart-disease-497/.

* Source: www.drhyman.com and www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov: A role for sweet taste: calorie predictive relations in energy regulation by rats.

* Dr. Furhman, citing Carbonated soft drink consumption and bone mineral density in adolescence: the Northern Ireland Young Hearts project; and Colas … are associated with low bone mineral density in older women: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study; and Diet Soft Drinks Deplete Urinary Calcium, MedPage Today. And Crave Marketing, LTD.

Red Pepper Flakes: A Spicy Way to Cutting Cholesterol

imageI add red pepper flakes to almost any meal.  I’ve been known to sprinkle it on fish dishes, pizza slices, and salad entrees because its a surefire way to keep my cholesterol low. According to this week’s “Women’s World,”  in one recent study, consuming just 1/4 tsp of capsaicin, the piping hot fire in the flakes, cut bad cholesterol ( LDL) in only two weeks. According to Dr. Zhena Yu Chen, the capsaicin in the red pepper flakes helps your liver break down excess fats and toxins.

Want an extra health boost? Then, next time, add red pepper flakes  to a guacamole dip for an extra spicy taste. Not only will you help reduce your cholesterol levels but you may just help reduce stubborn belly fat. Avocados are known to help burn fat, particularly around the mid section. For more on that, please check out: http://www.avocadocentral.com/nutrition/avocado-belly-fats.

Remember, folks, food determines how we feel and heal!

Oranges and Grapefruits….good for brain health!

My grapefruit and blueberry smoothie provides lots of antioxidants!

My grapefruit and blueberry beverage provides lots of antioxidants!

Good news! According to this month’s University of Berkeley’s Wellness Letter, an extra 7 ounces of fruit, especially citrus fruit, can reduce your risk of stroke by a whopping 32 per cent, according to the journal Stroke.  To get your daily 7- 8 ounces of fruit, try my juice recipe below.  It makes a delicious, refreshing summertime beverage by the pool or beach.

Ingredients:

One pink grapefruit, peeled and sliced into small pieces

1 cup of frozen blueberries

One peach, peeled and sliced

1 cup of iced water

Directions:

Place all the ingredients into the blender and spin! Drink and enjoy!

Running Past Bad Results!

image

Results from last Sunday’s Half marathon are in! To be honest, I wasn’t happy with my my time ( 2:04.46)…at  first, that is. I trained for this race and to be a whole minute per mile slower than my target time was a little surprising, especially when I had nothing left to give at the end. But many runners deal with unexpected disappointments and results. The key to remember is that it’s important not to wallow in frustration. Here are some of my strategies for getting myself and my mind back on the right track with training.

1. After you cross the finish line, try your best not to show your disappointment to others. “Bee” a good sport. Granted, this can be tough to do but you don’t want to take the joy away from others who might be experiencing a PR or those that thought they they ran well even when they crossed the line behind you.

2. When you have time to rehydrate, focus on what was great about the experience. For example, the course had lots of cheering spectators and was well marked at the miles OR, I that I covered 13.1 miles on hilly terrain and placed in my age group.

3. Make the event more than just about a race! For me, it might be taking after race pictures with any family or friends who participated and enjoying a big post race meal and beer with them.

4. After a day or two, think logistically where you might be able to improve. For me, this last race proved I was not ready for many of the turns and hilly inclines, not to mention some of the rocky terrain in the beginning and end of the race. Going forward, if I choose to run a race of this nature, hill training is a MUST and practice on trails is key, especially for an athlete like me who over-pronates. :-)

5. Last, but not least, don’t let one race keep you from moving forward with your goals! After the recovery period, I handle this by signing up for another race.

Keep on trekkin’ folks, and remember, food (not just what’s on a plate) determines how we feel and heal!

My Quick Fixes For Curing Mild Insomnia

Exercise does help treat insomnia over the long run.

Exercise does help treat insomnia over the long run.

Having difficulty falling asleep? Here are some of my quick fixes for getting rid of mild insomnia:

- Light a cinnamon or vanilla scented candle. The aroma of the spice stimulates your brain to produce calming alpha brain waves, which can help you drift off to sleep, according to neurologist, Alan Hirsch ( Women’s World, July, 14, 2015).

- Eat a salad or taco filled with white beans for dinner. White beans are a source of potassium, a mineral that can cut your risk of middle of the night wake- ups as much as 50 percent within a week, according to the journal, Sleep.

- Get plenty of exercise most days of the week. According to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, though exercise may not help insomnia sufferers sleep better immediately, exercise does help over the long run. For more on this study, go to http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/15/sleep-insomnia-exercise/2655209/.

- Drink a cup of smoothing chamomile tea. According to Dr. Oz, chamomile, a low growing herb with small fine leaves and little flowers, works as a mild tranquilizer and sleep inducer for adults who suffer from insomnia. For more on how to induce sleep more quickly, go to http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/sleep-countdown.

~ Decrease or eliminate caffeine after 1 pm. Alcohol is another culprit for disturbing a good night sleep, so drink in moderation.

Chronic insomnia is linked to increased risk of death, so it is important to treat it. Please seek the help of a medical professional ASAP if you find that you can not improve your sleep with natural, home remedies.

Staying Bikini Ready into your Middle Years!

Staying bikini fit is not easy at any age...but becomes more difficult as we approach our middle years. ere are my favorite " bee fit" tips that keep my stomach from bulging. :)

Staying bikini fit is not easy at any age…but becomes more difficult as we approach our middle years. Here are my favorite ” bee fit” tips that keep my stomach from bulging. :)

Staying bikini ready at any age can be tough, but it becomes even harder as we age. Here are my three best tricks to helping me stay slim around the middle.

- Exercise almost daily, even if you can only fit in a short one. As I have gotten older, I find I need to throw in a few sprints in my daily run to up my chances of burning fat. I love to run but remember, you don’t have to be a runner to be fit. Walk, swim, shoot hoops, jump rope…find your passion and make it happen!

- Aim to drink 12-16 ounces of ice cold water first thing upon waking. According to Travis Stork in this month’s First Magazine, drinking iced cold water can burn up to an extra 500 calories a week! Now, that’s a lot of extra calories.

- Eat a grapefruit every morning. In one study, individuals who ate grapefruit before meals, lost five times more weight than those who skipped the fruit.* Grapefruits contain a compound known as naringenin which switches on the body’s fat burning genes. If you are on any medications, though, please check with your doctor before eating grapefruit. Don’t like the taste of grapefruit? Then, aim to eat a cup of organic blueberries, also proven to burn belly fat.

- Add an avocado to your salads. Avocados are known to burn belly fat and keep you feeling satisfied between meals.

Most importantly, aim to increase your vegetable intake. Vegetables are not only loaded with antioxidants, but they are loaded with lots of fiber which will help keep you fuller longer. Add the veggies to lunch salads, pasta dishes, soups, and more!

Remember folks, food determines how we feel and heal!

*First, July 14, 2014

 

 

Watermelon: Super Juicy Fruit of the Month!

Watermelons are a refreshing, hydrating summer fruit due to its high water content.

A watermelon is a refreshing, hydrating summer fruit due to its  high water content.

Watermelon is one of my favorite summer fruits because it hydrates, packs some powerful nutrients AND detoxifies our bodies! What makes watermelon a Superfood?

• It’s rich in vitamins A and C

• Provides an excellent source of beta-carotene and lycopene. Lycopene is what gives watermelon its deep red coloring; but the nutrient is also well-known as a cancer-fighting agent. It helps keep cell membranes strong, which in turn helps keep toxins from entering cells.

• Safeguards our eyes/vision. Watermelon contains lutein and zeaxanthin, potent antioxidants that are found naturally in our eyes. Researchers believe that the combination of these two antioxidants protects against several types of ultraviolet rays and many age-related eye diseases, including cataracts.

• Protects against a variety of cancers, including breast, prostate, colon, and lung, among others.

• Reduces inflammation and water retention; is a natural anti-depressant; boosts the immune system, and aids in weight loss.

• But wait, there’s more! You can even use the rind and the black seeds in your juicing! The rind is an excellent source of chlorophyll and the seeds are known to help relax the body, lower blood pressure and provide immune-boosting zinc and iron! (Make sure you rinse the rind very well before using.) This is truly a holistic, healing fruit!

That’s just about everything you ever wanted to know about watermelons … except: how do you determine from the outside how to pick out a watermelon that’s sweet and ripe on the inside? It’s easy if you know what to look for!

• First, choose a watermelon that feels heavy for its size. The water content of the melon increases as it ripens, and water adds weight.

• Next, examine the rind carefully, both top and bottom. The rind should be smooth and the top should be sort of dull compared to the rest of the rind. The bottom, which is where the watermelon rested on the ground as it was growing, should be a creamy yellow. If it is white or green, it’s probably not ripe yet.

• You can thump the watermelon if you like, but not everyone agrees that this helps determine ripeness. Those who do thump say to listen for a deep, hollow, bass sound rather than a shallow, higher sound.*

*Source: Crave Marketing

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