Yoga in the Park Returns!

outdoor yoga dupont circle

Hi friends! Before I get into today’s post, breaking news: ClassPass is offering another $50 off your first month deal (through May 26)! They don’t do these deals that often so if you haven’t tried ClassPass yet and want to, now is the time to get on it. ClassPass is awesome – basically an all-access pass to all the best gyms/studios in your city. It’s worth it alone just for the ability to search for a specific type of class in a specific location at a specific time (aka I want a yoga class in Dupont at 6 p.m. on xx day)! LOVE seeing all my options in one place without having to go to a million different studio’s websites. After doing a free trial with them last year via the blog, I signed up on my own and have been loving it ever since. Highly recommend – there are TONS of great studios on the DC ClassPass now, and it’s also available in a bunch of other large cities. Here’s my affiliate link for the $50 off the first month deal (it’s normally $99/month).

Speaking of yoga at 6 p.m. in Dupont Circle (but unrelated to ClassPass), Wednesday night Yoga in the Park has started back up again for summer! Hizzah!

lululemon yoga in the park dupont circle

Lululemon Logan Circle hosts the event, which is free and happens every Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m., weather permitting, through August. You can find more details over on the Yoga in the Park Facebook page.

dupont circle fountain

I met my friend Kathleen last night for the occasion, and the weather could not have been more perfect for an outdoor yoga class. Ending a busy workday with some fresh air and yoga was glorious.

yoga in the dupont circle park

The instructors for the classes change each week; last night’s class was taught by Emma Saal, who I believe is the owner of Epic Yoga DC. I’ve taken classes from her before and always enjoy them – she has a fun, cheerful energy.

dupont circle outdoor yoga lululemon

Also worth noting: I’m pretty sure DC replanted all the grass in Dupont Circle, because I remember it being really sparse/dusty last year, and now it’s quite lush and green.

After getting our ohm on, Kathleen and I walked to nearby Sweetgreen for some refueling. We brought it back to the circle to eat. Summer nights are the best.

sweetgreen dupont circle

As for today’s workout, I was back at it at the track early this morning! After doing some warm up drills, we did a 20 minute tempo run, building in speed to about a 10 miler effort/pace. We then finished the workout with four 200’s (half a lap) at essentially close to max speed. I was a little sore still from Tuesday’s speed session, but felt good once I got into it. I need to work on pushing my pace on the tempo runs – I’m great at really pushing it on the short speedwork but for the longer workout sessions I think I just get bored/am not as determined and let myself get a little lazy. My coaches said they know I am phoning it in because my tempo run/longer workout paces are not matching up with my short speed workouts paces and my race times. Hmmm, fiiiine. They are onto me. 😉 (The pace below includes the fast 200’s, which is why it’s quite speedy.) The coaches want me doing my long runs at an easy pace, but for the track, my mission for next week is to step up my game on the tempo/longer workouts. Who’s with me? So much of running is mental, huh? My legs can do it, it’s just my mind that’s like “ehhhhhh…”


But as for tomorrow, I’m looking forward to sleeping in and enjoying a rest day.

In other news, if you get Runner’s World magazine, apparently you’ll see a picture of me in there this month! I had no idea this was going to be in it – super cool! It’s a promotion for their Runner’s World Half and Festival this October, which I went to as part of their blogger team last year (I did the “Hat Trick” –> 5k + 10k in one day and half marathon the next! Whew!) This year’s festival is in Pennsylvania, not in Boston like the one I went to, but I bet it will be just as fun! Thanks to my college buddy Hunter for sending this pic over. Apparently I was really excited about something when this photo was taken… (Also, across from me in the foreground of the photo I spy the backs of Presley, Karla, and Julie!)

runners world promo

And speaking of running, stay tuned – tomorrow I’ll be sharing a recipe for my favorite homemade sports drink.

Have a great afternoon!

Yoga in the Park Returns! originally appeared on fANNEtastic food | Washington D.C. area Registered Dietitian | Recipes + Healthy Living + Fitness on May 21, 2015.

The post Yoga in the Park Returns! appeared first on fANNEtastic food | Washington D.C. area Registered Dietitian | Recipes + Healthy Living + Fitness.


This week’s post on industry-sponsored research

As promised, I am posting examples of industry-sponsored research every time I collect five. These, like the others, produce results favorable to the sponsor’s interests.

I am happy to post examples of sponsored studies that do not favor the sponsor’s interests, and this first one comes closest. This Unilever-sponsored study found that consuming the product had no effect on blood flow in people with high blood cholesterol levels, although it did lower their levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol).

The effect of a low-fat spread with added plant sterols on vascular function markers: results of the Investigating Vascular Function Effects of Plant Sterols (INVEST) study. By Rouyanne T Ras, Dagmar Fuchs, Wieneke P Koppenol, Ursula Garczarek, Arno Greyling, Christian Keicher, Carole Verhoeven, Hakim Bouzamondo, Frank Wagner, and Elke A Trautwein. Am J Clin Nutr 2015; 101:733-741 doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.102053.

  • Conclusion: The intake of a low-fat spread with added PSs [plant sterols] neither improved nor worsened FMD [flow-mediated dilation]or other vascular function markers in hypercholesterolemic men and women. As expected, serum LDL cholesterol decreased, whereas plasma PSs increased after PS intake.
  • Sponsor: Unilever Research and Development

The next four are more typical:

Dairy proteins, dairy lipids, and postprandial lipemia in persons with abdominal obesity (DairyHealth): a 12-wk, randomized, parallel-controlled, double-blinded, diet intervention study. By Mette Bohl, Ann Bjørnshave, Kia V Rasmussen, Anne Grethe Schioldan, Bashar Amer, Mette K Larsen, Trine K Dalsgaard, Jens J Holst, Annkatrin Herrmann, Sadhbh O’Neill, Lorraine O’Driscoll, Lydia Afman, Erik Jensen, Merete M Christensen, Søren Gregersen, and Kjeld Hermansen. Am J Clin Nutr 2015; 101:870-878 doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.097923

  • Conclusion: We found that a whey protein supplement decreased the postprandial chylomicron response compared with casein in persons with abdominal obesity, thereby indicating a beneficial impact on CVD risk.
  • Sponsor: Arla Foods Ingredients Group P/S, and the Danish Dairy Research Foundation, among some independent sources.

Policy Statement: Snacks, Sweetened Beverages, Added Sugars, and Schools. Council on School Health, Committee on Nutrition, American Academy of Pediatrics. Pediatrics Volume 135, number 3, March 2015.

  • Conclusion: A positive emphasis on nutritional value, variety, appropriate portion, and encouragement for a steady improvement in quality will be a more effective approach for improving nutrition and health than simply advocating for the elimination of added sugars.
  • Conflicts reported: One of the members of the committee writing this statement is supported by the National Dairy Council and the American Dairy Association. Another receives support from the Nestle Nutrition Institute.

Maternal long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid [omega-3] supplementation in infancy increases length- and weight-for-age but not BMI to 6 years when controlling for effects of maternal smoking. L.M. Currie, E.A. Tolley, J.M. Thodosoff, E.H. Kerling, D.K. Sullivan, J. Colombo, and S.E. Carlson . Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 2015. plefa.2015.04.001

  • Conclusion: Our results… suggest that LCPUFA [omega-3s] could have positive effects on stature without negative effects on weight status; and that LCPUFA could mitigate lower stature and higher BMI associated with maternal smoking, particularly in boys.
  • Sponsor: Mead Johnson Nutrition, the maker of the LCPUFA omega-3 supplement

Mediterranean Diet and Age-Related Cognitive Decline: A randomized Clinical Trial. Cinta Valls-Pedret, MSc; Aleix Sala-Vila, DPharm, PhD; Mercè Serra-Mir, RD; et al. JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 11, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.1668.

  • Conclusion: In an older population, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts is associated with improved cognitive function.
  • Conflicts reported: Dr Salas-Salvado reports receiving research funding and is a nonpaid member of the scientific advisory committee of the International Nut Council. Dr Ros also reports receiving research funding and is a nonpaid member of the scientific advisory committee of the California Walnut Commission.

Let me comment on this last one, which may seem like pushing things, given that the study itself was funded by the agency for biomedical research of the Spanish government. I would have left it off this list had I not read an article about it in the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal interviewed Dr. Ros, the lead author:

The diminished decline in cognitive function likely stems from the abundance of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents found in the supplemental foods…He recommends that, to decrease age-related cognitive delay, people should add 5 tablespoons of olive oil as a well as a handful of nuts a day into their diet.

But the Journal also interviewed a clinical neuropsychologist who was not involved in the study:

The changes observed in cognition were very small and didn’t actually show that those diets improved cognition, they just showed less decline. Based on the research…people shouldn’t rush out to buy lots of olive oil and nuts.

My point here is that the sole purpose of this study was to prove the health benefits of olive oil and nuts. Yes, these are healthy foods, but so are many others. Like virtually all such studies, this one seems designed to produce the desired answer.

On his Weighty Matters blog, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff explains how biases play out in supposedly unbiased research journals, in this case, the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Dr. Freedhoff talks about the journal’s temporary withdrawal of a paper arguing that diet is more important than physical activity in weight loss on the grounds that the authors did not disclose conflicts of interest. In contrast, an editorial arguing the opposite, by authors who also did not disclose conflicts, went unchallenged and was not withdrawn.

Dr. Freedhoff asks: “Are these sorts of conflicts important to disclose?”

On the basis of today’s and many other examples, my answer is an unqualified yes.


Mango Guacamole


Get tropical with your classic guacamole recipe and add in some fresh mango. Serve with your favorite tortilla chip and you’ve got yourself the best snack ever! The only time I can ever get Blake to eat cilantro in any capacity is when it’s inside guacamole. And so, I make guacamole! I’ve always got avocados…

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