Food + Fitness Fun this week

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Hello my lovely friends! Are my American readers starting to get pumped for the long holiday weekend? I know I am! To get into the spirit, I’ve been enjoying some red, white, and blue oatmeal this week. Just my Perfect Microwave Banana Oatmeal (<—recipe) with some cottage cheese stirred in post-cooking, and topped with fresh berries and some nuts. Delish!

If you’re looking for something to make for a BBQ this weekend, check out my vegan & gluten free no bake blueberry custard pie from last year. See also: Healthy 4th of July BBQ Recipes (the patriotic strawberries at the end of that post are my fave)! And stayed tuned because I’ll be sharing the recipe for this cute (and healthy) cookie cake tomorrow!

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Anyway! On the lunch front this week, I came downtown yesterday and today so I’ve been rocking some packed lunches! Yesterday, part 1 of my packed lunch was a big salad with arugula, white beans, avocado, and some of this pre-chopped slaw mix I picked up at Whole Foods the other day. I <3 cabbage – so crunchy and refreshing!

easy healthy packed lunch

For the salad dressing, I threw together a mix of equal parts lime juice and red wine vinegar, plus a splash of the delicious Oliviers & Co garlic olive oil you see above. Great combo!

To enjoy with it, I packed some Cabot cheese (a gift from them awhile ago, but I’d buy it anyway) + crackers (my fave – Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins).

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As for snacks, I brought some grapes, a clementine, some almonds, and an EPIC Bison Bacon Cranberry Bar. I just discovered EPIC bars on Relay Foods (<—affiliate link for $30 off your first order – if you haven't tried Relay Foods, it's awesome!) the other day when placing an order for a whole bunch of stuff so I threw them into the mix. I really enjoyed it! I've been into savory snacks lately and it hit the spot. I ended up eating some of the almonds and grapes in the morning and more almonds and grapes and the EPIC bar in the afternoon. Saved the clementine for another day!

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Since I enjoyed yesterday’s lunch/snacks so much, today’s food is similar. I made the same salad, but minus the beans:

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And paired it with some crackers and tuna salad (a packet of tuna mixed with a hefty spoonful of hummus) for some carbs and protein. I’m excited to eat it soon!

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For snacks, I grabbed some similar stuff – more almonds, a couple plums and the clementine from yesterday, plus another EPIC bar (chicken sriracha flavor – I just ate it and it was good but yesterday’s was better) and some string beans.

healthy afternoon snacks

The string beans got eaten with the EPIC bar (along with a whole milk iced latte I grabbed on my way in) so I’ll have the almonds and fruit this afternoon!

Want more packed lunch ideas? Check out the packed lunch section of my recipe page.

In fitness news this week, I was supposed to meet Chelsea for SUP on Monday night but the water was moving too quickly after the weekend storms so the boathouse was only allowing kayak rentals. Chelsea ended up getting stuck on the metro anyway (some random delay), so we rescheduled. It was such a lovely night, though, that I decided to go ahead and go kayaking by myself!

key bridge boathouse kayak rental

evening kayak key bridge boathouse

It was wonderful – I’m so glad I went ahead anyway. Proud of myself for just going solo!

key bridge boathouse night kayak

sunset kayak key bridge boathouse

Yesterday’s workout was a morning run with Sokphal!

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We decided to run downtown to check out the action. Barriers are starting to be set up already in preparation of the 4th! You can see one of them in the middle of the photo below.

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This area will be jam packed with people in a couple days!

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Even though we had lovely views, my legs were totally not feeling a run. We took a short walking break during the run (per my request) and then when we hit 3 miles I asked if we could just walk the rest of the way back (about another half or 3/4 mile). Sokphal was cool with it, so we enjoyed walking and chatting the end instead. :) Just one of those days!

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We ended with a stretch at Iwo Jima while watching the Marines out practicing. Apparently every Tuesday night in summer they offer a free sunset parade at Iwo Jima! I need to go sometime – here’s more info on the schedule if you’re interested, too.

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As for this morning, I was up bright and early again to meet Chelsea for a 6 a.m. class at CrossFit Key Bridge.

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Here was what we did today – I love that they always include a group warm up and mobility stuff in their workouts.

crossfit key bridge workout

The coach was good about making sure all of us knew what the moves were/what was going on. Instead of doing the back squat with the bar, the coach had me use a kettlebell due to my mobility issues (my shoulders are so tight it’s hard for me to hold the bar behind me for back squats) during the strength portion. During the conditioning WOD, for the thrusters (squat then stand up and do a press), he had me use dumbbells. Works for me!

Time to get back to tackling my email inbox and prepping for some meetings. Have a good one, my friends!

p.s. Did you guys watch the US Women’s soccer game last night?! SO exciting! My friend Ashley and I discovered they were playing it on a huge screen outdoors in the Mosaic District… perfect night for it. And also the perfect night to enjoy some Dolcezza gelato after… my favorite! :)

mosaic district womens soccer screening

Of interest:

  • A bunch of my Blog Brulee dietitian friends have worked together to create an e-cookbook! If you love southern comfort food but want to learn how to make healthier variations (that still taste good), you’ll love this cookbook from Min, Meme, Rachael and Marisa: Four Southern Staples, Four Ways. It’s only $4.99 right now but I believe the price is increasing this coming weekend, so get on it!

Food + Fitness Fun this week originally appeared on fANNEtastic food | Washington D.C. area Registered Dietitian | Recipes + Healthy Living + Fitness on July 1, 2015.

The post Food + Fitness Fun this week appeared first on fANNEtastic food | Washington D.C. area Registered Dietitian | Recipes + Healthy Living + Fitness.

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://www.fannetasticfood.com/2015/07/01/food-fitness-fun-this-week/

Small farms in Cuba: a brief report on my visit

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As noted in an earlier post, I was offline from from June 13-20 on a visit to Cuba with a Food First group visiting small organic farms, rural and urban.

This was my third trip to Cuba. I came with other groups in 1990 and 1992 at the beginning of what Cubans refer to as the “Special Period,” the economic disaster caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of its support for the 1959 Castro revolution, and the U.S. embargo on trade with Cuba.

The embargo also required countries that trade with the U.S. to stop trading with Cuba. For tourists like me, the lingering effects of the embargo are the travel restrictions, the failure of U.S. cell phones to work, and the scarce and slow Internet access. Hence: Offline.

But change is imminent. I heard many Cubans mention December 17, the day of President Obama’s 2014 announcement of resumption of relations with Cuba, as if it ought to be celebrated as a national holiday.

Our group traveled by charter flight from Miami. My first surprise: We were not alone: The Miami airport devotes two entire concourses exclusively to Cuban charter flights. As many as 20 flights every day are packed with people who have families in Cuba, business people, and tourists of one kind or another.

Our group was interested in Cuban agriculture and food systems. This post deals with rural agricultural production. In subsequent posts, I’ll talk about urban farming and what the Cuban food scene looks like.

The USDA provides useful background information and statistics on Cuban agriculture.

The 2015 report has this interesting tidbit: US agricultural exports to Cuba rose from $139.2 million in 1956-58 to $365.3 million in 2012-14.

This, however, does not break the embargo; it is classified as sales, not trade. The Cubans buy agricultural products from us, mostly frozen chicken for people, and soybeans and soybean meal for animal feed.

We did not see much agriculture on this trip. There is plenty of land, but gas, transportation, and tractors are extremely limited. The highway between Havana and Pinar del Rio is well maintained but we saw few cars on it. Horse-drawn carts, yes; cars and trucks, no. And lots of land not in production.

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The reasons for this go beyond the embargo. We heard repeatedly that Cubans don’t like doing agricultural labor: the population is highly educated, is 80% urban, the climate is hot and humid, and Cuban culture does not value that kind of work.

Much of Cuban food is imported. How much? Estimates range from 35% to 85% depending on whether whoever is doing the estimating is for or against the Cuban revolution.

An official of the agriculture ministry told us that Cuba is self-sufficient or nearly so in eggs, mangos, sugar, and tobacco. I took this photo of mangos grown on the remarkable farm in Pinar del Rio established as a model for sustainability by Fernando Funes-Monzote.

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At present, food is grown in Cuba on large farms owned by the state or held by family-owned cooperatives of one kind or another, or on smaller farms that are owned by private individuals or families. Only 70% or so of arable land is in production. The state still has a million hectares to distribute, but has a hard time getting anyone to farm it.

Most production is organic, but not by choice. The embargo makes agricultural inputs unavailable or prohibitively expensive. See, for example, Modern Farmer’s photo-essay on Cuban farming. Rice and potatoes, however, are not organically grown, and neither is most tobacco. We heard from farmers in the exceptionally beautiful Viñales region that tobacco is beginning to be grown organically.

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They are proud of their tobacco. It is used for high-quality cigars and is a major cash crop.

The agricultural situation in Cuba, like much else about the country, is full of contradictions.

Tomorrow: urban farming.

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://www.foodpolitics.com/2015/07/small-farms-in-cuba-a-brief-summary-of-my-visit/

Things I Didn’t Expect To See in This Lifetime

I honestly doubted that I would live to see something like last week’s Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage. View image | gettyimages.com I remember the summer of 2000, when Vermont legalized “civil unions,” which allowed gay and lesbian partners to reap the legal benefits of marriage, albeit without using the word marriage. Some people […]

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/wendybrandes/xcOx/~3/q4csVFTif-g/

Sweet Corn Sorghum Stuffed Peppers

Sweet Corn Sorghum Stuffed Peppers | @naturallyella

Over the past three years, my patio garden has grown and evolved. I’ve learned so much and every year, I get a bit better at not killing things off. One of the toughest things is battling the hot, valley summer while trying to balance water conservation. This year I installed a drip system that works on a timer, but I’m still carefully monitoring everything (but the initial water bill was nearly half of what it was last year!) It’s both exciting and a bit nerve-wracking because it seems very easy to kill a plant off that was doing well only a week ago.

That being said, I tend to have excellent luck with peppers. I have three plants, a sweet pepper plant, a shisito plant and a poblano plant (primarily to make stuffed peppers). If I had it my way, 90% of stuffed pepper recipes would be made using poblano (this also might be because I’m kind of in love with Chile Relleno). I love the unique flavor and the fact that you’re getting a chili pepper without the intensive heat of some.

These stuffed peppers use one of my favorite stuffing grains: sorghum. Sorghum has such a nice, nutty texture and holds its own with the sweet corn. Of course, if you don’t want to wait for it to cook (it does take a bit longer) or can’t find it, quinoa is usually my second choice for a grain!

See the Recipe.

The post Sweet Corn Sorghum Stuffed Peppers appeared first on Naturally Ella.

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://naturallyella.com/2015/06/30/sweet-corn-sorghum-stuffed-peppers/

Tart Cherry Sports Drink Recipe

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This flavorful and refreshing tart cherry sports drink will rehydrate and refuel – with an added inflammation-busting punch from the tart cherry juice. Thank you to the Cherry Marketing Institute for sponsoring this post!

You guys know by now that I’m a huge tart cherry fan. Through my partnership with the Cherry Marketing Institute this year, I’ve talked about how tart cherries make a delicious, satisfying snack (recipe: Tart Cherry Pie Snack Balls), and how they can help with sleep due to the natural melatonin they contain (recipes/info: Microwave Tart Cherry Oatmeal and Tart Cherry Kale and Feta Stuffed Chicken). This month, I’d like to talk more about their other big benefit, which is especially important to me as a runner: inflammation-busting. Research has shown tart cherries can serve as a natural recovery aid when consumed in the days before and after intensive exercise!

Tart cherries are high in anthocyanins, which are flavonoids that contribute to their sourness, intense red color, and, mostly importantly, their anti-inflammatory health properties. Due to these anthocyanins, tart cherries have been found useful for those suffering from joint paint (arthritis) and gout, and can also help to ease muscle soreness following a hard workout, too. When you’re sore after a workout, this is due to a few things – muscle damage, inflammation, and oxidative stress. The good news is that the anthocyanins in tart cherries seem to help with all three of these!

In fact, studies suggest Montmorency tart cherry juice has the ability to reduce muscle pain and weakness after bouts of intense strength training, as well as after long-distance running. Here is a little overview of the running-specific studies I took from ChooseCherries.com. There’s more info over on their website!

  • Faster recovery: Marathon runners who drank Montmorency tart cherry juice five days before, the day of and two days after running experienced a faster recovery of strength compared to those who drank a different beverage. 1

    • In another study Montmorency tart cherry juice helped improve the recovery time after intensive exercise compared to the placebo beverage that was used. 2
  • Decreases muscle pain: Runners in an annual 196-mile relay race in Oregon reported significantly less muscle pain after the race if they drank Montmorency tart cherry juice twice a day the week before and on the day of the long-distance race. 3

After reading about all of tart cherry’s benefits this spring, I actually started bringing dried tart cherries with me as fuel on a few of my long runs, and having a swig of tart cherry juice before and after a run, too. Feel free to take that approach, if you like – or, give this tart cherry sports drink recipe a try. You can enjoy it before, during, or after your run – whichever you prefer! I like doing a little before and a little after, but I think I’m going to pick up a little container that I can fit into my hydration vest so I can fill it with some of this sports drink for any longer runs/hikes this summer. (An entire backpack full of sports drink would be a bit much for me – but a small bottle of it would be perfect as an addition to my water!) If you’re having this after your run, just be sure to pair it with some protein, too.

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Joining with the tart cherry juice in this recipe is water, lime juice, honey, and a little salt. I made it with pure maple syrup in place of the honey recently and that was really good, too. You can also leave out the honey/maple syrup if you’re doing a lighter workout/don’t want it as sweet. Your choice!

tart cherry sports drink ingredients

Here’s the recipe. Happy running and inflammation busting!

Tart Cherry Sports Drink

by fANNEtastic food

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Keywords: beverage dairy free gluten-free nut-free soy-free

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Ingredients (~3 servings)

  • 2 cups tart cherry juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in a large jar and shake vigorously until combined.

As you know, I’m not a fan of calorie counting normally, but I know for running-specific recipes it’s helpful to be able to make sure you’re hitting your fueling needs. So here you go! This nutritional information is per serving based on this recipe making 3 servings – and it’s calculated using honey: 140 calories, 36g carbs, 31 g sugar, 0 g fat, 0 g protein, 105 mg sodium, 285 mg potassium.

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p.s. Interested in more sports nutrition info and runner-friendly recipes? Check out my Nutrition for Runners Program.

Tart Cherry Sports Drink Recipe originally appeared on fANNEtastic food | Washington D.C. area Registered Dietitian | Recipes + Healthy Living + Fitness on June 30, 2015.

The post Tart Cherry Sports Drink Recipe appeared first on fANNEtastic food | Washington D.C. area Registered Dietitian | Recipes + Healthy Living + Fitness.

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://www.fannetasticfood.com/2015/06/30/tart-cherry-sports-drink-recipe/

The FDA’s latest move on trans fats

I’m still catching up on what happened during the week I was offline in Cuba (more on that later this week).

One big event was the FDA’s announcement that it no longer considers artificial trans fat as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for human consumption, meaning that processed food manufacturers need to get rid of it. They get three years to do so.

Here are the relevant documents:

Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has petitioned the FDA to get rid of trans fats for decades, describes this move as a “huge advance.”

As for complications:

  • The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is worried about the half-gram loophole:FDA memos show…80 percent of these uses [of partially hydrogenated oils containing trans fat] don’t require disclosure of the presence of trans fat because of the half-gram loophole.”
  • Politico Pro reports that “food industry lawyers are already scouring the document in hopes of finding some way to shield them from legal action” and that a ban on trans fat will increase demand for palm oil causing widespread deforestation across Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • Politico Pro also reports on a lawsuit filed immediately against Heinz for using trans fat in its frozen microwave french fries and tater tots while marketing its products as trans fat free.

I vote for the FDA’s move as a long-awaited step in the right direction. Progress!

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://www.foodpolitics.com/2015/06/the-fdas-latest-move-on-trans-fats/

Chicken Fajita Breakfast Bake + Giveaway

Got a baking dish? Throw together this easy, flavorful Chicken Fajita Breakfast Bake made with Gold'n Plump's Tex Mex Chicken Patties for a low-carb breakfast!!

Got a baking dish? Throw together this easy, flavorful Chicken Fajita Breakfast Bake made with Gold’n Plump Tex Mex Chicken Patties for a low-carb breakfast! I remember in college, I would go back and forth between making myself chicken fajitas and shrimp stir-fry for dinner. They’re two dishes where I know I’m gonna get my…

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The post Chicken Fajita Breakfast Bake + Giveaway appeared first on Fit Foodie Finds.

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://fitfoodiefinds.com/2015/06/chicken-fajita-breakfast-bake-giveaway/