Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dairy, Required for Kids?

It is very strange that 25% of Americans have an issue with dairy and it's considered mandatory, but why?  Calcium, right?  But of course there's no thought about it being usable by humans.  To test if you tolerate dairy- avoid it for 30days and then reintroduce it.  But do so slowly, starting with a week of daily cheese intake, then milk.  Give it a try!  Now for our article, from here:
The war on milk has shifted fronts. First it was sugar-laden chocolate milk, which parents and school administrators battled in recent years to remove from school-lunch menus. Now, it’s plain old moo that’s under fire. 
On Thursday, a national doctors group petitioned the U.S. government to remove milk as a required food group from the National School Lunch Program, the federally assisted program that has provided lunch to millions of public school kids since 1946. The doctors’ reasoning: milk doesn’t help protect kids’ bones. 
The promotion of milk to help build strong bones in kids is, “in effect, the promotion of an ineffective placebo,” writes the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in its petition [PDF]. “Milk is high in sugar, high in fat and high in animal protein” — all of which counters its purported benefits to bone health, the committee argues. 
The PCRM notes that dairy products, including milk, are the No. 1 source of saturated fat in Americans’ diets. Drinking milk for the calcium it contains is therefore a losing strategy, especially since people can get their daily recommended calcium from other, more nutritious foods. And for millions of Americans who are allergic to milk — including 1.3 million children — or intolerant to the lactose it contains, drinking milk carries potentially severe health risks. 
 “Research has now made it abundantly clear that milk doesn’t build strong bones. Whether we are talking about children who are forming bones or older people who are trying to keep their bone integrity, milk doesn’t have a beneficial effect on either one.” 
In March, a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine followed a group of 6,712 girls over seven years, tracking their diets and assessing their likelihood of stress fracture. The researchers found that neither calcium nor dairy intake was associated with a lower risk of such fractures. Similarly, 2003 data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which followed more than 72,000 postmenopausal women for 18 years, found that milk drinkers were no less likely to suffer a hip fracture than those who didn’t drink the white stuff.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Take Control of Your Cadence

You need to be the boss of YOUR cadence, don't let it be controlled by someone that's not you! I noticed sites like these (Link Here) are popping up to sell you songs in an effort to better control your running.  Their web site claims this:  

Header Technical

Linking BPM to Running Speed

How to work out which BPM to choose: The run2rhythm program is essentially coupling running cadence to music.
With running, very few people can sustain a steady rhythmic pace over an extended period. Many tend to start too fast and don’t get to finish the distance intended, or within the time targeted for the run. The run may not last as long as they intended…..”puffed out early!”

Outdoor running:

  1. Run for 15 minutes at a pace you are comfortable with
  2. If you are starting out this will be slower than if you are a conditioned runner.
  3. During that run count your steps for 1 minute. Do this several times to get an average.
  4. Then, refer to the chart below to determine the BPM you should choose.

I think in their description they're smearing cadence (steps per minute) and running speed.  In a car you've got tachometer and speedometer, tach measure cadence of engine, speedo is mph of vehicle.  Like running in place is steps / min and 0 mph.  To extend my analogy too far ... a pump is an engine (like a car engine) that runs at one rpm all day.  A pump's engine's rpm was chosen to be at it's peak efficiency.  Running is much the same way.  There is little reason to deviate at ALL from YOUR personal efficient cadence when endurance running.  

What is 'my' natural cadence?  My resonance?  Well it depends, but not by much!  You can experiment by just hopping in place (two foot hops to start with) like you're jump roping. Start out springing up once a second.  You'll notice that's so slow that the spring energy you loaded on your tendons dissipates before your next hop.  Try two hops per second boing-boing-boing, you should notice that some energy is stored then released to help you spring back up.  As a boundary condition try hopping as fast as you can.  It's WORK!  A typical figure to work with is 180 steps per minute (aka 90 strides per minute).  If you want to synch that up to music or an audio metronome (many apps available for phones, or search metronome on  

I treat 180 spm as a MINIMUM.  If you're running there is no good reason to allow that stored elastic energy to dissipate, use it for your next stride and it doesn't hang around long!  ;).  An interesting test is to search for your maximum.  Fun thing to try at a track, do a series of 200m with rests each one increase a few strides per minute.  After 205-210 it's really hard to keep up.  What's your max?

Note: if you are synching up to music or beats, treat each beat as a foot LIFT, (not foot fall) otherwise you'll find yourself planting your foot unnaturally hard.  

Enjoy and let us know how it goes!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mental Challenges in Running Far

Like me, are you a little inspired by seeing improvement?  Running, weightlifting, your career, shit anything?

I have been pretty good about figuring out "what limited me last time?" - and assessment of my shortcomings in hopes of reducing limitations.  Might be a tough shortcoming to surmount - like, "well in that last race I was out of breath!!" - ok, a few MONTHS of cardio base building should remedy that.  Certainly a tall order.

My first few races (talked in to running by friends with decades of experience and me with NONE) usually ended like this.

As I 'jumped' in to the sport, injuries seemed to plague my running, but this was finally remedied by awareness, practice and implementation of good running form.  Strength building outside of running prepared my body for the unforeseen.  Nothing gets you ready for tripping in the woods like deadlifts in the gym!!

As my races got longer, I've been limited by temperature regulation, fatigue or nutrition, etc.  Each of which comes with valuable lessons learned.   BUT I then hit a new 'weakness' or 'limiter' - the brain.   Chasing around the commands of a brain that seemed not always to have my goals aligned with its own has been an interesting ride!  One of the indicators I knew it was my mind was:  
You're trudging up a hill, it's so steep that you better walk it.  After you peaked the hill and it's flat, then downhill smooth you snap out of a trance-like state and ask yourself "why am I still walking!>!?!?!1!? Then you do the checklist, breathing=idle, muscles=unfatigued, heart rate=idle... well get back to WORK!  this is a RACE!"
I have these conversations periodically with myself.  Here's some ways to overcome your own brain (aka mental fatigue):

1. You Are Lucky

I begin with this strategy because I use it most frequently and believe it produces the most empowering results. When I’m not enjoying myself during a long run, I turn it around by reminding myself that I am so, so fortunate to be out there.
So many individuals will never have the chance to explore the remote mountains, meadows, ridges, and lakes that we see during ultras. Some are physically unfit, others saddled with injuries, and others grappling with life circumstances that make distance running impossible.
During your worst moments of any ultra, tell yourself these words: “I am lucky. I paid money to do this. I am in one of the most beautiful places on earth, and I’m one of the fortunate few able to experience it.”
It works for me.
2. Break Down the Numbers
Looking at the numbers during an ultra can either provide a sudden boost or instant frustration. To assure it’s the former, I turn the numbers into something positive. I try to never, ever look at a mile marker and think, “I’ve only come this far?” Inevitably, that mental process makes me feel discouraged and weary. Instead, I say, “Only seven more miles to the next aid station!” or “I’ve already finished one-third of the race!”
I break down the race into manageable bits, but look at my progress in a positive way.
3. Reward  
Exercise is all about reward, in my book. I think about the slice of watermelon waiting for me at the next aid station, or the hamburger I’ll get to devour at the finish line. If my stomach isn’t feeling so hot, I’ll change it up to “Only 10 more miles till I get to change my socks” or even “20 more minutes and I’ll get a burst of energy from the Gu in my pocket.” Looking forward to the next small thing on a long run helps keep me going.
4. Distract:  When all else fails, I try to forget that I’m running. I do many of my races with my running partner, Caroline, and we spend hours catching up on work, family, rowing (me), triathlons (Caroline), and any other topic of conversation we can think of. If I don’t feel like talking, I listen to music on my iPod. A favorite song perks me up right away and makes me forget about the long, laborious trail ahead. 

Any others?  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Brain, never quite cooperates

Coconut and Chia Seed Protein Panna Cotta

Coconut and Chia Seed Protein Panna Cotta with Blackcurrant and Port Sauce

Another glorious day here, in The Capital of RainUmbrellasWellies and Raincoats. In the past couple of weeks, we've been getting rained on like it's nobody's business. I keep trying to think of it as 'great' - great for the vegetation and subsequently the cows et al. But, then... then it dawns on me that this deluge isn't doing what it's supposed to: it's not 'halting the drought.' All this rain? Well, it's simply 'not enough.' I made this recipe to kind of mirror this ambiance, it's a coconut and chia seed protein panna cotta with blackcurrant and port sauce. Sounds fancy, doesn't it? It's the kind of dessert I picture myself having delivered to my four-star hotel room in the middle of London to enjoy alongside a glass of port in the middle of the night against a backdrop of falling rain and Tina Dico's No Time to Sleep (PS - she's amazing).

1/4 cup of coconut whey protein
1 cup of coconut milk
2 tbsp of chia seeds
1 tbsp of gelatin
(1 tbsp of sauce - I used this beauty right here)

What you do is heat up your milk and then just whisk it with the whey, chias, and gelatin. Leave it to set overnight and BOOM: ready :-D How is it? It it go'geous, dah'lin (even in writing, it appears that my British accent needs a lot of work). Flavors rise and fall as each note follows the next with a crescendo. First, you get the smooth creaminess from the coconut with a crunchy staccato from the chia seeds. Then, enter the sweet yet tangy sharpness from the blackcurrants followed by a legato of fruity and perfectly balanced port. Ah... qu'est-ce qu'on peut dire? I licked the plate ;-)

Macros per one (out of the two that you get from the above): 152kcals, 22g protein, 6.2g carbos (2g sugars), 4.5g fat (3.2g sat) and 2.4g fiber; with sauce, 189kcals, 22g protein, 16g carbos, 4.5g fat and 2.5g fiber.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Men Who Made Us Fat

4 Part Series on Youtube explaining why obesity is now considered a disease, where it's going.

"this is the American meal: beef fed on corn, bread made with corn syrup to make it last longer, fries fried in corn oil, catsup made with corn syrup, soda sweetened with corn syrup.  a direct link between the overproduction of corn in the 70s and the overproduction of food today."

Thursday, July 5, 2012