Tag: Kathy Ireland

Staying Hydrated in the Winter

By Kathy Ireland, MS, RD, LDN

issue 18 cover full size 12.31.13During the warmer months, runners tend to be diligent about staying hydrated. It tends to be easy to do since the warm weather keeps our thirst mechanisms in check and our bodies tell us to drink regularly. In the winter though, it can be more of a challenge. Cold weather stifles the thirst mechanism even though we’re likely sweating just as much.

So, here are some tips to ensuring you are adequately hydrated this winter training season:

1. Check your urine. Monitoring your urine color is a more effective means of determining your hydration sta-tus than sticking to a set number of ounces of fluid per day. Urine should be a pale yellow color (like lemonade). Darker shades of yellow and amber may mean you’re de-hydrated or approaching it. (Clear urine means you’re over hydrated and should ease-up on the fluid intake.) Frequency of urination is important to track too. You should be urinating every 2-4 hours throughout the day—urinating less frequently could be another sign of dehy-dration.

2. Hydrate before, during, and after your workouts just as you would in warmer months. Again, in warmer months your body does a better job of telling you when to drink during a workout. If you typically run with water or plant it along your route, then do the same in the winter. Your body needs it just as much, if not more. If you’re chilled to the bone post-workout, no need to guz-zle cold water, try sipping some non-caffeinated warmer beverages instead, just make sure you consume enough to replenish any fluid loss dur-ing the workout.

3. Drink throughout the day. This may seem like a no-brainer, but for some people the winter just doesn’t have you feeling thirsty. In the colder months, reach for warmer beverages to warm you up while keeping you hydrated. Instead of grab-bing an extra cup of coffee, herbal and decaffein-ated teas are better choices because they provide hydration without the jolt of dehydrating caffeine. If your diet plan allows for a treat, reach for hot chocolate or warm apple cider instead of a brownie or slice of apple pie for extra fluid and fewer calories.

4. Choose water based foods for extra fluid con-sumption. Since you can’t chug back a cup of herbal tea as easily as you can a bottle of water, sometimes turning to foods that are high in water content is your next best bet to staying hydrated in the winter. Soups are an obvious choice and quite enjoyable in the winter. Choose low-sodium varieties whenever possible or better yet, make your own using low-sodium broth or seasoning with herbs and only limited salt. Have a cup or bowl alongside your lunch or dinner daily for extra fluid. Fruits and veggies are also loaded with wa-ter. Hopefully you’re eating plenty of them anyway, but adding an extra serving of each won’t hurt.

So, seep in these tips as your winter running starts heating up.

Kathy Ireland is The Level’s hydration expert. This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Level Renner. Get your free subscription today (box in upper right portion of screen).

Foods to Keep You Cool

A few tasty treats to keep you away from the Haagen Dazs

By Kathy Ireland, MS, RD, LDN

I have a love/hate relationship with summer. I always start the season excited about warmer weather, longer days, backyard barbecues, and trips to the beach. Then, I go for my first long run in the 80 degree humidity and promptly declare that I hate the summer.

This native New Englander can’t handle the heat, but I do my best to beat it with tasty frozen treats. And, after all that sweating, they’re pretty easy to justify. Right? Maybe not.

A pint of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food has 1120 calories. Other flavors and brands can be even worse. (Admit it, you’ve eaten a whole pint at least once and scoffed at the label that indicates the container actually has 4 servings). Depending on your size and speed, that could be about the equivalent of a 10 mile run! Those ice cream cones the size of your head that they scoop up at your local dairy stand probably don’t come in much shy of 600 calories. Again, that’s a lot of miles!

So, save your ice cream for special occasions and lean towards these tasty frozen treats after any run. They are cold, sweet, refreshing, and don’t undo your hard work on the roads.

frozen bananaFrozen bananas: What runner doesn’t love bananas? Peel ‘em, cut them in half, insert a Popsicle stick into the end of each half and freeze flat in the freezer. They’ll be frozen through in about 2 hours. Delicious! For an added indulgence, melt some dark chocolate and coat your banana pop. Lay it flat on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, then freeze. Even more delicious, and a single serving (1/2 a banana coated with dark chocolate, won’t top 120 calories).

Frozen fruit kabobs: We all love melon in the summer, but who has the energy for chopping it up after a long run in the heat? Use a recovery day to chop a watermelon, a cantaloupe, and any other melons you desire into bite size chunks. Arrange the chunks on wooden skewers in any order you choose. Lay flat on a cookie sheet and freeze. They’ll be frozen solid in 2 hours. At that point you can take them off the cookie sheet and store in large Ziploc bags to save room in your freezer. These are great grab and go frozen treats any day of the week. Mix grapes or hulled strawberries onto your kabobs for some added variety.

Homemade popsicles: Have a favorite smoothie recipe? Pour it into popsicle molds and freeze; it will make as delicious a popsicle as it does a smoothie. If you don’t have a smoothie recipe you already love, try this. Add 2 bananas, 1 cup of berries, 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt, and a tablespoon or two of honey to your blender and blend away. Once smooth, pour into 6 popsicle molds and freeze for about 3 hours. This recipe gives you some protein from the yogurt and some antioxidants from the berries, so it’s nutritious and delicious. Enjoy!

Skip trolling the frozen desserts aisle of your grocery store this summer. Save your waist and your wallet by shopping in the produce and dairy sections to whip up some tasty frozen treats of your own.

Kathy Ireland is The Level’s resident nutritionist. You should listen to her advice. This was originally published in the July/August 2013 issue of Level Renner, available as a free download now. Get your free subscription today if you haven’t already!

Keeping It Real

Forget The Gimmicks

Mag Reissue, bKathy Ireland, MS, RD, LDN

‘Tis the season for New Year’s Resolutions. And, about 3 weeks from now many of us will be struggling to keep them. By Valentine’s Day, most plans to eat healthier, exercise more, and lose weight will be little more than a distant memory. I don’t mean to be a pessimist—just a realist. The reason why most of us fail with our resolutions, especially the ones to eat better/ exercise more, is because we seek a quick fix. We hop on to the latest craze, go at it full force, then for some reason or other we stop. And stay stalled out.

What we already know (but don’t like to acknowledge) is that being healthy people isn’t a quick fix. It’s about adopting lifestyle changes that we keep for—wait for it—LIFE (gasp)! Sure, making changes that you need to keep FOREVER can seem overwhelming, but you don’t need to make them all at once. Here are my tips to get you started on a healthier New Year, and here’s to hoping that by next Christmas they’ll simply be your way of life.

1. Avoid popular/fad diets that call for eliminating entire food groups or types of foods. I don’t care if it’s Paleo, Wheat Belly, or South Beach. There are lots of people out there who swear by these diets. They have changed their lives and helped them lose lots of weight—they feel better, they are happier, and life is now wonderful thanks to rigidly following [insert fad diet name here]. I won’t say that some of these diets don’t have their benefits or that they don’t lead to weight loss and healthier/happier lives for some people, but they are not entirely balanced because they call for eliminating an entire food group or set of foods. You’ll be hard pressed to find a registered dietitian to promote any of these diets in their entirety and that’s for two main reasons: 1) they are hard to keep forever and 2) we strongly believe that all foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle and there is plenty of science to back that up. If you seek the rigidity of following a specific diet, consider the ones that are a bit less trendy, but more nutritionally sound like The DASH Diet or MyPlate.

2. Watch out for products that seem too good to be true. The other day my father, a junk food junkie, proudly told me of a new healthy candy that Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen were promoting. Healthy candy? I did my research and found out that he was talking about a product called Unreal Candy. It’s made from all natural ingredients—no dyes, no corn syrup, no trans fats. From what I can tell from its website, it truly is a superior candy. I bet it tastes good too! But, at the end of the day, it’s still candy. It still contains sugar and fats and things our bodies do not need a whole lot of all at once. Sure, if you’re going to eat candy, this is the way to go—I’m all for avoiding overly processed stuff as much as possible (see #3 below) – but to call this candy healthy is a bit extreme. Let’s call it healthier and eat it no more often than we would our regular candy. Beware of other such products—they’re everywhere and while they are likely superior to their counterparts of the mainstream variety they are not a free pass to eat limitless quantities. Sorry!

3. Keep your diet simple. Focus on whole foods and only buy packaged goods with minimal ingredients. Actually, there’s a “fad diet” that has caught onto this simple phenomenon and it’s called “Clean Eating.” (Give any simple concept a catchy name and market it appropriately and suddenly it’s popular and people want to do it!) I love this style of eating because it’s normal, it’s natural, and the only things it tells you not to eat are things that are overly processed in a factory before being boxed/bagged/ canned. I could write a whole article on this topic (hmmm – maybe next month), but instead I’ll leave you with 2 of my favorite recipes that apply this concept.

Steel Cut Oats with Raisins and Slivered Almonds

4 cups water
1 cup steel cut oats
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Bring water to a boil. Slowly stir in the oats. After 5 minutes, reduce heat to a simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add raisins and cinnamon and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and mix in slivered almonds. Serve with milk if desired. (Recipe serves 4)

Whole Chicken in a Crockpot

1 large whole chicken
1 onion, sliced, abut ¼ inch thick
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place sliced onions in the bottom of the crock pot. Mix spices together and rub all over chicken. Place chicken in crock pot on top of sliced onions. Cook on high for 4-5 hours (for a 3-4 pound bird) or on low for 6-8 hours (or until the chicken is falling off the bone). That’s it—you’re done. Serve with some green veggies and a starch—I vote for roasted sweet potatoes and sautéed spinach!

Kathy Ireland is The Level’s resident dietician. She is taking on new clients if you would like her help in the New Year. This article was originally published in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Level Renner. New issue (#15) is coming out in a matter of days now. Do you have your free subscription yet? Subscribers are alerted as soon as each issue is published and are also eligible to win awesome prize packs each month.

Foods to Soothe Your Aching Body

What You Can Eat to Help Ease the Pain 

By Kathy Ireland, MS, RD, LDN

Ice baths turning you blue? Is the foam roller making your eyes water? While I won’t promote leaving these muscle-soothing devices behind, there are a few foods out there that we can add to our diets to help soothe our aches and pains.

David Grotto, RD, LDN recently published The Best Things You Can Eat: For Everything from Aches to Zzzz, the Definitive Guide to the Nutrition-Packed Foods that Energize, Heal, and Help You Look Great. I picked up a copy for a fresh look on better ways to help my clients improve their diets. The book lists the top 5-7 foods you can eat for greatest amounts of certain nutrients and to soothe certain conditions. I thought renners would be interested in learning more about the foods “for numbing aches and pains.” All of them are rich in nutrients that reduce inflammation and pain. So, here are three that topped the charts:

cherries_ready_to_use_198178Cherries. If you’ve been to any type of running expo in recent years, you’ve certainly seen a booth promoting cherries, most likely in the dried or juice form. 1 cup of fresh cherries per day, Grotto cites, have been found to reduce pain as effectively as some anti-inflammatory drugs. This is the equivalent of 1/4 cup dry cherries or up to 1/2 a cup of cherry juice.

How to make them part of your diet: Fresh cherries are easy to pop in your mouth and enjoy. In fact, the hardest part could be limiting yourself to just one cup. Dried cherries can easily be added to oatmeal or cereal or eaten with some nuts as a snack. Frozen cherries can be thawed and mixed into your yogurt or blended into a smoothie. Delicious!

Ginger. A teaspoon of fresh ginger daily has been found effective in reducing exercise in-duced aches and pains.

How to make it part of your diet: Try making ginger tea by grating a quarter inch of it into a mug and adding boiling water. Let it steep for 10 minutes. Add honey, lemon, cinnamon, and/or nutmeg to get it to a flavor you enjoy. Mix it with garlic and add it to a stir fry, marinade, or salad dressing. Add ground ginger to your sweet potatoes, squash, or morning oatmeal.

Salmon. You don’t need me to tell you that salmon is good for you. You’ve been hearing that for years. Its omega-3s and vitamin D reduce inflammation and reduce joint soreness. All it takes is 3 oz. (the size of a deck of cards, or in more modern terms, the size of an iPhone) to get the benefits.

How to make it part of your diet: Again, you know this already. Salmon is delicious, baked, roasted, or sautéed with a variety of rubs or marinades, or just all by itself. Instead, I’ll make a plug for the lesser known canned salmon. I particularly love canned red sockeye salmon which is wild caught—and I love that I can keep this as a staple in my cabinet without worrying about it going bad. Flake it up and add it to a salad or pasta dish. Mix it up with your favor-ite burger ingredients to make salmon patties that can be eaten in a bun, or substitute it for crab in your favorite crab cake recipe. Yum!

Other foods Grotto includes in his list are hot peppers and turmeric. Olive oil and berries were also worthy of honorable mentions. So, next time you’re about to reach for the ibu-profen, consider reaching for some of these foods instead.

Kathy Ireland is Level Renner’s resident nutritionist. This article was originally published in the Mar/Apr issue of Level Renner.