PROPER NUTRITION IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Fall is in the air which means it’s prime time for hiking and camping! The weather is warm enough to hike and cool enough to gather around a fire. Being healthy is easy with outdoor activities, and proper nutrition is an essential part of fueling them! When going on a rigorous hike or outdoor trip, it’s important to eat complex carbohydrates for slow absorption and sustained energy, to repair muscle with adequate protein, and to not skimp on calories! Our bodies can keep up with the physical demands we challenge it with as long as we fuel it plentily. Lastly, don’t forget to drink lots of water. A good measure is to bring one gallon of drinking water for each day of camping, and more if you are drinking soda or alcohol.

Try these snack ideas and recipes for your next outdoor adventure!

Note: No refrigeration required! (Vacuum-sealed tofu can last up to 2 days without refrigeration)

  • Kebabs of cubed onions, peppers, pineapple, herbed tofu, or mushrooms held on the grill over hot coals for about 15 minutes
  • Trail mix of unsalted nuts, unsweetened dried fruits, seeds, coconut shavings, or make it exciting with herbs and spices like cayenne pepper or dill. Visit the bulk-foods aisle of stores like Martin’s or Friendly City Food Co-op, get a bag, and fill it up with all sorts of ingredients!
  • Chili prepared with unsalted canned beans, canned tomatoes, peppers and onions, spices, and/or canned meats. Heat in a pot until warm
  • Boxed milk packs which are ultra pasteurized so they don’t need to be refrigerated until you open it! Soy milk, almond milk, and cow’s milk are the most common milks sold in box form. Pour over whole grain cereal or granola and add sliced banana
  • Sandwiches made with sliced avocado, tomato, onion, and other ingredients that stay fresh without refrigeration, sandwiched between large slices of hearty whole grain bread
  • Sweet potatoes stabbed several times with a fork, wrapped in foil, and placed directly in the campfire or in hot coals. Garnish with cinnamon and/or honey when cooked

Almond Butter Protein Wrap

Easily portable meal or snack on the go! Pack it heavier to hold you over for longer

1 Large Whole wheat tortilla wrap

2 Tbsp Almond butter (or preferred nut butter)

1 Tbsp of Fruit jelly (or more if desired)

1 Scoop Protein powder (vanilla, chocolate, or unflavored)

¼ Cup Rice krispies

Honey to taste

Mix all ingredients except tortilla in a bowl and spread into tortilla. Roll up and enjoy!

By: Karen

Health Tracking: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By: Caroline Thomason

There are a million ways to keep track of your health… calories, miles, pounds, macros, weights, portion sizes. We have Apps, notebooks, and food diaries to measure each one of these.

Tracking can be a wonderful tool in our toolbox when it comes to checking in with ourselves on our health and fitness journey. In fact, tracking has proven to be an extremely effective method for behavioral change. When we track anything, we can physically see the progress and changes we have made over time. For example, keeping track of the weights you use in the gym will allow you to see how much stronger you have gotten. Apps like My Fitness Pal will even graph your progress – whether it’s miles, pounds, calories, etc. Tracking is also an excellent source of motivation. Keeping a record or journal of some type is the perfect way to develop a sense of purpose and establish goals. When starting out with running, you might want to track how many miles you run each week as part of working toward an endurance event. Lastly, tracking acts as a measurement system. We can compare our improvements and setbacks by assessing what we have tracked. For example, we can compare our daily food journals to better understand certain eating habits and trouble areas. In these ways, tracking your health can be an amazing addition to your life.

 myplate myfitnesspal

However, tracking becomes problematic when it is used under the wrong conditions. After understanding a tracking system, it is incredibly easy to become obsessive about the details. These types of technical details might include the logging calories in a packet of ketchup or the extra 0.15 miles you need to run. When these OCD behaviors take over, tracking is no longer about benefitting your health; it becomes about micromanaging it. This use of tracking is negative and no longer benefiting you. If tracking becomes more about the numbers and less about your overall health, it’s time to ditch it.

The bottom line is that tracking is a great way to begin to learn more about your habits or to take on a new behavior change. It can benefit anyone looking for a change of pace, a little more routine and extra motivation. However, tracking will reach a point of diminishing returns when you are no longer logging information for your benefit. In particular, tracking is an excellent resource for those of us who are new to a particular health change. It takes the confusion out of behavioral change and makes it much easier to control. Ultimately, tracking is a tool that you can use to create an awareness of your behaviors and their influence on your health. J

So you think you can track? How to start:

When considering new health changes, it’s always best to identify your goal first. Figure out what you want to accomplish (for example: fat loss), and then decide what you want to track to support this goal (ex: sugars per day). You can start a log through an app or your personal notebook. Either way, you are creating a database to refer back to later. You may want to spend time thinking about how to minimize your sugar consumption over time, and then, you will have a better awareness of how sugars are affecting your fat loss. Through this awareness, you can learn about the different ways in which different habits influence yourself and then begin making substantial lifestyle changes.

Kombucha Krazy

kombucha

I first heard about this mysterious drink over the summer and decided to try it for myself. My first experience was…let’s just say very interesting. The smell was unfamiliar when I took a quick whiff, and the hiss accompanying taking off the cap signified the carbonation, but it left me unprepared for my first sip. My taste buds were overwhelmed by the carbonated liquid resembling a taste somewhere between cider and vinegar with a twang. I was brave enough to take a second sip and eventually I was able to finish the bottle. Shortly after that experience I decided to give another bottle a try because I had heard about its health benefits, and I’ve been hooked since.

Recently, I have heard this funky fermented tea become a topic of discussion among my peers and others, so I decided to look into the health benefits for myself:

Kombucha is usually black or green tea that is fermented by adding sugar and some bacteria and yeast. The bacteria and yeast feed on the sugar for at least a week, allowing it to ferment. The benefits of Kombucha result from the bacteria in the tea, also known as probiotics. You might have heard of probiotics supplements or about probiotics being in yogurt. While bacteria are usually given a negative connotation, humans actually have bacteria in their digestive system that aids in digestion and the production of nutrients. There have been claims made that Kombucha aids in cancer prevention and other diseases, but there is little research to support these claims.

Don’t take my word for it; you can try Kombucha for yourself! Martins and the Friendly City Food Co-op both sell Kombucha, and I even know some people who make it themselves! Talk about Kombucha Krazzzzzy.

-Amelia

Sources:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/09/30/226531998/kombucha-magical-health-elixir-or-just-funky-tea

http://www.foodrenegade.com/kombucha-health-benefits/

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/what-are-probiotics

http://www.synergydrinks.com/

O-O-O-OATS

By: Alana Misiura

What does your daily breakfast consist of? Here’s the answer to getting the most nutritious breakfast to keep your hunger controlled until lunchtime that is fast and easy! The delicious meals and snacks you can make with oats are limitless and they open you up to a creative side. The many products you can create with oats provide an enormous amount of health benefits and decrease the risk for chronic disease.

Oats are high in protein, providing 10-14% of your protein needs for the day (following a 2,000 calorie diet), and they have high fiber content. Dietary fiber is important for the body to remove cholesterol from the digestive system. The antioxidant properties that oats provide help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol. In addition it is also well known to consume whole grain products to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks. Eating whole grains have also been proven to enhance immune response to infection. Beginning your day with a bowl of oatmeal may boost your immune response as well as your energy level in the morning!

Oats contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan. Studies have shown in individuals with type 2 diabetes, beta-glucan has beneficial effects such as lower rises in blood sugar compared to those who have been given white rice or bread. Beginning your day with oats will help stabilize your blood sugar throughout the day! Another benefit of oats and Type 2 diabetes is that oats and other whole grains are rich sources of magnesium, which act as a cofounder for the body’s use of insulin and glucagon. Studies have shown consumption of whole grains, and other foods rich in magnesium were proven to decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Now for the fun stuff- what can you make? The fun thing about oats is creativity! Soak oats overnight, cook them in the morning, blend them in a smoothie, bake granola, grind them to use as flour for cakes, cookies, or muffins… there are no rules! One of my favorite things to do with this whole grain is making overnight oats. Overnight oats involves no cooking, so it’s easy and you are welcome to add anything to it! I usually like to mix oats up with some berries, a banana, almond/coconut milk, cinnamon, flax seed, and chia seeds, shake it up in a mason jar and leave in the fridge over night. In the morning you have a delicious, nutritious, and filling breakfast! Plus soaking oats helps the body to digest the grains easier. In addition to cold overnight oats, hot oatmeal in the morning can be done by heating up hot water and/or milk, stirring in desired amount of oats, and whatever else you may want to flavor your oatmeal with. Some suggestions include a banana and peanut butter, berries, or vanilla and cinnamon. You can make cookies, pancakes, banana bread, and muffins with ground oats (as substitute for any flour) that can be easily done using any blender. Be creative and eat your oats!

jar oatmeal pancakes

References:

Oats. The World’s Healthiest Foods. George Mateljan Foundation. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=54

Katz, David. A Scientific Review of the Health Benefits of Oats. The Quaker Oats Company. Sept 2001. http://roscomoss.com/pdf/HealthBenefitsofOats.pdf

Pumpkin Seeds: The Hidden Panacea

By: Erin Jordan

pumpkins

It’s beginning to look a lot like fall! As the chilly weather begins to take over the valley, the healthy food options seem to dwindle. One healthy food that thrives during the fall is the underrated pumpkin seed. So when Halloween pumpkin carving rolls around this season, instead of tossing those pumpkin seeds in the trash, roast them and give your body a healthy boost!

Pumpkin seeds have a multitude of amazing health benefits. They are high in magnesium and antioxidants, which both play a huge role in heart health. They are also full of zinc, which gives your immune system a boost. They can help regulated sleep and mood because they are a good source of tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin and then melatonin, often referred to as the “sleep hormone,” in the body. Pumpkin seeds have also been linked to improved insulin regulation and helping reduce oxidative stress, which is a very natural way to help with diabetes.

Pumpkin seeds, along with most other raw seeds and nuts, contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. According to the Cochrane Collaboration, more and more scientific studies have proven that there is a definite link between consumption of omega-3 dietary fats, particularly DHA, and improved cognitive function. These fats are believed to be involved in preserving nerve cells in the brain in better condition for longer periods of time, therefore helping prevent the cognitive decline that is seen in dementia.

Not only are pumpkin seeds great for you, they are tasty and easy to prepare! Roasting them in the oven is a simple and delicious way to prepare them. Or if you are really feeling stressed and busy, most grocery stores sell them already prepared to eat. They are the perfect snack to take on the go to class or work because they are small and mess-free but full of essential nutrients. So for you busy health nuts looking for your fall health fix, keep these nutrient-dense seeds in mind!

Sources

http://www.cochrane.org/features/omega-3-fatty-acid-prevention-cognitive-decline-and-dementia

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/09/30/pumpkin-seed-benefits.aspx

http://huskypress.com/category/eats/

The Beet Goes On

 

 beet

By Morgaine Gallagher

Underneath a beets rugged exterior, lies a sweet flavor with a health boost. Beets can be used in a variety of ways, ranging from food coloring to medicine and from table sugar to animal feed.

There are numerous health benefits of eating a beet. Recent lab studies on human tumor cells prove the purple pigment in beets, betanin, to assist in decreasing tumorous cell growth. The oxalic acid in beet juice reverses chronic diseases, such as arthritis, kidney stones, and heart disease. Beets also contain an outstanding amount of folic acid, manganese, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and calcium! All these nutrients are essential in maintaining optimal health.

To reap all the benefits in this “super” vegetable, simply peel a raw beet and grate over a salad. Beets may also be boiled for a softer texture or juiced. Remember, heating beets will denature some of its nutrients.

With their delicious and unique taste, high concentration of nutrients, and multitude of uses, beets are an obvious choice for a nutrition-seeking individual.

 

Sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=49

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/01/25/beets-health-benefits.aspx

http://www.fullcircle.com/goodfoodlife/2012/05/10/6-health-benefits-of-eating-beets/

http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/tell-fresh-beets-done-cooking-34669.html

 

Power Yourself Through Class With A Healthy Breakfast!

by Simona Lourekas

 

An empty stomach, or just some coffee are no way to start the day, especially when you are busy with classes, extracurricular activities, and scaling the hills of the JMU campus. A healthy breakfast will give you the energy to make it through the day, and has been shown to help students pay better attention in classes and score higher on tests.

You’ve probably heard that they should eat breakfast, but did you know that it helps control your appetite throughout the day? Keeping you from over-snacking later on. Therefore helping to maintain weight and make healthy food choices throughout the day!

However not all breakfast’s are created equal, some things will make you crash before you’re through your first class, and well before lunch. These foods are high in sugar and low in nutrients such as a donut, breakfast pastry, or Starbucks Frappuccino.

donut 

Here are some power breakfast ideas that combine protein, fat, and carbohydrates:

  • If you’re in a hurry, a slice of whole grain or whole wheat toast with a nut butter such as peanut butter will fill you up because the nut butter provides healthy fats and protein, and the toast provides fiber.

Adding sliced banana on top or taking a piece of fruit with you on the go will increase the nutrient content of your breakfast, by adding more fiber and vitamins.

  • Oatmeal is filled with fiber to keep you full. To make it even healthier and tastier you can add any fruit you like, such as blueberries or sliced apple; whatever is in your fridge or available at the dining hall! Dried fruits such as raisins and cranberries work as well.

For more protein you can add in nut butters such as peanut butter or almond butter, or whole nuts such as walnuts or almonds.

Get creative!

oatmeal 

  • Another sure breakfast bet are eggs! Whatever way you prepare them the egg white will be filled with protein and nutrients, such as folate, calcium, potassium and magnesium. The egg yolk contains essential fatty acids and vitamins.

For a more well-rounded breakfast eat the egg on a slice of whole grain or whole-wheat toast. I like to add avocado on as well!

If you have the time, make an omelet with a little cheese, spinach, broccoli, tomato, and other vegetables. The darker green the color of the vegetable, the more mineral and vitamin rich it is.

If you start by adding just a glass of milk, a piece of fruit, or a serving of nuts for breakfast, you may notice that you pay better attention in those morning classes, and make healthier choices for the rest of the day!

 

Sources

http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/food/

http://breakfastfirst.org/benefits-of-breakfast-health-and-academics/

http://old.mobilecrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/NoDo-300×295.jpg