Tag Archives: health

5 Healthy Tips for the New Year

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Fit and Healthy- These are the two goals I am striving to maintain this year.  Fit and healthy will lead to stronger and sustainable running.  Ultimately, running is something that I want to continue doing well into my 50s and beyond!  Prioritizing what works for my health will help me reach my goals as a runner.

5 Fit and Healthy Tips

  1.  Yoga is a great way to improve balance, flexibility and strength!  Run. Run, Run,-Why can’t I just run and run?!  Over the years, I have come to realize, through minor injuries and set backs, that I must incorporate various fitness activities into my running routine.  Yoga is something that I can do at home or at a studio.
  • I recently had a chance to take a Yin Yoga Class  at the Freeport Yoga Company I learned that this type of yoga promotes stimulation of the connective tissues or fascia in our bodies.  As we age, it is important to maintain flexibility of the connective tissue by practicing deep stretches and staying hydrating!

2. Eat More Fish!  This is a great  protein to support health and recovery of muscles! Fish is a great source of Omega3s, vital to the health of runners!  I recently read this article on the many benefits of eating more fish, which include improved joint health and anti-inflammatory properties!

  • I have incorporated more fish into my weekly, monthly diet by taking advantage of this great seafood delivery service for more than two years now!  Salmon, cod, and haddock are three of my faves!  This company delivers conveniently, individually frozen fish to your door!  In less than 30 minute I am able to prepare a meal with Omega3 rich fish!  Try out SizzleFish today!!

3.  Food Prep- Okay, this may seem simple and basic and it really is, but taking the time to prepare food from scratch can have huge benefits on your health!  Cut out the prepackaged, processed junk and focus on just eating real food!

Tips for Food Prep!  Freezer bags are your friend!!

  • soak, cook and freeze various types of beans!
  • Prepare, bake and freeze healthy muffins!
  • Rice and quinoa also freeze well!
  • Stock up on recipes for Overnight Oats for breakfast and Hearty Soups for lunch and supper!
  • Capitalize on seasonal produce and roast fall veggies to toss in the fridge!
  • One of my older posts on Meal Prep/Planning Found Here

4. Invest In Your Health-Get your Blood Work Analyzed! Twice this year, I gotten a thorough blood work analysis through Inside Tracker a company that helps athletes dig deeper into their health through analyzing a number of key biomarkers in their blood!  The tests offer a more in-depth look at what our bodies need, as oppose to the basic, sometimes vague blood work done at a general practitioner’s office.  I wrote about my previous blood work analysis here

  • Optimizing nutritional needs based on results
  • Adjusting workouts and training to better meet the needs of our bodies
  • Takes the guess work out of what foods to eat and which supplements are necessary for our body’s best performance!
  • The Inside Tracker Dashboard can guide you in setting goals for your health and training!

5. Mental Health– Just as important as physical health!  This coming year, I am taking a “step back” each day/night from all the stresses of the day.  It is important to incorporate ways to relax and de-stress! Remember to find time for quiet peace, clarity and reflection.

  • Turn off the tv, cell phones and social media for some time each day
  • Keep a written journal and write to unwind and reflect
  • Celebrate the little things each day that bring you joy!  Remember to just breathe and exhale!

Cheers to a Fit and Healthy New Year!!  Find Ways to be your best self! -MaineGirl2RUNS

What are your fit and healthy tips?  Would love to hear your tips!

Inside Tracker-Taking Charge of My Health

Excited to have a needle stuck in my vein and blood drawn?!  Of course, my mom and husband would have thought I was crazy to want to have my blood drawn.  I absolutely hated anything to do with needles growing up.  I guess that is why always avoided any procedures at the doctors office involving needles,  if it wasn’t absolutely necessary!

Well, with age comes wisdom and insight.  You grow up a bit and realize that some things are necessary in life to continue to do the things you love to do.  One of those things in life is running.  Running is something I want to be able to continue doing late into my life. as long as possible.  Running has taught me to be more attune with my body’s needs mentally and physically.  My desire to perform, as an athlete,  at my healthiest, strongest and most capable level is what lead me to seek more information and insight into my health.

Back in June of 2016, I decided to try out InsideTracker for the first time. I was so excited when ,Jonathan Levitt  a team member at Inside Tracker,  reached out to me!   With a discount, I was given the opportunity to have the Ultimate Blood Analysis Test, plus Inner Age  performed.  Inside Tracker is a company that will work with you to  “optimize your body’s performance through Sophisticated, science-based blood analytics.”  It did require that I get several vials of blood drawn!  Yikes!  I was nervous about the blood draw! The nurse technicians at Quest Diagnostic Lab in Annapolis, MD were awesome!  I never felt a thing!  Having my blood drawn and this test performed was one of the greatest things I have done for my health!  The results were available within a week!  You can read about my first round of results Here and Here

Changes in Training and Nutrition lead me to one of my most tough, but rewarding training seasons!  

Through the summer and fall, I made changes to my nutrition and training needs.  One of the great benefits of using Inside Tracker, is the instant results, feedback and recommendations that are specific to your blood work analysis! I felt stronger, healthier and mentally fit!  I knew that I was taking charge of my health and in the process optimizing my training and overall health!

Improvement from June to November!  As I finished up with a long training cycle, including four half marathons between July and mid November, I knew that I wanted to retest with Inside tracker to see which Bio Markers had improved and which ones still needed work. Six months after my first test, I retested again-using the Ultimate Blood Analysis Plan  I love the Inside Tracker website because you get reports, graphs and detailed analysis of your blood work!   

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Improvements were made and in big part, by following the nutrition recommendations and guidelines that are provided with the blood work results!  

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On the Inside Tracker website, you can customize and tailor your goals for nutrition and training.  I love that I can create goals and be alerted on a weekly, monthly basis.

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Choose Your Goals! 

Focusing on just a few key goals has helped me improve my health and performance.  The guess work that comes with trying to figure out what and how much of a supplement or food my body needs was no longer and issue!  With Inside Tracker, I am able zero in on exactly what my body needs!  My biggest goal is boosting my energy  by improving my glucose and ferritin levels. 

Choosing foods that help me reach my nutrition goals, as outlined in my Inside Tracker Results, will lead to a stronger, healthier body that can reach its full potential as a runner and bring better overall health!

Breakfast- each morning I start with a hearty bowl of steelcut oats, arugula and organic eggs-my favorite company and brand Pete and Gerry’s Eggs as well as the Carol’s Eggs Brand from New Hampshire!  My friend Sandra’s family owned company!

Supper- Two years ago, I began ordering Omega3 filled fish and seafood, online, from sizzlefish a company that offers superior quality fish delivered right to your door on dry ice!  This is a must try company!  I love having my freezer stocked with fish!  At supper, I also include Kamut-ancient grain to increase my iron levels.

Supplements- Since reviewing my blood work analysis results, I was able to pinpoint which supplements I truly need to add to my nutrition routine.  I will focus on taking a vitamin D supplement, along with berberine and plant sterols to improve my ferritin, iron and vitamin D levels. I customize and order vitamins from Vita Five

Updated Blood Work Results- Having these updated blood work results will allow me to focus on what my body needs in regards to training and nutrition.  I feel in control and proactive with my health, not only as a runner, but just a woman in her early forties just trying to maximize her overall health and wellness.  The results from Inside Tracker give me valuable information to use a part of my conversation about my health with my physician.  As I gear up for a new training cycle for early spring half marathons, I feel excited that I have taken charge of my health!  Digging deeper into my health through blood work analysis is so beneficial! 

What are you doing to optimize your health and performance?  Have you tried Blood Work Analysis testing with Inside Tracker? 

Quick Update on Blood Work Results

So. . . I’m currently analyzing and reviewing my blood work results from InsideTracker!  So much valuable information about my health that will aid in stronger #running performance and overall health!
I love the InsideTracker website for analyzing my results, creating a nutrition and training plan and setting goals! Here is a quick glance of my 9 biomarkers out of 28 that are At Risk or Need Work! 

InsideTracker Dashboard

InsideTracker Website Dashboard

As this point in my summer training and racing phase, I’ll be making some nutritional changes based on dietary recommendations and reworking my weekly training workouts! InsideTracker provides a breakdown of nutritional and training recommendations based on biomarkers! My goal areas are for improving endurance, strength and recovery/injury prevention. 

This is just a snapshot of what I’m analyzing and focusing on right now. I want to take some time to also review and discuss these results with my family doctor. I feel so much more equipped to take on a more active role in discussing my health concerns and goals with my doctor, now that I have this information.

I will continue to update and share my nutrition, training and racing as I make changes! 

Do you get blood work done? After initial results, how often do you get follow up blood tests? 

Training, Nutrition and A Blood Test

Training Lately and Upcoming Races:

Wow, can’t believe I am approaching my summer racing season!  The months of May and June have just flown by so quickly.  I have three races on my summer calendar, I Posted My Spring/Summer Race Calendar Here  I feel ready to tackle the two 10ks, but am feeling a bit apprehensive about the half marathon!

My weekly training has been fairly consistent, but the longer-double digit runs were tough to fit in over the last few weeks.  The last several weeks of May I focused on being a “track mom” as my daughter finished up her freshman year of high school and outdoor track.  My Redhead ended up running on her 4 x400 meter relay team at the State meet! I am also “coaching” two middle school boys now, so some of my mileage is done with them during the week.

Consistent Weekly Running-averaging 27-29 miles or so a week

  • Tuesdays have been an easy 6 miles, Wednesdays have been a tempo run of 7 miles, Thursdays have been an another easy 6 miles and Friday or Saturday has been my ten mile runs
  • My ten milers were sometimes happening on a Friday night, if my Redhead had an all day track meet on Saturday
  • Long Run-I was hoping to consistently be running 12 miles on my weekly long runs, but that didn’t happen in early June.
  • Hill Repeats- hoping to work back in some hill repeats for the end of June and into July, I found another good article on Hill Workouts Here

Nutrition Update-What I am Focusing On Lately:

About a year ago, I made the decision to no longer eat meat (any land animal), however, I do eat all fish and shellfish.  I am a Maine Girl who loves her haddock and lobstah!  I also order fresh, flash frozen premium wild caught fish from my absolute favorite company-sizzlefish

I do constantly worry though, that without the meat, if I am getting enough iron and protein.  I eat a large variety of fresh, seasonal veggies, organic frozen veggies, tons of high protein beans and grains. Yet, still I wonder if I am getting the right balance of carbs and proteins, along with other essential nutrients.  I am not a huge fan of protein powders, although lately, I have been using the Aloha Plant based Protein Powders and loving the clean taste.

Smoothie Bowls are my new summer go-to! 

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Yummy! Vanilla Protein, Banana, Peanut Butter, Almond Milk Smoothie Bowl with Shaved Chocolate!

I feel like I eat fairly healthy, but still some questions linger.  I want to know that I am properly fueling my body for optimal training and overall health.  As a 41 year old mom, runner and teacher, I am constantly on-the-go.  I want to know that I am getting all the right nutrients I need to feel healthy and energized.

I don’t consistently take supplements, mostly because I always feel like I am not choosing the right ones of what my body actually needs.  There are so many supplements to choose from on the market!

The Blood Test!  Yikes!

So, with so many questions about my health, getting the right fuel and nutrients-I was excited to learn about InsideTracker the company which  offers a blood screening test for – “Accurate blood biomarker analysis plus personalized interventions for nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and supplements to optimize health and fitness”  Read about the creators of InsideTracker here at InsideTracker 

I read a very thorough blog post by Michele at NYCRunningMama here and was very interested in having my own blood work done with InsideTracker.  When the opportunity arose through Jonathan Levitt with InsideTracker to have some blood work analyzed, I jumped at the chance! I received a discount code.  I chose the Ultimate Blood Test plus Inner Age which tests 30 total biomarkers all together in these categories:

  • Energy and Metabolism
  • Strength and Endurance
  • Bone and Muscle Health
  • Brain and Body
  • Oxygen and Performance
  • Inflammation
  • Liver Health
  • Minerals

I am very interested in finding out more about my results in regards to energy, endurance, bone and muscle health, inflammation, oxygen and performance!

Check out the InsideTracker website for a variety of plans and pricing options!

Having blood drawn isn’t usually my thing- I get all nervous and clammy, but I am excited to get more in-depth information about my health and make smart, informed decisions based on the results. I will definitely consult my doctor once I get the results.  These results will help guide my training and nutrition choices.

I will be getting my blood drawn at Quest Diagnostic laboratory today!  I will be sure to share my results when I receive them in a few days!  I feel it’s important to be proactive about your health!

Have you ever had in-depth blood work done?  How often do you get blood work?  Do you find the information to be useful?

Women’s Health: Surviving My First Mammogram 

  On Wednesday, I sat in the medical building waiting room, with a pink cloth robe open in the front, I felt vulnerable and scared. I nervously experienced the uncomfortable, yet necessary mammogram. I’d put off the mammogram, even though I’d turned 40 this past April.   During the last month, I noticed some lumps that seemed different.  Since I was a teenager I’ve had fibrocystic breasts, lumpy, fluid filled cysts that come and go.  I was a bit nervous, but knew that I could no longer put off getting things checked.   Following the standard mammogram, I also had 3D and ultrasound imaging. My results were discussed with me during and after the ultrasound. Grateful to report that I have no evidence of cancer, just harmless, fluid filled cysts.

        My grateful and thankful feeling of relief wasn’t just for me, but for my own mother and daughter. Thankful that my own mother won’t have to worry for me, also thankful that I’m healthy for my daughter. 
     Grateful for the advancements in technology, the doctors, nurses and medical staff that exist to diagnose and treat cancer patients. Forever thankful for being blessed with a healthy future. Even though I do not need care and treatment at a Medical Treatment Cancer Centerthere are so many women that do. 
     As I toe the line of RACES in the future that support care and treatment of cancer patients and their families, I will remember that vulnerable feeling of sitting in a “front tied” pink robe. Through running I can make a difference by supporting cancer research and finding a cure for all cancers. I’m so grateful to be able to run healthy. Miles will be run for those that can’t-near and far.  

  
     Lastly, I will make a commitment to myself. This experience was a ‘wake-up call’!  Keep doctor’s appointments, continue to eat a natural and organic diet and make time for “me”. Running isn’t just about races, it makes me feel good inside and out. For me, running is the thread woven into a healthy and fit lifestyle. 

What is your healthy commitment to yourself?  Do you find it hard to make time for your own health and fitness? 

All Natural and Organic at Target

All opinions in this post are completely my own. This is not a sponsored post by Target or any brands pictured or mentioned.  
Target Partnering with Brands “Making a Difference”

For the last nine years, I have been shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joes.  These two stores are known for their huge selections of all natural and organic products.  I’m passionate about food and other products that are all natural, certified organic and have environmentally friendly and sustainable practices. However, both of these stores are nearly an hour and a half away from my home in southern Maryland. So, I recently began to take notice when Target began expanding their line of all natural and organic brands! Lucky for me-the nearest Target store is only 15 minutes away! 

  • Below, I’ve highlighted brands and items from Target’s expanded line of natural and organic products! Many of these products end up in my basket!

Environmentally Friendly, Certified Organic, Gluten Free, and Brands that Give Back-These are just a sampling of the brands that Target has expanded! 

Household Cleaning Products

  

Frozen Meal Brands:

  

Meat and Dairy:

Healthy and Organic Snacks:

  

The all natural and organic snack selections at Target are cost friendly, healthy choices for packing Back-to-School Lunches! Several of the following companies have been “Making a Difference” around the World!

  

  

  

  

All Natural Health and Beauty Products:

Target has become a bigger presence in the all natural and organic market! 

Do you shop any of the above brands at Target? What are your thoughts and opinions on Target’s natural and organic selections? 


      Recipe Ideas: Healthy and Nutritious! 

      Healthy, Active and Fit at 40! 

      As I entered my late thirties and now forties, being active and continuing to run is a lifestyle for me.  In order to maintain this lifestyle, I must take steps to get the proper nutrition. 

      Being a mom, runner and teacher means that I must make healthy food choices! It’s important to choose food that will nourish and fuel my body for life’s daily demands! 

       

      Food Choices Should Be Focused and Purposeful to Fuel Your Body

       

      A Well Stocked Kitchen and Pantry Will Fuel Your Body:

      Plant-Based Proteins:

      • Edamame -A Complete Protein- nutrition information found HERE
      • Green Peas-A Wealth of Heath Benefits- nutrition information found HERE
      • Black Beans- A Hearty and Filling Bean- nutrition information found HERE

      Other Staples in the Kitchen and Pantry:

      • Organic Quinoa
      • Various Organic and Whole Grain Rice from my Favorite Brand Found HERE
      • Raw Almond Butter
      • Whole oats Granola
      • Avocados-healthy fats
      • Seasonal fruit

      Stock up on essential, nutrient-rich proteins and carbs to build daily meals! TIP-Cooked rice, beans and quinoa freeze really well in freezer bags! 

       Breakfast:

      Granola with fresh strawberries and almond milk

        

      Breakfast:

      Graham crackers smeared with raw almond butter and fresh sliced strawberries

      Lunch or Dinner:  

      Quinoa with cooked cubed sweet potato, steamed green peas and cooked black beans -drizzled with olive oil and sea salt

       

       Lunch or Dinner;

      mashed avocado on toasted roll with roasted tomatoes and sea salt

      Lunch or Dinner:

      Previously cooked quinoa and black beans, sauteed with padron peppers-Think Fried Rice!

       

      These are just a few ideas and variation of what I eat based on my kitchen and pantry staples! 

      Do you have favorite kitchen and pantry staples? A favorite dish or recipe idea?