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How to eat during the triathlon offseason
By Paul Tyler (Jan. 5, 2011)I had lunch today with a friend in Midtown, NYC. We had to choose between a pizza shop and Korean deli. The deli won. Over our bowls of healthy, vegetable noodle soup, we talked about food choices and what it means not only for our health, but also for the environment.
People easily equate food with energy for the body, but not energy that fuels our cars. I recently interviewed Mark Bittman for Active Network and could easily talk to the numbers.
We expend 40 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of beef protein. In contrast, with the same amount of fuel, we can produce 18 calories of corn protein.
It's amazing to think about how much impact we can have on oil demand just be changing our menu selection.
In addition to reducing our carbon footprint by changing our diet, Mark Bittman offers an approach that will help us improve our health, lose weight, make it easier to return to fitness in the spring, and even save money. He gives us three rules to make this all possible:
Needless to say, we both felt better picking the soup over the deep dish, pepperoni pizza.
3 Keys to Your Offseason Diet
When it comes to offseason diet, we all face tough choices. Conventional wisdom says we can either cut consumption and calories or we can relax and accept the extra pounds as a luxury that winter affords us. Mark Bittman, noted author, speaker and columnist for the New York Times offers us a third option.
Bittman, author of Food Matters, A Guide to Conscious Eating, recently spoke about how to change diet to improve health, lose weight, reduce your carbon footprint, and even save money without cutting calories. Every triathlete should target these objectives during the offseason. His three rules are:
#1 Eat Fewer Animals
Reducing meat consumption will reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, the factory farming required to produce meat places incredible strains on our environment and water resources. The U.N. estimates that global livestock generate one-fifth of all greenhouse gases. Finally, the cost of meat is rising faster than the costs of fruits and vegetables.
#2 Eat Far Less Junk Food
The more processed a food item is, the less nutritional value it has. A chicken breast or peanuts are great on their own, but the processing required to turn them into a McDonald's chicken nugget or a candy bar kills their nutritional value, rendering them calorie rich and nutritionally void.
#3 Eat More Plants
In contrast, fruits and vegetables carry, gram for gram, far more nutrients and contain less calories than foods in either of the other two categories. You can basically eat as much as you want without worrying about weight gain.
What's the biggest challenge you will face if you follow Bittman's directions? Maintaining "discipline, discipline, discipline," he told us. However, the author well understands the consumption needs of athletes in training. He completed the Mohawk-Hudson Marathon in November and the New York City Marathon in 2009. "I understand that you may wake up needing eggs and bacon for breakfast. [But there's] a difference between that and eating two cheeseburgers and fries," he said.
For triathletes, avoiding weight gain over the winter through dietary change can create tremendous benefits for performance for the following year. Leading sports nutritionists believe that an athlete can safely lose a pound each week during active training. A typical participant may gain 6 to 10 pounds during the offseason period. Avoiding this weight increase could effectively give you a two-month head start on achieving the PR you want in 2011.
The long-term effects of a shift towards plants can have a tremendous impact on the environment. For a family that drives a car 12,000 miles a year, eliminating one meal a week with red meat and dairy is equivalent to driving 760 miles less a year. By totally eliminating red meat and dairy, the family would cut its emissions by 5,340 miles.
To help you make the transition to offseason eating, Mark Bittman generously agreed to share two of his recipes from Food Matters:
Anything Goes Granola
Makes: About 9 cups
Time: 30 minutes
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts and seeds, coconut, cinnamon, sweetener and vanilla if using; sprinkle with a little salt. Toss well to thoroughly distribute ingredients. Spread the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or a little longer, stirring occasionally. The granola should brown evenly; the darker it gets without burning, the crunchier it will be.
- 5 cups rolled oats or other rolled grains (not quick-cooking or instant)
- 3 cups mixed nuts and seeds such as sunflower or sesame seeds, walnuts, pecans, almonds or cashews
- 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or other spices to taste
- 1/2 to 1 cup honey or maple syrup, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups raisins or chopped dried fruit
2. Remove pan from oven and add raisins. Cool on a rack, stirring now and then until the granola reaches room temperature. Put in a sealed container and store in refrigerator; it will keep indefinitely.
Not Your Usual Ratatouille
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: 30 minutes
1. Trim the eggplant and cut it into large cubes. If the eggplant is big, soft or especially seedy, sprinkle the cubes with salt, put them in a colander, and let them sit for at least 30 minutes, preferably 60. (This will help improve their flavor, but isn't necessary if you don't have time.) Then rinse, drain, and pat dry.
- 1 medium or 2 small eggplants (about 8 ounces)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves, for garnish
- Good vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice, optional
2. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the eggplant, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.
3. Put the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the pan and add the cauliflower. Cook, stirring occasionally until it loses its crunch, about 4 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper and cook and stir for another minute or two, until soft. Add the tomato and thyme and cook for another minute until the tomato just starts to release its juice. Return the eggplant to the pan, along with basil leaves. Give a good stir, taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve hot or at room temperature, with vinegar or lemon. The ratatouille will keep for a couple of days, covered and refrigerated.
Active.com: 3 Keys to Your Offseason Diet
TriEssential: http://triessential.com/ and How to eat during the triathlon offseason
4 Ways to Burn Off the Holiday Weight
By Jen AtorPreventing too much holiday cheer from settling on your waistline comes down to simple calorie math: If you want to indulge in a few extra calories, you'll have to sweat off a few more than usual. Send 'em packing with these four explosive moves created by Kim Blake, a trainer at Nike World Headquarters Sports Center in Portland, Oregon. You'll push your body weight off the floor and then absorb it when you land. Translation? Your muscles will work hard, and you'll blast fat.
Do 12 to 16 reps of each move, resting for 15 seconds between each exercise. When you've finished all four, rest for a minute or two, then repeat the circuit two more times. Do this calorie-incinerating workout three times a week, or anytime you need a little damage control.
Four Power Moves
|1. Runner's lunge to knee skip|
Start in a pushup position, then bend your left knee and place your left foot between your hands (a). Push through your left foot, raise your torso, and drive your right knee and left arm into the air, hopping off the ground (b). Return to start, then switch legs and repeat on the other side. That's one rep.
|2. Plie jumping jacks|
Stand with your hands at your sides (a) and jump into the air, bringing your arms overhead and your feet wide, knees and toes turned out, then lower into a squat (b). Quickly jump back to the starting position. That's one rep.
|3. Quarter-turn squat|
Lower into a squat (a), then jump up, swinging your arms overhead and rotating 90 degrees to the left while in the air (b). Lower into a squat (c), then jump up and rotate to the right. That's one rep.
|4. Donkey kick|
Start in a pushup position, legs extended directly behind you and hands under your shoulders (a). With your legs together, brace your core and glutes, then kick both legs into the air, bending your knees to bring your feet toward your butt (b). Reverse the movement to return to start, trying to land softly on the balls of your feet. That's one rep.
Active.com: 4 Ways to Burn Off the Holiday Weight
Women's Health Magazine: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/