Recipe – Quinoa with Sun Dried Tomatoes & Home Made Pesto

Let us start with: Thanks to chef Julie Morris for inspiring this recipe with your Quinoa with Secret Pesto and Sun Dried Tomatoes Recipe!

 

Inspired by Julie’s recipe we went shopping today and worked with what we could get:

– Organic Quinoa
– Sun-dried Tomatoes
– Organic Arugula
– Walnuts
– Garlic
– Chillies
– Red Onions
– Pecorino Cheese (Sheep)

Recipe:
Put Quninoa with some non cleansed sea salt and a dried chilli in a pot, add about 2.5 times the water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let simmer until the water is gone.

In the meanwhile you can prepare the home made arugula-walnut pesto. Crush some walnut seeds and mix in a fresh chilli, a handful of organic arugula, garlic and plenty of good olive oil. Season with non cleansed sea salt and pepper and mix with an immersion blender. Season with more chilli to your taste.

Fry some sun dried tomatoes, onions, garlic and some extra chilli to add spice – then mix the Quinoa, your home made pesto, onions, garlic and chilli put a good portion on a plate, sun-dried tomatoes on top and you are good to go for a fantastic an healthy meal.

For those who eat milk products, you can add some Pecorino cheese (sheep) to your pesto as well as on top of the finished meal for some extra taste!

Enjoy and thanks again chef Julie!

Introducing – Pickybars!

In our quest to find some more healthy alternatives to ordinary sports / energy bars we came across a product called Pickybars – and I think it was the name that first really got me interested.

In ordinary sports bars there is a lot of sugars and ingredients we don’t really know a lot about or definitely shouldn’t feed our bodies with. Often the contain a lot of gluten and dairy which could not only cause problems if you have an allergy but are also potentially harder to digest – especially during workouts.

Made from athletes for athletes is a popular claim out there that has somewhat turned meaningless – a claim Lauren Fleshman and Jesse Thomas from Pickybars don’t make – even though they should. Both Lauren and Jesse are incredibly competitive athletes and their sole goal when producing Pickybars is to produce a healthy bar for every athlete.

Check out their goals / ideals in every single bar:

  • Be what we consider “ideal size:” 200 calories or less.  Great size for <30min post-workout recovery, one hour before exercise (or cut in half for 20-30 min before), or the perfect snack size between meals.)
  • Have a 4:1 carbohydrate/protein ratio that is ideal for recovery and maximizes absorption of nutrients.
  • Be gluten and dairy free (for the sake of those with intolerances, or for people who just want variety in their diet)
  • Have balanced macro-nutrients (25% fat, 60% carbohydrate, 15% protein) for hunger control and happy digestion.
  • Select carbohydrate sources that promote level blood sugar, sustained energy, and nutrient absorption.
  • Use whole foods that are geographically nearby whenever we can.
  • Minimize soy content (less than 1%) since most people get too much of it daily without realizing it.
  • Provide a mixture of nuts and seeds for nutrient diversity (e.g. cashews are good for vitamin K while almonds are high in vitamin E).

We have tried all 3 versions of the Pickybars and Lauren and Jesse really pulled it off. The bars all taste great, they deliver sufficient energy for a solid workout and they are a fantastic snack for on the road. Our personal favorite certainly is the ”All in Almond”

You should try Pickybars if you have problems with gluten or dairy, if you want to enjoy an energy bar that delivers even energy, if you need a healthy snack for in between or simply if you are interested in improving your eating habits.

Back on the Gluten Free Track!

Howdie folks, just a little while back I started my first attempt of the year to go gluten free and failed miserably! It only lasted a couple of days and I wasn’t able to pull it off with all the travels, eating in hotels and so on. It was a little surprising as I had so much success with it last year – which should have been incentive enough.

Just recently now I started writing up a nutrition plan for a friend who’s training for a long distance triathlon – the Challenge Copenhagen – next year and he urgently has to drop some serious weight. Sitting there and writing it all up about gluten reduced nutrition, avoiding cow protein, industrial sugars, grains wherever you can and adding lots and lots of base / alkaline foods is all I needed to get it into my head for myself again.

Let me tell you – a little over 2 weeks into it (I only had gluten twice) it is working wonders again. The pounds are dropping, the mental and physical fitness is sky rocketing, skin is feeling way better, digestive tract is fully functional and I am feeling ready to rock again.

Something people are underestimating is the change in mental strength and focus the right nutrition can produce. Reducing your gluten intake drastically and adding more base food might just be what you need when you’re feeling sluggish, have problems focusing, feeling tense, lacking stress resistance and so on.

If you want any tips on how to get started and stick with it drop me a note.I will also keep you informed in detail on how the nutrition is affecting me over the next 2-3 months.

Enjoy the off season – and rock on!

Gluten Free Living – Miserable Failure!

Ok, just a couple of weeks back I started the attempt to live on a gluten free and cow produce free diet for at least 4 weeks and document the progress. Unfortunately I have to say it’s much harder than I thought it would be. Especially in the middle of race season!

Nevertheless, one failed attempt is nothing – so let’s try again but in a slightly adjusted form. While reading forth and back I came across some great raw food or raw food style products that might just work fine or even better as a a race nutrition replacement. Right now I am trying to get my fingers on some RawBite Bars to give them a try and see how they work in training and competition.

The idea now is to give it another 4 weeks and try to live as gluten free as possible with a 100% cow free diet and as much natural food as possible. As a nutrition diary might get a little boring I will focus on writing down the little hick ups that might occur during this little 4 week trial!It’s a particularly difficult and stupid idea to come up with this right now – with 3 races lined up in this 4 week period, 2 huge race expo weekends for a client and 3 races to commentate! That means – there is a lot of traveling and irregularities in my eating schedule involved. Wish me luck!

Let’s get the party started! Today is D-Day!

Rock on and stay tuned,

Till

Gluten Free For A Month – Or Longer?

They beautiful thing when it comes to an athletes nutrition is – there is just as many different opinions on it as there is on what the right training approach is. Sometimes you have to wonder – what of that stuff is scientifically proven? Is living dairy free just a fashion? What’s up with raw food living?

Well, those of you who have followed this blog a little know – What do I care about science, studies and other stuff! I stopped believing in a lot of it a long time ago when struggling with glandular fever. ”I am much more of a hands on and let’s try it kinda guy” I went down the path of the what I call it ‘Ohne-Kuh-Kur’ (‘Without-Cow-Cure’) last year and I have to say: With great success. The idea behind the ‘Ohne-Kuh-Kur’ has nothing to do with lactose intolerance or anything like it – it is the alternative practitioner’s approach that cow protein is effecting the bowel in a negative way thus taking away a lot of surface for nutrients to be absorbed and for toxins to be kept out of the body. According to their idea the long term ingestion of cow protein is producing little cracks in the bowel area allowing toxins to enter your body. The bowel requires a period of roughly 4 weeks to recover – so that is the minimum time you should stay away from cow protein. Well, long story short: I had some serious success with it – if you wanna know more about it I will write a separate post.

Todays post is much more about the idea of gluten free living – another approach to a supposedly healthier way of living. The most common reason is the Celiac Disease in which the body produces an autoimmune reaction to gluten. Something I don’t have – my reasons are different. The idea behind this test is that gluten heavy products in general are rumored to be very tough on the digestion, help viruses and germs grow and feed in your body and thus is limiting the overall function of your body! According to reports gluten free living can help you feel fitter, stronger, mentally more alert, boost the bodies function to burn fat and much more!

Therefore the idea for me is – a 4 week gluten free diet. I am sure my coach is happy to hear that 2.5 weeks out of the first highlighted race of the season 🙂 – but hey, we don’t wanna make it too easy on the coach, do we now 🙂

In the next 4 weeks I’ll keep you up to date on how I am progressing, changes in my body, alternative ways of cooking, I’ll be looking into gluten free alternatives for sports nutrition such as Picky Bars and so on! So stay tuned!

No more of that stuff for breakfast!

Treating Sore Achilles Tendon

When surfing the net and several endurance forums it becomes very apparent that there is a lot of issues out there with achilles tendon problems.

There are many different ways of approaching treatment and there are several potential causes for the problem. Causes can range from prior injuries to muscular dysbalances, from overtraining to wrong footwear and so on. In today’s blog we want to focus a little more on what to do once you find the cause. What to do in order to get back into running, cycling or even just walking again asap.

The Personal Experience
This blog is based on personal experience I had with a severely sore achilles after crashing my bike and yanking my hip (which at this point I wasn’t aware off). After the crash I went back into running and cycling and only when cycling I could tell that something was off. It felt like I was leaning a little to the left on the bike. Then within 2 days I went from not feeling anything to not being able to walk properly anymore.

The ‘You wanna kill me?’ treatment
I went to see a doctor and walked out with a prescription for Voltaren to treat inflammation. After 3 weeks popping the pills and no improvement at all I went to see the physio who prescribed 20 sessions of physio therapy – according to him that was the minimum we needed to get me back on track. Another doctor visit and more Voltaren but still no help. Luckily my insurance couldn’t quite decided if they would cover the physio or not and that’s how I came across the Core Endurance book by Mark Versteegen.

Treating the cause
I simply followed the stretching rules of this book and after about 2-3 weeks my body started to feel ‘straight’ and upright again. Even the achilles got a little better – so obviously I had found and treated the cause. Yet, after putting a lot of stress on the achilles for so long it had gotten so sore – Voltaren didn’t help jack! Not even after taking it for over a month now (and let me tell you – the docs in the US had already prescribed me 3x the daily dose you would get from a German doctor – my stomach did not like it at all).

Here is how I finally treated the symptoms and got back into running
I stopped taking the Voltaren and went on for another 2 weeks – by now I had the achilles problem for over 2 months now – no running, no cycling and I even had to stop working for a week or so when a friend recommended a holistic doctor – Dr. Joshi who conveniently spends 2 weeks a month in New York – to me. I went to see the doc and he started treating me with cupping and acupuncture as well as a few massages and within sessions I started massaging at home with the help of The Stick. Within 3 sessions and roughly 2-3 weeks all problems had disappeared and I was back into running. No more than 2 weeks after getting back into training with the New York Road Runners I ran a personal half marathon best by almost 3 minutes!

(For our German readers – you can find The Stick here: THE STICK )

There are several ways to treat achilles tendon problems – stretching sessions, home massages, massages, cupping, acupuncture, natural remedies such colostrum based products, common horsetail and so on.

What I am trying to say is – don’t be afraid to find your own solution – don’t be afraid to try something different that western medicine. One of the main reasons achilles tendon problems are so hard to treat is the extremely low blood flow around the achilles tendon. This is stopping the ‘little helpers’ and nutrients to properly reach the achilles but also makes it much harder for the body to get rid of the toxins, etc in the achilles area. Accupuncture, cupping and massages all increase the blood flow in this area – supplement with some natural remedies to reduce inflammation and you’ll be back within a blink!

Have own experience with achilles tendon problems and great ways to treat it – let us and our readers know about it. You might just help another fellow athlete to get back on track!

Feel free to comment away!

Rock on!

Influence of Caffeine on Athletic Performance

While sitting at our 3rd cup of coffee this morning (which is kind of unusual for us – but the ladies were in hardcore shopping mode) we were thinking about the positive or negative effects of caffeine in terms of athletic performance.

Back in the day caffeine – which is present in roughly 100 plants (coffee plant, tea plant, guarana, chocolate and many more) – was actually a banned substance back in the day. Until 2004 that was when the WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) and the IOC (International Olympic Committee) decided to take it off the list. Partially because it was almost impossible for a human to reach the maximum allowed levels of caffeine in the blood stream and partially because caffeine is simply present in way too many foods and drinks.

Coffee is developing it’s full benefits after about 30-45 minutes and they last in average somewhere between 3-4 hours. A boost in mental alertness, feeling more awake and a prolonged attention span are typical signs of caffeine intake. In addition caffeine is know to boost the oxygen intake as well as the athletic endurance as Costill has proven back in 1978 already. The intake of 330mg (2-3 small cups of coffee) of caffeine was sufficient enough to significantly boost the performance on an indoor trainer.

Studies have shown that the most sufficient amounts are somewhere between 3-6mg per Kilogram of body weight (roughly 2-3mg per 2 pounds) Any more than that does not seem to improve the positive effects of caffeine intake.

It is not a surprise at all that the quickest intake of caffeine is via caffeine chews as the oral mucosa is absorbing it in the fastest way possible.

Studies that are based on longer, slower workouts seem to be clear whereas there is very varying results in tests based on short and hard workouts. There is also a clear indication that the individual reaction to caffeine can vary from person to person. The reasons for this are not entirely proven yet but one very likely scenario lies in the habits of each person. Regular coffee drinkers seem to show less improvement in performance than athletes who enjoy coffee rather sporadic. ( we remember an interview with Chris Macca McCormack in which he mentioned not to drink coffee for 4 weeks before a race until the final race day).

Other possible effect from caffeine may be an improved metabolism / increased use of body fat when burning calories. Studies to this are not clear yet though. A study on the University of Illinois also shows a slight reduction in pain when working out on caffeine. Mainly reduced muscular pain after hard workouts.

You see – caffeine may very well have positive effects on your athletic endurance performance. You just might wanna stay away from too much coffee every day if you wanna enjoy the full benefits on race day. In addition to that – coffee is very acidic and works against the principles of an alkaline nutrition. Try it out and find the right dose for you and your body!

Rock on!