All I Want For Christmas

Jannine Myers

….is a pair of runner’s legs, killer abs, and toned arms! 

athletic woman

Runners are usually telling the truth when they say they “love to run,” but most would be telling a lie if they said that staying in shape wasn’t also part of the reason they run. Then again, most of those who run to stay in shape, would also be naive if they thought that running (or running, combined with strength work) could transform their bodies into one that looks like the image above. Well, maybe not naive, because it can happen for some – and that’s the point – it can happen for some, some being an exceptional few.

I read an article a few days ago; it was about the Victoria’s Secret runway models and their perfectly toned bodies. The author however, wasn’t looking to praise these women for their obvious beauty and athleticism, but to highlight instead the price these girls must pay to acquire such a lean and taut body. She mentioned for example, that a severe change of lifestyle would be required, one that involved never missing a workout, always preparing packed meals and snacks, and rarely accepting invitations to social events. This may not sound too bad, when you consider that the competitive runner or athlete probably follows a fairly restrictive lifestyle anyway, but when training is focused solely on achieving and maintaining lean and sculpted muscles, it tends to be far more extreme – and quite often, not so healthy.

There is a theory (set-point theory) that states that we all have a pre-determined body weight, one that is regulated by a feedback control mechanism located in the hypothalamus. The role of the control mechanism is to ensure that the body’s weight does not deviate too far from it’s “set point,” and if true, it may explain why some people who attempt to lose weight often reach a plateau that stops further weight loss. It may also mean that extreme body transformation efforts can overly stress the body, resulting in adverse effects such as severe mental and physical fatigue, menstrual problems, constant hunger, and possibly even long-term health problems.

While it might be nice to have a pair of runner’s legs, killer abs, and toned abs, the reality is that you probably never will – unless you’re genetically gifted and have the will to withstand a lot of discomfort and social isolation. But if you can accept yourself where you’re at, and recognize that you already have the perfect body – because you run and you eat well and you generally take better care of yourself than the average person – then you’ll enjoy a far greater quality of life than that rare group of extraordinarily toned women who look amazing, but who are likely suffering as a result.

Ask yourself what you really want, and maybe you’ll see that what you really want is a renewed perspective – a realization that you have legs that can run, a heart and lungs that are incredibly strong, and a mind that is refreshed after every single run.

love-your-body

Carbing Up On Chemical-Laden Breads

Jannine Myers

Growing up, I remember walking to the local dairy (that’s what we call the little corner stores in New Zealand), and buying fresh bread on Sunday mornings. The bread loaves were so fresh that they were stacked – unpackaged – on large aerated baking racks. We had to eat the bread as soon as we bought it, otherwise it would dry out and go stale within a day or two. Nowadays, if you buy bread from a supermarket, you’ll be taking home a loaf that was likely baked at least two days earlier, and baked with ingredients that will preserve the bread’s freshness for several more days.

Have you ever taken a moment to look at the nutrition label on the back of the breads you buy? Take a look for example, at one of the most commonly sold breads in our commissaries here in Okinawa – Wonder Whole Grain White Bread:

wonder-white-whole-grain-61166

Wonder Whole Grain White Bread has a whopping 78 ingredients listed on it’s nutrition label!

Wheat Flour Enriched ( Flour , Barley Malt , Ferrous Sulfate [ Iron , Iron ] , Vitamin B [ Niacin Vitamin B3 ,Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1 { Thiamin Vitamin B1 ,Thiamin Vitamin B1 } , Riboflavin Vitamin B2 { Riboflavin Vitamin B2 } , Folic Acid Vitamin B9 ] ) , Water , Wheat Flour Whole , Corn Syrup High Fructose , Yeast , Wheat Gluten , Rice Brown Flour , Soy Fiber , Calcium Sulphate ,Contains 22% or less , Soybeans Oil , Salt , Vinegar ,Corn Starch , Wheat Starch , Soy Flour , Honey , Dough Conditioners ( May contain : , Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate ,Datem , Mono and Diglycerides , Mono And Diglycerides Ethoxylated , Dicalcium Phosphate , and/or , Calcium Dioxide ) , Yeast Nutrients ( May contain : , Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate , Datem , Mono and Diglycerides ,Mono And Diglycerides Ethoxylated , Dicalcium Phosphate , and/or , Calcium Dioxide , May contain : ,Ammonium Sulfate , Ammonium Chloride , Monocalcium Phosphate , and/or , Ammonium Phosphate ) , Yeast Nutrients ( May contain : , Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate ,Datem , Mono and Diglycerides , Mono And Diglycerides Ethoxylated , Dicalcium Phosphate , and/or , Calcium Dioxide , May contain : , Ammonium Sulfate , Ammonium Chloride , Monocalcium Phosphate , and/or , Ammonium Phosphate ) , Enrichment ( Vitamin E Acetate , Ferrous Sulfate [ Iron , Iron ] , Zinc Oxide , Calcium Sulphate ,Niacin Vitamin B3 , Vitamin D , Pyridoxine Hydrochloride HCl [ Pyridoxine Vitamin B6 ] , Folic Acid Vitamin B9 ,Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1 [ Thiamin Vitamin B1 ,Thiamin Vitamin B1 ] , Vitamin B12 ) , Enzymes , Whey ,Calcium Propionate , To Retain Freshness , Soy Lecithin

Or, how about Nature’s Own Enriched Honey Wheat Bread:

honey wheat

Unbleached, Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Honey, Sugar, Wheat Gluten, Whole Wheat Flour, Rye Flour, Wheat Bran, Contains 2% or Less of Each of the Following: Yeast, Soy Flour, Salt, Soybean Oil, Dough Conditioners (Contains One or More of the Following: Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Calcium Stearoyl Lactylate, Monoglycerides, Mono- and Diglycerides, Distilled Monoglycerides, Calcium Peroxide, Calcium Iodate, DATEM, Ethoxylated Mono- and Diglycerides, Enzymes, Ascorbic Acid), Cultured Wheat Flour, Vinegar, Calcium Sulfate, Yeast Food (Ammonium Sulfate), Monocalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Calcium Carbonate.

30+ ingredients! If that doesn’t alarm you, then consider the potential side effects of some food additives that have been linked to specific illnesses and cancers (and these are in several commercially-sold breads), for example:

  • Mono- and diglycerides – these are emulsifiers that are used in bread to help prolong shelf life. They typically contain trans-fats, which we now know raise bad cholesterol levels, and lower good cholesterol. The caveat here, is that food manufacturers do not have to mention that the mono- and diglycerides in their products most likely contain trans-fats.
  • Azodicarbonamide – this is an artificial chemical used to bleach flour. It is banned in Europe and Australia because of it’s link to respiratory issues, allergies, and asthma.
  • Calcium Propionate – this is an antifungal used as a preservative. It’s believed to also cause permanent damage to the stomach lining and cause ulcers.
  • Bromide (listed in some breads as potassium bromate) – it supposedly makes the dough more elastic and able to stand up well to commercial baking tools. Bromate has been linked with several cancers, but especially cancer in the thyroid. It’s often used in fast food rolls and buns, and in pizza dough.

These are just a few of the controversial ingredients used in today’s commercially sold breads. Consider buying instead, organic-labeled breads that tend to have a much shorter and safer ingredient list, or better still, make your own bread.

Here’s a recipe from KingArthurFlour.com; it’s easy to make, and doesn’t involve any kneading. Besides tasting great, it has just eight ingredients:

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons molasses, maple syrup, dark corn syrup, or brown sugar corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups King Arthur whole wheat flour, white whole wheat preferred

Directions

Heavily grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. This loaf tends to stick, so be sure to grease the pan thoroughly with non-stick vegetable oil spray.

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Beat the mixture vigorously for about 3 minutes; an electric mixer set on high speed works well here. You should have a very sticky dough. It won’t be pourable, but neither will it be kneadable. Scoop it into the prepared pan.

Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes; it should just about rise to the rim of the pan, perhaps just barely cresting over the rim. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

P1060052

P1060055

Uncover the bread, and bake it for about 40 to 45 minutes, tenting it with aluminum foil after 20 minutes. The bread is done when it’s golden brown on top. Remove it from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out onto a rack.

P1060058

Cool the bread completely before slicing it.

P1060063

References:

Donsky, A., & Tsakos, L. (2013, August 28). Scary Ingredients Used in Bread Manufacturing. Retrieved December 11, 2014.

Weil, M.D., A. (2012, July 16). Q & A Library. Retrieved December 11, 2014, from http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401144/A-Carcinogen-in-Your-Bread.html

Yoquinto, L. (2012, March 16). The Truth About Potassium Bromate. Retrieved December 11, 2014

The Side Effects of Calcium Propionate. (2011, March 28). Retrieved December 11, 2014, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/314019-the-side-effects-of-calcium-propionate/

Why I Never Eat Commercial Bread. (2012, January 31). Retrieved December 11, 2014, from http://realfoodforager.com/why-i-never-eat-commercial-

Nicciola For Nutella Junkies

Jannine Myers

Are you a Nutella junkie? And a runner? If you answered yes to both these questions, keep reading. You’ll be pleased to know that your favorite combination of Hazelnut and Chocolate has been mindfully put together in a Hammer gel formula that will not only give you all the endurance you need, but also the same amazing taste experience as a huge spoonful of Nutella.

hpn-300x300

Some of you may be wondering, “Why not go straight for the Nutella?” Surely it has similar nutrition components, or at least enough sugar to provide a decent burst of energy. You’re right – it has plenty of sugar. In fact, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, a leading obesity expert and physician at the University of Ottawa and Bariatric Medical Institute, explains that two tablespoons of Nutella (one serving size), has approximately 5.5 teaspoons of sugar. That converts to around 22g of sugar, and that’s in addition to the 21g of sugar that is already naturally present in Nutella. Compare that with just 25g total sugar in Hammer’s new Hazelnut gel (called Nocciola – pronounced “No-CHO-la”).

Here’s two more comparisons:

  • Nutella fat content 12g (per serving) versus 2.5g fat in Nicciola
  • Nutella sodium content 15mg (per serving) versus 40mg sodium in Nicciola

Interested in trying Nicciola? Buy now from Hammer and get your supply before Christmas! And, as an added bonus, try using Nicciola in other creative ways, such as these – suggested by other athletes:

  • a pancake or waffle syrup
  • an ice cream topping
  • over bacon
  • with a banana
  • an oatmeal sweetener

Or, do what I did and make a hazelnut granola:

P1060031

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup “extra dark” cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp each of nutmeg, ginger, and cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 packets Hammer Hazelnut-Chocolate gel (Nicciola)
  • 2 tbsps agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2-3 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until well blended. Spoon mixture onto a baking tray and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Let cool, then store in an airtight container. Serve with organic yogurt and fresh or frozen berries.