Fight Stress and Illness By Adding Berries To Your Diet

Jannine Myers

I’m always looking for different ways to eat and enjoy berries, and this week I saw a recipe that utilized not only berries, but lots of other nutritionally-dense ingredients. I encourage you to give this recipe a try if you enjoy the combination of oats, berries, coconut, nuts, and seeds.

P1060876

Ingredients

2 cups mixed berries (+ 2tbsps coconut sugar)

2 tbsps lemon juice

1/2 cup chia seeds

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup mixed seeds (sunflower and pepita)

1/4 cup agave syrup

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsps butter

2 tsps sugar and 2 tsps cinnamon

 

Directions

Place berries, juice, and coconut sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, occasionally, for 3 minutes or until softened. Remove from heat and stir through chia seeds. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 285 F. Grease and line base and sides of a 20cm square cake pan.

Combine oats, coconut, chopped walnuts, and seeds in a large bowl. Place coconut oil, butter, and agave syrup in a microwaveable dish, and heat through until liquified. Add to oat mixture and stir until well coated. Spoon half into prepared pan. With wet hands, press down evenly. Spread over the berry mixture evenly with a spatula. Spoon over remaining oat mixture. With wet hands, press down evenly. Mix sugar and cinnamon together, and sprinkle over the top.

Bake for 50 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Chill for 1 hour before cutting into 16 squares.

[Modified version of this recipe]

Seared Scallops And Quinoa Kabocha Salad

Jannine Myers

This week’s fast, fresh, and easy dinner is one of those all-in-one throw-together type meals. I had some quinoa in the pantry that needed to be used, and some frozen Japanese kabocha (a winter squash that is sweeter than pumpkin) on hand, so I decided to pick up a few complimentary ingredients and make a warm quinoa and kabocha salad, topped with seared scallops.

P1060869

Ingredients

Bag of frozen Japanese kabocha (from San A)

3/4 cup quinoa, uncooked

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup water

Mixture of green leaves – whatever you like

1/2 red onion, diced (optional)

Approximately 2 tbsps lemon juice / 2 tbsps olive oil

Cilantro, chopped

Spices: about an 1/8 tsp of each – nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cayenne / about 1/2 tsp cinnamon / about 1 tsp of cumin and 1 tsp ground coriander

Fresh scallops (I bought mine from San A – 2 small packets)

Additional tbsp of olive oil for the scallops

1 tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

Directions

Rinse and drain the quinoa, then bring to boil in the broth and water. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, and set aside to cool. Cook the kabocha according to the packet directions (I semi-thawed the kabocha, then microwaved for just a few minutes); set aside to cool. In a salad bowl, add the salad leaves (and red onion if you’re using it). Add the quinoa to the salad bowl. In a small cup, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, and spices until well combined, then pour over the quinoa and stir it through. Add the kabocha and cilantro leaves, and gently stir the salad mixture so that all the ingredients soak up the flavors of the dressing.

Next, rinse the scallops and season with salt and pepper. In a frying pan, heat the butter and olive oil, then add the scallops for a quick sear (a couple of minutes each side). Top the salad with the scallops once they have cooled a little. Finally, garnish with a few lemon wedges.

Over 40’s Runners – Know What Your Optimal Training Method Is

Jannine Myers

The following is an article by Coach Greg McMillan; he discusses the training needs of 40+ year old runners, and how their approach to training should be relevant to their current level and experience. Take a look at the methods of training that he suggests for three types of Masters runners:

 

Masters Training: NOT One Size Fits All

 

Winning the US Masters Trail Marathon Championship

Confusion abounds about optimal training for masters runners. That’s because they get into the sport in different ways. Thus, training for one master has to be different from that for another. Here’s the 411 on training for runners over 40, based on the type of runner they are:

FULL-SPECTRUM MASTERS

This type of masters runner started in high school and hasn’t stopped. He ran the 400m to the 2-mile, then went on to run in college. He kept training and competing after college and ran his fastest times in his 20s or 30s. And he just kept running. He entered the masters category with renewed enthusiasm and carried his past experience with training and racing to more age-group victories.

Most early training advice for masters runners came from these athletes. The benefit was that they had experienced it all and could talk openly about the changes they had to make in training and racing as they aged. The usual “more recovery time” idea was a constant theme, as was compensation in training-like avoiding certain types of speed work or explosive drills-due to old injuries.

This type of runner can focus on efficient training because he has years and years of endurance under his belt. He can adjust his training based on his injury history. If he’s been injured a lot, he may limit his speed training, be careful with the weekly mileage and rely on his racing experience to perform his best. If he hasn’t been injured (lucky dog!), he can still train similarly to when he was young, with lots of variety-mileage, speed, terrain-in his training week, but he may need to add a bit more recovery between hard workouts.

START, STOP, START AGAIN MASTERS

Our second type of masters runner began like our Full-Spectrum Masters runner. He started in high school, may have run in college, but then put running on the shelf, often focusing on family, work and other life commitments. It’s possible he put on a few pounds and lost a bit of the athleticism he once had.

But, once a runner, always a runner, and as he hit 40, the bug bit again. He got back into the sport, remembered how much it meant to him and quickly started claiming podium spots in local races. I’m this type of runner. I was State Champion in high school, competed in college and competed on and off as I began coaching. Then, as I turned 40, I was re-energized and went on the win the National Trail Marathon Championships.

Training for this type of masters runner is the most challenging. His mind remembers pushing hard like he did when younger, but his body has forgotten all about it. So he has to be very careful not to get carried away. He will have to suppress the urge to return to the usual weekly routine from high school and college, and instead train more easily than he thinks he should. He will have to add more recovery time and be careful to let the body catch up with the mind. He will likely be able to return to training similar to what he did when younger, and can have greater masters success than the Full-Spectrum Masters, but he must wait for his musculoskeletal system to catch up to the mental and cardiovascular systems. Patience and control in training are key mantras.

NEWBIE MASTERS

Our third type of masters runner is the one who has no running experience, takes up running later in life and finds that she not only enjoys it, but she’s also quite good at it. She’s the one who started running for fun with a charity group or running club and soon was beating the more seasoned runners every weekend.

This type of master can really get into training and racing similar to a younger runner. She can build good mileage on her “young legs” and experiment with lots of variety in training, adding volume and intensity as she gains in strength. She must watch for injury but has the green light to have a lot of fun, beat the pants off the young women and men and see just how good she can be.

The Newbie Masters runner can train with younger runners and experiment with a wide variety of training and races. She’ll soon find where her strengths lie and where she needs to be careful with certain workouts. She’ll often continue to improve when longer-term runners are starting to see an age-related decline.

No matter which type of master you are, the key is a smart training plan and lots of listening to your body. If I can do it, you can too and if you’d like help, just let me know.

What About Dessert – Chocolate Chickpea Cookies, Anyone?

Jannine Myers

Yesterday I posted a recipe for a healthy salmon, avocado, and herb salad, but what good is a nice light meal without a little something sweet to follow? Before you get too excited though, I have to warn you that these cookies use chickpeas as the key binding agent -versus flour. But don’t stop reading; the rest of the ingredients are not bad at all, and by the time these cookies came out of the oven and had cooled down a little, they tasted every bit as good as they look. Don’t believe me? Try them yourself!

One more thing before I share the recipe; I thought it was funny how this recipe came to me. One of our favorite WOOT ladies, Karla Armes (who has since left Okinawa), sent me the recipe not because she knew I’d probably like it, but because she figured I could be the guinea pig for her and her family! So, here’s your answer Karla – I am pretty sure the boys will enjoy these :)

P1060835

 

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (homemade or canned, rinsed)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (I used this one from Vitacost.com)
  • 1/3 cup organic almond butter
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add the chickpeas and chocolate-hazelnut spread to a food processor and pulse until you get a smooth paste, ten to twelve 1-second pulses, stopping the food processor halfway through to scrape down the sides and bottom of the work bowl.
  3. Add the almond butter, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, vanilla, salt, and almond extract (if using) and process until the mixture is smooth. (The dough may be thick and sticky. If too dense for the food processor, turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead by hand until well combined.)
  4. Divide the dough into tablespoon-size balls, and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Press down the tops lightly, then bake until the edges are firm but the centers are still soft to light pressure, about 10 minutes. Rotate the pans top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking.
  5. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and set them aside. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack until they are completely cooled.

PER SERVING (1 cookie): Calories 48 / Protein 1g / Dietary Fiber 1g / Sugars 3g / Total Fat 3g

[Recipe from: http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/home-and-family/recipes/flourless-fudgy-dream-cookies]

 

Salmon Avocado Herb Salad

Jannine Myers

This week I have decided to share the following salmon and avocado salad; I made this the other night and my oldest daughter loved it. What I love about this recipe, besides the fact that it’s a nice light meal, is that it really is fast, fresh, and easy.

P1060834

Ingredients

1 lb (approx.) of wild salmon, cooked and cooled

1 avocado, sliced

Green salad leaves (any kind)

Fresh herbs (any kind, but I used basil and dill)

1/2 red onion, sliced

2 tbsps capers

2 tbsps lemon juice

2 tbsps olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

I purchased two small skinless salmon fillets, and baked them in the oven for no more than 10 mins at 450 degrees F. Prior to baking, I coated the fillets in a little olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, then placed on a lightly greased baking tray. Let the fillets cool down before plating on top of the salad.

In a small bowl, add the red onion, capers, and herbs. In a separate bowl or cup, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over the onion, capers, and herbs, and mix together to let the flavors blend (cover and allow to sit in the refrigerator while the salmon is cooking/cooling).

When the salmon has cooled down (and has been cut into bite-size pieces), place some salad greens on each dinner plate. Top with salmon, avocado, and basil leaves, then add the red onion mix, making sure to drizzle a little of the dressing over the rest of the ingredients.

Serve with crusty slices of French bread loaf, or crispy crackers. Enjoy.

Is The Nagoya Women’s Marathon On Your Race List?

Jannine Myers

Since several WOOT members have now had the opportunity to run the Women’s Nagoya Marathon, I thought it would be a good idea to ask some of them to assist me in writing a review with travel information:

GETTING THERE

There’s a couple of options, the first being to fly directly there via ANA. Or, if you enjoy a little adventure, you can do what Misty Cassidy and Summer Van Pelt did, and fly to Osaka on Peach Airlines then catch the bullet train to Nagoya. The cost of the flight to Osaka was around $45 (there are price levels, depending on how much or how little luggage you plan on taking), and from the airport you need to take the Limited Express to the Shin-Osaka station to board the bullet train (bullet train from Osaka to Nagoya was $70). Misty and Summer took the bullet train back to Osaka, and returned to Okinawa on a JetStar flight. The total cost of their travel was approximately $230.

ACCOMMODATION

One of the nice things about the Nagoya Marathon, is that race participants receive detailed instructions that specifically address accommodation options. The Race Directors provide a list of four or five hotels, with descriptions of package prices as well as location in terms of getting to and from the race. If you choose to select one of the hotels on their list, they will take care of all the booking requirements for you. The main thing is to make a decision quickly and to not procrastinate, as rooms are reserved on a first-come first-serve basis. Misty and Summer stayed in one of the contracted hotels for three nights, at a cost of $180.

RACE INFORMATION

Summer Cassidy: 

Overall impression was great! I will do it again. They were extremely organized, especially the day of the race! They shuffled you in through to the bag-drop zone, then to the porta-pottie line, and even to a last minute line-up for potty runs. The same excellent organization was seen at the end of the race too; when you cross the finish line everything is lined up nicely and bag pick-up is right there. You have no choice but to go by it.

The expo wasn’t real big or as nice as some I have been too, but they did have a Nike store for those who like Nike. They also had a small variety of different drinks and fuels to try.

11084466_10153120544161183_96347828_n

The course itself was pretty flat and kind of dull because it is a city marathon, however you will see the Nagoya Castle and two temples. There were plenty of aid stations along the way, some with just water and others further along the course with Aquarius. At the half- way point is where the food stations start with bananas, bread and candies. The women’s marathon coincides with the city marathon, which is actually not a marathon but a 10k and half marathon. So at some point, unless you are super speedy, you may have a city marathoner in a lane next to you. They have their own lane! And those guys were fast. But after the half way mark, it goes back to just the women’s marathon.

Joyce Powers

I was nervous about traveling to the race, although we received an email with all the information necessary to make our travel easy, including instructions on how to take the trains. It was great to see the runners that finished ahead of us cheer us on as we entered the dome. Even after five and a half hours, there were still crowds of people along the streets cheering us on. The best part was running it with someone who went through all the training ups, downs, and “oh hell” moments with me!

11080010_10153120544341183_1546784653_n

11081833_10153120544221183_679283231_n

Sada Sheldon

The Nagoya Women’s Marathon was really well organized, with good crowd support and some nice “goodies.” It was a nice and flat course, BUT, they did make us run an extra half mile (according to Joyce’s garmin – 26.8 miles).

11075763_10153120544401183_1209314703_n

Take-home goodies, including a Tiffany’s bracelet!

11063250_10153120544301183_1633438774_n

WEATHER

The race is held in March each year, and temperatures are typically cold but not always. Tamara Webb and Takako Sakugawa participated in the 2014 race and experienced cold racing conditions. Tamara ran in long sleeves and gloves and said she never really warmed up. This year’s runners experienced warm weather conditions and did not need long sleeves at all. According to various weather sites however, the average temperature in Nagoya during March is 46 F.

EXPLORING

Summer Cassidy: 

Take good shoes to walk in, especially if you are going to explore. We went to the castle, the zoo, the sky tower, and a temple. We just kind of winged it. We did a lot of walking and climbed a lot of stairs! If you plan on doing the bullet train from Osaka, pack light; there were a couple of flights of stairs that we had to carry our bags up. It was nice to have a rolly-bag when walking, but no fun carrying it up stairs. The subway is very easy to navigate and most had English directions.

REGISTRATION

Registration for the Nagoya Women’s Marathon begins in early September, but you’ll have to keep checking the website for updates. The timeline for registrations is not as long as other races, so it’s best not to delay once race registration opens. Race registrations are also not guaranteed; selections are by lottery, and successful applicants will be notified by November.

Finally, if you’re interested in traveling to the race as part of a group, check out the Events on our WOOT Facebook page.

[Photos by Sada Sheldon]

Balsamic Blueberry Pork Chops

Jannine Myers

This week’s fast, fresh, and easy dinner is from Shonna Calisi. Some of you met Shonna out on the trails before she and her family left Okinawa last year; she and her husband are both active duty service members, with a very busy under-two year old to take care of when they’re at home. Finding time to cook fast, healthy meals isn’t always easy, but they make it happen.

This blueberry balsamic pork chop meal was one that they found online, after searching for ideas on how to use some fresh, organic blueberries that they had just purchased. As you will see, apart from the time it takes to marinate the chops, the rest is fast and easy – and delicious!

11026253_956677124384389_2734207105860157122_o

Shonna mentioned that this was her husband’s plate – hence the double portion of pork chops – just one pork chop for us ladies :)

INGREDIENTS
  • 3-4 pork chops
for the marinade
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon ground basil
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
for the blueberry sauce
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. To prepare marinade, combine balsamic vinegar, water, garlic, and next four ingredients in a bowl and whisk til smooth. Pour marinade in to a large ziplock bag and add pork chops. Seal bag and chill 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Set oven to broil. Line a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Remove marinated pork chops from bag and discard marinade. Lay pork chops on baking sheet so that they are not touching. Cook 8 minutes on each side. Cut into the center of one pork chop to check doneness. If desired, cook longer for more well-done meat.
  4. While meat is cooking, add blueberry sauce ingredients to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and continue to cook until ¾ of liquid is gone, be sure to stir periodically. Top cooked pork chops with blueberry sauce.

[Recipe from:http://lecremedelacrumb.com/2013/11/blueberry-balsamic-pork-chops.html]

Book Review: The Way Of The Wellbeing

Jannine Myers

We run, and we train hard, but attempting to become stronger and faster runners also requires that we take care of ourselves when we’re not running. I read a book recently (written actually, by a New Zealander who I am acquainted with via a mutual Facebook group), that aims to guide readers towards a lifestyle of “wellness.”

Delivered from a completely holistic perspective, The Way of the Wellbeing, by Tricia Alach, addresses the obstacles to achieving health and happiness in a modern and busy world. Alach labels those who have already learned to integrate health and happiness into their lives as Wellbeings, explaining that they are different because the intentions behind their actions, not the actions themselves, set them apart.

For example, some of the characteristics that Wellbeings have in common, and which make me want to be a Wellbeing, include the following:

  • They have little emotional attachment to outcomes; they are happy regardless of their achievements, not because of them.
  • They integrate good health into their lifestyles, rather than separate it; they believe that health and happiness is the foundation upon which all other things can be built.
  • They trust their instincts over intellect.
  • They honor their bodies, minds, and spirits, making sure not to devote time to one while neglecting the others.

What I love about this book, is that it comes with not only well-expressed views and reasons, based on both professional and personal experience, but also practical tips that could really help a person make the lifestyle changes they’ve always wanted to make, but never have.

People want to make positive changes, implies Alach, but too often they become overwhelmed by the scope of what they ultimately hope to accomplish. In such cases, most give up because they failed to line their thoughts up with their actions. The first and most important step, says Alach, is the one that takes place in the mind.

While I really enjoyed reading Alach’s book, there were some sections that I skimmed over because they either didn’t apply to my own personal circumstances, or because I had slightly different views. But that’s what’s so great about this book; Alach recognizes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to health and happiness, and she encourages readers to select and utilize only the information and strategies that they feel is relevant to their personalities and situations.

I recommend this short, but insightful book, to anyone who wants to improve their quality of life, and I love a quote that Alach shared, which I believe sums up the essence of her message:

  • If you do not change, you may end up in the direction you’re going – Lao Tzu

81zQGKrCbaL._SL1500_

Want to read this book for free?

Tricia Alach is making it available to download for FREE next Tuesday 7th April as part of World Health Day (midnight to midnight Pacific time). In return, she’d appreciate you leaving a review on Amazon, even if it’s not 5 stars :)

 

Creamy Chickpea And Sweet Potato Curry

Jannine Myers

This week’s dinner meal really is fast, fresh, easy, and amazingly good. It’s a chickpea and sweet potato curry, with spices that blend well with added coconut milk and chicken broth. The recipe comes from Nutritional Therapist, Amelia Freer, and was sent to me by a good friend who follows Freer’s blog and highly recommends her new book Eat Nourish Grow.

P1060620

Ingredients:

2 cups of chopped pumpkin (or any squash)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 leeks, diced into half moons
1 white onion, peeled and finely diced
1 400ml can of coconut milk
2cm cube of fresh ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric (or a nice 2cm chunk of fresh turmeric)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
400ml filtered water or broth (I used organic chicken broth)
Salt & pepper to taste
Fresh coriander to sprinkle on top

Method: 

Sauté the onion, garlic and leeks in a little coconut oil to soften. Do not brown.
Add the pumpkin, sweet potato and ginger and mix well.
Add the chickpeas and spices then pour over the coconut milk and water/both. Stir well.
Cover and simmer for 30 mins.
Before serving, sprinkle with fresh coriander and season to taste.

This also works really well in a slow cooker using dried chickpeas.

[Visit Freer’s blog for original recipe version – scroll down home page]