Why Regulating Your Sleep And Getting Up Earlier Is A Winning Formula

Jannine Myers

Apart from my younger years, I’ve pretty much always been an early-to-bed, early-to-rise person. It’s a choice I make, but more than that I think I’m just wired that way; my body clock routinely nudges me towards bed around 9pm every night, and wakes me up every morning before 5am. I’m also at my happiest and most energetic in the early hours of the morning. For many people though, getting to bed early and rising at the crack of dawn feels neither natural nor pleasant. If that’s you, there are a couple of reasons why developing a good sleep routine and waking up earlier is something you may want to try.

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First, it may be comforting to know that getting to bed late isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The general consensus is that eight hours of sleep a night is optimal, but most people will be fine with six or seven hours of sleep and some can manage just fine on five. What’s important, says Neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Hill, is maintaining a fairly regulated sleep routine so that the brain is able to transition well through all the phases of sleep; that is the key to brain power. When a person’s sleep patterns are erratic, brain power is negatively affected, and physical, emotional, and intellectual ability is hindered. Additionally, negative health implications such as inflammation, weight gain, depression, and aging, are likely to occur.

The takeaway from Dr. Hill’s message, is that even if you are a night owl, or your night-time hours are inconsistent, then you should at least try to wake up every day at the same time. Keeping your circadium rhythm synchronized with the earth’s photo period helps your brain to function at it’s best, and the practice of waking up daily at the same time should re-regulate your sleep pattern and help you to achieve that.

Second, you may want to consider becoming an early riser if you wish to be more successful. Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning, says that he was never a morning person, but in a bid to improve his life he went on a quest to discover what some of the world’s most successful people had in common; he discovered that they were all “morning people.” Specifically, they were people who woke up earlier than they needed to and invested time working on themselves.

Productivity Coach, Ciara Conlon, explains in a Lifehack article, that early risers are often successful for the simple reason that “beating the inner voice” – the voice that tells you to go back to sleep – is a small but powerful victory. It puts you in charge (instead of your inner voice), right from the get-go and that sets the tone for a more productive and controlled day. As Hal Elrod likes to say, “If you win the morning, you win the day!”

Vege Recipes For Vege Haters

Jannine Myers

Here’s a couple more recipes for the young ones, and these ones, though they contain vegetables, might please even the pickiest of eaters. The first recipe is a Smoked Gruyere Brown Rice Frittata with shredded vegetables.

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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (approx.) brown rice, uncooked

1 to 2 tbsps olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 medium zucchini, grated

1 medium carrot, grated

mushrooms, sliced (optional)

1/3 cup milk (at least 2% fat)

3 tbsps freshly chopped rosemary or a good dash of dried rosemary

1/2 block of Smoked Apple Gruyere cheese, grated (this particular cheese is rich in taste and gives the frittata a really delicious flavor)

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a baking pan that you would use for a round cake or frittata.

Cook the rice and drain well (I cooked the rice in a mix of chicken broth and water)

Heat the oil in a frypan, then cook the onions and garlic until soft, and add the zucchini, carrots (and mushrooms, if using). Cook and stir for just a couple of minutes then set aside to cool.

Once the vegetable mixture has cooled down a little, add the cooked rice, eggs (pre-whisked with a fork), milk, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in half the shredded cheese.

Pour the mixture into baking pan and top with remaining cheese. Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Serve warm with a side salad or other greens (I served it with steamed broccoli).

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The second recipe is what I’ve called “Surprise” Muffins. I made some of these for a friend, and asked her to guess what the yellow pieces of flesh were. She and her husband thought they were either mango or peach, but they were both wrong; I used yellow tomatoes.

Yellow tomatoes are “surprisingly” sweet, and nutritionally they are just as good for you as red tomatoes; the main differences are that they contain slightly less fiber, quite a bit less vitamin C, but more phosphorous, potassium, zinc, sodium, and double the iron.

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Ingredients

1/2 cup oats

1 ¼ cups organic flour

1 cup wheat bran flakes

1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk

12 small pieces of soft, white cheese (any kind)

2 to 3 yellow tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup organic sugar

2 tsps baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup vegetable oil (or half oil, half apple sauce)

3 eggs

2 tbsps golden syrup (or honey, maple syrup)

brown sugar to top muffins

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 365 F. Line or grease a muffin tin.

Pour the milk into a small bowl and add the bran flakes; let the bran soak for several minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, golden syrup, and add the bran/milk mixture; mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, then add the diced tomatoes and mix until well combined. The mixture will seem a little wet, but that’s okay.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tray, top with brown sugar and tomato bake for 20 to 25 mins.

Best to eat warm from the oven, while the cheese is gooey and melted. Enjoy.

My Simple Approach To Overcoming Diet Dilemmas

Jannine Myers

Last summer I was reading a book by the poolside and I couldn’t help eavesdrop on a conversation between two men seated nearby. Their conversation went something like this:

  • “My wife is about to give up junk food for a whole month; she’s starting on Monday.”
  • “That’s impressive, I doubt I’d last a week!”
  • “Me too! But my wife has awesome willpower. She does it all the time and she always makes it through a whole 30 days.”

Does anyone else see the problem here? This woman – and countless others – are fooled by the notion that in order to lose weight they just need to give up junk food. It helps, of course, but once they lose the weight it isn’t long before they revert back to their usual dietary habits. Hence the tendency to repeatedly resort to rigid and unpleasant abstinence diets.

Another problem I frequently encounter, is women who make it their goal each day to eat as little as possible. Under-eating is just as damaging to the body as over-eating, and it hardly ever results in permanent weight loss. Slight caloric deficits are ideal if weight loss is desirable, but significant deficits cause the body to make drastic modifications in order to maintain homeostatic balance; such modifications generally produce negative health effects and ironically, an increase in weight.

To make matters worse, knowing how and what to eat – in a way that keeps the body lean and healthy (and the mind happy) – has become way too confusing. With so many groups all advocating different types of diets, food decisions are often unnecessarily complicated and stressful. For example:

  • Don’t eat meat because it may harden your blood vessels, or put you at risk of various types of serious illnesses.
  • Don’t eat grains because grains will likely cause inflammation, as well as damage to the digestive system and intestinal lining.
  • Don’t eat dairy because excessive amounts can cause cancer.
  • Don’t eat seafood because mercury build-up is found in fish, and other types of seafood often contain common bacteria and toxins.
  • Don’t eat soy because soy contains higher levels of phytoestrogens and contrary to what we’ve been told about phytoestrogens, they are actually harmful to the body.

[Disclaimer: the information above was taken and summarized from various websites and does not represent my own personal views]

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It’s no wonder so many women are struggling with their eating habits and choices. As I look back to my young adult years and think about the misery I put myself through – the constant adherence to different types of fad diets and the bouts of self-hatred every time I overate – I am grateful that I no longer battle with food.

Here is my very simple approach to eating healthfully and happily:

1. I never skip meals (or snacks) – that means, for me, eating five or six times a day.

2. I rarely overeat because – as mentioned in number 1 above – I never skip meals.

3. I DO indulge and enjoy my favorite treats (I love desserts especially, and wine), but I enjoy them in moderation.

4. I eat mostly food that I prepare myself, and use fresh ingredients on a daily basis. Preparing and cooking/baking food does involve a time sacrifice, but I’m a big believer that people find time for the things they value the most.

5. I make it a habit to always eat different foods, in order to optimize my nutrient intake. Many women however, tend to eat the same foods day in and day out; I highly recommend breaking that habit. Eating the same foods on a regular basis not only limits the nutritional value of your diet, but for many, it also leads to bouts of binge-eating.

6. Speaking of binge-eating……every now and again I go a little overboard and eat too much. In the past, a binge day would have been followed by a diet or near-starvation day, but now I simply get over it and slip right back into my regular eating routine. An analogy that might help you to do the same is one that I have shared before: if you slipped and fell in an icy parking lot while walking to your car, would you lie there and wait till “Monday” to get back on your feet?

7. I eat meat, grains, dairy, seafood, and soy – but in differing quantities, according to my taste preferences and stomach sensitivities. I also eat a wide variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts, seeds, legumes, and healthy fats. The only foods I try not to eat are those that come with an ingredient list a mile long!

8. I don’t DIET! The way I eat is a routine part of my lifestyle that doesn’t change; the foods I eat change all the time, but how I eat (as listed above), does not. Consequently, my weight – give or take a few pounds – has remained fairly consistent for the past twenty years.

 

Mini Recipes For Mini Wooters

Jannine Myers

We now have budding WOOTers following in our footsteps; well, actually they’re called GLTR (Girls Love To Run), and pronounced “Glitter.” They’ve only been at it for a couple of weeks so we’ll let them get more fully established before reporting on them, but in the meantime here’s a couple of nutritious recipes for your active girls: Pork and Red Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, and Flourless Mini Choc-Nut Muffins.

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Pork and Red Lentil Shepherds Pie

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic

1 medium carrot, roughly chopped

1/2 lb lean pork pieces

1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 cups organic chicken broth

1/2 cup water

1 cup red lentils, uncooked

2 tbsps tomato sauce

1 tsp worcestershire sauce

2 medium sweet potatoes (orange or yellow)

2 tbsps butter

1/2 cup shredded cheese

 

In a frying pan, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil, then add the carrots and let cook for a few minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a blender or food processor. Add 1/3 portion of the chicken broth to the blender, and pulse until the vegetables are minced.

Next, add the pork to the fry pan and cook for a few minutes (add a little extra oil if needed). Once the meat is brown, add the flour and quickly whisk. Then slowly add the remaining broth, making sure to whisk as you’re pouring so that there are no lumps from the flour. Stir in the water, tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, and mix well. Add the lentils and vegetable mixture, and slowly bring the liquid to a boil before lowering the heat and simmering (cover with lid), on low for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

While the lentil mixture is simmering, boil the sweet potatoes until tender. Mash with the butter (and a little milk if too dry).

Fill individual ramekins with the the cooked lentil and pork mixture, to two-thirds full. Top each ramekin with mashed sweet potato and shredded cheese, and top with black pepper. Bake in a 375 F pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.

Flourless Mini Choc-Nut Muffins (super easy by the way)

Ingredients

1/2 cup sunbutter

1/2 cup peanut butter [or use any nut butters you have, either a combination or just one kind]

2 medium sized bananas

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla (try making your own!)

2 tablespoons of honey

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Chocolate chips – a small handful

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place all ingredients, except the chocolate chips, into a blender or food processor, and blend until well mixed. Pour batter into a greased mini muffin tin. Top each muffin with a few chocolate chips. Bake for approximately 10 minutes.

 

[Taken from this recipe]

After race blues… What to do?

Just in time for a lot of our WOOT’rs completing races all over the world, this week’s blog is by Corinne Williams. Thank you, Corinne!

“Your race is simply a victory lap celebrating the completion of your training.”

By the time I toe-the-line, I have put in several hours, days, months, and even years of preparation for that moment. Whether reading about running, strength training for running, recovering in preparation for running, drinking less alcohol so I don’t feel crappy while running, eating healthy to fuel my running, or even spending fewer hours with friends and family to get to bed early for early morning running, the months leading up to race day hold one main focus… running. Maybe not the most healthy approach to life, but it pays off come race day.

Race day comes…Races are a celebration to the human spirit and strength. Most races are even promoted as parties on the go! With bands blasting music, spectators banging cowbells, kids giving high-fives, and volunteers passing out treats. It’s hard not to lose yourself in the excitement of race day. Plus, you’ve worked so hard to get there. You’ve earned that celebration! No matter how tough some parts of that race may get, you’re relentless, forward, progress gets you to that finish line. Now is the time to revel in your triumph.

…and goes.

So now sometime has gone by and everyone you know, plus a few random strangers you’ve cornered at the supermarket, have heard your “fascinating” tale of triumph on the race course. Plus, your husband and kid are worn thin by the constant reminders of your greatness (haha…okay…that just might be my family that is now sick of hearing about my awesomeness!). Now what? That after race glow is starting to fade and turn dark…no plan, no goal, no focus. Race day is over and done with. It’s easy to get stuck in a funk, but we must move on.

What to do? Depending on your circumstances and needs, here are a few options to cure those post race blues.

Fun with WOOT friends. Post-race recovery.

Fun with WOOT friends. Post-race recovery.

Recover: Take at least a week to recover from your race! That means no running! Okay, I know most runners, including myself, will ignore that advice. So, if you choose to run, take it easy. Go out with friends, or run with your family. Just take it slow. Let those toenails grow back and those chronic aches fade. This is your time to allow your body to heal and refresh.

Catch up: Take the extra time to catch up with other things you’ve missed while training. Have a looming project deadline at work? Put in those extra hours into finishing it. I take this after race period to get in some spring cleaning. Sometimes the deep cleaning is put on hold while in the midst of peak mileage and the home gets be be a bit chaotic. Put your work and home life in order! If you don’t have to worry about work, sit back, guilt-free, and catch up on binge watching that favorite show of yours on Netflix.

Socialize: No early morning Saturday runs! Take advantage of your break and get out to socialize. Contact all those non-runner friends (if you have any left) that you have not had the time for and go out! Build those friendships up, so when you slip into training mode again, your friends will understand and forgive.

Develop: Developing your hobbies may save your sanity if, God-forbid, you’re ever out for an injury. This may be a good time to get out all those old race shirts and make them into a quilt. Volunteer for a local race or kids athletic program. Or, bake a pie, and eat it! After all, you need to replenish all those lost calories!

Plan: Sometimes after races, I feel invincible and want to immediately jump into the next race. But I find that I go into the next race stronger and better prepared if I take some time to pause, reflect, and build a plan based on lessons learned from my previous training. Instead of flowing directly into the next “A” race, maybe plan on running a few races that work on your weaknesses. If you love the long slow trudge of endurance races, try a shorter race to work on speed. Or, if you love the fast pounding of the pavement, try out the challenge of trails. Examine your old race plan. Figure out what worked for you and build upon that with your new training plan.

Celebrating with amazing training partners and friends.

Celebrating with amazing training partners and friends.

Celebrate: Yes, the big race celebration is over and done with, but that does not mean you should be over it! Continue celebrating you and all you’ve accomplished. Even if it wasn’t your greatest race, you still took on that challenge and that should be celebrated! Find a special place to display your medals or rearrange your trophies. Frame your favorite race photo and put it on display. Once all your non-runner friends are over your race day memories, go out to lunch to replay the race memories with your running partners. Celebrate your running partners for their part in getting you fit and excited to race! Don’t stop celebrating your awesome accomplishments and prepare for many more celebrations to come!

Looking forward to your next race day...After the all the planing, preparation, and final culmination of race day, you’ve earned some rest. Embrace it! Don’t let the down time after race day bring you down. Use this rest time to recover, catch up, socialize, develop, plan, and celebrate! This lull in hyper vigilant training will help give your life balance and prepare you for the next big race.

 Great ideas for recovery and those pesky post race blues. Congratulations on your amazing finish at the 2016 HK100, Corinne!!

Coconut Cacao “Hammerite” Bars

Jannine Myers

Here’s another recipe for those of you who like raw and wholesome “energy” snacks, and if you are as keen on Hammer Nutrition products as I am, you’ll love that I included Recoverite powder in these bars. These are super easy to make, but quite decadent, so don’t eat them all at once; I like to grab one before I exercise, and/or immediately after (to hold me over until I have time to eat a proper meal).

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw whole almonds
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2 scoops Recoverite (any flavor will work – I used Strawberry in these bars and they were delicious)
  • 1/3 cup coconut cacao spread (I used this product, but if you can’t find anything similar, just substitute with something like this organic hazelnut/cocoa spread)
  • 2 tbsps melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsps agave syrup
  • A dash of sea salt (optional)

Directions

Simple: just pulse all the ingredients together in a food processor until a dough-like consistency is achieved, and then spread out in a rectangle shape on a parchment-lined tray. Cover the top with more parchment paper and place in the refrigerator to set for a couple of hours. Cut into approximately 16 bars and store in a sealed container, either in the freezer or refrigerator.

[About Hammer Nutrition Recoverite: if you’ve never tried Recoverite before, it’s a powder-form recovery drink that has been especially formulated to provide the ideal 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates:protein. The 3:1 ratio is necessary for optimal replenishment of muscle glycogen and muscle tissue rebuilding. Recoverite also contains all natural ingredients, as well as electrolytes and other nutrients beneficial for recovery. Available in strawberry, orange-vanilla, vanilla, and chocolate, it’s a great tasting recovery drink that will tremendously enhance your recovery efforts and reduce post-exercise soreness. For more information on pricing and where to purchase, click here].