Wednesday, July 31, 2013


In sports, there is always an emphasis on the importance of pre-workout, pre-game, and pre-race preparation. Obviously, we want our bodies to be as well equipped as possible (by sleeping, hydrating, and eating properly) to compete at the highest level against our competition. Although, I wonder if athletes understand how crucial post-workout, post-game, and post-race refueling is. After workouts and competitions it is vital that the body is replenished with the right foods and fluids in the correct way. Here are three quick tips to refueling…

1) Carbohydrate to Protein Ratio (4:1)

*Refuel with foods that are four parts carbs to one part protein. After exercise carbs can be more easily stored as recovery fuel and protein allows the body to rebuild what it loss.
*Examples include: chocolate milk, peanut butter with a banana, fruits and nuts.

2) Replace Fluids Lost

*Drinking 16-24oz of adequate fluids for every pound lost during working out. For those of you out there who don’t weigh yourself before and after your workouts… follow a simpler rule: Pee till it’s a pale yellow color (lemonade).

3) 30 Minutes

*It is key that athletes begin to refuel and rehydrate no longer than 30 minutes after working out. The longer athletes wait to refuel the longer it takes to recover. Getting something in the body ASAP after exertion will allow for increased storage.

Guest Blogger: Krista Creager, nutrition student at South Dakota State University

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Vegetarian Recipes

Here is a collection of quick, healthy vegetarian recipes from CookingLight Magazine. A dish like this one below, pasta with sun-dried tomato pesto and feta cheese, is a carbohydrate rich meal that is would be perfect for replenishing glycogen stores to prepare for a long run. Nutrition information is included with each recipe. Now get into the kitchen and enjoy!   

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Feta Cheese
Photo Credit:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hitting the Wall

As athletes, I am sure you have all heard the expression "hitting the wall." That feeling when you have nothing left to give during your workout or competition. Do you really know what is happening inside your body? 

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When an athlete "hits the wall" it means that he or she has exhausted all of their stored carbohydrate (glycogen) in their body, which leaves the body running on empty. The body uses both fat and carbohydrate as fuel sources when exercising, but during high-intensity activities such as running or cycling, your body relies on carbohydrate for the main source of energy. Your body will not exhaust all of your fat stores during activity, but it can deplete your stores of carbohydrate.

This condition can by avoided by beginning your activity well-nourished with your carbohydrate stores full. During long longs or rides, be sure to take in carbohydrate through whole foods or sports drinks. The recommended amount is about 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour of activity. 

Friday, July 19, 2013
While you are visiting for conference news, don't forget to come back and read the latest sports nutrition news here! :)

Homemade Sports Drink

Looking to save a little money? It's possible to make your own sports drink at home. Sports drinks are made to provide fluid, carbohydrate, and electrolytes during long duration, high-intensity exercise - but you don't have to buy it in the store! Here is a recipe for a sports drink that you can make at home. The recipe is from Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD - a well respected sports dietitian in the Boston area. Enjoy!

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup orange juice (not concentrate) plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 1/2 cups cold water

1. In the bottom of a pitcher, dissolve the sugar and salt in the hot water.
2. Add the juice and the remaining water; chill.

Nutrition information: (per 8 ounces) 50 calories; 12 g carbohydrate; 110 mg sodium

Clark N. Sports Nutrition Guidebook. 4th ed. Champaign, IL; Human Kinetics; 2008.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Heat-Induced Acrylamide May Be a Primary Hazard of Processed Food

By Dr. Mercola (at
Approximately 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food is spent onprocessed foods, and food marketers do a masterful job at making it seem like fast foods and junk foods are the obvious choice.
Some even manage to make you believe such foods are a healthy option. But not only are these processed foods “dead” and devoid of any natural nutrition, they can also be loaded with potentially carcinogenic substances.
Just over a decade ago, researchers discovered that a cancer-causing and potentially neurotoxic chemical called acrylamide is created when carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures, whether baked, fried, roasted, grilled or toasted.
The chemical is formed from a reaction between sugars and an amino acid (asparagine) during high-temperature cooking. The answer, of course, is to limit or eliminate processed foods and increase the amount of whole, raw foods in your diet. I typically aim for 80-85 percent raw food in my own diet.

Acrylamide May Be a Primary Hazard of Processed Food

Acrylamide can form in many foods cooked or processed at temperatures above 212°F (100°C), but carbohydrate-rich foods are the most vulnerable to this heat-induced byproduct. As a general rule, the chemical is formed when food is heated enough to produce a fairly dry and “browned” surface. Hence, it can be found in:
  • Potatoes: chips, French fries and other roasted or fried potato foods
  • Grains: bread crust, toast, crisp bread, roasted breakfast cereals and various processed snacks
  • Coffee; roasted coffee beans and ground coffee powder. Surprisingly, coffee substitutes based on chicory actually contains 2-3 times moreacrylamide than real coffee
Acrylamide is not the only hazard associated with heat-processed foods, however. The three-year long EU project known as Heat-Generated Food Toxicants1 (HEATOX), identified more than 800 heat-induced compounds in food, 52 of which are potential carcinogens... For example, the high heat of grilling reacts with proteins in red meat, poultry, and fish, creating heterocyclic amines, which have also been linked to cancer.
Humans are not the only victims here. As discussed by holistic veterinarian Dr. Barbara Royal, pet foods also contain acrylamide and heterocyclic amines, courtesy of commercial pet food processing methods.

Exposure to Acrylamide Increases Your Cancer Risk

Animal studies have shown that exposure to acrylamide increases the risk of several types of cancer, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer considers acrylamide a "probable human carcinogen." According to a 1988 study2:
“The data show that acrylamide is capable of inducing genotoxic, carcinogenic, developmental, and reproductive effects in tested organisms. Thus, acrylamide may pose more than a neurotoxic health hazard to exposed humans.
Acrylamide is a small organic molecule with very high water solubility. These properties probably facilitate its rapid absorption and distribution throughout the body. After absorption, acrylamide is rapidly metabolized, primarily by glutathione conjugation, and the majority of applied material is excreted within 24 hours... Acrylamide can bind to DNA... which has implications for its genotoxic and carcinogenic potential.”
A study3 published in 2007 linked higher dietary acrylamide intake with an increased risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer in postmenopausal women, particularly among non-smokers. It has also been linked to nerve damage and other neurotoxic effects, including neurological problems in workers handling the substance.
While the EPA regulates acrylamide in drinking water and the FDA regulates the amount of acrylamide residue in materials that may come in contact with food, they do not currently have any guidelines limiting the chemical in food itself.

How Much Acrylamide Are You Getting from Your Diet?

In drinking water, the federal limit for acrylamide is 0.5 parts per billion, or about 0.12 micrograms in an eight-ounce glass of water. However, a six-ounce serving of French fries can contain 60 micrograms of acrylamide—about 500 times the allowable limit! A 2002 food analysis published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry4, found moderate levels of acrylamide (5−50 μg/kg) in heated protein-rich foods and higher levels (150−4,000 μg/kg) in carbohydrate-rich foods. Unheated or boiled foods showed undetectable levels (<5 μg/kg) of acrylamide, leading the researchers to conclude:
"Consumption habits indicate that the acrylamide levels in the studied heated foods could lead to a daily intake of a few tens of micrograms."
Potato chips in particular are notoriously high in this dangerous chemical. So high, in fact, that in 2005 the state of California actually sued potato chip makers for failing to warn California consumers about the health risks of acrylamide in their products. A settlement was reached in 20085 when Frito-Lay and several other potato chip makers agreed to reduce the acrylamide levels in their chips to 275 parts per billion (ppb) by 2011, which is low enough to avoid needing a cancer warning label.
Still, that’s a far cry from the allowable limit of 0.5 ppb in drinking water!
The 2005 report6 "How Potato Chips Stack Up: Levels of Cancer-Causing Acrylamide in Popular Brands of Potato Chips," issued by the California-based Environmental Law Foundation (ELF), spelled out the dangers of this popular snack. According to their analysis, ALL potato chip products tested exceeded the legal limit of acrylamide by minimum of 39 times, and as much as 910 times! Interestingly, baked chips, which are often touted as a healthier chip, can contain more than three timesthe level of acrylamide in regular chips, according to US Food and Drug Administration data7.

How to Avoid Heat-Induced Toxins in Your Diet

Acrylamide levels vary greatly among processed foods, even among different batches of the same food item. The chemical has so far only been found in foods heated above 250 F/120 C, which includes most processed foods. Basing your diet on whole foods, with the majority or a significant portion eaten raw or only lightly cooked is therefore one of the best ways to avoid this cancer-causing cooking byproduct. Aside from creating potentially toxic byproducts, cooking and processing also depletes the food of valuable micronutrients, which is another reason for eating as much raw food as possible.
Another important aspect of raw foods is the energetic aspect. Dr. Johanna Budwig from Germany has stated that live foods are electron rich and act as high-powered electron donors and “solar resonance fields” to attract, store, and conduct the sun's energy in your body. The greater your body’s store of light energy, the more energy you’ll have available for healing and the maintenance of optimal health. For the times when you do cook your food, keep the following tips in mind:
  • Frying, baking and broiling appear to be the worst offenders, while boiling or steaming appear to be safer
  • Longer cooking times increase acrylamide, so the shorter the duration of cooking, the better
  • Soaking raw potatoes in water for 15-30 minutes prior to roasting may help reduce acrylamide formation during cooking
  • The darker brown the food, the more acrylamide it contains (for instance, dark brown toast compared to light brown toast)
  • Acrylamide is found primarily in plant-based foods, such as potatoes and grain products (not typically in meat, dairy or seafood)
According to the findings by the HEATOX project, you're far less likely to ingest dangerous levels of acrylamide when you eat home-cooked foods compared to industrially or restaurant-prepared foods. And when you do eat at home, the best advice they could give was to avoid overcooking your food. For more in-depth information about acrylamide, I recommend reading the online report: "Heat-generated Food Toxicants, Identification, Characterization and Risk Minimization"8.

Take Control of Your Health with Whole, Raw Food

While many foods – from coffee and breakfast cereal to bread – contain acrylamide, the highest levels have been detected in starchy plant-based foods, particularly French fries and potato chips. As a general rule, just remember that cooking food at high temperatures is ill advised, and that most processed foods will contain acrylamide as a side effect of high-heat processing.
Ideally, consume foods that are raw or minimally processed to avoid these types of toxic byproducts—the more raw food, the better. My nutrition plan emphasizes the need for at least one-third of your foods to be consumed raw. Personally, I consume about 80-85 percent of my food raw, which I believe is one of the most important factors that help keep me healthy. For a step-by-step guide to make the transition to a healthier diet as simple and smooth as possible, simply follow the advice in my optimized nutrition plan.
Remember, eating fresh whole foods is the "secret" to getting healthier, losing weight and really enjoying your food. Once you get used to it, you'll find you can whip up a healthful meal from scratch in the same amount of time it would have taken you to drive down the street to pick up fast food. The main difference will be greater satisfaction, both physically and mentally, and perhaps even financially, as processed foods typically end up being more expensive than cooking from scratch.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer Sweat

It's been a hot week here in Sioux Falls. So in keeping with that theme, I thought I would mention a few quick notes about sweat and the factors that affect it. Some people are heavy sweaters and some are not. Why is that?

Genetics. That plays a huge part in how much you sweat and cannot be changed. But there are other factors that you need to consider. How hard are you working (intensity level) during your exercise? What is the weather like? Are you acclimatized to the conditions? 

Photo credit: Women's Health
Hot and humid environments (summer!) will cause an increase in sweat rate. If you are doing a lot of outdoor activities, be sure you are paying close attention to your hydration needs. The recommended water intake for men is 3 L per day and 2 L per day for women. However, that does not include any sweat loss from extra activity. If you are sweating a lot that day, you need to add to that amount. 

Go out there and enjoy summer activities while you can! Hiking, running, biking, or whatever you choose. Be sure to pack that water bottle with you!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Farmer's Markets

Happy Summer Break! Although you are not living the daily routine of the school year right now, that does not mean your nutrition takes a break. The summer is a great time to eat fresh produce when it is in season. Wherever you live, take advantage of local farmer's markets. Not only are you supporting local businesses, but you are also getting the best of your local fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. Click here for a directory of farmer's markets in your area. 

Now here is a recipe that you can use with vegetables typically found at the market. It is from a food blog, The Kitchn, One-Pot Recipe: Easy French Ratatouille

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