Friday, December 13, 2013

Dawn Patrol In Santa Cruz

I ran into Mike, an old friend from high school, at this year's local Turkey Trot 10K.  Mike told me he had been reading my blog and that one specific entry was particularly useful.  I asked him to share his story along with some of his absolutely beautiful photos of Surf City, USA.  Thanks, Mike.

"I came across your blog and wanted to thank you for the great swimming advice.  I am not a triathlete. I don’t run marathons, my bike is a single-speed cruiser, and I don’t swim.

However, I do use your advice about “early vertical forearm” three days a week when I am surfing.

I live in Santa Cruz, California (the real Surf City, USA.) I moved here from the desert heat of Mesa, Arizona 13 years ago. But, I only started surfing four years ago. I attended a free surf lesson from my daughter’s junior-high school teacher.  And, I absolutely fell in love with surfing on that first day.
I now surf three or four days a week at dawn.

When I started improving, I asked around for tips on the best way to paddle. After all, surfing is 90 percent paddling and only 10 percent actually standing on your board. The majority of people I asked suggested the “s-stroke.” I assume all swimmers know this technique. This is where you push your hand away from your head, pull towards your ribs and then push away from your hips to make the letter “S.” I have been using this technique for the past three years. And, while it does split the load among different muscles, it may not be the most efficient stroke.

After reading your blog about the “early vertical forearm,” I have worked on changing my stroke. I am trying to focus on good form, and pulling.  I have already noticed that it feels more powerful. And, while I am still new at this, I already feel like this stroke gives me a little more power, especially while paddling into a wave. When you are in your mid-forties, battling kids half your age for a wave, every tip helps."

Thanks for the kind words, Mike!  Here's how I remember you best.  Westwood High School 1984....

Monday, December 9, 2013

Easy Nutrition Tips from Graduates and Grandmas

We are having lots of fun with our Nutrition Challenge.  This week's winner was Kristin McPhie...

Logging food into My Fitness Pal has been an eye opening exercise.  Calories add up fast, and so do carbs and fats!  Which is why the following tips from some of our challenge competitors are always welcome.

Brooklyn (recent college graduate): 
Brooklyn works full time and usually eats lunch at her desk, so she is forced to pack a meal each day that is healthy and filling.  

1. Have a substantial breakfast. It goes a long way to keep you full throughout the day.

2. Snack on veggies first, fruits second.

3. Do not drink diet soda! Keep a refillable water bottle with you all day. You will crave sweets and salty snacks less.

4. If you NEED a treat, try to stay under a 150 calorie threshold... like 20 chocolate chips.

4. Incorporate small amounts of fats like cheese or peanut butter with your veggies and fruits to keep you satisfied longer.

Colette (a very YOUNG grandma!):
I, with reservation, submit some ideas that have worked for me. I will say that I love to learn about nutrition and eating healthier.  I'm sure if I lived in the middle of nowhere with no friends or family or Chickfila Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milk Shakes, I would do better at practicing what I know good nutrition is. A few things that have worked for me:

1. Create your own "fast food".   I have a shelf in my fridge with easy access to healthy choices--already washed and sliced peppers, broccoli, carrots (I love raw yams sliced thin too), string cheese, yogurt. I even have single-size pre-made salads from Sprouts or Trade Joe's for hungry teenagers after school. I only keep good choices on this shelf and it's the easiest shelf to see when you open the fridge. This way I can  see when it needs to be restocked.

2. I try and keep good "shelf" snacks available too--raw almonds, favorite crackers, etc. When I buy a large quantity, I will bag them in single serving sizes to make it easy to grab and easier to control the amount consumed.

3. When I am trying to lose weight, I have found calorie counting to be key (I use the Livestrong app). There is nothing worse then thinking you are making a good choice only to find out it was no better than what you thought you were sacrificing.

4. I Fill up on good choices before I am faced with bad.  Grabbing a hand full of almonds before heading to that wedding reception or a small green salad from the fridge before meeting friends for dinner always makes it easier to stick to the decisions I wanted to make before facing all that on an empty stomach.

5. When I get a large size of fresh spinach from Costco, I immediately bag it into small baggies and put the whole thing in my freezer. I then throw a handful into about everything I make.  It thaws so fast if cooking and I love the frozen for smoothies.
--My breakfast of choice lately is: 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop protein power, 1 handful of frozen spinach, 1/2 C frozen berries.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Heather's Healthy Eating Tips

Though Heather is not a dietician or nutritionist, she is one of the healthiest eaters that I know.  I asked her to share a few of her favorite ideas for meal planning to help those who are in the Dream Big Nutrition Challenge.  Here are a few of her simple tips.  

1. Be prepared. Shop ahead, chop ahead, prep ahead. No one makes good food choices in a hurry when they are starving. Keep pantry, fridge, and car (in my case) packed with "fast food" that is healthy. I have a big prep day once a month or so. 
(The following ideas can be added to the tips if you want specifics):

Blanch enough kale, drain, chop and mix with sautéed bell peppers and onions (add some sun dried tomatoes for flair) and bag in individual ziplock portions (1/2-1 cup cooked) and freeze. Thaw and serve over bed of greens, with some leftover meat or scrambled eggs for a quick, balanced meal. 

I also make a triple batch of broccoli or carrot soup and freeze in 2 cup portions for a quick way to add veggies in a hurry. These few staples keep me well fueled on hard days. 

2. Focus on produce. Aim for 75% of your daily intake to be from produce of varying colors, mainly vegetables. When in doubt, eat more vegetables. Go big on flavor and learn 5 different ways to prepare every vegetable. This will keep it interesting. 

3. Always eat breakfast. I almost always have 2 eggs with 1-2 cups of veggies (usually sautéed in bacon grease. Yep. 1 teaspoon of that goes a long way for flavor and keeps me satiated.)

4. Get rid of the junk. Seems obvious, but you're way less likely to binge on Oreos if you don't actually have Oreos in your pantry. Commit to only buy "real" food with real ingredients. 

5. Don't underestimate the importance of fat. It helps with nutrient absorption, flavor and satiety. Healthy food need not taste like cardboard. 

Que lindo es sonar despierto.
How lovely it is to dream while you are awake.

Dreams That Have Come True