Spotlight On Almonds

Hello world! Wow what a busy week it’s been! So many exciting things going on, some I’ll share in my upcoming Monday Musings post, so you’ll wanna check back for that 🙂 I will say, some days, I wish I had just a little more time. I’m sure everyone feels like that at some point, so I’ve learned to really try and be focused on things that require “immediate” attention from those I think that do but could actually wait.  It helps take some things out of my mind for awhile. Often I tend to be juggling multiple projects at once, that works for some things but not for others. I also love lists so I’ve found if I get it on a list it’s also a way to take it off my mind while still keeping it in a place where I won’t forget it haha

I thought we’d go a little nuts on todays food spotlight. Nuts offer a huge amount of health and nutrition benefits. We’re gonna just take a look at one of them today, one which happens to be my favorite and is often a guest with my breakfast yogurt and fresh fruit.

Say hello to Mr. Almond.

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Almonds deliver a massive amount of nutrition in their small package.

The almond is the edible seed that grows on the tree Prunus dulcis, more commonly called the almond tree.

Almonds are native to the Middle East, but the United States is now the world’s largest producer.

The almonds we buy at the store have usually had the shell removed, revealing the edible nut inside.

They are sold either raw (often referred to as “natural”) or roasted.

Almonds boast an incredibly impressive nutritional profile.

A 1 ounce (28 grams, or small handful) serving of almonds contains

  • Fiber: 3.5 grams.
  • Protein: 6 grams.
  • Fat: 14 grams (9 of which are monounsaturated, the good healthy kind)
  • Vitamin E: 37% of the RDA.
  • Manganese: 32% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 20% of the RDA.
  • They also contain a decent amount of copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and phosphorus.

This is all from a small handful, which supplies only 161 calories and 2.5 grams of digestible carbohydrates.

It is also important to note that 10-15% of an almond’s calories are not absorbed by the body, because the fat is too difficult to access and break down.

The almonds we buy at the store have usually had the shell removed, revealing the edible nut inside.

Almonds are also loaded with antioxidants,

Antioxidants help to protect against oxidative stress, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.

The powerful antioxidants in almonds are largely concentrated in the brown layer of the skin.

For this reason, blanched almonds (skin removed) are not the best choice from a health perspective.

Almonds are among the world’s best sources of vitamin E. Getting plenty of vitamin E from foods is linked to numerous health benefits. It’s also good for healthy skin and hair.

Almonds are also extremely high in magnesium, a mineral most people don’t get enough of. Higher magnesium intake may have major benefits for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Low magnesium levels are also linked to high blood pressure indicating that almonds could be good for blood pressure control.

Almonds can also increase energy production.  Copper, riboflavin and manganese present in almonds assist in metabolic rate and energy production. If you are pressed for time, grab a handful of almonds for a crunchy, satisfying snack to help you out.

How about one more health tidbit?

Unsweetened almonds are a great option to use if you are trying to lose weight. Almonds contain a lot of mon-unsaturated fats, which is what satiates your hunger pangs, helping you not to over eat no matter what. The dietary fiber in almonds also makes you feel fuller for long periods of time, despite consuming only a small quantity. Research suggests that a diet that is low calorie and also rich in almonds is excellent for obese people since it helps them shed excess weight faster.

Remember, as with any food, no matter how “good” it is for you, to much isn’t always a good thing and can lead to weight gain so monitor your portion sizes as it’s easy to over eat on them.

Other almond uses…

Of course some of the uses of almonds now days involve milk and flour. I will say I tried almond milk… once… thinking I might try and be one of the cool health kids.

Gross.

No.

One big drink made me gag and wonder why on earth anyone would drink it, unless they had no alternative because of allergy or lactose issues.

I will stick with my dairy as I know it. No offense if you like it, it just isn’t my cup of tea..or milk….

And as far as the trend with almond flour, I have no experience with it. I just bake the old fashioned way with old fashioned flour 😉

Almonds as a snack come in a variety of ways. I buy them raw and use them in my breakfast yogurt or as a snack. You can also get them in various flavors, just be careful with sodium intake on them.

They also can be used in your meals…..

How about a couple tasty recipe ideas?

 

 

Ok your turn. Do you like almonds? Do you have thoughts on almond “milk”? Have you tried almond flour for baking?

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New Year Goals Not Resolutions

Happy new year

 

Happy, happy New Year to you boys and girls! 2016 is upon us full of hope and new beginnings.

ok well, technically as I write this, 2016 is a few hours away and I am hanging out in Starbucks writing and enjoying a rare treat away from my usual black coffee. They offered up something this year called “Holiday Spice Flat White” and it’s a taste sensory of holiday spices. steamed milk and double shots of espresso

It’s amazingly delicious… and it will be gone soon… just like this year.

If you’re like me perhaps you look at the year ahead and are making plans and setting new goals…or resolutions….

I know the thing to do is make new years resolutions but I really wanna talk to you about goal setting instead.

What’s the difference you ask ? Let’s take a look….

A resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something. Do you see how that can go either way for your “resolutions ” ? Kind of subjective to your whim at the time, isn’t it ?  Not particularly concrete.

Now, let’s look at goal setting.

goals

 

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality. The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life.
It’s a pretty big difference from an ambiguous “resolution” isn’t it ?
At the top of so many peoples list for a new year is losing weight and starting an exercise program.
Setting small specific goals that are measureable and attainable will lead to your ultimate goal. Making a blanket statement that you want to “lose 25lbs.” without specific steps to get there will leave you most likely abandoning the idea fairly quick.
However, if you set out a specific goal to lose 1-2 lbs per week that is measureable, attainable and time bound. If you lost 2 lbs per week you would realize your overall goal within about a 3 month period give or take depending on how diligent you were.
Same for exercise. To just determine you’re going to go from doing nothing to taking off for a 5 mile run is crazy.  You’ll hurt and pay for it and vow that running really will kill you and you stop.
However,  beginning with a program where you implement walk/run and starting with 1-2 miles you can ease into it allowing your body to make changes and adaptations so you can run farther and longer.  You might have a goal of wanting to run a 5K race maybe 3 months out. By doing a walk/run method with your goals specific to increase your running time, and gradually increasing your distance will prepare you for that 5K (3.1 miles).
One of the things I thrive on is setting up a training schedule for my marathons.  I love the structure of a training program that leads to my ultimate goal of running 26.2 miles.  There is something about seeing my month already written out on a calendar that feels comfy to me… mainly ’cause I know those are steps to where I’m going. Without  specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, and time bound steps I’d never make it to the starting prepared and ready for that distance.
Let’s look at it from a nutrition stand point. So many people approach eating healthier as a do or die attempt. They think there must be great suffering and no fun stuff ever.  They believe they have to nail it every single day and if they don’t then they’ve “lost” and might as well “give up”.  (Please don’t give up… even on days you might feel like you’ve failed… you just pick up and keep going… that’s called progress)
When you take steps to make one better choice at a time it’s less painful to adjust. In time, you probably won’t think about some of those changes you’ve made as they become more habit for you.
If you drink sodas and you want to cut back or cut them all together you simply begin making small cuts to let your body adapt to that change.
Not a veggie eater? Why not try one or two new things a week ? You might be surprised at what you like.
Always take seconds at a meal even when you aren’t hungry anymore ? Train yourself to eat slowly and really focus on savoring your first plate of food.
Set specific, attainable,  and measureable nutrition goals for yourself.   A notebook or planner can help keep you on track with your goals.
I can’t claim originality for this but I love the quote “progress, not perfection”.
We aren’t ever gonna have it 100% “right” but we can keep on track to living a healthy, strong, and productive life =)
Tell me…. what goals do you have for yourself this new year ? What steps do you need to take to make them happen ?

Things You Never Knew About Running

The other morning I’m in my happy place at Starbucks drinking coffee, writing and pondering new blog ideas when I hear my messenger notification go off. Popping it open I start reading a message from a friend who begins sharing with me that he had been out for an early morning run and how glorious it had been ( I started secretly feeling jealous that he had been out doing it ) but I am proud of him ’cause he’s a new runner and has really been sticking with it.

The next part of his message had me choking on my coffee, almost spitting it out, and then, laughing hysterically.

I am using his message here exactly as I got it….

” But after about a mile, I felt something bad in the lower intestinal area. It was not a desperate situation; the Vikings were not at the back gate with a battering ram but they were fast approaching. I don’t normally need to poop before 6 in the morning but I must have shook something loose. I am sure you wanted to know that. At the very least, I gave you a new blog topic.”

I was dying. It was so his style to fire off something like this to me. I assured him he was right, it definitely added to my blog fodder of ideas… and here we are…. things you never knew about running.

So we’ll begin here since…. he started it 😉 I’m not gonna go all into the poop thing (eww gross) but I told him some runners did have issues with it, sometimes it had to do with what had ( or hadn’t been eaten) or what’s taken in during the run. Some runners just have super sensitive tummys  and they deal with it all the time. It usually doesn’t bother me unless I’m running hard and fast for awhile. I mean honestly all that pounding and slamming your insides around can shake things up. It’s a risk you take running. Some runners develop a good skill of finding trees 😉  My poor friend got some personal experience with it haha…  at least he now knows something else about running….ok… that’s all I’m gonna say on this topic….

run tp

You develop a love/hate relationship with it.  You commit to a run and in that first mile you’re thinking… WHY? and then you ponder the fact running is hard work and that’s probably why everyone isn’t eagerly out on the street doing it and why your friends tell you that you’re crazy. To run requires work… and serious work. And then you realize you feel kinda bad ass ’cause you ARE out there doing it. And you finish beat up and exhilarated thinking of your next run….

run another step

Shoes. You will develop a fetish for new cool running shoes and you will spend more money on them than any other footwear you own. You will become committed to a brand and even a particular style. You will pout like a child when they decide to change up and “improve” your favorite style.

Running clothes. You learn terms like moisture wicking and dri-fit. You make sure those terms are on whatever you buy. You ponder how could a pair of barely there shorts cost that much ??? You buy them anyway ’cause when you know what you like, what you run most comfortably in, there is no guessing game.  You don’t wanna have to think about what is on your body when you’re running.

Cotton garments and baggy shorts are the kiss of death. I wear neither of them anymore.

Gu’s, gel’s, sports beans and the like. You’ve most likely never even heard of these things till you start running. On a stand alone basis, they are almost gaggingly disgusting. Thick, gooey and super sweet you don’t intentionally make a meal of them. However, when you are out on a long run and your body desperately needs sugar and an overload of immediate high octane carbs, they taste like manna from heaven 😉

You will sweat like crazy and smell like a middle school boys locker room.  And there isn’t a runner in the world who doesn’t take that as a sign of a successful run. We are sorry if you have to be around us before we hit the shower.

Oh yeah… showers…… never feel more amazing than when you are dead dog tired after a hard run. Seriously.

You learn to appreciate the aches and pain of sore legs muscles after a long run. Sounds crazy but you feel awesome even when they ache.

You never plan to be a runner.  You don’t. You swear it’s only something your neighbor does or the crazy health nut across the street from you. But one day you’re out there on the road and you’re doing it and you wonder when THAT happened.

You get really, really testy if you can’t get your run in. You don’t really mean to be grumpy about it, but dang it, you want to be out there.

run crazy

You won’t win any gorgeous foot awards. Thankfully I’ve never had the problem of toenails turning black and losing them ( many runners do) also through constant pounding of miles you can build up some serious pads on the bottoms of your hooves. Oh, well. I’d rather be a runner and have those than not.

Entering a race will bring out the competitive beast edge in you. Ok maybe not everyone. I see lots of well behaved happy, chatty, selfie taking people on the race course… and I’m thinking… “really? we’re in a race here” haha

After long runs or races you will feel your legs in ways you never have before. After running marathons I have to walk down TONS of stairs to head back to my hotel. That is a total blast.  What sicko laid out that path for runners after a race?? 😉

stair pic

Running becomes addictive. Relax, I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s a good kind of addiction.

It will build your confidence and empower you like nothing else. I remember after training for and running my first marathon thinking if I could run all those training miles and then do a 26.2 mile race, I could take on anything life threw at me.

marathon idiot

You meet super cool and supportive people. Probably enough said there. Get involved in the running community and you’ll see =)

You will sport interesting tan lines. And you get the interesting comments like… “why are you always so tanned?”

running tan

99.9%  of us know we’ll never “win” the race. However, when you cross that finish line and collect your medal, you’ve won. You’ve met your own goals, overcome obstacles, and have your own triumphs. We deserve that medal as much as the first one who finished.

We are a stubborn lot. Runners don’t give up or give in easily. We run early. We run late. We willingly leave warm toasty beds on cold mornings to go run in the dark. We’ve been known to run in the rain and cold weather. If we’re training… it’s even worse 😉

Running builds your body. Running can carve out some amazing legs, build your butt, lean out your abs and overall contribute to losing weight. It is the best cardio for losing weight… at about a 100 calories burned per mile… it’s a fat burner for sure.

running pain in ass

And not just physically….. running also clears the mind, helps give clarity, brings peace and helps you refocus. I do my best thinking and creative brainstorming when I run.

run relaxing

Ok… so now that I’ve clued you into the secret truths of running…. you’re  ready to get after it, aren’t you ?

Runners…. is there anything you’d add ?

runner reason