Jumping on the Gluten Free Band Wagon
By Nicole Fletcher
Gluten free eh? Isn’t that the buzz word of this decade? I’ve talked at length about this seemingly fad diet with the one and only CEO of Vitalyte Evan Demarco and we decided to embark on this, what people call ‘lifestyle’ to see what all the fuss is about.
As a female without a God given lightning speed metabolism, I’ve always minded my p’s and q’s in the food department. If I eat too many fries, skip the gym for a few days, or don’t get enough sleep, I feel less than great – to put that in a nice way- so, naturally, I try to avoid doing those aforementioned things. Of course as we all know, that’s not always realistic. Life’s life and sometimes you just want a piece of pizza or a burrito or God forbid both in one day. Guess what? You’re allowed. Life and eating to me is all about moderation but even more than that, food is fuel. Think about that for a minute. You consume the food you need for your body to function. Kind of a wild concept right? Goodness gracious – it shouldn’t be.
I used to be a little more intense about the whole food thing than I am now. I went from eating more carbs than my body really needed eat to eating none. And I mean none. This mind you, was before the term gluten came into existence but the concept was similar so bare with me. I ate vegetables, minimal protein, basically no sugar and bread? Forget it. It wasn’t fun – I gotta be honest with you and it probably wasn’t the healthiest thing I’ve ever done. Did I lose weight? Of course I did. When you cut out everything from pizza and fries to salad dressing and sandwiches, in favor of steamed carrots and cottage cheese, of course your body is going to compensate and change.
That diet though, was not sustainable and I soon went back to my normal eating ways. Now, I’m happy to say I generally dabble right around moderation. I rarely eat white flour, always opt for brown rice or quinoa, dabble in sprouted grains and don’t even mind plain balsamic vinegar on salad… though I’m absolutely not anti a good dressing. When I don’t have carbs for a few days I will say, I feel pretty good but there are few things like the short term wonderment of a homemade pizza.
Anyway, lifestyle eating habits aside, Evan and I have decided to embark on this journey together and I for one am excited. We live in different cities so we’re going to share recipes and I’m excited to get out of my ‘I’m eating the same thing every week’ rut in favor of some cool new gluten dishes. I’m not expecting we’re going to get all crazy gluten free on you but know we’ll report our honest opinions about how we feel, what we’re eating, the whole shebang.
Wish us luck!
Staggering Statistics about Sugary Drinks
As Vita Girl, I know how important it is to drink sports nutrition drinks to replace nutrients lost when working out and going about your day. But I am always shocked at the amount of sugar hiding in so-called sports drinks. Something else that shocked me? According to a report by MSNBC.com, approximately half of Americans drink a sugar-sweetened beverage on any given day. What’s more, teenagers and young men consume way more than recommended limits for maintaining good health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention interviewed 17,000 Americans about their diets and found that one in 20 drinks the equivalent of over four cans of soda each day. And teenage boys drink the most soda, sports drinks and other sugary liquids. The average male in the study consumed 175 calories per day from drinks containing added sugar, while the average female consumed 94 calories from drinks containing added sugar.
These statistics are staggering when you consider that the American Heart Association recommends getting no more than 450 calories per week from beverages sweetened with sugar. That’s less than three cans of soda! Many schools have stopped selling soda and artificial juices to lower consumption, as sugar-sweetened drinks have been linked to weight gain, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The results from the study offer yet another reason to consumer low sugar sports drinks (hello Vitalyte!) when reaching for something other than water.
Vita Girl Says: Get Running!
Vita Girl here, and today I am going to state my case for why you should start running.
1. It’s easy! Before you scoff, just think about it: running doesn’t require much more than a pair of running shoes—and maybe a muscle cramp relief drink. While it may be hard to master yoga poses or get into the groove in Zumba class, everyone knows how to run!
2. Running may not require learning a new skill or purchasing any new equipment, but it is hard. Running burns tons of calories while giving your heart a workout.
3. Running gets a bad rap for being hard on your joints, but running helps reduce body weight, which is a risk factor for osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis). In addition to weight loss, running strengthens the ligaments around your joints and also boosts your cartilage by increasing oxygen flow and flushing out toxins.
4. I don’t know about you, but I always feel less stressed after I run. Running has been proven to help combat depression. Try it and feel your stress melt away.
5. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of many kinds of cancer, and runners also increase protection against stroke, heart disease and diabetes. Running has been shown to raise good cholesterol, lower blood pressure and boost immunity.
6. A surprising study conducted by a team at the Stanford University School of Medicine looked at 538 runners and 423 healthy non-runners from 1984-2005. The subjects (all over the age of 50) were asked to measure simple tasks, like opening a milk carton, each year. The disability levels were significantly lower in the group of runners—and the researchers concluded that regular exercise could reduce disability and the risk of death by lowering inflammation, improving response to vaccination, improving thinking, learning and memory functions and increasing cardio fitness and bone mass. Need I say more?
I Tried It: Hybrid Yoga
I love the zen feeling I get after yoga class, when I am walking home while downing an electrolyte replacement drink. Even though my body is sore from contorting itself into different yoga positions and harnessing my energy to remain in tree pose (for a full five minutes!), I still don’t feel like I am getting the same workout that I do after a calorie-melting run. Enter: hybrid classes, which fuse yoga with calorie-burning intensity. I tried a few different variations so here’s my take:
Yoga for Athletes: A Vita Girl favorite! These postures are created for the sports-minded.
Figure 4: Hello yoga, meet ballet. The mat poses work abs and arms, while ballet-inspired moves tackle the lower body.
Core Fusion Yoga: A mash-up of yoga, Pilates and the Lotte Berk method.
The verdict? I highly recommend any of these hybrid classes. So check out which one your gym is offering and be sure to bring your healthy hydration drink to class with you!
I Tried It: A Ballet-Inspired Workout
I normally down my low sugar sports drink of choice—Vitalyte, of course—after my run or spinning class, my two preferred workouts. Lately, however, I have found myself a little bit bored of my normal routine and decided that incorporating one new workout each week would give me the taste of variety I have been craving.
First up: The Bar Method. I was attracted to the workout because I took ballet for years growing up and also because my routine is cardio heavy and I have been searching for a way to integrate strength-training into my routine.
The verdict? I couldn’t walk down the stairs at my office without wincing the next day, and the day after that was even worse! The Bar Method is ballet and dance based (don’t worry, dancing experience is not required) and is designed to strengthen and stretch every major muscle group. You stand at a ballet bar (I have found tapes teaching the class in which you use a chair for balance, too) for detail oriented work using small movements that will have your muscles screaming and your legs, abs and arms trembling. Bonus: the workout helps correct poor posture, too.
The Bar Method isn’t the only ballet-inspired workout; look out for Barre3 and other variations and don’t forget to bring your Vitalyte drink with you to class—you’ll need it!