May 16, 2016
Well, truth be told, eggs got a bad rap for a while — ergo, that big PR campaign. But it seems that, like a lot of foods, eggs are just fine in moderation (unless, of course, you are a vegan or have an egg allergy).
"Eggs have been vilified over the years," said dietitian Lauren Trocchio.
She says we know now that the saturated fat in our food is the bigger villain. And eggs — even though they do have cholesterol in them — aren't as risky.
The bottom line is, be they served as an omelet, hard-boiled or scrambled, a couple of eggs a week are just fine for most of us.
One of my favorite ways to make eggs fast is "egg in a mug" with veggies that, yes, I microwave. Check out the recipe on hungry-girl.com. No pans to wash, pure protein and I am out the door in a flash.
A couple of people have posted that they just grab a hard boiled egg or two in the morning. Lauren says to make sure your breakfast is balanced by adding on fruit, veggies or maybe some whole-wheat toast. Think fiber, and remember each egg only has 6 grams of protein.
Now, off to the mailbag.
I've been away from the blog for a couple weeks — put that in the category of "stuff happens" -- and it's time to catch up with your postings and questions.
arb Butler wants to know whether there is any way to get around using bananas and spinach in smoothies. I checked in with Lauren — aka The Smoothie Guru — and she provides the following advice:
"Typically, spinach and kale are considered the go-to greens for adding to a smoothie. They can really be mixed with any fruit (frozen or fresh). But one of my favorites is frozen cherries with greens and a bit of cocoa powder (and a protein choice, of course). Depending on flavor preference, she could also start venturing into using celery or carrots with things like apple, ginger, turmeric and honey. Although it doesn't have greens, another delicious tropical option is pineapple, a splash of OJ, Greek yogurt and some shredded coconut."
I hope that helps, Barb. I am really into frozen cherries right now and never even thought about using them in a smoothie!
We also heard from Kate, who is mixing different types of cereal for her 10-year-old's breakfast so there is less of the sugary stuff in the bowl. That is a smart way to go. And for all of us, it is a good idea to check the label on a box or bag of cereal to check the sugar content. Some cereals you think might be healthy are actually loaded with sugar.
And then there is Joey, who said he sometimes has a couple boiled eggs for breakfast, or maybe one of those prepared "lite" breakfast sandwiches available in the frozen food aisle of your local supermarket.
Joey, it is very possible to eat light and eat balanced — try adding some fruit or veggies if you can, maybe a few carbs.
And again, it's a good idea to check the labels on any processed food: A lot of this prepared stuff is sky-high in sodium.
So what do we focus on next week? How about bacon? The World Health Organization gives it a thumbs-down, but what do you think?
April 25, 2016
When should you eat when you're in training?
So, I did this really crazy thing: After a two-year hiatus, I "won" the lottery and got into the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon.
And as it does for most people who exercise in the morning, the burning question for me when I began training became, "eat first, or eat after?"
My doc, Will Kimbrough, is also a runner -- he is one of those doctors who "walks the walk” when he talks about diet and exercise. So I turned to him first for a little medical advice.
He said there are studies that show you should eat before exercise, and others that show it’s best to eat after. So Will looked me straight in the eye, leaned back a bit in his desk chair at One Medical Group, and said basically, "it's up to you."
There is one caveat, and this is where our friendly neighborhood dietician Lauren Trocchio comes in.
Lauren -- who in her spare time is the nutritional guru for GW University sports -- says if you are waking up and doing a high-intensity activity for 60 minutes or more (that means a really hard workout!), you
should have something beforehand that is more carb-based, such as an English muffin or banana with a smear of peanut butter on it. A little protein, some carbs, and you have got it made.
Afterwards, again, it is your choice. I, for one, can't eat immediately after a run. But after a little stretching and a lot of steam in the shower, I go for a recovery meal. Sorry, Michael Phelps; you won't see me fueling up with your training breakfast of massive amounts of eggs, bacon and pancakes -- frankly, none of us should. For me, it has got to be something a lot lighter and easier on the stomach: a simple smoothie with some protein power, and maybe some rice cakes with almond butter. For my husband, the mega-marathoner, it’s always a huge bowl of oatmeal and a big glass of juice. Yes; I am trying to get him to switch to fresh fruit. No luck.
By the way, three of us at WTOP, of various ages and fitness levels got into this year’s Marine Corps Marathon, and we will be blogging over the summer as we ramp up our training.
As for this blog, let's shift the conversation a bit to kids. How do you get them to eat a healthy breakfast? And should a Pop-tart ever be considered a meal?
Share your thoughts and your questions below, or through the WTOP talkback line.
April 11, 2016
Tips for a healthy breakfast smoothie
This week, we are talking smooooooooooothies.
I love them in the summertime when the heat is on. Throw in some spinach, frozen banana and mango chunks, a little protein powder, maybe a drop of flax oil and some coconut water in the high-powered blender and let 'er rip.
There is nothing better after a morning run. (We will talk more about breakfast and exercise later.)
I keep it pretty simple. Stephanie Marcus posted her recipe below, and it is a bit more complex, though packed full of vitamins, minerals, protein and all the other good stuff your body needs in the morning.
But Stephanie: olive oil? Really? (Truth be told, I put mine in that high-powered blender with a quartered and peeled lemon or two, a bit of white balsamic vinegar and a little water. Makes a killer vinaigrette for a morning salad.)
The bottom line, though, is you have got to be careful about smoothies. They can turn into real calorie and sugar bombs -- especially the ones that are commercially made.
"You have to have some smoothie smarts," says dietician Lauren Trocchio.
She says before you buy one, really read the ingredients list. If a smoothie is going to be your meal, it has got to be balanced and include protein, fat and carbohydrates -- just like the one Stephanie drinks.
Make it at home like Stephanie and you are in control! I use protein powder; she adds Greek yogurt. But you can throw silken tofu or even cottage cheese into the blender.
And here's a tip from Lauren, who is quite the athlete herself and a bit of a smoothie expert: Try putting a few slices of avocado in your smoothie. It's a healthy fat that works sort of like tofu, taking on the flavor of whatever else you add and making the whole concoction smooth and creamy. And isn't that just what you want from a smoothie, anyway?