Archive for September, 2008
Sunday, September 28th, 2008
Did you know that the word cabbage also means money? Or, that you can use it as a verb to mean take off with someone else’s stuff? That might not be the exact dictionary definition, but there’s more to this heavy head of dense nutrition than meets the eye. Variety in word meaning, variety in color, and variety in use. A seasonal super food indeed. Rather than write a little bit about several foods, I’ve decided to focus on cabbage this month and include a recipe (see the rest of the seasonal food list at the end of this post). Here’s the rundown —
Cabbage is available all year, but late summer and early fall is peak harvest time. I have to be honest (disclosure time), I’ve never been a big cabbage fan and can hardly stand sauerkraut. But as Bob Dylan once sang, the times they are a-changin’. I’m still not keen on sauerkraut (I know, I know — it’s really healthy), but I suddenly have a crush on cabbage. My CSA buddies at Grant Family Farms have been delivering cabbage by the truckload lately. I’m determined to eat everything I get from them each week, so even though I’d prefer a double dose of the pears or apples in lieu of the cabbage, I’m starting to like the stuff. A lot.
Whether green, red, purple, or white, choose the heaviest heads with nice firm leaves. Red and white varieties have dense, tightly packed leaves. Savoy cabbage is greenish-yellow and has loosely packed, ruffled leaves. Napa or Chinese cabbage has light green leaves and grows in an oblong shape with wide, crispy stems. I love using Napa cabbage as a “boat” or “wrap” for tuna or salmon salad. Bok choy, another type of cabbage, looks a bit like Swiss chard, with white stalks and big, green leaves.
First off, since my work focus is on intestinal health, I have to mention that research indicates raw cabbage juice is a fast and effective treatment for peptic ulcers. Cabbage is a rich source of the amino acid, glutamine, which stimulates the production of cells that line the stomach and small intestine. This increased cell production facilitates healing. According to Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition, cruciferous vegetables (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower) also contain isothiocyanates, which inhibit enzymes that activate carcinogens and trigger the production of enzymes that detoxify carcinogens. Cabbage also contains indoles, which may help block DNA damage from carcinogens. If that’s not enough, cabbage is also rich in some high-end phytonutrients (plant chemicals) that contain sulfur compounds called sinigrins. When you chop, chew, and digest these compounds, they help fight against colon cancer. Good, good, good. We want our bodies to fight the good fight against intestinal diseases and cancer.
On to the regular stuff. Cabbage, especially bok choy, is high in bone-building calcium, magnesium, and manganese, which may come as a surprise. Yes, you can get your calcium from plant sources if you don’t eat dairy! (For a complete list of non-dairy calcium sources, check here.) Cabbage is also rich in heart-healthy nutrients like folic acid, vitamin B-6, omega-3s, potassium, and vitamin A. So far we have bone-building and heart-healthy, which fits nicely into my sport-specific nutrition plan (you know I’m into that whole exercise thing, right?). Cabbage is also high in energy-producing B-vitamins and muscle-building protein. Protein? Wow, and it’s so low in calories! It’s on my list of my super foods.
Fix it tips
If your cabbage is wilted and funky, just peel off a few of the leaves. Cabbage leaves are so densely packed, it’s probably still fresh a few layers down.
Part of the reason I’ve never been fond of cooked cabbage is that stinky, rotten egg smell. Ugh! The smell comes from the break-down of sulfur-containing substances. Hydrogen sulfide is released in the process, which I don’t find remotely appealing. To avoid that, cut it finely and cook it quickly, which is healthier anyway. Use a fast stir fry method or steam lightly. To maintain the red color of cooked cabbage, add a touch of lemon juice or vinegar to the cooking water.
Now, who gets gas when they eat cabbage? Show of hands, please. No one? I don’t believe you. But just in case you know someone who does — if you cook it in two stages, you can avoid the gas issue (or at least mitigate it). Boil, discard the water half-way through the process and start over. I’m not crazy about boiled cabbage, but if cabbage gets to you, try this method.
Other than lightly sautéed in a touch of vegetable broth, I much prefer it raw. Here’s a cabbage salad my mom used to make when I was growing up. It was the only way I’d eat cabbage when I was little and now that I’m being inundated with the stuff, I’ve brought this recipe back to life. I’d forgotten how good it is. Yum!
what you need
3 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 – 1/2 cup peanuts *
1 – 2 bananas, sliced
very small amount of Spectrum organic mayonnaise (or whatever kind you prefer)
what you do
Put cabbage, raisins, peanuts, and banana slices in large bowl. Add a small amount of mayonnaise — a little goes a long way. Gently toss and serve immediately.
* Peanuts aren’t nuts, they’re actually legumes. Shelled peanuts should be packaged in a tightly sealed container and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Avoid exposing nuts to heat, light, or humidity as they can become rancid (not good). Aflatoxin is a potentially toxic fungus that grows on peanuts in warm, humid temperatures. Past problems with this prompted the FDA to enforce a ruling banning foods that test positive (20 ppb) for aflatoxins. Peanuts are healthy snacks, just make sure you store them correctly. While they’re not easy to find, organic versions are starting to find their way into health food stores. Farmers in New Mexico are producing the majority of organic peanuts.
Here’s the rest of my “Seasonal Foods For September” list —
In good health,
Friday, September 26th, 2008
Autumn is harvest time and I’m getting a load of wonderful fruits and vegetables with my weekly CSA delivery. This time of year also ushers in change, and what better way to embrace this change than to focus on nature’s abundance and our own health. Michelle at theaccidentalscientist is hosting this month’s Heart of the Matter blogging event (HotM). The fall theme is Protecting Your Heart While Preserving the Harvest. Check Michelle’s blog next week for a round-up of recipes from this tasty little subculture of heart-healthy food bloggers.
I love having nutritious snacks on hand when I’m out on the trail, but it’s next to impossible to cart around fresh fruit in a backpack. Plus, I like to bring food that is light-weight and easy to stuff into a pack.
Dehydrated apple slices have become a favorite of mine. Remember that old saying — an apple a day keeps the doctor away?
Well, your grandmother was right. Apples are full of antioxidant flavonoids, boasting a very high concentration of quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, vitamin C, and chlorogenic acid. Trust me, those are all good things. Apples also contain both insoluble and soluble fiber (for a detailed explanation of fiber, check here). The insoluble fiber in apples helps ferry out the bad cholesterol (LDL) hanging out in your digestive tract. The soluble fiber helps get rid of LDL produced by the liver. Both of these actions reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by lowering total cholesterol levels. Studies show people on high-fiber diets have less coronary artery disease than people on low-fiber diets. If that’s not enough, the flavonoids (especially quercetin) demonstrate significant anti-inflammatory ability that protect our arteries. Many of these heart-healthy substances are in the skin, so eat the whole thing, skin and all (not the seeds as they contain some toxic compounds).
Don’t substitute apple juice for the real thing or you’ll lose the majority of antioxidants. It’s always best to go back to the source. Fresh is better, but when you have an abundance of apples and you want to save some for later, dehydrating is a good way to do it. This method doesn’t subject food to the same high temperatures that canning or processing does, so the nutrient value is much better.
* These dehydrating times and temperatures are based on my store-bought Excalibur Dehydrator. Times and temperatures may vary.
what you need
several washed, cored and thinly sliced apples
lemon juice or vitamin C ascorbic acid to prevent over-browning (this isn’t necessary, but it does make the apple slices look a little better)
what you do
soak apple slices in vitamin C bath for 10 to 15 minutes
drain and place on dehydrator trays according to manufacturer directions
temperature: 135 degrees
time: 7 – 8 hours until leathery
place in tightly sealed ziplock bags and store in cool, dark place
Stick to that apple a day rule and you’ll cut your risk of heart disease.
Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
Yeah, I know. My photos are usually of natural things. Like real food. No, I haven’t lost my mind (not totally, anyway).
Let me explain. I just received an email from one of my blog readers asking me what the deal was with the High Fructose Corn Syrup commercials. I hadn’t seen them, so I did a little research and while I’m not going to jump all over the Corn Refiners Association (well, maybe a little) — sure enough, they’re pulling out what they’re calling the “Sweet Surprise” campaign. And on the surface, they’re not fibbing about the facts. No, they aren’t lying, BUT (the famous “but”) they’re also not telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God.
They suggest that HFCS is fine in “moderation.” Moderation is a bandwagon I continually jump on, BUT my definition of moderation and theirs is probably very different. There are also many things I wouldn’t consider eating — even in moderation. Plus, foods that contain HFCS are usually highly refined junk foods that often contain other forms of sugar and non-food additives. HFCS pals around with hydrogenated fats, artificial flavors, strange dyes, and other questionable friends. As I mentioned in my prior sugar post, highly refined sugars (white table sugar, HFCS) have had all the nutrient value stripped through the processing, leaving a nutritionally void source of calories.
So, as I sit here reading the ingredient list that accompanies these little treats pictured above, I stick with my original story. Use natural forms of sugar such as honey, pure maple syrup, or molasses and use those in moderation. Skip the processed stuff and eat real food, which is usually lower in calories and comes with the nutrients and fiber your body needs and wants.
Thanks, but no thanks to the Corn Refiners Association and HFCS — even with this new and “enlightening” information.
Check out these commercials and tell me what you think.
These little snacks pictured here have been hidden away on my closet shelf for over a year. I’ve been saving them for something special. Today’s the day! Don’t worry, even though I’d do just about anything for a few organic jelly beans right now (I’m doing a sugar cleanse), I’m not tempted to eat these things. Even if they were gluten-free. I bought them because I wanted to see how long they’d last. They’re back in the closet again. Look for another post using these same models next year.
The label list on the pink treats (I won’t name any names) is about 45 ingredients long, with 3 forms of sugar, 2 being at the top of the list. There’s not much nutritional value there. The best thing on the list might actually be the pork gelatin (yes, that’s an ingredient). Or maybe the beef fat. Ugh!
You get the idea. Now, go eat a peach. Yum, that’s a real sweet surprise!
Wednesday, September 17th, 2008
Put the spoon (or shovel) down and back away from the sugar bowl.
We all have our sugar moments (days, weeks, months) and although sugar is not innately evil, chronic over-indulgence can seriously impact health and wellbeing. Obesity, diabetes, mood swings, fatigue, sleeplessness, addictive behavior, anxiety, intestinal distress, depression, and a host of other diseases are all being linked to excessive sugar intake. Yikes, bad news for those of us who adore sweets. And that thing about girls being made of sugar and spice and everything nice has some truth to it. At least the sugar part. I think women get the gene marker for “I love sweets” far more often than men do. Wouldn’t you agree?
I like to do a mild cleanse every spring and fall and eliminating sugar is part of that process (over and over again). I spent several weeks this summer backpacking a big chunk of the Colorado Trail and out of necessity my wilderness diet included a lot of fast-acting carbs in the form of gels, bars, and powdered drinks. (For more information about sport-specific nutrition, check out my fuel for performance post.) Because I’ve spent so much time lately eating sugar directly from the gel packet, I definitely feel the need to get myself back into balance. Nutrition needs change depending on the intensity of the activity and sometimes quick energy in the form of simple sugar is just what your cells are screaming for. But if you’re not running a marathon or climbing a 14,000 foot peak, there are better ways to balance your nutrition needs.
Here are the sugar basics. Dietary carbohydrates include simple carbohydrates (sugars) and complex carbohydrates (starches and fibers). Simple carbs are monosaccharides (single sugars) and disaccharides (sugars made up of pairs of monosaccharides). Glucose, fructose, and galactose make up the single sugar units. Complex carbohydrates are composed of chains of monosaccharides called polysaccharides. It’s all a matter of linking chemical units, but if you see “ose” on the end of the word, it usually means sugar — at least in chemistry talk.
Glucose is commonly called blood sugar. It’s what your body uses for energy.
Fructose is the sweetest of all sugars and occurs naturally in fruit, some root vegetables, and honey.
Lactose is a disaccharide made from the combination of galactose and glucose. It’s the sugar in milk.
Sucrose is fructose and glucose linked together, also making it a disaccharide. Commonly known as table sugar, beet sugar, or cane sugar. It occurs in many fruits and some vegetables and grains.
Maltose* is a disaccharide that consists of two glucose units. It is sometimes called malt sugar and is produced when starch breaks down.
White table sugar is the common, highly-refined form of commercial simple sugar and usually comes from sugar cane or sugar beets.
Confectioners sugar (powedered sugar) is common white sugar that has been crushed into a fine powder and is used in frostings and cake decorations.
Unrefined dehydrated cane juice is the result of extracting and then dehydrating sugar cane juice. Because it undergoes far less processing that refined white sugar it retains some of the nutrients from the sugar cane plant. It’s a good source of riboflavin.
Brown sugar (unrefined or raw) is a lightly purified and crystallized form of evaporated cane juice. The brown color comes from residual molasses. The “natural” version of brown sugar comes in varieties such as demerara, turbinado, and dark muscovado.
Honey is made up of carbohydrates (simple sugar) and water. Your body uses honey in much the same way it uses table sugar, as a source of energy. The nice thing about honey, unlike refined white sugar, is it also contains some vitamins and minerals such as niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Honey also has some antioxidant properties, the darker the honey, the higher the antioxidant content. Another benefit of using honey as a sweetener is the wonderful variety of flavors, depending on where the bees hang out.
Agave nectar is collected from the agave plant and has different characteristics than honey. It’s easier to pour than honey, has a lower glycemic index, and is suitable for any sweetener use. (I have used agave nectar and like the consistency, but am reserving judgement for later. I’d like more information on how the high fructose to glucose ratio impacts health. I’m using honey over agave.)
Stevia is a South American shrub whose leaves are used as a natural sweetener. It is sold as a dietary supplement that provides sweetness without the calories. Some people (like my mom) find the taste bitter.
Molasses is produced during the sugar refining process, which takes several steps. It is the remaining syrup after the sucrose has been crystallized from sugar cane juice. Light molasses is from the first boiling of the cane, dark molasses from the second, and blackstrap molasses from the third. Molasses (especially blackstrap) is rich in iron, calcium, copper, and manganese. Unsulfered molasses is the best choice.
Maple syrup is boiled down tree sap from sugar maple trees. Like honey, it has wonderful variations in flavor and contains some vitamins and minerals. It is rich in manganese and is a good source of zinc. (Hey, guys, are you paying attention? Zinc is good for your boy parts.)
Brown rice syrup is made from an enzymatic process in which the starch in the rice is broken down and the liquid is strained off and cooked to the desired syrupy thickness.
Date sugar is made from dehydrated dates that have been ground into granules. Dates contain iron, potassium, and folic acid.
Fruit juice concentrates are most often derived from white grapes, pears, peaches, or apples. It is usually highly refined and doesn’t contain the nutrients from the original fruit.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a very highly refined form of genetically modified (most likely) white cornstarch. As the name implies there is a much higher ratio of fructose to glucose. Not only is the corn genetically modified, research indicates the ratios may be unhealthy, especially in growing children. It is best to avoid products containing HFCS.
Sugar alcohols (aka sugar replacers) are sugarlike compounds that are absorbed more slowly than other sugars and are metabolized differently by the human body. They are incompletely digested and inefficiently absorbed from the small intestine into the blood stream making them an ingredient choice in low-carb and diabetic foods (they have less impact on blood sugar levels). But, because they are not properly broken down, they can cause intestinal distress (gas, bloating, diarrhea). Yuk! Examples of sugar alcohols are maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, isomalt, and lactitiol.
Artificial sweeteners are sugar substitutes of varying chemical structures that provide negligible, if any, energy. Examples are Splenda, NutraSweet, Equal, and Sugaree. They offer sweetness with far fewer calories than regular sugar. Are they safe? Because they are artificial, I believe they should be avoided. Artificial ingredients and chemical additives don’t constitute real food and may cause health problems we aren’t even aware of. Most products that contain artificial sweeteners also contain other unhealthy ingredients.
* The term malt is a continual subject of debate when it comes to gluten-free food sources. Malt is often derived from barley, which is a gluten-containing grain, so malt flavoring, malted milk, and malt vinegar most likely contain gluten. However, maltodextrin, which is the most common constituent in many “power” gels, is usually made from a gluten-free starch (rice or corn) if processed in the U.S. That may be a different story if your source is from outside the U.S. Many European manufacturers use wheat maltodextrin, so be sure to do your research if you are using imported products. If wheat is used as an ingredient in the U.S. the FDA requires it to be listed on the label. If you’d like a book with practical answers to these types of questions, Suzanne Bowland has a great one called The Living Gluten-Free Answer Book.
Now that you have a glossary of terms to refer to, let’s touch on some not-so-sweet facts about the American obsession with sugar. According to USDA data, in 1967 Americans consumed about 114 pounds of sugar per capita. By 2003 we were up to 142 pounds per person per year and I would guess it’s even higher today. I tried to get the current data on per capita consumption of all sugar sources, but it was difficult to figure out and I wasn’t confident my information was correct. But suffice to say, in the past 40 years or so, our average caloric intake of sweeteners per capita has spiked to what is now about 25 to 30 percent of our total calories per day. Soft drink consumption has increased dramatically as well. If you want to sift through the USDA data, check this link and refer to Tables 49 through 53.
Whatever the final numbers add up to, the bottom line is we eat way too much sugar and drink way too much soda pop. Imagine taking a sugar bowl, sitting down with the newspaper or a magazine, and eating 33 teaspoons of refined white sugar each morning. That’s approximately how much we’re consuming per person per day. Ugh!
One teaspoon of sugar contains about 16 calories. If 25% of our daily caloric intake is from sugar, that ends up to be about 33 teaspoons per day.
16 (calories per teaspoon of sugar) x 33 (teaspoons of sugar) = 528 calories (that’s in a 2112 calorie day)
No wonder our health is declining and our kids are getting fatter. One article I read mentioned the increased consumption of full-sugar soda pop for breakfast. Children are eating sugar-laced cereals and soda pop for breakfast! Then heading off to school. And people wonder why they can’t focus on their school work. Not to mention what this does to physiological development (brain and organ function, growing bones, etc.).
Rather than continue a long-running narrative on sweets, I’ll simply list some of the reasons chronic over-indulgence of sugar negatively impacts health.
• Carbohydrate malabsorption is common in people with untreated celiac disease and other digestive disorders (Crohn’s disease, IBS, etc.). The inability to break down (split in two) disaccharides (lactose, sucrose, maltose) causes them to remain in the digestive tract resulting in fermentation and bacterial imbalance. Symptoms include intestinal discomfort and ongoing inflammation of the small intestine.
• Can interfere with nutrient absorption.
• Suppresses immune function.
• Can increase triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL levels and decrease HDL levels.
• Contributes to obesity and diabetes.
• Can cause behavioral changes in children.
• Promotes systemic inflammation (arthritis, asthma, joint pain, ect.).
• Upsets mineral balances in the body.
• Causes mood changes and fluctuations in energy levels.
• Promotes tooth decay and saliva acidity.
• Contributes to candida/yeast overgrowth.
• May contribute to osteoporosis.
• Can compromise organ function (pancreas, gallbladder, liver)
• Can cause hormonal imbalances.
• Can exacerbate PMS and menopause symptoms.
• Can contribute to food sensitivities.
• Studies show a connection between high sugar intake and depression, mood disorders, and sleeplessness.
I could go on regarding all the negative conditions associated with sugar, but you get the picture.
Now, back to my starting point. Sugar isn’t inherently evil. In fact, it’s a delightful addition to our abundance of resources for cooking, baking, and enjoying food. But a little goes a long way and like most things in life, it’s all about finding balance. It’s called the fine art of moderation.
Cutting back or eliminating sugar from the diet isn’t an easy thing to do and can cause some pretty nasty detox symptoms. All forms of sugar react in the body in similar ways, but some forms are better than others. And some are worse than others (HFCS). I find the easiest way to “look” at this is by first evaluating what you put in your shopping cart.
Here are 5 tips to help you get started.
NUMBER ONE — EAT REAL FOOD. Shop the periphery of the grocery store. Stick with fresh produce, fish, lean meats, eggs, and healthy dairy choices (if you eat dairy). Choose organic if possible. Skip the processed and packaged foods as most contain too much sugar, HFCS, and fat. Instead of drinking the juice, have the real thing (an apple rather than a glass of apple juice).
2. Eliminate all soda pop, both full-sugar and diet versions.
3. Use raw honey, molasses, or pure maple syrup as a sweetener rather than refined white sugar. Those healthier “alternatives” contain vitamins and minerals that are stripped from processed white sugar.
4. If you have a sugar bowl on the table, get rid of it. Don’t add sugar to foods — example: don’t put sugar on grapefruit or in tea. Eat the grapefruit plain and lightly sweeten the tea with honey.
5. Try using alternative sweeteners in your baking. I use maple syrup when I make granola; applesauce, baby food prunes, and unsweetened jam in baked goods; and pureed dates and crystalized ginger in my “power” bars.
Most of us need to cut back on sugar — and fall is a great time to get started on renewed health and well-being. It’s a good time for change. If you have any tips or suggestions on how to live a low-sugar life, please share them. We can all use encouragement to eat healthier!
Oh, and don’t forget to brush your teeth.
In good health,
Sunday, September 7th, 2008
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? — Mary Oliver
I definitely plan to finish the second half of the Colorado Trail. That is at the top of my “things I absolutely HAVE to do during my one wild and precious life” list. Hopefully I can finish it next summer as work and family responsibilities have put completion of our journey on hold for now. My son and I recently finished the first half of the CT — from Denver to a trailhead between Buena Vista and Salida. We backpacked close to 250 miles and trudged up (and also down) some 37,000 feet of elevation gain.
That’s a lot of ups and downs. In a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. Our trek took us through four different wilderness areas and over several mountain ranges. In addition to a variety of terrain, we experienced all kinds of weather as well — including sun, rain, sleet, hail, and even snow. We also inadvertently timed our travel through the Mt. Massive Wilderness area during the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race and ended up having to spend the night at a hotel in Leadville (aaahhh, nothing like a warm shower and a soft bed). Lance Armstrong competed in the event, which is intense to say the least. It’s a 100 mile off-road mountain bike race with what is described as “steep climbs and serious descents.” No kidding! The start and finish is in the heart of the small mountain town of Leadville, CO (elevation 10,200 feet). Fifty miles out and back with a turnaround point at 12,600 feet makes this race pretty dang extreme. After 100 miles, Lance was second by less than 2 minutes! How does that happen? Two minutes after 100 miles of mountain bike racing? And there were hundreds of entrants.
There’s also a Leadville 100 Ultra Marathon which is billed as the “Race Across The Sky” and considered one of the toughest distance races on the planet. It was held the following weekend. Starting at 4 AM, with most of it on the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide Trail, it’s a true high-altitude, hard-core distance race. To make it even more interesting, this year runners experienced rain, wind, lightning, marble-sized hail, and snow during their 100 mile marathon. Almost sixty percent of the entrants didn’t finish. They’ve been doing this race for 26 years now and they never cancel because of the weather. Hardy souls indeed.
But I digress…
We experienced some of the same weather during our journey, but at least we were in our sleeping bags and tents at 4 in the morning and we didn’t have to cover more than about 12 to 15 miles a day. Some longer days, some shorter days.
Spending that much time in the wilderness allows for hours and hours of time to think, reflect, figure things out, day-dream, re-figure things out, make up endings to stories, sing Johnny Cash songs, wonder what that noise was, think about food, learn to whistle, re-re-figure things out, and have long annoying conversations with yourself. And on it goes, day after day. No money to deal with, no bills to pay, no TV to watch, no phone to answer, no email to check, no newspaper to read, no gas to pump, no purse to dig through, no mirror to look into, no BlackBerry to obsess over (not that I have one). Going back to the basics is incredibly cleansing. I highly recommend it.
Now I’m in the midst of putting together my backpacking meal recipes, sport-specific nutrition information, dehydration tips, and instructions on how to prepare and pack your own food for the backcountry. Most prepackaged backpacking foods contain gluten or other allergens and most companies can’t guarantee that their food is gluten-free, even when there are no obvious gluten-containing ingredients. Most of those foods either use gluten as a filler or prepare their foods on equipment that also processes foods containing gluten. The last thing I want is to get sick while backpacking. No time to have stomach issues. Or achy joints. Or be overly tired. Or have trouble sleeping. Or have headaches.
Well, you get the idea. That’s why I felt it was important to make and prepare all my own food. That way I was able to balance my nutritional needs for exactly what I was doing — this means eating strategies for all-day energy, what to eat when you need a boost to make it up and over the pass, and how to adequately recover so you can start all over again the next day. I’m interested in sport-specific nutrition and how to maximize performance and stay healthy at the same time. I’m thinking a book is in my future. Wish me luck.
In the meantime, here’s a photo wrap-up of our trip, with a reader contest to top it off.
Next week I’ll get back to regular posting with nutrition tips, recipes, and whatever else comes to mind. Does anyone have a topic they’d like me to focus on? Something you might be confused about or interested in? Leave me a comment indicating what’s on your mind and I’ll pick one of the topics and write a specialized post on it.
Sugar? Omega 3s? Antioxidants? Caffeine? Coffee? Sports drinks? Boosting immunity? Strong bones? Wine?
Let me know.
Photo #1 — Melissa filtering water (a wilderness woman’s job is never done).
Photo #2 — Columbine, the Colorado state flower.
Photo #3 — Breckenridge Ski Area way in the distance.
Photo #1 — I became obsessed with taking pictures of signs along the trail. Some were interesting, some informative, some just plain funny. These little “thumbnail” versions of my photos aren’t great, so I doubt you can see this very well, but it says, “Colorado Trail & Tennessee Pass” with an arrow one direction, then it says “Old Mine” with an arrow the other direction. Who knows where the old mine is as we had just come from that direction and never saw one. Hmmm?
Photo #2 — Very old CT sign, with an awe inspiring back-drop.
Photo #3 — Big mountains.
Does anyone know what this is? Keep in mind, this “find” was out in the middle of nowhere along the Colorado Trail. The first person who knows the answer gets a prize. Take a guess!
And don’t forget to get out there and enjoy your one wild and precious life!
In good health,
Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and
should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.