Author Archives: Lacy

About Lacy

Lacy Jaye Hansen is a graduate of Wichita State University and a two-time Boston Marathon finisher. When not training for her next run she's a busy wife and mom.

Algae, Peas, and Crickets: 3 New, Sorta Out There Sources of Protein

Athletes need proteinit’s a must. According to a recent article from Runner’s World, athletes can expect fatigue, loss of muscle mass, and heightened risk of injury when protein consumption is low. (The article recommends 0.55 to 0.77 grams per lb of body weight, meaning a 130-pound person should eat 72 to 100 grams of protein a day.) Meat is often the first protein people consider, but studies confirm it’s not necessarily the best option. So, why not try something new?

Check out three of the newest forms of protein to hit the market:

spirulina

1. Blue-green Algae: Forget steak, eggs, or even tofu, you can get your protein from algae. ENERGYbits has hit the fitness scene with tiny little bits made of spirulina, a blue-green algae. The bits contain a complete protein with the algae, glucose, and nitric oxide. The company claims that these three ingredients can provide an athlete with the rapid access to glucose and protein for top performance. Additionally, the bits claim to give the body an energy boost that many have to use caffeine or chemicals to achieve. ENERGYbits’ protein concentration is at 60% which is very hard to find in most protein sources. A lot of research states that spirulina contains the highest concentration of protein in the world.

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Oil Pulling: Is it Legit?

Surely you’ve all heard about oil pulling by now, right? It’s the latest natural health trend that has blown up over the last several weeks. You’ve probably seen the images all over Facebook as so many have been experimenting with this seemingly odd practice of swishing cooking oil in the mouth to improve a myriad of symptoms. The technique is ancient, but does that mean it’s effective?

oil pulling

For starters, oil pulling is a simple procedure. You choose a vegetable based oil, like coconut, sesame, sunflower, or olive oil, you take anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon, put it in your mouth and swish it around for up to 20 minutes.

Depending on the source, people claim the art of oil pulling whitens teeth, strengthens gums, improves the pain associated with sensitive teeth, prevents cavities, eases the symptoms of migraines, detoxes the body, clears out the sinuses, improves sleep, improves halitosis, and even aids in the recovery of a hangover. The list could go on and on…

The practice of oil pulling is believed to be about 3,000 to 5,000 years old. The technique falls under the blanket of Ayurvedic medicine, referring to ancient Indian medicine created in India.

Being a granola-head with loads of skepticism, I was anxious to try oil pulling and research the validity of it’s claims at the same time. So, that’s what I did. I swished organic coconut oil around in my mouth for several evenings, while I read articles and reached out to experts. (more…)

5 Legitimate, Gimmick-Free Ways to Love Your Heart

It’s February, that special time of year where everything is colored red and love is in the air. Valentine’s Day makes us all focus on our hearts a bit more, but instead of buying another bag of heart-shaped candies why not focus on your literal heart and the ways you can improve your heart health and the heart health of those around you?

heart candy

Here are five ways to be good your heart and to the hearts of those you love.

 

1. Serve a heart healthy dinner

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Kickstarter is Making Healthy Things Happen

Kickstarter is really making big things happen in the world. In 2013 the company and individual funders were responsible for the successful launch of 19,911 projects. These projects ranged from movie productions, to tech devices, to even launching a human-powered powered helicopter. In a nutshell, the platform of Kickstarter and crowd funding has proven to be very powerful.

kickstarter

In the area of health and wellness, there have been many funded projects and there are several more out there waiting for their ship to come in too. Check out some of the healthiest Kickstarters and maybe become the backer that sets them over the top:

1. Personal Chef
The Personal Chef is hoping to get enough pledges to become our next great kitchen appliance. The device is designed to cook and stir. By mechanically stirring, the appliance stands to simplify the kitchen duties, therefore making it more convenient to eat healthier food at home. The Personal Chef has its own cookbook which include recipes like granola bars, fajitas, scrambled eggs, tons of soups, several stir-fry options. These are typically pretty time consuming meals as they require a lot of attention. The Personal Chef may be the device you need to stick to you resolution of eating better and eating out less.

This project has not yet met all of it’s backers.

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3 Steps to Perfect Pasta

Pasta is an incredibly versatile food. It’s an easy option on a busy night, or when funds are low. It’s a comforting option when you want something warm and filling. It’s also a heavy option when you’re trying to cut calories and watch your waistline.

 pasta pot

It’s this last reason that can give pasta a bad rap, especially among dieters. So we want to share a secret with you: You can eat pasta and lose weight. Really. We promise.

The problem is, most people don’t focus on making good pasta. So, let’s start there. Let’s assume you’re already buying a whole grain option, therefore getting maximum nutrients from each and every calorie.  But how are you preparing it? If you’re like most people, you’re probably just setting the pot to boil and dumping it in. If you take just a few extra steps, your pasta will taste much better.

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Raw Vegan Couple Ran 366 Marathons in a Row

At least one amazing duo rang in the new year by meeting and completing their 2013 resolution, and it was a lofty one! About this time last year we learned about a couple who planned to run a marathon each day and make their way around the continent of Australia. Long story short: The couple ran into 2014 by finishing their 366th consecutive marathon.

Couple running sunset

Here’s a bit of background on the undertaking in case you missed our initial post: Last January 1st, Alan Murray and Janette Murray-Wakelin left Melbourne on foot for their first marathon of 2013. The 60-year-old grandparents set out to break a record, raise money for charity, and simply draw awareness to healthy living.

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Start the Year with a Commitment Day 5K

New Year’s resolutions. Are you making one this year? If you’re like most Americans, you’ll resolve to take better care of yourself. And if you’re even more like most Americans, you’re not sure where to start. Consider starting on the first of January, with a commitment, a Commitment Run, that is.

NYE race

The Commitment Day 5K is a nationwide, family-friendly run/walk. The purpose is for people to help start a national conversation about living a healthier life. The races take place all over the country and have partnered with the American Heart Association to support their “My Heart, My Life” healthy living initiative. By joining in this run or walk on January 1st, you are helping the American Heart Association (AMA) reach their goal of improving cardiovascular health of all Americans. (No time to register and train? Commit to doing a 5K in early 2014 then use our guide to help you select the right one.)

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Ho Ho Paleo: 9 Caveman-Friendly Recipes for Your Christmas Feast

Are you having a caveman holiday? Meaning, are you on the paleo diet and plan to stick to it through Christmas? Don’t fear. You can do it without missing out on all the favorite flavors of the season.

The task of eating on the paleo diet may seem daunting when it comes to traditional holiday fare. This is especially true given some of the big no-nos on the diet are grains, flour, dairy, and refined sugar. But really, it can be done and by the looks of the recipes, it doesn’t look like you’ll be missing much.

santa crab

The staples of a paleo diet are meats, eggs, fish, vegetables, fruits, and nuts and seeds. So if you were to look at a traditional holiday meal, the main course is often meat. Whether it be a turkey, a roast, or a ham, this part isn’t too tricky. Many recipes call for the meat to be cooked with savory herbs and spices and a few tweaks like honey and cider vinegar. Nothing too difficult.

When it comes to sides, again, vegetables are approved here. If you’re wanting creamy potatoes or marshmallows in the sweet potatoes, you might run into some challenges, but nothing that will sacrifice flavor. Many use almond milk or coconut to cream up the potato dishes, and good green vegetables never need much to taste great in the first place. (more…)

90 Percent of NBA Players Eat Like Crap; Chris Kaman, Dwight Howard, and Others Clean Up Their Diets

“They don’t care because they’re already built to where they look good. They’re a freak show, they’re ripped, they’re lean and they can jump high, so they don’t care…”

These are the word of Chris Kamen, Los Angeles Lakers player, referring to how nearly 90 percent of NBA players do not eat properly or care about their bodies.

chris kaman

Kamen’s thoughts, along with many other NBA players’, were captured by NBA reporter Ken Berger in a three-part series running on CBS Sports this week. The first article in the series, titled Nutrition in the NBA: Part 1: Lessons Learned in L.A. Help Howard’s Career, closely follows Dwight Howard, former Laker now a Houston Rocket, and many of his former teammates as they undergo a major diet overhaul at the advisement of Dr. Cate Shanahan.

In a nutshell, Dr. Shanahan reports in the article that she watched Howard play in a Lakers’ game last season and while she saw a strong outer shell, what stuck out was how she could compare this professional athlete to a pre-diabetic patient. She said Howard looked like he was wearing oven mitts and she feared he was having a major neurological problem due to sugar intake. Her observations lead to Howard being her prime test subject for a diet change that she believed would improve the entire NBA. (more…)

Half-Crazed Runner Elizabeth Candela Runs for Sanity after September 11 Tragedy

When Elizabeth Candela was 17, she had a friend who was trying to get fit as he entered the Marines. He asked her to run a mile with him. She couldn’t do it. That made her mad and from that day forward, she committed to being a runner. She’s a determined runner who continues to overcome obstacles; some so huge most of us would have thrown in the towel a very long time ago.half crazed runner

After that first attempted mile, Candela ran for health and to stay in shape; nothing too serious. In 2001, she explains that running’s role in her life evolved, dramatically. Candela’s husband was one of the victims in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He and nearly 3,000 others were unable to escape the World Trade Center that awful day. Candela needed running to help her deal with the pain. Additionally, she needed an outlet to manage the stress of raising two children as an only parent.

In 2008, Candela was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Now, more than ever, she had to focus on her health. She explains that she was determined to stay healthy for her family, something that motivated her to go back to school and study Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Currently this amazing runner has her American College of Sports Medicine Health Fitness Specialist Certification and is in the process of getting her American Dietetics Association Registered Dietitian’s License.

This is enough, right? You’re just as amazed as I am, right? (more…)