Good articles to read: Vit D, Carbohydrates, Diets to live and die for

Hi all,

here are a few good reading links for your enjoyment. I have been head down lately and quiet on this blog; apologies for this. Time can feel short and so at times we have to prioritize what matters most and lately this has been my clients, my studies and research, my triathlon training and my home. How do you choose to focus your time?

Love,
Andrea

 

Carbohydrate Periodization: Fuel For The Work Required

From Sigma Nutrition 

Vitamin D supplements: Panacea or Potential problem

From the Weston A Price Foundation 

Diets to (Live and) Die For

David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, FACLM

David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, FACLM Influencer

Sport nutrition video blogs, podcasts and good stuff

This is the post that you want to read for resources, tips and advice!

Hi all,

Life has been fast and busy, apologies for the hit and miss entries. I have been training persistently and consistently; putting in the ground work under the watchful eye and intuitive guidance of my coach Annchen Clarke in preparation for the coming year and my main races.

I have been throwing my heart and energy into my clients in the clinic, and I have been thoroughly enjoying my involvement with the coaches Ian, Theia, Mitch, and Jason at the Endurance lab.

In the clinic I am moving more into my areas of expertise, I encourage all my clients to shine in their unique and individual ways and it is important that I do also.

So what are my areas? Intuitive medicine and energy healing (your body speaks a unique language and I am good at interpreting this and instead of spouting off a list of A-Z I can tell you the specific ABC that your body needs for health and well-being, balance and optimal performance at that specific moment in time), a whole mind-body-spirit approach to chronic health problems (notably energy, gastrointestinal and immune problems), tailored holistic approach to the care of the athlete and trouble shooting to get you from where you are to where you want to be.

I also work with plant, tree and crystal energies to create healing essences and work with the nudges of the energies of land and people; we are all connected and intertwined and to think that each of us walks alone is daft. Everything is energy, and our energy is connected to everything (person-animal-place).

I am not a meal plan writer, general nutritionist, food and supplement faddist or a calorie cruncher; this type of work is argued left right and centre on the great world of social media, I prefer to see my role as advisor and support, listener and in return giver of answers, guide and educator. You work with me for a while; grow, heal, become empowered and fly off 🙂

We work together on the more complex stuff; I have a lifetime of education and experience and I am here to share what I have with you. Use my time and education; I have many skills and resources to share!

Of course there is also the balance, my boy, my puppy, my ‘me’ time and the great outdoors; the crucial things for health and well-being!

To keep you on your toes, please do check out the recipe section here on this blog (e.g. a recent one), my facebook endurance group and also these video blogs that have gone up lately.

Enjoy,
Andrea

PS Please try to listen to the entire podcast of Coaches Corner; the coaches give invaluable tips so the listen is very much worth it.

Fuelling:

So here are tips on how to gain some insights into what fuelling your training sessions may need, which can come from clues about what zone you are training in and for how long you are in these zones.

Consider that your carbohydrate demands of the session are along a sliding scale of intensity – Easy, Endurance Pace, Tempo, (Sweet Spot), Threshold, VO2, multiplied by the time spent in these zones. The longer you are training, or the harder you are training, or the longer and harder you are training the greater the percentage of carbohydrates that you will be oxidising (and hence will need to top up your blood glucose once your liver and glycogen stores start to diminish).

Your fuelling is never an all or nothing between carbs and fat. (We also have the top end anaerobic sprint work that uses a different energy system called the phosphocreatine/ phosphagen system. We never just train there as endurance athletes nor could we for longer than a few seconds, it is worth knowing that this is a different system and it is here that we teach our bodies how to tolerate and recover from lactate generation and the subsequent shift in cellular pH from hydrogen ions). When doing sprint work you must take into context what other work you are doing in this session as it will help dictate your fuelling needs.

At lower intensities you will be oxidising mostly fats with some carbohydrates, and at tempo and threshold (and towards your max) you will be oxidising mostly carbohydrates with some fats and the ratios of these, and where these percentages lie will depend on several factors. It is tricky to know exactly what gram per hour number you are for carbohydrates, so instead of trying to over-science it, learn to listen to what your body is saying and tweak it from there based on getting the basic principles of training fuelling correct while also being cognizant that your body has needs for many other things that we find IN REAL FOOD.

Continue reading

Daily Salad

I make a salad every couple of days; there is no particular method to the salad except the mantra “use what I have and keep it colourful”; so to be honest, anything goes and every time we try a new variation it surprises us (last night it was the pickled ginger in the salad dressing).

This salad will keep in the fridge for a couple of means and sometimes I just top up as we go. There are no hard and fast rules, experiment and try some new and different variations. Get in the habit of having something with greens every dinner time and if you can for bonus points, pack some for your lunch.

The rules:

Something green and leafy, torn or chopped, e.g.

  • Spinach, rocket, watercress, kale, mixed leaves, chicory and any type or colourful lettuce that you can get your hands on

Something crunchy, grated, sliced or finely chopped, e.g.

  • Red cabbage
  • Green cabbage
  • Cauliflower leaves
  • Fennel
  • Celery
  • Radicchio
  • Grated carrot
  • Grated beets
  • Cucumber
  • Grated sprouts
  • Peppers
  • Baby peas
  • Baby beans
  • I am sure that there are more!

Something roasted, e.g.

Continue reading

Tasty tomato sauce in a hurry with twists!!

Its been a while since i have posted a recipe. But that doesn’t mean that lots of tasty things aren’t being created in this athlete kitchen!!

Here is last nights dinner, I don’t have complete photos because as ever we were hungry, in a hurry and spent the time chatting and connecting rather than photo-snapping our inner.

The recipe is inspired by Cookie and Kate, with tweaks for speed and also to boost our protein intake. Here is Kate’s recipe Baked Goat Cheese with Tomato Sauce and here is what I prepared at lightening speed using the crock pot.

 

Ingredients

  • Decent glug extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 small red onions (2 medium-sized ones will suffice) – roughly chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic – mashed or finely chopped
  • Uncooked spicy Spanish chorizo sausage (optional but adds a tremendous depth of flavour)
  • As I didn’t have the fresh basil called for in the recipe I used 1 heaped tablespoon fresh basil pesto
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes/ chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (more than the original recipe)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red wine vinegar (I didn’t have any white wine vinegar; I am sure that apple cider vinegar will work also)
  • 3 cans of good quality crushed tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 grated carrots (a handy way to sneak in more veggies and give the dish a nice texture)
  • Fresh stock or stock made from a cube/ pod as needed to prevent the texture of the tomato sauce from being too thick
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional beans – I had some cooked soya beans to hand so added these, red kidney beans or chick peas or lack beans etc will all work wonderfully. These can be pre-cooked or from a can.

Instructions

  1. Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil.
  2. Add the chorizo and spices/ herbs and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the basil/ basil pesto, tomatoes, grated carrot, vinegar and turn the crock pot onto a low heat such as 120 C and allow to simmer for 1 to 2 hours. Add more stock if your sauce is too thick. Towards the end of cooking add your beans to heat them through the sauce.
  4. Voila!

Serving suggestions:

Garron ate this on cooked polenta, I had this on the side of a fresh salad (I had a training day off and wasn’t mega hungry for carbs).

Serving options include pasta, edamame pasta, rice, brown rice, quinoa, couscous, mashed potato or as we did, quick cook polenta. Steamed veggies will work well with this and some chopped basil or parsley will add some vitamin K and magnesium clout when serving. 

Enjoy, apologies I don’t have any fancy photos but life rarely works the photo-shopped way!

Love, Andrea

The 12 rules of Christmas: Christmas tips to survive the food and frenzy.

By Andrea Cullen

I am going to make the shock assumption that most hard-working triathletes know how to eat a balanced and supportive diet to reward the hard training that their bodies agree to.

But just in case here is a reminder:

A well thought out nutrient dense diet is imperative if you want to go long and hard for a long time without injury, illness or burn-out 😊.  All the various vitamins, minerals, plant and food based antioxidants, amino acids from protein, fatty acids, resistant starches from specific carbohydrate foods, prebiotics and compounds with long names that research keeps identifying in natural foods are important for our health and for the cells, organs, brain, muscles, tendons and ligaments, tissues and even our gut microbiome to function optionally. Food is not only fuel but also provides the structural and supportive ingredients to allow the body to operate, recover, and repair from daily life and training. Don’t forget salts and water; these are very important also.

Nutritious food also aids hormone balance, immune system function, and the correct balance of bugs in our guts (these form our first line of defence against bacterial, yeast and viral infections and they also are involved in the digestive process, making some vitamins and neurotransmitters, and gut healing substances called short chain fatty acids; wow!).

This diet that we call balanced looks like a diet based on mostly plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds; with some whole grains such as oats and rice for example, along with a moderate amount of protein from animal, fish, eggs, and dairy foods. We need all of these foods for various reasons and in varying proportions depending on the work that we ask our bodies to do and our unique and individual constitutions.

No one diet is perfect, and this can make the journey rather confusing in how we find the optimal for us. However, for most of us a fad diet, an extreme diet, or a diet eliminating a major food group is rarely needed. The first rule is to choose natural and un- to minimally processed foods with the least amount of chemicals, additives, preservatives and sweeteners added. Yes, your body works hard but no this doesn’t mean that you can just eat anything as a response because we need more than calories. Junk food is mostly empty calories and is lacking in goodness; furthermore, it comes packaged with other stuff that we just don’t need.

Many athletes make the next step an extreme but what if you focused on improving your diet by making choices directed by quality, source/location and ethics and perhaps upgrading your cooking or fermenting skills.

Our bodies have this amazing thing called HUNGER to tell us when it needs food and sometimes this directs what foods we desire (i.e. cravings for meat or fat or carbs), and SATIETY which is fullness, and this tells us when to stop. If you pay attention, you can learn a lot about what the body needs. This intuitive system works best if you avoid processed foods, junk choices, eating without taking the time to allow the digestive system to operate correctly and excess stress; all of which interfere with this intuitive signalling system. At the end of the day survival is what matters and nothing screams chocolate bar and cake better than eating on the go and emotional stress.

So here are my 12 rules of Christmas

Continue reading

Proper bone broth

I made some bone broth over the weekend.

Yes it is a labour of love; cheap to almost free to make until you count the man hours and electricity!! But oh so worth it to have the result of a broth that is so dense with healing amino acids that it solidifies in the fridge.

Ingredients

I kept mine simple. I also made a large volume of it to make use of the time I invested and so that I could freeze several batches for use later in soups, casseroles and stews. 

  • Bones from the local butcher – I used three knuckly joint bones that had an open end long bone with bone marrow at one end and a big joint at the other. The bones were large and messy (cartilage and fat and sinew) and this means you get the best results as they are full of soft tissue and ligaments that break down their nutrients into the broth. Hard clean long bones are great also but you will not get as much nutrition released from a solid bone no matter how long you boil it for. Bones just don’t disintegrate no matter what claims people make for adding vinegar (not unless the poor animal had osteoporosis!). It does all seem a bit yucky I can appreciate this, but this is also ethical eating where we use more of the animal and waste less.
  • Vinegar –  this can be cider or wine. I used 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar as it was the first one in reach in my cupboard.
  • 1 onion – roughly sliced
  • 1 carrot – peeled and roughly sliced
  • Optional diced fresh chili, ginger, garlic, and/ or fresh turmeric (this time I used a fresh red chili and a couple of cloves of garlic)
  • Mixed dried herbs
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • 1-2 tablespoons ground dried turmeric
  • Filtered water – a lot
  • Large stock pot with lid
  • Strainer/ sieve
  • Fat separating jug (I’ve spoken about this fantastic kitchen aid before; see here:https://andreacullenhealthsolutions.com/2013/08/15/bone-broth-for-healing-how-do-you-do-yours/)
  • Seasoning with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Continue reading