Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Processed Food

We all hear that processed foods are bad for us. Yes...most of them are. However "processed" means that they have been altered from their natural state, which isn't always "bad". With that said, eating fresh, whole foods is best.

Processing involves canning, dehydrating, refrigerating, freezing, and aseptic processing of foods. Frozen veggies for example are processed, but they aren't necessarily bad for us. They may lose some of their vitamins and minerals, but they aren't bad for us. The trouble we get into with veggies and fruits are when they are frozen or canned with lots of sugar and salt. The nutritional value plummets and our health risks go up each time we consume these items.

Now, the processed foods we all usually think of are boxed foods (cereal, crackers, chips, cakes, cookies, etc). We all know those aren't good for us...that holds true. No ifs, ands or buts about it. They are loaded with processed grains (yes even the whole grains), they are loaded with sugar and salt and other perservatives...stay away!

But, an often times overlooked processed food category is meat. As Paleo eaters, we consume a lot of meat. If we're not careful we can be doing our body quite a bit of harm by consuming junk meat. First of all, animals that are fed processed food (grain fed beef, caged chicken, etc) are loaded with the food we are trying to avoid (therefore we're indirectly consuming those foods). Even worse than that are the packaged meats (hot dogs, lunch meat, sausages, etc). These are loaded with sodium and several other preservatives to keep them fresher longer. These are the chemicals that can cause serious damage in the long run. SOOOOO....it's best to support a local rancher and buy grass fed/cage free meat or to spend the extra buck at the store to get the same meat that is already packaged for us. Take a look at the most recent food recall...seriously, we have to recall the food we put in the stores...that's scary! http://tinyurl.com/286fuot

I understand that in our world it isn't realistic that we can all go out and get fresh eggs from our cage free raised chicken in the back yard, pick fresh apricots from the tree and cut up fresh zucchini from our garden each morning for breakfast (wouldn't that be ideal though!). So when hitting the grocery stores take the above into account before throwing items in the cart.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Different Purpose

View on run up Storm King Mountain in Canyon Creek, CO.

Working out isn't just about how your look, feel, and perform. Those are definitely a good percentage of the perks, BUT we can't forget to enjoy ourselves. I am guilty as charged when it comes to this. Although I enjoy throwing weights around, sprinting as hard as I can, and trying to take off on the row machine, sometimes I need a dose of "reality"…meaning getting outside and enjoying being active without having anything but what's already there. No plan, just going and out doing.

This has been very evident to me the last couple weeks as I have been home, in the Colorado Rockies, with adventure at my finger tips. There's rafting, kayaking, hiking, etc.

A few days ago I had planned a morning hike with family/friends up Storm King Mountain. Running on not enough sleep, I reluctantly drug myself out of bed and threw on my running shoes to find that all my other "hiker buddies" had bailed on me. My first thought was to go throw my head back on my pillow, but instead I took advantage of getting up with the sun and went for a hike with Ziggy.

Driving up to the trailhead, I started to wake up a bit more and realized it was going to be a great opportunity for me to get a good trail run instead of just hiking. IT KICKED MY BUTT…lots of hill climbs at high elevation…but every step of the way was amazing. I stopped a few times to snap some pictures (below) to try and capture the beauty of the CO mountain morning.

The "reality" of this trail run was more than just being in nature though. In 1994 there was a horrible fire that due to some unfortunate situations, took the lives of 14 fire fighters. This trail was made in order to honor these brave men and women and provide knowledge to hikers of what happened. The trail leads to the memorials of each individual who braved the Storm King Fire on that tragic day.

The "reality" and "purpose" of my run that day was different than getting stronger and healthier. These activities need to be included in our "program" to keep us from getting bored and to give us something to look forward to besides the gym.