Monday, April 30, 2012

Meatless Monday - Almond Ginger Noodles

The secret sauce in this dish is an almond ginger dressing from the Peas and Thank You cookbook:


In a food processor, combine:
1/2 c. almond butter
1/2 c. whole almonds (raw if possible)
1 1/2 Tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbs. agave or pure maple syrup (we had neither - so I used raw honey)
2 Tbs. lime juice
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbs. minced ginger

Blend, slowly adding:
1/2 c. water
until desired consistency.

I added the almond ginger dressing to noodles and green beans for a delicious dish that the entire family enjoyed.  Dressing would also be great on stir-fries and salads and is a nice substitute for traditional peanut sauce.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Beyond

In honor of Earth Day, our children's schools celebrate Earth Week, with fun earth friendly activities each day.  Here are some suggestions on being earth friendly:
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Compost

Walk or ride your bike when possible.  If you must drive, take public transportation, carpool or rideshare.  Keep tires inflated.


Conserve water - Don't let faucets run. Never water your lawn at midday. Place a brick in old toilets. Take low flow short showers. Run the dishwasher only when it is full. Let grass grow longer. Plant native or drought-tolerant garden plants.

Don't use pesticides/herbicides on your lawn - Along with nitrogen fertilizer runoff, these are major water pollutants.

Quit smoking - Second-hand smoke is a major indoor air pollutant and health hazard. When you quit, both you and your family will lead longer and healthier lives.

Eat less meat/eat more local and organic foods - start with Meatless Monday.

Eat Peace
Lower your thermostat in the winter. Raise it in the summer

Dispose of old paint, chemicals, and oil properly - Don't put batteries, antifreeze, paint, motor oil, or chemicals in the trash. Use proper toxics disposal sites.

Never buy more than you need.  Consider the environmental costs of major decisions and purchases

Work locally and globally to save natural places, reduce urban sprawl, lower pollution and prevent the destruction of wilderness areas for timber and oil.

Take a walk in the woods, or plant trees which store CO2. Teaching our children to love and care for the planet is the most important thing we can do to insure the future of humankind.

For more earth friendly tips, check out globalstewards.org and ecologyfund.com.

Have any tips to add to the list?
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits - 10 Strategies to Ensure Running Longevity

Do you want to be a lifelong runner?  Here are 10 tips from the May issue of Running Times:


1.  Keep running.  A 2008 Stanford study confirmed that runners suffer fewer disabilities, are 7 times less likely to require knee replacement, suffer less cancer and neurological problems, and are half as likely as non-runners to die early.  Running also delays age-related disabilities by almost 2 decades and does NOT lead to increased hip, back or knee problems.


2.  Maintain your stride.  As we age our stride rate remains about the same, but our stride length decreases due to workouts that fail to produce enough power to generate a longer stride and decreased range of motion in hips and knees.  Form drills (high knees, bounding, butt kicks, etc.) and hill repeats are great to add to workouts to produce power and increase range of motion.


3.  Run hard.  One or two weekly session of hard running can maintain, or recapture, much of our speed.


4.  Train heavy.  Strength train to prevent age-related loss of muscle mass and strength.


5.  Rewire your system.  Balance training (or tai chi for a dynamic approach), resistance training for opposing muscles, and training at varied paces are ways to rewire and create more efficient running bodies.


6.  Stay healthy.  It takes years to develop running fitness - don't rush it, pushing too hard can lead to injury.  Stretching is also essential for avoiding injuries.  An ounce of prevention - washing hands, healthy diet, stretching - all help keep us healthy.  It takes time to recover for injury and illness - make peace with downtime.


7.  Recovery, recovery, recovery.  Recovery is a multi-layered strategy for ensuring that we benefit from the training that we do.  15 minutes after a workout replenish muscle glycogen, rehydrate and do static stretching.  Get enough sleep at night.  Recover between hard workouts.  Find ways to recover from the daily grind.


8.  Embrace change.  Change happens - to our bodies, families, careers, finances, friends, etc. 


9.  Eat to run.  Best diet for endurance lifers is one we can run with.  Fruits, vegetable, carbs, proper hydration - a diet should not cause stress and suffering.  It should satisfy hunger, replenish energy stores, provide building blocks for our cells, keep our bodies in balance and - taste good.


10.  Keep it fun!  Run with friends, join a club, cross-train, volunteer at a race - do whatever it takes to ensure there's a next run.


Running isn't a sport, it's a lifestyle.

Do you have any strategies to add to the list?


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Monday, April 23, 2012

America's Fat Future Infographic

More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese.
Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese (CDC Stats).


Medical Coding Career Guide


During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and rates remain high. In 2010, no state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Thirty-six states had a prevalence of 25% or more; 12 of these states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) had a prevalence of 30% or more (CDC).

Obesity is among the easiest medical conditions to recognize but most difficult to treat.  Unhealthy weight gain due to poor diet and lack of exercise is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year.  The annual cost to society for obesity is estimated at nearly $100 billion.  Overweight children are much more likely to become overweight adults unless they adopt and maintain healthier patterns of eating and exercise (AACAP).

Pretty scary stats...

What do you think?

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

New Balance Gear Giveaway

Runningshoes.com is hosting another giveaway - this time it's for a New Balance gear, including shoes.  Check it out...



Spring is a magical time that only occurs a few weeks out of the year. It’s when the world seems alive again—growing, sprouting, blooming right before our eyes. It’s easy to be swept up in that energy of revitalization. It inspires us to head straight for the door and run for miles upon miles letting the cool breeze and sweet smells encapsulate us every step of the way. 


But hold your horses. Some of us might not be fully prepared to leap into that five-mile run. 


That’s why we need your help. Take yourself back to those first few runs you ever did. There has to be one or two things you wish you’d known back then that you most definitely know now. It might be a certain meal you eat or a stretch you do that really does the trick. Maybe it’s an app you use or an outfit you wear that helps you train better than ever. And, yes, it can even be the running shoes. 


For your insight into training, you could be greatly rewarded. What’s up for grabs? A New Balance outfit to cover your spring training needs. That’s right. We will dress you from head to toe in New Balance gear. This includes a technical running shirt, running shorts or skirt and New Balance running shoes of your choice. 

So, how can you win? All you have to do is answer the simple question below in the comment section of the post found at runningshoes.com

 What’s your favorite spring training tip? 

Feel free to leave your comment here, but to enter the contest, you need to also enter it in the comment section of runningshoes.com.


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Friday, April 20, 2012

Fun Things Friday

So exciting - Kovas and I received our Brooks spring gear to test, amongst which were our Cascadias.


Looking forward to running some trails in preparation for The North Face Endurance Challenge in the fall.  We will be camping out - hopefully our first try with an RV.  I will be running my first trail half and Kovas a 50k!  The weekend also has kids' events, so our three older will participate too:)!  Lots of new adventures...


Finally - the winner of the Manna Organics Trail Mix giveaway is:


Congrats Jen from Just Jen!  Please email me your mailing address. 
Thanks to Manna Organics and to all who participated!

Happy Friday!

Any fun plans for the weekend?


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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Clif Builder's Protein Bar

Our family loves the entire line of Clif bars from - Zbars to Lunas.  So we were super excited to be given the opportunity to try CLIF BUILDER's.  


Clif Builder's, collage from MML
CLIF BUILDER's has 20g of complete protein, the vitamins and minerals you need to boost protein metabolism, and carbohydrates for sustained energy. BUILDER'S never contains ingredients like artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols or trans fats. 




With no artificial ingredients, trans fats, or corn syrup and packed with organic ingredients, protein, vitamins and minerals, we were happy to share the tasting with our kids (all but Little A Bomb).  Since they are formulated for adults, we gave the kids only about a quarter each.  I found that they were quite satisfying even for me, and ate only a half after my runs.  We sampled peanut butter, s'mores (mine and kids' favorite) and chocolate chip - we loved them all!  I have to say, though, they are a bit candy bar like.  This is a good thing - I would much rather eat (and have my family eat) Builder's vs a candy bar.  They are satisfying, great tasting and a healthy substitution!  See what Kovas has to say about them at Midwest Multisport Life.


In addition to making great bars (and wine:) - did you know they make wine?), I also like Clif Bar and Company's business philosophy.  To read more about it, check out their website.


Clif's 5 Aspirations
You put everything into your workout. Get everything out of it.


Ever tried Clif Builder's?  

What's your favorite flavor?


(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog - courtesy of CLIF, via Double-Forte. I did not pay for these items, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

PROFOOT 2 oz. Miracle® Insoles Review

I was given the opportunity through Kovas (check out what he thinks at Midwest Multisport Life) to try out a pair of PROFOOT 2 oz. Miracle® custom molding insoles.




I put the insoles in my everyday walking shoes.  The insoles are cushy and comfortable and provide good medial arch support.  I have a couple pairs of orthotics including one custom pair because I have almost completely flat feet.  Just comparing the look of my custom and the 2oz. Miracle, they look very similar.  They both provide the arch support I need.  My custom is rigid and heavy, and the 2oz. is a soft foam and much lighter.  I don't recall the exact cost of my custom orthotics (couple hundred plus podiatrist fees), but at a fraction of the cost and providing the arch support I need, these are definitely worth trying!


(Disclaimer: I was sent this item for free to review on my blog, courtesy of PROFOOT Care. I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Polarmax Review

With winds gusting at 50 mph and morning temps in the 40s, it's a good thing we haven't put away our POLARMAX baselayers...

Hold on!
Before heading out to Colorado for spring break, we were fortunate to receive POLARMAX baselayers for the whole family.

With aggressive fabric development and product testing, a strong green story, and a completely vertical business structure, it is no wonder that Polarmax® is one of the nation’s top base layer apparel manufacturers. 

Advanced Base Layer technologies differentiate Polarmax® products from the competition. Our line is updated with styling that delivers comfort and versatility for the range of winter activities you enjoy. Whether you're hiking, climbing, skiing, snowboarding, hunting or whatever your sport may be, there's a Polarmax® base layer that's right for you. Acclimate® Dry is exclusively featured in all Polarmax® fabrics, keeping people dry and warm during cold weather activities. Our garments are specifically designed to match a variety of climate extremes: Warm: Lightweight, Warmer: Mid-Weight, and Warmest: Heavy-Weight. This allows you to select base layers that accurately match your level of activity and climate condition.

  • Acclimate® Dry Performance Fabric
  • Stretches for Comfort
  • Wicks Moisture Away from Skin
  • Quick Drying
  • Breathes
  • Scent Prevent™ Anti-microbial
  • Comfortable Flat Seams
  • Easy Care - Wash and Wear

First off, the kids said they didn't even notice their baselayers - which I think is a big compliment for children's clothing.  They were comfortable and warm - no scratchiness or binding.  In addition, after a full day of skiing - no noticeable stink:).  Only complaint from Tazer was that the pants were difficult to get over his feet (once past his feet, though, they fit well).  The 4-Way for me and Kovas (check out his review at Midwest Multisport Life) and Double Layer for the kids were the perfect weight for our warm spring skiing.

Tazer and Gaigai in Breckenridge, CO sporting their POLARMAX.
Add the "Made in the USA" label, and you have the smartest choice for both consumers and retailers (from www.polarmax.com). 


(Disclaimer: We were sent these Polarmax baselayers  for free to review on our blogs by Terra Public Relations.  I did not pay for these items, receive payment for these reviews, or agree to give positive reviews. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)


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Monday, April 16, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Funny - Run Stronger

Love makes people do crazy things...


Happy Friday!

Any fun plans for the weekend - like a long distance run?


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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Surefoot Custom Ski Boot Review

Surefoot
The founders of Surefoot, brothers - Bob and Russ Shay grew up with a relentless passion for skiing. Skiing was their life - the only thing they didn’t like was the ill-fitting boots. After many years of experimenting trying to find the perfect fit by sawing, padding, and cutting away at ski boots with tools in their family’s garage, Bob and Russ discovered that the only way to achieve an ideal fit was to build a totally custom boot. Twenty-five years and nearly half a million pairs of boots later, Surefoot is now the world's biggest and best ski boot specialty store. Their worldwide locations have a handpicked and personally trained corps of boot fitting specialists. Instead of power tools and guesswork, they now use precise state-of-the-art technology to deliver the guaranteed best fitting, best performing boots possible.
The Surefoot custom boot combines an ability-specific shell, custom liner, and custom orthotic to deliver the ultimate in ski boot fit (from Surefoot.com).


Last week during spring break, I visited the Surefoot store in Breckenridge, CO.  I was greeted by John, who explained the process of fitting me with a custom boot.  In previous years, with other boots, I experienced pain, shin bang, numb toes, you name it.  It was time for new boots - in hopes of truly enjoying my time on the slopes, I wanted to give custom ski boots a try.

The process started with an orthotic scan. I stepped onto the digitizer, had my foot placed in a neutral stance, and pressure-sensitive rubber pegs “mapped” the bottom of my foot. This data is used to make the custom orthotic.


Next John inquired about my skiing ability and intensity.  In my younger days, I was all over the mountain, but as I get older and with little kids, I ski mostly easier runs (with some challenges when I ski with my brothers and other adults). Taking skiing history, physical build, shell stiffness, gender specific issues and future goals among other things into consideration, John recommended the Nordica Fire Arrow F3 shell for me.


With my shell chosen and the orthotic made, I stepped into my ski boot along with the orthotic and uninjected liner. Next the liner was filled with a gel (tight and a bit uncomfortable, but not unbearable), and had to wait until it solidified.  As primarily a fair weather skier, I opted against the heater option.


The following day I headed out onto the slopes.  After some minor buckle adjustments, I was able to achieve a nice snug fit, resulting in no shin bang or soreness.  Not only did I have no pain, I felt I had more control.  Although I did not need any major adjustments, Surefoot has a 100% guarantee:

"Surefoot wants to provide you, our valued customers, with the best fitting, best performing ski boots possible. If for any reason or at any time you are dissatisfied with the fit of your Surefoot custom ski boots, please return them to a Surefoot location where we will repair or replace them at our discretion and at no expense to you. This guarantee does not cover the natural breakdown of materials over extended time and use."

All smiles from Breckenridge, CO!
I highly recommend Surefoot custom ski boots for comfort and enhanced ski performance.  The staff at the Breckenridge store was very friendly, professional, knowledgable and conscientious.

(Disclaimer: I purchased these boots at a discount, courtesy of Surefoot. I did not receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company's website, opinions are my own.)

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

15 Tips for Better Sleep

Tips to help you sleep like a baby...


1. Accept that you have no control of sleep.   No amount of wishing, hoping or willing can make it happen. As soon as you accept that it's out of your control, you'll spend less time worrying about it.

2. Set a bedtime
.  While you don't have to set a nightly alarm, pick an hour for shutting down every night and stick to it—on weekends too. Your body needs routine. 



3. Take a bath.  
The Sandman comes when the body's temperature drops. Exaggerate that effect with a toasty bath or shower then lie down and let your body heat get low. 

4. Turn off all lights.  
Even the smallest amount of light can disturb slumber. That means TVs, computers, and even hallway lights should be switched to the off position until you've landed safely on the other side of morning. 



5. Drown out the noise
.  Sleep with a fan on or invest in a sound machine that can produce white noise to block the racket of the outside world.

6. Lower your thermostat.  A colder bedroom means your body will function at calmer, more restful speeds. 



7. Eat light.  Heavy eating or drinking before bed increases your chances of indigestion or frequent trips to the bathroom. A light dinner about two hours before bedtime can help you sleep more soundly. 



8. No smoking or drinking.  
A night of debauchery every now and then is fine but don't make a habit of a glass of wine and a smoke before bed. Alcohol and nicotine are stimulants that can not only keep you wide-eyed, but also interrupt a peaceful night's sleep. 



9. Choose a pillow that is best for your sleep habits.  Make sure that your pillows are supportive, comfortable, and suited to your sleeping position tendencies. The pillows of a stomach sleeper and a fetal position person don't have to look the same.  



10. No pets in bed.  As adorable as they are, your pets are not sleep's best friends. They're just as prone to be woken up—and thus wake you up—by the little things that go bump in the night. 




11. Kill the pain
.  If a minor ache or pain is keeping you awake don't fight it. Do whatever you need to make it better, whether it's popping some Ibuprofen or getting to a doctor. 





12. Avoid caffeine, especially late in the day.  
It's fine that you can't get through the day without your morning latte, but make it a rule that no caffeine touches your lips after sundown. 



13. Just breathe
.  Stop concentrating on the laundry list of concerns in your head and focus on your breath. Deep and slow or short and shallow, the sound of your inhales and exhales can be a lullaby to sooth you into slumber. 




14. Stay calm.  
When sleeplessness strikes, don't freak out—that will only delay the process further. Give yourself a break. So what if you're having a sleepless night? It's not the end of the world. By thinking, 'Great, I can't sleep. I'm going to be worthless tomorrow,' you're creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Relax and trust that there will be plenty of sleep-filled nights in your near future. 



15. 
There's no such thing as making up for lost sleep.  Naps, going to bed super early, or sleeping late may seem like the natural fixes to a sleepless night, but they actually send your body mixed messages. Keep your sleep schedule calibrated for your life, not a random late night or a short bout of insomnia.

from Women's Health Mag

Do you have any other sleep tips?

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Manna Organics Trail Mix Review and Giveaway

Manna Organics
Manna Organics who makes the delicious sprouted and sourdough bread (read our review), now makes raw organic trail mix.  Thanks to Manna Organics, we had a healthy delicious snack to bring on our last family hike - and you will have the chance to win some also! 




WARNING: This is not your average mix of raisins, peanuts, sugar-coated fruits and chocolate...
Raw, organic, gluten free, vegan, no added sweeteners and salt free.  
Organic Trail Mix:  Organic raisins, organic cashews, sprouted organic sunflower seeds, organic almonds, organic dates (organic dates, organic oat flour - may contain pits), organic dried banana, sprouted organic pumpkin seeds, organic hazelnuts, organic black mission figs (organic diced figs, organic oat flour)


Tropical Trail Mix:  Organic raisins, organic cashews, sprouted organic sunflower seeds, organic almonds, organic dried pineapple, organic dried coconut, organic dried banana, sprouted organic pumpkin seeds, organic black mission figs (organic diced figs, organic oat flour), organic dried papayas




Both mixes are delicious!  Tazer, Gaigai and Munchkin preferred the Tropical Trail Mix, and the rest of us the Organic Trail Mix.  The tropical trail mix, as you can tell from the ingredients, contains more fruit (thus sweeter over all) and has a pretty strong coconut flavor.  Love that they are raw and organic and no added sweeteners!  Great healthy snack for on the go, anywhere, anytime!  


*GIVEAWAY*

For your chance to win 4 bags of the organic, raw trail mix (2 of each flavor):

** Be a follower of this blog (hit the "join this site" button on the right:))

For extra entries:

** Follow Manna Organics on Twitter and/or like them on Facebook

** Follow Women's Endurance Gear on Twitter

**Like WEG on Facebook

** Spread the word via blog, facebook and twitter

(Please leave a comment for each)

Shipped to continental US only.  Winner will be chosen using random.org and announced on Friday, April 20.

Good luck!


Healthy, organic, delicious... and local (for us)!



(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog, courtesy of Manna Organics. I did not pay for the items, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)



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Monday, April 9, 2012

Guest Post: Running Tips for Beginning Females



Whether your goal is to run a 5k, a marathon or just run for the stake a staying healthy, being a beginner runner can be a challenge. Running is a test of endurance, fitness and dedicated. You may experience blisters, skin irritation and even wonder how a sports bra is going to support you during a run. You may even find running insanely hard. Before you give up, take a look at these tips for beginners and know that this is just the beginning.
  • Running does get easier. As with most activities, running does tend to become easier the more you participate in it. To make running easier as well as reap the benefits of running (building strength – including a stronger heart and lungs – and increasing your endurance), aim to run at least three times per week. Begin with a do-able distance (even if it is only a mile) for yourself. When you become comfortable with this distance continue to add on. Remember, that doing too much too soon can result in overuse injuries.
  • It is not necessary to double-up on your sports bra when you run. Many beginner runners wear two sports bras because they are unable to find one good sports bra that can prevent pain and uncomfortable bouncing during a run. It is important to remember that a cheap, cotton sports bra from your local big-box store may not do the trick. You may need to invest in a higher quality one to allow yourself to run more comfortably.
  • Similarly to investing in a good sports bra, you should never buy running gear just because the price is right. The saying goes you get what you pay for. Just because the price is right doesn’t mean the gear is. Avoid cheap, cotton socks and very inexpensive running shoes, if you’d like to avoid blisters. It is important to buy the best running shoes. If skin irritation is a concern, opt for seamless tank tops to avoid chafing. You don’t need to invest in a large number of running supplies, just don’t skimp on what you do buy.

Written by Michelle Zehr, contributing journalist with Running Shoe Guru, your site for running shoe reviews.


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Friday, April 6, 2012

Five for Friday

We spent our spring break last week in Breckenridge, CO.  Some interesting stats:

1.  Base elevation 9600 ft and summit elevation 12998 ft - as sealevel dwellers from the midwest, we felt the altitude...



2.  Boasts having North America's highest chairlift, the 12,840-foot Imperial Express.

Imperial lift
3.  First major Colorado resort to open its slopes to snowboarding in 1984, and pioneered the first permanent half pipe.

source
4. Breckenridge contains more than 350 historic structures, making it the largest historic district in the state of Colorado.

Historic downtown
4. The local mantra goes, "We came for the winter and stayed for the summer." Summer activities include hiking, biking, boating, golf...we're looking forward to some fun in the summer.

Breck in the summer


Happy Friday!

Any fun plans for the weekend?


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