Beans.

So this is a pretty controversial topic.

beans

It’s hard to determine if beans are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for you because there is so much conflicting information out there, and it all seems legit. For every article boasting about the Colon cleansing properties and beneficial phytonutrients in beans, there is another one warning about their high lectin content or harmful phytic acid level.

My friend asked me to post about beans – why I don’t eat them, why they are ‘bad’ for you. I’m not a scientist. I don’t know much of anything. But I read a lot of blogs and journals and books all about food. And I’ve taken quite a few things from opposing sides of this argument.

First of all – I think people who go off on biased tangents about a topic like this look extremely stupid, because for the most part, they can’t back it up. Cool, you read somewhere that beans have anti-nutrients which prevent your body from absorbing ¬†certain minerals, so we are all doomed. Do you even really know what phytic acid is? Cause I sure don’t. I’m not arguing that these things aren’t true, but I do not think they are severe enough for us to shun natural cooked beans and label them as an anti-health food. There are a lot of other things we should be eliminating from our diets first.

Here’s what I think: Beans, legumes, lentils – not ‘bad’ for you. The problem does not lie in the legumes themselves. The problem is in the quantity and industrialized state that we consume them in. There is a difference between fresh edemame and partially hydrogenated soybean oil. As a population, we eat a lot more of the latter, and there is nothing natural about that.¬†They are hidden in almost everything we eat today. Which means that the ‘bad’ effects of them are heightened and blown out of proportion as a result.

That being said, I think we could all easily go without them. They aren’t necessarily nutritional powerhouses; there are plenty of things with more fiber, more protein, and that are not as hard to digest. But eating some hummus with your vegetables or salsa with black beans in it won’t put you on your death bed.

I think Mark Sisson sums this up perfectly. Beans are just one of those food groups you have to focus on eating in moderation if you really like them. The reason beans aren’t in the paleo diet is because of their high carbohydrate content and low nutritional density. I have eliminated them from my diet personally because I do not like the way I react to them; they are hard for me to digest, and any vitamin or macro-nutrient I could get from them could also be attained from foods that have them in higher and more absorbable amounts. I mostly eat food based on how it effects my performance, and I feel sluggish and like i’m gonna need a portopotty or 5 if I eat them before a long run or a race…not fun.

Moral of the story: Beans aren’t ‘bad’ if they are consumed infrequently and cooked properly, but they should be avoided in heavily processed forms (just like almost everything else), and in my opinion, eaten only AFTER your workout.

Advertisements

Sloppy Smoothies and Race Dates

Okay, so this morning was a blur. I had a job interview but wanted to get a tempo in beforehand so I set my alarm for super early to give me plenty of time to eat, run, and get ready… but that didn’t really work out. I woke up late knowing that it would be dumb to try and squeeze a workout in and still get out the door on schedule. But I can be pretty dumb sometimes.

Usually my smoothies are pretty well thought out – there was no time for that this morning.
20130909-125102.jpg
That being said, If anyone wants the recipe for this one, tough luck, because I don’t even really remember what is in this.

I figured I wouldn’t have to worry about sweetening it because I’m pretty sure that’s half of a pineapple in there. Along with some kale, some spinach, a banana, almond milk, and an excessive amount of ice. Then I looked at it and second guessed my initial sweetness confidence, so I threw some strawberries and blueberries in too.

Oh and I also put some chia seeds and flax seeds in there too, but those are pretty much smoothie staples for me. And maybe some almond butter? I don’t remember. As I mentioned earlier – this morning: total blur.

It was actually really frickin good. Kind of tasted like green machine. And it definitely looked like it too. Which i’m not mad at.

Anyway I drank the whole thing. Fast. Bad move. Felt like vomming for my whole run. But on the bright side, I made it in time to my job interview. And I’m still really full.

More good news – my registration window opens up for the Boston Marathon tomorrow! EEEEEEEEeeee!!!!!
I have a half marathon on October 5th in Jacksonville (Marine Corps Half Marathon) but I’m gonna be honest, I haven’t really been on the ball with my training.
I’m just gonna wing it and see how I do, and focus more on the Space Coast Marathon on December 1st. I’ve heard it’s a great course; I had to sign up months in advance to get a spot so I’m pretty pumped.
My plan is to use this race as a baseline time to see where I am starting out in my training for Boston. That will give me 4 months to get where I want to be. I think I’m going to push for sub 3:10.

So now that i’ve got my race schedule all set, and this Boston thing is really happening (WTF) I guess I should start putting together a real life training plan.
Once that happens, I’m hoping to post more consistently with descriptions of what and when I’m eating, along with what my workouts are and how I feel before, during and after them. I’ve decided the only way to achieve optimal performance is to analyze these things and take note of what I get the best personal results from in my training. So anyway, look for that coming soon! <– I say that as if I actually have followers! ha!

XC Camp

Nothing like a few days isolated in the mountains of South Carolina to clear my mind.

20130623-220234.jpg
This is my 7th year making this summer running trip to Cross Country camp, and my 4th year as a counselor. It was good to get away from everything and hit the trails with some pretty awesome people. But now I have a lot of catching up to do – especially with the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Mary Cain, is that a joke? Crazy crazy girl.

Anyway, camp was great, had a lot of good times and hard workouts, but I definitely got off the paleo grind for a minute. It was hard to keep it together with bread and cereal and pasta all around me, especially after a long run. I don’t know if it is just mental, but i feel like a detox is in order. Hopefully it won’t be hard to get back into the swing of things, i’m feeling real sluggish now. At least I have phone service and internet back, although I can’t really decide if I even missed it. i liked being unreachable.

Samuel Vazquez flew in to visit and speak to the campers on our last night, and it was just so inspirational. I met Sam back in my first year at camp, when he was a counselor and I was brand new to running. I’ve always looked up to him and admired him for many reasons, but his talk about his journey to the Olympics was such a rush. Learning about his struggles and his hard times on and off the track left me with an even deeper respect for him, and motivation to pursue my own dreams. Sometimes I get unsure of myself, and lack confidence of my strengths and abilities, especially when I am surrounded by people that are so talented and superior to myself.

But the thing is, we all have to start somewhere. And I think our limits actually lie far beyond our awareness. I might have to take 40 minutes off of my marathon time to qualify for the Olympics, but who says I can’t do that. Won’t know unless I go for it.