Monday, October 16, 2017

Just Another Manic Monday

Holy cow. Monday isn’t even close to over, but it’s already hit me like a ton of bricks. Blahhhh. Let’s hope this isn’t a sign for the rest of the week!

Once again, I just need to THANK YOU guys for all of your awesome responses on my recent CNC survey. The majority of you wanted more “day in the life” posts, so your wish is my command, and I’ll do my best to keep up with them. They’re actually my favorite kind of post to write, which, of course, is how this blog started nearly 10 years ago, but now I feel like alllllllll I do is sit at a computer and work. Boring. Ha! But, hey, maybe I can make it exciting, right? 😉

This morning kicked off with a big bowl of Chia-Flaxseed + Protein Overnight Oats with a big scoop of Trader Joe’s Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter with Flax & Chia Seeds. I’m still trucking along with the seed cycling-hormonal stuff, and I find this is recipe is the easiest way to get all of those flax and chia seeds into my diet!

And, of course the pug wasn’t far from the food action.

MY OTHER RECIPES

After breakfast, I got Qman and I ready for the day. On the way to school, he stopped to take some photos outside of our house. I love that he enjoys taking photos so much! 🙂

Check out my mums – isn’t it weird that one died, but the other one is totally fine?

After dropping Quinn at school, I drove home and immediately got to work. My hope was for a totally uninterrupted morning with no calls, meetings, or places I needed to be, but it was just the opposite with one million fires to put out, phone calls, emails that needed immediate attention… gahhhh. I know it’s all part of the job, but so much for “dominating” my to do list.

I did, however, squeeze in some recipe testing… caramel popcorn, rolled oats, peanut butter… hey, now!

Unfortunately, it was a total bomb, BUT the recipe definitely has potential. It tastes great; it just needs something more to hold it together.

I spent the rest of the afternoon glued to my laptop before my neck and shoulders started to bother me. Whomp whomp. It was definitely a sign that I needed to get up and move around, so I threw on my sneakers and headed out for a run.

I’m actually running the Tel Aviv Night Run at the end of the month, so I’m trying to keep my mileage up around 5-6 miles per run a couple of times a week. I’ll give you guys the full details about my trip to Israel soon, but, in the meantime, does anyone have advice for long flights? My flight from Newark to Tel Aviv is 10.5 hours! Beside sleep, what should I do/pack/download?

I hope you’re having a productive Monday so far!



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Dear Mark: Fish Oil and Exercise, Skipping Breakfast Study

Close up of a man take a fish oil capsule.For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions about two recent studies. First, given that the omega-3 alpha linolenic acid (ALA) has been shown to reduce some of the positive effects of exercise on rats’ metabolic health, could the omega-3s found in fish oil (DHA and EPA) also nullify exercise benefits? Second, what are my thoughts on the recent study showing a link between breakfast skipping and subclinical atherosclerosis?

Ethan asked:

So what does the ALA study say about fish oil supplementation? Or do we expect this adverse effects were specifically caused by ALA and wouldn’t be caused by DHA or EPA?

Not sure, to be honest. There is one study from 1998 where dietary fish oil had beneficial immune effects in sedentary rats, enhancing the anti-tumor activity of killer T cells, but not in people who exercised.

What’s interesting about this study is that ALA and exercise were independently protective, but there was no additive effect. That is, if you just took ALA or just exercised, your body would get better at handling glucose and your body fat would be more insulin sensitive. But if you added it to exercise, the ALA would cancel out instead of enhance the effect.

There are some possible explanations. Maybe the rodents weren’t training hard enough. The authors note that this particular breed tends to go easy on the rat wheel. They don’t sprint, in other words. ALA (or fish oil) might pair better with more intense training.

These were rats eating extremely large amounts of flax oil (10% of calories) to get the ALA. That’s not a good idea for anyone, rat or human. Just as it’s not a good idea to eat 10% of your calories as fish oil. Smaller, more realistic omega-3 intakes at 1-2% of your calories could very well have a much different effect on exercise adaptations.

I wouldn’t worry too much. Even if fish oil impairs to some extent the metabolic adaptations of white adipose tissue, most of the research we have suggests that DHA and EPA supplementation enhances many other responses to exercise:

Of course, there’s the fact that fish oil seems to reduce post-exercise muscle damage and soreness. Is this good or bad? Taking fish oil to reduce muscle damage can speed up recovery and allow athletes to return to training or competition more quickly. But muscle damage is exactly what we recover from and, presumably, adapt to. Is fish oil speeding up the adaptation or short changing the stimulus?

In rats with atrophied muscles because of forced bed rest, eating fish oil inhibits the early stage of muscle recovery from atrophy—but they’re not training. They’re just ending bed rest. It’s not comparing apples to apples.

Fish oil actually increases muscle protein synthesis, as seen in the above study in elderly adults. It makes muscles more receptive to protein. While enormous doses of fish oil (10% of calories) may induce a huge anti-inflammatory effect that inhibits muscular adaptations similar to ibuprofen, most people aren’t (and shouldn’t be) eating that much fish oil.

I wouldn’t worry about taking normal doses of fish oil or eating fatty fish.

Hi there. Does anybody (ahem, Mark) have an inclination to weigh in upon the conclusions of this recent study concerning the linear relationship of arterial plaque preponderance and those who the least amount of daily calories for breakfast? I couldn’t find the ultimate sponsor of the study but even though it is another questionaire study, it is intriguing….

Sure, I’ll take a stab.

It’s not the first study to show that people who skip or eat small amounts of breakfast are more likely to have health issues. Plenty of other observational studies have found similar results.

  • Among Japanese adults, skipping breakfast was linked to greater body weight and waist size.
  • Among American young adults, breakfast skippers weigh more, have more abdominal obesity, and an elevated cardiometabolic risk profile.
  • On the other hand, among white and black American teenage girls, eating breakfast is linked to a lower body weight.

There are some confounding variables I find likely to play a role in this and other similar studies.

Healthy user bias. Everyone “knows” that skipping breakfast is bad for you, so breakfast skippers are more likely to exhibit other kinds of unhealthy behaviors like smoking, drinking to excess, not exercising. Sure enough, breakfast skippers eat more and exercise less, and they’re more likely to drink more alcohol and smoke more cigarettes. What if a breakfast skipper eats less overall, exercises regularly, drinks moderately or not at all, and never touches cigarettes? Is he or she in the same position as a breakfast skipper who does the opposite?

Is there a difference between the dietary composition of breakfast skippers and breakfast eaters? Probably so. In one study, Iranian children who skipped breakfast also ate way more fast food, sugary soda, salty snacks, and juice, and way less fruits, vegetables, and milk than those who ate breakfast. In the study mentioned earlier, the teen girls who skipped breakfast also ate less fiber (a marker of whole food/vegetable intake) and calcium. Is it breakfast skipping or is it all the junk and lack of nutrients?

They’re dieting. A common strategy when dieting is to skip breakfast. If you’re dieting, you probably have weight to lose, and it’s not surprising that people who have weight to lose have many of the diseases and disorders associated with extra weight. Maybe breakfast eaters are eating breakfast because they’re already healthy and at their goal weight.

Not everyone skips breakfast for the right reasons. How many balls of stress do you know who skip breakfast because they simply don’t have the time and then proceed to pig out in the break room, at lunch, and on through the rest of the day? Skipping breakfast is a very different experience when you’re a fat-burning beast.

In this latest study, we find our suspicions validated….

Breakfast skippers were more overweight. They were more likely to be smokers. They drank the most. They drank the most sugar sweetened beverages. They had more diabetes. They had higher fasting glucose, larger waists, and higher blood pressure. They were more likely to carry established cardiovascular risk factors.

While the researchers said that controlling for these variables did not abolish the link between small breakfasts or breakfast skipping and subclinical atherosclerosis, it greatly reduced the relationship.

I wouldn’t worry too much. If you currently employ a compressed eating window or IF by skipping breakfast and are the worrying sort, you could try skipping dinners instead.

Hope it helps.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care, be well, and chime in below with your own input!

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High Low High 23

Good morning and a very happy Monday to you!

I love a good High Low High blog post, so here’s a recap of our weekend, which shares both the high and low points from it. I always like to focus on the positive side of things, so there’s typically more highs than lows. With that, here we go! And, of course, I’d love to hear about your weekend too, so feel free to share some highs and lows in the comment section below!

HIGH: Working out at Salt Shack on Saturday morning! It was such a busy week last week, I only made it there once, so I was excited to get my sweat on!

LOW: Mal missing class because of Saturday school (basically, it’s weekend detention – he does it every few months.)

HIGH: Working out with Marisa! Salt Shack is kind of far from her her house, but she sometimes pops in on the weekend, and it was fun working out and catching up with her!

HIGH: Visiting Coffee Shack after class for a glazed donut and iced coffee.

LOW: Quinn leaving the lame part of the donut for me. He just ate the delicious sugary edge! Haha!

HIGH: Visiting the open house at the Hanover Fire Department!

Quinn had THE BEST time!!

HIGH: Trying 3PM Bites! They actually showed up at my house right when I wanted a snack – perfecting timing! They’re really tasty and so convenient!

HIGH: Having date night with Mal!

LOW: Sitting in SO MUCH traffic into South Boston.

HIGH: Enjoying a delicious dinner at Worden Hall. The nice folks from the restaurant invited us for dinner, and we were more than happy to accept!

Mal and I ordered some drinks to start. He was really excited about the beer list, and I loved seeing a mineral-y white from France – my newest wine obsession!

The Loaded Sweet Potato Fries immediately caught my attention on the Chef’s Specials menu. Hickory smoked chicken, sharp white cheddar, and Memphis BBQ sauce over sweet potato fries?! HELLO!! It was basically my dream appetizer, and, my gosh, they were amazing!

For my entree, I ordered the San-Seared Faroe Island Salmon, which was served with fingerling potatoes, carrots, and an English pea puree. Delish!

And, for dessert… whoa… this one was epic. Listen to this combo: Churro Sundae made with malted vanilla ice cream, caramel popcorn, pumpkin seed brittle, chocolate ganache, and apple cider caramel. It’s definitely a dessert we’ll never forget!

What an awesome night. Thank you, Worden Hall, for the invite! We’ll definitely be back! 🙂

Question of the Day

How was your weekend? Please share your high, low, high! 

 

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Wedding: Getting Ready

We are on our honeymoon! Check Instagram and Facebook for sneak peeks of our trip throughout the week. Mazen is enjoying a long visit from KK while we’re gone, but we miss his sweet face so much.

Rather than pre-write a bunch of recipes or go silent for a week, I thought this would be a great time to share some more of our wedding photos and details. I want to write these posts as much for myself as for you!

A huge thanks goes to my friend and photographer, Sarah Cramer Shields of Cramer Photo, for turning all 1700 photos around so quickly! She is THE best in so many ways, and I hope you’ll agree her photos telling a beautiful story. Follow her online and on Instagram!

Today’s topic is getting ready!

Hair and make-up

My BFF Lauren did my make-up as well as my sister, mom, cousin, and Sarah. She always does a great job, and wedding make-up is one of her specialties!

Sarah and I together curled my hair and pinned it up. I was glad not to have to spend a long time getting an up-do, and loved how it turned out.

My hair pins were bought on Amazon – these and these! I knew I wanted to wear my hair down, but I also wanted it out of my face.

Jewelry

Keeping with the simplicity theme, I wore jewelry I already owned and loved. My earrings and cuff were the Grace line from Stella and Dot, which they sadly don’t sell anymore. I wore my grandmother’s ring as “something old.”

Wedding dress

And, my dress… 🙂 The designer was Lillian West and I bought it at Sealed with a Kiss in Downtown Cville. I was determined to make everything about the wedding as simple as possible and so I walked into the store ready to buy something inside. Turns out this was the first dress I tried on! I liked that it wasn’t too formal or fitted, and the fabric was so light and airy. It spoke to me as the perfect dress for a romantic, garden wedding. Here is a link to the dress – it’s style number 6385.

Shoes

We already talked about shoes, but I want to report that I LOVED my shoes – the Badgley Mischka Belevederes. They were so comfortable the whole day, were great for dancing, didn’t give me a single blister. I loved how the crystals looked peeking out from my dress.

Flowers

And finally, my bouquet. I loved it so much! My friend Rosie’s mom owns Verde Natural Florals, and she did an amazing job with the rustic, natural, romantic look we discussed. Here were the types of flowers she used:

Silver Dollar Eucalptus, White Dahlias, Blush Garden Roses, Blue Hydrangea, Football Mums, Ranunculus, Dried Lavender, Dusty Miller, and Peach Hyparicum. (Probably among many more – I don’t know my flower names!)

The gentlemen, including Mazen, had boutonnieres made of the same flowers tied in twine.

Bridesmaids

Laura and Sarah’s dresses came from Nordstrom. We decided they would get complimentary dresses in a similar muted color palate, but they ended up getting two different styles from the same designer (Lulu) in the same color, Denim Blue.

Laura had the Be Mellow Cutaway Shoulder and Sarah wore the Ruffle Neck Halter. They were both stunning! I loved how we all had such romantic hair too.

Bridegroom

Can I please have this made into a poster to hang over my bed?! He is the hottest man alive.

We found the ties completely by good luck after rejecting so many much more expensive, fancy ties at a few stores. They were the Row Stripe Tie from The Tie Bar. He ordered pocket squares and matching socks for the guys too.

The gentleman suits came from Joseph A. Banks, and the Thomas’s brother’s suit came out of the bag a lighter color than the rest – an ordering mistake on the store’s part. Nobody was happy about this, but we didn’t let it rain on our parade.

Once we were all ready, it was go time!

Tomorrow: the ceremony!

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