Monthly Archives: June 2011

Running “Naked”

No I’m not talking about running in the nude.  I’m talking about running with nothing on your feet, or as many have dubbed it “Barefoot Running”.  If you take a stroll down the Westside Highway path, you’ll find plenty of them — runners with either minimalist shoes or those weird Vibram 5-finger rubber sneakers which kind of make you look like an alien attached to a human body.

At first I thought that this was just some sort of new fitness fad that would be here today and gone tomorrow — I have been running in my Asics Cumuluses for over 4 years and the thought of messing with that in any way just seems like a recipe for disaster and even worse – injury.  And plus – we’ve grown up all our lives wearing sneakers or shoes, so wouldn’t changing that cause more harm than good??

But all that was before my sister handed me a little book called “Born to Run”.  This book details how its author, Christopher McDougall, went on a quest to figure out how to fix his injured feet and still be able to run.  Along the way he learned about an ancient Indian tribe called the Tarahumara, ultra-runners who would run hundreds of miles day after day wearing nothing but barely there leather sandals and eating nothing but cornmeal.  And they never get hurt.  And they do it several times a week.  Oh and also they run until their 80s and 90s.  Huh?

So does this barefoot running stuff really keep you from getting injured?  Could it be better for you then sneakers??  The jury is still out on this one.  According to a recent article in the New York Times:

“…it would seem as if running barefoot should certainly be better for the body, because less pounding should mean less wear and tear. But…Just taking off your shoes does not mean you’ll immediately attain proper barefoot running form. Many newbie barefoot runners continue to stride as if they were in shoes, landing heavily on their heels.

The result can be an uptick in the forces moving through the leg, Dr. Warren pointed out, since you’re creating as much force with each stride as before, but no longer have the cushioning of the shoe to help dissipate it. Most barefoot runners eventually adjust their stride, he and the other presenters agreed, landing closer to the front of their feet — since landing hard on a bare heel hurts — but in the interim, he said, “barefoot running might increase injury risk.”

So the Gotham Skinny verdict is:  If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!  If you’re running and you haven’t had injuries, there’s no need to change things.  But if you do have consistent injuries, it might be worth looking into.  Just make sure you take your time and ease into it slowly, wearing normal shoes for most of your run and then switching them out at the last mile to barefoot running shoes (gradually increasing your mileage over time).  Make sure to pay attention to form and take shorter strides, landing lightly.  And as my favorite cross country coach always told us: RUN GOOD.

Stay posted for some delish and healthy 4th of July cocktail recipes……

Sunny D-light

Happy almost weekend!!  Ok you have D to thank for that cheesy blog title.  As summer comes into full swing (Hello summer Fridays!  Welcome back my fave white jeans – you’ve been in the back of my closet way too long!), the markets are full to the brim with some of my favorite summer produce.  From brilliantly ruby cherries, to sweet yellow corn, to delicious watermelon, my local Whole Foods looks like a rainbow exploded all over it.  And don’t even get me started on those tomatoes…I could wax poetic on heirloom tomatoes for days.  So without any further ado, here goes with a list of my top picks for summer produce that will make your skin glow, keep you slim and make your tastebuds smile!

Watermelon:

Nothing says summer to me quite like a slice of a juicy watermelon.  And in this heat it is insanely refreshing.  For me, eating the stuff inevitably draws up memories of day-camp and watermelon seed spitting contests.  But this delicious fruit packs plenty of nutritional benefits for kids of all ages.  While it is 92% water (hence the name!) it also vitamin C, vitamin A, lycopene and potassium.  The first three are antioxidants that protect your eyes, hair, skin, and immune system, and potassium can help rebuild sore muscles among its many benefits.

Try this new twist on watermelon (for 2 servings):  Combine 2 cups of chopped seedless watermelon with 1/4 cup feta, 1/8 cup chopped red onion, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt and some chopped basil leaves.  Eat and enjoy!

Corn:

Maybe I really am a Southern gal deep down because my heart goes pitter patter at the site of corn on the cob.  Growing up, my mom would serve the freshest corn on the cob as an appetizer straight of the grill (with a rub of butter, salt, and pepper).  When corn is sweet and in season, there really is nothing more delicious.  Corn provides a good dose of fiber, and is full of betacyptoxanthan, an antioxidant that guards against lung cancer.  But what to do with all that leftover corn?  Last summer, my sister and I discovered this delicious vegetarian recipe for corn pancakes (just swap out the white flour for white whole wheat which tastes the same as white but has all the benefits of wheat varieties).  You can make them savory by adding a little greek yogurt and chives, or sweet by adding maple syrup.  Either way they make a great light dinner or brunch – and you really taste the corn.

Eggplant:

I used to be really daunted by trying to prepare and cook eggplant.  I mean look at those things!  They seem ridiculous.  But once I finally bit the bullet, I discovered a whole array of delicious and healthy flavors at my fingertips.  Eggplant is a great source of fiber and contains a compound called chlorogenic acid, which helps fight free radicals (nasty little chemicals floating around in your bloodstream) and can help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol.

Eggplant tastes great straight from the grill, but try this asian twist on it: Make a marinade using 1 tbsp mirin (japanese sweet wine), 1 tbsp white miso paste, 1 tsp minced ginger, and 1/2 tsp dark sesame oil.  Brush mixture over 2 small-to-medium eggplants that have been sliced to about 1/2 inch.  Top with sesame seeds and broil these babies until golden brown.  Voila – miso-broiled eggplant!

Figs

While dried figs are around throughout the year, once you’ve had a fresh fig, you’ll never go back.  Figs are plentiful in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and are also a rich source of calcium, which promotes bone health.

While figs are great straight up, I love to make a simple and delish desert by coating a pan with cooking spray, chopping 2 or 3 figs in half and sauteeing them for about 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat.  Serve in a bowl with a dollop of greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey or agave nectar.

Enjoy these tasty treats and try to stay cool in this ridiculous heat wave!