I’ve been an “elite” runner sponsored by the Texas Beef Team now for at least 6 years and am not slowing down. Okay, okay, my pace-per-mile may have bumped up a teeny tad due age (hey, I’m 50!) but I credit eating lean beef, in large part, to staying fit, fast, and on fire! More on that later.
Running aside, another thing that’s not slowing down is my love for grilling, even in the fall and winter months. Thanks to more delightful than frightful weather in the Lone Star State, I get to grill nearly the entire year ‘round. For the holidays, you can often catch me out on the patio, grilling up something to be very thankful for – like this Cranberry Orange Flank Steak. Read on to get more deets and the full recipe! Continue reading →
Seeing as June is National Steak Month and I’m a bona fide beef-grilling mama, I knew I had to share my Molasses Pepper Crusted Steak as soon as possible. I originally made this super-easy, mouth-watering hunk of meat for Beef Loving Texans, it was an act of love that involved one of my favorite cuts of beef – Flat Iron.
Flat Iron steaks are super tender, second only to tenderloin – yet cost half or two-thirds the price per pound. Plus, this now-trending cut of beef has yet to fail me on the grill thanks to the uniform rectangular shape. You may have passed up a Flat Iron, as they look a little thin on the meat tray, however, due to the method of the cut, they actually puff up on the grill to become surprisingly thick and hearty. If you don’t see this must-try steak cut in the meat case, just ask the butcher and he should be able to hook you up! Read on to get more details about this 30-minute grill recipe and to learn the nutritional benefits of blackstrap molasses. Continue reading →
Thank you Florastor® Daily Probiotics for sponsoring this post. Visit your local retailer to pick up your bottle of Florastor®Daily Probiotics to complement your active lifestyle
!Have you ever become all-out sick, or at a minimum felt like crap on a crumby cracker, a few days after finishing a physically or mentally intense event like a marathon or Ironman, huge work deadline or even hosting a mother-in-law (not mine, of course)? Falling under the weather after the black cloud of stress has lifted isn’t a coincidence; it’s an all-to-real occurrence that is referred to as the “Let Down Effect.”
Various studies have correlated the dissipation or “let down” of real or perceived stress with an increase in common colds, illnesses, flare-ups of chronic conditions like asthma, migraines, tummy trouble and other medical ailments. By now, you’ve heard that chronic stress can make you sick and eventually even kill you, but many are surprised to learn that getting sick after a high-stress event (and while perhaps feeling quite relaxed about life) is all too common. This “Let Down Effect’ happens, in simple terms, due to the weakened state our bodies are left in left in after “things get better” – we use a lot of energy and resources to function in high alert mode without a break
When stressed, physically or mentally, increased levels of cortisol, adrenaline and other hormones put your body in fight-or-flight mode and mask the perception of pain. We are cleverly designed like this to safely and quickly extract ourselves during the threat of danger, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, the immune system can be compromised, especially after prolonged periods of stress, and latent or chronic conditions can flare up.
In addition to these tolls of physical stress, the let down from emotional stress can cause many of the same problems. For example, dopamine (the pleasure and reward hormone) levels can drop, initiating possibly addictive behaviors like over eating, drinking and substance abuse as a person tries to subconsciously find relief.
So, how do you prevent or at least lessen your chances of falling victim to the “Let Down Effect”?
Sleep Well: Sleep deprivation compromises the immune system, so don’t pull all-nighters thinking you’ll come out ahead. Instead, do the best you can to get 7 to 8 hours a night by staying away from large late evening meals (including alcohol and caffeine), avoiding the blue light emitted from screens several hours before bed, taking a warm bath and using a diffuser to mist essential oils like lavender and chamomile.
Exercise Regularly: Moderate-intensity exercise done on a regular basis can keep your body from downshifting too quickly after a high stress event. If you don’t have time for an official jog or workout, try to include at least some extra walking or other movements in your day.
Decompress Frequently: If life is throwing too much your way, schedule non-negotiable “breaks” to relax whether it’s a 10 minute morning meditation, an entire hour devoted to yoga or even just 1 of minute of positive visualization every couple hours.
Nourish Your Immune System: Try vitamin C rich foods like oranges and grapefruit, vitamin E rich foods like sunflower seeds or spinach, zinc rich foods like beef and egg yolks. Probiotics can also help strengthen your digestive balance and support a healthy immune system.
So, speaking of nourishing the body to help allay stress and prevent illness, I’m sharing a couple things I’ve been doing lately to stay as well as I can. You may have read my post last month about a Sleep and Stress test I took recently – it revealed that my cortisol and cortisone levels are highly elevated throughout the entire day without ever falling to normal as they should. This is likely a result of everyday work/family stress magnified by my running and obstacle course training, and chronic lack of sleep — I’m working hard to resolve it.
So, one of the things I started doing was taking Florastor® Daily Probiotics in the morning and evening with my meals – it’s the best-selling probiotic worldwide and backed by 60 years of use and research. So far, I’ve been really happy with how this easy-to-take capsule is bringing my digestion into balance and helping me better maintain my immune function. Florastor® is the only probiotic brand with Saccharomyces boulardii lyo CNCM I-745 which helps restore your natural flora. Florastor® helps my body break down carbs and fiber and naturally absorb water and nutrients from the foods I eat, these are good things for me as I fluctuate from being bloated to dehydrate when under stress. I also appreciate that this product is vegetarian, gluten-free, contains non-GMO ingredients and can be stored at room temperature. While, thankfully, I rarely have taken antibiotics, Florastor® Daily Probiotics can help those that need to be on this medication maintain a healthy flora balance.
I also wanted to share this quick and easy breakfast recipe that is high in zinc – 60 Second 2-Egg & Beef Omelet. Yay, beef and whole eggs are both great sources of zinc, an essential mineral that keeps the immune system strong, helps heal wounds, and supports normal growth. My recipe is also high in protein, and you know I’m a stickler for getting approximately 25g of protein at breakfast – the eggs and beef are very satisfying for only 220 calories and keep me from tanking mid-morning. Plus, this microwave mug recipe takes less than 1 minute to prepare and around 60 seconds to cook, so there’s absolutely no stress in making breakfast on even the most frantic mornings!
Have you ever become sick after a period of physical or emotional stress? What do you do to boost your immunity or bounce back from a “tough time” healthy? Please share your comments and tips below – XOXO, Jennifer
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
60-Second 2-Egg & Beef Mug Omelet
Got a minute? Then you've got a healthy, balanced breakfast packed with protein thanks to this super speedy egg recipe that cooks up in 60 seconds.
Keep your Cinco de Mayo fiesta fit with my recipe for Raw Vegan Jicama Nachos with Cumin Lime Vinaigrette. No cheese here people, but lots of creamy guacamole and vegetable goodness that will make you shout “Ole” – especially when you bite into the crispy, crunchy jicama ‘chips.’ While these thin wedges of jicama obviously aren’t bona fide, deep-fried tortilla chips, they do provide a nutritious and neat way to shovel a bunch of tasty toppings into your mouth.
I cut my jicama into ¼-inch rounds and then quartered them to resemble triangle-shaped nacho chips. I’ve seen other veggie lovers and Paleo diet types slice the jicama nearly paper thin to use as a flexible wraps for taco fillings.