Muscle-Making Orange Mango Protein Drink with Ginger #TryAboutTime

ProHydrate from About Time is a Stevia-sweetened  sports drink with 20g protein and 95 calories.I always refuel after longer runs and intense workouts with a protein-rich recovery snack or drink. However, in the oppressive Texas heat, I often feel a tiny bit nauseous and my brain signals tell my appetite to take a hike. But, I know I just have a 30 minute window to  get in some fluids, carbs and healthy protein to rehydrate and help repair/build muscle – what’s a girl to do?!

ProHydrate from About Time makes a great recovery drink after run.

No watch today, but I know it’s “About Time” fomr my ProHydrate!

Well, I have a new “go-to” strategy to gas up my tank! Prohydrate from About Time is the perfect solution – it’s ready-to-drink, loaded with whey protein isolate and has a light, refreshing taste – more like a crisp, cool sports drink than a heavy protein shake. In addition to the protein (the perfect amount for post-workout),  the 12-oz. beverages are sweetened with Stevia adding just 3g carbohydrates and 95 calories to your intake. To help my body process the protein, I also add a healthy complex carb alongside Prohydrate, usually a banana or other piece of fruit.  Two other things to love about this new product from AboutTime.com  – it’s gluten-free and has no artificial colors or flavors.

 

Benefits of Ginger - TheFitFork.com

Of course, Prohydrate tasty really great swigged straight from the bottle – Raspberry Lemonade and Orange Mango are flavorful and #onfleek !  But, another great idea is to add some pressed ginger juice for a whole host of additional preventative and restorative benefits.  Athletes will appreciate how ginger eases up inflammation and muscle pain for those days when you need a little extra TLC after working out. Ginger also helps combat nausea – like when that burpee cash-out on the WOD has you running to a bucket.  And, if that isn’t enough, ginger boosts the immune system, protects against many types of cancer and relieves migraines.

Adding ginger to your sports drink will help reduce inflammation and improve digestion after a workout.

Making the ginger juice is really simple. If you’ve got a juicer, just throw in a bunch of this gnarly-looking root and process – voila, spicy-strong ginger juice! If you don’t have a juicer, you can make “ginger water” by cutting up slivers of ginger root and place in a pot covered with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce and simmer for 30 minutes or until at least half of the water has evaporated. Pour through a strainer into glass jar to remove ginger pulp.  To add to your Prohydrate, I would suggest starting with 1 teaspoon of the pure ginger juice or 1 tablespoon of the “ginger water” – stir into the drink, taste, and then add more depending on your preference for the “pow” factor of ginger!

Orange Mango Ginger Sports Drink

About Time Protein Pancakes - TheFitFork.comAbout Time has so many other great products that fit in with my lifestyle – for example the AUX Pre-Workout Drink designed to increase metabolic performance and promote rapid recovery is great and so is are the protein pancake mixes – I made these eye-popping Tart Cherry Chocolate Chip Protein Pancakes from a big tub of the mix.

If you want to find out more, join in the Twitter chat on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 9 pm ET. Following the hastag –  #TryAboutTime and @_TryAboutTime 

 

What nutrition products do you use to recover from a workout? Please share in the comments!

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of About Time.

6 Ways Strawberries Aid Athletes + Best Berry Recipes

Someday I will have a strawberry patch in my garden  . . . I just need to work on getting that garden first!  In the meantime, I’ll continue to visit my favorite produce departments and farmers’ markets, greedily buying up all the plump and pretty berries in my quest for the sweetest and juiciest picks of spring.

Six Ways Strawberries Aid Athletes

Strawberries are not only sweet-tooth satisfying; they are a superfood that should be part of an athlete’s training diet.  I eat strawberries to keep my performance and recovery at a peak – here are the top six reasons why:

  1. An entire cup (about 12 medium berries) of strawberries has only 50 calories and serves as a source of quick energy thanks to healthy complex carbohydrates.
  2. A serving (one cup) of strawberries provides more than a day’s worth of vitamin C. This antioxidant offers a host of important benefits for athletes, including immune system protection and helping the body to recover and repair from intense workouts.
  3. The flesh and seeds of strawberries are a sensible source of dietary fiber, an important nutrient that keeps you from feeling hungry right away and also helps to keep digestion moving along.  Fiber also helps to reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure, according to many studies.
  4. Strawberries are a great source of potassium and magnesium, essential minerals that are lost through sweat. Runners and other endurance athletes (one hour of consistent exercise or more) require more of these minerals to keep electrolyte balances in check. These minerals are also good for bone health.
  5. Strawberries contain a compound called nitrate that has positive effects on blood flow and oxygen around the body. Some studies have shown nitrates can increase the flow of blood & oxygen to the muscles by as much as 7 percent. This can help prevent muscle fatigue, making exercise easier.
  6.  Strawberries contain an antioxidant called quercetin . This plant pigment has been shown to play a role in heart health and the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Some scientists studying exercise biochemistry suggest quercetin may enhance endurance and overall athletic performance by serving as an anti-inflammatory agent, improving mitochondrial (energy) function in cells, and boosting the central nervous system with a caffeine-like jolt.

So, enough about how strawberries can benefit runners and other athletes and on to the yummy stuff —  strawberry recipes!  I recently made a quick and easy recipe for Strawberry Blackberry Greek Yogurt Chia Pudding and Shooters for Litehouse Foods. This healthy recipes work as a sustaining breakfast, sensible dessert or nutritious post-workout snack – in addition to the goodness of strawberries, this “pudding” is packed with chia seeds and Greek yogurt for an extra punch of protein.

Berry Greek Yogurt Chia Pudding

For the Strawberry Blackberry Chia Shots, all you do is thin the recipe down with a little extra milk (2%, coconut, almond, soy, etc).  It’s a refreshing alternative to a smoothie!

Strawberry Blackberry Chia Shots

And, speaking of refreshing, how about a scoop of Roasted Strawberry Coconut Milk Sherbet on a warm spring day?

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - roasted strawberry coconut mile sherbet 1

My Strawberry Greek Yogurt Tart (with Paleo Chocolate Crust) has always been a big winner in the spring and is a gorgeous addition to an Easter dinner, graduation or other special celebration.

strawberry yogurt pie

What is your favorite way to eat strawberries?

Refuel & Recover – Easy Protein Snacks for Athletes

Yup, I’m a serious snacker. But, I try my best to stay away from the sugary, salty, highly-processed stuff. Instead, I recover from my workouts, give myself an afternoon energy boost, and treat my late-night sweet tooth with small, protein-rich meals. Compared to carb-only snacks, higher protein options offer longer-lasting energy, regulate blood sugar and moderate hunger. Protein snacks are also super important for athletes; a 4:1 to 3:1 ratio carbohydrate-to-protein snack is what most experts recommend consuming within a 30 minute window of intense exercise. That’s because the amino acids in protein help to rebuild damaged muscle tissue while encouraging the hormone activity needed to stimulate muscle growth. Aim for about 20 grams of protein at a time (or a little more depending on your size); anymore at one sitting and your body can’t really process it all.Jennifer Fisher thefitfork AFMI explain all this in more detail and share five portable protein-packed snacks in the March 2014 Issue of Austin Fit Magazine — pick it up on stands here in Austin or read it online.  As a preview, I’ll share one of these pumped-up protein snack that your mouth and your muscles will love.

greek yogurt with hemp and raspberries

Hemp Heart & Berry Greek Yogurt

This is a go-to snack for me, there is absolutely no cooking – just a little stirring! Take a 6-ounce cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt and stir in ¼ up of your favorite berries like blueberries, strawberries or raspberries. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of raw shelled hemp seeds on top for a nutty, crunch protein bonus. If you’ve never munched on hemp seeds, you should start now. Hemp seeds lend a nutty flavor and robust texture to foods and provide a plant-based, complete chain of amino acids. Each single serving of this yummy yogurt snack has 184 calories and 23 grams of protein.

Check out my other healthy snack recipes at AustinFitMagazine.com

  • Garlicky Chili Chickpeas
  • Chocolate Almond Java Truffles
  • Blueberry Flax Microwave Mug Muffin
  • Lucky Lime Black-Eyed Pea Hummus

So, seriously, I need a lot of protein to pull off stunts like this at my age. Every Thursday, my friends and I think of a new challenge for our weekly “fit, fearless and forty-something” photo.

yoga pyramid

What protein snacks have you munched on this week? What have you done this week to get outside your comfort zone (and yet still have fun) this week?

My Marathon Menu – Why I’m Eating Heaping Helpings of Healthy Fats

jennifer kicking batmans butt

A modified “fat before carbs” diet has me blasting past Batman. But, will my extreme fat-loading work for the marathon?

Pick your jaw up off the ground, you read my headline correctly. I’m about to kick off the “fat-loading” phase of my two-week endurance sport nutrition plan. For the next 10 days, I will be purposefully eating foods rich in high-quality fats in preparation for optimal performance at the Dallas Marathon. I’ve blogged here and at several other sites, including the Tabata Times, about this new “fats before carbs” pre-race fueling practice that is being endorsed by many cutting-edge sports nutritionists. Please check out these posts, because I list some sample menu plans. Now, before you start clucking your tongue and waving your finger, know that I won’t be scarfing down pints of Haagen-Dazs and baskets of chili-cheese fries. I’m not planning on weight gain, moving into my yoga pants 24/7, or getting gunked up with harmful trans-fats. But,  65 percent (that’s not a typo!!!) of my daily caloric intake for the next 10 days will come from high-quality fat sources, including healthy oils, nuts, meats, avocados, whole milk, cheese, eggs, and fatty fish fats — in a greater ratio than I normally eat. I currently consume about 30 – 40 percent fat in my diet, so this will be a noticeable change. Based on my average, 2500 calorie a day diet, I estimate that I will be eating 16,250 calories from fat over the next 10 days (or 180 grams per day – is this even possible?) Not sure, but I’m ready to try!

An example diet that includes good fat-loading choices on left. Good carb-loading choices on right.

An example diet that includes good fat-loading choices on left. Good carb-loading choices on right.

So, why am I feasting on fat in order to run a faster marathon? During this fat-loading phase, I will be training my body to better tap fat stores as a more immediate source of fuel, which will hopefully spare my glycogen reserves to be called upon during the later miles of the race – in other words, it will hopefully prevent me from “bonking” or “hitting the wall” as early as I do (which is typically around 20 miles for me and most other people). With all this fat and comparatively so little carbohydrate, I admittedly might feel a little sluggish for the next week and a half of training. But, since I am in taper phase and my mileage and speed have been reduced, I don’t expect to suffer too greatly in the process.

There may be bacon involved, just sayin'.

There may be bacon involved, just sayin’.

The flip side of this somewhat extreme nutrition plan is that in the last three days prior to the marathon, I will switch from a high-fat diet to a high-carbohydrate diet. The high-carb phase of the plan is pretty similar to the traditional “carbo-loading” that endurance athletes have embraced for years! Seventy percent of my calories will come from high-quality carbohydrates (including whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) to ensure that my glycogen tanks are as topped off as possibly on marathon morning. The expected outcome is that I’ll feel perky, peppy and ready to race — and have enough glycogen stored and held onto as a “reserve tank” to see me to the finish line.

guacamole 1Planning my menu for the next couple weeks will be like solving a culinary algebraic equation, but a fun challenge — I am a food nerd, after all! Before it’s all said and done, I’m sure that I’ll have downed a couple dozen eggs, a couple quarts of guacamole, some salmon and at least a couple of prime steaks with all that sought-after (and actually good-for-you) fat marbling. But, do I have to give up my daily salad? While a bunch of lettuce is definitely not high in fat, I’m going to keep on eating my beloved spring lettuce mix because it’s a healthy habit I crave and, in the scheme of things, a plate of lettuce makes virtually no dent in my daily calorie allowance. However, I’ll be dressing it with some extra olive oil to reach that 65% fat goal. So, please come back to TheFitFork.com  in the next few weeks, I’ll  be sharing some new recipes I have been pinning and tearing out of magazines for inspiration – of course, I’ll be tweaking them with my own personal spin.  Right now, these three recipes are on my immediate to-do list for healthy high-fat feasting:

This is my famous breakfast hash -- I'll make it without the sweet potatoes this week.

This is my famous breakfast hash — I’ll make it without the sweet potatoes this week.

From FitSugar.com - Baked Avocado Eggs

From FitSugar.com – Baked Avocado Eggs

From Cook's Illustrated: Vaca Frita, yeah -- that's right - Fried Cow!

From Cook’s Illustrated: Vaca Frita, yeah — that’s right – Fried Cow!

Fat and then Carbs! Latest in Pre-Race Nutrition for Marathons and Ultras

Wondering what to eat to easily get through a marathon or ultra race?

Wondering what to eat to easily get through a marathon or ultra race?

Before you binge out on pasta dinners and bagel breakfasts, you might want to take a serious look at what researchers are reporting about “carbo-loading” before a marathon or long endurance event. The days of high-carb diets may be over – well, make that modified — for athletes who want to perform their best on race day, or so says the March 2013 issue of Competitor magazine. New research is suggesting that a low-carb diet may actually have benefits because it trains an athlete’s muscles to be better fat burners.

When muscles can access fat as fuel during a race, glycogen stores are spared and saved for use later down the road – this means “hitting the wall” or “bonking” can be delayed and perhaps even avoided completely. But don’t swear off pancakes just yet. Training day after day on a low-carb diet can leave a runner feeling sluggish and slow because glycogen stores never get topped off. Plus, there hasn’t been any irrefutable, one hundred percent conclusive proof that removing carbs from the diet improves endurance performance. In fact, one study at the University of Birmingham in England found that low-carb runners (41% carbs) reported more fatigue and showed reductions in performance than their high-carb counterparts (65% carbs) during intensive training runs.

Good fat-loading choices on left. Good carb-loading choices on right.

Good fat-loading choices on left. Good carb-loading choices on right.

A new pre-race nutrition paradigm that combines the two ‘loading’ approaches is being recommended by experts in the sports performance field.  Here’s the plan in a nutshell. About two weeks out from an endurance event, aim to get about 65 percent of calories from fats and continue this high-fat intake for 10 days. This “hall pass” to eat fats doesn’t mean you can pig out on pizza and ding-dongs all day, or really any day. Quality fats from healthy oils, nuts, meats, avocados, whole milk, cheese, eggs, and fatty fish are what should be on the table. During this phase, your body will learn how to tap into fat stores for fuel; and, your training won’t suffer much because you’ll be tapering down anyway.

After 10 days of eating low-carb, high-fat foods, switch to a traditional “carbo-load” diet that incorporates 70 percent of calories from carbohydrates for the next three days. This ensures that your glycogen levels are as high as they can be and are raring to go on race day. Stay away from processed carbs and too much sugar. Instead, top off your tank with high-quality, healthy carbs including whole-grain pastas, breads, and rice along with plenty of fruits and veggies (but, of course, cut the fiber intake 24 hours before event).

A study conducted by the University of Cape Town in South Africa implemented this 10-day ‘fat-load’ followed by 3-day ‘carbo-load’ plan on a group of experienced cyclists. After a moderate two-hour warm-up, the athletes were able to complete a 20k time trial 4.5 percent faster following the new diet protocol. What do you think? Is it worth a try?

To recap:

  • Day 14 through Day 5 before event: High-Fat, Low-Carb
  • Day 4 through Day 2 before event: High-Carb, Low-Fat
  • Day 1: Race!

 To give you an idea of what a “High Fat, Low Carb” and a “High Carb, Low Fat” days look like, I’ve come up with a sample menu based on an approximate 2,500 calorie diet.

Jennifer Fisher - thefitfork.com - fat-loading menu

 

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - carbo loading menu

Oh, Yes I Did! Nuun Tri-Berry Electrolyte Jellies

Nuun recipe perfect for Hood To Cost Relay - Team After Nuun Delight

Nuun electrolyte jellies are both a novel and nutritious recipe.

A Jell-O dish of some sorts has long been on the menu at our Easter gatherings, think big 60s style molds suspending little bits of fruit and marshmallow. But, hey, this is 2012 and I need some Jell-O that’s a little more ‘on-the-go’ friendly and addresses my electrolyte needs this week as I finish up training for the Boston Marathon. So hmmm, scratching head . . . why not combine my favorite sports drink tab (Nuun) with a mixture of plain and flavored gelatin to create some mighty-fine, finger-food fuel? Can’t wait for the reaction when I set down this masterful remix of our time-warped gelatin salad tradition on the big Easter buffet.

I’ve been drinking Nuun for years out on my long runs, the subtle yet seriously yummy flavors don’t overwhelm with sweetness – in fact, Nuun tablets are sugar-free with no artificial flavors or colors, providing optimal hydration without all those carbs that sometimes upset my stomach during a race. Now, these jellies do have some sugar in the recipe . . . a girl can’t live by sodium, magnesium and potassium alone! This recipe uses Nuun Tri-Berry tablets, but after the Boston Marathon, I am going to experiment more with this  recipe and make a ‘sweet victory’ version using Lemon Chai from the Natural Hydration line along with lemon Jell-O and a little vodka . . . stay tuned for that!

Nuun ‘Tri-Berry’ Electrolyte Jellies

Jello made with Nuun Tri-Berry tablets


• 1 env. (1/4 oz.) unflavored gelatin
• 1¼ cup cold water
• 3 NUUN Tri-Berry sports drink    tablets
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 2 Tbs. cornstarch
• 2 pkg. (3 oz. each) sparkling wildberry flavor gelatin*

Pour cold water into small bowl, drop in Nuun tablets and let dissolve. Sprinkle unflavored gelatin over Nuun-gelatin mixture, let stand 1 min. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in Nuun-gelatin mixture until blended. Bring to boil on medium heat; cook 5 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add dry gelatin mixes; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Pour into 9×5-inch loaf pan** sprayed with cooking spray. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Remove from mold by holding pan upside-down over cutting board, it will slip out. Cut into 24 pieces.

*you can use any mixture of Nuun and flavored gelatin that you prefer
** In lieu of the loaf pan, I used a 24-ct ‘brownie bite’ silicone baking mold.

Nuun Tri-Berry Hydration

This is what the current Nuun Tri-Berry container looks like!