This is a guest post by Greg and Corinne Skoog. Greg and Corinne are Sartell, MN residents, parents and both members of the Apple Duathlon committee.
Okay, so huffing and puffing your way around the Apple Duathlon course may not be candlelit dinner at the Ritz. But it sure beats sitting silently on the couch! So my wife and I are running the Apple together this year.
We’re doing the Apple together because…
- It’s a challenge and a fitness goal that keeps us motivated.
- It’s something we both enjoy. (All right, it might be a stretch to say that Corinne “enjoys” running. But she does enjoy the excitement and competition of race day.)
- It’s fun to say you took part in a “World Championship Qualifier” race.
- This year’s shirts are really awesome. (Yes, that is so a good reason for running a race.)
And just to make the whole race even more romantic, we’re going to be running it together as a team. That’s right – some quality bonding time AND half the work of running the whole race? I think that’s what they call a win/win.
Corinne will start out running a 5K. (You know you can run a 5K.) Then she’ll have an hour or so to recover while I hop on my bike and pedal just under 21 miles through Sartell and St. Stephen. (It’s a great course.) Finally, Corinne will run a second 5K and find me cheering for her at the finish line.
Then we’ll eat and drink whatever we want for the rest of the day. (Wait, can I say that on a BLEND blog?). Because we just raced the Apple flippin’ Duathlon.
Hurry – get registered!
There’s still time to get registered, but not much, so hurry. Race it yourself for the challenge. Or team up and race it with your spouse. Or maybe a sibling. Or a neighbor. Or a friend. (Heck, you can race it with an enemy. We won’t judge.)
Want to make it a full weekend of family awesomeness? Sign up today to race the Apple with your spouse on Saturday, May 25, 2013. Then sign up the kids to race the Apple Kids Duathlon on Friday, May 24, 2013. It’s a great way to kick-start the kids’ summer with a burst of activity. And it’s part of the BLEND Fit Kids Club Series!
See you out at the Apple!
Greg and Corinne Skoog
Greg is not only a runner and cyclist who has competed in the last seven Apple Duathlons, he’s a pro at guest blogging. Greg wrote a BLEND post last May to promote the Apple Duathlon - Something New to Du. Check it out!
Emily is a Clinical Dietitian with the Coborn Cancer Center through the Saint Cloud Hospital. An avid runner, she believes the best way to live a truly healthful lifestyle is to include both physical activity and proper nutrition into your daily routine.
Lifestyle Factors Play a Role
Cancer is a general term used to describe abnormal dividing of cells. While cancer can be genetic and run in the family, lifestyle factors also play a part in cancer diagnosis. According to the American Cancer Society, one-third of all cancer deaths in the US are linked to diet, physical activity, and being overweight or obese.
Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals… Confusing words you might hear thrown around when talking diet, nutrition, and cancer prevention.
Keep it simple: To ensure a balanced diet, focus on getting a variety of foods and lots of different colors in your diet. Generally speaking, the more bright and vibrant the color, the more nutrient dense it is. An example of this would be choosing romaine lettuce or spinach versus iceberg lettuce. And no, artificial colors and dyes do not count.
Fruits and Vegetables
Juicing is a popular trend right now and a great way to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet, but it should not be used to replace whole foods. Often juicing removes the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, like fiber for instance. And be aware—drinking juice packs a lot of calories and sugar in a small volume!
Other Lifestyle Changes
Maintaining a healthy weight, increasing physical activity, using sunscreen regularly, and smoking cessation are also vital factors in cancer prevention.
Include the Kids
- Start a small garden with various herbs, spices, and vegetables like onions, carrots, or bell peppers. If space is limited grow them in small flower pots and place them in the window or on the front step or balcony.
- Let your kids pick out one new fruit or vegetable at the grocery store to try during the week.
- Try a build-your-own-parfait bar with low-fat yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit of their choice (berries and bananas work great), and granola or cereal.
- Let them stir in shredded carrots, zucchini, or broccoli into spaghetti sauce.
- Top a whole wheat English muffin with pizza sauce, spinach, diced carrots, broccoli, peppers, and pineapple, and low-fat cheese. Pop in the oven at 350 degrees until cheese is golden brown.
The Take-Home Message
Avoid getting caught up in claims that sound too good to be true. Eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods is your best bet. Have fun, be daring and try something new. Try it prepared different ways. It can take kids multiple times trying a new food before they find they like it. As a kid this dietitian HATED cooked carrots (and if I’m being honest, I still do this day), but now raw carrots are a daily “go-to” snack.
Thanks for reading, and remember the words of Michael Pollan: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Emily Stenzel, RD
Coborn Cancer Center
In his former life, Robert was an overweight Brooklyn boy, nicknamed Butterball, a chocolate cheesecake lover, high school valedictorian, DuPont chemical engineer and born-again ultra-marathoner. After losing much of his family to heart disease, Robert resigned from his 11-year $100,000 DuPont engineering job to take his message about the importance of physical activity on the road — literally — walking the talk across America. Later, a Wall Street Journal headline read, “When Sweetgall Walks, People Listen.”
There have been many interviews conducted with 80- to 100-year-olds which reveal 14 common lifestyle habits. These are simple habits that everyone – the young and the young at heart – can do.
1. Physical Activity. People who remain physically active throughout their lives have stronger endurance, bones, muscles, circulatory and immune systems and sharper minds than their sedentary counterparts.
2. Nutrition. Long-living folks are frugal eaters. They eat to live — not live to eat. Studies on animals confirm slower aging effects when caloric intake is modest. Eating more of a plant-based diet with less fat and sweetened carbohydrates helps maintain modest caloric intake.
3. Sleep. Early to bed, early to rise with consistent sleep patterns is good for longevity. Staying up late impairs your immune system. It’s also associated with late-night eating and obesity.
4. Safety. You can be very fit, but if you’re a risk-taker, chances are greater than you may die fit and young. Every act in your life carries a risk — from not wearing a helmet or seatbelt to speeding on highways.
5. Family and Friends. This is all about your social-support network — the safety net you can count on to get you through tough times.
6. Coping with Loss. Those who can pay their respects at a funeral and get on with their lives, maintaining a strong will to live, turn out to be better survivors. Too many spouses die a year after their life-partner dies. Coincidence? Probably not.
7. Resiliency. The ability to adapt to changing times, views and situations is so much healthier than being rigid and non-compromising.
8. Coping with Stress. Stress affects all cells and biological systems in the body. Health seniors learn “not to sweat the small stuff — and it’s all small stuff.” So be happy and try not to worry so much — especially about things you can’t control.
9. Humor. Healthy people have a talent for finding the funny side of life and laughing at it. So lighten up and stop taking everything so seriously! Play like a child!
10. Humanitarianism. Longevity is aided by random acts of kindness. People who act kindly, doing good deeds, acting honestly and fairly with greater understanding seem to get rewarded with more time to keep doing good things.
11. Spirituality and Faith. Having faith in a higher power seems to correlate with longer, healthier lives. Related to this concept is having purpose in life, prayer, hope and doing good for the benefit of society.
12. Positive Attitude. Waking up each morning and looking forward to a new day is healthier than rising with an attitude of “Oh, how am I going to get through today?” To be more positive, turn off the TV and go out walking in nature. Be optimistic! Look for the “good” in people and situations.
13. Job Satisfaction and Happiness. In America, more people die on Monday mornings than any other time of the week. Was Monday-morning-death so prominent thousands of years ago? Realize it’s an advantage to love your work or at least look forward to it. In the 1927 book “Happiness,” Yale President Timothy Dwight states, “The happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts.” Think about that!
14. Lifelong Learning. Learning keeps life interesting. It also keeps your brain “in shape” — use it or lose it. When you stop using your brain, it shrivels up and dies; so does the rest of you.
Meet Robert Sweetgall
After walking and running seven times across America (which is four more than Tom Hanks’ character did in the Hollywood movie, Forrest Gump), Robert Sweetgall will be visiting St. Cloud to speak on the subjects he knows best – walking, physical activity and the motivation to move.
You have two chances to learn about wellness from Robert Sweetgall, who is the first person to have walked 11,208 miles through all 50 states in one year.
• Longevity, Aging and the Meaning of Life from 1-2:30 p.m. May 16 in the Olson Room at Whitney Senior Center, St. Cloud. Learn how you can add years to your life and life to your years.
• Motivation to Move: Great Ways to Reduce 5 Weight & Stress from 6:30-8 p.m. May 16 in Clemens Hall at Whitney Center, St. Cloud. Learn how you can increase your health and decrease your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Door prizes and refreshments provided. Free and open to all ages. Learm more here!
Comment below (or click on “comment” at the top of this blog) if you are planning to attend any of the events. Let us know which one…we’d love to hear from you!!
I love my job! Where else do I get to embarrass my kids all in the name of work? Today I’m picking on Brooke. Poor dear!
She’s my firstborn and also my first (and only) “almost vegetarian.” I’ll bet you’re wondering what an “almost vegetarian” is, right? Well, around here that means she might eat some chicken and, once a summer, she will put away a brat. But that is where her meat eating stops. The kid has never eaten a cheese burger or a steak. Never.
When Brooke was about 3 years-old, she looked up at me with her big blue eyes and said, with conviction, in her high little voice, “Mommy, I’m a meat vegetarian.” I asked her what she meant by that and she informed me, simply, that she didn’t eat meat. Ok, I thought, where did this come from? No meat? Did Sesame Street have an anti-meat campaign going on that I was not aware of? I then recalled her first years and how she would devour the little jars of sweet potatoes, squash, peas and carrots. I also remembered how she would spit out the tiny bites of beef and chicken. How she would eat the breading off of a corn dog and leave the dog. How could I not see it? She never liked meat.
Please understand her Dad and I were (and are) carnivores. We clearly appreciate a sizzling medium-rare steak fresh off the grill. We eat burgers and brats and turkey legs! Where did we go wrong? And, how long would this last?
What Does a Meat Vegetarian Eat?
Well, here we are today and our “meat vegetarian” is almost 17. She still avoids red meat and loves seafood. She’ll eat an occasional chicken breast, thank goodness! She eats almond butter, yogurt, beans and sushi. She has broadened our palates and helped our meat-loving family members try new foods. She has also consumed many a peanut butter sandwich without complaining as the rest of us ate roast beef.
NuVal® has been a wonderful addition to her diet and ours’. We’ve learned that not all foods are created equally. NuVal helps us compare everything from soup to nuts, so we can see at-a-glance which food items pack the most nutritional punch! We use NuVal to trade-up to more nutritious ingredients in our recipes and inspire us to create healthier meals.
On that note, here’s a delicious pasta recipe Brooke created that even her meat-loving family can appreciate.
Brooke’s Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta
Ingredients:8 oz. Barilla Plus Pasta (any shape) – Nuval 91
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil – NuVal 11
½ medium yellow onion, sliced - NuVal 93
2 teaspoons garlic, minced - NuVal 91
½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved – NuVal 96 ½-1 bunch asparagus spears, cut into 1” pieces (woody ends removed) - NuVal 100
½ pound shrimp (thawed, peeled and deveined) - NuVal 75
6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped (optional) - NuVal 100
Grated parmesean cheese to taste - NuVal 20
Cook pasta according to package directions.
While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions for a few minutes and add garlic, halved tomatoes and asparagus. Saute a few more minutes being careful not to burn garlic or it will make the dish bitter. Add shrimp and cook until they are pink. Remove from heat. Toss shrimp and veggie mixture with drained pasta and fresh basil. Top with grated parmesean cheese and serve.
Check out these step-by-step photos – courtesy of Bailey Hollencamp.
And there you have it – Brooke’s Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta! Simple, delicious, healthy…and, I have to say what a show-stopper!
A Vegetarian Giveaway!
This week one lucky reader will win ”the easy way Vegetarian” book. To register, all you need to do is leave a comment below (or click on “comment” at the top of this blog) telling me your child’s interesting, or funny, food story. I’ll select one winner at random on Tuesday, May 21, 2013.
Congratulations to Tara, winner from my last blog – Peek Into Kelly’s…Favorite NuVal Trade-Ups!
Passionate about food and good nutrition, Kelly, a BLEND Program Specialist for CentraCare Health Foundation, is also a mom who wants to set her kids up for a lifetime of good health. The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the writer and not the opinions of NuVal LLC, Coborn’s, Inc., BLEND, and the CentraCare Health Foundation.
CentraCare Health Foundation and lives in St. Cloud with her husband Joe and their three year old daughter Averi. They’re expecting their second blessing this coming August and they have no intentions of stopping.
At 12 years old, I weighed more than the day I gave birth to my first daughter — and trust me, I was big! At 13, our family physician prescribed me diet pills, antidepressants, and sleeping pills. I was clinically obese and, needless to say, quite self conscious. I wore my father’s old T-shirts over my swim suit and pants and sweatshirts in 100+ degree weather. Growing up in Arizona, this was not normal.
Thankfully, at 14, a mentor came into my life that forever changed me — Ms. Miles, my gym teacher. On the first day of class, she stood on a bench in the locker room, sporting her ARMY T-shirt. She sternly announced that to pass the class, we’d be running two to three miles twice per week without exception. Several sets of eyes rolled in the room. Some let out gasps of disbelief. My chubby little chin just quivered. I silently tried to wipe the tears from my round cheeks. I hoped nobody would hear me sniffle.
After everyone shuffled out of the locker room, I admitted that I couldn’t even run a half a mile and that I’d never be able to pass the class. To my surprise, she immediately softened and put her hand on my shoulder. She told me she’d do it with me.
The next day, Ms. Miles wrapped a bandana around her jet black hair and placed a boom-box in the middle of the field. ACDC and Janet Jackson echoed across the track while we walked the straights and ran the curves for eight laps. Her turquoise and silver jewelry chimed as she pumped her fist in the air, telling me I could do it — that I was a champion. Meanwhile, I wheezed and coughed; my shirt was drenched and my thighs chaffed. I kept telling her I was dying, which didn’t seem to concern her in the slightest.
The next class period, I made it one lap without walking. By the end of the second week, I ran my first half mile. After a month, I completed one mile. By the second semester, I joined the track team. The following fall, I joined cross country.
From those first painful steps to my senior year, I lost nearly 60 pounds. I ditched my sweats and baggy jeans for shorts that were just a bit too short in retrospect. More importantly, I was 100 percent chemical free. I earned the “Most Improved Student Award.” I was part of the 1999 Arizona State High School Track and Field championship team, and I received an athletic scholarship to a college on the west coast, which I could have never afforded.
My fitness journey has impacted me in ways that stretch beyond vanity and self image. Knowing that, for the most part, I’m responsible for my health is liberating. It bleeds into all areas of my life—finances, relationships, lifelong aspirations…what a gift. I’m so grateful for my mentor and for programs like BLEND that continue to empower our youth.