I was organizing my computer files recently (type A much?) and started perusing through some of my old college work. In the spring semester of my freshman year (first year for us Canadians), I took “Nutrition and Human Health.” This was my first real introduction to food, nutrition labels, macronutrients, micronutrients and the food guide pyramid… the nutrition “basics.”

The timing is quite funny – going from my first nutrition assignment to now being a Certified Holistic Nutritionist! Just thought I’d sneak that in there as I passed my final exam this week :) I am so excited to start working with clients (and continue studying) so stay tuned for more official-ness of Honey Bee Health & Nutrition – lots to still do in order to get it up and running!

Anyways, this assignment is a prime example of how conventional nutrition wisdom (thanks to the food guides the governing bodies put into place) shape our thinking and practices regarding food and nutrition. Obviously my outlook on what we “should” eat has drastically changed since taking this class and submitting this assignment. Thank goodness.

But first, I think it’s important to back up and see how we got to where we are today:

dietary-guidelines-presentation-2-728

[Image source]

The first food guide was introduced by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1916. It included five food groups: vegetables & fruits; meat, fish & milk; cereals; simple sweets; butter & wholesome fats.

The first recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) were announced in 1941. With this specific information on nutrient needs, several new food guides were developed by various governing agencies:

1942: 8 new food groups were introduced by The Office of Defense, Health and Welfare Services)

1943: National Wartime Nutrition Guide was put into place

USDA_-_Basic_7_Food_Groups

[Image source]

1956: Basic Four Food Groups were introduced: meat, milk, vegetables & fruits, breads & cereals

1979: Basic Four Food Groups revised to Daily Food Guide

1992: Food Guide Pyramid was introduced by the USDA

2005: Food Guide Pyramid revised to MyPyramid

MyPyramid

2011: MyPlate is introduced

USDA_MyPlate_green

I wanted to share an excerpt of my assignment from my class. The jist of the assignment was to diarize your food intake and tally your servings over a few days and then write about it – as per the teachings of MyPyramid.

 

Nutrition and Human Health: Food Guide Pyramid Comparison

Amy Sherman

February 3, 2010

Emerson College

 

Food Servings Tally by Food Group

Nutrition Assignment1

 

Nutrient Intakes

Nutrition Assignment2


Assessment of My Food Intake

I usually think I watch what I eat and, for the most part, I like to consider myself a healthy eater. This assignment showed me that this assumption might not be entirely true and accurate.

 

For every day that I recorded my food intake, I consumed more than the recommended amount from each food group. The total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium levels that I ate were excessive and resulted in mostly “sad face” emoticons from the My Pyramid website.

 

Eating the right amount and right kinds of foods is really important for our bodies and for our life. My body needs to consume “good” foods in order to be able to stay energized for classes, homework and sports.

 

I am going to consume more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis by eating fruits, like a banana in my cereal, or an apple on my way to class, in the morning and eating a wider variety of vegetables from the salad bar at the Dining Hall.

 

I am going to become much more conscious on how much fat, sodium and cholesterol is present in the foods I consume by looking at the nutrition label and facts.

 

I want to limit my “guilty pleasure foods,” such as Lucky Charms cereal that I love to get at the Dining Hall. With these changes I think that I can really improve the shape of my pyramid and become more compliant with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines.

 

Well I definitely got a few things right! Yay for eating more fruits and veggies and limiting Lucky Charms… LOL. It has taken me many years to get to where I am today regarding my thoughts on food and nutrition; what works for me and my body; and what food has a place in a healthy diet. It is most certainly a journey and everyone starts and finishes in a different place. From Lucky Charms, to low-fat Fiber One, to instant oatmeal to free-range eggs.

I am always learning new things about food and what I believe we should be eating. But trust me on this one: real food. The food that has not been processed five billion and one times to yield something that is really not food at all. Yup, that’s the stuff to chow down on.

I hope that I can help in your real food journey.

 

Amy beer and grill.jpg

Okay now that the lesson (and shameless self-plug for my nutrition coaching) is over, I think it’s time to celebrate today’s holiday with a few festive treats.

Halloween Treats

Sunbutter FudgeMini Chocolate PB Cups

Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Bites – Orange Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Halloween!

 

Questions of the day…
What do you think about MyPyramid and food guides in general? 

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Did you know that sunflower seed butter tastes like peanut butter? Well it does. Coming from the girl who used to be peanut butter obsessed, this is quite the revelation. And best of all: it doesn’t upset my stomach. Double win.

Sunbutter Fudge2

I realize it’s Halloween in a few days and you might choose to overdose on Franken-food and sugar (if that works for you… go for it) but in case you’d like to keep things un-processed yet still delish, I’ve got you covered.

Sunbutter Fudge6

One bowl, no mess and should hit every dietary restriction out there. I know I am a little biased but I highly recommend these.

Sunbutter Fudge3

 

Sunbutter Fudge

Adapted from Taylor Made it Paleo

Ingredients (Makes 20 pieces)
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree (pumpkin puree should work fine too)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1/4 cup honey (vegan option: replace honey with maple syrup) 
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • a few tbsp. of coconut flakes (for sprinkling on-top)

Instructions

1. Line a 8×8 baking dish/pan with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Combine all the ingredients except the coconut flakes in a mixing bowl and mix until smooth.

3. Pour mixture evenly into the parchment-lined baking dish (smooth with a spatula).

4. Sprinkle coconut flakes on-top of mixture.

5. Place in freezer for about 2 hours, or until solid.

6. Remove from freezer and use a knife to cut into 20 squares.

7. Enjoy and keep leftover fudge stored in a sealed container in the freezer!

 

 

Questions of the day…

What’s your favorite treat? Any Halloween plans?

 

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It’s been awhile since I’ve recapped a week of workouts and surprisingly these posts have become some of my favorite to write. I always learn the most from my endeavors as an athlete – so it’s nice to reflect on these ups and downs. And I can ramble and be totally random.

 

Monday

Rest/travel day back to Toronto.

 

Tuesday

CrossFit.

Warm-up: Leg swings, 3 min deep squat hold, air squats, lying leg sweeps.

Strength: 3x10r box step up, 3x15r seated dumb-bell french press, 3x15r seated Zottmans bicep curl

WOD:

Rise and Shine

What I did: Rx (yay!) – 2 rounds + 145 reps. I got through 1 round + 50 double-unders and then 1 round + 15 lunges, which was a 100 rep improvement from the last time I did this workout. Really good workout to come back to after taking some CrossFit time off to focus on the race.

 

Wednesday

CrossFit.

Warm-up: 10 Rx+ wall ball EMOM x 10 minutes

Strength: Bench press (5x5r) What I did: 55lbs 5x5r

WOD:

Frannie

What I did: 55lbs for thrusters, red band for pull-ups. Finished in 18:33 (Sean extended the time cap to 21 minutes). Oh my gosh I was sooo happy with this! This was a huuuuge improvement from the last time I did this workout.

Amy Frannie

After telling Michelle I have been using the red band to do my pull-ups for workouts, she told me to ditch it. She said that this particular band offers so little resistance that I could do a pull-up.

I almost didn’t believe her…

Amy first pull-up3

OMG… yayyyy! Seeeeee yaaaaa latahhhhhh bands. Can you tell that I’m kinda happy? I am going to start doing strict pull-ups in WODs (and work on my kip) no matter how long it takes me to finish the workout.

Outfit: Cool racerback tank (in pink) from Lululemon – Triangular Be Free tights (in deep garnet red) from Athleta

 

Thursday

Rest.

 

Friday

45 minute spin class.

It legit crawled by…

 

Saturday

10 miles. (+15 minute bike & lots of stretching)

10 miles

I finally pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and went on a run through a park. This has been a goal of mine for awhile but I was honestly scared/nervous. I think I watch too many TV shows where bad things happen to girls running alone through parks – so until this weekend, I had stuck to the busy streets.

But oh my gosh: I wish I didn’t wait this long because Saturday’s run was seriously amazing. I had no idea this gorgeousness was so close to my house! And I didn’t care one bit that I was “slow” (for me) and running 10 minute miles because I enjoyed every moment of this run… and that’s what’s most important.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Mentally (and stamina wise) I felt like I could run forever but physically my knees were bugging me. And my right hamstring has been acting up lately. Neither of these things are painful just nagging and sore. And annoying.

Earl Bales

 

Sunday

5 miles (+10 minute bike) & yoga class with Mama Honey Bee

5 miles

I truly believe our skin is the mirror to our health. I healed my acne this past year through eating real food and natural skincare but while training for the marathon, my skin has hated me. Now I am not just attributing it to running as there are many things that seem to affect my skin (like nuts). But I have now been experiencing “hormonal breakouts” (jaw-line and neck). It totally sucks and I’m doing everything I can to calm it down – my usual skincare routine and started using this face mask. It’s just the way it goes: running stress results in changes in hormonal levels, which (for me) results in crappy skin. And it totally sucks.

I even Tweeted to my skin idol for some words of encouragement.

Liz Wolfe Tweet

Such is life so I’m just going to try and focus on my gorgeous fall runs and banging out pull-ups instead.

Happy Monday!

 

Questions of the day…

How do you step outside your comfort zone?

How do you track your training progress? 

 

_____________________________________________

Keep in touch:

Twitter –> @thelilhoneybee

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It’s sometimes pretty crazy to think that I am a runner. Coming from the girl who dreaded running at basketball practices… it’s weird. But it’s also funny how things shape out. I have certainly learned a lot over my year and a half of running, training and racing. I’ve had some ups and downs and other stresses but at the end of the day: I really do love to run. Sometimes I love to sprint, run 5 miles or run 15 miles but I love the freeing feeling of just going out and running.

I’m certainly not a running expert but I have learned a lot since lacing up my shoes for the first time.

  I'm A Runner

1. Take the first step.

This may seem kinda obvious but it’s true and it’s often the hardest thing to do. Just take that first step out the door. Just do it.

the_hardest_part_of-54213

 

2. Build your distance and mileage gradually.  

When I started running, I first ran for as long as I could without stopping (which was about 18 minutes). Once I got comfortable with that distance and time for a few weeks, I added a few more blocks and minutes onto the run. I kept doing that and eventually signed up for my first 10K race. Once I had that goal/distance in sight, I built up my kilometers/miles accordingly. How? Well I am definitely not a running coach but I legit just Googled “10K training plan”. There are thousands of resources out there and so I read through a few plans and used them as a guide/template in creating my own plan. I did the same thing when training for my first half-marathon. Thankfully I have an awesome coach and friend mentoring me for my upcoming marathon. I really like 3x per week running plans (as evident from my marathon training plan): one day for speed work, one day for a shorter run and one day for a longer run.

  Cortanas

3. Cross-train.

When I find something I love to do (or eat), I have a tendency to over-do it. So in training for my first half marathon, ALL I REALLY DID WAS RUN. Bad move. I definitely over-trained by running far too often for me and my body (ahem, knee injury). Some people can run 5-7 days a week but that clearly didn’t (and doesn’t) work for me. I know I am best when I run 3 times and focus on strength training as well as other cross-training activities – like swimming, spinning and yoga. Check out this post for more about cross-training for running.

Spin and strength

 

4. Rest and recover.

Rest and recovery is a part of any running or training plan – something I have come to learn. When we exercise we breakdown tiny little muscle fibres so we need to give them ample amount of time to recover. Stretch, foam roll, take epsom salt baths – whatever it is for you! Stretching is super important and I don’t do it enough – like doing this everyday yoga series. Cooling down on the stationary bike and icing my knees are things I do after every run. Listen to your body. If it says it is tired, allow it to rest.

Yoga feet

 

5. Recognize the extra stress running puts on your body.

Running (and any other high intensity exercise) puts a lot of stress on our bodies – called oxidative stress. This results in inflammation, hormonal changes and other stuff. My stresses via running are displayed by an annoying knee injury, skin breakouts and sugar cravings. There are many things we can do to combat this stress (hello, antioxidants and tumeric shots!) but running (especially long distances) isn’t a walk in the park – I have learned this the hard way. As humans, our bodies are not meant to run but we do it anyways because it’s fun and enjoyable (or we are crazy) but it is also our job to be smart about it – as best as we can.

Of possible interest: Is Running as Healthy as We Want it to be?

Tumeric shot

 

6. Fuel with food.

Something I have also learned the hard way. Oh I’m running, so I need to like eat more? Really? YES. Make sure you are fueling your body correctly for your training! Just like with rest and cross-training, we need to help our bodies rebuild and function properly by putting it in a positive energy balance (unless you are running as part of a weight loss program but I am not discussing that right now). Ensure you are eating enough for your training: protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, minerals (including electrolytes) and water.

Check out these posts for more info:

Eggs bacon smoothie plantains

7. Buy and wear good shoes/gear.

You certainly don’t need the fanciest stuff or coolest gadgets but you don’t want to hurt your feet by wearing your six year old tattered sneakers. You also don’t want to freeze your butt off in November if you aren’t wearing a solid running jacket. And it doesn’t hurt to feel and look good in awesome gear.

Check out this post on my running gear.

Saucony gear

 

8. Focus on yourself.

Someone will always be faster. Someone will always run farther. Focus on your runs. Your distance. Your time. That doesn’t mean you can’t look to others for motivation but what matters is how you do. And saying that: don’t stress about your time or if you need to “miss” or “skip” a run – it’s okay. This is something I am always working on but remember: consistency, not perfection.

Consistency not Perfection

 

9. It’s a roller-coaster of a relationship.

You’re gonna love it sometimes and hate it other times. It’s not always PRs and awesome races. Keep things in perspective and refer to tip #8.

Amy sprint at Northern.jpg

10. “Run often, run long. But never outrun your joy of running.” – Julie Isphording

Running is and should be fun. No, not all the time (see tip #9) but if more times than not you are dreading lacing up your shoes and going out the door, well then it is time to re-assess.

Questions of the day…
Runners – any other advice?
Why do you run? 

_______________________________________________

Keep in touch:

Email –> amylittlehoneybee@gmail.com 

Twitter –> @thelilhoneybee

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More often than not, active females are not eating enough and need to eat a heck of a lot more than they think they need to eat. Trust me. And I certainly don’t mean to discriminate – men fall into this trap too but I’m just playing the percentages. Today, after nearly a year of learning so much more about food and nutrition, I can tell you this with confidence from experience. When I first started running, I was not eating enough to support my training and my body. Tiny portions of lean protein and veggies for every meal is so 2009. Sure lean protein and veggies play a part in a healthy diet but calorie restriction is not the answer if you are training and want to perform well – you have to eat in order to perform: lots of delicious protein to help your muscles repair and grow; lots of starchy carbohydrates to give you energy; lots of fatty delicious-ness to satisfy your palate; and lots of delicious fruits and vegetables for amazing vitamins and minerals.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts4

Mmmm vegetables – said me only very recently. But broccoli and green beans started to get pretty boring pretty quickly. Did I ever think I’d actually like brussels sprouts? Heck no. They are the veggie that everyyyy cartoon character says “blech” to. But I’m so glad that I gave these bad boys another chance because they are friggin delicious – paired with a piece of salmon and maybe some white rice (carbs, baby!) and you’ve got yourself an easy, delicious and nutrient-dense meal.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts1

A couple of weeks ago, a few people thought that I said roasted veggies were “bad” after I didn’t proof-read my Instagram caption closely enough – oops. Au contraire: roasted veggies are a delicious part of a balanced meal that can fuel your body, training and life. I know you’re probably sick of hearing “food is fuel” but it’s true. Sure pizza and beer is delicious and necessary on occasion but it certainly does not better one’s performance – unless you know something I do not. And no: it’s not always easy to nourish your body and yes it takes time and getting used to at first but I promise you it is worth it – even if you gain some weight (which might make you feel awful in some clothes) but if it allows you to perform and thrive? Well, that’s a no-brainer to me.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts2

Eat your veggies, ladies. And fuel your body right.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts3

 

Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients (Makes 1-2 servings)
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with tin foil and set aside.

2. Cut off the bottom of the Brussels sprouts, remove the outer leaves and cut each in half.

3. Place the trimmed and halved Brussels sprouts in a medium bowl and coat with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

4. Arrange the Brussels sprouts halves cut side down on the baking sheet and pour any remaining mixture on top.

5. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes then remove and flip each Brussels sprout.

6. Continue roasting for an additional 15 minutes until crispy.

 

 

Questions of the day…

Brussels sprouts – love ‘em or hate ‘em?

 

_______________________________________________

Keep in touch:

Twitter –> @thelilhoneybee

Instagram –> thelittlehoneybee

Facebook –> The Little Honey Bee

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