May 03 2013
Apr 04 2013
It seems like every conversation I have includes the word ’stress’, and usually not in a good way. Work, family, the economy, even the weather cause stress in our lives. The good news is that more of us are using healthy stress management techniques such as exercise, meditation, and even choosing nutritious foods to reduce stress levels.
Read more about the relationship between food and stress in a blog I wrote for the Summit Medical Group.
What are your favorite - healthy - ways to deal with stress?
Feb 07 2013
February is heart month
It’s a perfect time to make dietary and lifestyle changes
that can help protect your heart.
In addition to daily activity and a low-stress lifestyle,
eating a diet that is high in fiber, low in saturated fat and cholesterol,
and helps you maintain a healthy weight
is one of the best things you can do to protect your heart.
Read more quick, simple and delicous heart-healthy tips here
Jan 26 2013
Girls on the Run is one of my favorite organizations, and I’m thrilled to be involved with a new 5K event in Rutland this year.
In 2012, GOTR Vermont:
- had 462 coaches working with 2450 girls
- contributed over $140,000 in scholarships to make sure every girl can participate
- had more than 7000 participants in two 5K events
Several of the women in our running group coach GOTR in their schools. We’ve had local GOTR groups enthusiastically volunteer at water stops during the Shires marathon. I know parents who started running because their girls encouraged them.
Learn. Dream. Live. Run
Jan 04 2013
January is Prevent Glaucoma Month, and a perfect time to choose healthy foods to help protect your eyesight. For example, omega-3 fatty acids in salmon and sardines improve blood flow and reduce pressure in the eye. Read more delicious tips here: http://www.summitmedicalgroup.com/feature/Nutrition/Help-Prevent-Glaucoma-With-Good-Nutrition/
Nov 21 2012
Holidays, and especially Thanksgiving, may seem like a nutritional nightmare with large quantities of foods high in fat and sugar. You don’t have to give up all of your favorites to celebrate a happy – and healthy – holiday. Use a three-step approach for Thanksgiving and any other holiday to enjoy family favorites, establish new traditions, and promote good health.
Step one: what is most important about the holiday? Most likely mashed potatoes and gravy aren’t more important than being with family, celebrating with friends, or taking part in religious activities. What does the holiday truly mean to you and your family?
Step two: look for balance in your food choices. Include vegetables along with stuffing, opt for fresh fruit as one of your dessert options, and provide plenty of calorie-free beverages for everyone to enjoy.
Step three: fit in time for exercise. Some families play flag football in the back yard or go for a walk after the holiday meal. Our boys always looked forward to sledding with their cousins as part of their holiday traditions.
I asked several friends to share the healthy holiday traditions they enjoy with their families. Use their suggestions to establish new family traditions:
Participate in the 17th Annual Running of the Turkeys 5K (3.1 miles) event in Arlington on Thanksgiving morning. This is a fun, no pressure event that welcomes walkers and runners of every age and ability. There’s even a 1K fun run for the kids.
Make foods from scratch and encourage everyone in the family to pitch in and help out in the kitchen. When we cook from scratch we control the fat, sugar and salt content of foods.
Schedule the holiday meal later in the day so you don’t end up eating a big meal twice in one day.
Use the traditional family china. Plates made more than 20 years ago are 1-2” smaller than today’s plates. When we eat from a smaller plate, we automatically eat almost 30% less!
What are your favorite ways to celebrate Thanksgiving with a nod toward health? Please share!
Oct 10 2012
I decided to run my first marathon right before I turned 40. Running had been a part of my life since I was in ROTC as an undergrad at the University of Vermont, and I quickly learned to enjoy the stress relief and accomplishment I felt from running. For years I ran to have fun, to tune out the noise of the busy world around me, to breathe fresh air, and to stay strong. As I neared 40, perhaps as a way of thumbing my nose at middle age, I decided to run a marathon.
I didn’t tell anyone except my husband, afraid that I’d fail. Runner’s World magazine provided training plans, guidance on what and when to eat, and tips for race day. Before I started marathon training, my longest race was a 10K - 6.2 miles. A marathon is 20 miles longer, but I figured it was just more steps forward, for a longer period of time.
I lined up at the very back of the crowd at the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, VT. The folks at the back are usually friendly and helpful, and I was encouraged by their enthusiasm. Mike took a picture of me at about 4 miles into the race, with a big smile on my face. The smile later turned into concentration, then grimaces (blisters), despair (would I ever finish the race?), determination (my parents taught us to never give up, and if I didn’t crumble during Army boot camp, I certainly wasn’t going to let a marathon stop me), and finally relief and joy.
I ran my 32nd marathon this past weekend in Milwaukee, state #28 on my quest to run a marathon in every state. What started as a way to prove to myself that 40 isn’t old and washed up became an integral part of my life over the past 14 years. I purchased one of my favorite shirts at the Marine Corps Marathon: “The few, the proud, the Marine-athoners”. Only .5% of the US population has completed a marathon. It doesn’t matter if you win the race, place in your age group, or come in last. When you cross the finish line after 26.2 miles, the enormity of what you just accomplished slams you square in the chest. You logged hundreds of miles in training, learned to tolerate or even like the taste of sports drinks and gels; delt with blisters, sore muscles, frozen eyelashes, drenching heat; understand the terms ‘interval training’, ‘hill work’, and ‘taper’ and have come to love a device called simply ‘The Stick’. You gave up family outings, rescheduled work meetings, got up 2 hours early to fit in a run, and changed your eating habits. You learned that you’re stronger than you thought, both in body and in spirit.
For the past two years I’ve led a women’s marathon training group, encouraging other women to take up the marathon challenge and meet it head on. Training for and running a marathon with other women multiplies the fun and the emotions. You’re excited to see your family at the finish line, and you also search for your running buddies, the ones who got you through the training miles and would never let you give up. Together, you’re marathoners.
If running a marathon is on your bucket list, join us as we start training November 17th for the Shires marathon on May 19, 2013. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, and check out our training group Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TrainingforMore
Be part of the .5%.
Aug 30 2012
We make hundreds of choices each day:
- which shirt to wear
- what to drink with lunch
- whether or not to return a phone message
- what time we’re going to bed
- what to cook for dinner
- if we want to clean the bathroom or read a book
We may not realize that one of our most important daily choices is our attitude. The fun and happy folks at the Pike’s Place Fish Market in Seattle pioneered this concept and I was reminded of it today during a discussion with one of my clients. When we wake up in the morning, not only do we choose which color socks to wear, but we also choose our attitude. We can decide to be happy or angry; positive or negative; energetic or lethargic; friendly and outgoing or keep to ourselves.
I don’t mean to sugarcoat a difficult situation, or to ignore reality. We may work in a demanding job, but we can choose to look at our responsibilities in a positive vs a negative light. We may be under tremendous stress, but we can choose to find something that energizes us in each day.
Tomorrow when you wake up, stop and think for a minute as you’re deciding between cereal or toast. How do you want to approach the day? It’s your choice.
Aug 08 2012
Are you the type of person who prefers a straight road, where you can see far off into the distance and know exactly what lies in front of you?
Or are you the type who likes twists, turns, and surprises around the corners?
If you’re the surprise-loving type, today’s walk is perfect for you, because every time we turned a corner or came up to the top of a hill, the view or the path itself changed completely.
We started our walk today in sunshine along a narrow, paved country road with old stone walls covered in ivy, tall hedges, and green fields with cows or sheep stretching off to both sides.
Our first turn of the day took us off the paved road and onto a rocky farm road that continued through fields.
Another turn and we were walking through a pine forest. We climbed over a wooden stile and walked on a wide, grassy path through an area recently logged. The path rose up steeply, and at the top we were rewarded with views of the mountains in front of us, and now familiar Sugar Loaf mountain behind us. We caught glimpses of this mountain all day yesterday, and it really puts into perspective how little distance we’ve actually covered.
The grassy path narrowed, and as we turned another corner we found ourselves walking single-file on a boot-sucking-muddy, narrow track that wound through tightly packed - and very prickly - gorse bushes.
We crossed an actual paved road and after winding along for a short distance crossed the Glenmacnass River on a shaky wooden bridge and headed into a dark forest.
So little sunlight reaches the floor of some of these forests that moss covers all of the trees, rocks, and stone walls. It’s so dark that we can’t see more than a few feet into the forest. No wonder fairy tales always featured scary creatures lurking in the forest!
Another turn and we walked up a hill on a wide, rocky forest road. Mike’s tall enough that he can see over most of the bushes, but I had to wait for a break before I could see a small town and a church steeple in the valley far below us.
The wide forest road narrowed, and suddenly we were walking up a very steep incline on large rocks, reminding us of hiking in Vermont. We crested the hill and both the Upper and Lower Lakes of Glendalough (which in Irish means “valley of the two lakes”) came into view. Glendalough is today’s destination, but we know we have many more turns ahead of us before we reach tonight’s B&B.
Another turn and we were off the stony forest road onto another boggy, muddy forest path. We climbed over a series of four wooden stiles which ended at another paved road, with the Glendalough Hotel in front of us.
We were greeted by throngs of tourists spilling from several large tourist busses, somewhat of a shock to our system after walking all day and seeing only 4 other people. The visitor center houses several interesting exhibits about the history of Glendalough, and the short movie explains how Saint Kevin settled here in the 6th century and founded a monastery which eventually attracted thousands of students. He left behind a small stone church, a larger stone cathedral, and a 108′ tall Round Tower built over 1000 years ago.
Our guidebook describes a 15 minute walk from the hotel to the Riversdale B&B along the Glendasan River. Riversdale is on the other side of the river, which means we walk across the large stones that cross the river to get to the other side.
We maintain our balance and safely reach the lovely house, surrounded by stone walls and gardens. We only walked 6 miles today, but the three hour journey included a wide variety of scenery, paths, ups and downs, and even weather with sunshine early on, overcast skies, and a bit of mist that threatened to turn into rain but was never worth putting on raingear. This is our last night of the walking tour, complete with another roundtrip journey over the rocks in the river to get to dinner - stay tuned for that story.
Aug 07 2012
I’ve come to love an Irish breakfast: eggs, thick and meaty bacon, small delicious sasuages the size of my pinkie finger, grilled tomato, and thick brown Irish soda bread. Yvonne, the owner of Coolakay House and our host for the night, explained to us that her husband and several generations of his family were born on this farm. Her mother-in-law bakes the Irish brown soda bread for breakfast each day, and it was by far the best soda bread we’ve yet enjoyed. Their 19th century farmhouse is home to not only the B&B, but is also a working farm with sheep and cattle in the fields.
Well-fueled, we were ready to go when Kevin picked us up and dropped us off at the start of today’s 19km walk.
The Wicklow Way is well-marked, but the detailed route description provided by Wonderful Ireland walking tours is priceless. We walked through pine forests which opened to amazing views of the Glencree Valley, Sugar Loaf mountain, and even the Irish Sea in the distance.
We walked the final three kilometers to the Wicklow Way Lodge, our B&B for the evening, on increasingly narrow country lanes that were lined on each side with stone walls overgrown with ivy and holly. As we crossed the River Avonmore on a stone bridge built in 1828, we saw an Irish family throwing sticks into the river for their Lab to fetch. As usual in Ireland, we struck up a conversation and learned that the wife had played basketball for the Irish national team and traveled to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. Her daughter plays Gaelic football, sort of a cross between soccer and rugby and hugely popular in Ireland. Her team has been invited to play in Boston next year, and we chatted about travel, sports, and Irish connections around the world.
We kept our fingers crossed all day that it wouldn’t rain while we were hiking, and we were actually rewarded with bright sunshine as we finished our walk at the beautiful B&B.
Our room is lovely, with wooden floors, a cathedral ceiling, and floor-to-ceiling windows that seem to attract the family’s chickens. It’s a comfortable spot to put up our feet and relax after 5 hours walking, and to rejuvenate before tomorrow’s walk as we head into Glendalough.