Greens, Greens, and More Greens! 3 Quick & Easy Ways to Add More to Your Diet

Greens are so important to incorporate into your daily diet — they are nutritional powerhouses, and rich sources of minerals (plus, they are super low calorie)! (And… they were named one of the 10 most essential types of foods for endurance athletes by Triathlete Magazine)

Here are my three favorite ways of incorporating greens into my daily diet:

Kale Juice

Even if you’re not trying a cleanse, kale juice is a great way to fill up on some greens during the day. I like to have some in the morning and after workouts.

Some kale juice after a run last week! We buy locally from a place called Nectar Cafe in my town.

Some kale juice after a run last week! This juice is bought locally from a place called Nectar Cafe in my town.

Kale Chips

Make your own… they’re super tasty and SO healthy! The only ingredients are kale, sea salt, and olive oil.

Easy & Yummy!

Easy & Yummy!

Simple Salad with Bella Dressing

I try to have a mixed green salad with my favorite dressing every day. (Bella’s balsamic dressings are AWESOME… I like the pomegranate and strawberry flavors. They only have 10-20 calories per serving, and 2-5 grams of sugar). Simple salads are a great complement to a meal if you’re really hungry and need a quick fix — and can serve as its own meal if you add some protein (like chicken or steak) and other toppings (I like strawberries, almonds, and raisins)!

Best. Dressing. Ever.

Best. Dressing. Ever.

What are your favorite ways to incorporate greens into your diet?

Tri Hard,

Caity

Tri Treat: Spinach Banana Smoothie (Tastes like Bananas!)

Looking for a low-cal, sweet smoothie (and a way to fit in your greens)? Try this!

Spinach Banana Smoothie (two servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas (220 calories)
  • 1 cup spinach (10 calories)
  • 1 cup ice (unless bananas are frozen)
  • 1 3/4 cup almond milk (30 calories)

Total calories: 260 calories – 130 per serving

Blend until smooth.

This smoothie is perfect after a workout, as a quick breakfast, or a healthy snack! Although the coloring is green, it has a more banana-like taste.

Enjoy!

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Tri Hard,
Caitlin & Kaitlin

Eating Clean: A Triathlete’s Guide to a Dairy & Gluten Free Diet

Diet is a huge part of ensuring peak performance come race day. Whether we like it or not, the foods we eat each day helps shape our body, our mind, our mood — you get the idea.

In high school, I was having really bad stomach problems. My family and I have never really eaten processed or junky foods (like Doritos, processed snacks, etc.) — we have always bought organic and have eaten relatively healthy — so I didn’t think what I was eating could be what was making my stomach hurt. But one day, I was proven otherwise — after eating Annie’s mac and cheese after a workout, my stomach pain became so intense that I was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. I was also feeling sick during a lot of my workouts, and I wanted to get to the root of what was wrong.

After a few days in the hospital and a few weeks of various tests, a “mild lactose intolerance” was the only thing that came up. The doctor explained that sometimes my stomach was fine with dairy, but that other times I reacted extremely to it. Happy that (so we thought) the culprit for my stomach pain was gone, I now had to get used to the idea that I had to cut dairy out of my diet.

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Incorporating greens into your diet is important – whether it’s through juice, homemade kale chips (yum!), salad, or otherwise.

After a few months of trying to continue to eat dairy with Lactaids (bad idea), I decided to cut it out of my diet completely. It was definitely a big change — a lot more foods have dairy in them than I thought — but I was feeling a lot better.

A few years later, I forget that I used to miss eating dairy. Since then, I’ve been diagnosed with IBS, a stomach condition that also forces you to restrict what types of foods you eat. I cut gluten completely out of my diet (I have a gluten sensitivity, not celiac disease) about two and a half months ago, and I’ve felt a huge difference.

Some of my favorite snacks - gluten free cereal, almond milk, fat-free hummus, strawberries, and pure organic blueberry bars

Some of my favorite snacks – gluten free cereal, almond milk, fat-free hummus, strawberries, and pure organic blueberry bars

If you’re thinking about dairy and gluten free, here are a few tips:

  • Coordinate with your family or school to make sure options will be available for you. Let others know (politely, of course!) of your dietary needs before eating out or eating with company if need be.
  • Find “Safe” Foods One of the biggest adjustments of going GF and/or Dairy free is learning to find “safe” foods while eating out or with company. It IS possible, though! As a backup, clean foods like salads are usually always available.
  • Educate yourself! Some foods that may seem “safe” can prove to be otherwise (for example – many soy sauces have gluten!) There are myriad websites and food stores that carry information and products suited to GF/dairy free lifestyle. Try Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s (or your local supermarket’s GF section — many are starting to pop up) and blogs like http://glutenfreeegirl.tumblr.com/
  • STICK TO IT! Cheating can make you feel sick or derail your new dietary lifestyle.
  • Plan ahead – If you know you’ll be going out with friends for the day or on a trip where some GF/dairy free snacks may not be available, plan ahead! Pack some bars, juices, or other snacks! (one of my favorites are pistachios)
  • Find Favorites – It’s important to find some “go-to”s in your diet that work well with your stomach (especially while training). Some of my favorites are below!

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    Filling a reusable water bottle (like a nalgene) and keeping it handy can remind you to drink water more often! Lots of water is an important part of a healthy diet!

Stick to it! Eating clean makes you feel a lot better — with added energy, boosted mood, and overall better health. It helps a lot with training, too — no more stomach aches and diet-related fatigue during workouts.

More on this soon (and on GF/dairy free race nutrition).

Have you ever considered a GF/dairy free diet? Do you already eat this way?

Tri Hard,

Caity

My Experience with the BluePrint Cleanse: Update (and advice for the post-cleanse!)

For part one, check out this article: https://youngtri.com/2013/06/17/3-day-blueprint-juice-cleanse-worth-it-a-triathletes-perspective/

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Kaitlin and I love our juices! haha

I did the BluePrint cleanse (3 day) again this past week — and it went a lot better than the first time! This was becase I followed the post cleanse advice than the first time.

My advice for tackling the BluePrint cleanse: for awesome results that stick, make sure you eat lightly for 1-2 days before and after the cleanse. Especially afterwards, pay attention to your body and learn what the cleanse taught you — that you don’t need to be eating 24/7 to survive! My recommendation is to stick to mostly fruit & salads & juice for the post-cleanse to really work.

Have you tried a juice cleanse? What’s your experience with the days immediately after a cleanse?

Tri Hard,

Caity

3 Day BluePrint Juice Cleanse: Worth it? A Triathlete’s Perspective

I first heard about juice cleanses a few months ago — both online and on shows like Dr. Oz. At first, I thought it sounded completely absurd — how could drinking just juice for three days do any good?! But after a little bit more research (and trying some of the juices outside of the cleanse), I decided to try the 3-day BluePrint cleanse.

The Basics

The juices can either be purchased at your local Whole Foods or ordered online. If you decide to do the cleanse, I would recommend buying them at Whole Foods — because a case discount is offered, and even without the case discount is usually a bit cheaper than shipping the juices. There are three levels to the cleanse: Renovation, Foundation, and Excavation. The levels differ in that the first contains only two green juices and four fruit juices, while the second and third levels contain three and four, respectively. The juices are to be eaten in a specific order (check out the BluePrint website for this information).

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I ordered one of the three days of the cleanse online – and the juices came with numbers on them.

Although the green juice seemed the most daunting to me out of all of the juices (made of kale, apple, ginger, romaine, spinach, cucumber, etc.), I decided to go for the level two cleanse (Foundation).

The Juices

The juices in the Foundation cleanse were as follows:

Green Juice – A mild and sweet taste. Did not taste over vegetable-y. I actually quite like the green juice, and I drink it regularly outside the cleanse. However, some of my friends and relatives have tried it and hated it. It depends on your regular diet and food preferences as to whether this juice will appeal to you.

Gold Juice – MY FAVORITE JUICE. Sooooo good. Made of pineapple, apple, and mint, it has a perfect sweet taste. I like drinking it with salads and other meals occasionally outside of the cleanse.

Yellow Juice – Made of lemon, cayenne, and agave, this juice is a “spicy lemonade”. It took some getting used to with the hint of spice — but the sweet flavors are quite appealing. I actually prefer the green juice, but many who try the Blueprint cleanse like the lemonade better.

White Juice – From the reviews of the cleanse that I had read online before starting the cleanse, the white juice (“cashew milk” – made with cashews, vanilla, cinnamon, and agave) was supposed to be the “treat” at the end of the day and great-tasting. I, however, did not LOVE the cashew milk. It was okay, with sweet flavor and thick consistency, but I found it to be a bit too sweet and “heavy” after a few sips.

Although outside of the Foundation cleanse, BluePrint’s beet juice is probably tied for my favorite with the pineapple. Soooooo good. The beet juice is called “Red“, and is made of beets, apples, carrots, lemon, and ginger. As gross as it may sound to drink beet juice, from a blind taste test it would definitely taste more like a sweet fruit-type drink.

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The packet in the shipment read “like you, our juice is best chilled” — haha. Make sure to keep the BluePrint juices refrigerated!

The Cleanse

There are myriad ways in which you can approach a BluePrint cleanse — there are instructions on the website for what you’re ‘supposed’ to do before and after a cleanse, and so on and so forth. Before I started the three-day program, I ate a bit lighter for two days. This meant less frequent snacks and more salads. Nothing too crazy. Come start time for the cleanse, it made me a lot less hungry than if I had feasted prior to juicing.

I didn’t find the cleanse overall too difficult. I drank all six of the juices in order each day (except only about half of the cashew milk), and drank a lot of water to help keep my mind off of the fact that I wouldn’t be eating solid food for a few days. The most difficult parts for me were the constant headaches, dizziness and lightheadedness after exercising on the cleanse, and spacing out drinking the juices properly.

You’re not technically encouraged to work out while cleansing (since you’re basically consuming under 1,000 calories and no solid food), but I didn’t listen to this rule and biked 22 miles the first day, and ran 3.5 one of the others (one of the days I took off). I felt reaaaaaally out of it during/after these workouts since I stupidly did them at full pressure with nothing in my system. If you do decide to cleanse and work out, be careful and make sure you have a juice before and after the workout!

My other complaint with the cleanse would have to be that I got quite a few headaches. This probably comes with the territory of not eating solid food for three days, but it was still irritating… haha. But this problem was almost completely rid of with a few Advil and/or naps here and there.

Be sure to plan out (roughly) when you will drink each juice during the day so that you don’t finish too early or forget to drink some of the juices.

Overall, the cleanse was a bit challenging, but my hunger decreased a great deal by the end of the second and third days and I definitely felt a bit “refreshed” by the end of it.

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Blueprint juices are also great outside of the cleanse! Here with a strawberry vinaigrette salad.

Results

After the cleanse, I lost 6 pounds (this was in three days). But I also felt really great — a bit more energized and not sluggish at all. However, I went a little bit crazy after the cleanse and ate a lot over the next few days. In retrospect, I would have done a bit more of a structured “post-cleanse” program and eased back into food a little more instead of diving right back into meals and snacks.

If you’re looking for a challenge and a bit of a “system restart”, I’d recommend the BluePrint cleanse. Check out the BluePrint website beforehand to choose the level that’s right for you, or go to a local juicing store (we have one in Glen Rock!) and buy similar juices there. You can also always try making your own if you have a juicer and are looking to save some money (the BluePrint juices are quite pricey — $7-10 depending on your location)!

Have you tried a cleanse? Do you plan to? What are your thoughts on the juicing craze?

Tri Hard,

Caity

Post-Workout Snack: Hummus

Hummus is the best. Seriously. I resisted my mom’s suggestion to try the spread for a loooooooong time, but finally gave in earlier this year. (Probably due in part to the fact that I found a really yummy restaurant called Hummus when I visited my cousin at Penn).

Hummus is relatively low-fat (depending on what brand you buy — I like Cedar and Whole Foods brand, and have also tried Tribe and other zero-fat brands). The yummy spread is made mainly from chickpeas and sunflower oil, so it’s a great alternative to other fatty spreads (like peanut butter and nutella). The flavor is a satisfying mixture of sweet and tangy. It comes in various flavor variations, like classic original, red pepper, and garlic. Depending on my mood, I usually stick to classic or pepper. Neither is spicy.

There’s nothing better than coming back from a workout and having a really good snack — so next time you’re cravings kick into gear post swim, bike, or run, try hummus on a few of my favorite things:

Pretzels (I like gluten free Glutino brand)

Think Healthy natural whole grain thin cakes (only 54 calories in 3 cakes)

Veggies – like carrots

Fruits – like apples

Give hummus a try! You won’t regret it. Yuuuuuum.

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Tri Hard,

Caity

To check out the Hummus restaurants in PA, click here.

Post-Workout Snack: Peanut Butter. Almond Butter. So Many Butters.

After a workout, you’re probably tired. Sore. Ready to take a nap. Even if you have runner’s high and don’t feel the effects of the workout on your body just yet, one thing’s probably certain: you’re hungry. It’s easy to reach for a bar or other pre-made snacks after a tough swim, bike, or run — but there are plenty of other options out there.

One great option for both protein and taste is almond/peanut butter.

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BallouSkies Peanut Butter for a cause

I prefer the Whole Foods organic brands for almond butter, as well as Justin’s (there are also almond butter packets and different flavors available for purchase – I’ve tried them during workouts and they’re great). For a creamy, satisfying peanut butter, I like BallouSkies best. I tried the peanut butter a year or so ago and have been hooked ever since. Plus, the proceeds go to a great cause – finding a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Whether you prefer almond butter or peanut butter, eating it by the packets or making a sandwich, both spreads are full of protein that will keep you filled after your workout. Below are some options to choose from next time you’re scrounging around in your kitchen for a snack post-workout:

Almond/Peanut Butter Packets

They’re easy. And taste good as well as have a great deal of protein. Enough said.

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Fruit Sandwich

Toast up some of your favorite bread (whether it’s gluten-free, sourdough, whole wheat or otherwise) and slather some almond/peanut butter (and some jelly and nuts if you’re up to it) along with some strawberries or bananas. Yum!


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Rice Cake Alternative

If you’re trying to cut back on your bread intake, try the same thing on rice cakes! Quick, easy and yummy. And rice cakes tend to be low-calorie if you buy the right brand.

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Here’s to enjoying post-workout snacks! Yum.

Tri Hard,

Caity

[YUM.] Some New Favorite Foods to Mix into Your Daily Routine

We all have our favorite foods – even in the “healthy food” realm. Whether it’s your go-to sweet treat or you favorite healthy bar or fruit, it can be tough to think outside the box and to try new things. Below are some of my favorite new healthy foods I have come across at Whole Foods. Give them a try!

THE BAR: Just Great Stuff – Organic Superberry Açai

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Bars are great for quick nutrition and easy snacks. I love the Just Great Stuff bar because it packs in a TON of antioxidants and fruit and also tastes sweet, moist and satisfying. The brand also has a cocoa variation (among others), so check it out!

THE MILK ALTERNATIVE: Unsweetened Original Almond Milk

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Whether you are lactose intolerant or just looking for a change from regular milk, Almond milk is a great alternative. It’s low in calories and fat, and still holds a similar consistency and flavor of milk. I prefer the unsweetened original variation, but there are sweetened, chocolate and vanilla versions available also.

THE HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE TO BAKED BREADS AND CAKES: Flax and Honey Banana Bread

The other day while I was shopping at Whole Foods, I passed by a sample table with this Flax and Honey Banana Bread. Upon tasting it and looking at how healthy the recipe was (no added sugar, no butter, no eggs), I was hooked. Next time you are looking for a yummy baked food, try the Flax and Honey Banana Bread. It’s easy to make and SO tasty.

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They had cute little mini loaves for sale at Whole Foods the other day!

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THE FAVORITE FRUIT: Sweet Apples – Braeburn, Piñata

This one seems like an obvious choice. We all eat apples, right? Well, maybe. If you haven’t been adhering to the “apple a day keeps the doctor away” mantra lately or if you’re just trying to eat some more fruit, apples are the way to go. They’re quick, easy and can satisfy your sweet tooth – if you buy the right kind. The sweeter, crisp, juicy apple variations I find  to be the most satisfying. Look for these keywords on the label card by the apples next time your food shopping – and also look our for Braeburn and Piñata variations! They are so sweet and satisfying.

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HEALTHY GRANOLA: Purely Elizabeth

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Granola sounds healthy, so it must be… right? Not always. Be sure to look at the ingredients in the granola you’re choosing to make sure it isn’t processed or filled with fake sugars. Purely Elizabeth is a superb granola brand with whole ingredients and great taste. My favorite flavor is Cranberry Pecan, although there are other variations including blueberry. These granolas are gluten free, vegan, and filled with wholesome ingredients like quinoa. Yum!

More healthy yummy foods soon.

Tri Hard,

Caity

Tri Treats: Tangy, Sweet, Chocolatey [all low calorie. yum.]

Sometimes after a tough workout (or let’s be real, on a day off), cravings for sweet foods run rampant. These three yummy treats below (tangerine sorbet, yogurt strawberries and chocolate glazed donuts) are all low calorie, easy to make, and a great way to add a little sweet to your day, whether it’s before, after or instead of a workout 🙂

Tangerine Sorbet

The YoungTri team came across this yummy recipe in the New York Times a few days ago. The sorbet is light, refreshing and can be made with a number of different ingredients. It’s simple to make, and only uses water, sugar, honey and tangerine.

Sorbet is one of my favorite treats, and the simplicity and flavor in this recipe makes it an irresistible treat to try!

Check out the full recipe here.

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Yogurt Strawberries

Looking for something even more simple than the recipe above or a little bit more sweet than tangy? Try yogurt strawberries. All you have to do is dip strawberries in yogurt (can be a soy, almond or rice alternative), freeze and enjoy.

For more instructions, go here.

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Chocolate Glazed Donuts

Craving something a little bit more chocolatey but not wanting to waste a ton of calories on a snack? Look no further than these chocolate glazed donuts. They’re gluten free and low calorie (only 132 calories and 4g of fat per donut).

Get baking! Check out the full recipe here.

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Happy baking/eating!

Tri Hard,

Caity