Superfood Spotlight: KALE

We’ve all been hearing about how kale is so good for you and necessary in your diet and theres a good reason for this! Kale truly is the “queen of the greens” for many reasons.

For me the best part of kale is the wide variety of vitamins that I find are deficient in my diet. It is extremely high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and calcium. However, the biggest one is iron. As someone with severely low iron who doesn’t love beef, kale is a saviour.

Not only is it rich with vitamins, but kale holds fibre and powerful cancer protecting antioxidants. This makes it the perfect detox food to clean your body of toxins!

Since simply eating raw kale on it’s own probably isn’t your cup of tea, here’s two recipes I use to get all of these wonderful nutrients:

Kale Chips:
Ingredients:

-1 bunch kale
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the kale leaves from the stem with scissors and tear the leaves into chip size pieces. Wash the kale and dry in a salad spinner. Place kale on a cookie sheet. Drizzle the kale with olive oil and sea salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lighty brown and crispy. Enjoy!

Superfood Smoothie:
Ingredients:

-1 cup coconut water
– 1 banana
– 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
-1/2 cup kale
-1 tsp chia seeds
-1 tsp spirulina
-1 tsp fish oil
-1 tsp all natural peanut or almond butter
Directions:
Add all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add water if needed. Enjoy!

What’s your favourite way to eat kale? 

 

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Injury Prevention and Recovery: IT Band Syndrome

As a result of just moving into a new place and having to wait a week and a half for wi-fi (first world problems i know), I’m finally back to blogging!

We’ve all been there- you’re training hard and expecting a big PR in your next race when excruciating pain suddenly plagues you mid-run. Luckily these injuries can usually be prevented or you can make a quick recovery!

If you are a runner and have yet to experience IT band syndrome, you likely will. Whether it is simply some tightness in the band itself or a throbbing knee, taking care of your IT band is important!

Thanks to Google, I can tell you that the Iliotibial Band is a ligament that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin. When ITBS occurs, the IT band becomes tight and inflamed from overuse. The biggest symptom is pain on the outside of the knee.

Luckily numerous visits to the physiotherapist and many hours of research have made me a self-proclaimed IT band prevention and treatment expert!

If you’re having severe pain on the outside of your knee that is keeping you from running, go to your physiotherapist. But, if you’ve never had IT band problems or have in the past, it’s time to start some stretching and strengthening to make sure it never keeps you from training! Here’s what to do:

1. Stretch. Stretching out your glutes will be your saviour. Do this stretch everyday for 1 minute (or more!) on each side.
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2. Foam Roll. If you think foam rolling is evil now, wait until you foam roll your IT band! It’s beyond painful, but so worth it! Try to roll each side for a minute everyday.

3. Strengthen your booty. Surprisingly, this is the most important. While there are many glute exercises that will benefit IT band syndrome, the classic “clam shells” work magically! Start with 30 on each side everyday and increase to 40 after a week or two.

How do you stretch and strengthen your IT band?

Become a Runner

I always laugh when non-runners think I’m so crazy for “just an easy 8k today”, because to them that is crazy! For me, that would be a 40-minute run and in our world, that’s an easy run day. Since I’ve been running non-stop since my first cross-country meet in grade 3, I struggle to wrap my head around seeing people in the gym dying after 20 minutes jogging on the treadmill. I realize running isn’t easy and you can’t just go out for the “easy 8k” on your first day on the roads, so this post is dedicated to beginner’s who want to call themselves “runners”!

The biggest mistake with beginners is that they expect to be able to run for an extended period of time on the first day. This will not happen. While it seems tedious and boring, you’re going to have to start out with a run-walk. This simply means running for a period of time, then walking for a period of time and repeating this.

While I’m not a coach or expert, there are many “couch-to-5k” plans that follow this advice. Here’s one that I thought seemed great:
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Don’t try to go too fast or burn yourself out, take it easy and enjoy the experience! Soon you’ll be out there with the elites! If you’re already a runner, send this post along to a non-runner friend and spread the running joy. 🙂