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Our friends at RAD (Real Athlete Diets) in Boulder are all about good food for ensuring great performance. They are big fans of pickled veggies and other foods, for a number of reasons. They shared their ideas with us, to share with you: The health benefits of fermented and pickled foods are undeniable. Your gut health is affected by intestinal flora, but did you know your immune and nervous systems can also be thrown off balance when things are out of order? Humans have the same amount of neurotransmitters in our stomachs as we do our brains. There is also 10 times more gut bacteria than the number of cells in the entire body. So, here's the deal, the naturally occurring probiotics in unpasteurized fermented foods can help rebalance your good bacteria and eliminate bloat, discomfort, headaches, diarrhea and fatigue to name a few. So, let's get pickling! This, right now, is a great time of year to start pickling for the winter. We - that's us at RAD (Real Athlete Diets) in Boulder - think all veggies taste great pickled, but go for items that are not starting to get soft or wilt and your end product will have a greater crunch. We love carrots, beets, green beans, cucumber. We even pickle chickpeas. Hard boiled eggs and thick cut bacon together is a mind blowing experience. We promise. Removing stems and ends before pickling veg is key as enzymes in both can lead to mushy product. Rinse all of your vegetables with cold water to make sure they are clean first. We get most everything from farms, so there's always plenty of dirt <3 Making the brine: without a proper brine, your vegetables will never become pickled. Having the proper ratio of vinegar, salt, sugar, and water. This ratio is a great standard for most anything you would like to pickle: Bring 2 cups vinegar, 1/4 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup sugar, up to 1/4 cup spices (e.g., peppercorns, coriander seeds, and/or mustard seeds), and 4 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Pour over vegetables in jars. Wipe dry and put lids on tightly. *Depending on the size of your jars, you may need more or less of the brine. You can always leave excess in the fridge and use later. You can mix your vinegars! Don't be afraid to use a combination of a couple. We use maple syrup or organic cane sugar. We prefer kosher salt as it is flat and dissolves easily. Add fresh herbs, fennel, ginger and whole garlic to add more flavor. Add dried spices for long lasting boost and a little heat: mustard seeds, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes. Make certain your jars/lids are sanitized. Make sure you are filling well and not leaving too much room for air. Use raw vegetables, not cooked and things will stay crisp. Finally, enjoy!
In my last post here on the Suffer Better blog, I busted some myths related to sweat and hydration. Let’s keep this train rolling for a bit longer and review a few points related to electrolyte intake. As you read in the previous post, the debate as to whether you need electrolytes (specifically, sodium) is a hot topic among researchers and sport scientists. You won’t find a widely agreed upon answer just yet. Kind of like there is no answer to whether chocolate ice cream or vanilla ice cream is more tasty. So, for the sake of argument (and education), let’s say you are a consumer of electrolyte products. No matter whether you have a preferred brand or you are new to experimenting with electrolyte formulas, there are a few facts you should be aware of: The electrolyte content among products varies widely. Thanks to marketing efforts, you may think you are getting a high potency product, but you need to take the time to check the label details for the actual sodium content per serving (sodium is the primary electrolyte we lose in sweat). Here is an example of two products on the market: Product A costs $0.15 per capsule with each capsule containing 40 mg of sodium. Product B costs $0.22 per capsule with each capsule containing 215 mg of sodium. Although Product A is cheaper per unit price, you may actually spend more money to get the equivalent dosing of Product B (due to Product A being 5 times less the sodium potency). The form of the sodium (or compound) in electrolyte products varies. For example, some common forms are sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, and sodium citrate. Some products feature one of these compounds while others feature multiple sodium compounds. Who cares? Well, your gastrointestinal tract does. Depending on the form, amount, and other ingredients in the product, you may not absorb as much sodium as you think. Additionally, you may experience gut upset (sloshing, bloating, cramping) if the product isn’t being absorbed efficiently. How much electrolyte to consume is quite individual. Assuming you first meet criteria for needing electrolytes, the amount varies based on how much you sweat (which is influenced by many factors) and your personal sweat sodium concentration. Fortunately, these two pieces of the puzzle can be quantified relatively easily. Periodically measuring your sweat rate is fairly straightforward and can be done on your own time. Measuring your sweat sodium concentration can be done with medical grade technology in less than 30 minutes (if using the service I offer through eNRG Performance). This is a non-exercise, “one and done” type of test (since the results are largely genetically determined) and you get the results immediately… which lets us begin our electrolyte and hydration fine-tuning strategies! Take a closer look at the products you use or the next time you are shopping… it can be eye opening! -Dina Griffin Board Certified Sport Dietitian firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries
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