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Reflection to Action In my last article for Suffer Better, I started a conversation about blood biomarker monitoring. Because we are nearing the end of the year (!!), I want to pause from the blood biomarker dialog and plant some ideas for wrapping up this year and moving into the next. Get your RARA going… The last couple months of each year seem to be especially busy times. Perhaps not so much from an exercise or training standpoint, as most athletes take this time of the year for off-season and to enjoy a more relaxed training schedule. Instead, the weeks are filled with holiday parties, end of year work deadlines, holiday shopping, and family gatherings. For those wondering how to manage their food intake during this hectic time, you can find plenty of advice in popular media right now. Advice such as “don’t starve yourself before the party”, “hydrate well”, “get in regular exercise”, “snack smart”, and “eat slowly and mindfully”. This is all great advice to get through the remaining weeks of 2017, yet I would also like to propose a few other ‘exercises’ for this month that will help prepare you for a successful year ahead. The exercises are: Reflect, Assess, Resolve, and Act. Here is more detail on each: Reflect: Ponder this year in the context of health and your physical fitness (or athletic progress if you are an athlete). What has gotten better or worse? Have you had testing specific to your needs to really know your health status? Are you gaining unwanted weight, injured frequently, seeing a loss of strength or speed, or struggling to maintain energy in your daily living and during training? Take the time to think about the successes and defeats without judgement. There are few of us who will find that everything is perfect with no room to improve on some level. Assess: With what you have noted from this year, now take some time to piece it apart. This may require another set of eyes from a health practitioner or coach, but one of the goals includes determining the influences or contributors to success or failure. Did you let nutrition fall by the wayside? Did you overwork yourself? What about sleep and stress management? This can be a difficult task, but one that is necessary in order to get a better grasp of things in your life that need to change. I would also add here to include an assessment of behaviors you are willing to modify towards positive outcomes in your life. It’s all well and good to know what you are supposed to do, but entirely irrelevant if you do not understand the reasons or you are not motivated to act. Resolve: Many people tend to skip the aforementioned two steps and jump to the New Years Resolutions. Unfortunately, the success rate for these individuals is very low. It makes sense why - you can’t just say you want to do amazing things without taking the time to understand how you got to where you are now. So, be sure you’ve done adequate self-reflection and self-assessment before starting your resolution list. What are the things you need to do to begin tackling the areas of needed improvement? And most importantly, what are you really ready to do NOW? Make a list of the process goals that will support your overall outcome goal(s). For example, if you know you tend to eat poorly when you have busy work weeks, a process goal is to spend two hours on the weekend to prepare some meals for the week ahead. Act: The rewarding part is now to take steps forward. The world is your oyster, so to speak. You’ve done your homework on Project You so now give the plan your best effort, one step and one day at a time. You will have bumps in the road and occasional setbacks. So long as you have the courage and patience to get back on the horse (and learn from those setbacks), you will keep going forward towards the successes you desire! I hope you will make some time to do these exercises this month. Oh, and don’t forget that a Registered Dietitian or Sports Dietitian (RD or CSSD) can be a part of your support team to propel you forward! Dina Griffin, MS, RDN, CSSD, CISSN, METS II Board Certified Sport Dietitian Registered Dietitian www.enrgperformance.com email@example.com
Stir-Fried Sweet Potato and Pork* You can kick off sweet potato season at your house with this stir-fry, and if you hadn’t thought of using them that way before, you have company. Here, they take on the savory flavors of the quick sauce; cut and cook them as directed — a little shy of fully tender and with edges for crisping — and you’ll get the benefit of their natural sweetness as well. There’s not much to prep in this recipe, but I would suggest taking a few minutes to first shred fresh cabbage as an accompaniment. It adds a welcome crunch and keeps this meal in low-carb territory. INGREDIENTS 2 or 3 large cloves garlic 2-inch piece fresh ginger root 3 scallions 1 pound sweet potato 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or tamari 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1/2 teaspoon sugar or honey 6 ounces ground pork (*of course, you can substitute ground beef, turkey, chicken or tofu too.) 1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil Pinch crushed red pepper flakes DIRECTIONS Mince enough of the garlic to yield 1 tablespoon. Peel and mince the ginger to yield 1 tablespoon. Separate the scallion whites and greens; chop each. Peel the sweet potato, and either grate it in a food processor (cut into chunks first), cut it into matchsticks or use a spiralizer. Whisk together the wine or dry sherry, the soy sauce or tamari, the Worcestershire sauce and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the pork and stir with a fork to incorporate. Heat a wok or large, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over high heat. Drizzle in the oil so that it coats the sides of the wok. Working quickly, add the garlic, ginger and scallion whites; stir-fry for 5 seconds, then add the pork mixture and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until the pork is cooked through. Add the sweet potato; stir-fry for about 6 minutes and try to create some crisped edges on it, if possible. Some of the sweet potato pieces will still be somewhat firm. Remove from the heat. Divide among individual bowls. Garnish each portion with the scallion greens. Serve hot. From the Washington Post
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