Mar
21
2013

Introducing: Honey Stinger!

Have you heard the latest buzz?

 

Honey Stinger is all the rage in the endurance world, and it is in large part to the unique taste of the products offered that expand upon the traditional gels and chews. According to honeystinger.com, the idea for a honey-based energy product was devised in 1954, by a beekeeper named Ralph Gamber and his wife Luella – together, the two created the “EN-R-G Bar” and introduced "quick energy" packets of honey as ways to fuel on-the-go. Fifty years later, the brand Honey Stinger was founded, and the same principle applies today as honey is used as the main sweetener in all of the products. 

 In most nutrition products, a ratio of glucose (maltodextrin) to fructose is used to facilitate quick energy release and a sweet, tasty flavor. In Honey Stinger, USDA certified organic pure honey gives an all-natural, easily digestible energy alternative to the other products out there. 


Now I should mention that I typically use an assortment of gel packets as my go-to fuel of choice during long runs and races, mostly because of the ease of use that comes with food that can be swallowed in one gulp, versus constant chewing. Honey Stinger offers honey-based gels in organic flavors including acai-pomegranate, vanilla, and fruit smoothie, and classic flavors of honey GOLD and honey GINSTING (with ginseng and 32mg caffeine). My personal favorites are the fruitier varieties, but all of the flavors have a hint of honey aftertaste.  

 

 Energy chews, therefore, are used as a snack of choice before my workouts or as a treat during the day. Basically a more glorified version of the kid-friendly fruit snacks that we would pack in our school lunches (or maybe you are still a kid at heart and will prefer these as a more adult-ified option), these are packed with cramp-busting electrolytes and a hefty dose of vitamin C for antioxidant (anti-inflammatory) properties. Pink lemonade, fruit smoothie, and acai-pomegranate are fabulous flavors we carry and recommend, and as a bonus, taste GREAT when eaten cold (HINT: put in the freezer for a refreshing treat).

 

 Protein bars – available in 10 gram and 20 gram options, these bars are best when eaten as a recovery snack 30-45 minutes post-workout to replenish those glycogen stores and get those muscles rebuildin’! Chocolate coated peanut butta (did you say Reese cup?) is a good one. If you like coconut, try the dark chocolate coconut almond flavor. You can't go wrong here if you like anything coated in chocolate.

 

And drumroll please… introducing the star of the show, the waffle!!! 

 

A waffle, you ask? Inspired by the ‘stroopwafel’ in Europe, this all portable, all-organic version is basically a mix between a cookie, waffle cone, graham cracker, vanilla wafer… basically it is a dessert disguised as a nutritious energy source. A great option for biking, and while not the easiest to eat on the run, with a running buddy (a belt-less accessory pouch), anything is possible.

 

So you have the facts, now here are some first-hand testimonials of just how palatable the Honey Stinger products are by some of our local running and walking enthusiasts:

 

 “I'm not coordinated enough to run and chew at the same time. With other brands, their energy chews are either HUGE or really hard, so I can't actually use them on the run. The Honey Stinger chews are awesome, though. They're smaller & softer, which makes them way more convenient on the run - plus, I can put these things away like candy.”

 

“Honey Stinger waffles are awesome! Although they're pretty much a tasty cookie, they're also quick to digest and make a perfect pre- or post- run snack. Vanilla is the best! The gels are perfect for quick boost of energy during a long run, but I would recommend taking them with water since they're so sweet.”

 

And here at the Columbus Running Company, we go to the extreme for our customers. What is better than one Honey Stinger product? How about a Honey Stinger sundae?! Pictured below, this beauty includes vanilla yogurt topped with Honey Stinger pink lemonade energy chews, Honey Stinger chocolate covered peanut butta protein bar sprinkled on top, and a Honey Stinger strawberry waffle drizzled with Honey Stinger acai-pomegranate gel.

 

The Verdict: “It wasn't too bad, but now (my) tummy hurts and I have a bad aftertaste in my mouth.”

Conclusion: Maybe just stick to one Honey Stinger at a time.

 

 

Full product information and nutrition facts are available at: http://www.honeystinger.com/common/pdf/ProductInfoPacket.pdf

Jan
27
2013

Anti-Inflammatory Foods and Running

Running can bring us great pleasure and satisfaction on a daily basis.  However, whether it be after a workout or race, or as a result of injury, muscle soreness and inflammation are necessary evils associated with running and working out as the body goes through a natural inflammatory response to trauma and stress.  While products known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, i.e. Ibuprofen) are available to help deal with pain and inflammation, it is not always optimal to load up on these drugs before or after training.  In fact, allowing the body to go through the inflammatory process can actually enhance adaptation to training and serves as a warning sign for when to back off as the body gets worn down or overstressed, instead of ignoring or masking the pain with medication. 

As a more natural solution to fighting off inflammation and improving healing and recovery to get the most out of training, try looking at the foods in your diet. To begin adding more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, consider the following recommendations:

Aim for MORE of the following:

A variety of fruits and vegetables- These foods are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, polyphenols (especially quercetin), and phytonutrients which fight free-radicals in the body to minimize inflammation.  Berries, cherries, apples, and orange/green vegetables are some of the best sources of these beneficial nutrients.  
 
Mono- and Poly-unsaturated fatty acids- both types of fat have anti-inflammatory benefits, which include sources such as oily fish (salmon, sardines), avocado, olive oil, walnuts, almonds, and seeds. 
 
Spices/herbs- add garlic, ginger, and turmeric to your meals for added taste and anti-inflammatory benefits.
 
Adequate amounts of lean protein-  protein is responsible for building and repairing muscle tissue after exercise or injury breaks it down, and also helps to reduce inflammation.  Lean sources such as baked, grilled or roasted meat or fish, beans/lentils, and low-fat dairy are all low in fat and are essential for recovery.
 

Try to eat LESS of the following:

Refined starches and processed foods- these are low in fiber and high in sugar, thus causing a sharp increase in blood sugar and inflammation throughout the body.  Examples are white breads, pastas, crackers, cookies, and candy. 
 
High fat foods and refined oils- foods with large amounts of saturated and trans- fat actually increase inflammation in the body.  This includes foods that are fried/battered, topped with cream sauces or butter, higher fat cuts of meat, full-fat dairy, and safflower, corn, and canola oils.
 
Red meat- fatty cuts of red meat are typically high in arachadonic acid, a pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid, so try to keep levels of this low. Aim for more lean forms of protein to avoid ingesting toxic levels of this fat. 
 
Foods causing allergic reactions or inflammatory reactions in the gut- those who are allergic to milk, gluten, eggs, or nuts should avoid these foods to prevent inflammation and decreased absorption. 
 
 
**For more tips on how to improve your running/walking or recovery, contact Stephanie Hillman, RD, LD at shillman@columbusrunning.com.  Individual nutrition consultations are available!  Visit www.columbusrunning.com/Home/nutrition.
 
Jan
27
2013

Heart Healthy Running!

Did you know that February is American Heart month?


Heart disease, a disorder of the blood vessels of the heart that can lead to a heart attack, is the leading cause of death in the United States By engaging in regular physical activity you are already taking important steps to prevent this disease and keep your heart strong and healthy.  Additionally, lifestyle choices such as managing stress and being a non-smoker play a crucial role in longevity.  Lastly, it also comes down to our food choices.  You didn’t think I was going to leave that out, did you?  After all, healthy, happy hearts start in the kitchen!  Below are some simple steps you and your family can take to lower the risk for heart disease:

 A Heart-Healthy diet should be:

  • Low in saturated and trans fats- Avoid baked goods/pastries, crackers, deep-fried items and processed foods which have high levels of these unhealthy fats and will raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol level.  Aim for low-fat dairy products (such as part-skim mozzarella cheese, low-fat/fat free yogurt, and skim milk) and lean meats/fish, and choose to bake, broil, roast, stew, or stir-fry when cooking meats.
  • High in omega-3 fatty acids- Foods high in omega-3s include fish, flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, and olive/canola oil. Consume oily fish (such as salmon or tuna) at least twice a week for the heart-healthy benefits.
  • High in fiber- Consumewhole grains, fruits and vegetables to help lower LDL cholesterol and get the benefits of many essential nutrients found naturally in foods (such as antioxidants)which protect against inflammation and heart disease. Look for products with the label statement to the right on the food label to assure it is made with whole grains.
  • Low in salt- A diet low in salt helps reduce blood pressure levels. According to the Mayo Clinic (2010), the main source of sodium in the average US diet (77%) comes from foods which are processed and prepared. The USDA recommends dietary intake of sodium to be less than 2,300 mg per day, while the American Heart Association recommends less than 1,500mg/day for reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

*Adapted from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/educational/hearttruth/lower-risk/index.htm

 

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