Monday, May 16, 2011

Rice is Nice.


Poor rice! Rice is getting replaced in meals by more recently popularized stand-ins like quinoa, farro, and wheat berries. I like all of them, but there are some meals where I really want rice and only rice with my meal. Veggie stir-fries would only match up with white jasmine or short-grain brown. Anything but basmati seems wrong to pair with Indian food, and for soups; only white or wild rice will do.

My mom bought me two other varieties of rice recently: red and black. Given that I already knew brown rice is more nutritious than white rice, I wondered if the red and black rice were even more nutritious. I started to look up the nutritional information.

Originally I started to look up multiple varieties of each “color” or rice, but it turns out that the short-grain and long-grain varieties of the same color had the same nutritional info. To simplify the data, I limited the chart to one variety of each color:

White Rice (Jasmine) Brown Rice (short grain) Red Cargo Rice Black Rice
Serving Size 1/4 cup dry 1/4 cup dry 1/4 dry 1/4 cup dry
Calories 160 170 175 170
Total Carb 36g 38g 36g 38g
Fiber .5g 3g 2g 3g
Protein 3g 3g 3g 5g
Magnesium no data 20% 32% no data
Iron 2% 2% 4% 6%

Yep! Turns out the black rice is the most nutritious, then the red, then the brown, and finally the white rice. I imagine it won't be long before we start seeing the black and red varieties popping up in supermarkets and restaurants.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Good-bye track, hello pool!

I started looking into my options for how I can maintain my fitness while waiting for Mystery Leg Pain to heal. Have you heard of Aqua Jogging? I started looking up information about it and found testimony after testimony of how marathon runners have maintained their fitness level while working through an injury. The concept is not too strange, however the belt is! I ordered my AquaJogger belt through Amazon and it arrived in the mail yesterday. It came in a large cardboard box with lots of smiling geriatrics using it in the pool. Great! The belt also came with a workout guide with information on workouts and other equipment that might be useful (also manufactured by AquaJogger). There was also a DVD included that demonstrates some of the exercises. Here is what it looks like (on my lawn): IMG_6252 The fit: I ordered the women’s version, however now I am wondering if I was mistakenly sent the men’s style. I tossed the packaging already so I guess I can’t check. The elastic belt naturally gravitates to the small of my waist; I think it rides up too high. It’s not necessarily uncomfortable, but I wonder if from behind if I look like I am wearing a life preserver in the pool. Here is where it all went down: IMG_6254 What it was like: First off, I should mention that I don’t really enjoy swimming. I think this is because I am not an especially strong swimmer and I have never gotten over the fear of getting water in my nose. (Ugh, too many bad experiences as a child either getting dunked or thrown in the pool and having burning chlorine rushing into my nose!) Thankfully the belt kept my head well above water so my normal hesitations about jumping into the pool weren’t there. It took a little while to get a rhythm down and it was hard to concentrate on running form instead of trying to get from point A to point B. The belt was fine and soon I forgot it was even there. I ended up “running” for about 40 minutes. On all of the websites I looked at, they all mentioned that when water running; your heart rate will be lower than it is on land. I definitely experienced this. Also it was very strange to be breathing heavily with running motions and for my whole torso to be cool, but for my head to be hot. The verdict? Too soon to tell. I am fine with how today went and am looking forward to trying it out again on Thursday. Come next month, we will see if the proof is indeed in the pudding.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Running up that hill...

Welcome to my semi-fit blog. I wanted somewhere to chronicle my progression in running and maybe share a little bit about what it feels like to start from nearly the bottom. The blogosphere has proved to be a massive inspiration to me, it has given me the ability to read about other women pursuing (and achieving) some major health goals. Currently I am using Google reader to keep up with a couple dozen other young women who are interested in running, healthy eating, staying fit, etc. To date, I have completed a 5k running program with the help of a local running group organizer. Two weeks ago I ran in my first 5k ever! And this past weekend, I ran in another one! My times for them were 32:19 and 32:35. I am ok with those times, I feel like I tried my best and my goal is to come in under 30 minutes by the end of the summer. I tend to set unreasonably lofty goals (and then get disappointed when I don’t meet them), so this is my attempt at being a little more realistic. The 5k this weekend was a run to support a local organization called the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester. This is the only race in Rochester exclusively for women. Of the 1,231 runners, 49 of them were actually breast cancer survivors, awesome! If you are reading this and wondering why I am calling this “starting from the bottom” when I have already met my 5k distance goals, let me back up for a second. Truthfully this isn’t the bottom: The bottom was in February when I joined that running group I mentioned above. It was a twelve week running program comprised almost completely with people who were new to running. In fact, the first two weeks we started by just walking a half hour at a time! I should add at this point that I live in upstate New York. February in upstate is pretty brutal. We spent almost the first month of our meets in 20 degree weather! Another reason I am writing this blog is to share my experience with (drum roll please) my first running injury! I don’t know what it is yet, but this Sunday was my official last run for the next several weeks while it heals. It is a strange pain on the inside of my shin. My physician sent me right away for an ultrasound to make sure it was not a blood clot (it was not), now I am attending physical therapy, and then sometime this week I am getting an x-ray to make sure it is not a fracture. I first felt this mystery pain mid last month. I should have stopped running right away, but I was too excited to run in my first 5k (In addition to setting overly ambitious goals, I am also very stubborn). I know if you feel something, especially if you even think it is a stress fracture you should stop running. Do as I say, not as I do. When I realized this was something that required me to sit out for a while, I had a weekend of misery. I was depressed. It is amazing how quickly running has become a part of my life that I really look forward to and enjoy, not to mention the social aspects I got from running with my group. I am feeling more ok with waiting for the injury to heal after reading about lots of other bloggers experiencing injury and having to wait patiently to start up (slowly) again. The next running group starts in 37 days. Assuming it is not a stress fracture, I think that it will (hopefully) be enough time to heal. So for the next month I will do anything I can to maintain my fitness without putting a lot of impact on my leg. Wish me luck!