A Fresh Dille

a great response (and runner’s body fat percentages)

Posted in FITNESS, FOOD, RUNNING, VEGAN by clairedille on May 13, 2010

I really can’t start this post without saying a big thank you to everyone for understanding or trying to see where I was coming from when I wrote “tired of defending my choices.” Before posting, I was worried others would feel it was just a good whining session, but so many of you knew exactly where I was coming from and instead of fearing comments, I was full of joy reading each one over the last day.

Here are a few words/conclusions about the topic of having to defend or explain our food choices:

  • Many of you have also had instances where you were criticized or even poked fun because of the way you choose to eat.
  • When met with questions of curiosity concerning the way we eat, we are more than willing to answer and explain ourselves.
  • If we feel criticized or attacked by our food choices, it is best to try to keep our responses simple and maybe, try to shrug or laugh it off if you can.
  • Don’t feel like you have to explain yourself when others refuse to believe you are getting adequate protein, fat, and other nutrients. Many times, people are not aware that you make sure to take care of yourself and try your best to make your diet well-rounded, whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, etc.
  • Most importantly, as long as we feel personally satisfied and proud of the way we eat, there is no reason to be embarrassed by not eating what most would consider the “norm.” No one else needs to play a role in our personal food decisions.

As I mentioned before, I will be heading to Philadelphia this weekend for my younger sister’s fashion show and graduation. I knew I probably would be unable to post but when my camera starting acting up yesterday, I realized it might be close to impossible this weekend. I think it is time to think about purchasing myself a “real camera.”

Here are some of the delicious eats from yesterday:

I have tried Angela’s Vegan Overnight Oats before in Banana Split form, but I wanted to try them again after seeing them on Ashley’s blog with coconut milk kefir. Instead of the kefir, I used my So Delicious coconut milk yogurt that I purchased with a coupon. I love this stuff! The combination I used was:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk plain yogurt (you could use other flavors, but I find them all too sweet for my taste buds)
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • T ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t vanilla
  • packet stevia (this was too sweet for me…I should have opted to forgo the sweetener)

Instead of whipping up some of Gena’s Banana Soft Serve, I decided for something a little warmer after seeing that it was another dreary day. On the stove top, I heated up half a thinly sliced banana with frozen black raspberries in a saucepan with a little maple syrup coconut oil, and almond milk. These compote toppings inspired by this one has seriously made me craving oats everyday. I love a nice berry and banana topper but when spring is nowhere to be seen, simmered fruit compotes are just what I desire. I layered the overnight oats and compote and then added a spoonful of Naturally Nutty vanilla almond butter to sweeten the deal. This was another satisfying and delicious way to start the day.

After trying to eat my breakfast outdoors, I quickly resorted to the warmth of my own kitchen to read up about healthy body fat percentages for women and runners.

A few things I learned about body fat percentages and runners:

-My body fat is on the low-end of the average athletes percentage

-All women need 10-12% essential body fat

-Female athletes tend to have 14-20% body fat

-Fit women should have 21-24% body fat

-Acceptable female body fat is 25-31%, anything over is considered obese

-Often, runners who cover the greatest distance in training have lower body fat levels. They also eat tend to eat more food than those who do less running.

-The low body fat content of female distance runners is particularly striking; values of less than 10-15% are commonly reported among elite performers, but are seldom seen in healthy women outside sport.

-Reducing fat levels will not automatically guarantee success and may even be counter-productive.

-A reduction in body fat may well boost running performance, but if you cut down your food intake drastically, not only will training quality suffer, but the risk of illness and injury also increases dramatically.

-Generally speaking, sprinters have powerfully developed musculature of the upper body and of the legs, while distance runners have low body mass, with smaller muscles and extremely low body fat levels.

-It is probably not sensible for women’s body fat to fall below about 10-15%.

-For female athletes, there are some very immediate consequences of a low body fat level, including especially a fall in circulating oestrogen levels. This in turn can lead to a loss of bone mass, causing problems for women in later life through an increased risk of bone fracture.

(source)

I am nowhere near an elite runner, therefore, it was very interesting to find that my body fat fits within this range. It has been a long time since I have competed in races, but I will be upping my mileage in hopes of finishing my first marathon in the fall. At the same time, I will be working with a trainer at my gym occasionally so that I can monitor my body fat in order stay healthy. More resistance training will also be added to my current weekly plan. It has always been hard for me to maintain strength workouts alone, therefore, I feel it may be best at this time to seek some assistance from a trainer (being pushed always helps me). I haven’t discussed my injuries over the years, but I was over-trained at a much too young age and left with many shin splints turned into stress fractures. I once ran on a broken foot without being aware it was broken for over a month. These next six months will be all about listening to my body as much as possible and striving for a distance goal over a time goal. Of course I will aim to train with times in mind, but I definitely think it is important for me to remember that I have never ran close to as far as a marathon distance, and this needs to show in my times, as well. It is hard as a former consistent 5K runner to learn to slow down. I wish I could find more people to run with but haven’t had luck in my area. This is just one reason I miss living in Boston and New York so much.

I hope that you found the body fat percentage information among runners just as interesting as I did. I am sure many other runners also seem to have lower than average body fat percentages that we should not necessarily worry about, but be aware of. I don’t talk about this often, but when I first went to college I had many symptoms of the female athlete triad develop from not properly fueling myself. If you are interested in reading about the Female Athlete Triad, here are some links:

A Healthy Body Fat Percentage for Runners

Female Athlete Triad Coalition

American Family Physician: The Female Athlete Triad

WebMD: The Female Athlete Triad

Now back to the eats…

After a quick shop at Whole Foods for traveling goodies, I picked up another packet of the Brown Rice Tortillas when I saw they were on sale. When it was time for lunch, I spread one with hummus, homemade pesto, bbq tempeh, and sun-dried tomatoes and warmed it up a few minutes in the oven. On the side, I sautéed the remainder of the swiss chard with tamari, lemon, and ginger.

This is around the time that I realized things were not looking so great with my little fujifilm camera and started obsessively roaming amazon and ebay for a nice  new DSLR. Maybe my wishes will come true in the next month. Canon or Nikon? Any suggestions? I want something with better photo quality, but it also needs to be easy to use considering I’ve never studied photography.

Here are some things I am packing for my road trip/long weekend in Philadelphia. I know it is a very veg-friendly city, but I was not in charge of choosing the restaurants and have already realized some may not be easy for me to be well-fed.

These photos are upsetting me but I thought you might like to see what I bought. The Whole Foods Coupons may have influenced me in some of the purchases (clif c bars & dagoba chocolate).

  • Figs & Mulberries – dried fruit is one of my favorite oatmeal toppings
  • Apples – road trip. enough said.
  • Tea – always great for a pick me up when in a hotel room before going out or to relax after a long day
  • Almond butter – another favorite oatmeal topping or in case I need some healthy fats to go with fruit. Justin’s packs really make me smile when I can’t fit in a jar for the weekend. I need to try the chocolate hazelnut butter soon.
  • Vega & Hempshake – these are two of my favorite vegan protein powder sources. I am sure there will be a time when I feel protein deprived over the weekend. I have had times in the past where the only vegan option was a white bagel. These are always good to have on hand.
  • Go Raw Spirulina Energy Bar – I’ve only had this flavor once before, but I loved the crunchy texture and banana flavor. The Banana Bread Flax bar is also pretty good for a chewy snack when you feel an energy crash.
  • Clif C bars – I haven’t tried these yet but have heard good and bad things. The good thing is that they are all natural fruit and nut bars, so they can’t hurt.
  • Larabars – I only pictured one because I later picked up two more at my boyfriends. The tropical fruit tart is not a favorite flavor but it will work when I need some fruit and nut nourishment. I am also bringing apple pie, peanut butter cookie, and cashew cookie.

For dinner, I reheated one of Angela’s “In a Jiffy Spelt Veggie Burgers” that I had made about a month ago. It was eaten with spinach and bbq sauce on a Rudi’s Bakery multigrain bagel that was in the freezer. I have been thinking of trying to stick to a wheat-free diet (vs. gluten-free) when I get back from Philadelphia because since reintroducing wheat into my days, I haven’t slept as well. In the meantime, it is best to eat what we have now before restocking the carbs. The bagel I had the day before made me crave another. There were days in high school in college cross-country season where I ate up to three bagels. I have a feeling that may happen as I start upping my running mileage. Maybe not three, but definitely one. I also have been missing the Ezekiel english muffins tremendously. Sprouted grains are so fulfilling and what I missed most during the gluten-free challenge week.

On the side I made a massaged kale salad like the one I often eat from Whole Foods, and that has been seen across the blog world. I simply mixed avocado, lemon, and red onion and massaged it for a few minutes before topping it with large daikon radish shreds (read about some benefits here).

Later, some Chocolate Mousse was eaten before heading out for the night. The lack of camera has really been upsetting today, but I hope to at least borrow one for some better photos over the weekend.

Other things:

-Would you be interested in hearing more about the Female Athlete Triad? I have never opened up about it on the blog myself, but it is definitely something I would consider researching more or even talking about my own personal experiences.

-Do you like to pack snacks or meal components when traveling? Any favorites? I have made the mistake in the past of not bringing enough things to complement my meals on vacation. I tend to get cranky when not eating often enough and definitely always need breakfast to fuel the day.

Any Philly tips? I will have a limited amount of time to do anything straying from the graduation/fashion show schedule but would love to have some more ideas in mind.

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