elete Holistic Hydrate

When I first started running, I didn’t really understand the importance of hydration, or the fact that we not only need to replace water lost when exercising, but those all important electrolytes too. When I did my first marathon, I relied on coconut water to hydrate during and after the race, and after the race I had the most severe headache I have ever had in my life- I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t move my head. Little did I realise I had got my hydration strategy very wrong, and although rich in potassium, coconut water is not a very good source of sodium which is mainly what we are losing in sweat. Since that incident, I have been using electrolytes and have never had the same issue, no matter the conditions, or race distance.

IMG_2068

elete Holistic Hydrate contacted me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I would like to try out their electrolyte solution, I am always keen to try out the highest quality, and most natural products, so was keen to hear more about elete and utilize it in my training.

IMG_2069

Firstly let’s talk electrolytes. Basically every time muscles move, or your heart beats it is electrical impulses that make this happen, each nerve impulse is dependent on an electrical charge, and a number of minerals in electrolyte form are vital for these functions to take place, these include Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium and Chloride. The charge these electrolytes carry is key for regulating fluid balance and pH balance, and when electrolyte levels are low or out of balance, it can cause muscle cramping and spasms- quite a common issue in endurance sports, particularly as there is an increased need for electrolytes. Unless these minerals are ionically charged, they are not electrolytes, and will not have the beneficial properties such as hydration and cramp prevention.

Key electrolytes:
Magnesium: Essential for all energy conversion, muscle function, nerve conduction, and more than 300 different enzymatic reactions, and it is depleted from the body under times of physical and emotional stress.

Potassium: Should be the most abundant electrolyte inside the cells, and is vital for muscle function, nerve conduction and water balance.

Sodium: Commonly found in modern diets. It’s also key for heat tolerance, muscle contraction and nerve conduction.

Chloride: Most abundant negatively charged electrolyte, essential for oxygen exchange, digestion, water and pH balance.

IMG_2070

elete make 100% natural ionically charged electrolyte products, organically derived from solar evaporation of the great salt lake in Utah. It contains all four key electrolytes mentioned above, in an ionically charged form together with other beneficial naturally occurring trace elements, vital for maintaining hydration, sustaining energy and enhancing mental focus, both during training and events.

Unlike most sports drinks on the markets, elete contains no sugar, no sweeteners, preservatives, flavourings or colourings. It comes in a concentrated form, which is really handy as it can be tailored to your individual needs. Most common sports drinks contain only one or two electrolytes in an non-ionic form which are not well assimilated by the body.

elete can be added to water, juices, smoothies and soups. I have been using the 25ml bottles, which make up to 10litres of electrolyte solution, so would be ideal for multi stage races, or traveling, as they are extremely light and handy to pack. elete also sell refill bottles. It’s ideal for adding to your hydration pack for long training runs or races, as it doesn’t leave any residues and is simple to clean after.

I’m not doing any endurance stuff at the minute, but I’ve been using elete daily just for general well-being. Most people tend to be low in magnesium, so it can be taken for general health anyway. I’ve been taking it alongside my lemon water first thing in the morning, to replenish after waking up, and do feel better hydrated throughout the day. I will be keen to see it’s benefits when I start doing more endurance training again.

You can purchase elete products from their website.

Coming Full Circle with Food

When I first started to study nutritional therapy, I was a tiny bit concerned that it might flare up some tendencies and habits around food that I had worked hard to move away from. I think it’s difficult when you study nutrition to not become slightly obsessed with food, and to create food rules, depending on what you have read/seen/been taught. I know from having talked to other students along the way, how hard it is to not get caught up in all of this and all of a sudden to find yourself developing some unhealthy habits and an unhealthy relationship with food.

image3

I’ve certainly been through ups and downs while studying, and there have been times where maybe I’ve had a lecture, done some research after, and decided I needed to avoid X/Y/Z. However, I can happily say that after 3 years of studying nutrition, I think I’m in a place where I’ve probably felt more freedom around food than I have at any other point over the course of the last 10 years.

IMG_1349

What I’ve discovered from seeing clients and observing cases, is there is no one size fits all case with nutrition, we are all unique, and thus what is going to work for us and suit us personally is going to be totally different from the next person. I think it can be trial and error, and you have to really be in touch with your body, and discover what does and doesn’t work for you.

What really really frustrates me, is when I see so called “wellness gurus” demonizing certain foods or food groups, and suggesting a blanket removal for everyone. Yes, certain foods might not suit some people, but I don’t believe that suggesting removing gluten/dairy etc is something that should be applied as a first port of call for every single person regardless of their symptoms or health issues. We want to create sustainable changes long term and creating restrictive rules around food is not the way to put that in place.

image1

Studying nutrition could have made me obsessive and restrictive, but it’s actually left me freer than I have ever been. I’ve reintroduced foods that I previously had avoided for a long time, and though it doesn’t mean I eat them all the time, I don’t feel guilty for having them when I want them. Let’s be honest being Vegan in certain places can be restrictive enough, without declaring that you don’t eat gluten/sugar/fruit/grains or whatever else is on trend. It’s not sustainable and I think it alienates us even more. It’s about embracing each and everything that is Vegan, whether that be a delicious raw cake, indulgent smoothie or massive pizza. Of course just because something is Vegan, doesn’t mean it’s automatically healthy, but at the same time, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t enjoy things that can nourish us and be healthy in other ways.

IMG_1784

So I guess my journey from here on out, is about how I can show how easy, balanced and accessible a Vegan diet is, and can be. Veganism is not something I see as restrictive. or a way of cutting things out of my diet. It’s a lifestyle, it’s how I define myself, and it’s about so much more than my food choices, and actually it’s about being part of something much bigger than myself. I could never eat animal products again, and that’s my choice, but it doesn’t mean that it would work for everybody, and I respect that too.

Definitely not paleo.

I think I’ve totally over-complicated health and my relationship to food over the last few years, so it feels so good, to actually eat in a really simple, affordable and nourishing way. Health to me has become about listening to my body, eating what I crave, eating food that’s not only good for my body but good for my soul. I’ve found my wellness, and it was actually in the place I least expected to discover it.

Change of Routine

It’s been a long while since I posted, so I thought I would do a little update on all things fitness, food and life, and try to get myself back into the swing of blogging a little more regularly and putting a little more time and effort into the blog.

image

Running

Running has been fairly non-existent of late. I’ve taken a really long break after the SDW50 in April, there was a few weeks with no running whatsoever and some weeks where my mileage has been around 6-9 miles. I’ve been going out with the other half for some shorter jogs here and there, and doing a bit of interval sprints on the treadmill too, but mostly my legs have just been recovering. I didn’t want to rush back and force myself to train for something and I wanted to wait until I felt ready to get back into it. As of now I have no races on the calendar for the rest of the year and it might well stay that way. Until last week I hadn’t run over 3 miles since April, and it has been hard to get back into it, but with a few short runs over the last few weeks I can slowly but surely feel a little bit of fitness coming back, and a little bit of the love for running creeping back in. I don’t think I’ve ever been at a point in the last few years where I don’t have any events planned and I’m not doing any long distance stuff, but I’m enjoying changing things up, and I know when the time is right, I will be ready to get back into it.

Strength

What I have been doing quite a lot of is strength training, it’s something that I’ve always had a big passion and interest in, but I’ve never quite be able to strike the right balance between running and lifting. I tend to do it as more of an injury prevention during endurance training, but over the last few months I’ve really got back into it, and I can feel such a big difference in my strength since I started training more regularly. I’m hoping to carry on training hard in the gym for the rest of the year and seeing where that gets me, hopefully it will stand me in good stead for any running events in 2017.

IMG_1484

Food

Nutrition has been up and down, we have had a super busy few months, with what seems like visitors all the time, so we’ve been eating out a lot. I think there was a 2 week period where I literally cooked one meal, we were just constantly eating out. Hopefully we will have a quieter few weeks ahead, so we can get back to some simple eats, and focus on wholefoods, with the occasional, rather than frequent Vegan treats. I really would like to drop some weight over the next few months, as I’m just carrying too much for me right now- probably should have stopped eating like an ultra runner when I stopped running in April!!

IMG_1943

Life

Other than that, Baxter now is one! I can’t believe how time has flown, and I am absolutely smitten, I can’t imagine being without him! I have nearly finished my nutrition course, just got one more client to finish with, and a load of work to write up and sort out so hopefully in the next few weeks once I qualify, I can get focused on starting up my nutritional therapy business. I’ve started a new job working for a wholefood supplement company, which I am really enjoying. The highlight of my summer was going to the Wimbledon men’s final with my mum, I’ve been pretty much every year over the last 8 or 9 years, and had good tickets before from the ballot for semi’s/quarters etc but never a final, so when my mum got tickets in the ballot we knew it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity so had to go. We were incredibly lucky to see Murray lift the title, and it was an amazing day.

IMG_1555

That’s about all from me, I’m going to try and update here more regularly so we shall see how that goes!

Super Sporty Smoothie

One of my favourite post workout snacks/meals is a smoothie. Sometimes after a long workout I don’t feel super hungry, or I might be in a rush and not have time to make anything too extravagant, so I like to try and pack as much nutrition into the blender as possible to help my recovery or keep me fueled until my next meal.

IMG_9857

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes my smoothies don’t taste good, a little too hempy, not quite sweet enough, or just too many veggies, but more often than not they are a hit, it’s just a question of getting the ratios right, and not trying to cram every single thing in your kitchen into the same shake. It’s good to play around and find out what works with what, but I now try to rotate things on a daily basis, this way you get a much wider variety of nutrients across your week- plus it will probably taste way better, than if you have a massive concoction of things going on.

IMG_9787

A while back, The Protein Works sent me a lovely bundle of products, which I put to good use during ultra training and recovery. I used a few of them in this smoothie, hence why I’ve called it the sporty smoothie, you could use this pre or post workout, although I’d add some protein powder/extra nuts/seeds if using post workout. I like my smoothies a little thicker so I can serve them in a bowl, and add all.of.the.toppings, so add more liquid if you prefer to drink them. I actually made this smoothie for breakfast on the morning of the Cardiff half and got quite a big PB, so read into that what you will.

The Super Sporty Ingredients

Montmorency Cherries are a favourite of mine, I use cherry active whenever I’m training heavily or have a bit of a niggle, they are rich in antioxidants which can help to combat muscular damage and inflammation post workout, they are also a source of melatonin so a nice addition to support healthy sleep cycles. The Protein works cherry power is quite tart, so it works quite well in smoothies when it’s balanced with the sweetness of banana.

The benefits of Coconut Water for exercise are well known, rich in electrolytes, nutrients and natural sugars, it’s perfect for re-hydration- the snag is it can be kind of expensive- step in Native Coconut, which is a pure coconut water powder with absolutely nothing added, it blends really well, and I think tastes better than a lot of the coconut waters on the market, and is a great addition to a post workout smoothie.

Beetroot juice is a vasodilator, and research suggests it may improve endurance and time to fatigue during exercise. I usually take it for a few days before super long events, and I like to think it does the job, plus I love the earthiness of beetroot anyway, so any excuse to eat it.

Coconut oil is rich in MCT’s which unlike other fat sources, go straight to the liver to be burned as energy- this makes it ideal in a pre workout shake, sometimes I just have a bit stirred into some matcha tea for a little boost, if I am heading out for an early workout.

Chia Seeds became an essential ingredient for runners after everybody read Born to Run, I like to mix it up between those, hemp, and flax to get a wider variety of nutrients, but I do like chia’s versatility, and I love chia pudding. A great source of minerals, essential fats, and fibre, I really like to add them pre-workout for blood sugar balancing, and I find they tend to keep me energized for longer when working out.

IMG_9856

Super Sporty Smoothie

2 Tbsp Beetroot Juice (You can alternatively use a fresh beetroot)
1 Scoop of Montmorency Cherry Powder
1 Scoop of Coconut Water Powder
1 Frozen Banana
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
(If it was post workout I would add some protein in too).

All the toppings- I used cinnamon, oats, pumpkin seeds and a nut/goji/raisin mix which I had made up, but you can add whatever you like.

 

 

Disclaimer: The Protein Works provided me with products for review purposes, all opinions are my own.

Taking a Break

Running and me are taking a break, it’s not that I’m not enjoying it but I just needed some time off after a hard winter of training and completing my goal race the SDW50 in early April. I took a few weeks of total rest, and now 5 weeks on I’ve run a total of 23 miles (less than most of my long training runs) and I’m feeling fairly refreshed and recovered, but still not ready to get back into it properly. I’ve been really enjoying getting out for some shorter runs with my other half, not having to plan my life around fitting in training runs, and actually spending more free time doing fun stuff with the OH and puppy.

Over the last 2 weeks I’ve also got back into the gym which I am slightly ashamed to say I completely skipped out on for the last few months. I know that it was a solid few months in the gym prior to ultra training that ensured I was able to train for 4 months injury free, and that’s why I’m now heading back there, to get my body back to being strong enough for winter running. I’ve really missed my regular gym sessions, and I’ve been enjoying getting back into strength training. I will continue with the infrequent running for now, as my focus is purely on building summer strength for winter miles!

2_1_s

The only race I have left on my calendar for the summer is the British 10k, which I am massively looking forward to. I’ve never run a race in central London before, and haven’t done a 10k in about 3 years so it should be quite exciting. I’m not going to be following a specific training plan for this, just regularly strength training with a few short runs a week, as I have no goals other than to enjoy the route.

The Vitality British 10k is taking place on Sunday 10th July and will weave it’s way past all the sights in central London. Starting at Hyde Park corner, the route will take more than 15,000 runners past the London Eye, Big Ben and Houses of Parliament before finishing on Whitehall. I’m really excited to run this part of the city in a race, it should be an amazing atmosphere.

This year entry will include a free Brooks technical t-shirt, medal, and opportunity for a post race massage. It should be a great event- hoping the summer sunshine returns and makes London looks it’s best! If you want to find out more or join me at the race you can sign up at here and entries are now open. I’m really looking forward to making my race return, but first time to get some strength back!

 

Disclaimer: I was offered a media place at the British 10k, all opinions are my own.