Thursday, February 17, 2011

Food Staples

A story from Sara:

When I was young my mom had a method for getting me to eat healthy foods that I found gross. She would tell me to plug my nose, chew it, and then chase it with some juice. Well, that may work for some of you but it is not an enjoyable way to eat healthy food.

You may be looking at all these healthy recommended foods and be thinking yuk! How am I supposed to eat that? Well, we don’t blame you! But don’t plug your nose yet! There are many delicious recipes out there that use many of these healthy foods like kale and quinoa and your taste buds don’t suffer one bit.

I love trying out a new healthy dinner at home and watching my husband and two year old take their first bite. I sit in anguish wondering if they will notice the sprinkled flax seed or that I put salted kale chips in their tacos. Usually, I get a very happy response and then I share with them what they are eating and I get the joy of seeing my husband’s surprise.

Here are staples I like to keep around the house to hide in food.

Flax seeds. An important source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 series of essential fatty acids. ALA are critical hormones in regulating cellular activity. Omega-3 fatty acids help lower cholesterol and blood triglycerides, and help prevent clots in arteries which may result in strokes and heart attacks.
You can buy a bag of these at wither Trader Joe’s or Sprouts

They have a salty taste so you can use them on anything that needs salt. For instance, add on your chicken when baking, a salad, veggies, omelet, or I even put some in my daughters oatmeal.

Spinach. Great source of Iron and contains folate and has many flavonoids which are compounds that are filled with antioxidants.

I make spinach salads often, or soften the spinach in a pot with some olive oil, sea salt, and a favorite herb like dried rosemary. This is a great side of any dinner dish. You can also use wilted spinach in omelets or on warm turkey sandwiches.

Kale. Loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, and antioxidants.

You can wilt this with your spinach if you like or you can make kale chips. Cut the kale off the stem and tear them it into bit sizes. Then line a baking sheet with foil and spread out the kale on it with olive oil and sea salt. Bake the kale at 425 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until crispy. This is good as is or it goes great on tacos or burritos. Adds a salty crunchy taste. My two year old loves these.

Quinoa. A protein filled grain that contains all nine essential amino acids that offers the same energy and satiety you would get from meat.

It is a good replacement for rice. You can buy pre-seasoned quinoa or just playing. I like the playing stuff because then I can season it with what I am serving. Quinoa does not have a lot of flavor but itself so it is easy to throw in food just for the health of it. For example, toss some in your salad. It will make your salad more filling too. It is also good in soup which is a good replacement for noodles or rice. Season it with fresh lemon juice and dill and put it beside some salmon or chicken.

Frozen Berries (rasberries, blueberries, cherries, etc medley) They are considered one of the “super foods.” They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are one of the cancer fighting foods because of their phytonutrients which counter the natural oxidation in the body that contributes to aging of the tissues and many degenerative illnesses such as cancer, dementia, and damage to the arteries.

Great to throw in your cereal or oatmeal in the mornings. Or top it on some yogurt for an afternoon snack. Throw in a blender with some ice, a banana, and yogurt- great smoothie.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year Energy

It's still early in the year, but has anyone else noticed that the parks are home to quite a few more active souls in the mornings and evenings these days?

We think it's great that everyone has fresh new year resolutions, and are getting out for some healthy activity, but inevitably most of these people will fall of the wagon, and stop working out, and the park will no longer bustle with the same energy.

Why do so many people "fail" in their resolutions? Here are a few reasons:

1. Goals are TOO difficult - If you set your goals at an unreasonable level, you wont be able to stick to it, and that feeling of failure and despair may keep you from doing anything. So instead of saying you want to work out every day for the whole year (not only is that difficult, but it leaves no room for rest and recovery), commit to a challenging, but attainable goal such as 3 days a week.

2. No support system - There are very few people that can be disciplined enough to get out and exercise consistently without any extra incentive. But if you commit to your friends, and establish a group that you are accountable to, you are much more likely to stick with it!

3. Not enjoying it - Not everyone loves exercise like we do, but we do believe that exercise can be fun for everyone. All too often, people only think of the end goal of better health, or losing weight, and will suffer through their exercise just to attain the goal. But if you enjoy what you're doing, how much easier will it be to stick with it? You just have to find a group that you enjoy, or an activity that you really like. Trying lots of new things is a great way to not get bored, and potentially find a new passion.

If you are setting goals for this year, and need helping quantifying, or creating something challenging but attainable, please feel free to ask for help, and we will do our best to assist. We will also continue to provide a great support system, and mix it up in class so you all enjoy your workouts!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Kurt Hahn Challenge 2011

To understand the challenge, first you have know who Kurt Hahn is, and what he strives to do in his teachings.

Kurt Hahn is an international educator who was involved in founding Outward Bound among other things, and his philosophy is described below.

"Hahn's educational philosophy was based on respect for adolescents, whom he believed to possess an innate decency and moral sense, but who were, he believed, corrupted by society as they aged. He believed that education could prevent this corruption, if students were given opportunities for personal leadership and to see the results of their own actions."

He lists 6 declines of modern youth, and each year I make plans to make sure I do not fall victim to these declines. They are:

Decline of Fitness due to modern methods of locomotion;
Decline of Initiative and Enterprise due to the widespread disease of spectatoritis;
Decline of Memory and Imagination due to the confused restlessness of modern life;
Decline of Skill and Care due to the weakened tradition of craftsmanship;
Decline of Self-discipline due to the ever-present availability of stimulants and tranquilizers;
Decline of Compassion due to the unseemly haste with which modern life is conducted or as William Temple called “spiritual death”.

While I was in Oregon, working as a park ranger, I met a friend named Dorothy. She introduced me to the principles of Kurt Hahn’s teachings, and I was inspired by her drive to do her part in fixing these 6 declines. She made plans at the start of each year to do something positive for herself in each of the declines, and she dedicated herself and her job to helping others to do the same by getting them outside, learning and moving.

Her challenge to herself, which I adopted and have shared with Jenni is to work on something in each of the 6 declines of modern youth to counter the problem.

For the decline of fitness - set some fitness goals, stay active, challenge yourself to do something new, or go faster or farther (you are all ahead of the game by being in Rough-Fit)
For the decline of initiative and enterprise - Have an Adventure! Go out and do something amazing and be inspired by nature and the world around you.
For the decline of memory and imagination - Set goals and allot time for Reflection. This can be journaling, reading, or meditating.
For the decline of skill and care - Learn a new skill. Whether it’s simple or complex does not matter.
For the decline of self-discipline - Commit yourself to being disciplined enough to reduce or eliminate a particular artificial stimulant from your life (TV, CPU, blackberry, Facebook etc.). You can also eliminate stimulants and tranquilizers that are found in artificial and processed foods.
For the decline of compassion - Volunteer! Doing something for someone else, it's as simple as that.

At Rough-Fit this year, we will be doing our best to help you fight these declines. But we encourage you to share this challenge with your family and friends and let’s take on the Decline of Modern Youth together.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

On the Importance of Shoes

Feeling some new aches and pains in your legs and back that you've never had before? Can't seem to figure out what you did or why they are appearing?

There's a good chance it might be your shoes.

How long have you had your shoes, how many miles have they seen? Shoes should be replaced periodically, because as the sole wears down, you receive less support, and it will eventually change they way you run as well.

Although the changes in your running will be imperceptible, it is amazing what a new pair of shoes will do for your aches and pains. If you are a runner, you shouldn't use your shoes for more than 300 - 500 miles, depending on the way you run.

If you don't track your miles, don't worry, Runners World suggests an easy test to see if you need new shoes. Place them on a flat surface. If they wobble easily from side to side your shoes have worn unevenly and need to be replaced.

If you're thinking that you just got new shoes, and are feeling the aches and pains, it might be that you have the wrong kind of shoe. Go to a professional fitter to get the right shoes for your feet.

New shoes might seem like a lot of money, but it is well worth the investment, and way cheaper than trying to remedy any injuries that might come as a result of worn or improper footwear.

Let us know if you have any questions!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Amazing Results!

Here is a story from Leslie that we just had to share with everyone! We always tell you how valuable exercise is, but here is a real life example of how exercise can make positive changes in your body that you can't see!

We hope you find it inspirational and exciting, because we certainly do!!!

"Most of us can’t help but focus on the outside of our bodies, and while Rough-Fit has helped me to tone up my post-pregnancy body, I have something that I am even more grateful for. My OB-GYN was very concerned about my cholesterol after I had blood work done back in February of this year. As a matter of fact the results scared me so much that I started back to Rough-Fit on March 1st even though I didn’t think I was physically ready (so tired because my 6 mos old’s sleeping habits were so bad). But I started thinking about how my dad had died young from heart disease and I couldn’t imagine not seeing my babies grow to be adults. Thankfully, I remembered how supportive my trainers at Rough-Fit were and I knew that if anything was going to keep me motivated and accountable it was my family at Rough-Fit. I’m happy to say that I had my numbers checked again last month and the results were great!
My cholesterol numbers then and now:

Feb 2010

total cholesterol 232
LDL 138
HDL 78

Nov 2010

total cholesterol 199
LDL 121
HDL 57

The results are purely do to EXERCISE! I didn’t take meds, supplements, or change my diet.

And I wouldn’t be exercising if it wasn’t for your support and creativity!"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gluten and You, Part 1

We see the words Gluten-Free on lots of products these days. The Gluten-Free diet is currently a popular way to fix all your problems. We hear that gluten is to blame for our weight-gain, digestive problems and any ailments we might have.

But in this series on Gluten, we'll try to dispel some of the myths and get to the truth about Gluten.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and possibly oats. It is a naturally occurring protein, but is now added to many processed foods for some of the properties it adds to foods.

It is not necessarily a bad thing, and not everyone should be cutting gluten from their diet. But some people should consider cutting it out. Let's take a look at the conditions that would indicate a gluten free diet.

Celiac Disease

Let's first take a look at Celiac Disease. This is the most serious of the conditions and is actually an autoimmune disease. This means that the body's immune system starts attacking normal tissue. In this case, the villi of the small intestine are destroyed, and the person can no longer absorb nutrients properly. This can obviously lead to a number of other serious conditions and even death.

Less than 1% of people actually have Celiac Disease, but not a lot is known about what causes it, and there isn't a simple test for it either. It is hereditary, and better methods for testing are being researched, but for now, a combination of a blood test and biopsy of the small intestine will see if you test positive for CD.

If you are one of the few that have this disease, you must follow a strict gluten-free diet, which we'll go over in a future post. If you want to learn more, visit

Gluten Intolerance

Much like a more familiar term, lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance can cause bloating, upset stomach, diarrhea etc. But since it is not considered an immune condition, there really isn't any concern for long term damage.

In this case, cutting out gluten should lead to better digestion, less stomach issues and discomfort. But the occasional gluten intake will only cause short term problems.

Wheat Allergy

One of the top 8 food allergies, this is probably what a lot people are experiencing. Symptoms can include upset stomach, bloating, runny nose, itchy eyes/nose/throat, trouble breathing, nausea, etc. And you will feel them almost immediately after wheat consumption.

The important thing to see here is that you could be allergic to wheat, not necessarily gluten (which is found in wheat, barley, rye and oats). Same as with the gluten intolerance, cutting wheat out of your diet will greatly help how you feel on a daily basis, but any wheat intake will only cause short term effects.

There are many things that could be causing inflammation or an allergic type response in your diet, so don't automatically jump to the gluten conclusion. First, try cutting out processed foods and chemical additives from your diet.

If it is gluten that's the issue, we'll look into how to avoid gluten, and some of the ways gluten is hidden in processed foods in the next posts.

If you have any specific questions, please post it in the comments and we'll make sure to cover it in the next post.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Don't Trust your Food

When shopping for your food, it's important to arm yourself with a bit of knowledge. Food manufacturers are not always on your side, and knowing a few of their tricks can help you make sure you put healthy and happy food into your body.

First, let's look at some common mis-labeling (why it's legal to say, we don't know).

1. No Trans Fats

Trans fats, or hydrogenated oils, are definitely bad for you, but food can be labeled "No Trans Fats" and still have up to 2.2 grams per serving!!! Can you believe that? So look at the nutrition label and the ingredient list before trusting this label. If it lists hydrogenated oils, put it back!

2. Made from Whole Grains

Every grain starts whole, so that's where this gets sticky. The whole grain label is on a lot of breads and other foods, but again, we must look at the ingredient list to find the real truth. If the ingredients are any type of flour, even whole wheat flour, it's not a whole grain. Flour is powder as you know, and if it's in powder form, it's processed, and not good. So look for sprouted grains the next time you get a loaf.

Now that we've unearthed a few bad labels, let's look at the nutrition label a bit more in depth. Here are some ingredients that might sound harmless, but are not your friends.

Any color dye - they can lead to allergies, hyperactive behavior, tumors, and can be cancerous, so stay away.

High Fructose Corn Syrup - this highly processed sugar is just plain toxic, just google it and you can learn about all the side effects.

Aspartame - this can be labeled as Neotame, Canderal or Nutrisweet. It is in many diet foods for it's low calorie nature, but stay away -

And finally MSG, which can negatively affect your blood pressure, brain, endocrine system, digestive system etc. The list goes on and on, so let's just agree it's not the best.

MSG is a tricky little guy and is hidden in the ingredient list. Thanks to the Sports Care Center (, there is a list of additives that contain MSG at the bottom of this post.

Those are just a few tips, and will hopefully help you get through the grocery store with a healthier basket.

MSG list (

Additives that always contain MSG:

E621, 620, 621, 622, 623, 624, 625)
Hydrolysed anything
Plant protein extract
Sodium caseinate
Calcium caseinate
Yeast extract
Textured protein
Autolysed yeast

Frequently contain MSG:

Malt extract
Malt flavoring
Natural flavoring
Natural beef flavoring
Natural chicken flavoring