When I sat down to dinner, there was a moment of clarity when I realized I didn’t truly know the health benefits of what was before me. I was having chicken taco cups (using wonton wrappers, diabetic-friendly recipe to come) and over-used the olives. I love olives.. Black, kalamata, liguria, ponentine, gaeta, lugano, manzanilla, sevillano, there’s so many more. Each come with their own flavors, own saltiness, and color fitting for each of their own types of cuisine.
When I started my research, I was pleasantly surprised to learn there is quite a bit to know about olives. We all know the benefits of olive oil, but most don’t pay the much needed respect to the actual fruit. They grow on pretty, ancient trees in the Mediterranean region of the world. They have a high fat content, but good fat called monounsaturated fat that raises HDL (good cholesterol) and lowers LDL (bad cholesterol). Eating just a few (3-5) olives a day is enough to strengthen blood vessels over time, as well as strengthen newly developed cells. Unprocessed olives have a bitterness to them, most commercially sold olives have been processed (soaked in lye and brine) to rid them of that bitterness so they are more enjoyable to eat.
Olives contain Hydroxytyrosol, which is a phytonutrient (they have the same effect on the body as antioxidants) that is linked to cancer prevention as well as bone mass loss prevention (Osteoporosis). At a cellular level, olives have shown to act as a sort of anti-histamine, blocking certain histamines from affecting the body in an allergic way. Olives also strengthen eyesight, help fight signs of aging and help with regeneration of body tissues.
I LOVE this idea, and I started it this morning to test it out. So far, it’s actually working. I look at my wrist and see I’ve had 5 glasses of water in 10 hours and know if I’m on track or not! Try it out and let me know if it works for you!
Let’s talk about blueberries for a minute, I want to be able to use this blog to also make note of the nutritional facts about food, as well as post recipes. Blueberries grow on shrubs, and are related to bilberries and cranberries. Peak season for them in the northern hemisphere is around May, so we see them as a summer fruit because that is when we find them the cheapest. I use them daily in my morning smoothies (frozen) and when I find them, I buy some fresh and munch on a handful or two throughout the day.
They’re an interesting little fruit and for being so small, they have hugely amazing benefits. They have some anti-inflammatory benefits, and have a huge range of micronutrients packed within their extra healthy skin. They contain anthocyanins, phytochemicals (which may have a role in reducing risks of cancer and disease) and have a low glycemic load of 4-6 out of 100 per day. Wild blueberries have the highest amount of antioxidants by weight. One cup has 13,427 total antioxidants- vitamins A & C and flavonoids! Cultivated blueberries have 9,019 per cup, which is still vitamin rich and healthy.
Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals (which can affect disease and aging), blueberries aid in reducing fat, they promote urinary tract health, and there is new evidence that they can improve memory and learning abilities… which I don’t know about you, but I could sometimes use all the help I can get ;). That makes them a big help with people who have to deal with Alzheimer’s disease. They’re proven to preserve vision, prevent and heal neurotic disorders and help with your brain health, and have a high fiber content that dissolve bad cholesterol that can help cure heart diseases (but not just blueberries alone, of course). They reduce blood sugar and are also a natural anti-depressant. They make you happy, and keep you happy.
It started with the Biggest Loser. Then it kept going with new shoes.
and training shoes…
Then it snowballed by discovering CrossFit, ISFP, GFN, and a trip to VitaminWorld and GNC. A new water bottle, better activewear and one waterproof watch later, it began. My life challenge, the one that ends with me fitting into things I’ve never fit in, the one where I look like me, but better. The goal has always been to be healthier. Never skinny, that’s such an ugly word. Fit. That’s what my aim has always been, and now it’s becoming a reality.
A few days before my final day of senior year in high school, I ran 2.5 miles in 24 minutes 33 seconds. That kicked my ass, and it felt good. I was overweight, 194.6 pounds (the same now). But I did it, and nothing would have stopped me. I had to prove to myself and my doubt-filled teacher that I would finish before her whistle. Pain radiated throughout my shins, the balls of my feet were on fire, my shoelaces were coming undone and it was way too hot out. My iPod was sadly dying, I kept praying it wouldn’t die, it gave me a distraction from the pain and need to rush to finish so my teacher wouldn’t make me re-do it again 20 minutes later, after the final bell for the school day had rung. Running 5 miles would have been worse than 2.5 miles. I fell behind most of the faster runners, and I had to keep moving so I couldn’t run with the slower I-don’t-care-about-this-grade students.
9 minutes 48 seconds for each mile. I couldn’t do that when I first put my running shoes on for the first time in a long time not too long ago. I came in on my first mile in two years at 14 minutes 47 seconds. I was so tired, hurt and angry too, so angry. I couldn’t believe I let myself get 5 minutes behind on my best time ever. Since that very first run, I’ve been determined to better my time, better my distance and better myself. I’ll use this blog to help keep a journal of progress, recipes I find, articles I find, pictures for inspiration, WODs, and anything else I like :)