Last night Hazon sponsored a sports nutrition workshop at the 14th Street Y. We invited Chana Citron, nutrition and wellness consultant, to help us learn feeding ourselves as we increase our physical activity with the change of the seasons.
We wanted people who are training for the New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride and our Israel Rides to have an opportunity to learn a bit about what to eat when cycling long distances, but the things Chana had to share with us were relevant to all our lives. Chana also made green smoothies for the group and shared the recipe with all of us which you can see at the bottom of this post.
Chana is a board certified health counselor, she offers personal coaching programs, workshops, classes and lectures on health and nutrition. A former elementary school teacher and a mother of three young children, Chana has also created the “Healthy Kids, Happy Parents” Program to support busy city parents in improving the wellness of their families. She is a co- leader of Holy Sisters, a women’s group at the Carlebach Shul, and enjoys teaching Torah and hosting Shabbat meals for her community. You can learn more about Chana’s Health Counseling at her website.
Here’s Chana’s list of 8 things to do to increase your energy and optimize your sports performance:
Reduce or eliminate caffeine. The ups and downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar ups and downs, making energy lows and cravings more frequent.
Drink water. During physical activity, try to drink ½ cup of water every 15-20 minutes, keeping your body well-hydrated. Caution: stay away from soft, sugary drinks. They might give you a sensation of boost, but they actually dehydrate your body and cause energy lows.
Eat dark leafy green vegetables. Green is associated with spring, the time of renewal and refreshing, vital energy. Greens are full of vitamins and nutrients and great for improving circulation, lifting the spirit, purifying the blood and strengthening the immune system. Broccoli, collards, bok choy, kale, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, arugula and dandelion greens are some of the many to choose from.
Incorporate complex carbohydrates and high fiber protein foods. Adding whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds supports a healthy metabolism that can sustain consistent long- lasting energy levels.
Use gentle sweets. Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners. Use gentle sweeteners like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar and stevia. Also eat sweet vegetables such as yams, carrots and beets.
Make stretching a regular routine. Try some yoga or other methods to keep your body from being sore after a heavy workout.
Get more sleep and rest and relaxation. Lack of sleep is often translated into a craving for sugar, which is a leading cause of low energy. When preparing for a strenuous activity, be sure to maintain a routine of full nights of sleep.
Breathe deeply. Develop a practice of deep breathing, especially before and after physical activity. Try to incorporate deep breathing into your activity as well. Slow, deep breathing through the nose, starting low in your diaphragm, maximizes the distribution of oxygen to your body’s blood stream, thereby giving us the ability to perform better.
Super Green Smoothie
2 Tablespoons flax or hemp seeds
1 apple or pear, cut into cubes
½ cup berries, fresh or frozen
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
¼ cup parsley stems removed and roughly chopped
½ cup dark leafy green, such as kale or dandelion, chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil or Udo’s Choice oil
2 cups organic milk, rice milk, unsweetened almond milk or coconut water
½ banana or ¼ cup chopped dates (for a sweeter flavor)
1 teaspoon green powder, such as spirulina or vitamin mineral (energy, micro- nutrients)
1 Tablespoon Tahini paste or nut butter, such as almond (fiber, protein and healthy fat)
½ cup ice (if you like it colder)
Put the hemp or flax seeds only in the blender and pulse on the highest speed until they have been grounded to a powder. Add all the remaining ingredients, pouring the milk in last. The ingredients should be covered by the milk, so add more milk if necessary. Blend everything for 5 minutes, until smooth. If needed, stop the blender after a few minutes in order to mix the ingredients well. Enjoy!