workout

The Mighty Cooked Tomato and Bicycle Commuting

Tomatoes lose some of their vitamin C when they’re cooked, but heating, processing, or crushing boost their antioxidant power. Cooked tomatoes are a good source of a carotenoid called lycopene – a strong antioxidant that may play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease,  some types of cancer and macular degeneration. It’s the lycopenes in tomatoes that gives them their bright red color. You won’t get as many of them if you eat sliced tomatoes. A drawback of eating canned or jarred tomato products is getting a high dose of sodium. To avoid the additional salt try cooking your own tomatoes or buying a low sodium version.

I’m absolutely thrilled that cycling season is in full swing here in the north east! I even bicycled to work one day this week! I’ve promised myself that, weather permitting and a with warm enough temperature in the AM, I will ride to work three times a week. Monday morning I set out for the 15 mile trek at 6:45 and arrived at my place of employ with a few minutes to spare. The rack and commuter bag worked well but I’m going to be leaving the laptop at work as often as possible. That weight along with my lunch and change of clothing made the back of the bike a bit heavy.

The Monday morning ride plus 23 miles after work today gives me 54 miles so far for the week. Bicycling with my husband this weekend will put me over 100 miles. I should be hitting my 100+ miles per week goal now though the summer months.

I am passionate about cycling and consider myself in training for my yearly trek across the state of Massachusetts during the first weekend in August; the Pan Massachusetts Challenge. The PMC is a challenging two day 192 mile ride beginning in the south central Massachusetts town of Sturbridge. Saturday morning at 5:30 AM we start by traversing 40 miles of grueling hills right from the start. The route then flattens out considerably for the remaining 72 miles and ends in Buzzards Bay, at the western entrance of the Cape Cod Canal, where we spend the night at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Image

Day 1 Sturbridge to Buzzards Bay 112 miles

Off to an early start Sunday morning beginning with the long climb over the Bourne Bridge at sunrise. The view of the rising sun reflecting off the ribbon of the Cape Cod Canal is a sight to behold and well worth the early wake up call.

 

Image

The Bourne Bourne Bridge spanning the Cape Cod Canal

But is it ever hard to sit on that seat the next day. Our route takes us down the length of scenic Cape Cod. Through quaint towns, along fishing inlets and over dunes. We will witness many breathtaking ocean views. Still, that 80 miles does NOT go quick. Cape Cod is hilly. Long rolling hills winding along highways, back roads and bike paths and finally through a five mile stretch through the sand dunes of Provincetown signaling the finish is near. At last we arrive at the Provincetown Inn. The bike goes on a truck. I pick up my backpack and head to the shower tent. Clean and refreshed and wearing something other than spandex, I join some friends for lunch in the food tent. After a bite to eat we stroll the mile long Commercial Street of Provincetown, which is mainly pedestrian traffic, to the wharf. There we will board a ferry for the 3 hour trip to Boston where my bicycle, my backpack and my ride await me. I live for this weekend every year.

 

Image

Day two Buzzards Bay to Provincetrown 80 miles

This year will mark my 11th ride with the PMC. Over the last 11 years, to date, I have raised $51,345 for cancer research and care at Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute. My goal this year is to raise 10K. I join 5,500+ other cyclists who, like me, are dedicated to funding a cure for cancer. Together our goal for this year is to raise 40 million dollars. If you would like to consider sponsoring me, this link will take you to my fundraising page. http://www2.pmc.org/profile/JS0126

Thanks for reading my blog and have a great weekend!

Ride on!

Advertisements

100 + Mile Week, Kids and Fitness and Beets!

I have so much to talk about this week! Spring cycling is just about in full swing. My bicycle and I spent quality time together four times this past week and for the first time this year I rode over 100 miles in a week.  With late afternoon temperatures high enough to allow for it, I logged 20.5 miles Thursday and 19 miles Friday. To bring the total way up my husband and I cycled together Saturday for 35.5 miles and today’s total was 30! Total for the week, 105 miles! My bike-a-thon, The Pan Mass Challenge is three months away and one of my goals is to ride 1,800 miles prior to the event.

I didn’t blog last week because I was busy hanging out with my daughters, son-in-law and grandson. We did a 5K together last Sunday; a charity event raising funds and awareness for childhood cancer. My three-year-old grandson tagged along in his red wagon with Mommy getting a monster work out on the hills! He’s not quite old enough to participate on his own legs. I did notice he watched intently when kids, not much older than himself, ran by. Maybe next year!  He really loves playing outdoors and at his age, that’s how kids get their exercise. I feel it’s really important to start them young. Sure it may be easier to keep them in. Parents have so many obligations and it’s not always easy to carve out time to get outdoors with the kids. I commend my daughter and son-in-law for making the time. He plays ball, rides a scooter, goes to the playground and they participate in so many activities with him that he is getting exercise, whether he realizes  it or not. It’s important to start good habits at an early age. Childhood obesity is a growing problem. With so much entertainment available indoors, kids don’t get out and play now as previous generations did. It’s resulting in heavier kids, childhood diabetes and other health problems. Encourage your kids to get out and play!

jr on the run

My grandson on the run at the zoo

I thought I hated beets. My parents made me eat them as a child and I didn’t like them. As an adult I never tried them again, until recently. I’ve found that many of the vegetables I didn’t like as a child, appeal to me now. I looked to my favorite online recipe website to see if I could find a recipe that appealed to me, and I did. I made this tonight and have plenty to take with my lunch this week.

Garlicky Beet Delight

6 medium beets

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves minced garlic

salt to taste

Remove beet greens, wash the beets and boil until tender (about 30 minutes) Remove the skins by running cold water over the boiled beets , then slipping their skins off. Slice the beets and toss with the olive oil, vinegar, garlic and salt.

Delicious!

Six health benefits of beets

  1. Beets are natures Viagra. Yup, that’s right! Beets contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
  2. Beets are high in potassium, magnesium, fiber,iron,  phosphorus, vitamins A, B & C, beta-carotene, and folic acid. They can help lower your blood pressure, fight inflammation and cancer.
  3. Beets cleanse the body. They are a tonic for the liver and purifies the blood.
  4. Beets help your mental health. They contain betaine, the same substance that is used in certain treatments depression. It also contains tyrtophan, which relaxes the mind and creates a sense of well being.
  5. Beets are a stomach acid tester. If you’re eating a lot of beets and you pee pink, you have low stomach acid.
  6. Beets are a high source of energy. At the same time they’re low in calories and high in sugar (the sugar is released into your system gradually) Beets are very beneficial in this regard.

My fundraising for the Pan Mass Challenge is going well. With three months to go I’ve already raised $1,800! I’m committed to raise $4,300. My goal is $10,000.  One hundred percent on the rider raised funds go to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The money is used for cancer care and research. With over 5,000 riders participating, our aim is to raise 40M. This link will take you to my fundraising page where you can donate with a credit card http://www2.pmc.org/profile/JS0126. You can also “Text to give to my ride” by texting PMC JS0126 to 20222 to donate $10 to my ride. You must reply “Yes” to the confirmation text message. You can do this up to 5 times from the same phone and the donation will appear on your cell phone bill.

Let's go

Have a great week and thanks for reading my blog!

A Handful of Nuts

Spring is finally here in New England! Though not every day is warm enough or dry enough for bicycling, we’re able to get out more often than “once in a while”. Saturday was one of those days. Temperatures were in the low 50’s and rain threatened for the second half of the afternoon. After giving the morning a bit of time to warm up we set out on our bicycles around 11:00 AM. My husband is always the navigator. With a pretty good northeast wind he chose a route heading north for the first few miles. We rode a 29 mile loop that, for the most part, wasn’t into a headwind. With a coffee stop at the halfway point we got back around 2:45, just as it started to sprinkle. My average speed wasn’t my best but that will improve once I’m on the bike regularly. I’m looking forward to warmer days so I can start riding to work. I’m thinking in about a month I’ll be able to do just that. 

Image

Only four months until the 2014 Pan Massachusetts Challenge. This 192 mile, 2 day bike a thon takes place every year on the first weekend in August. Our goal this year is to raise $40 million for cancer care and research at Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute through it’s Jimmy Fund. One hundred percent of the money raised by riders goes straight to DFCI. I personally have set a goal to raise $10,000. I feel confidant that I can attain this goal. Would you consider helping me? Online donations can be made here http://www2.pmc.org/profile/JS0126. You can also text to give by texting JS0126 to 20222. You’ll get a confirmation text to which you will have to reply to in order for the donation to be processed. A $10 donation will be added to your cell phone bill. You can do this up to 5 times from the same phone. If you’d like to know more about the PMC and it’s work, check it out at http://www.pmc.org.

Image

So, about nuts. It seems that eating nuts is good for your heart. They contain many compounds that promote heart health:

  • Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – the “good” fats – lower bad cholesterol levels
  • Omega 3 fatty acids – Omega-3s are a healthy form of fatty acids that seem to help your heart by, among other things, preventing dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks.
  • Fiber – All nuts contain fiber, which helps lower your cholesterol. Fiber also makes you feel full, so you eat less. 
  • Vitamin E – helps stop the development of plaques in your arteries, which can narrow them.
  • Plant sterols – Some nuts contain plant sterols, which can help lower your cholesterol. These are often added to products like margarine and orange juice for additional health benefits, but sterols occur naturally in nuts.
  • L-arginine – a substance that may help improve the health of your artery walls by making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots that can block blood flow.

Something to keep in mind is that nuts are as much as 80% fat. Though it’s the healthy type of fat, nuts do pack a lot of calories. The American Heart Association recommends eating four servings of unsalted nuts a week. Raw or dry roasted are better than those cooked in oil. A serving is a small handful, 1.5 oz., of whole nuts. But again, do this as part of a heart-healthy diet. Just eating nuts and not cutting back on saturated fats found in many dairy and meat products won’t do your heart any good.

Does it matter what kind of nuts you eat? Most nuts appear to be generally healthy, though some more so than others. Walnuts contain the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and pecans also appear to be quite heart healthy. Peanuts – which are technically not a nut but are actually legume – like beans, seem to be relatively healthy. Keep in mind you could end up canceling out the heart-healthy benefits of nuts if they’re covered with chocolate, sugar or salt.

Thanks for reading my blog and have a happy, healthy week!