Saturday, July 27, 2013

3 Simple Changes in your Teen Athlete's Eating. (Also tips for Eating with ADD)

I was asked yesterday about a specific "diet" for someone who has A.D.D. and realized the same advice I would give for that, would be good for everyone. So read this, think about your own eating and make the appropriate changes to help yourself be a better athlete.
I'll try to keep it simple since I know you've heard a lot of this before. This past year I've really stepped it up with my nutrition, especially protein intake so here are a few things to think about.

1. Eliminate ingredients you can't even pronounce! 

A lot of research I've seen for reducing ADD symptoms is to get rid of foods you're eating with preservatives, artificial sweeteners and synthetic flavors and colors (dyes). But this goes for EVERYONE. Start reading what you're eating! Look at the ingredients on the back of your food...the first five or so listed should be what your actually eating...NOT hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, PEG 130, blue #5 or whatever else is in there. Yuk. Also, make the switch over to organic local grown foods if you can. The pesticides used on crops and hormones used on animals can really affect you and especially someone with ADD. Some easy switches are: Organic Milk, Chickens (and Eggs) raised without hormones, grass fed beef, Organic Veggies/Fruits if your eating the outside peel of it (carrots, peppers, squash, apples, grapes...etc).

2. Decrease your sugar intake.

I know I know, nobody wants to hear this but the simple fact is that it's true. Sugar makes you feel good for the moment than usually gives you some kind of crash, you will feel slowed down! Not what you want as an elite athlete. Too much sugar over a long period of time leads to: cavities, increase in fat, diabetes, hyperactivity and dehydration. It can be in so many things too, not just candy and junk food but also fruit juices, soda, koolaid and other coffee drinks. I was drinking so much juice (apple, mixed berry) last year thinking it's better than soda...which overall it can be...but still has a lot of sugar in it. Just so you know a regular can of soda has about 8 spoons of sugar in it. Juice has about half that. Also, I mentioned SUGAR CAN DEHYDRATE YOU. Your body produces more urine to try to eliminate the sugar your eating which can result in dehydration.  Water is best. Learn to love it.

3. Take in more Protein!

First of all, what is protein and what foods is it in? 
--To keep it simple, protein is required by the body for the growth, maintenance and repair of all cells! Think about that for a minute. 
***To get your muscles stronger, to help you get through your workout, to help heal when your injured...protein is the key for all athletes.***
--Best protein sources: Lean Meat (chicken, steak, beef, fish), Dairy (milk, eggs, cheese), Beans (think of, Vegetables (highest are Broccoli, Spinach, Asparagus, also Garlic, zucchini, Sweet/regular potato) and Nuts and Seeds (Almonds,cashews, Sunflower and pecans). 
Besides eating all these great foods, one of the easiest ways to get protein is a shake or smoothie. It's best to start your day with protein and make sure your getting some within 30 minutes after a workout. So I start my day with a shake and try to drink CHOCOLATE MILK with a scoop of protein after a workout. Great for recovery! Making your own is easy! There are a tons of recipes online but my favorite I've made is below.

I know it's not always easy to get into these things but I encourage you to try, even small changes for now. Your body will thank you.

Here are some examples:
Chocolate PB Banana Shake:
1/2 cup Chocolate Protein Plus or Chocolate Milk
1/2 Banana
2 ice cubes
2 spoonfuls of Peanut Butter
1 scoop Protein Powder (chocolate or vanilla)
*Optional* 1 handful of spinach - you can barely taste it
Blend and Enjoy! 
Also a good breakfast idea! It's so good, tastes like a chocolate milkshake!

Snack Idea:
Peanut Butter and Jelly or Honey/Banana Sandwich 
Almonds or Sunflower Seeds
Hummus, Pita Chips and Carrots

Meal Ideas:
 Tacos- using ground Turkey 
Steak and Broccoli
Chili (more beans the better or even add quinoa)
Smoked Salmon (open, chop up salmon, discard the skin)
Sweet Potato (microwave 3 1/2 mins) add butter and a spoonful of brown sugar

Hope this Helps. Comment below on your favorite healthy foods for teens.


Denise Lopez, ATC, AT/L

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

4 Ways to Workout the Mind.

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, & the world around us.

Is this not true? In our own way we are all looking for understanding of why we were put on this earth. Now I know this could be a huge discussion but I'm going to only touch on ways to connect and understand ourselves a little more because for me, my understanding of why I'm here is to Fear God and keep His commands. Through Him I find "peace, which surpasses all understanding" (Philippians 4:7). 

So how can we connect and understand our own self more? I've found 4 ways that help me that I would like to share with you. 

1. Connect with Nature
I like suggesting that you go for walks as a way to warm-up for working out for this reason. I want to really SEE what's around me, I want to soak it all in. Maybe in a new way, seeing something for the first time but also maybe in seeing new things when walking the same path you always take. Look at the trees or anything green around you, look at the sky and wonder, like you did as a kid, what's really up there. Take notice of your surroundings and the sounds, work your senses. (This may mean not listening to music while you warm-up). All these things can give you peace knowing your surrounded by beautiful, moving, growing things. 

2. Meditate
I've suggested this in previous posts because it really can do a lot for your mind and body. There have been multiple studies showing it reduces anxiety, reduce stress, decreases blood pressure, increase blood flow, slows heart rate, just to name a few. Here's a neat article:
Meditation not only helps the physical but the psychological more so. You can gain a deeper spiritual 
relaxation, increase self-awareness, give you peace of mind, help you discover self-actualization and
so much more. The benefits are endless. So how can we meditate? 

*Sit comfortably on the floor or in a chair, hands relaxed, close your eyes and do not try to do anything. 
Let your thoughts shuffle around for a minute while you focus on your breathing. Breathe normally but
focus on your breath in and your breath out. You should find your mind relaxing and my best advice 
comes from Deepak Chopra...First think of blessings you have (like family or loved ones, life) then after
a few minute think "Why am I here?" What purpose do you have to serve others? Then let your sub conscious 
take over while you contemplate and breathe for a few minutes.*

Also a side note for Athletes...using meditation and imagery is powerful for pre-game. Sitting comfortably, relaxed 
and imagining yourself playing perfect, making a perfect pass or catch, imagining yourself at your fastest, things like
that can improve your level of play.  

3. Study 
This could mean different things for different people but study something! This could be studying a past 
textbook, studying the Bible, studying a friend who may need help or even "studying" a crossword puzzle. 
You can gain back some wisdom and knowledge you might've let go, which will help your overall sense
of self. 

4. Learn Something New
It's as simple as that. Take a class online, start a new hobby, paint, start a blog, take cool photos, talk to people
and learn about their lives. This will bring about some new understanding of yourself which can only enhance
your life and help to gain wisdom. 

The world is yours! Put a little effort into things of importance to you and try new things. Gain understanding 
so you can also achieve peace of mind. 


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

8 Ways To Better Yourself in 2013

Hello Readers!

I know we are all pumped up about the upcoming year and all that will occur so I wanted to throw my 2 cents in on how the make it the best life possible.

I have learned a lot over the past year from letting go of the past to the importance of exercise in my daily life and of course a lot of things in between. I hope this year is amazing for you.

1) Drink more water or "REAL" drinks

        I say this to yes drink water but also to decrease the amount of "fake" drinks you take in as well. Just working with kids from the southern region of the country, I was constantly battling with them to drop the sodas, sweet teas and other sugary drinks.Think about what is in your drink, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and chemicals that are carcinogens! Yuk. I do know it's hard for some to give it up completely, (i.e. me, I love Diet Coke) so at least if you do drink a soda, make your next drink water and alternate.**And don't forget we get a lot of our liquids from food as well so I'm not recommending you drink 8 oz a day.**

2) Use Coupons

      I really want to be a coupon guru like some, but let's face it, I'm not. So I at least clip coupons from the Sunday paper to save a couple bucks, get to know my stores sale days and coupons they have on their website. This helps so much! Also, combining deals like buy 10 for 10 with a coupon...especially when you don't have to buy all 10 to get the deal. I have also learned to buy the generic with some products, that way you can save more than a coupons worth of money.

3) Cook more at home

     This can really save you a lot of money not to mention the added health benefits of a good home cooked meal. To push it a little further little to NO Fast Food. If I, a previous lover of french Frys from a certain major fast food chain, can do it, YOU CAN TOO! Try to limit yourself to once a month or go cold turkey and none a month. I can't even begin to say how it is not good for you. **One quick example: a few years back I was eating that food once a week and I literally would have sharp chest pain afterwards..went to the Doc...nothing was wrong so decided to stop eating that completely and I haven't felt it since.**

4) Play 

      Yep I mean it! Play more! Chase your spouse, shoot some hoops, play hide and seek with your dog...whatever it fun for you, do it! Think back to when you were a kid...what are some of your favorite memories or activities? Find a way to bring them back!

5) Resolve Conflicts

     Whether it's past or present, with a best friend, sibling, parent or spouse...There is nothing more important physically then to have mental peace. Figure out a way to right a wrong or just saying I'm Sorry goes a long way. DO NOT wait any longer. Resolve your conflicts and heal your deep hurt, big or small.

6) Try Meditation

      Don't think about this. All this is is you sitting quietly, not thinking. Be in the moment and let go of any conscious thought. Sit relaxed on the floor or in a chair. Close your eyes and relax your mind. Give no effort. Try this for a few minutes to find some peace in this crazy world. Use this Deepak video to help...he's the best in explaining meditation. ** I also consider praying as a form of's very relaxing and calming most of the time, which leads me to my next point**

7) Pray

       Prayer to me is personal and pleasing to myself and to our God. But I know for some this may be unfamiliar territory. Just know, God is always listening. There is no preset way to pray, just have a conversation with Him. He already knows your heart before you open your mouth or have a thought but this is a requirement by Him. It also helps us and our minds to speak or relay what's on our hearts. I usually feel really good after praying knowing I was able to praise our Creator or come to Him in need. Just something to think about...(this is what I believe, I don't mean to offend anyone).

8) Exercise

      You know I had to throw this one in there but for more than just bodily health. I guess there is a theme going in this post, exercise helps you achieve clarity in mind as well as body. There have been countless studies on the favorable effect exercise has on depression and many other mental illnesses. Now that I live up in the NorthWest with sun every couple of days, I'm starting to realize what so many people have before can be a little depressing when it's cold and dark all the time. So to this I say GET MOVING! Go for a walk, do some weightlifting, play a sport, hike a mountain...whatever it takes to help you mentally and physically.

Hope this gives you some inspiration.