College Football and Healthy(??) Tailgate Eating

I love college football. Okay, I’ll admit … that is a bit of an understatement. Saturdays from September through December are pretty shot for me, because my days are typically dedicated to sitting in front of the television watching college football (Fact: I purposely scheduled a hair appointment last weekend – a good two weeks later than my dark roots would have liked – strictly because it was Clemson’s off weekend). I plan my workouts so that I can watch the beginning of College Game Day on the treadmill, get home from the gym in time for the week’s picks, and get a quick shower in before I settle in front of a few games for the day.

That said, I’m a die-hard Clemson fan. Have been ever since my freshman year of college, all the way back in (gulp!) 1999. There is something about the atmosphere, something in “those hills,” and yes, something about the feeling you get when you see the team rub the rock and run down the hill (they don’t call it the most exciting 25 seconds in college football for nothing!) – it is an incredible feeling of community. And though many schools have an incredible college football environment, I’m proud to share that earlier this week, Clemson was even named Southern Living Magazine’s Best Tailgate in the South (check out why here).

Which brings me to the real point of today’s post … tailgating. Specifically, what we eat in the time leading up to our games – and how it can make or break our nutrition goals. The same rules apply during football season as they do during holiday season, or any other time of the year, for that matter. It’s all about being smart, and remembering that while one or two splurges won’t kill a week’s worth of hard work, we do still have to be aware of the foods that we put into our bodies. Read on to see who eats what around the conferences … and how they see these tailgate foods fitting into their everyday eating patterns.

So, enjoy your games today – and be smart about your game-time food choices! And, as always … GO TIGERS!

I Just May Love Pure Matters.

I’m not usually one to gush about a product or brand, but I have to be honest … I recently stumbled upon Pure Matters, and it is AWESOME! I came across the brand through another website, and they had some kind of promotion that motivated me to check out what they had to offer. I’m usually strictly a Vitamin Shoppe girl, but once I saw that the prices are reasonable, as well as what the company stands for I figured I’d try them out.

I placed my first order several weeks ago, and with my bottle of vitamins came a couple of extra goodies – a Camelbak water bottle (nice!) and a small fabric bag filled with 10 plastic, sealable vitamin travel packs (and the timing on these was perfect, as I was getting ready to start pulling out the Ziploc snack bags to dole out my vitamins for my vacation). Not to mention, it’s clear that they take pride in the presentation of the products, because the inside packaging shows that the order was assembled with care.

I was so impressed with my first order, when I received a promotional email earlier this week, I had to place order #2. Again, they did not disappoint. I purchased this: 

And this came free with it:

The shipping was unusually quick, too – I placed the order on Tuesday afternoon, and received my box Thursday night. How often does 2-5 day shipping actually mean your products will be in-hand two days later? (Not often, in my experience.)

How cute is this packaging?

Anyway, like I said – I don’t often come across brands that I’m so impressed by that I find myself gushing. No, Pure Matters did not in any way compensate me for a glowing review of their products – I just really think they are that great. If you’re interested, check them out: www.purematters.com. And sign up for their emails, because they send out great specials every Tuesday.

14 Exercise Mistakes Beginners Make

Just getting started? Read these tips first! 14 great tips to make sure you can stay committed to your routine – and on track to the best shape (and health) of your life.

14 Exercise Mistakes Beginners Make – iVillage.

Peel This: Bananas Are as Good as Sports Drinks for Exercise

Peel This: Bananas Are as Good as Sports Drinks for Exercise | Fitbie. Huh … nice to know, since my go-to snack  about 90 minutes before my workout is almost always a banana … turns out bananas have the same … Continue reading

#1 Key to Improved Fitness … You Have to Want It!

The society we live in today is obsessed with finding the quick fix – the magic bullet. The diet pill that will help you drop 30 lbs. in three weeks. The gadget that will produce six-pack abs in only five minutes a day. The shoes that will give you a tighter butt, and the pants that will reduce cellulite by 40%.

I hate to tell you … but it isn’t gonna happen. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

The unfortunate fact …

… and the good news …

I would never be so crazy as to say that getting into shape is an easy task – it does take time, and work, and dedication (not to mention sweat, sore muscles, and less of a relationship with cookies/candy/sodas/chips/fill in your junk food weakness of choice here). But the beauty of our bodies is that they are moldable. They are willing to give back what we put into them. Kind of makes me think of that commercial with the kid playing soccer dressed as a hot dog or a doughnut or something – with one mom telling the other, “kids are what they eat.”

Perhaps that hardest part for people to grasp, however, is the mental aspect of it. When it comes to fitness, attitude absolutely is everything. Do you tell yourself you can push harder, run faster? Or do you let one little slip-up drive you off course? Success in health, fitness, weight loss – whatever your goal may be – comes down to commitment and wanting it bad enough. Like anything in life, if you don’t view fitness as a priority, it will never be one – you’ll always find something more fun or less painful to occupy your time.

I hate to bring up yet another commercial (do I watch too much television or something?), but it makes me think about how true the Weight Watchers (I think?) commercial from a few years back is: diets don’t work. Getting fit and achieving your goals – be they losing weight, gaining muscle, eating healthier, or something completely unique to you – requires a lifestyle change. It requires time, and commitment, and sweat, and pain, and sometimes sacrifice.

But it’s absolutely worth it.

Is HFCS Making Us Fat … And Stupid?

The battle continues to heat up regarding the truth about High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) – and this time researchers argue that it doesn’t just make you fat … it can make you stupid, too.

In a UCLA study recently published in the Journal of Physiology, researchers examined two groups of rats – one given drinking water enhanced with fructose, while the group’s fructose-enhanced drinking water was enriched with flaxseed oil and DHA. After six weeks, researchers discovered that the group that did not receive the flaxseed/DHA supplement was not only slower physically, but suffered from reduced synaptic brain activity. And that’s after a mere six weeks … think about how much HFCS the average person consumes on a weekly basis.  Scary stuff.

While it’s best to limit the amount of HFCS you consume, it is somewhat unrealistic in today’s society to expect to be able to eat all-organic, all-unprocessed all the time. The good news? Though you’ll still have to watch what you eat, an occasional slip-up can be combatted by consuming omega-3 fatty acids – which have been shown repeatedly in studies to encourage brain health and function.

So, try to steer clear of HFCS whenever possible for your health – and if you do happen to indulge in processed foods containing the ingredient, just be sure to up your fish, flax or omega-3 enriched eggs and dairy products (or pop a fish oil supplement). You’ll save both your waistline and your brain function!

You can read more about the study and results here or here.