Monday, May 9, 2011

my nerdiness, exams and .... socks

My friends and family know that I am a nerd. This blog showcases that I am a pretty big nutrition and working out nerd since I spend so much time researching and trying out different workouts and foods and even socks (which I'll get to later,) but that isn't the full extent of my nerdiness. I seem pretty normal and like a typical smart college student, but if you quiz me on my knowledge of Harry Potter or ask me when the last time I watched one of the Lord of the Rings trilogy movies, what books I've read recently not having anything to do with school work, or start asking me to talk about religion (my major) you will find that- I have reread all of the Harry Potter books more times than I can count, I watch Lord of the Rings movies with absurd regularity, I read over 30 books in 7 months of last year which weren't related to school work, and I could pull a passage from the Bible or the Qur'an because I have copies of both at home and at school sitting on my shelf. 

Now that I have established my nerd status I would like to introduce my soul-mate-blog Steve Kamb, who started this website, is a self-identified nerd on an "Epic Quest of Awesome"fulfilling a bucket-list of tasks around the world, fitness and life related which he checks off in order to 'level up.' It's a total workout nerd/nerd paradise. Steve isn't a vegetarian or vegan, he lives by the Paleo diet (which has a lot of similar philosophies about whole natural foods but also advocates eating meat and avoids cultivated grains, if you want to know more about it look it up, its some interesting stuff and a diet many athletes adhere to now,) but his life philosophy is all about making your life better by just getting up and doing stuff, having fun and turning your life around. And he makes references to Lord of the Rings, the Matrix, Superman, and even the Shawshank Redemption! I loved this post because it all comes down to finding inspiration to make your life better through things that you already love, like the words of JRR Tolkien. 

I also mentioned exams in my post title- its exam time on campus again and I still have two religion papers to do this week (I am actually sort of enjoying writing them... again nerd,) plus I have to do my triathlon training. During exams I actually find it fairly easy to fit in working out because there aren't classes to work around so I actually build my daily schedule, planning when I'll eat at home, if I need to pack a lunch or dinner for the library, when I can get to the pool or gym, or when I can put aside some time to hit the road/trails for a run. I already wrote a post last year about studying and making sure to take breaks, get some exercise and especially eat brain-power food during exam time so I'll reiterate a few things. 

Drink water!

Nuts - walnuts and almonds especially are great brain foods with the good type of fat that the synapses in your brain need to work well and are an easy on the go snack. A small bag of almonds is a fantastic library snack. And a great lunch is an old fashioned pb&j with peanut or almond butter, your choice of jam/jelly, on a good whole grain or sprouted grain bread.

Green vegetables - I attempt to have a green vegetable with every dinner and dark leafy greens have so many benefits to your immune system (who wants to be sick during exams) your iron and calcium levels and even helps your eyesight, important especially if you stare at your computer all day trying to type up a paper. This green can be incorporated as easily as a spinach salad for lunch or raw broccoli with some hummus as a snack, or you can saute some spinach, kale, or mustard greens as a side dish with dinner.

Berries - blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. good healthy natural sugar carbohydrates to power your brain while you study, plus they are full of anti-oxidants and are super easy to incorporate into your diet. I use frozen berries in smoothies everyday but you can also throw them on cereal, in oatmeal, or in yoghurt for an easy breakfast or snack.

Whole grains full of fiber- these are good carbohydrates that won't make you 'crash' when you are studying or taking a test, and will fill you up longer than any type of simple sugar or refined flour. Oats, in oatmeal or granola, barley/farro with dinner, whole grain bread or english muffins for sandwiches and quinoa or buckwheat. 

And lastly your brain needs protein - whether this comes from lean meats like chicken, fish, eggs or from vegetarian/vegan sources like nuts, legumes, or seeds is up to your own diet, but your brain needs those amino acids because it is another tissue in your body that needs restoration and growth. A good vegan protein source are split peas which I made into split pea soup using this recipe but fresh caught salmon is a great brain food since it has good fat in it as well and you can get it pretty easily canned and use it to make a salmon salad sandwich the same way you would make a tuna salad sandwich. 

I hope these food tips help you studying ability! My other advice is don't stay cooped up too long, move around, get some fresh air, and schedule a workout into your schedule, even if its only 30 minutes, its good to take your mind off of work and just let your muscle memory take over.

Okay and now for socks! I went on a 7 plus mile run today and ever since I have been wearing my new Zoot compression socks for recovery. I won't know exactly how well they work until I get up tomorrow, but right now my calves and shins would normally be starting to feel sore already and they feel fine! I ran on some trails but I can feel the extra support around my ankles in these socks so maybe my ankles will be fine tomorrow (although I also could be getting used to running on the Mystic Lakes trails!) So far though wearing tall recovery socks with shorts while cooking dinner for my friends is just another nerdy thing that I do!

Really good brain food: This is a typical breakfast for me - steel cut oats, farro/barley and buckwheat hot cereal with raw cacao, walnuts and strawberries (and other superfood add-ins like maca, hemp, chia seeds, etc, if I have them)

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