Archive for December, 2009

Low-Calorie Cocktails

December 31, 2009 Leave a comment

New Years Eve!!  Friends from around the country keep asking me if I’m going to Times Square…ahhh, no.  Times Square is a madhouse on regular days.  Tonight is x100.  Maybe one year, just to say I did it, but not now.  It is really for tourists and crazies 🙂

I’ll be at a club in Brooklyn.  Since I’m currently on a 5-day Reset and in the process of losing weight, but still want to take part in the festivities, I looked up some low cal cocktails and drinks.  Here it is from Cristina Velocci…Thanks 🙂  Have fun And be safe tonight!

Low-Calorie Cocktails

by Cristina Velocci

For once, you’ve actually followed through with your New Year’s resolutions (so far, anyway): you’ve nixed the junk food and you regularly hit the gym—but despite your best efforts, you still have a gut. What gives? Well, the truth hurts but we’re going to serve it to you straight: your drinking habits could be to blame. Turns out, alcohol not only adds calories to your daily diet, but it slows the body’s ability to burn fat for energy, too-–not to mention it increases your appetite, as the line down the block at Pizza 33 at 4am on a Saturday night can attest. What you need is some low-calorie cocktails.

Studies have shown that those who drink regularly in small amounts average lower levels of abdominal fat than those who sporadically binge drink. In other words, a glass a day is better than becoming a weekend warrior. While eliminating alcohol altogether would probably solve your problem, let’s be honest—so not happening. For a more realistic alternative, we’ve rounded up some low-cal drinks to help you choose wisely and imbibe without fear of the bulge.

The best low-calorie cocktails:

Vodka Cranberry:
Otherwise known as a Cape Codder, this classic drink not only has few calories (about 65), but the cranberry juice also helps flush alcohol out of your system—just make sure it’s the light kind. For an extra splash of flavor without adding calories, squeeze a lime wedge in your drink and rub it around the rim of the glass.

Light Beer:
Beer is a slippery slope: think of how many beers you can down in a night versus the number of mixed drinks you can handle, and both are equally as calorie-laden. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re going to drink beer, make sure it’s light— both in calories and color. Darker colored beers (think a hearty mug of Guinness) pack more calories than their lighter counterparts. Two good options to reach for: Michelob Ultra (96 calories) and Miller Lite (98 calories). Sure, they may taste like beer-flavored water, but the diet-conscious drinker does what s/he must.

Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut Champagne:
Take a cue from super-slim model Kate Moss who sips this dry champagne whenever she goes out. The drink only has 60 calories a glass, so you can have three times the bubbly for what you would normally ingest in a single glass of regular champagne.

Mojitos, Done Right:
There are plenty of ways to slim down this refreshing, summery drink made with muddled mint leaves and rum: make sure the bartender uses fresh lime juice and ask her to hold off on the sugar, substituting it with Splenda instead. You can also swap out the club soda for Fresca, a citrusy-carbonated beverage that has a negligible 2 calories per every 8 ounces. A health bonus for this low-calorie cocktail: this drink is rich in antioxidants thanks to the lime and mint juices.

Watermelon Martini:
While some sugary martinis contain enough calories to classify as dessert (they don’t call it “liquid lunch” for nothing), this fruity, pink concoction of vodka, simple syrup, and pureed watermelon is the smarter choice, clocking in at a mere 125 calories. Nightclubs such as Lotus and Level V craft the cocktail exactly this way, so you can be sure they’re not slipping anything unwanted in there. To cut calories even further, request that it be made with agave nectar instead of simple syrup, which has fewer calories and requires a smaller amount for the same level of sweetness.

Margarita, Redux:
At a whopping 400 calories, a frozen margarita may not be worth its salt-rimmed glass after all. While a margarita on the rocks (170 calories) is a considerably better option, try mixing tequila with Crystal Light lemonade and Sierra Mist Free or Diet Sprite Zero for a drink that tastes like one without all of the calories.

Diet Tonic Drinks:
No matter which 80-proof liquor you choose as a base (gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, and vodka), they all have the same nutritional value of around 65 calories and zero fat. What matters is the mixer you choose to pair it with—that’s where the sugars and calories that contribute to your side tire lurk. The most popular pick, tonic water, is one of the highest sugar mixers out there, so make sure to replace it with diet tonic or club soda and you’re in the clear.

The Maggie McQuade:
Get your sweet fix with this saccharine-tasting drink, named after the stylish (and skinny) twenty-something who created it, which mixes vanilla vodka with diet ginger ale.

Vodka and Diet Red Bull:
When made with sugar-free Red Bull, this popular club-goer staple will help you keep slim (it’s only 75 calories) and buzzing all night.

White Wine Spritzer:
Sure, it may be the preferred drink of your Great Aunt Ethyl, but maybe she’s smarter than you think: diluting your drink with club soda or sparkling water means you get more glasses for fewer calories (around 100 each round). Stick to dry wines, which contain fewer calories than their sweeter counterparts.

Okay, so this isn’t a low-calorie cocktail, but it’s important to start your night off with a no-cal glass of agua and continue to have one between every drink you order. Water helps you maintain hydration so you’re not chugging cocktails to quench your thirst, fills you up, and allows you to monitor the amount of calories you consume throughout the night. Plus, it prevents you from having a hangover the next day, so we say cheers to that.

Low-Calorie Cocktails.

Waterstone Video


Bursitis in my Knee :(

December 28, 2009 Leave a comment

I did an intense cleaning session at the restaurant that I’m the Chef at and it required a lot of kneeling and vacuuming, about 2 weeks ago.  I think all of the kneeling set off some irritation in my left knee and now when I run over 30 minutes I get this inflamation just below kneecap and slightly to the inside of my leg.   The good thing is, it is not painful.  I have read up on bursitis of the knee, and there are several bursa sacs in the knee.  My particular problem is called

Pes anserinus bursitis

Bursa in the Knee

The remedy is R.I.C.E, (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) so I’ve been taking it easy and doing cross training on the bike and elliptical and running a little less.

Plus, Ice and compression combined with topical NSAID like Traumeel or MSM cream.

Nutritional Supplements can also be very effective at reducing inflamation and may be a better long term solution to controlling the bursitis or arthritis.

Nutrition and Supplements

Eat whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fatty fish or help reduce inflammation. Avoid processed foods and foods high in sugar and fat. The following supplements may help.

(excerpt taken from University of Maryland Medical Center

Pes Anserine Bursitis Treatment Options for a P.T.

· Have patient refrain from activities which increase symptoms

· Ice Massage/Ice Packs

· Postural Training/Functional Training

· ROM/Stretching

· Strengthening

· Massage/Soft Tissue Mobilization

· Joint Mobilization

· Gait Training

· Orthotics

· Ultrasound/Phonophoresis/Iontophoresis

There is a good site about bursitis at

I’m pretty sure that the kneeling episode set it off, but only combined with my high mileage, and poor mechanics on my left leg.  So I am working on stregthening my lower left leg.  Also the rolfing sessions are helping with proper mechanics.

On a “lighter” note…the Christmas season was great but not an ideal setting for losing weight.  Yeah, I put on a couple pounds, but I’m still much lighter than I was at this time last year, by about 10 lbs.  My favorite thing to do after the Holidays is the 5-day Reset, which is a nutritional based weight loss system made by a company that I work with and use.

5 Day RESET Kit

I was 194 this morning before I went to the gym…not good.  I’ll keep you updated on my 5 day results.

I also registered for my first triathlon, albeit an INDOOR tri, I’m excited.  I’m a little worried about the swim though, I haven’t swam for speed in, well, never.  I’ve swam laps before when I was younger, like 20 years ago.  Oh well, you gotta start somewhere right?  I will try to get in a pool before the Jan. 10th event, but it may not happen.  It’s only a 10 minute swim, then 30 min on the bike, then 20 min on the treadmill.  I’ve always wanted to get into Tri’s since I feel like my body type is more suited to that than it is to long distance running.  We’ll see where I stack up with very little training 🙂

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December 21, 2009 5 comments

I had my second rolfing session yesterday.  I had rolfing on my list of things to do for about a year now.  It was actually recommended to me by my massage therapist.  The only thing holding me back was my lack of knowledge of what it was, and the time commitment.  Most reports say that for rolfing to be effective you should go through 10 sessions.

So far, so good.  The results of my 1st 2 sessions have been fantastic.  The first session focused mainly on my upper back, shoulders, and arms.  Then 10 days later on my 1st long run of the winter, I went 11 miles easy in 90 minutes.  As my run was coming to an end, I took a physical inventory of my body and realized I felt good…dare I say great.  I could have run another 30 minutes no problem.  And amazingly, my upperback which gets sore like clockwork after about 60 minutes of running was almost pain free.  Infinetely better then it has been, usually after a 90 minute + run I can’t turn my head to the side without my upper back screaming from tightness.  Needless to say, I was impressed and attributed my pain free run to rolfing since that was the only change I had made.  Nice.

The second session focused on legs, mainly lower legs, but whole leg was worked on.

After every session I get “homework”, which is basically what I need to do to help the progress last.  My 2 homeworks so far are things I know I should do but don’t because they aren’t fun.

1.  Rolling my IT band with a foam roller, ouch

2. Strengthening my weak calf that had the ruptured Achilles

But she is right…those are necessary for me to get faster and stay healthy

Let me explain what rolfing is,  better yet, let wikipedia explain Rolfing.

Basically it is myofacial release  Here is the Rolf Institutes explantion of rolfing and how it differs from massage

Rolfing and Massage

What is the difference between massage and Rolfing?

Rolfing is not a form of massage
One of the most common misconceptions about Rolfing is that it is a nothing more than a type of very deep massage. There are many varieties of massage, which are particularly effective for loosening tight tissue, reducing stress, detoxing the body and an increased feeling of relaxation and well-being. Since these benefits are also a byproduct of Rolfing, the general public experience confusion as to the precise difference between our work and the proliferation of effective touch modalities currently available.

Rolfing balances the body in gravity
Ray McCall, an Advanced Rolfer in Boulder and former student of Dr. Rolf, once said that what Rolfers do can be summed up in three words: palpation, discrimination and integration.

  • We palpate, or touch the tissue, feeling for imbalances in tissue texture, quality and temperature to determine where we need to work.
  • We discriminate, or separate fascial layers that adhere and muscles that have been pulled out of position by strain or injury.
  • Finally, we integrate the body, relating its segments in an improved relationship, bringing physical balance in the gravitational field.

Other soft-tissue manipulation methods, including massage, are quite good at the first two, but do not balance the body in gravity.

Rolfing reshapes and reorganizes
As Dr. Rolf used to say: “Anyone can take a body apart, very few know how to put it back together.” The true genius of her method is the art and science of reshaping and reorganizing human structure according to clearly defined principles in a systematic and consistent manner.

Rolfing can teach you to help yourself function more effectively
In addition to our skill as structural integrators, Rolfers are also educators, a point Dr. Rolf stressed frequently in her training classes.

The role of teacher is something every Rolfer takes seriously. In each session, Rolfers seek to impart insights to clients to increase their awareness and understanding, to help the client make the work we do their own. Our job is to make ourselves obsolete, by empowering our clients to take charge of their own physical and emotional health. Influencing the structural evolution of man on a global level was Dr. Rolf’s fondest dream.

The Book I’ve Been Looking For!

December 18, 2009 1 comment

It finally got written.  I enjoy all of Matt Fitzgerald’s books, especially Nutrition for Runners.  But there was still something missing…how to lose weight, healthily and still train and fuel for marathon training.

Most nutrition books are written for average people, as are most weight loss book.  Running 50 miles a week is not average and requires different rules.  But I was kind of clueless what those rules were.  I’ve tried and am trying many different things to lose these last 15 stubborn pounds.  With no luck mind you.

Then, like an early Santa delivery…it is here…

get it on Amazon, it’s actually cheaper there than at the bookstore
Get this book

Stress fracture VS Shin Splints

December 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Breakdown of the difference in Layman’s terms by a Doctor

More Facts and causes of Stress Fractures

Nutrition that reduces inflammation

Taken from a discussion board…

“This is a horns-of-dilemma injury, as shin splints can develop into tibial stress fractures – as happened to me. A doctor will tell you to rest it, then test it, if there is some certainty that it is just shin splints. The problem with that, however, is that continually “testing” it can lead to the fracture – and that’s the difference between 2-3 weeks off and 2-3 months off.

In ’00 I developed a stress fracture, but because I had run on it for a several weeks before it was properly diagnosed, I was off running for about 3 months while it healed. Three years late I clobbered that exact same site and it became a hairline fracture, but with the same symptoms. And, because I recognized them and respected them – stopped running immediately – I was only away from running for 2 months.

Shin splint discomfort will often be diffuse, spread out for a few inches along the shin. A stress fracture will usually be sensitive over a very small area, about the size of a dime. A  s.f. will also often respond to a tuning-fork test, although in my case that didn’t happen.

As grkid says, a bone scan is not usually among the first forms of diagnosis, and after resting, testing, x-rays, and the like, I was sent for a bone scan which confirmed the s.f. (It’s a very nifty procedure, especially watching the image resolve from a million points of graininess into something visibly coherent — even though the resulting image was NOT what I wanted to see!!)

Man, if you can cut to the chase and get a rock-solid diagnosis on this, that would be better than futzing around with it and maybe turning it into a s.f. HOWEVER, for every person with a s.f. there are dozens and dozens and dozens of people who “only” have shin splints, so you’ve got the numbers of your side. Good luck with it all!”

If you get up in the morning and your leg/foot feels fine, but gets worse with running or activity, it may be a stress fracture, since bone healing occurs while resting and will make a fracture feel better after laying down for 8 hours.

Shin splints will usually feel worse in the morning and warm up through the day, but will also be tender while running.

I am currently battling tenderness in my inner left shin (posterior medial tibialis)

Using ice bath, ultrasound, Traumeel cream, Ibuprofen (rarely) to bring down inflammation.  It is not getting any worse.  We will see what happens as I increase mileage.

More great Links

Overuse Injuries, Bone Strain, Stress Fracture

Pictures of Various Stress Fractures on MRI

Race Report- NYRR Holiday Run 4 Mile Prospect Park

December 14, 2009 3 comments

What a PERFECT day for a run!…(If you happen to be a PENGUIN OR POLAR BEAR!)  26 degrees and a brisk 10 mph wind.  FREEZING!  I think it felt worse since it was the first time of the season that it was really cold, the adaptation process has not begun yet.

We still all made it out there.  Alex, Trisha, Nate, and myself.  Due to a blister, Alex (my fiance) was unable to make her debut at the Turkey Trot, so this time she had to brave the cold.  We decided to take a car to the number pick up instead of walking the 1.5 miles in the cold.  Great choice.

Honestly I think I was AS excited for this race as I was for the NY marathon.  I was just so happy that Alex would be sharing an experience that I am so passionate about.

My plan was always to run along with her, but after she talked with Trisha (Nate’s wife) they decided they would rather we didn’t “tag along” with them 🙂  She didn’t want any hoopla and entourage.  That’s fine.  Actually, on a day that cold, I was happy to finish as soon as possible and get into warm clothes and warm house.  Nate and I did end up starting with the ladies and running with them for the first mile.  It was actually really fun starting towards the back of the pack.  No one was pushing and jockeying for position before the race started.  Everyone was more relaxed.  The gun went off and we didn’t move for about 30 seconds.  Weird.  After about 3 minutes we made it to the official starting line.  Thankfully we had chips so we would have an accurate net time.

Mile 1– a very congested first mile was 50% uphill.  We were all jogging with each other and it was fun.  Alex and Trisha seemed to be content running with each other, so Nate and I waved good bye and picked up the pace.  We came through 1 mile in about 10:20 🙂  Alex and Trisha just behind us in about 10:30

Mile 2– Weaving around people and running mostly on the far outside of the pack we came through 2 with 6:25 split.  It felt good to be getting warmer.  The course was packed where we were running.  Nate and I agreed that it would actually be fun to run a marathon at a slow pace and really get to enjoy and have fun while running.  Not to say that racing a marathon isn’t fun, but you don’t get to enjoy the full effect of the sights and sounds, fans, bands, etc when going for a PR or a BQ.  Maybe we will try this method out in Big Sur, since that course does not lend itself to a PR.

Mile 3– A good amount of downhill, 6:07, nice tempo pace, but definitely starting to feel it.  I wasn’t really mentally prepared to run fast, so it felt more like a tempo workout than a race.  After the 6:07 I decided I wanted to go for negative split for the last mile.

Mile 4–  Didn’t get negative.  6:23, a tough last mile.  Part of my motivation was to hurry up and finish so I could get the video camera and capture Alex’s finish.

Nate and I crossed the line, I hustled over to my bag to get the camcorder and we made our way back up the course to find them.  We intercepted them when they had about 3/4 of a mile left.  Alex was still jogging and looking good.  I filmed as they passed and then we jogged along with them.  Alex needed to walk a bit up the last incline, and told Trisha to go on ahead.  I walked with her and with 400m to go until the finish Alex started running again, MUCH faster than before.  The light at the end of the cold tunnel was in sight.  With the kick, she finished under 50 minutes.  And that is with walking the 3rd mile.  I’m very proud of her, especially for toughing it out in the cold weather.  The time isn’t important, it was fun to have her participating in a race with me.  Keep in mind she has done absolutely zero training for this.  The main thing she enjoyed was having a running partner to talk to.  Hopefully the first run of many to come. 🙂

Then we all went to Nate and Trisha’s apartment and had waffles and mimosas.  A great way to finish a chilly holiday run.


Acupuncture and Shin Splints

December 10, 2009 1 comment

I am looking into this, as a running friend of mine had great success with acupuncture relieving her shin splint pain.  And in only 3 sessions.

I am researching different practitioners in NYC.  I will let you know what I come up with.  Although I am leaning toward my friend’s recommendation, Patsy Roth.

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