Saturday, September 1, 2012

Run, Forrest, Run: Eggs are Excellent for Runners

Chicken on the Run       c. Shobe Biz Communications

Today, I had my first day of Boot Camp. No, I'm not talking about military bootcamp. I'm talking about kick-your-butt, get-yourself-back-in-shape bootcamp.

Jenny, a seemingly Barbie doll princess of the party scene, runs the bootcamp.  At 8:30 a.m., she kicked off the morning's "festivities" with a run. I almost vacated on the spot.  No one told me about this part of the bootcamp. I've worked with trainers before and only had to shuffle my feet on a treadmill. Jenny wanted me to run on the streets?

Holy Toledo.

Am I the only one who dreads running, I thought? Granted. I was in the shuttle relay when I was in fifth grade and placed in the Junior Olympics. But, running as an adult? The minute I move my feet from a trot to a canter, my asthma kicks in and my mind starts ranting "I hate this, I hate this, I hate this" with ever step.

"Have a positive attitude," I heard Jenny yell. "You can do this." Thank goodness she was yelling it to everyone because for a moment I wondered if she could read my mind or at least the grimace on my face.

Hmmm, I thought. I could muster up a positive attitude. After all, I"m a Pollyanna of a million things--just not running. And, then, Forrest Gump popped into my head. "Run, Forrest, Run."  If Forrest could do it, I could. Who cares if Forrest was a fictional character?

I ran around the plaza and halfway down the street. Then, I fast walked a bit. And, then I began running again until I ran around the corner and realized that everyone was ahead of me and I was dead last.

Dead last -- a blow to my competitive spirit.

I looked down at the grass to avoid everyone's eyes and wove my way through the maze of sweaty bodies already working on the next exercise. Be nice to yourself, I thought. It's okay  because you're award-winning in other arenas, Some consolation, I thought. I settled down onto my mat to finish the class. And, as I was squatting and push-upping through the final exercise, I wracked my brain. Surely there was something I could do to prepare myself better for the next class? Perhaps eating breakfast before?

On Monday, before class, I decided that I will eat one of my delicious hen's eggs for breakfast. The latest research shows that eggs are the ideal food for runners. One egg meets 10%-13% of daily protein needs and 30% of Vitamin K needs. The April 2012 issue of Runners World reported that eggs are good for runners because they are supposed to:

1.  Help you slim down. Egg protein is easy for the body to absorb.
2.  Minimize heart attacks
3.  Fight inflammation because of their choline; which also helps with Alzheimer's and
4.  Help maintain bone strength because one egg provides 10% of necessary daily
     Vitamin D.
5.  Help prevent macular degeneration due to the lutein in yolks.
6.  Provide Omega 3's. One yolk equals the same amount of Omega-3s that are in one ounce
     of salmon.

According to the Lazy Runner (a magazine title that works for me), body builders eat up to 20 eggs a day without increasing their bad cholesterol count. And, a small egg has 37 calories and an extra large has 85--not bad for the protein they offer.

In the February 8, 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported the U.S. Department of Agriculture's research showed that eggs are lower in cholesterol and higher in vitamin D than previously believed. Reports showed that  "the average large egg contained 185 milligrams of cholesterol (14% less than prior measures) and 41 IU of vitamin D (64% more)" a difference believed to be due to the chicken feed.

I was thinking about downing two hard boiled for Monday's breakfast until I discovered yet one more article about eggs. (This is precisely what I hate about research.)  The Los Angeles Times reported in the August 14, 2012 issue that if you are over 40, eating the whole egg can be almost as dangerous to your arteries as smoking. What????

According to the article, "for those who did not smoke, or who rarely consumed egg yolks, carotid wall thickness increased after 40, but at a slow-steady rate. For those whose consumption of whole eggs was in the highest 20%, the narrowing of the carotid artery was on average about two-thirds that of the study's heaviest smokers."

The National Heart Blood and Lung Institute  guidelines recommend no more than 300 mg of cholesterol per day (one egg yolk has 200 mg) and no more than four whole eggs weekly, including those in baked and other goods. For those who already have health problems, cholesterol intake should be less than 200 mg day.

Oh, my...what's a girl supposed to do with this conflicting research?

Stick to my plan, I decided.

Even though I raise 15 hens, I eat only about two to three hardboiled eggs a week, including their yolk interiors.  It's just enough to get the good benefits of the eggs without getting too much of the bad, I figure. I'll ask Jenny how she feels about eating eggs on Monday. In the meantime, it looks like I have two more days to boil some. Maybe I'll even sneak one in between--an egg that is, not a run!

Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone!

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