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Why this FOF runner was “relieved” the N.Y.C. marathon was called off.
When Hurricane Sandy “stormed” the tri-state area two weeks ago, causing an estimated $20 billion of damage, splintering homes into matchsticks, causing 113 deaths and leaving an estimated 4.8 million households in the dark including all of lower Manhattan, N.Y.C. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said–the marathon must go on. As late as 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, just two days before the marathon was to begin, Bloomberg took the pulpit insisting the race will “give people something to cheer about” after a “dismal week.”
But, not everyone felt ready to cheer. Patricia Greenberg, an L.A.-based, FOF nutrition and fitness expert who has completed 15 marathons (six of those in New York City) said she felt “appalled” even as a devoted marathon runner. “I thought how dare they?” she says.
The mayor himself buckled to a whirlwind of criticism, eventually cancelling the marathon conceding that he would not want “a cloud to hang over the race or its participants.”
We caught up with Patricia post-Sandy to get the low-down.
How long have you been running marathons?
About 17 years. My first marathon was the Los Angeles marathon in March of 1995. A freak hail storm hit, and I still ran. I completed it in four hours and 57 minutes. Since then, I’ve run 15 marathons and 64 half marathons. I’ve run in 89 degrees, in 39 degrees, in rain storms and heat-stroke weather.
How did you start?
I was not athletic as a kid. As a young adult, I went to the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona and landed a job teaching nutrition at a culinary school in Los Angeles. Around the same time, I started working out and ultimately took on a more challenging fitness regimen. I saw an ad in the paper for the L.A. marathon and embarked on a seven-month training program with the Los Angeles Road Runners. When I finished the marathon I said, ‘okay crossed that off my bucket list–I’ll never do that again.’
Left: Patricia running the 2000 N.Y.C. Marathon. Right: Patricia poses with her medals at the finish line of the 2011 Beach Cities Challenge.
But you’ve continued to run them again and again, how come?
I cry everytime I cross the finish line. There is an incredible sense of freedom and accomplishment. People keep telling me, ‘I don’t know how you do it–I couldn’t run anymore when I turned 50.’ I don’t feel anywhere near retirement. To celebrate my 50th birthday my husband, daughter and I went to Athens and I ran the original Pheidippides trail from the Battle of Marathon to the Olympic Stadium.
You flew in from Los Angeles to run the N.Y.C. Marathon. Were you disappointed when it was cancelled?
I planned to run the marathon for my 52nd birthday. I was going to wear a Statue of Liberty costume as I ran, since I’m a native New Yorker. When I arrived, there was a part of me that felt apprehensive. I thought that we’d be running under conditions that were not ideal and maybe not necessarily safe. Then, on Friday morning at the pre-marathon expo, people were screaming and shoving to get to the merchandise–I’ve never seen anything like it. There was no evidence of New York having a problem. My discomfort was kind of waning at that point.
When did you find out it was called off?
On Friday afternoon. After the Expo, I went to visit my grandmother. She is 97 and lives in a high-rise. She had no electricity. We trudged up the twenty-something floors in pitch black. That’s when I started to wonder, ‘can I in good conscience run a marathon on Sunday?’ The marathon runners will be taking water and blankets, and my own grandmother hasn’t had electricity for five days. Then, I got multiple text messages from friends saying it was cancelled.
How did you feel about the mayor’s decision?
Honestly, a weight was [lifted] off my shoulders. It was a relief in that I didn’t have to go in with a heavy heart. I was totally on board with the decision.
What’s next for you?
I’m very devoted to New York and the recovery efforts. I already donated my running shoes and marathon clothes to the relief and there’s a Jersey Shore marathon in May I signed up for.
Do you have any inspirational advice?
Running marathons is not for everyone but find something that works for you–something physical. There’s nothing like the sense of accomplishment of doing something you thought you couldn’t do. I marvel at myself every time I finish, its not bragging, I just can’t believe I did it.
Stymied On How To Cook With Soy? Tips on Tofu and More
By Niesha Lofing
The Department of Agriculture's dietary guidelines now includes soy products and soy beverages, but the recommendation can leave some home cooks quivering like a block of silken tofu at the thought of trying to incorporate soy in daily life.
But soy - and what to do with it - has come a long way in the past 20 years. And given the health benefits - the plant protein is low in fat, high in calcium and rich in vitamins - we might want to give it the old college try.
The Soyfoods Association of North America is lobbying for now, of course, or at least in April, when it's National Soyfoods Month.
Patricia Greenberg, a nutritionist and chef who serves as spokeswomen for the association, relayed some advice for soy virgins and aficionados alike.
Rule #1: Just try it.
Pick your favorite recipe and try swapping in tofu for half the protein, Greenberg said. Spaghetti and meatballs?
Proceed as usual, but sub in "ground round" soy substitute for half the ground meat.
Rule #2: Think sweet, think soy.
If you're making a pudding, smoothie or milkshake and you want to eliminate some of the milk, yogurt or ice cream, puree some tofu in the blender first and then add the additional ingredients. But choose which style of tofu you use carefully.
"When you're doing sweet desserts, custards, desserts, use silken tofu," Greenberg said. "It whips up easily and you don't want to have that beany aftertaste."
Rule #3: When baking with soy, proceed carefully.
Baking is extremely difficult with soy, since soy flour doesn't rise as much as white or whole what flour, she said.
Instead, use soymilk or soy sour cream it in the milk portion of the recipe.
Rule #4: Tofu isn't the terrible, unappetizing block of soy some think it is.
Many people think tofu tastes bad and that its texture is unappealing, Greenberg said. But if you incorporate it work with it - taking care to season it - you'll have much more success.
Rule #5: Kids won't eat soy.
They will if you use the aforementioned rules, with a little twist. Edamame are a great soy snack, but if you're kids are averse to eating anything green, try incorporating soy in sneakier ways. Macaroni and cheese can get a protein boost if you swap in soy cheese for half the amount of cheddar called for in the recipe. Substitute soy milk for regular milk in waffles or French toast. Use soy cheese mozzarella sticks stuffed in manicotti shells and covered in marinara for a quick weeknight dinner.
Want to try a little soy this week? Here's a favorite recipe among folks at the Soyfoods Association.
Tofu and vegetable enchiladas with red chili sauce
Prep time: 10 minutes
Recipe courtesy of House Foods and the Soyfoods Association of North America
1/2 package (7ounces) House Foods premium tofu (firm or extra firm), drained
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1/2 cup white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped
8 corn tortillas
One 19-ounce can enchilada sauce
1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
Queso Fresco for garnish, crumbled
- Wrap tofu in paper towels and press to remove excess water and crumble.
- Cook mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet medium-high heat until browned.
- Add red onion and cook until translucent. Add tofu and cook until browned. Add spinach And 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir until spinach wilts. Remove from heat.
- In a large skillet on medium heat, place tortillas and cook for 1 minute on each side.
- Put 1/2 cup of mixture on tortilla and roll up to form the enchilada.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, saute white onion until brown, using 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
- Add enchilada sauce and salt to taste. Bring it to a boil.
- Dip the enchiladas into the hot sauce and place on a plate. Pour the remaining sauce over enchiladas and top with cheese.
- Serve hot.
Veteran Runner Lays Out a Training Regimen for the L.A. Marathon
By Stephanie Cary
As the clock runs, the L.A. Marathon's starting line is inching closer and closer.
For many, March 20 will be their first time competing in a 26.2-mile race.
Patricia Greenberg is not one of those people.
The 50-year-old Hancock Park resident has run 11 marathons and 33 half-marathons. Her first marathon was the 1995 L.A. Marathon, which she ran just to prove she could complete it - which she did, in about 4 hours, 50 minutes.
The typical sunny Southern California weather gave way that day to rain and cool temperatures, making the experience grueling, she says. So she decided while in the middle of it that it would not only be her first marathon, but also her last.
Once she finished the race, however, the feeling of accomplishment was greater than the memory.
"Each time I do one, I say I'll do one more and then I'm done, but I just keep going," Greenberg said. "I've actually gotten faster, stronger, more adept at what I do. And as a nutrition teacher, I've put a tremendous amount of research into all the different components that go into it. So I've been able to keep it up all these years, with the same enthusiasm I might add."
Greenberg is an ACE- (American Council on Exercise) certified trainer, a certified culinary professional with the International Association of Culinary Arts, and has a bachelor's degree in nutrition and food science.
Combining her training, she runs The Fitness Gourmet - an education consulting firm that presents nutrition and fitness seminars nationwide.
By now, people who are planning to run the 2011 L.A. Marathon should already have begun training - Greenberg recommends beginning training 16 to 18 weeks prior to the race.
Generally, for first-time marathon runners, Greenberg suggests a training program that starts out with 3- to 5-mile runs four days a week and adding mileage as you go.
"About three or four weeks out (from) the marathon, you should do a 20-mile run. ... We consider that to be a significant run and a good training run for a full marathon," Greenberg said "People who do a full marathon prior to the (actual) marathon are too tired and too wiped out and become somewhat injury prone," she said. "So it's best not to do - especially for a beginner - the full mileage before you get to the marathon." Greenberg also recommends the marathon-training regimen include cross-training such as cycling, swimming or weight training, to avoid overworking specific parts of the body.
Closer to the run: Two weeks prior to the race, Greenberg recommends runners start to bulk up nutritionally with an increase in complex carbohydrates, including whole grain bread, pasta salad, sweet potatoes, rice and whole fruits.
"Refrain or have minimal amounts of alcohol because, contrary to popular belief, it is good for you but it does make you a little sluggish, and you don't want anything that will make you even more tired two weeks out," Greenberg said.
"If you are accustomed to drinking coffee or any kind of stimulants, then you can continue," she said. "If it's not something you're accustomed to, I wouldn't take it up for the sake of energy because you might not react well to it on the day of the race."
Two weeks out from the race is also when runners tend to partake in what Greenberg compares to holiday eating. She says people tend to overeat because they rationalize that they will burn it off during the run, but they actually gain weight instead.
Also in the weeks leading up to the marathon, Greenberg says sleep becomes an important issue. "Wherever you can get sleep in, that's critical, because sleep deprivation will slow your metabolism down, which in turn will slow your energy down," Greenberg said. "Even if you are not fully asleep, you're resting. That's a critical, critical part of the success of the marathon and of course keeping you from feeling really wiped out the day of. That also contributes to dehydration - not enough sleep."
One week to go: For the week of the Sunday race, Greenberg offers these tips:
- Increase your complex carbohydrates even more.
- Cross-train Wednesday.
- Do a 2- to 3-mile slow run Thursday.
- Take Friday and Saturday off from exercise but stretch a lot.
- Eat an early dinner and go to bed earlier than usual Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
- Do not eat anything you are not accustomed to Thursday, Friday or Saturday.
"I wouldn't do any hard workout Friday and Saturday before the race, of any sort," Greenberg said. "You know when you push yourself a little too much at the gym and you get a muscle ache or a sore? It's exacerbated during the run. You feel it 10 times more when you're in the middle of a race, especially with that degree of mileage, if you've done something a little tough on Friday or Saturday."
Race day: On the day of the race, Greenberg again says to eat a breakfast you are accustomed to, though she recommends light granola, yogurt, fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs or instant oatmeal.
Throughout the marathon, sponsors will provide water, sports drinks, snacks and medical assistance, so it's not necessary for runners to carry anything with them during the race. "While you're running, it is important also to keep yourself hydrated," Greenberg said. "You don't have to stop at every single water station. I understand why people do that, but the more you stop and start and stop and start, that really will drain your energy. So I like to recommend taking it easy the first couple miles and maybe stopping at every other water and energy-drink station."
Once you stop at a station, she says, it is important to keep walking as you sip your drink. One big mistake people make, including herself, Greenberg says, is starting out at too fast of a pace, because then you wear yourself out quickly. She recommends starting out with a 10- to 12-minute mile and then working your way up to your goal pace.
She also wants first-time runners to know that it is OK to walk the race and that there is nothing to feel ashamed about.
"For anybody running their first marathon, you're a winner just for doing it. The accomplishment alone is phenomenal," Greenberg said. "Do what's good for you and remember that you will get to the end and you will be fine. ... Just do it for yourself."
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Nutrition Tips for the Ventura half-marathon and 5K
By Patricia Greenberg
When preparing for a race, runners can maximize their potential by choosing the right foods a few days before the race. One good meal the day before will not be the cure-all, but the food choices that runners make just before racing will affect the outcome.
Two days before the race, choose foods that you eat regularly so there are no surprises on race day, and I recommend eating home as much as possible to keep on top of your intake.
Add an extra complex carbohydrate to any or all of your meals, such as whole grain breads, a pasta salad, sweet potatoes, extra serving of rice, or a whole piece of fruit. Bananas, apples and pears are best. Because carbohydrates provide the body with energy and fuel, pre-race meals should have an abundance of them without overload. Don’t forget to have water at every meal!
Breakfast — eggs with vegetables are a great choice for the nutritional punch; in addition, toast, breakfast meats and orange juice are fine.
Lunch —Whole wheat tortilla wraps filled with rice, cheese and spinach and topped with salsa are great! Add some tuna, chicken or tofu, and you are good for the rest of the day!
Dinner — Baked chicken or fish, or eggs and tofu are great choices. For sides, I would do a brown rice and wild rice, steamed vegetables, corn on the cob, roasted sweet potato fries or pasta.
The Ventura half-marathon starts at 8 a.m. and the 5K at 8:15 a.m. Finish dinner no later than 9 p.m., and try to get to bed early.
You should wake up slightly hungry, and eat by 6 a.m. Good choices are oatmeal, light granola, yogurt, fresh fruit and a few hard boil eggs. One cup of coffee is fine.
Liquids — you should get most of your liquid from water. Many people load up on sports drinks, smoothies and juices. Keep in mind that these all add calories and you may feel fuller than you would like! Prior to the race, if you are going to have sports drinks, make sure you get used to the drink your race is providing.
What foods and drinks to avoid before a half-marathon
Salt — I recommend not putting extra on your food, and replenishing during and after the run with sports drink and pretzels.
Water — Just sipping water when thirsty or at meal times will be sufficient to ensure that you stay hydrated for the race.
Caffeine — Refrain from caffeine at night. If you are accustomed to drinking caffeine in the morning, it is OK pre-race. If you don’t drink caffeine, do not start race morning!
Alcohol — I would refrain a few days before just to avoid any unnecessary dehydration and sluggishness that may occur race morning.
Post-race recovery nutrition
As tempting as it may seem, when you reach the finish line, do not stuff yourself with food. Take a water and sports drink first. Keep walking around to let your heart rate come down and your legs relax a bit. Then go back to the food tables where there are oranges, bananas and bagels. Take a little bite of each at first, and then walk some more.
Completing a half-marathon does burn a lot of calories, but replacing those calories haphazardly will result in less recovery for your muscles and your stomach. Easy on the food at the finish line, and save the victory treats for later that day after you have had time to rest.
The Ninth annual Ventura half-marathon and 5K takes place on Sunday, Feb. 13. Registration closing date is Friday, Feb. 11, at 11:59 p.m. For more information, go to vendurance.com.
Health and wellness expert and best-selling author Patricia Greenberg has completed 11 marathons and 30 half-marathons. She is president of The Fitness Gourmet, an education consulting firm that specializes in teaching nutrition and fitness programs nationwide. For more information, www.TheFitnessGourmet.com. Patricia is also running in the Ventura Marathon.
Nutritionist promotes wellness through food, fitness
By Laura Eversz
She’s known as the Fitness Gourmet, and for good reason Patricia Greenberg-Grunfeld holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, a degree in culinary arts and is a certified personal trainer. She’s also a best-selling cookbook author and the owner of an education consulting firm that specializes in teaching nutrition and fitness seminars nationwide.
The 50-year-old Hancock Park wife and mother practices what she preaches. She has completed 11 marathons and 29 half marathons, all after she turned 35. “My focus is to get people to make better choices,” said Patricia. “It’s a combination of eating well and exercising.” When it comes to fitness, there is no one thing that is right for everyone. “I tell people to do what they like, but try to do it for 30 minutes per day.” For instance, “I started running because it was so easy to just throw on some shoes and go outside…it was free and easy.” But others might have orthopedic issues or time constraints, or the whole exercise thing feels so daunting that they won’t even start.
Her advice: start walking. Walk around the block, park your car at the furthest spot from the grocery store, take the stairs. “Exercise burns calories, improves lung function and strengthens your heart, lowering your heart rate. It also improves immunity and sharpens your brain.” Long-term benefits of regular exercise include lowering one’s risk of diabetes and cancer, and increased endurance, she added. A leaner body composition also comes with exercise, even though you may not weigh less, said
Patricia. “The reality is that body types cannot be changed, so I tell people to maximize what they have. You can’t just spot reduce, but overall fitness will build muscle and improve your appearance.”
Exercise, along with paying attention to the quality and portion size of the food you eat, is the most effective way to get fit,” she said.
Portion control is very important, and gives people an awareness of how much they are really consuming. “Look at the nutrition facts on the packaging and you’ll see calories per serving, which is often surprising. For example, one serving of pretzels might be 15 pieces; a serving of cereal is
only one cup.” The nutritionist suggests taking the time to portion food out and put it into Ziploc bags. “It really just gives you a good look at how much you are actually eating. “What happens in many cultures is that people get their identity and value from how much food they serve up. I work with parents and say, you can still offer a lot, but include healthy choices. Instead of candy and soda, put out one plate of cookies, but surround it with a variety of fruit platters, cheese slices and flavored
soda water. “It’s really about paying attention to the quality of foods we eat. Health professionals
worldwide are all on the same page when it comes to healthful eating, which should include lots of fruits, vegetables, whole wheat and skim dairy complemented by smaller quantities of meats, oils and
fats.” Occasional treats are fine, she said, like dessert once a week. “But save the splurges for birthdays and special occasions.”
The long-term consequences of not taking care of ourselves PRACTICING what she preaches. Greenberg has completed 11 marathons and 29 half marathons do not add up until much later in life, said the marathon runner. “I look at staying fit and eating well as preventative medicine. The fear of aging is very valid, but what’s the alternative?” she muses. So, while turning 50 may be traumatic for some, “I was just so happy,” she said of her recent birthday. “My husband and I looked at each other and said ‘we’re so thankful that we’re healthy.’”
A soy buffet, but is that a good thing?
By Andrea Sachs
At a recent reception held on Capitol Hill, the secret ingredient was . . .
No big shocker, considering the sponsor of the event was the Soyfoods Association of North America. But what I found surprising was the lack of obvious soy: no cubes of tofu coated in barbecue sauce or bowls brimming with peel-your-own edamame. To detect the soy, I needed sharper taste buds, or a culinary guide.
For a tour of the nibbles table, I approached Patricia Greenberg, a chef and cookbook author (example, “The Whole Soy Cookbook”) who assists the organization with menu planning and recipes, including this special event. The 50-year-old Los Angeleno with flawless skin, shiny hair and a marathon runnerʼs physique started from the left corner of the buffet, opposite the two-piece orchestra.
Pointing to a metal tray where meatballs bobbed in tomato sauce, she explained that the golfball-size orbs were half soy sausage, half real beef. “The 50/50 is a nice way to introduce soy” to non-soy eaters, said Greenberg, who suggested tossing the meatballs on spaghetti, in casseroles or between two halves of a sandwich roll and calling it a sloppy Joe.
She then moved on to a medley of aromatic basmati and wild rices mixed with steamed edamame, dried apricots and cranberries, and a drizzle of citrus vinaigrette. My heart felt healthier just looking at it. Fruit kabobs were paired with a soy yogurt spread, and in the spirit of DIY food, a make-your-own taco stand featured seasoned textured vegetable protein (TVP) chicken, soy sour cream and salsa, where a stray piece of shredded soy cheddar had jumped bowls. To save the group from washing one more dish, a dip of whipped tofu, red bell peppers and pimentos nestled inside a hollowed-out loaf of pumpernickel. And for dessert, a multi-tiered tray held aloft coin-size chocolate chip cookies with soy nuts. “They have more oomph than walnuts and pecans,” said Greenberg.
Regarding this feast before me, I started imagining how, after consuming this punch of protein, I was going to become an Olympic elliptical rider at the gym. I also knew that soy helped against bone loss and alleviated menopausal symptoms. But before I started for the serving spoons, I also took into consideration soyʼs dark side. That cookie might not be so sweet.
To understand the controversy over soyʼs health benefits, I contacted (post-reception) Lisa Young, an adjunct professor at New York Universityʼs Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health. In the simplest terms, she explained that soy contains properties that View More Activity mimic estrogen and that too much of the hormone can increase the risk of certain cancers, such as breast. When I asked her how much soy was safe, she threw out the magic amount of “in moderation.”
For high-risk women, she recommends eating soy in its purest form — tofu, tempeh, soybeans — a few times a week and fully avoiding processed soy foods, such as veggie burgers, soy chips, fake bacon, etc. Individuals without such sensitivities should follow the same advice, though they can safely incorporate processed soy into their diet. Her final warning, though: “Processed is processed.”
Armed with this knowledge, I will approach the next soy-spiked party a little differently. I might have a smaller gob of soy yogurt dip on my strawberry and skip the sour cream on the TVP chicken taco. And I will eat only one cookie instead of two — wait, make that only two, not three.
-- Andrea Sachs
It's Time To Get Ready For The LA Marathon
By Stephanie Cary
Veteran Runner Lays Out A Training Regimen For The LA Marathon
By Stephanie Cary
It's Time To Get ready For The LA Marathon
By Stephanie Cary
It's Time To Get ready For The LA Marathon
By Stephanie Cary