BING CHERRIES, A Natural Way to Fight Inflammation

By Debbie
July 17, 2013 on 4:37 pm | In Community, Nutrition Tips | 1 Comment

This blog brought to you by TriSports Champion Ed Shortsleeve. Check out his blog at http://itrihardinvegas.tumblr.com/ and follow him on Twitter – vegaschef.

It’s a typical weekend for the typical weekend warrior. Up before the family awakens and a cup of coffee as the sun rises with a small portion of carbohydrate. A quick review of your training schedule reveals a long bike ride followed by a short run. Another “brick” workout that gets you one step closer to your “A” race. The training goes well and you arrive back home just as the family comes creeping down the stairs with sleepy eyes and bad breath. “Good Morning” you say. And a groggy “Good Morning” is mumbled from the family.

Later in the day and possibly even for the next few days, things are happening in your body from that brick workout. Some is good and some is bad, and for many of us some of it is painful. Inflammation, that big word that we hear so much about, affects many athletes in all different sports. It is a frustrating, yet manageable side effect from training. There are medicines that can help fight the free radicals that develop from exercise, but some of us prefer to use nature’s remedies.

Classification and Storage

Bing Cherries are a favorite fruit of many children and adults alike. They are actually classified as a drupe or stone fruit, which is the family of cherries, plums, apricots, nectarines and peaches.  While you may find some of these fruits available all year long, the peak season is summer time. This is when they are at their best in flavor and ripeness. Bing cherries are considered a sweet cherry, best for eating out of hand or using raw in various recipes. When shopping for cherries, search for ones that look large, are deeply colored and firm. Cherries should be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag until you are ready to consume. After washing, allow the cherries to sit out until they reach room temperature for maximum flavor. If you somehow can’t finish them all, you can simply place on a sheet pan and freeze (try not to let then touch so they don’t freeze together). Then remove from the pan and place in a seal tight bag to use all year long.

Delicious Bing cherries

Health Benefits

Many of the “red” fruits like pomegranate and Bing cherries contain flavonoids, a pigment that gives them their distinct deep, red color. Flavonoids are a plant based compound with antioxidant properties. In recent years, flavonoids have drawn interest from scientists and athletes alike for their potential benefits on our health such as anti- allergic and anti-inflammatory effects. Antioxidants are compounds that protect cells against the damaging effects of free radicals that result from stress in the body. A poor balance of antioxidants to free radicals can result in adverse side effects such as inflammation, atherosclerosis and even some types of cancer. The flavonoids found in Bing cherries may help protect against these diseases along with other vital vitamins and enzymes. (Buhler, 2000)

Usage

Bing Cherries are best known as a great, healthy snack for everyone in the family. There are many other options for including Bing cherries in your diet as well. I have used the cherries as a topping for oatmeal along with almonds, Manuka honey and cinnamon for a filling breakfast to keep hunger at bay until lunchtime. If you haven’t heard of Manuka honey, I suggest you read more about it at manukahoney.com. Besides Bing cherries, Manuka honey has become a staple in my diet due to its amazing digestive and topical healing effects. For a healthy snack, try some yogurt topped with granola and Bing cherries. And for lunch, add Bing cherries to your salad for a crisp, sweetness that can round out an otherwise boring green salad. At dinner, try the following recipe for a simple summer time dish to impress even the pickiest eaters.

Pacific Northwest Salmon with Bing Cherry Compote

Pacific Northwest Salmon with Bing Cherry Compote

Ingredients

For Salmon:

2 each, 4-5 oz. salmon filet

1 oz olive oil

2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked

To taste, salt and pepper

For Compote:

2 cups pitted and halved Fresh Bing cherries(reserve a few cherries with stems for garnish)

Zest from one orange

½ cup orange juice(squeeze juice from orange that is zested)

¼ cup honey (or sugar-in-the-raw)

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with one tablespoon water

Procedure

Pre-heat oven to 350f.

Combine all ingredients for compote in small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes or until compote has thickened. Keep warm or allow to cool to room temperature. Store extra compote covered in refrigerator for up to two weeks. Use as a topping for pancakes/waffles or serve with grilled chicken.

Coat salmon filets with olive oil, salt/pepper and thyme leaves. Place on baking pan and bake for 7-10 minutes depending on desired internal cooking temperature (suggested medium or medium well which would be around 120-135f internal cooking temperature). Place hot salmon filets on plate, coat with Bing cherry compote and place 2-3 cherries with stem next to salmon for garnish. Add cilantro, parsley or watercress for added color. Enjoy!

Works Cited

What’s for Dinner. (2007, July 11). Retrieved from Komonews.com: http://www.komonews.com/nwa/whatsfordinner/8443172.html

Alden, L. (2005). The Cooks Thesaurus. Retrieved from Stone Fruit: http://www.foodsubs.com/Fruitsto.html

Buhler, D.D. (2000, November). Antioxidant Activities of Flavonoids. Retrieved from oregonstate.edu: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/f-w00/flavonoid.html

Interactive.com. (2012). Bing Cherries. Retrieved from Produce Oasis: http://www.produceoasis.com/Items_folder/Fruits/Bing.html

Saving Space – What is Truly Essential?

By Debbie
July 9, 2013 on 10:28 pm | In Product Information, Random Musings, Training | 2 Comments

This blog brought to you by TriSports Team athlete Scott Bradley. Check out his blog at www.scottbradleytriathlon.blogspot.com and follow him on Twitter – scottbradley11.

When I walk into transition on race day, I am amazed at some of the things I see. I’m pretty sure that there are several people who come into transition with a tent in their backpack as if they are going to hang out for a few days. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but seriously, I do see lots of people bring in huge, plastic buckets of gear and I think to myself “What am I forgetting?” No…really what I’m thinking is “How could one person actually use all of that stuff in one day?” What it boils down to is this: by bringing all that stuff that you don’t need into transition, you are cluttering the area and actually slowing yourself down during the race as you try to sort through all your gear.

Saving space comes with practice and growing accustomed to what you actually need during a race. As you race more you become more confident in your practices by finding out what works and what doesn’t work for you. These are things you can practice on your own though, to find out what your essential items are. It may seem silly, but you can solve this problem with a few dress rehearsals at your house or a park. Set up a little transition area with the items you think you’ll need in the driveway or in your trunk. Run in as if coming from the swim (you can pretend here or put your wetsuit on if you want to practice getting out of it), practice T1, and head out on your bike. Then ride for a bit, come back and do the same thing for T2 before heading out for a short run. What items did you bring that you didn’t use? Don’t bring them to transition for your next race and give it a go without them. I would bet you’ll make it through the race just fine, your transitions will be faster, and you’ll be happy at the end of the day when you aren’t lugging as much stuff back to your car.

Space saving transition area layout

If you think about it, what do you really need? A wetsuit, goggles, a helmet, your bike, sunglasses, your race bib, bike shoes, running shoes, some nutrition (depending on the length of the race), and maybe some socks and a hat. You probably won’t need extra socks, an extra top or bottom, three sets of goggles, an infinite amount of nutrition, towels, extra shirts, four spare tubes and tires, etc. That stuff will just get in the way and slow you down.

This brings me to the other place for saving space…your bike. I always find it ironic that people will spend literally thousands of dollars on expensive bikes and race wheels to make their bikes are super aero and to shed a few hundred grams. Then on race day, they put gels and nutrition all over the frame, creating tons of drag, and then carry enough stuff to stock a small local bike shop. Again, ask yourself the question “What do I really need?” You can help yourself out here by finding out what is available on the course and using that if it is something you are comfortable with. If not and you want to use your own, that’s completely fine, but how much extra do you need? Practice your nutrition plan and carry what you’ll use and not the extra 1500 calories your stomach couldn’t process anyway. How much fluid will you actually need? Carrying that extra bottle or two adds a lot of unnecessary weight if you can grab something at an aid station on the course or if it’s a shorter race and you won’t need more than a bottle or two. How many extra tubes, CO2, and tires do you really need hanging off the back of your seat?

Bike in transition (see, no gels taped to the top tube)

As triathletes I think we are paranoid by nature. We imagine the worst will happen on race day and prepare for it by stocking enough nutrition for a six hour ride, four flat tires, one of our hats not working properly, and our tri shorts needing to be replaced half way through the race. I always try to take the minimalist approach to setting up my bike and transition area. Only items that I absolutely need and know I will use get brought in on race day. I’ve learned the essentials through practice and thinking back to what I really need to get me through as fast as possible and to set myself up for the best race I can manage.

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