Running Reader Q: Chocolate Milk Gives Me Gas. Should I Still Drink It For Recovery?

It's tasty, but chocolate milk doesn't do every body good.
It sure is tasty, but chocolate milk doesn’t do every body good.

There’s a lot of talk about the best way to rehydrate and support muscle recovery after a tough run, but just because an expert says a liquid is good for you, doesn’t always mean it’s good for YOU. Jennifer offers the perfect example. “I recently ran a tough 10K race and was handed a carton of chocolate milk at the finish line,” she says. “My tummy bloats when I eat dairy and—maybe this is TMI, I always get gassy when I have milk, but I took one anyway.”

Jennifer went ahead and downed the brown stuff, thinking the race directors knew better than she did—only to suffer the consequences of lactose sensitivity on the car ride home. “I nearly had to pull over on my drive home because my stomach was in so much pain,” she says. “I thought chocolate milk was what you’re supposed to have after a run, no?”

Chocolate milk is an OK option for those who can stomach it. In fact, studies have shown brown moo juice works just as well as (and in some cases, better than) big name carbohydrate replacement drinks—and it costs less, too. But just because it’s cheap (or free when it’s handed out at the post-race hydration station), doesn’t make chocolate milk the best thing to swallow.

You body needs readily available protein and carbohydrates after a tough run to restore glycogen levels in your muscles. But the empty carb sources in chocolate milk (namely, sugar or high fructose corn syrup) are just that. They don’t offer any other beneficial nutrients. Don’t get me wrong—I love a cold mini-carton every now and then, too. But I think of it as a treat, not a finish line must-have.

Jennifer plans to skip the freebies and rely on snacks stashed in her car next time. Her new recovery plan: Plain water, an apple or a banana, and a protein bar.

What do you think about chocolate milk? Is it a post-race yummer or bummer? 

Celery Root & Apples. Who Knew!?

Here I go, comparing apples and celery root again.
Here I go, comparing apples and celery root again.

Signing up for produce delivery from Full Circle is really paying off! I’m being introduced to veggies I didn’t even realize existed. I mean seriously, who’s ever heard of celery root?

A quick Google search reveals that many of you out there have, in fact, come into contact with the weird, knobby root. (OK, so I’m the only one without a clue…)

Celery root, also known as celeriac, is rich in several vitamins and minerals, including riboflavin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A, C, B6, E, and K—making it a powerhouse food for runners. (We need all of those nutrients for endurance and muscle recovery!)

Slice away the outer layer of celery root to find a fleshy, white center that tastes like celery. (No surprise there.)
Slice away the outer layer of celery root to find a fleshy, white center that tastes like celery. (No surprise there.)

All you’ve got to do is eat it—raw or cooked, to reap the health benefits. One recipe idea: Create a slaw of matchstick-sliced celery root and apple, and toss it with mustard vinaigrette.

I whipped up a quick dressing (1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tbs. white vinegar, and a good squirt of spicy brown mustard), and then got to work hacking off the outer layer (peel? rind?). The inner flesh turns brown almost immediately when it hits the air—a process known as oxidation, but throwing it in a bowl with the vinaigrette ASAP helps keep it looking fresh. Several minutes of chopping later (talk about an arm workout!), I had a tasty salad.

Celery root and apple slaw with mustard vinaigrette and walnuts—yum!
Celery root and apple slaw with mustard vinaigrette and walnuts—yum!

I added walnuts for a hit of protein, and the next day I dumped the leftovers in a blender with a splash of almond milk and made a smoothie. Who knew celery root was so versatile? (OK, you knew…)

 

Know any good celeriac recipes? What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten this week?

My Shirt Is Going To Blow Your Mind! (And Not Just Because It’s Cute)

Sporting the Reebok ZigTech Running Top pre-run. My muscles feel recovered already!

Woven into this seemingly ordinary Reebok top is some of the most scientifically advanced fiber in existence: Celliant.

Celliant is a blend of thirteen “optically responsive” natural minerals (yes, as in the stuff rocks are made of) that have been pulverized and manipulated until a fiber-like texture forms. The fiber is then woven into fabric, which can be used like any other fabric material to make clothing. Except this material is magic.

According to the company’s literature Celliant is able to “absorb and store the electromagnetic emissions from the human body and release them where they are reabsorbed into the skin and deep muscle tissue. In the deep muscle tissue they act as catalysts for natural, biological processes resulting in enhanced oxygen levels and more balanced body temperature during sleep, rest or physical activity.”

Say, what? In plain English: Your body is constantly producing energy, which escapes through your skin in the form of light that is invisible to the naked eye. When you wear this fabric, it bounces that light energy back at you, so that the energy can be reabsorbed. Once it’s reabsorbed, the energy improves your circulation and delivers more oxygen-rich blood to your muscles. And that boost in blood movement helps your muscles recover faster. (Sounds like legal blood doping to me!)

The idea that a fabric can affect your blood flow may seem like new age-y quack-science. But researchers at the University of Calgary Human Performance Laboratory have hard data* to back up these claims. They found that when a Celliant garment is worn during exercise, participants used less oxygen to accomplish the same amount of work. Showing that the body can be efficiently active for longer periods, without getting tired.

That little spring in my step is probably from all the extra oxygen.

In an attempt to conduct a test of my own, I put on this top before running my typical six-mile loop. Since I know my times from past runs (wearing any-old-tank-or-tee), I figured it would be easy to compare my time running in this shirt. The numbers really don’t say much: I ran an average 8:32 minutes per mile (typical), felt like stopping at a water fountain around mile 4 (per usual), and was pleased to be finishing when I neared my starting point (yep, that’s about right).

Clearly, more research needs to be done. And I should probably learn how to factor out variables, like weather and mood. But man, did I look good out there!

 

Are your workout clothes made of high-tech materials? Do you think they improve your performance? 

 

*The study was conducted on 12 subjects and is pending publication.