Monthly Archives: March 2008

Um… so how’s the new server?

We seem to be mostly cut over now, some people’s domain name servers might take a little longer but most hits are now on the new server.

Faster? Broken? Slower?

Please let us know if you notice anything anything broken or, for that matter, anything that is better.

The new server is in a data centre in Dallas rather than in a living room in London so we’re hoping that it will be much better for the majority of our readership over in the US.



Service Announcement

Good news! We’re moving SmarterFitter to a new server today so that everything is faster and more available. But that also means we have to shut down a few things while we make the move.

Later today, blog comments will be off and the Seinfeldian Chain and Runlog will be down. Many apologies for the inconvenience. We’ll let you know when everything’s back to normal.

Wake Up: It’s Time for a Healthy Breakfast

6-Grain Porridge with Soymilk & Nanner

Our local blogosphere is a wise bunch when it comes to brekkie. Last Tuesday, MizFit listed her morning favourites such as cheese and chia seeds. In Japan, Chika of She Who Eats shares her morning menu of sashimi, rice and miso soup. Oatmeal is a common theme: Yan of DietHack thinks it’s the best breakfast for long-lasting energy, while Susan of the FatFree Vegan Kitchen gets to the point with this enticing recipe for apple-spiced steel-cut oats.

The statistics seem to prove what to many of us is already common sense: “breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day”. Earlier this week, a new study on adolescents showed the direct relationship between breakfast and body mass index (BMI): the more often people ate breakfast, the lower the BMI. The study was conducted on youngsters, but the same goes for adults: in 2003, a Harvard study on 2,831 adults showed that people who ate breakfast every day were a third less likely to be obese compared to those who skipped a meal.

What’s so great about breakfast? Researchers think that breakfast helps stabilise blood sugar levels, which regulate appetite and energy. Eating first thing in the morning makes you less likely to be hungry during the rest of the day, and therefore less likely to hit the vending machine for an emergency Snickers.

To the rest of us, however, breakfast just tastes good. I remember my former roommate in Austin who spent her mornings curled up on the couch with a bowl of granola and the radio tuned to NPR. Along with hot coffee and slippers, breakfast is comfort as well as fuel. If only we always had time to take it slow.

Inspired by MizFit, I’ve made a list of our own quick and slow breakfasts here at casa de la hungry:

Quick breakfasts

  • Oatmeal with rolled oats, grated apple and soy milk
  • Boiled egg with raw nuts and a piece of fruit
  • Bircher muesli
  • Yogurt and fruit
  • Black beans with cheese and salsa
  • Mix and match continental breakfast. Choose from the following: boiled egg, yogurt, cheese, toast, beans, nuts, fresh fruit
  • Smoothie made with protein powder (or tofu), frozen fruit, flax oil, and milk

Slow breakfasts

Now I’m hungry.

Walk-Running: Jeff Galloway would be proud

skitched-20080329-141959.jpgLast Sunday, I went on my first run since the injection. I’m taking it slow: about 2.5 km and 20 minutes of running. My ankle was fine, my knees were mildly creaky, and my pride was only mildly offended by my absurdly slow pace. I wish I could say I was thrilled to be running again, but really I felt paranoid. “Am I hurting myself?” I wondered with every step. At the same time, I missed the care-free days of 5 milers down Town Lake on sunny Austin Sundays. But things change.

Today I went for run #2. This time, I alternated running with walking for 5km and about 40 minutes. The run-walk was, without a doubt, the way forward. I was able to cover more distance while keeping my heart rate up, plus it alleviated most of my paranoia around injury. I also felt great. Gone were the creaky legs and stiff joints of last weekend. I could almost recall what it feels like to run. If you’ve done much running, you know what I mean – it’s that feeling of lightness, where the run feels completely natural, the legs are fluid, and it’s easy to breath – to me, that’s running.

But for now, run-walking will do. Though he hesitates to admit it, Jeff Galloway agrees. From his Book on Running:

Our bodies weren’t designed to run continuously for long distances… Sure we can adapt, but there is a better way to increase endurance than by running continously. By alternating walking and running, from the start, there’s virtually no limit to the distance you can cover… Once we find the ideal ratio for a given distance, walk breaks allow us to feel strong to the end and recover fast, while building up the same levels of stamina and conditioning that we would have reached if we had run continuously.

Link to Jeff Galloway’s website
Link to Galloway’s Book on Running 2 Ed

Outdoor Magazine exercise programme

Functional Exercises | Outside Online.jpg

I just stumbled across a really great series from Outdoor mag. circa 2002.

The series is called The Shape of Your Life and it presents what looks like a really sensible and long term fitness programme.

Over the months you work from building endurance to strength and on to flexibility before moving on to speed and power and then finally balance and agility.

Many of the exercises are functional in nature, the writing supporting the programme is informative, inspirationally straight-foward and sometimes funny.

The endurance programme starts with building an aerobic base through heart rate training, a topic, er…, well… close to my heart? (sorry) Speaking of which, my running is going well now that I’m back from my travels.

Take a look and see if you find some inspiration.

Link to series index
Link to series introduction
Link to month one training plan

If you stumble across something great on the web and you think the SmarterFitter community might be interested in reading about it please let us know.

Walking barefoot: packaged, productised and marketed

Yes, reflexology paths:

The beneficial effects on your whole body of stimulating your feet is the basis of the ancient practice of reflexology. In China, reflexology paths paved with different types of stone have been around for thousands of years and are regularly walked on for relaxation and to promote longevity.

Research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in 2005 showed that walking reflexology paths three times a week for 30 minutes a session over 16 weeks can reduce blood pressure and improve balance.



SmarterFitter Easter Special


Happy holidays, Easter bunnies. I know I should be wishing for sunshine and spring flowers, but today I prefer the showers. We have snow in London! It’s not sticking, but it’s pretty and magical when it falls.

In celebration of the holiday, I bring you a post entirely devoted to eggs, one of my all time favourite foods.

Wondering how to cook an egg? Here’s a few detailed instructions:

Now that you know how to cook eggs, how should you eat them?

How about from an egg cup made of pure white salt crystals?


Or make weird boiled egg shapes with Japanese egg molds


Or how about my favorite? Poached eggs on toast!

A perfect poached egg on barley wheat toast.

My other favorite: egg in a frame!

Egg in a frame

Lots of people are feeling eggcellent this weekend. Heidi of 101 Cookbooks posts her favourite egg recipes, including Poached Eggs over Rice and the crepe-thin Skinny Omelet Meanwhile, Jul at Veggie Chic has some tasty looking veggie dishes for Easter.

I know it’s not eggs, but hot cross buns are delicious and smell really good while they’re toasting. Tim made some last year from a recipe in bread matters by andrew whitley. They were awesome! Here’s a similar recipe for hot cross buns at recipezaar.

TIm's Hot Cross Buns

Car Tip: Keep Your Kit Handy


I don’t even have a car, but Miz Fit got me thinking about it when she posted some ideas for healthy, non-perishable snacks to keep in the car. Why stop at snacks? My friend, Dave, keeps a change of clothes and a sleeping bag in his car in case he wants to spontaneously go camping. Do you run? Why not keep a pair of running shoes and shorts on hand in case you have a sunny day and a spare hour to kill?

Here are some more ideas for your car kit:

  • Clean change of clothes
  • Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • Running clothes
  • Running shoes
  • Rollerblades
  • Swimsuit and goggles
  • Hiking shoes
  • Tennis racket and tennis balls
  • Basketball
  • Volleyball
  • Frisbee
  • Jumprope
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Wet weather gear
  • Flashlight
  • Comfy play clothes (i.e. shorts, sweatpants, tank top, t-shirt, etc.)

Link to Tues Tip from Miz Fit Online

We’re open to suggestions

SmarterFitter Food Database.jpg


If you’ve got a great link, post, article, image, or whatever that’s interesting, about health and fitness and you think the SmarterFitter community would like to hear about it, we’re now taking link suggestions.

Pop over to our form and post your suggestion. We’ll start posting editorially appropriate suggestions as they come in.

Be sure to include your own URL so we can credit you and link back.

There’s a link over in the right hand side bar at the top.


-Tim and Monica


Big Names Behind Organic

GOOD 009 - Features - Buying Organic.jpg

The word “organic” is suppose to provoke a warm fuzzy local feeling. But most organic food on the grocery shelves are actually owned by kings of corn syrup like “Kraft” and “General Foods”. Good magazine has a chart that shows which companies own which organic brand. I’ll never look at a Boca Burger the same way!

Link to Buying Organic (via dietblog)