Friday, June 26, 2009

Man vs. Fast Food....Friday is Sonic

Man vs. Fast Food went to Sonic today. It was a great trip and one that provided some very good options for those of us on the go in these summer months. It was interesting, as I looked at the menu, to see some similar things at Sonic that we saw at other places during the week. However, Sonic's presentation of these items and the drive-up atmosphere sets them a part from other fast food places. I really enjoy going to sonic for that reason.

Today I ordered the #1 Sonic Burger and it was low in calories (310), carbs(30g), and sodium (610mg). It had a great taste and has always been one of my favorite burgers. I also order the Crispy Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwich that had the highest sodium numbers (1,780mg) and got the Sodium King Award for the day. Both sandwiches had great taste but the nutrition numbers on them really make a difference. Remember that portion size and sodium are the main things that we have been talking about this week so these sandwiches were at opposite ends of the menu there.

Other items of interest:
* Jalapeno Burger- Low in Sodium (510mg)
* Burrito- Low in sodium (480mg)
* Taco- Low in sodium (360mg)
* Corn Dog- Low in Carbs(23g)
* Thousand Island Jr. Cheeseburger- Low in Carbs (30g)
* Grilled Chicken Wrap- Low in Fat (11g)
Then On the high side of things:
* Super Sonic Cheeseburger- High in Calories (980), Protein (48g), and Fat (64g)
* FRITOS Chili Pie- High in Carbs (72g), and FAt (64g)
* Fish Sandwich- High in Carbs (71g)

There were several items that were high in protein that were on the Super Sonic Sandwich llist but were Fairly high in other areas.

The Salads provided even more options. The Grilled Chicken Salad was Low in Calories (310), Fat (13g), and Carbs (19g). The Santa Fe Chicken Salad was high in Protein (30g). But please note that the more things that you add onto your salad the higher some of these numbers go.

Also, a reminder to look at Sonic's Allergen listings online. They have a chart that lets you know what foods might contain the following allergens: milk, egg, fish, shellfish, soy, peanuts, treenuts, wheat, and gluten. Thank you sonic for doing this!

Another reminder is that Sonic does have those Powerade Drinks and Slushes for you to choose from if you are on the go and need to pick up something for hydration purposes or just to go with your meal.

Hope you have a great Friday and enjoy your walk, run, or ride today!

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Man vs. Fast Food....Thursday is Wendy's

As we continue our Man vs. Food week, I went to Wendy's today. What a surprise they had for me. I went online and looked at their menu and was impressed with all of the possibilities that you could order.I ordered the Grilled Chicken Go Wrap which had low carbs (24g) and fairly low calories (250) and Fat (10g) but had nearly twice the sodium (730mg) as one of the Jr. Hamburgers (490mg). That was a little disappointing. Oh sodium, what are we going to do with you? I also ordered the Triple Burger with Everything plus cheese. It was the Sodium King for the day (2,010mg), but also had the most protein due to the large portion of meat and cheese. You know, you can create a lot of protein the higher you stack it, but also create other nutritional problems along the way.

I really liked the "Build Your Own" sandwich or wrap or really just about anything. Very good idea on Wendy's part to do this. If you look at the menu online or go to the individual restaurants, you can really become knowledgeable about what can be added to things and still stay in the boundaries that you are trying to have for your focus. I know it was an awakening for me. If you want two Jr. Hamburger patties on a sandwich, you can do that. It allows you to do just about anything with your order. Impressive!

Here are some other food items that were reviewed for their nutritional value:
* Jr. Hamburger- Low Calorie (230), Low Sodium (490mg)
* Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich- Low Fat (7g)
* Spicy Chicken Fillet- High Carbs (49g)

Wendy's also has selections of Salads and Baked Potato items as well as Chili.

*Special Note*
One of the most important things that Wendy's does is that it lists the allergens on their online menu. I don't think that I have seen that at any of the places that we have gone so far. They have a list that shows if the food item you are interested in has eggs, milk, soy, wheat, or peanuts/treenuts in them. WOW! What a great idea! That is a big plus for many people right now.

It was a great trip to Wendy's today. Keep in mind, as we have all week long, that our goal is to look for foods that we can eat if we are "stuck" at a fast food restaurant. I don't think I feel "stuck" at Wendy's at all. Continue to check for high numbers in calories, sodium, fat, and carbs. at the places that you go. Remember we are fueling our bodies to work at their best. It's just not a "fill it up attitude".

I hope your day is good and that you can get out and run, bike, or walk and have a great Thursday! Tomorrow I go to Sonic!

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Man vs. Fast Food....Wednesday is Taco Bell

Today is Wednesday so that meant our Man vs. Fast Food travels took us to Taco Bell. Taco Bell has some options for you to choose from if you are "stuck" at a fast food place due to your schedule or that fact that your family might like to eat there. They have a Fresco side of the menu that has 9g or less of fat for the items on that portion of the menu. That's where our first taste tested item came from. It was the Fresco Crunchy Taco. It was low in calories, carbs, and sodium. Yea! This was one of the first items this week that met several of the criteria. It had good taste and was lightenough so that it was not too filling. Remember, the key here is to only order 1 and not 5 lor 6 because that is what gets us into trouble. Portion sizes and also quantities.

The next item that I ordered was the Grilled Stufft Chicken Burrito. Wow! It was the Sodium Kung for sure today. It had 2,180mg of sodium in it and it tasted like it. It was very heavy and just wasn't something that appealed to me as someone who wants food that is good on the go and something that is light. With these high outside temperatures right now it even had less appeal. The first thing I did was to reach for some water. Really couldn't get more than a couple of bites down.

As I cautioned in the video, just because it is low fat doesn't mean all is good. One selection, the Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco is low fat (4g) but has twice the sodium (740mg) as did the Fresco Crunchy Taco. That is where menu selection becomes difficult. I encourage all of you to check online to see what the menus have to offer before you go to any of these fast food places. You can be surprised.

Some other items of interest:
* Chciken Ranch Fully Loaded Taco Salad- High Calorie 960 and High Protein 36g
* Chipolte Steak Fully Loaded Taco Salad- High in Fat 59g (Special note here. This item had double the sodium of the Fresco Crunchy Taco. Interesting.)
* Volcano Burrito- High Carbs 81g
* Fiesta Taco Salad- Also had High Carbs 81g

The conclusion from today is that it is a good thing that Taco Bell is trying to provide items on the menu that are better for you than others. However, they are inconsistant with the message that they are sending by complicating the menu with options that are way above sodium and fat levels that I think that we should be having as walker, runners, and cyclists. Yes, there will always be those that say they can tolerate these high levels of sodium because they excercise and are active. But how long will that be true? Remember, take in only what your body can use for fuel and to maintain a good healthy balance in your nutrition needs.

Some of the menus that we have looked at this week so far are making attempts at balancing nutritional needs, but are a ways from getting us as consumers to move away from the options that are not especially healthy for us to choose from. When there is choice, sometimes we make the wrong one if it is available. Do some research and think about what you eat. Your body will thank you as you venture out for your run, ride, or walk!

Tomorrow is Thursday which means we will head out to Wendy's. See you tomorrow!

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Man vs. Fast Food....Tuesday is Burger King

My visit today to Burger King was interesting to say the least. As you saw in the video, there are several options that you can choose from. But we also need to keep in mind some very important points about nutrition. The Whopper Jr. Hamburger was the lowest in calories plus the lowest in sodium. The BK Quad Stacker got the Sodium King award for the day because it had 1,800mg of sodium in it as well as 1,000 calories. Whew, that is a sandwich to avoid if you are on the go and needing a meal before or after an activity.

Some other menu items that I looked at were ones that need to carefully be considered if you are on the go and need something before or after walking, running, or cycling. Here are some interesting comparisons:
*Triple Whopper with Cheese- high in calories, high fat, but high in protein
*Tender Grill Chicken w/o mayo- low fat
*Tendercrisp Chicken- high carbs
*BK Quad Stacker- high sodium, high calories. The sodium King for Today!
*Regular hamburger- low calories and low carbs

The Side Garden Salad with low fat dressing is a great choice and as was the case yesterday you could eat several of those to equal one of the large sandwiches that Burger King has to offer. A Side Garden Salad with a Whopper Jr. or Hamburger would would be a good combination to order if you also included low fat dressing for the salad. Other salad options were not as positive. The Tendergrill Chicken Salad had good protein but was high in other categories. The Tendercrisp Chicken Garden Salad was high in calories, high in fat, high in sodium, and high in carb. I think that this is one to stay away from.

So for today. The focus is still on portion size and trying to find combinations like the Whopper Jr. and Side Garden Salad that would be just right for you. Avoiding the high calorie, high fat and high carb menu selections is a must. Also, watch the sodium and sugar content of what you are eating. That is so important.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Man Vs. Fast Food..Monday is McDonald's

Our first stop this week of Man vs. Fast Food was at McDonald's where I made selections from the sandwich menu. I selected two sandwiches that seemed to be the best choices if you were "stuck" ordering fast food for lunch or dinner. I did check with the Fast Food Peson (FFP) about what they would consider good nutritional items to order and I also did do some prior research on their website, which by the way props to them for listing everything under the sun nutritionally about each item, to see just what the possibilities might be. Given the needs of runners, cyclists, and walkers, I looked at several areas of nutrition to choose what I ordered today.

The criteria for selection is taking a look at the following things when deciding what to order:
Highest protein, low calories, high calories, high sodium, low sodium, high carbs, low carbs, low total fat, and high total fat.

The items selected today were the good old hamburger and the Honey Mustard Snack Wrap. The hamburger lead in several categories. It was low in fat, lowest calories, and lowest sodium. The Honey Mustard Snack wrap measured up evenly with the hamburger until it got to the sodium where the wrap had about twice as much. Ah, sodium. That's where some of the items on the menu really skyrocket. They might look low in calories and low in fat, but behind the scenes lurks the sodium monster. Please be careful in this area.

Other items on the menu that brought out some interesting facts that you should know about are the Double Quarter Pounder with cheese that had the highest protein but the highest total fat. The Angus Bacon Cheese had the highest calories, highest sodium, and the highest carbs. Whoa! So the Angus Bacon Cheese sandwich wins the Sodium King Award for the day.

In the salad category, there were a few surprises too. The side salad was a winner as something that you could have with the hamburger and do pretty well. The side salad had the lowest fat, calories, sodium, and carbs. Using the low fat dressing of course. The Premium Bacon Ranch Salad had the highest protein but also the highest sodium. The Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with crispy chicken had the highest total fat and carbs.

Some interesting facts:
*All of the wraps seemed good until you got to the sodium. They were right there with the hamburger until you looked at the sodium.
*You could order 2 hamburgers and there would be less calories than if you ordered 1 Premium Southwest with Crispy Chicken Salad with dressing.
*You could also order 7 Side Salads with low fat dressing which would equal 1 of many of the sandwiches.

Conclusion: We have to acknowledge that McDonald's has made an effort to disclose the nutritional information about their products. However, as consumers we need to be very aware of the high sodium content and high calories in most of their selections. So when at McDonald's, choose a hamburger or two over the highly touted wraps and loaded salads to keep the sodium, calories and fat to a minimum.

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

Tuesday:Man vs. Fast Food....Burger King

Friday, June 19, 2009

Man Vs. Fast Food.....Coming Monday June 22nd

Look out, here I come fast food establishments! Can't remember the last time I was in one, but Monday through Friday of next week I will select one fast food establishment in town and seek out a runner/cyclist friendly meal for that day. I will then review it via video clips and tell you what I ordered and about the nutritional value of the meal, and if I survived. Will I need to be rescued before Friday? Will I meet my match of Man vs. Fast Food?

I will take the advice of one of the workers at the FFP (Fast Food Place) as to what I should order. I will ask them what they think is the most nutritional meal item that they have. Then dive into it.

Now I know there are those of you out there that after you run/bike a race or training session, your mind gives you endless permission to leap into the giant pool of fast food and order what you want. Not talking about that. This is just an everyday leap into the world of fast food. Many people have to eat fast food for a variety of reasons. This challenge will help guide you through the goods and bads of that world.

This weekend, I will prepare myself both mentally and physically for this event.

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

The Great Urban Race/OK Let's Do This!

The Great Urban Race. What a fantastic idea. Did I just stumble on this and no one told me about it? This is a must do! The Great Urban Race is, and I quote: "A wacky urban adventure. Teams of 2 solve 12 clues, while having a wild city adventure completing fun challenges". Shape Magazine says,"Think of it as a one day Amazing Race." The race series started in February. I guess that's why I missed it. I was on the roads of Texas running the Texas Quad Marathons October through February.

The races are held in major cities or ones close to major cities. And like I said they started in February in Tampa Bay then went to: Phoenix, Los Angeles, Austin, Atlanta, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Boston, Portland, Madison, and Denver. Upcoming cities include: Chicago, New York City, Seattle, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Dallas, Normal,IL., San Diego, and then New Orleans for the Championships.

This group also has another version called the Warrior Dash which was this past week and was sold out. More difficult and perhaps more challenging depending on what you are looking for.

This is such a great break from the traditional races that it would be great to get a team up and head for one of these cities. It's not too late for this year, but there will be more races in 2010 to look forward to. More later on these races I'm sure.

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ironman 70.3 Kansas

Today I was at the Ironman 70.3 Kansas Expo and race site. Very well organized by the way. The vendors were setting things up and race volunteers were staffing their posts and packet pick-up was just beginning. As I stood there, I just smiled at the anticipation and excitement and enjoyed it. No, I have not entered the ironman arena as a particpant yet but it might happpen someday. All kinds of equipment and nutrition products were displayed. There was a buzz in the air that was fantastic. The race isn't until Sunday so the mood was different than it will be as the race nears . But the talk among competitors was friendly and engaging. Laughs and stories were flying around like the warm Kansas breeze. Underneath all of that, the participants were getting ready.

You could tell they were getting ready by the few that were out for a test ride on Friday. There were ones that had already selected their campsite and were getting their gear organized. Some pretty nice campsites! Not my thing, but hey, they looked good. There were small groups of people and then there were individuals that were sitting under a tree near the lake contimplating what was to come. Planning, thinking, reflecting on past race strategies, checking equipment, and how they felt after the trip getting here.

What an atmosphere! Few people even know the hours of training and preparation that go into being a participant, a race director and their staff of volunteers, a vendor, or a member of the particpants family that came along for support. It takes dedication, teamwork, planning, and many more things to make things work. The excitement will build over the next few hours to a high pitch come Sunday morning. You can just feel it!

As a member of FCA Team Endurance, I will be helping with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Iron Prayer meeting Saturday afternoon. It will be a great time for fellowship, inspiration, worship, and prayer. For several marathons the past few months, I coordinated the marathon version of Iron Prayer called Endurance Prayer. We held meetings prior to marathons in Marathon,TX, Dallas, Houston, Austin, and Eugene. I will keep you posted on future events associated with FCA Team Endurance.

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Be an Encourager!

The longer that I run the more I appreciate encouragement from others. It is incredible what encouragement can do for you. It motivates you, energizes you, and causes you to just feel like someone cares.

There are several avenues that can make that happen. When family and friends are at races with their signs and cheering you on during the race, that can be a great lift for you. Phone calls, text messages, emails, websites, also Twitter and Facebook messages within the new "social networking" craze can be very uplifting and fun. What it boils down to is that we all like encouragement. It does not matter what race distance, what event or location, we all like it. Whether we run, ride, or walk, we are all in the same frame of mind when we step up to our training plan for those many weeks or a race that we are competing in. Encouragement gets us going. It's food for the soul.

The other day when I was out running, I ran up behind this man that was walking. I said, "Hi!", to him and as I passed I heard him say, "Everyone is passing me today.". I stopped and turned around and ask him what he meant by that and he said that because he was walking everyone was just going by so fast. No one paid any attention to him, No one said anything to him and no one cared. I reflect back on several Runner's World polls and articles that talk about whether it is "cool" to greet another runner as you pass them. Most polls say that people don't. Personal experience in that area notes that on my runs I greet people as I meet them and many of them just don't respond. What's up with that. Too good? So I would have to agree with this man.

As we walked I asked him how far he was going and that it sure was a great day to be out. He smiled and agreed. He asked me the same distance question and I just responed that I was out for a training run. We talked about how important it was to just be out. Enjoying the nice day and getting some exercise. We finished our conversation because he headed another direction than I did. We said our goodbyes. He turned back and said,"Thanks! Thanks for stopping and talking to me. You have a great day!" I told him to do the same and we just both smiled. He was encouraged. I was encouraged. My stride was a little lighter. The run was more fun that day.

Be an encourager. It makes people feel good! You will feel good too because it will come back to you too!

On a personal note. I had the wonderful opportunity the other day to talk to a group of middle school athletes at a running camp at a town near where I live. I have a great friend that was one of the coaches at this camp and he asked me to say a few words to the group. I kept asking what it was that I should talk about and he said I could talk about anything running related. Well, several things came to mind as I talked to them that day. A few personal experiences were shared. Some nutrition ideas and training ideas also. Most of all I asked them to have fun and to run with a passion and to run with heart. To run with heart and passion is to run with a true undestanding of what it takes day in and day out to be a runner. It was a great experience and my hope is that I gave them something that they can pass on to others someday. Encouragement!

Forward we go! May your roads and trail be happy and safe!