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Life, Death & SoulCycle with Sports Illustrated’s Peter King

Why do you run? Why does Michael Phelps swim? That’s what we take on in “Why I…,” our series in which we explore the passion of athletes — from all walks of life, at different levels and with diverse interests — in their own words. Finding your passion is key to staying motivated to live a healthy lifestyle.

For this stop in our series, we check in with Peter King, dog lover, grandfather, legendary football writer and editor-in-chief of The MMQB, Sports Illustrated’s pro football microsite. When he’s not working on his weekly 8,000-word column, he’s working out. Here’s why…  

My ulterior motive is to avoid death.

Both of my brothers died way too young. My older brother, Ken, wasn’t in great shape, but he walked a lot. He was 64 and had a tumor on his liver they didn’t discover until after he died. My other brother, Bob, who died of a faulty heart valve at 55, was an avid bicyclist, ran many marathons and was a lot healthier than me.

When I was 18, I was disciplined. As captain of my high school soccer team, I knew I had to run a certain number of hills every day to be in shape. But now my goal is to not get fat. I want to be able to cash in some of the chips I’ve earned over the years and have a pretty good life in addition to what I do.

When I came home from covering Super Bowl XL in 2006, I weighed 288 pounds. For 25 years of my life, I never worked out. That’s a lot of time to be idle. That year, I was determined that, for the next six months, the only thing I was going to do was work out 56 days a week and eat five small meals a day. When I started my training camp trip that summer, I weighed 217 pounds. People were positive I’d had gastric bypass surgery.

I weighed 228 pounds this morning. I ran for 30 minutes on the treadmill and did some other work with my trainer. I’ll be at the gym almost every day this week, SoulCycle on Saturday and take Sunday off. I live four blocks away from both places here in Manhattan. I feel a lot better walking away from the gym than I feel walking to the gym.


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I’ve done so many different forms of exercise: the elliptical, the cross-country ski machine, the recumbent bike. I consistently do SoulCycle once a week. I love it because I walk in there and 45 minutes later, I’m drenched in sweat and feel like I’ve been part of some sort of team activity.

I’m indoors now, but when the weather gets better, I’ll either be in the gym, in Central Park or Riverside Park. There’s a 10K most weekends in Central Park, which is basically one loop around the park. I’ll pick one and do that.

I can’t say I like running. I like having run. But if I don’t do it for a while, I miss it. And I start to feel creaky. I’m 59 years old. The way to feel 59 is not get any exercise.

— As told to Danny Bonvissuto

Raised in: Enfield, Connecticut
Roots for: Boston Red Sox
Dream job: Owning a minor league baseball team
Travels for work: 60–70 days a year
Number of readers per week his “Monday Morning Quarterback” column draws during football season: 2 million


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Blueberry Smoothie | Recipe

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Smoothies are a delicious and refreshing way to enjoy frozen blueberries while adding more fruit to your diet. This simple blueberry smoothie is perfect for an on-the-go breakfast or a refreshing dessert.

Blueberry Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 container (5.3 ounces) peach Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 banana
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Optional Toppings

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced frozen peaches, thawed
  • 1/4 cup granola
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons flaked coconut, toasted

Directions

Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into two glasses, dividing evenly.

If desired, add optional toppings to create a smoothie bowl. Recipe makes 2 servings.

Nutrition (per serving without toppings): Calories: 230; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 2.5g; Monounsaturated Fat: g; Cholesterol: 10mg; Sodium: 35mg; Carbohydrate: 44g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 34g; Protein: 7g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 289mg; Iron: 4%; Vitamin A: 3%; Vitamin C: 30%; Calcium: 11% 

The post Blueberry Smoothie | Recipe appeared first on Under Armour.

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Is Eating Tuna Poke OK?

“I could eat my weight in poke every day,” I said as I dug my toes into the powdery white sand of a Maui beach and shoveled the lovely seafood salad into my mouth with a spork.

I’m not alone. From Poughkeepsie to Palm Springs, poke is the “it” dish of the moment with everyone from high-end chefs to food carts dishing it out.

If you’re not familiar with poke (pronounced po-KAY), here’s a quick explanation: Poke is a traditional Hawaiian salad made of cubes of raw or cooked fish (the name in Hawaiian means “to cut” or “chunk”), soy sauce, sweet onions, sesame oil and sometimes nuts and/or seaweed. It’s most commonly made with yellowfin tuna (also known by the Hawaiian name ‘ahi’), but there are numerous variations including cooked octopus, salmon and even fish roe. It’s quick, it’s protein-packed and it’s delicious.

But as I enjoyed the pearly pink ahi salad, there was a nagging voice in the back of my head asking me some rather pointed questions about my new favorite food.

Is eating raw fish really safe?

What about the high-mercury content in tuna?  

If this trend continues, will there even be any tuna left in the ocean?

IS EATING POKE SAFE?

The FDA requires that seafood sold for raw consumption must first be deep frozen to very specific guidelines to kill any parasites in the muscle structure of the fish. So, as long as you are getting fish that has been handled and distributed with raw consumption in mind, parasites are not an issue.

As for foodborne illness due to spoilage or cross-contamination, poke is relatively safe, says Katie Sullivan Morford, a registered dietitian and blogger at Mom’s Kitchen Handbook. “If you’re a healthy adult with a healthy immune system and you’re being smart about where you are dining, I feel comfortable saying ‘go for it’,” she says.

Use the same common sense you would when choosing any restaurant. Dine at reputable places that are busy so the fish is always fresh. Never eat fish that smells overtly fishy or has an off aroma, and steer away from places that don’t serve much fish. That lonely mini mart on a back road in Oklahoma isn’t likely the best place to feed your poke craving.

If you are making poke at home, tell your fishmonger you’ll be consuming the fish raw so they can steer you toward the right fish. Keep in mind that labeling terms like “for sushi” or “sashimi grade” are not regulated, so it doesn’t mean much from a safety standpoint. When in doubt, ask.

That said, not everyone should eat raw fish, cautions Morford. “Anyone with a compromised immune system — anyone who is unwell, undergoing medical treatment that affects the immune system, pregnant women, the elderly and young children should opt for cooked fish rather than raw.”


READ MORE > WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH FISH OIL?


WHAT ABOUT THE HIGH-MERCURY CONTENT IN TUNA?

Methylmercury is the heavy metal that’s present in high concentrations in large predator fish like tuna. Studies have shown it’s a neurotoxin, especially when the brain is developing.

The evidence is limited and conflicting on the effect mercury consumption has on adults. The FDA has no specific guidelines for how much tuna is acceptable for most of the population, but it does recommend pregnant women, those breastfeeding and children ages 47 eat no more than 1 serving (4 ounces for adults and 2 ounces for kids) of ahi tuna a week.

“It’s interesting because the thinking on mercury and fish consumption has shifted in the last couple of years,” says Morford. “Studies are showing that when fish high in mercury are also high in selenium, the selenium offsets the potential negative effects of methylmercury in the fish. And then there’s all the omega-3 fatty acids, which are so good for your brain.”

The takeaway among experts is the benefits of eating fish outweigh the risks. The key is moderation and diversity in your diet, eating ahi poke one meal and then choosing a smaller fish like sardines or wild salmon the next.


READ MORE > 10 TASTY, LOW-CARB LUNCHES UNDER 350 CALORIES


WHAT ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY?

So we’ve got the green light to eat tuna poke from a health standpoint, but if we all start shoveling ahi into our faces like sunburnt tourists in Hawaii, will there be any fish left for future generations?

“There’s definitely pressure on these stocks already,” says Ryan Bigelow, engagement manager for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.  “But while poke is really popular right now, I don’t see that it alone would drive yellowfin tuna into extinction, at least for now,” he says.

According to Bigelow, a more important question to ask is: Am I buying the most sustainable fish I can?

“When you go to your favorite poke shop, ask them if the fish they buy is sustainable. That alone can be enough to influence a restaurant to make smart choices about where their fish are coming from,” he says.

If you are concerned and want to learn more, Bigelow recommends checking out Seafood Watch and choosing fish from its “best choices” or “good choices” categories. Or download its app for fish sustainability advice on the go.

If you don’t feel comfortable asking questions at restaurants, Bigelow says you can easily find restaurants and purveyors of sustainable seafood with the help of its Seafood Watch Partners list. The searchable database makes it easy to discover restaurants and purveyors near you who are fighting the good seafood fight.

SO IS EATING TUNA POKE OK?

Yes, it is fairly safe as long as you are eating at reputable, busy restaurants and you are healthy. No, the mercury in tuna isn’t going to kill you, but it’s a good idea to eat a variety of fish in any case.

Finally, the oceans are not going to run out of tuna just yet, but it’s a good idea to be mindful and ask questions about where your seafood is coming from so future generations can enjoy poke, too.

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Cheesy Veggie Bake [Video] | Recipe

Increase any picky eater’s vegetable intake by hiding veggies in Food Fanatic’s cheesy broccoli-zucchini egg bake! Shave time by prepping veggies the night before. Don’t have a spiralizer? Just slice zucchini into thin matchsticks instead of spiralizing, and follow instructions as normal.

Cheesy Veggie Bake

Ingredients

  • 4 large zucchini squashes
  • Salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 8 large egg whites)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain greek yogurt (certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • Black pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups kale, torn and lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350°F and spray a 10-inch Cast Iron skillet with cooking spray. Set aside.

Using the 6mm blade on your spiralizer. Spiralize the zucchinis, so that they turn into long noodles.

Place the zucchini into a strainer set over a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let them sit for 20 minutes, stirring around every so often.

While the zucchini noodles sit, whisk together the eggs and egg whites in a large bowl. Add in the Greek yogurt and a pinch of pepper and additional salt. Whisk until smooth and creamy.

Once the zucchini has sat, squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Then, transfer the zucchini noodles onto a paper towel and dry off, again, as much as you can.

Stir the zucchini noodles, broccoli, kale and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese into the egg mixture and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared skillet and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake until the eggs feel set and begin to slightly pull away from the side of the skillet, about 40-45 minutes. Turn your oven to high broil and broil an additional 2-3 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 8 |  Serving Size: 1/8 of dish

Per serving: Calories: 164; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 121mg; Sodium: 301mg; Carbohydrate: 10g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 16g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 678mg; Iron: 8%; Vitamin A: 48%; Vitamin C: 114%; Calcium: 40% 

Recipe by Food Fanatic, a gathering of the best food bloggers the internet has to offer in one tasty spot. If you love food, we’re your people. For more delicious recipes, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Original recipe created by Taylor of Food Faith Fitness and published on Food Fanatic.

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