Surgery Update and Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (GF)

I can’t believe it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been on here. I have been busy, but geeze, time flies. Today marked a new beginning for me post surgery, and while it was a small step, I’m moving in the right direction. I finally got to get in the pool and swim for a few hundred yards! Yes, I was slow and felt a bit awkward, and yes I could only push-off with my left leg, and no I didn’t kick, but I was swimming. I was giving a swim lesson this morning and my athlete took some pics of me in the pool for proof ūüôā

Pool pic

*If you’d like to skip to the recipe and ignore my surgery update, scroll down*

I had my 4.5 month surgery follow-up this past week, and Dr. Wolff says things are right on track. I’m on track for a 9 month recovery which is longer than I had hoped, but I’ll do what’s needed so that I can be an athlete again. 9 months is March, but I’m not sure if that means I’ll be back to athlete status by then, or just “exercising” by then. PT is also progressing and I’ve now bumped up the weight on the Alter G treadmill (70%)¬†and I have started ART (Active Release Technique).

ART is phenomenal¬†and I highly recommend it for all athletes with injuries and tightness. ART is soft tissue movements based in massage. I like to describe it as massage¬†with movement. The ART practitioner¬†(or chiropractor/physical therapist) in essence¬†holds a specific muscle/tendon/ligament or fascia¬†while you move through a range of motion. Personally it’s helped me with ITB issues and now with my hamstring. It can be painful at first, and you might be sore later, but after several treatments, you’ll feel a lot better.

I’m also up to walking 1 mile, albeit at a very slow pace-23-32min¬†miles, but I’m walking. And when I go short distances, I appear normal. Which is good, but bad for work. As I’ve talked about before, part of my job at PowerBar¬†is working event expos like triathlons¬†and marathons. Now that I’m out of my brace and off crutches, I appear normal. Unfortunately I am not, and can’t stand for long periods. Expos are 6-12 hours long, so I have to sit down often. I wish I could make a sign, or wear a sign that said “I’m not lazy, I’m just in pain.” I don’t think PowerBar would like that, but I feel ashamed sitting. It’s crazy to feel ashamed as my body isn’t ready yet, but no ones¬†knows that. If anyone has had hamstring surgery, or a hamstring strain/tear, I highly recommend getting a compression thigh sleeve. I wear my thigh sleeve anytime I’m on my feet for an extended period and boy does it help with the pain.

Tomorrow at PT I believe I get to ride the recumbent bike for 5 minutes at zero intensity, woohoo. But it’s a start. I also thought I would be out of pain by now. And while I don’t have the old pain in the sciatic notch area, the sight of the surgery (under the glute cheek) is still quite painful. For example, when walking, I’ll start off at a zero, and progress to a 5/10 pain. Once it passes a 5, I stop. It is getting better as it used to be a 5 without moving. So while it doesn’t seem like¬†a huge improvement, when I think about where I was 2 months ago, it is.

Yesterday my event was the Harbor Lights Half marathon in Norfolk, VA. It was a smaller race (6,000 runners), but fun and festive. They even had Christmas carollers every hour. Unfortunately, Brett called and said he had a bad cold (I had left a few days before). So, when I got home, I decided that chicken noodle soup was in order. Chicken noodle soup is pretty basic and I often have everything on hand. This time though, I saw that I had some wild rice that hadn’t been used. So, instead of noodles, why not wild rice.

Wild Rice is not actually rice at all, but a seed of marsh grass. This is similar to quinoa in that¬†quinoa is¬†a seed.¬†It’s a¬†bit confusing, but it is still a whole grain, so great for athletes and everyone alike.

Benefits:

  • High in antioxidants
  • High in fiber
  • Higher in protein than most whole grains
  • Good source of magnesium, manganese, zinc, folate, and the B vitamins

One study from the University of Manitoba even found that the antioxidant activity of wild rice was 30x higher than white rice.

While wild rice is very beneficial, it can be expensive because it is scare. Wild rice is often mixed with other rice like brown, red and white. This is how I used it in my soup.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup: (Serves 4-5)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 cups carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 2/3 cup wild rice, or wild rice blend
  • 5 cups of low or lower sodium chicken broth
  • 8oz of mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, or 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of milk (skim, almond)
  1.  Cook the chicken per your desired method. I placed the chicken breasts in a small saucepan and covered them with 2 of the cups of chicken broth. Heat to a boil and boil 10-15 min. Pull off, cool enough to handle, then shred. Set aside.
  2. In a large soup pan, swirl 1 tbsp of olive oil. Heat pan to medium heat and add onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add carrots and celery to the pan, and cook an additional 10min or until vegetables start to soften.
  4. Stir in the wild rice, and add the 2 cups of chicken broth from cooking the chicken, plus an additional 3 cups of chicken broth. Add in the mushrooms and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil for 15min, or until the rice is cooked.
  5. After the rice is cooked, add in the shredded chicken and spices. Cook over low, and stir in milk for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Serve with whole grain bread if desired.

Nutrition:

  • 365kcal
  • 35g carbohydrate
  • 40g protein
  • 8g fat
  • 5g fiber

40% carb, 40% protein, 20% fat

 

 

Hearty Blackberry Pancakes (GF)

I’m certainly on a breakfast kick this week, and it could be because I’m actually home this week and on a Saturday. Normally I work Saturday, but this weekend I’m working tomorrow. Tomorrow I’m doing a nutrition clinic for athletes in Bethesda, MD if anyone wants to join us. Nutrition clinics are the best part of my job because I get to speak more one on one with athletes. At expos and group rides/runs it’s usually only for a few minutes. Clinics are 60-120min in length.

This morning waking up it was chilly (in the 40’s F) and rainy. It reminded me of being back in Oregon during the winter. I had some frozen blackberries (another Oregon reference) and I wanted to make pancakes. I’m trying to perfect a gluten free pancake, so those who have to exclude it from their diet don’t have to use a packaged mix. And I think I scored with this recipe as Brett went back for seconds. I don’t have a Vitamix (hint hint Brett) yet, but my friend Betsy ground up some different flours for me to play around with. So, I have a nice assortment to use. Next up needs to be the quinoa, buckwheat or chickpea flour.

This morning I used a combination of oat flour and almond flour. You can use other gluten free flours, but be warned that it might change the¬† pancake. This is true especially for coconut flour. Coconut flour really soaks up liquid and you’ll need to play around with the measurements. For milk you could use skim, soy, coconut, almond, hemp, or whatever is your fancy. I used a combination of coconut and almond because it’s what I had on hand. Fruit can be anything you have on hand. I generally have berries in the freezer, if out of season. Feel free to use blueberries or even raspberries.

If you have a family that loves pancakes, or you’d like to freeze some, I might double the recipe. This make 12 x 3-4inch pancakes. Serve plain, with some pineapple (our favorite), a little butter or even some peanut butter or almond butter. Syrup would be delicious, but save the extra sugar for post workout.

 

Heart Blackberry Pancakes

Hearty Blackberry Pancakes

Hearty Blackberry Pancakes: (serves 3)

  • 1/2 cup of oat flour
  • 1/2 cup of almond flour
  • 2 tbsp ground chia or flax seed
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 3/4 cup of milk (almond/coconut)
  • 1/3 of cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp agave, honey or stevia if desired (I used agave)
  • 1 cup of blackberries (if frozen, thawed)
  1. Grease or spray a griddle or pan and heat to medium. The pan is ready when water sizzles when it’s dropped on it.
  2. In a large bowl stir together flours, ground seeds, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a smaller bowl whisk one egg. Add milk and stir.
  4. To the milk mixture add the applesauce, vanilla and sweetener if using.
  5. Slowly add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and gently stir. Do not vigorously stir, but stir enough to combine. If you think the mixture is too thick, you can add a bit more milk. The mixture should not be thick, but also not runny.
  6. Stir in the blackberries
  7. Cook for 3-4 minutes, turning around the 90sec-2min mark. When you have bubbles formed on the top of the pancake and the edges are starting to look hardened, check if ready to flip. Cook on both sides until done.
  8. Enjoy with your desired topping

Nutrition for 1 serving (4 pancakes)

  • 292kcal
  • 30g carbohydrate
  • 15g fat
  • 12g protein
  • 8g fiber

Also a good source of magnesium, manganese and Vit. E