Are bananas good or bad for you?

When I first started running over ten years ago, I ate at least one banana a day. When discussing this with another runner, they cautioned me not to eat so many as it’s hard on the body and can lead to weight gain. I never thought much of this warning and continued to eat bananas at the same rate, but while running today I thought I’d check it out further (just in case.)


This is what I found on the website Nutrition Uncovered Bananas are:

  • high in natural sugar; researchers have found that eating just two bananas was enough to sustain a strenuous 90 minute workout
  • high in iron; good for anemic people
  • high in potassium, but low in salt; makes them good at regulating blood pressure in people. Potassium is a vital micronutrient that helps our body regulate heart beat to maintaining the body’s water balance.When under stress our metabolism increases and we tend to lose potassium faster. Having a few bananas restores your body’s potassium quickly
  • The high potassium content in bananas is also very good for the brain; in one study of 200 students, it was found that having bananas regularly during meals and breaks improved their ability to concentrate.
  • improve bowel action hugely because they are full of fiber. Many times they’re more effective than laxatives and safer too
  • People who suffer from heartburn often should include bananas with their meals. It has an antacid effect preventing heartburn
  • In one research, overweight people who snacked on sweets and chocolates often reduced weight dramatically just by switching over to bananas
  • have a chemical called tryptophan which gets converted in the body to serotonin which influences mood and makes us feel better. Although this may not be enough as a treatment for depression it is still enough to make normal people feel good
  • eating bananas daily has been found to reduce the incidence of stroke in people by up to 40%.
  • have a cooling tendency in the body and some people even believe that this cooling tendency extends to the emotions. Eating bananas regularly is supposed to have calming influence on the person
  • have curative properties dermatologically. For instance if you have warts of pimples, applying a piece of banana peel, skin side up on it and leaving it there overnight is supposed to remove them painlessly very quickly

In my experience, I always felt that bananas were natures power bar. If I had a banana before a run I always felt energized (and I still eat them either before or after a run.) Besides being cheap to buy, they’re one of the most effective fruits to eat. One banana has 4 times the protein, 2 times the carbs, 3 times the phosphorus, 5 times the Vit A and iron in comparison to Apples. Pretty cool, eh?

Finally, let’s tackle the myth that bananas make you fat. Well, that’s just BS. It’s true. Bananas are approximately 100 calories each and they aren’t empty calories either (calories from fruit are different from calories from fat). Because bananas have a low glycemic index they get broken down more slowly, leaving you feeling fuller longer.

Sadly, I can’t eat PB anymore, but I love bananas so I’ll keep eating them. What do you think?

Day 11: It’s all a mental game!

Today I ran 3 miles, pushing one 27 lbs kid in a stroller. As you know I wasn’t really in the mood for a run this morning, but with all the support I’ve had and by the time I got to the Glenmore Reservoir things turned around. Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you it was all lollipops and sunshine (well, it was actually sunny out). There were moments where I had to chant “you run because you can” in my head; tell myself not to quit etc…but I did it and I’m pleased. I wasn’t too far off my time last night and I was pushing a stroller!

Here are todays stats:

  • Distance: 4.80 km
  • Time: 30:21
  • Pace/Km: 6:19
  • Best Pace: 5:45

The trail wasn’t too busy, there were lots of people young and old running, biking and walking. The best part of the day was during cool-down when Felix & I passed by a bench with three older women on it (guessing late 70’s) – they were bubbly, smiling and wished us a good morning. Oh one thing I wanted to ask was this: do you put on perfume/cologne before your morning run? Felix and I rounded a corner and I hit a wall of Chanel Mademoiselle; much to my surprise it was a man wearing it. Then not two minutes later, we hit the smell of what can only be described as Brut. Now, I can’t be sure because the last time I would have smelled it was when my brother was in junior high – it’s nasty stuff!

Not too much more to report. Felix felt totally left out of the action, so when we got to the parking lot I let him do a lap pushing the stroller -he was loving life! I then had to bribe him with cheerios to get into the car.

On the way home he dumped 2/3 of the bag out – silly me for giving him the whole thing. However, all I could do was laugh! He’s a great little running buddy 🙂




Day 10: 3 miles and a narrow miss by BMW

Tonight I ran 3 miles. The weather was perfect, I was well-hydrated and had lots of carbs to burn, yet it wasn’t a fantastic run. Isn’t that funny? When you think you’re going to have a great run, it turns out to be the shits! I guess it’s a good reminder that every day isn’t going to be a great day and you just need to keep plugging away at it.  There were several times tonight that I just wanted to quit because I just wasn’t in a good groove; wasn’t feeling it – but I am stubborn and kept going (even after getting lost twice!)

Here are my stats:

  • Distance: 4.85 km
  • Time: 30:26
  • Pace/Km: 6:17
  • Best Pace: 5:32

I do have to report that my right ankle is really tight – not necessarily sore, but feels like it should be stretched. Anyone have any good stretching ideas? I’m not sure what to do about it; I definitely favoured it while running and tried not to put too much weight on it. Any help would be great!


Finally, when I was cooling down and crossing at a well-lit intersection (wearing my reflective jacket) I was almost got taken out by a BMW! Now, generally I wouldn’t be so judgemental (BMW one day, Yukon the next) but this is the SECOND time in two weeks I’ve almost been hit at a crosswalk by one. I can see if I was crossing on a no-walk light or jay-walking, but I wasn’t!!

Anyway, I am pleased that tonights run is over 🙂 And tomorrow is the last run before rest day – YAHOO! Hope everyone is having a fantastic week. Now off to catch up on Real Housewives of New Jersey (don’t judge me.)


Running Buddies: Does everyone need them?

My personal opinion is no. Not everyone needs a running buddy. In fact, I think most runners do so on there own. I’ve always been a bit of a solo runner myself. I enjoy running on my own so I don’t have to keep someone else’s pace and either have to run faster (ouch) or slower (not usually the case.) However, I’ve been finding that having a running buddy for encouragement is actually quite nice. I enjoy running with friends every once and a while; and in fact, starting this weekend I’ll be running once a week with some pals. (For anyone in Calgary, we’ll be running Sundays at 10 am – email me if interested.)

If you’re like me and finding it difficult to get motivated, it’s always nice to have a friend who is eager to kick your butt into gear. It’s great support to have other people going through the same things you are – for my gal pals out there who have kids – wasn’t it nice to make friends at the same stage of pregnancy you were in? I was really lucky to make some good pals during that time in my life – very grateful for it and the same goes for running. If you’re working towards a major milestone, it’s nice to have someone there to hold your hand; bounce ideas off of and seek advice from.

Say you wake up on a Sunday morning (the day of group run) and you don’t want to go – perhaps you had too many wobbly pops the night before or there was a sweet Keeping up with the Kardashians marathon on until 3 a.m. – whatever the case may be, if you’re supposed to meet your pals you’ll feel more compelled to run. I don’t know about you folks out there, but I can’t stand it when people commit to something and don’t follow through. Therefore, I do my darndest to make sure I don’t commit that sin. I don’t want to be THAT jerk! Sure, life happens and you can’t make certain things, but don’t make a habit of backing out last minute – it’s ultra annoying!

It’s also good to have a running buddy for at least one day a week to keep yourself in “check” if you’re training. I know myself that there were times I wouldn’t push as hard as I could, but then I’d have to run with other people. I’d realize the embarrassment of my out-of-shapeness was blindingly obvious and that I needed to be more consistent. (I’m not 18 anymore, after all!)

For me, the bonus of running with a friend is having some time to catch-up on what’s new with one another. And for the most part, the catch-up usually happens in the first 10 minutes, otherwise I can’t talk and run at the same time (I know, really hard to believe.) Another bonus is that studies have shown running with someone can actually make you smarter. Say what?! Apparently, while chit-chatting + running, you may stimulate more areas of the brain.  Who doesn’t want to be smarter?

And whether you want a running buddy or not, there are times when it’s ideal. Eg:  running with someone at night or in hot weather to keep an eye on each other.

I love my Sunday runs, so I’ll keep ’em. Let me know what you like to do – running with a pal every day or once a week? Or never!

This is a picture from Run Santa Run  – Calgary, AB (Loads of fun, especially the beer(s) afterward!) 

Potatoes: carb replacement for pasta. YEAH BUDDY!

Okay. I have strong Scottish routes; in fact, on paper I’m the quintessential scottish descendent. I attended the Gaelic College and took Gaelic lessons, highland and step-danced (though not very well); and completed a weaving class with a good pal. Though I dropped out of all three, I feel I’ve done my due diligence to immerse myself in my heritage. However, when it comes to food I much prefer the Irish potatoes to Haggis.

Much to my delight, I learned recently that potatoes are actually just as effective in the carb-loading department as pasta. Amazing, eh? Potatoes, in their natural form (not chips and fries, unfortunately) are gluten free. YAHOO! So for all you gluten intolerant folks out there, push that gluten-free pasta crap out of the way and cook up some potatoes. Seriously. You can have them mashed, baked or broiled. The bonus is that every type of potato offers similar carb intake and nutrition. This means you can eat sweet, yellow, red, russet or whatever you like and still gain the same benefits!

So what are these benefits, you may ask…

  1. Potatoes are easy to prepare
  2. Full of minerals and vitamins
  3. Easy to digest
  4. They rank higher on the glycemic index in comparison to pasta, which means carbs get into bloodstream faster
  5. They taste awesome

Also, I’ve always been under the impression that most of a potatoes nutrition is found in the skin – this is not true. So Dad, you can rest easy now that I won’t make mashed potatoes again with skin on (he hates lumpy potatoes.) I just can’t believe my luck at finding out potatoes are great ahead of running – this just made my week! Sorry, Mr Potato Head. I’ll be loading up!

To learn how to properly carb-load prior to a race, click here.