Autumn Refreshments for Trail Running

Written by Stephen R. Santangelo and originally published in the Fall 2018 edition of the Trail Times newsletter.

Autumn color is a reminder we need to load up on a variety of antioxidants! With the cooling temperatures and shorter days, our body’s metabolism changes and its nutritional requirements change. Our system moves from cooling foods in summer, to warming foods, in autumn, in order to help regulate our internal functions. The liver, lungs, kidneys and spleen are nourished with warming foods, spices and herbs from fall through winter.

Below, are some of our favorite recipes which provide the needed properties to support the aforementioned organs. Whether we’re running the trails or hiking we always prepare our system with the right foods which have a synergistic relationship with our internal seasonal needs.

Power Up Pre-Workout Drinks!
Ingredients: organic red, yellow and orange sweet peppers, carrots and oranges (juice the peels).
There are over 60 different types of flavonoids in citrus fruits and over 30 anti-oxidants in sweet peppers, which are not in citrus fruits! Many of the flavonoids, found in citrus, have their highest concentration in the peel such as naringenin and d-limonene. Hesperiden is another flavonoid found in the white inner layer. Naringenin helps restore health to damaged DNA by inducing two enzymes that repair DNA during the replication stage. These enzymes, 8-oxoguanine-DNA glycosylase 1 (hOGG1), and DNA polymerase beta (DNA poly beta), are both involved in the DNA base excision repair (BER) pathway.

The antioxidants in carrots work together to provide us with cardiovascular benefits that we could not obtain from any of these antioxidants alone if they were split apart and consumed individually; isolation does not work! The synergistic effect of carrot antioxidants is a great example of a whole food and its uniqueness as a source of nourishment.

There is more than beta carotene in carrots! In all, there are six carotenes in carrots, as α-, β-, γ- and ξ-carotenes, lycopene and β-zeacarotene in addition to xanthophylls and anthocyanins.

In addition to the diverse mixture of carrot antioxidants, there is yet another category of carrot phytonutrient that is believed to help explain carrot protection against cardiovascular disease. That category is polyacetylenes.

Polyacetylenes are unique phytonutrients made from metabolism of specific fatty acids, often involving crepenynic acid, stearolic acid and tariric acid. The two best-researched polyacetylenes in carrots are falcarinol and falcarindiol.

This combination of flavonoids, anti-oxidants & vitamin C are a power punch of nutrients which will combat free radicals which occur during training.

Another drink, we really enjoy, is freshly harvested raw beet juice, either red or yellow, flavored with organic cinnamon, ginger & cayenne! Beet juice is exceptional for its super nitrates, which convert to nitric oxide, when absorbed into the blood stream. Nitric oxide is what helps dilates the blood vessels for better oxygenation and getting nutrients to the working muscles and organs. Add cinnamon, ginger and cayenne, for a little zing, which all serve as dilators as well. These three spices have the exceptional ability to warm and cleanse the lungs, liver and kidneys, and help flush lactate from the working muscles!

Here’s a tip for using fresh ginger; place your ginger root in a lock tight bag and place in the freezer overnight. This makes it very easy to finely grade as well as cleaning the grader!

Don’t forget about the ole standby, sweet potatoes, for the sustained energy needed on the trails! Consume both orange and purple sweet potatoes, to maximize a variety of anti-inflammatory properties which speed up recovery. Adding fresh honey and pollen, from our hives, along with cinnamon, ginger and cayenne adds a zesty flavor to the meal or eat plain and enjoy the robust flavor.

Nothing beats a good serving of roasted garlic in the fall. Drizzle organic olive oil or organic grass-fed butter or both! Sprinkle parley, oregano and basil over the tops and enjoy. These herbs, along with garlic have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and like all these power foods, they have an alkalizing effect on the body which is very important for recovery and regeneration. Exercise is an acidifying and inflammatory process! Therefore, it is imperative to alkalize and combat inflammation as soon as possible after hitting the trails.

There you have it; simple, fast and tasty foods which will help you conquer the chilly trails of autumn!