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Sara Lavan strives to create healthy meals that are still kid-friendly. Find out how she does it. By Tanya Pai

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail for details.

Among all the wonderful things about children, an adventurous palate is unfortunately not always one of them. As the mother of a nine-year-old and a six-year-old, it’s a challenge Alexandria resident Sara Lavan understands well. She aims to feed her kids balanced meals with plenty of vegetables and whole grains, but still makes time for the occasional indulgence, such as homemade ice cream. (You can find some of her recipes on her blog.)

Sara is the owner and operator of Alexandria’s Local Motion Studio, where she develops the adult classes and creates the curriculum for the children’s dance program. She also teaches Pilates and barre, dances in the local modern company Choreographer’s Collaboration Project, and in her free time volunteer-teaches dance at Mount Vernon Community School, where her children go.

Read on to find out how Sara keeps herself—and her kids—fueled for busy days.

Breakfast: “One of my favorites: greens (chard, spinach, and/or kale), two free-range eggs, and hot sauce.”

Morning snack: "To sip during the morning at the studio—either during teaching, or before or after class—juice (this time celery, carrot, green apple, spinach, and orange), and a yogurt-and-fruit smoothie. (homemade yogurt, grass-fed gelatin, chlorella, spirulina, and fruit)."

Lunch: "Gluten-free lasagna with spinach and grass-fed beef, left over from the night before."

Snack: "An oatmeal-applesauce cookie—flour-free!"

Dinner: "Had dinner with the kids—brown rice and shrimp stir-fry with fresh ginger, half an avocado, a Caesar salad, and mushrooms."

Dessert: "Homemade pumpkin ice cream. Really made for the kiddos, but of course I had a little.”

Posted at 10:30 AM/ET, 10/28/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A first-time marathoner shares her experiences. By Kelsey Lindsey
Skydivers kicked off the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon. Photographs by Kelsey Lindsey.

Now that my endorphins have settled and my feet have returned to a semi-functioning state, I can say definitively that my Marine Corps Marathon experience was a success. Sunday morning brought clear skies, great weather, and hordes of eager runners ready to hit the trail.

After clearing security at the starting area near Memorial Avenue in Arlington, I joined the mass of runners peering up to the sky to watch skydivers, including Medal of Honor recipient Ret. Marine Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter, descend to Earth before the 7:55 AM start. Carpenter went on to compete in the race, along with the honorary starter, actor Sean Astin from Rudy and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Once the opening ceremonies were complete, the patter of nearly 60,000 sneakers sounded as runners slowly made it to the start line to begin their races. The weather continued to be agreeably sunny and cool; the only minor complaint I could offer is the gusty winds I encountered while crossing the I-395 bridge back into Crystal City between miles 20 and 21. Many people seemed to putter out on this bit, walking the length of the bridge or even pulling to side to stretch cramping legs.

Most of the course—winding its way through Georgetown, up and down Rock Creek Parkway and through South Potomac Park, and down the mall before finally ending in Rosslyn next to the Marine Corps War Memorial—was much more scenic than the bridge, which helped distract me from my throbbing feet. And when questions like “Why am I doing this?” and “I can still say I ran a marathon even if I walk a few miles, right?” popped into my head, they were quickly dispelled by the cheers of thousands of volunteers and spectators lining the roads, holding hilarious posters and shouting encouragement. That—okay, and the motivation of unlimited pizza brunch awaiting me after the race—kept me pushing to the finish line.

Fittingly, the Armed Forces were well represented at the top of the podium, with two members of the Army finishing first in the men and women’s categories. US Army Specialist Samuel Kosgei, 30, from Junction City, Kansas, finished first in the men’s category at 2:22:11 in his inaugural MCM race. New Jersey native and US Army Capt. Meghan Curran, 29, snagged first place in the women’s division with a time of 2:51:46, all the more impressive for her being a first-time marathoner. Arlington natives Michael Wardian, an ultramarathoner, and Graham Tribble came in fourth and fifth overall, respectively, finishing ten seconds apart (2:25:45 and 2:25:52).

And me? I was just happy to come close to catching Oprah Winfrey, who ran the race in 1994 in 4:29:15. I came in just 14 seconds later. Looks like I have a new goal to beat next year.

The view from the running route.
The race finished at the Marine Corps War Memorial.

Posted at 11:50 AM/ET, 10/27/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
An easy, filling solution for busy mornings. By Tanya Pai
Photographs by Tanya Pai.

On chilly mornings, a hot breakfast feels like a delicious luxury—but crawling out of your warm bed early enough to whip something up can be a challenge. When you don’t have time to linger over your first meal of the day, this baked oatmeal is an easy, make-ahead solution. It’s packed with whole grains, reheats well, and makes multiple servings. Even better? It’s infinitely customizable. You can add any kind of fruit and spices you want, replace the sugar with honey or maple syrup, and even substitute chia seeds for the egg if you’re trying to go vegan.

Play around with whatever flavor combinations you enjoy; you may never go back to those instant-oatmeal packets again.

Baked Oatmeal With Peaches and Almonds

2 cups rolled oats
¼ cup white or light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 cups milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups frozen or fresh peach slices

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2) In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and ginger.
3) In another medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk, egg, and vanilla.
4) Arrange peach slices on the bottom of the prepared baking dish, reserving a few for top of oatmeal (optional). Pour oat mixture evenly over peaches. Pour milk mixture over the oats. Gently tilt the baking dish to make sure the milk covers the oats evenly. Sprinkle almonds evenly over surface of oatmeal. If using, add a few peach slices to the top of the oatmeal.
5) Bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is golden and set. Serve warm or cool.

Adapted from this recipe. Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.

Posted at 12:45 PM/ET, 10/24/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The studio celebrates the grand opening of its second location with gratis workouts starting Saturday. By Caroline Cunningham
The new Fuse Pilates studio includes a Ladder Room. Photograph courtesy of Fuse.

Fans of Fuse Pilates, time to clear your weekend schedule: The Dupont Circle studio’s first sister location opens Saturday, and to celebrate, co-owners Roxanna Hakimi and Mariska Breland are offering free classes at both outposts.

Fuse, which has earned devotees for its blend of traditional Pilates with high-energy music and other types of exercises, is expanding into a 2,500-square-foot space on the second floor of 1401 14th Street, Northwest. The new location features two large group fitness studios and a third for one-on-one classes, rehab, and health coaching. One of the group fitness rooms is equipped with 11 ladders for the Fuse Ladder full-body workout, which involves climbing, hanging, lunging, and squatting on the apparatus; the second will be used for mat classes, such as Fuse Toys, which uses weights and balls in the all-levels exercises.

The weekend kicks off with gratis classes on Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 AM at both Fuse locations and continues with a free lunchtime class on Monday at noon and three Thursday “happy hour” classes—including an ’80s-themed session at 8 PM—at the 14th Street studio. Wrap up the Pilates party with an actual happy hour with snacks and drinks Thursday night. (See the full schedule online.)

Also good to note: If you sign up for a five- or ten-class package this weekend, you’ll receive 30 percent off the regular price.

Fuse Pilates. 2008 Hillyer Pl., NW, 202-525-3767; 1401 14th St., NW.

Posted at 01:48 PM/ET, 10/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Protein is key for fueling her intense workouts. By Tanya Pai
Christy Adkins. Photograph courtesy of DC Brawlers.

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail for details.

Christy Adkins is a member of Washington’s newest professional sports team, the DC Brawlers. The team—one of eight groups in the National Pro Grid League and the inaugural champions—competes in coed functional fitness “human performance races.” Christy, 29, is a graduate of George Washington University, where she played Division 1 lacrosse; she now works as a registered nurse and a personal trainer. She started CrossFit workouts seven years ago, and has placed in the top ten in the CrossFit Games three times since 2009.

As a pro athlete, her daily schedule involves plenty of physical activity, so to fuel up for her grueling workouts, she relies on a diet rich in protein and healthy fats, plus plenty of vegetables and even the occasional chocolatey treat. Between training sessions and indulging her love of bacon, she likes to spend time with her husband, Tim, and their yellow Lab, Bella. Read on for a look at a typical day of eating for Christy.

7 AM: “I always wake up hungry and ready for coffee right away. Luckily, my husband makes coffee before he leaves the house at 5, so there is some waiting for me. I like to drink it black or with heavy cream if we have it. I love when I have the time in the morning to sit, sip coffee, and eat an About Time bar with almond butter. If I’m heading into DC for work, I eat this on my drive.”

8 AM: “I cooked applewood-smoked bacon in a pan, threw in some frozen veggies or the leftovers from dinner, and let them cook in the bacon grease. Then I added three eggs for a delicious scramble.”

11 AM: “After an hour and a half of lifting (five sets of five back squats, heavy double snatches, and snatch pulls), this fuel pack gave me the energy I needed to get through my sets of weighted pull-ups and powers me through a conditioning workout with rowing on the erg, muscle-ups on the rings, and dumbbell clean-and-jerks. The Fuel for Fire packs are just puréed sweet potato, apple, and whey protein. I like that they don’t upset my stomach while giving me the carbs I need without any of the fake stuff like some of the goos and gel packs have.”

12:30 PM: “My post-workout protein shake—just water and chocolate About Time protein.”

2 PM: “Lunch was leftovers from dinner last night: grass-fed, organic ground beef purchased from the Organic Butcher, cooked in a no-sugar-added marinara sauce from Trader Joe’s, and served over spaghetti squash.”

2:30 PM: “Afternoon coffee with something special added. CrossFit friends and some of my Grid teammates got me hooked on coffee blended with organic butter and coconut oil. Add a tablespoon of each to hot coffee, blend on high, and get a yummy, creamy, high-in-good-fats coffee treat.”

5 PM: “I needed a snack to tide me over until dinner. I made an open-face pb&j sandwich with Paleo bread, almond butter, and Crofter’s organic raspberry fruit spread. My mom visited last week and bought this bread for us, but I usually make my own with a really simple recipe that consists of almond flour and eggs.”

7 PM: “I roasted an organic brined chicken I bought at Trader Joe’s following this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo. I used sweet potatoes and a regular onion instead of her suggested veggies. I cooked some more bacon in a pan, then sliced Brussel sprouts in half and tossed them in. I could seriously cook all my vegetables in bacon fat; sometimes I’ll do coconut oil instead, but my true love is bacon.”

9:30 PM: “Sometimes at night I will have a couple pieces of dark chocolate or some Paleocrunch from Steve’s Club. Almost every night, I make a shake with chocolate About Time nighttime protein, a frozen banana, a spoonful of almond butter, ice, and water. It’s a sweet treat that helps me not wake up hungry in the middle of the night!”

Posted at 01:00 PM/ET, 10/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Experts share their advice on ways to avoid getting hurt. By Dora Grote
There's no room for injury when training for a fall run. Photograph via Shutterstock.

1. Follow the Rule of Ten

If you want to push yourself, build up slowly: Run 10 percent farther than you did last week, or add 10 percent more weight than you lifted last week, says Dr. Rajeev Pandarinath, an assistant professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences.

2. Don’t Lift Above the Shoulders

Our bodies aren’t built to lift heavy weight over our shoulders, says Dr. Kenneth Fine of the Orthopaedic Center in Rockville. When you’re holding your arms out at a 90-degree angle from your body, the weight shouldn’t go above that.

Says Fine: “The irony is that shoulder presses are not important for the human body, and many elite athletes do not do this exercise, whereas amateur athletes often do. An overhead press puts too much unhealthy stress on the rotator cuff.”

3. Cross-Train

Exercising for several hours a day can be healthy, but it’s best to mix the types of exercise. “Limit any particular activity to one hour a day,” Fine says.

4. Warm Up

Light cardio exercises to warm up your muscles, followed by gentle stretching, can help prevent injuries. More dynamic stretching, such as walking lunges and high knees, can help prepare you for high-intensity workouts such as CrossFit, Pandarinath says.

5. Listen to Your Body

“We like to think we’re still in our twenties, so we train with a lot of gusto and cross a line and start having shoulder and knee pain,” says Dr. Chris Annunziata of Commonwealth Orthopaedics in Arlington.

As more runs and marathons have cropped up, people are “diving in too quickly,” causing injuries, says Dr. Daniel Pereles of Montgomery Orthopaedics. CrossFit and Tough Mudders, among other workouts, can lead to rotator-cuff tendinitis (from lifting weight overhead) as well as knee tendinitis and stress fractures (both from repeatedly jumping).

It’s fine to challenge yourself, but don’t ignore your body’s messages.

Not sure if you're over-exercising? Read more about when to consult a specialist and therapy treatments that could help relieve your aches and pains here.

This article appears in our October 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 03:00 PM/ET, 10/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This elegant appetizer is as easy as it is tasty. By Tanya Pai
Photograph by Rebecca Scritchfield.

Want to impress your friends at your next potluck? Try registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield’s recipe for kiwi-prosciutto crostini, an easy appetizer that’s as pretty as it is healthy—not to mention delicious. Bright green kiwi fruit has “more vitamin C than an orange and as much potassium as a banana,” Scritchfield says. “They’re also a great source of micronutrients like vitamin C and antioxidants, and they’re high in fiber.”

Kiwis are in season through the month, and Scritchfield makes the most of their tangy flavor by pairing the fruit with cool goat cheese and thin slices of prosciutto. The dish packs a sweet-salty punch and is a great way to sneak in a serving of fruit, which Scritchfield says nearly 70 percent of Americans don’t eat enough of.

Yield: 16 servings
Per-serving nutrition: 100 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 230 milligrams sodium, 11 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein.

16 slices toasted crostini*
1 package (4 ounces) garlic-and-herb goat cheese
2 kiwis
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (8 slices), cut in half

1) Spread crostini slices with goat cheese.
2) Peel and slice each kiwi lengthwise into 8 slices. (A serrated peeler works great for this.)
3) Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each piece of kiwi.
4) Top crostini with prosciutto-wrapped kiwifruit. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 30 minutes.

*To make crostini, heat broiler. Slice 8-ounce baguette into ¼-inch slices. Using about 1½ tablespoons olive oil, lightly brush each slice. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes per side. Cool on wire rack. (May be made up to 2 days before serving. Store in airtight container.)

Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.

Posted at 02:30 PM/ET, 10/17/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
What to eat (and avoid) at Starbucks, Pret a Manger, and other grab-and-go spots. By Caroline Cunningham
Salted almonds from Starbucks will give you a hit of protein in a portion-controlled serving. Image via Shutterstock.

It’s 3:32 in the afternoon and you’re starving. Dinner is still a few hours away, and that bag of all-natural trail mix you meant to bring to work is sitting on the kitchen counter at home. Before you give up and reach for a sugar-laden baked good from your favorite coffee chain, try one of these healthier grab-and-go options that will keep you satisfied and help you avoid another energy crash.


While a slice of the iced lemon pound cake may sound light and airy, its 470 calories and 47 grams of sugar say otherwise. Avoid the pastry case and go for a pack of salted almonds instead; the nuts are packed with monounsaturated fats, which are great for your cardiovascular system, and protein to calm your growling stomach.

Corner Bakery

The “nuts equal healthy” rule doesn’t carry over here, however, where the 690-calorie maple pecan bar offers a whopping 37 grams of fat and 51 grams of sugar. Try the seasonal fruit medley and a pack of bakery chips, which contain a much more reasonable 8 grams of fat.

Pret a Manger

The “hearty grains” muffin may sound healthy, but with 470 calories and 26 grams of fat, it’s a frightening false advertisement. Swap the muffin for mixed fruit for an all-natural sugar kick, paired with Pret’s organic popcorn for something that’s truly whole-grain.


If you’re in the mood to sip your snack, don’t attempt to down one of Potbelly’s milkshakes. The mocha shake packs a mind-boggling 802 calories and 100 percent of your daily recommended value of saturated fat. Instead, go for the mixed-berry smoothie, which at 464 calories isn’t ideal but at least has a third of the fat and many more antioxidants than its coffee-flavored counterpart.


While you don’t really have to ask whether Cosi’s Mississippi mud pie is good for you, you’d be surprised to know how much sugar also sneaks its way into the “healthy” yogurt parfaits. The Greek yogurt clocks in at 24 grams, while the strawberry fresh fruit parfait has nearly double that. Ditch the dairy and try a bag of carrots, a fruit cup, or even a turkey sandwich off the kids’ menu.

Au Bon Pain

Pecans are going to give us a complex: ABP’s 740-calorie pecan roll contains 43 grams of fat. Instead, go for hardboiled eggs, which have 13 grams of protein to give you that last-leg-of-the-day power boost you need. Or if your sweet tooth will not be denied, try the 230-calorie pack of chocolate covered almonds.

Posted at 12:20 PM/ET, 10/16/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
What’s the man version of “whimsical”? By Tanya Pai
The burrito-print Brogamat bag. Photographs courtesy of Dan Abramson.

Here at Well+Being, we love a good yoga session almost as much as we love a nice burrito. Now, thanks to Dan Abramson, there’s a product that combines the two. Abramson, who’s based in San Francisco, is the creator of Brogamats: extra-long, extra-thick yoga mats designed with men in mind but appropriate for “people of all walks of life, all genders, all Lululemon budgets, and all levels of earthy pretentiousness,” as the website declares. Even more fun than the mats themselves are the bags to put them in, which come in solid colors or printed with man-friendly things like bears, plaid, and, yes, an image of a foil-wrapped burrito (though it’s unfortunately currently sold out).

Brogamats are available online, along with Abramson’s Kickstarter-funded Yoga Joes—a collection of GI Joe look-alike toys molded into traditional yoga poses, aimed at getting a wider audience interested in the practice. Both would make a great gift for your favorite yoga enthusiast with a sense of humor; it’s never too early to start thinking about holiday gifts, after all.

Don’t see the perfect design? Abramson happily takes suggestions—“the best ideas come from people around me,” he says via e-mail. Our picks for Washington-centric versions: seersucker (the official unofficial Washington summer uniform), a Metro map (for when you want to be simultaneously relaxed and tense), and an all-over Shackburger print so you can dream about what you’ll be doing after yoga. Check out the current Brogamats bag collection below, and share your design suggestions in the comments.

Posted at 04:30 PM/ET, 10/14/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Tweets and pictures from the road race, which turned 30 this year. By Tanya Pai

On Sunday morning, around 35,000 runners gathered for the 30th annual Army Ten Miler. Of the 26,238 finishers, 25-year-old Kerri Gallagher won the women’s overall for the third consecutive year, finishing in 54:50—six seconds faster than her 2013 time, which broke the course record. Army Spc. Caroline Jepleting, who flew in from Germany for the race, came in second in the women's division, earning the top US military finisher spot with a time of 56:34. Solonei Da Silva, 32, won the men’s overall for the second year in a row, with a time of 48:28.

The 2015 Army Ten-Miler is scheduled for October 11. Read on for some highlights from this year’s race below, and see more photos via Flickr.

Read More

Posted at 12:45 PM/ET, 10/13/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()