Pumpkin-flavored treats are popping up everywhere, but indulging in all of the breads, cupcakes, muffins, and lattes—many of which are loaded with sugar, fat, and empty calories to keep you craving more—unfortunately doesn’t count as a balanced diet.
Instead, we’d like to introduce you to five fall specials around town that will allow you to taste the season without ditching your healthy eating plan.
Turkey & Cheddar on 9-Grain Cranberry Ciabatta at Au Bon Pain
The cranberry ciabatta bread is certainly festive, but it’s also responsible for 290 of the 550 calories in this sandwich. Dine open-faced instead, and focus on the rest of this flavor-packed meal: savory turkey, cheddar cheese, and arugula with an apple butter and mustard spread.
Jamaican Sweet Pumpkin and Vegetable at Soup Up DC
This Union Market eatery offers a fun alternative to basic pumpkin soup. It’s composed of locally grown vegetables and is gluten-, additive-, and preservative-free, making it a great choice to warm up on a chilly October afternoon.
Sweet Potato Falafel Flatbread at Pret A Manger
This fun twist on a Mediterranean staple brings pumpkin’s superfood cousin, sweet potato, into play. The falafel is topped with immunity-boosting pickled cabbage and carrots paired with cool tzatziki sauce and tomatoes, and the whole ensemble rests on Pret’s artificial-flavoring-free flatbread. Though this sandwich offers 25 grams of protein, it contains about half the daily recommended amount of sodium; if you’re watching your salt intake, you may want to give this one a pass.
Roasted Turkey and Fall Vegetables Salad at Sweetgreen
The salad chain’s new menu includes this bowl of organic mesclun topped with roasted turkey, in-season Brussels sprouts and roasted sweet potatoes, and a cranberry vinaigrette. This is a low-calorie, vitamin-packed way to treat your taste buds to the harvest season in a low-calorie, vitamin-packed meal.
Chipotle Pumpkin Soup at Cosi
Sip this cancer-fighting soup made with butternut squash (not pumpkin, as the name suggests) and spiked with chipotle sauce. The bright orange fall vegetable is packed with alpha and beta carotene, which can help prevent the spread of cancer cells.
According to the American Cancer Society, women in the US have a one in eight chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. Though the figures are lower, a number of men are diagnosed every year, as well. Breast Cancer Awareness Month, recognized each October, aims to increase awareness and education about the deadly disease and raise money to put toward finding a cure. Local organizations, workout studios, and businesses are hosting events this month to show their support. Know of one that’s not on the list? Let us know in the comments—and don’t forget to enter this week’s photo contest, themed around the color pink for breast cancer awareness.
The downtown DC day spa is donating 20 percent of sales from certain services to Breast Care for Washington DC. Think Kevyn Aucoin makeup lessons, Deborah Lippman mani-pedis, massages, and more. October 9, noon to 6 PM.
Here’s a good reason to check out the Capital Wheel at National Harbor: This weekend, the lights on the Ferris wheel will be pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and when riders show up wearing the rosy hue, a portion of the proceeds from their ticket purchase will go to the Inova Life With Cancer Family Center. Look for area retailers displaying pink ribbons; a portion of their sales will also benefit Inova. October 10 through 13.
Makers Lab offers up a “workout dance party,” featuring a hip-hop dance set to tunes from a deejay, plus refreshments in the form of Raw juices. Tickets ($20) include a complimentary juice, and proceeds benefit ZuriWorks for Women’s Health, which aims to increase cancer awareness and education. October 19, 4 to 7 PM.
Turn your usual weekend partying into a philanthropic effort with this Friday-night event at the Midtown Party Plex. Participate in a costume contest, watch a fashion show, try out some pink hair extensions, and hit the cash bar; proceeds from ticket sales ($20 in advance, $25 at the door) benefit the nonprofit We Will Survive Cancer. October 24, 8 to 11 PM.
Fitness Together Capitol Hill has partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation for a bench-press competition to raise money for education and services. For every pound a participating athlete lifts, $1 will be donated to the foundation. If you’re not into lifting weights, you can sponsor individual athletes and participate in the raffle. October 25, 8 to 11 AM.
Alpha Breast Cancer Support Services holds a 5K run/walk beginning at Arlington’s Bon Air Park. Register as an individual for $10, or gather your friends and go as a team. Proceeds will go toward breast cancer awareness among Ethiopian and Eritrean women. October 25, 9 AM.
Suit up in pink and head to a step or indoor-cycling class at Metro Center’s Crunch Fitness to benefit the cause. KTX Fitness trainer Keith Thompson leads the sessions; a portion of the proceeds from class sales ($30 each) benefit breast cancer awareness. October 25 and 26, multiple sessions.
Head to College Park for a daylong fitness event with Phunktions Hip Hop Dance Company to benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Start the morning with a 5K, then check out a range of fitness classes that includes yoga, core boot camp, and ballroom-dance basics. Tickets are $20 for the 5K and classes, or $15 for the classes only. October 26, 9 AM to 6 PM.
The For Goodness Sake Foundation hosts a fundraising event at the Reebok Fithub in Georgetown. A $25 ticket gets you a Zumba workout with a Reebok instructor, 15 percent off in-store merchandise, a swag bag, light bites, mini spa services, and more. Even better, 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the nonprofit Capital Breast Care Center. October 26, 2 to 4:30 PM.
Find Tanya Pai on Twitter at @tanyapai.
Beth McCann was jogging on the W&OD Trail in Arlington a few years back when severe pain literally stopped her in her tracks.
A registered nurse at the George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, McCann had been an almost daily jogger for 30 years. When training for a marathon (she runs about one a year), she can log nearly 50 miles in a week.
On this October day—she had been training for the Marine Corps Marathon—she barely managed to walk home. A visit to a sports-medicine specialist revealed a stress fracture in her lower back. She ended up on crutches for six weeks and was unable to run for a year.
The specialist McCann saw was Kenneth Fine of the Orthopaedic Center, which has locations in DC and Rockville. Dr. Fine, she says, made her realize the importance of rest (she hadn’t been sleeping well before her injury but continued to be on the go) and of listening to her body during exercise (she had ignored aches and pains before the fracture).
McCann started getting deep-tissue massages every two to four weeks to help with circulation to the injured area. During the year she couldn’t run, she took spinning classes and lifted weights; now that she’s able to run again, she still takes days off from jogging to spin and weightlift.
“I’m a push-the-envelope kind of athlete, and that will get you in trouble, as I have found out,” says the 54-year-old Arlington resident.
It’s a common problem in Washington. As CrossFit, Tough Mudder competitions, and marathons are becoming increasingly popular, overuse injuries are taking a toll.
“Washington has a high number of people who are very motivated and disciplined, sometimes to the point of being obsessive, which can lead to over-exercising,” Fine says. While he notes that exercise is important in managing or staving off stress and illness, an obsession with exercise “leads to our area having a very high fitness level but to more overuse injuries. You will see the orthopedic surgeon more often, but you’ll see other doctors less often.”
When to Consult a Specialist
As the name suggests, sports-medicine doctors study and treat athletic injuries such as ligament and cartilage tears, stress fractures, and muscle and tendon strains.
The basic treatment for minor or moderate sports injuries has remained the same for years—ice for the first 48 hours paired with 72 hours of rest and elevation. How do you know when an injury is severe enough to see a doctor? One key sign is if you can’t bear weight on the affected area.
“If it hurts you a little bit to walk, it’s okay to wait and protect yourself and not exercise,” says Dr. Chris Annunziata of Commonwealth Orthopaedics in Arlington. “Give it up to a week and you should be getting better with ice, elevation, and rest. If it doesn’t get better, go to the doctor.”
While physicians not trained in sports medicine might treat just the acute injury, a sports-medicine specialist will also try to determine what led to the injury—and then to correct any problems with the goal of maximizing future performance.
“If someone is a long-distance runner, do they have inflexibility of their muscles or an imbalance of strength?” Annunziata says. “We try to direct care to affect those causes.”
Sports-medicine specialists are trained to get you back on your feet as safely and as soon as possible and to keep you moving even during treatment.
Says Annunziata: “If a runner comes in with knee irritation, we will allow them to do swimming, elliptical training, and cycling to improve lower-extremity flexibility around the knee and hip.”
From Dry Needling to Plasma
A sports-medicine doctor usually will do one of several things to treat an injury. He or she may prescribe anti-inflammatory pills or give an anti-inflammatory shot. If trained as an orthopedist—many othopedists have experience with sports-related injuries—the doctor will perform any necessary surgery.
Depending on the injury, a sports-medicine doctor may send you to physical therapy. Some physical therapists are also certified in sports medicine. As with any sports specialist, their aim is first to identify the reason the injury may have occurred.
“I look at how you are moving—are you having neck pain when you turn your head?—and try to figure out the source of your pain,” says Stacy King, owner of Aspire PT & Wellness in Bethesda, who is an orthopedic clinical specialist.
Once the problem is identified, a physical therapist will, among other things, give a patient stretches and corrective exercises to improve flexibility and strength.
Dry needling is a new trend in therapy that, like acupuncture, involves inserting needles into the body. While acupuncture follows a set of points and meridians, dry needling targets trigger points in muscles that are causing pain. The goal is to get a twitch response, which feels like a muscle cramp and which ultimately relaxes the muscle.
“It’s a faster form of treating trigger points,” King says. “The patient often feels the benefits quickly—some feel results immediately.” The average number of treatments is four, and side effects can include muscle soreness and bruising.
A physical therapist must be trained to do dry needling, through an organization such as Kinetacore, and this treatment isn’t for everyone. Someone who is in the first trimester of pregnancy, has a clotting disorder, or is within six weeks of having surgery shouldn’t receive dry needling.
Other therapies are on the horizon for treating serious or lingering sports injuries—including those that rely on the human body, such as plasma and stem cells, to accelerate healing.
PRP, or platelet-rich plasma, therapy is one such treatment. A patient’s own blood is centrifuged, separating it into layers. The platelet-rich layer, full of growth factors, is then injected back into the patient.
Although the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons hasn’t yet validated PRP as a scientifically proven method of treatment—it’s being studied—Fine says he and other doctors are using it.
“I have used it in cases such as elbow tendinitis and plantar fascitis where patients have not improved with standard treatments,” he says. “The pros are that it makes intuitive sense to inject growth factors to try to stimulate tissue to heal, and there are some studies showing its benefits. The cons are that we really don’t know at what concentration they would work best. There are many studies that show no improvement from PRP.”
While Fine says he hasn’t seen serious negative side effects, possible ones include infection, blood clots, nerve pain or injury, skin discoloration, and worsening of symptoms.
Other treatments in the experimental stages include stem-cell therapy and human-growth-hormone injections into joints. “Stem cells are being used, but they are in the very early stages, so there really are no good scientific articles,” Fine says.
Choosing a Doctor
Many family physicians now are very well versed in sports medicine; you might check if your primary-care doctor is board-certified in the field. Other medical specialties allow physicians to get a Certificate of Added Qualifications in sports medicine. Orthopedic surgeons, for example, can do a fellowship and take a written test through the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery to become certified in sports medicine. The American Board of Family Medicine offers a similar test for family doctors. Licensed physical therapists—who don’t have an MD—can also become board-certified through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialities.
“It’s a sexy thing to tell your patients you’re a sports-medicine specialist,” Fine says, “but not everyone is certified.”
Want to see a sports-medicine practitioner? You can find certified specialists at certificationmatters.org.
To find recommended sports-medicine specialists, orthopedists, and rehabilitation doctors, see our Top Doctors list.
This article appears in the October 2014 issue of Washingtonian.
Westfield Montgomery in Bethesda recently underwent a $90 million expansion, and along with a 2,400-seat cinema and a fine-dining terrace, the mall is now home to a Lululemon outpost. The athletic apparel company celebrates the grand opening of its latest location all weekend, and even if you’re not in the market for new yoga pants or running tights, you can still join in on the fun.
Drop by on Friday, October 3, between 11 AM and 2 PM to customize your own trail mix snack and sip some “Lululemonade” to the tunes of the in-store deejay.
Saturday brings a free yoga class in the lower level of Nordstrom beginning at 8:30 AM; after that, you can watch “acroyoga” performances in the Lululemon store windows to inspire you to new levels of yogi-excellence (or to make you realize you have some more poses to master).
On Sunday, take advantage of free Zengo cycling classes at 8:30 and 9:30 AM, again in Nordstrom’s lower level; the routine is a bit like yoga on a bike, and promises a full-body and mind workout that will increase your zen while you sweat. As a bonus, you’ll also have the chance to win additional free Zengo classes throughout the day.
Free workouts and an excuse to window-shop? Not a bad way to spend the weekend.
Lululemon Westfield Montgomery. 2101 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda.
Going meatless (even occasionally) is good for your health, good for the environment, and—with the right recipe—great for your taste buds. In honor of World Vegetarian Day on October 1, we’ve rounded up some easy-to-make, meat-free options that are packed with nutrition and fall flavors: light snacks, slow-cooker soups, even a feast made for two. (And if you want to celebrate National Homemade Cookie Day afterward as a reward; Best Bites has you covered.) Read on for the recipes, and if you try one, tweet us at @washwellbeing to let us know how you liked it!
Soups and Chili
Hearty Main Dishes
Snacks and Sides
Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail email@example.com for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.
As someone who would rather run in freezing cold weather than set foot on a treadmill, I wasn’t too sure I’d enjoy Precision Running class at Equinox Bethesda. But this class, created by running coach David Siik, is more like a workout you would find in a track-and-field practice: It uses targeted interval training to make you stronger while also helping you break your personal record (PR) for speed.
Siik began the class by explaining the Balanced Interval Training Experience (BITE) that he used to design the class. The method is an alternative to high-intensity interval training that allows you to get the same burn with less impact on your body, thanks to small changes in speed and elevation throughout the workout.
After Siik’s brief lecture, we got on our treadmills and began walking. We were instructed to use our towels to stretch our backs and get our arms warmed up. Next, Siik told us to think what our 30-second PR sprint was. It would be the core of the workout, a goal we would work our way to. This is when I started to panic. I hadn’t been on a treadmill in years and had no idea how fast I could run. Siik explained that on average, people tended to max at about 8 or 9 miles an hour, with everyday runners maxing out at about an 11 or 12. I decided to set my PR at 8 and hope for the best.
Once everyone decided on a personal PR, the running began. We set our treadmills to 1.8 miles per hour lower than our PR speed. The idea was to work up to my PR by slowly increasing the speed and elevation of the treadmill in 60-, 50-, 40-, and 30-second intervals. Siik called the run the “good cop, bad cop.” We ran each interval twice—once without an elevation (the good cop) and the other with (the bad cop).
As I got to the higher speeds and elevation, my starting speed began to feel like a welcome rest. Everyone in the class began to sweat, and Siik joked that the building’s air conditioning was cranked up, only confirming we were all receiving a good workout.
The intervals lasted about 30 minutes, and then Siik guided us in some core exercises. One move, which he said has become increasingly popular with track-and-field teams around the country, involved holding our legs at 90-degree angles, placing our hands on our thighs and pushing to lift our shoulders off of the ground. I had never seen this exercise before, but I could feel my back and abdominal muscles working.
Perhaps the best part? As the class is lower-impact than other running workouts, Siik mentioned we probably wouldn’t feel sore the next day. Yeah, right, I thought—but despite working muscles I haven’t used in some time, the day after the class my body feels great.
All in all, it was a pleasant surprise to find an indoor running class I actually enjoyed. I felt the benefits almost immediately, and with colder weather coming, this is a solid alternative to my usual outdoor routes.
Equinox Bethesda. 4905 Elm St., Bethesda; 301-652-1078. Precision Running is only open to members; it begins October 1 in Bethesda and is already offered at Tysons location. Membership is $142 to $147 per month.
Plenty of people credit the Paleo diet with helping them eat better and feel healthier. But in the middle of a busy day at work, it’s not always easy to find quick lunch spots that cater to the grain-dairy-legume-sugar-free diet.
We parsed the menus at five popular chain restaurants and came up with some suggestions for what to order, plus a few things to avoid.
Say yes to: A make-your-own mix of roast chicken on a bed of organic baby spinach and mesclun, with organic carrots, toasted almonds, local apples, and red grapes topped with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Avoid: The raw corn—which is really a grain, not a vegetable—and the candied pecans, which are loaded with sugar.
Say yes to: A burrito bowl filled with lettuce, a meat of your choice, fajita vegetables, salsa, and guacamole.
Avoid: The beans and rice, which are off limits. Also, instead of balancing out the spicy meat with cheese and sour cream, load up on the delicious superfood guacamole instead.
Pret a Manger
Say yes to: Chicken and avocado salad with cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil.
Avoid: The soups. Though Pret’s butternut squash and tomato soups may look promisingly dairy-, grain-, and legume-free, there’s a splash of cream in both that makes them forbidden.
Roti Mediterranean Grill
Say yes to: A Greek-inspired salad with steak, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers, sumac onions, and Roti vinaigrette.
Avoid: Feta and pita bread, though staples of the Greek salad, aren’t on the Paleo diner’s guest list.
Say yes to: A sandwich! Or rather, an “unwich”—a lettuce wrap stuffed with smoked turkey, tomato, and more lettuce, and slathered in avocado spread.
Avoid: Mayo and cheese—most of Jimmy John’s sandwiches come with these toppings, but to stay Paleo, you’ll have to pass on both.
Have another favorite Paleo-friendly restaurant or menu item? Give us your recommendations in the comments!
Now that bathing suit season has been replaced by candy corn and pumpkin spice season, you may need extra incentive to stick with your running routine. Luckily, the Washington area has no shortage of creative fall-themed fun runs.
Whether it’s the promise of beer at the finish line or the adrenaline of sprinting through a spooky cemetery that keeps you moving, here are five races to check out—including one this weekend.
Saturday, September 27, 9 AM
Join the German School Washington DC and German Language Courses for a 5K race through Rockville. Get in the spirit the with a free rock concert the night before by German rock pop band Artig, and stick around after the race for a traditional Oktoberfest celebration, complete with sausages, pretzels, and beer. $25 to $40 to register.
Saturday, October 4, 6PM
Starting at dusk, this race weaves through the graves of representatives past. The 207-year-old Historic Congressional Cemetery makes the perfect setting for this spooky sprint, with promised appearances by the Grim Reaper and other haunting figures. Complete the race in costume to be eligible for the costume contest, and treat yourself to a brew at the beer tent after the race. $40 to register.
Friday, October 10, 7 PM
If you missed this sold-out event last year, here’s another chance to try this eerily lit run. Strap on your glow-in-the-dark necklaces, slather yourself with Glominex body paint (available at the race’s online Glow Gear Shop), and prepare to face creepy creatures on the trail through Mechanicsville’s haunted Summerseat Farm. End the night at the MGD After-Party with a deejay, dancing, food, and drinks. $46 to register.
Saturday, October 25, noon
While this is not a typical race, it’s still sure to help you get in your exercise for the day. Register with a team of two to four people to compete in this fast-paced, city-wide scavenger hunt. Your team’s starting location depends on your answer to an initial multiple-choice question; from there you’ll grab your clue sheets and be on your way. Make sure to bring a smartphone to document your completed tasks as you tackle challenges that range from climbing walls to throwing at targets to solving puzzles. $90 to $160 to register as a team.
Saturday, November 1, 9 AM
With 25 obstacles scattered throughout a three-mile course, this race has plenty to keep you engaged and challenged. In fact, while you’re crawling through tunnels, clambering over shipping containers, skidding down a water slide, or leaping over flames, you’ll be lucky to get in any plain ol’ running at all. Finish the race with a beer from Boston’s Harpoon Brewery and the daylong after party featuring a foam pit, a mechanical bull, bounce houses, and games. $74 to $90 to register.
The official start of autumn brings a few things with it—cooler weather, changing leaves, and insatiable cravings for fall foods. Dealing with the last one? Check out the six recipes below to help.
Do you have a favorite fall recipe of your own? Share it in the comments below.
Sweet Potato and Apple Stacks
This simple snack combines two of our fall produce favorites.
Pumpkin Pancakes With Spiced Apples
These pancakes are low in calories but still have tons of flavor.
Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus
Sweet potatoes add an autumn twist to this classic dip.
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
There are only a few ingredients in this warming soup, but it will feed you for days.
Pumpkin Pie Shake
Ditch the pumpkin spice latte and try this healthy shake instead.
Baked Apples With Honey and Oats
Put your favorite apples to good use with this easy snack recipe.
Find Alison Kitchens on Twitter at @alison_lynn.
The calendar may say it’s September, but the weather hasn’t quite gotten the memo. As the sticky heat hangs around, certified health coach Mariana Diaz turns to this layered salad of fruits and vegetables to cool off. “I really love this salad because it has only three ingredients and involves no cooking,” she says. “I find it perfect for these warm days, since it’s really refreshing.”
Pineapple is packed with vitamins A and C, phosphorus, and potassium, and is a good source of fiber. Cucumber and jicama—which is crunchy and lightly sweet—are low in calories and high in water, making them extra-hydrating.
Serve this on its own as a pretty side dish, or with cottage cheese for a snack or light lunch.
1 medium jicama
1) Shred the jicama, cucumber, and pineapple—use a knife to slice them into very small, thin pieces, or grate them.
2) Layer all of the ingredients in a ring-shaped bowl: Place the pineapple into the bottom of the bowl, then add a layer of cucumber, and finish with the jicama (this order will allow for a strong base). Press each layer down firmly as you go, to ensure they take the shape of the bowl.
3) Flip the bowl onto a plate, and serve. You can substitute the pineapple for mango or any other fruit you might prefer.
Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.