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Week 8: Spirits, splints, salsa

February 28, 2012

I’ve made it to week eight. I feel some sense of accomplishment, merely by not having thrown in the towel yet, as I’ve done so often in the past. Those of you who send me emails or stop me out and about to encourage me are my driving force. Every time I want to quit, I think about those of you with your kind words and bursts of enthusiasm to ‘keep it up!’ –– I know that even if I’d be willing to let myself down, I’d feel like a real loser if I took all that positive energy for granted. So if I haven’t said it enough lately, thank you for holding me accountable, it is a huge part of keeping a positive spirit through some of the setbacks that have cropped up during this process.
On the subject of setbacks, I have shin splints. If you’ve never suffered from them personally, stop and say thank you, because they are no picnic with strawberries. According to WebMd, many athletes get shin splints –– also called tibial stress syndrome –– at one time or another. Shin splints are so common they represent the cause of 13% of all running injuries. Runners might get them after ramping up their workout intensity, or changing the surface they run on –– I’m pretty sure I got mine from trying to jog on asphalt at the same speed and intensity that I jog on the treadmill.
While at the gym this morning, I asked one of the trainers, Corey Martin, what to do about this nagging problem, and her response was “rice.” (Eat more rice? Put rice on my shins?) Turns out, it’s “R.I.C.E.,” which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. I decided to call back to get a little more information and spoke with Wellness Connection Director Eddie Myles, since Martin was with a client at the time.
“Once you start feeling the symptoms of shin splints, you need get rid of them as soon as you can,” Myles said. “They’ll only get worse.”
Myles said once you eliminate the shin splints by following the aforementioned R.I.C.E. plan, you should take as many precautions as possible to not get them again. One of these precautions is an exercise that anyone can do just about anywhere, even, for example, sitting at their desk typing their weekly column.
“All you need to do is plant your heel in the floor while sitting in a chair and point the front of your feet up towards the sky,” Myles said. “Just leave that heel on the floor. Keep doing that until it burns. You can do both feet at a time, or you can do them back and forth, making a pitter patter sound. That will strengthen that muscle and keep you from getting shin splints again.”
Now I just hope the pitter patter sound coming from underneath my desk doesn’t drive my co-workers crazy.
Lastly, I have a fishbone to pick. With my new low-sodium diet comes a lot of fish for dinner. Don’t get me wrong, every once in a while my husband and I call each other in a giddy, supermarket burst of excitement that there’s some new exotic fish we get to try for dinner. However, for the most part, we have little to choose from. There’s tilapia, catfish and more tilapia. In order to not completely get caught in a boring rut, a friend suggested I try some new salsas as a way to make my fish exciting again. The following are just a couple she suggested, from the cookbook “Tables of Content” by The Junior League of Birmingham, Ala. Both are relatively low in sodium and made with great, fresh ingredients. The Caribbean Salsa sounds like my cup of tea, but the Mango Salsa will be more my husband’s taste, since it includes a little kick of jalapeno.

Caribbean Salsa

1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 each ripe papaya and mango, peeled and finely chopped (1/2 cup each)
1 cup finely chopped pineapple
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
1/2 cup each finely chopped red and green bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine the beans, papaya, mango, pineapple, pineapple juice, lime juice, bell peppers, onion and cilantro in a bowl and mix well. Stir in the cumin, salt and pepper. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator. Can keep up to five days.

Mango Salsa

1 ripe Mango, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 T. grated lime zest
1/2 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
Combine the mango, onion, lime juice, cilantro, lime zest and jalapeno chile in a bowl and mix well. Chill, covered, for 2 hours or longer before serving.

Angie Carnathan is the Lifestyles reporter for Starkville Daily News. Contact her at

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