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Running on Food: Staying Healthy Step 1, Be Safe With Your Food!

By Heather

Running On Food Logo This article is part of a popular series on Nutrition for Runners.   Heather from the blogTrials of Training, has offered her expertise in Nutrition to runners in the Lounge to pass along information on recipes, nutrition, and running/food related questions.  She has her BS in Nutrition from Penn State, she is currently working to be a Registered Dietician, and loves to help runners with their questions.

Past articles can be found in the Nutrition and Hydration section and Recipe section in the Lounge.


There’s been a recent E.Coli outbreak; according to an article this morning on CNN Health, the CDC is reporting 2 dead and 28 sick, so far. Fortunately, this food-borne illness is easy to avoid as long as simple food safety practices are followed. Unfortunately, there are too many out there who are unaware that little things in the kitchen can result in Very unpleasant consequences.

As the winter season approaches, too many of us are familiar with the cold/flu like symptoms that follow!  There’s no need to add food poisoning to the list of illnesses, as it is almost entirely preventable. Here, I give you some basic information on E. Coli and some easy Food Safety tips.

The Facts about E. Coli

  • This is a bacteria that lives in the intestines; most types are harmless, but some make you sick. The strain, E. Coli 0157:H7, can cause bloody diarrhea, and sometimes lead to kidney failure and death.
  • Sources: Raw/undercooked beef (ex. Hamburger), unpasteurized juice and milk, soft cheeses made from raw milk, contaminated water, and feces from infected people (wash those hands!)
  • Symptoms: Severe diarrhea that is often bloody, abdominal pain and vomiting. Usually, little or no fever is present.
Food Safety Tips to Prevent E.Coli Infection
  • Keep food OUT OF the “danger zone” – temperatures between 40 – 140* F.   Within this range, bacteria can survive and multiply rapidly.
  • Beef should be COOKED to 160* F, or chilled in the refrigerator (<40*F)Refrigerate, freeze, or cook as soon as possible
  • For raw ground meats, poultry and seafood – refrigerate no longer than 1- 2 days before cooking
  • Beef, steak, chops and roasts can be refrigerated up to 5 days.
  • After cooking – leftovers can be safely refrigerated for 3-4 days.
  • Pay attention to the SELL-BY date – Freeze or cook beef, veal, pork and lamb that are labeled with a “Sell-by” date within 3-5 days of purchase.
  • For fresh and ground poultry (turkey and chicken), cook or freeze within 1-2 days.
  • Wash your hands!!!  This is the easiest way to prevent food poisoning. Wash your hands continuously while working in the kitchen, especially when working with both meats and produce.
STAY HEALTHY, runners! Your body tackles those miles best when it’s taken care of.

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