To my friend Laura

The world lost an amazing person on Tuesday. My amazing friend Laura finished her journey on Earth and is now in a more comfortable place, looking over all her friends and family members, including her husband, brothers and sisters, mom and dad and two young kids.

Laura lost her one-year battle with stage IV non-smoker lung cancer but you'd never know what she was battling as she always carried a beautiful smile, a positive attitude, helping heart and words of wisdom wherever she went.

Although I wasn't in a lot of contact with Laura since moving from Jacksonville to Greenville in May 2014, Laura was the type of friend who was always there - no matter how little we talked or saw each other, she was always there when I needed her or wanted to catch up. I am sure others can agree that Laura was a loyal friend to everyone she cared about.

When I moved to Jacksonville with Karel in 2008, I didn't know anyone in the area. Laura was my very first friend. We met (appropriately) at the YMCA pool and if I remember correctly, we were both wearing fruit/vegetable themed shirts.....and instant match. Laura was a RD and I was becoming a RD. Laura had a dog (Beethoven) that had a similar look and personality of Campy. We traded dog babysitting whenever needed and we loved talking food, triathlon and health. For my birthday one year, Laura made me Carrot Cake and every year thereafter she continued to make me carrot cake on my birthday. I still keep this tradition up today with store-bought carrot cake in her honor.  Although Laura had Lupus, it never affected our relationship. She was always energetic, active and courageous.I had the honor of coaching Laura to many finishing lines - including a half ironman distance triathlon! Last year, I featured Laura on my blog as a way to raise money for her cancer and to shine the spotlight on this amazing human being.

Although I try to keep this blog educational, inspirational and motivational, I wanted to take the time to shine the light on my amazing friend Laura. I find myself thinking of her a lot, every day since her passing and feeling lucky that I had the chance to call Laura my friend. On Laura's Facebook page, her background picture read: BE POSITIVE (featured above). This was Laura All. The. Time. I don't know how it happens but somehow I find myself gravitating toward energy givers and avoiding the energy suckers. While it doesn't always happen this way, Laura was one of those energy givers that you just wanted to be around All. The. Time.

Laura accomplished so much in her short life. She wrote a book, crossed many athletic finish lines, adopted two amazing kids, started her own business, volunteered, worked PRN as a clinical RD and was always pursuing the next challenge with grit, determination and a big smile.

Positivity is choosing to see the bright side of situations. Laura did a remarkable job at this, even during her fight with cancer. She believed in the power of a positive attitude and having hope that things will always get better. Laura always chose a positive, cheerful, can-do, confident attitude and I admired her so much.

To my friend Laura - thank you for being YOU. You will be missed deeply but your bright light will always shine over me, making me smile as I think of you.


Sport Nutrition product review - Base Real Bars

Base Performance
Boulder, CO
About the Company from the website:

Base Performance provides premiere nutritional supplements for endurance athletes. They have developed a unique and simple system with a variety of products for endurance athletes to improve performance, gain lean muscle, increase endurance and enhance recovery. Athletes know the value and importance of base training. The theory behind BASE Performance is no different.

Having a strong base nutritionally will allow athletes to maintain a healthy body so that they can train, adapt and get stronger so that they can perform at their best.

BASE Performance is nutrition for athletes of all abilities striving to accomplish their goals, live healthy lives, and achieve greatness.

Product Reviewed:
Base Energy Bars Real Bars (5 flavors)
  • Fudge Brownie -Cocoa / Chia / Dates / Quinoa / Honey
  • Almond Peanut - Peanuts / Almonds / Honey / Oats
  • Peanut Butter / Dates / Quinoa / Honey
  • Sweet Apple Crisp - Apples / Dates / Quinoa / Honey / Chia
  • Lime Berry - Cranberry / Lime / Apple / Almond / Honey

Other Base Products:
Electrolyte Salt
Recovery Activator

Label Claims:
  • Certified Organic
  • Certified Non-GMO
  • Certified Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Soy Free
  • Zero Artificial Ingredients
  • No Added Sugar
Nutrition Facts Example:  

Serving Size: 1 bar         
Calories: 180
Total Fat: 7g
Sodium: 55mg
Total Carb: 27g
Fiber: 3g
Sugars: 15g
Protein: 4g  

Organic almonds, organic honey, organic rice syrup, organic oats, organic dried cranberries (organic dried cranberries, organic apple juice concentrate, organic sunflower oil), organic apples, organic chia, organic sorghum, organic lime juice, organic glycerine, organic cherry flavor, Himalayan pink salt, organic cinnamon

  • Tasty flavors
  • 2 different distinct textures
  • Nutrient-dense on-the-go snack
  • Savory compliment to sweet sport drinks when cycling


The Celiac Athlete - nutritional needs

For any athlete with Celiac disease, it may feel overwhelming to meet daily and athletic nutritional needs with a gluten-free diet. But just because you have Celiac disease, your diet doesn't have to adversely affect performance or sabotage health IF you plan appropriately.

As a Celiac athlete, you should not feel embarrassed or frustrated with your dietary situation. With proper education and guidance, you can stay healthy and optimize performance to meet your athletic goals. 

In the May 2018 issue of Triathlete, you can check out my latest case study article. I featured a Celiac triathlete that I worked with and his struggles relating to meeting his nutrition and energy needs while training for long-distance triathlon events and what we changed to help him find athletic success in training and on race day. 

Here are a few tips for the Celiac athlete: 
  • Read ingredient labels and avoid cross-contamination. When it doubt, go without. 
  • Stick with your go-to "safe" foods before key training sessions and races. Avoid eating out and be in charge of what you cook and eat. 
  • Plan ahead for traveling, meeting, events and busy days. Make sure to have snacks available so you can stay nourished and fueled with gluten-free options.
  • Prioritize real foods that are naturally gluten-free to meet your nutritional needs for meals and snacks. 
  • Utilize processed/convenient gluten-free foods for energy density when you need to bump-up your caloric intake on higher volume training days. 
  • Be mindful of your caloric and carbohydrate intake to make sure you are eating "enough" as it's easy to fall short on your needs when avoiding gluten containing foods. 
  • Carefully select your foods as many gluten-free foods are poorly fortified. Common nutrient deficiencies (which may result from malabsorption) include iron, zinc, calcium and B12. Keep an eye on your fiber intake to keep your digestive system healthy. 
  • As you put your energy into a gluten-free diet, don't forget about your protein and fat needs. 
  • If you suffer from pain, headaches, fatigue, GI issues, chronic sickness or injury or a decline in performance, reach out to a sport RD for nutritional help.