Essential Sports Nutrition


Are you embarrassed for your health?

My busy week is about to end. That means I am heading to Macon GA tomorrow for the Rock n' Roll Half Ironman. Since I have tapered all week (with a complete rest day tues and thurs) I haven't even thought about my race. My work load for school is ridiculous. Every minute of the day I am doing my school work or thinking about doing my school work. Even when I go to bed, I am thinking about how I will plan tomorrow for school work. For 2 weeks straight (one more week to go) I have worked on my first Nutrition Assessment Case. Although some of the info isn't new to me, assessing a person on anthropometric, laboratory, clinical and dietary data is a lot of hard work..for the first time around. I know when I get to my internship and I am in the clinical field of dietetics, I will feel super prepared for assessing a person for any type of disease or condition (well, almost ready).
As for my technical writing course, I just wrote my first mock proposal. I choose the topic of proposing to require corporations to have corporate wellness programs for employees. Without going into detail about my proposal, there is a lot of research out there showing that people who exercise on a daily basis not only decreases health care costs for employers but employees have less sick days, improved productivity, decreased blood pressure levels and decrease stress.

My busy week also included a talk on Wednesday near Jacksonville beach. I spoke to a bunch of mommy's! NEW mommy's and some of them even brought their babies. I was out of the loop with my baby being a dog, but we all shared similar passions for healthy eating and exercise.
I spoke about easy and practical steps for weight loss and most of all, living a balanced and healthy life. I talked a lot about choosing wholesome and natural foods with very few ingredients and I also talked in great detail about consciously making food choices which will impact future health and reducing the risk for chronic diseases. Isn't it amazing that we have control of our own fate when it comes to lifestyle conditions. The top risk factors for the top diseases (heart attack, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, chronic liver disease) are smoking, physical inactivity and poor diet! Can you believe it that at this moment we have a choice if we want to live to 80 and enjoy quality life or live to 50 and die because our arteries are clogged from saturated fat. Harsh to hear, but so true. At the end of the talk we had Q&A as we snacked on veggies, hummus and fresh cherries. There were so many great questions, I think I lectured for 30 min and answered questions for 30 min. IT was great!

Tonight my friend Katrine and I went to Whole Foods for a talk about Health vs. Disease. The talk was very informative and the speaker discussed stress and how we have energy blockages in our bodies. I agreed with a lot of the points in his talk and I enjoyed re-confirming why I choose to live a healthy and active life. I am on a lifelong mission to live as healthy as possible and most of all, to ENJOY my life. My one and only life.
At the end of the talk the speaker asked the audience what is required to live a healthy life. We all started listing things which are necessary to live a life of energy and not illness, disease or dysfunction.
Healthy eating
Oxygen/clean air
Meditation/stress control

From what I can remember, these were on the top of our list. Then, the speaker asked the audience "who in here thinks they live a healthy life based on the necessary elements to live a healthy life".
Well, I raised my hand...and no one else did!
I was SOOO embarrassed. I felt so silly that I was the only one who raised my hand and everyone was looking at me like I was some superstar or that I think my life is 100% perfect. Well, maybe I thought everyone was thinking that at the time, as my hand was high in the air. Who knows if they were thinking that but you know that moment, I was so proud to raise my hand. I couldn't believe, in that one moment and still an hour later (well, I'm feeling better now that I am writing about it) I was embarrassed that I was the only one who felt like I was doing every right in my healthy life. Katrine is super healthy as well, but she didn't raise her hand cause she was enjoying her MOJO bar :)
I guess it is so silly that I would feel embarrassed for living a healthy life but am I the only one that sometimes feels embarrassed for trying to live a healthy life? You prepare a super healthy salad and sandwich for work and when you eat in your lunch room, you are the odd ball out with with nutrient-packed meal. When you go out to eat, you ask for things on the side and for substitutions and after 5 min. of spelling out your order to your waiter, the rest of your table looks at you with the look of "there she/he goes again with the healthy stuff".
I surround myself with people who either eat similar to me, have similar passions as I do or enjoy a healthy life. I am not against people who eat burgers and fries but when it comes to healthy eating, it is addicting. One person is doing it, well, you can all do it together..and enjoy it!
But when you surround yourself with people who don't support you or who sabotage your healthy life, whether it is making you feel bad that you aren't going out and staying up late on the weekends or are criticizing you for reading food labels and focusing on a more nutritious diet, it is so easy to feel embarrassed that you don't fit in.
Don't EVER feel embarrassed for choosing a healthy life. Even if you know there are parts of your life that you are continuing to improve (ex. more exercise, more sleep, stress control, healthier eating), don't give up. Don't ever feel embarrassed for reading food labels at the grocery store, for bringing your lunch to work, for passing on the donuts and muffins at office meetings or bringing a bag of nuts to an event, party or meeting..remind yourself that you are doing a great thing for your body! You are taking care of yourself. For the first time in a LONG time, I wanted to take back that moment of raising my hand because I was oh-so-proudly living and embracing a healthy life the best that I can. Well, you know what...for everyone out there who embraces a healthy life to the best of his/her ability (remember, you don't have to perfect, just focus on consistency and balance) don't ever be afraid to talk about your decision to live a healthy life!

Off to Macon tomorrow...race report on sun (my birthday!!!!)


Cooking tips

Tofu isn't the most exciting food to eat alone. Even if you put it on a skillet, tofu needs to be spiced up a bit for the taste buds. The best thing about tofu is that it is packed with protein!
A few tips for tofu:
1) Cover tofu with a little corn starch to keep the tofu from being watery when you cook it on a skillet.
2) Drain the water from the box of tofu every time you use it. Fill the carton (or put in a Tupperware container) w/ 3/4ths full water and keep for 3-4 days in fridge.
3) Cook tofu w/ garlic and pepper.
4) Add little olive oil, low sodium soy sauce, salsa, hot sauce, nuts or caraway seeds when cooking the tofu.
5) Crumble tofu and add to sauces, noodles or eggs.
6) Use firm tofu for cooking and soft tofu for smoothies.
7) Add a slice of tofu in sandwiches or top pizza with thin tofu slices.

Here is my FAV meal that I can eat every day of the week! To brighten up the meal, I usually add a bright salad w/ fruit and lots of veggies.

Garlic and mushrooms (cooked in a little olive oil)
Tofu (coated in light soy sauce, cayenne pepper and caraway seeds)
Omelet of skim milk, 3 egg whites and 1/2 yoke (w/ tomato, onion and swiss cheese)

One of our favorite kitchen tools is our panini maker. Well, I should say that this is Karel's favorite appliance (next to the coffee maker). This morning Karel made a Tuna and cheese sandwich on Panera bread and a half tuna, cheese and veggie sandwich.It smelled SO good in our place at 7:30 in the morning. Karel brings his lunch everyday to work and a panini maker is the perfect way to make a restaurant style lunch at home.


Day at the beach!

What a great weekend! I had a race-prep weekend of workouts. 50 mile bike + 30 min run in the rain on sat, w/ 3 x 20 min at race pace w/ 10 min recovery on the bike. On Sun I ran with my friend Katrine and with her garmin we had a steady 11 mile run with miles 7, 8 and 9 at race pace (6 min hard, 1 min easy). After our 1 hour and 20 min run we took Campy for his Campy miles (1.5 miles). This morning was an easy 2100 swim w/ 4 x 200's pace. There was a lot of Giro watching, good food (and ice cream) and a rental movie last night but today was spent at the beach with our friends Libby and Neil.
Enjoy the pics from St. Augustine Beach.


Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I don't know many triathletes (or people) who don't love warm oatmeal raisin cookies. Unfortunately, the cookies that you get at a fast food place or in the grocery store are filled with sugar and calories.
For example, ONE Subway oatmeal raisin cookie:
200 calories, 8grams fat, 17g sugar.
Not so bad if you eat one every now and then but if you are ordering a meal at Subway (drink, sub and coffee) you could easily 600+ calories in one sitting. As I mentioned, not so bad every now and then but the mindset of Americans is to get your money's worth and to get the "combo" whenever eating out.

If you love oatmeal, raisins and well, cookies, then you will LOVE my healthier version of the typical homemade oatmeal raisin cookies.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/8 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 apple (shredded)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In large bowl, mix (beat) together the olive oil and brown sugar. Mix in the egg, apple and vanilla.
4. Stir in the dry ingredients and then add the oats and raisins.
5. On two non-stick baking sheets, lined with parchment paper (you can also use non stick spray), spoon 1 spoonful of batter (you can use an ice cream scooper if you want even cookies, I prefer uneven cookies), onto the baking sheet. Drop the batter about 2-3 inches apart.
6. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until the top of the cookie is slightly firm.