Essential Sports Nutrition


Easy Vegetable Orzo

Looking for a comforting healthy meal for those cold evening nights? How about an easy recipe to look forward to after your evening workout? How about a quick meal that you can feel great about when serving it to your family?

Nutrition facts of Orzo:

1/3 cup: 210 calories
Total Fat: 1g
Total Carb: 41g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 2g
Protein: 6g

What is Orzo?
Orzo is an Italian word meaning "barley". Orzo is commonly mistaken for rice, when in fact it is a rice-shaped pasta made of hard wheat semolina (purified middling of durum wheat used in making pasta). Orzo, which is very small compared to regular pasta, is found in soups, pilafs and casseroles and is also common in vegetarian dishes. Orzo is very popular in Greece and can be found in many Mediterranean dishes.

This is Karel's recipe so I give all credit to him. He makes this meal in the microwave but since I don't know how much water he uses, I will give you stove-top directions to save you from burning your orzo. Enjoy!

Easy Vegetable Orzo

2 quarts water
1 cup orzo
2 cans of your favorite low sodium chunky vegetable soup (rinsed and drained)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 tbsp. olive oil

1. Heat water in a covered pot. When boiling, add orzo, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 5 minutes OR follow directions on Orzo package.
2. Strain orzo and return orzo to pot. Stir in 1/2 tbsp olive oil.
3. Add garlic, dash of pepper and vegetable soups and heat on low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
4. Serve 1/3 cup vegetable orzo with your choice of lean meat or tofu.
*If you want to serve tofu with the orzo...
-pre-heat oven to 350-degrees. On a baking sheet, lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with non-stick spray place 1/2 container of firm tofu (cubed) on foil. Coat with a drizzle of olive oil and your choice of non-salt seasonings (paprika, pepper, cayenne, italian seasonings, etc.). After around 10-15 minutes (or when tofu is slightly golden), top with a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Here's Karel's recipe (microwaved version):


State RR and Fixed gear bikes

Sunday was the last official race of Karel's 2009 road bike season. Karel had decided that the US 100K classic in Sept was the last race-race of the year but with Ocala being less than 2 hours away from us, Karel and Jeff decided to race the road bikes, just one last time, until 2010.
I was designated "water girl" for the road race so I was looking forward to my duties of passing bottles to the Jeff and Karel at the feed zone (skipping ahead, I was flawless in my 12 water bottle hand-offs on Sunday).
Aside from an occasion IM-specific workout in the summer, I'll skip any Sat or Sun workout to watch Karel race. I just love traveling to races, watching him on his bike, the cycling environment and of course, taking pictures.
Campy was spending the day with bman and with Laura (bman's mommy) doing her first 14-15 mile run to gear up for the Jacksonville marathon in Dec. (which I am super happy about coaching her) I wanted to be sure that I wore out Campy before I dropped him off at 7:45am.
Campy will run in rain or shine and in this case, in the dark. At 5:45am, Campy and I headed out for a 2 mile run (to the end of the street and back) which took about 20 minutes. I don't mind his pee-stops (which is every tree it seems like). He runs too fast for me anyways, so I enjoy the rest stops. :) When we run together it's more like campy intervals.
After Campy's run, I headed out for a little workout of my own. After 3-weeks off from running post IMKY, I am enjoying any opportunity I can (a few times per week) to run without that nagging hip pain that troubled me pre-IMKY. After my 5 mile run, I quickly showered, took campy to Laura's as I sipped my protein drink, warmed my oatmeal as Karel loaded the car and we were off at 8am.
We met Jeff and Curtis a few miles down the road and we all rode in the Trek van to Ocala. I have to say, it is a lot of fun riding with the boys. They make me laugh so much and I probably hear more than I'd like to hear but it is all in good fun.
The race went well for Karel. He placed 8th out of a bunch of Pro 1,2 riders. Although Karel was racing for fun, both Karel and Jeff said they felt great out there. Even with the 95-degree temps and no breeze or cloud cover, the guys were well-hydrated (you're welcome boys :)) and enjoyed my sport drink concoctions. This is one of the better races to feed because there is a big hill at the feed zone. Although the guys are going fast, it isn't as fast as in other races where there is a flat feed zone.
The guys did 14 loops of a 5 mile course. The unfortunate part of the race was at the finish. After 70 miles and 2 hours and 43 minutes of racing (I still can't believe that they averaged 26mph on this course). There was a 2 man break and the pack (which had dwindled down to a few dozen riders) was sprinting for 3rd place. Karel had it in him to sprint for the podium but as he was out of the saddle, sprinting towards the finish, a guy in front of him accidentally clipped out of his shoe and nearly knocked down a few riders. Karel dodged the slip-up but that cost him 3rd place. Bummer. However, it's all part of cycling. You can feel great and finish 20th or get lucky and finish 3rd. That's just the name of the game. Next year are getting on that podium! I just know it :)
As for this coming weekend, a few of the local guys are putting together the first annual Fixed Gear World Championships. All for fun, of course, but lots of bragging rights are on the line. Considering that Karel is the guru of bikes and bike mechanics in Jacksonville, he was really excited to put together a fixed gear bike. He got really creative with this carbon frame and after a few hours of tweaking the chain and other parts, he is ready for the World Championships at Ponte Vedra beach, this Sat at 8:30am. According to the rules, you are not allowed to have anything aero on your bike or on your body. Just bring your fixed gear bike and your skills and ride as fast as you can.
Enjoy the pics!
*I am excelling at taking pictures and passing water bottles. However, I haven't quite mastered holding Campy, taking pictures and passing bottles..maybe next year :)

Karel's Fixed Gear bike

Isn't this bike pretty? This is on my wish list. Although I love having a husband who is GM of the Trek store, I hate it when Karel designs bikes, builds them and then shows them off in the store...especially when they are WSB (women specific) and are pink! How about the green one behind it? :)


Almond Tilapia, Sweet Sunflower Seed Couscous and Red Beans

I've got something for everyone in this meal. For the vegetarian, the red beans complement the Couscous very nicely. For the fitness enthusiast/athlete, you have a great source of protein with two very healthy sides. For the individual seeking weight loss/maintenance, you should feel super satisfied for every bite of this meal.

Nutrition facts for Tilapia:
3 oz serving
Calories- 82
Total Fat - 1.45g
Total Carbohydrate - 0g
Protein - 17.08

According to an article on, titled "Catfish and Tilapia: Healthy or harmful" (by Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.), Tilapia is a great source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Furthermore, eating 3 ounces of fish, twice a week, can be beneficial for reducing blood pressure, risk for cancer and inflammation.
There is a lot of controversy regarding the ratio of long-chain omega 6 fatty acids (134 mg in Tilapia) to long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Considering that Tilapia is one of the more inexpensive options in the fish aisle, it may be likely that you are eating mostly Tiliapia in your diet, rather than a more expensive fish (such as Salmon) and thus consuming a high number of omega-6 fatty acids. When it comes to choosing burgers and french fries over fish, because you are worried about high number of omega 6 fatty acids found in "cheap" fish, I suggest the fish option, which is much better for your heart and your waistline. But as you would do for all meals, be sure you are planning heart healthy food on a daily basis and eating a variety of healthy foods to meet your specific diet recommendations to support your lifestyle and dietary choices.

Almond Tilapia

3 oz Tilapia
Seasonings (about a tsp or two of each): Italian seasoning, pepper and paprika.
1/2 tbsp. olive oil - or just enough to lightly coat each side of fish
1 clove chopped garlic
3 squirts balsamic vinaigrette spray (or 1/2 tbsp balsamic dressing)
5-8 almonds (chopped)

1) Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
2) Lay a sheet of tinfoil in a baking dish.
3) Place Tilapia on foil and coat with olive oil, followed by seasonings, on both sides of fish.
4) Rub garlic and almonds on the top of Tilapia.
5) Cook for 8-10 minutes.
6) Fold edges of foil to wrap Tilapia (to keep warm) until ready to eat.
*Another option to this dish is to use walnuts rather than almonds. Walnuts are rich in omega 3's, however both Almonds and Walnuts contain Omega-6 fats (10g and 28g for 100 gram serving, respectively).

Sweet Sunflower Seed Couscous

1 cup couscous
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/4 cup water
2 tsp cinnamon

1) Heat water on high in pot.
2) When water is boiling, turn off heat, remove pot from burner and add couscous.
3) Fluff with fork as you add seeds and cinnamon.
4) Cover with lid to pot and let the couscous stand for 5 minutes. Fluff again with fork before serving.

Red Beans
1 can red beans (rinsed and drained)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
Dash of pepper and cayenne pepper
2 tsp olive oil

1) In a cooking pot, heat garlic on medium heat, in 2 tsp olive oil.
2) Add beans, stir lightly and cook for 10-15 minutes until beans are soft and a little cracked. Stir occasionally.


Fruit and Nut muffins

Here's my recipe, you pick what fruit and nuts you want to use. Enjoy!
1 cup chopped/sliced fruit - I used strawberries and peaches
1/2 cup chopped nuts and/or dried fruit - I used bulk trail mix from Whole Foods
1 tbsp flax seeds
1/2 banana (mashed)
3 ounces low fat yogurt - I used strawberry
1/4 cup skim milk
1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/8 cup soy flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup extra raisin, Raisin Bran cereal
2 tbsp chopped dark chocolate
Water (in 1/8 cup servings)

1) Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees
2) In small bowl, mix together egg, milk, vanilla, honey and yogurt.
3) In large bowl, mix together cereal, flour (soy and whole wheat), cinnamon, ginger, flax seeds and banana until everything is well mixed.
4) In large bowl, add wet mix and stir.
5) Slowly add water (1/8 cup at a time) until you can easily stir through mixture and batter barely drips off the spoon.
6) Fold in chocolate and your choice of nuts and fruit until everything is well-mixed.
7) In a non-stick muffin tin (sprayed with a few squirts non-stick spray) spoon batter into each tin until 3/4ths full.
8) Cook for 10-15 minutes until muffin is firm on top (or when your kitchen starts smelling yummy!)


Trek Breast Cancer Awareness Ride

What a great weekend.
After a fun group ride at 7:15am on Sat morning, followed by an unplanned 15 mile Time Trial to get me back to the Trek Store by 9:45am, I joined Karel, Jeff and many others for the first ever national Trek Breast Cancer Awareness ride.
Karel and I were really worried about the turnout but for the inaugural ride we were pleasantly pleased with the number of people supporting breast cancer.
Trek had a bunch of goodies (helmet, light, etc.) for a raffle and Trek gear (pink socks, t-shirt, water bottle) for each of the riders. The best part about the Trek ride is that all the money ($25 per person) for the ride goes directly to breast cancer. The Trek Corporation really went above and beyond to give Jeff all of the great swag to give the riders, for Free.
The 20 mile ride was fun and I met a lot of nice people. I enjoyed seeing Karel on his new fixed gear bike (which he just built on Fri and early sat morning) and I LOVED his bright pink handle bar tape. I must say that Karel looks fabulous in pink and he was proud of his pink socks. That's right Karel, real men wear pink and wear it oh-so-well :)
Thanks to everyone who came out to the ride and I look forward to seeing old and new faces next year!!

Breast Cancer is an area of clinical nutrition which really interests me. My grandma on my mom's side passed from breast cancer, my aunt (on my mom's side) is a survivor and I know many people who have been affected. I am doing my best to reduce my risk and live a healthy and quality-filled life. As most of you know, I love helping others and making a difference in a person's life, especially when it comes to nutrition. I won't know about a possible Jan-Sept Mayo Clinic dietetic internship until mid-November but I will continue to keep my fingers crossed for this super competitive internship. Although the Mayo Clinic would provide me with an amazing clinical experience and hands-on education in the field of dietetics, I really look forward to the day(s) when I can learn more about breast cancer in order to help diagnosed patients, survivors and women looking to reduce the risk for breast cancer.

I hope everyone is enjoying Breast Cancer awareness month! Just a few more weeks to go to make a difference in your state. What's the best thing you have done for Breast Cancer? Are you a survivor? How have you been affected by breast cancer? I'd love to hear your stories!