Essential Sports Nutrition


Your Thoughts?

I am about to read two books:
1) South beach diet
2) Volumetrics eating plan

I am currently not on a diet and never intend to pick up a book in order to follow the steps to lose weight. Believe me, I have read countless articles and have seen many infomercials on weight loss, but a diet is just not in my vocabulary. However, I'm very interested to read the thoughts and guidelines from the authors of these books.
It's been about 7 or 8 years since I have purchased a "diet" book. When I started my eating healthy journey to be a healthier vegetarian I was reading every and any nutrition-related book I could find. However, in my quest to get healthy, I found that I was ever-so NOT healthy. I was simply trying to maintain my lifestyle of school and competitive college swimming alongside drastically reducing calories and controlling what I put in my mouth. One would say that at the time I had an eating disorder but in my eyes, I was simply doing what the books told me to do. I was just following the plan just like the author told me to do. I was eating my good foods and not eating the bad ones.
Times have changed in the last 5 years but there is no shortage of diet and nutrition books. There is a diet for everyone out there but sadly, diets don't work. There is no quick weight loss solution just like you can't train for a marathon in a week. Losing weight is a journey and maintaining weight is a lifelong process.

I recently passed the American Dietetic Association Adult Weight Management certification and I can not tell you how much I learned from the certification course in Denver. More so, studying intensely for the certification, for the past two weeks, really enlightened me on how people view weight loss.
I can't say that I struggle with my weight like others but I do focus on my health on an every day basis. It is a struggle to learn exactly what your body needs on a daily basis in order to lose or maintain weight but once you learn to have a good and healthy relationship with food, your life will seem so much easier. There is never an Off-day for me when it comes to my health, nutrition and exercise. Even if I eat a cookie one day or not exercise on another day, I am still taking my lifestyle habits very seriously.
The only books I have purchased in the last 11 years have been school-related. Luckily, I picked a great field to learn about and my collection/library of nutrition and exercise physiology-related textbooks is quite big. Although I don't want to think about the thousands of dollars I have spent on my textbooks I believe a lot of my nutrition and exercise related philosophy's are based on the research taught to me in school. I do feel lucky that I can apply my extensive education to myself and help others but at the same time, I always make an effort to understand the nutrition and exercise-related information (right or wrong) given to consumers. Considering that exercise-related information is pretty low in the media during this time of the year (generally, it is the new year that hypes up exercise and the benefits) I feel bombarded with nutrition-related information.
On my certification exam there were two questions related to the South Beach diet and to the Volumetrics eating plan. I wanted to look into these diets because a lot of the information is similar to how I live my life of healthy eating. As I mentioned, I have not purchased a book on how to eat healthy but I am assuming that the some of the information (written by a PhD and MD) in the books are based on scientific information. That is not saying that all books are based on science but I am hoping that when I read the books I will read information that I learned in my education.
I was just wondering if:
you have read these books?
if you have tried these diets?
if you currently live your life by these diet books?
or, do you have anything else you'd like to share about other diet books?

I like to keep an open mind about nutrition and I always try to relate to others. I hate the word diet, I try very hard to never use the words Fat or Skinny (I don't like either word) and I want people to know that I do not judge others. Of course, heading into the dietetics field makes me a target at parties and anything related to food. For some reason, people think that dietitians always judge others when they eat and I am worried that I might lose friends when I become a Registered Dietitian. I promise, I don't judge!
I have mentioned in the past that I feel lucky to be an endurance athlete and help others with sports nutrition because I can relate to many experiences in the world of multisports. I can't wait til the day I can put that RD behind my name and work in a clinical setting helping others.

Just wanted to share with you the opening paragraph in the South Beach Diet plan. The marketing department is just brilliant for telling the weight-loss seeker exactly what he/she wants to hear. Be sure to pay close attention when you see an ad, commercial or book regarding weight loss. When you truly value your health and recognize how to balance food with your exercise and lifestyle routine, you will feel like life is too good to be true. Seriously, if a diet plan was that easy, we would have no trouble with our weight and obese wouldn't be a common word in the American vocabulary.

From the website.
"Phase 1, the shortest Phase, lasts for just two weeks and is designed to eliminate cravings for sugar and refined starches - and to jump-start your weight loss. The purpose of Phase 1 is to stabilize blood sugar (which minimizes cravings), making it ideal for people who are prediabetic or diabetic, as well as for those who need to lose a lot of weight.


Egg-stuffed pita

Oh how I LOVE pita bread and pita chips. I buy our pita bread at the local HALA store, up the road, for $1.75 for a package of 6 (what a steal!). However, as for the pita chips in a bag, that is just a treat a few times per year, usually when we are at gatherings/parties with friends. I do enjoy making my own pita chips with the pita bread and serving the chips with salsa and toasted chickpeas...yum!

Karel got back from Wisconsin yesterday around noon. Jeff and Karel had a great time at the Trek Headquarters for a manager seminar on Mon and Tues. Karel said that he learned a lot and he is so happy that works for such a great company. I got a few funny texts from Karel which I had to call him soon after just to make sure he wasn't kidding. The first text was about Jeff and Karel running up and down the hotel stairs to get in a workout, in addition to working out in the hotel gym. The next day I got a text regarding running in shorts and a long sleeve shirt in 30-degree weather without gloves or any running appropriate gear. Silly boys. I think it is so great that Karel is best friends with his boss and that his boss values fitness and health just as much as Karel. I do admit that Jeff and Karel enjoy a beer or two when they travel to Wisconsin and from what I heard, the Trek company feeds them well when they have conferences and seminars.

Anyways, when Karel landed in Jax he gave me a call and asked if I could bring him lunch. No problemo!
Here's a super easy and quick (and I mean quick!) pita that is packed with great nutrients to keep you satisfied at lunchtime.

Egg-stuffed pita
1 Pita
1/4 cup Romaine Lettuce (chopped)
5 thinly sliced Cucumbers
5 thinly sliced Onion rings
5 slices Roma Tomato
1 slice provolone cheese
1 tbsp Sunflower seeds
2-3 tbsp salsa or 1 tbsp hummus
1 egg + 3 tbsp skim milk + Cooking spray
Pepper, cayenne pepper

1. Cut off the top 1/4 of the pita (lengthwise) leaving around 3/4ths of the pita (use the extra pita bread to make a small snack-sized PB&J).
2. Spray microwave safe bowl with 1 squirt cooking spray. Scramble egg and milk in a microwave safe bowl. Add a dash of pepper and cayenne. Cook in microwave for 1 min. Scramble egg with fork and cook an additional 15 sec. Scramble with fork and cook for 15 sec.
3. Place scrambled eggs in pita. Place cheese on top of egg.
4. Stuff pita with lettuce, onions, cucumbers and tomato.
5. Place sunflower seeds inside pita for a nice crunch.
6. Pour salsa inside pita or spread 1 tbsp hummus on top of pita bread. Close pita and wrap in tinfoil.


Eating Seasonally

I was inspired by a blog reader, about a month ago, who asked me about eating healthy during the winter months.
I hope you enjoy my latest article on or from the FREE Irongirl newsletter.

Eating Seasonally

The seasons are changing and so are the fruits and vegetables in your local grocery store. The essential nutrients found in fruits and veggies are especially important for you as an athlete and you shouldn't let the seasonal change scare you away from the vitamins you need. Never prepared a meal with bok choy or pomegranates? Don't be afraid to try new foods in new recipes. Learn to appreciate the wide selection of winter fruits and veggies available to give your nutrient intake a boost.


Avocado - 1 cup (cubed) = 240 calories, 14g monounsaturated fat, 12.79g carbohydrates, 3g protein, 10g fiber

Chinese cabbage (bok choy) - 1 cup (shredded) = 12 calories, .15g fat, 2.45g carbohydrates, .91g protein, .9g fiber

Broccoli - 1 stalk = 51 calories, .56g fat, 10.03g carbohydrates, 4.26g protein, 3.9g fiber

Kale - 1 cup (chopped) = 34 calories, .47g fat, 6.71g carbohydrates, 2g protein, 1.3g fiber

Leeks - 54 calories, .27g fat, 12.59g carbohydrates, .27g fat, 1.33g protein, 1.6g fiber

Rhubarb - 11 calories, .10g fat, 2.32g carbohydrates, .46g protein, .9g fiber

Acorn squash - 1 cup (cubed) = 56 calories, .14g fat, 14.59g carbohydrate, 1.12g protein, 2.1g fiber

Sweet potatoes - 5" = 112 calories, .07g fat, 26.16g carbohydrates, 2.04g protein, 3.9g fiber


Oranges - 2-5/8" diameter = 65 calories, .30g fat, 16.27g carbohydrates, .99g protein, 3.4g fiber

Clementines - 35 calories, .11g fat, 8.89g carbohydrate, .63g protein, 1.3g fiber

Cranberries - 1 cup = 46 calories, .13g fat, 12.20g carbohydrates, .39g protein, 4.6g fiber

Grapefruit - ½ medium (4" diameter) = 41 calories, .13g fat, 10.34g carbohydrates, .81g protein, 1.4g fiber

Kumquat - 13 calories, .16g fat, 3.02g carbohydrates, .36g protein, 1.2g fiber

Pomegranate - 4" diameter = 234 calories, 3.3g fat, 52g carbohydrates, 4.71g protein, 11.3g fiber

Winter fruit salad
1 pomegranate (peeled, break seeds)
1 large ripe banana (sliced)
2 oranges (sliced)
1 grapefruit (sliced)
2 clementines (sliced)
1 cup grapes (halved)
12 ounces low-fat vanilla or strawberry yogurt
1/8 cup almonds (chopped)
1/8 cup walnuts (chopped)
1/8 cup pine nuts
1/8 cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon

1)Place fruit in a large bowl and combine with large spoon.
2) Slowly stir in yogurt.
3) Add nuts and cinnamon. Toss lightly.
4) Refrigerate for an hour and serve in 1-cup servings.
*For a nutritious dinner salad, omit the cinnamon and yogurt and serve fruit and nuts over a bed of kale or bok choy.

Agricultural Research Service (2009). USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Retrieved October 7th, 2009 from,


Happy Halloween!!!

First off..a BIG happy birthday to my brother who turns 25 today!!!
Happy Birthday Aaron!!!
My brother, who lives in Pitt, PA, was a theatrical parrot. What an awesome costume!

Our Halloween weekend (Karel's first ever Halloween to dress up!):
When: Fri night
Where: Laura's house
What: Karel - Real Housewife of Jacksonville, FL
Marni - Cheetah Girl
Campy - Bumble Bee (homemade wings and antenna)
Favorite part of the evening: When Campy and Beethoven saw each other in their costumes. Also, when Karel took his first ever jello shot and 2nd and 3rd :) I guess Karel missed out not living in America during his college years :)

When: Sat night
Where: Shawn's house (our coach)
What: Karel - Farris Al-Sutan (honestly, this was all Karel's idea. Too bad we didn't have a speedo that fit Karel because he was totally wanting a speedo for the night. Perhaps he just enjoyed making fun of triathlets since he is wearing all of my gear and he thinks we all dress like that at triathlons).
Marni - Jazzercise instructor from the 80's.
Favorite part of the evening: Walking into Shawn's house and every triathlete instantly knowing who Karel was impersonating. Aside from his bib number with Faris on it, he made it a little obvious when he was talking in German as he was introducing himself. We all laughed when he was drinking a beer out of his Gatorade bottle which was in the back of his shorts. Also, seeing the dog bomber costume and of course, Lady Gaga. I can't wait to see all of these guys back on their bikes. I am used to everyone wearing spandex and a helmet and I am a little worried about all of the guys I saw this weekend wanting to dress like women.