Essential Sports Nutrition


Balanced Vegetarian Meals

A few creations from my kitchen....

Broccoli-Tofu Bake
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic (shredded/chopped)
2 cups broccoli (I used fresh but you can use frozen)
1 cup mushrooms (chopped)
1/2 large green pepper (chopped)
Olive oil

1 egg
1/2 container firm tofu
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp peanuts
1 tbsp horseradish mustard
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp basil
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. On a non-stick pan w/ a drizzle of olive oil (1 tsp), cook veggies (1st 5 ingredients) until slightly golden (5-10 min)>
3. While veggies are cooking, blend tofu and rest of ingredients/spices until soft. May need to add 1-2 extra tbsp water to get the tofu mixture going.
4. In a large baking casserole dish (with a little non-stick spray), spread out sauteed veggies.
5. Pour tofu mixture over veggies and spread out with spoon until evenly spread over veggies.
6. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until sauce slightly begins to bubble (or firm).
(This was SO good. It doesn't taste like Alfredo sauce, but it does look like it. However, to me it tastes like stuffed shells).

Bread-less veggie & meat pizza
Green Peppers
Firm Tofu
*veggies and tofu (cubed) cooked in 1-2 tsp olive oil and topped with 1 tbsp Wheat germ

Broccoli (w/ a little shredded cheese) - steamed

Marinara sauce (heated) - a few spoonfuls

1 veggie burger (chopped) -heated in oven at 400 degrees for a few minutes until slightly crisp

Strawberry Walnut Pear salad
1 egg white (sliced)
5 walnuts (chopped)
2 large strawberries (chopped)
Handful spinach
1/2 small Pear (chopped)

Beautiful Summer salad
Sunflower seeds


Balanced meals

According to the USDA (
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans give science-based advice on food and physical activity choices for health. The 2005 edition of the Dietary Guidelines remain the current guidelines until the 2010 edition is released.

What is a "Healthy Diet"?

The Dietary Guidelines describe a healthy diet as one that
* Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products;
* Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and
* Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
-The recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines and in MyPyramid are for the general public over 2 years of age. MyPyramid is not a therapeutic diet for any specific health condition. Individuals with a chronic health condition should consult with a health care provider to determine what dietary pattern is appropriate for them.
-MyPyramid helps individuals use the Dietary Guidelines to:
* Make smart choices from every food group.
* Find balance between food and physical activity.
* Get the most nutrition out of calories.
* Stay within daily calorie needs.

Not only does the food guide pyramid help you create a healthy diet but it teaches you how to create a balanced diet.
Rather than focusing on "good or bad" foods, take some time to find out how you can make the most out of your diet by planning healthy and balanced meals.
Here's a great example of planning a plate for a balanced meal:

Depending on your diet, you may find yourself needing to modify the food guide pyramid to fit your personal and physical lifestyle needs and requirements.
For example, here is an example of the vegetarian food guide pyramid:

Here's the asian food guide pyramid:

Here's the vegan food guide pyramid:

Here's a Mediterranean "diet" pyramid:

While it is important that you find what works for your body in an effort to reach your weight loss/maintenance and fitness goals, I must stress that the US Dietary Guidelines (updated every 5 years by the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS)) provide authoritative advice for people two years and older about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases. These are not guidelines intended to help you loose weight quickly or to help you set a PR in your upcoming race. Here's a link to a press release for the THE APPOINTMENT OF THE 2010 DIETARY GUIDELINES ADVISORY COMMITTEE:

If you want to live a healthy and balanced life, it is important that you eat in a way that supports a healthy and balanced life.
Does this plate look familiar?

Although the USDA Food Pyramid will give you the template of a fairly healthy diet you need to make the necessary changes in your life in an effort to plan and prepare
healthy and balanced meals. Obviously, this won't happen overnight. If you expect yourself to accept new eating habits overnight, you will find yourself frustrated. If you expect yourself to stick to unrealistic eating habits, not supporting an active and healthy lifestyle, you are going to find yourself hungry, moody and restricted.
Over the years, I have learned what works best for me in my vegetarian diet. I can honestly say that I have worked really towards creating a healthy diet (that I enjoy) that works for my active lifestyle for the past 4 years. Despite a few ups and downs per year, I understand the what's AND the why's of my diet. I find that many athletes just focus on what they should and shouldn't eat in their diet and forget why they do or don't need it (or emphasize/de-emphasize).

As you know, I strongly encourage a more-plant based diet. However, this is just the base of a healthy diet to support a quality-filled life of activity and good health. I believe that lean/low fat protein in addition to whole grains and healthy fats are vital in a successful and maintainable diet.

This plate is from a diabetes website.

I am not a diabetic but if I had to create a model of my meal plate, this is probably the closest example. Sure, the whole grain section may overlap on the veggies/fruits section, especially when my training volume/intensity increases but overall, this is how I like to plan my meals. Yes-even as an endurance athlete, I believe my body does best with very little added sugars and lots of fruits and veggies. I believe my body perform's best during the day and during workouts when I consume a variety of vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies. Additionally, my body requires lots of low fat protein in order to provide my body with essential amino acids to keep my muscles and brain happy. As for whole grains/fibrous foods and healthy fats, I couldn't be a healthy woman without them!
My only change in this plate would be the "fat" section since I always try to add in some type of healthy fat to my meals in an effort to keep me satisfied and provide flavor.

What is your diet like? Have you ever given thought to planning your meals rather than just eating for calories?


Lastest news

I just finished my last two newsletters for this month -ADA times and Vegetarian Nutrition Update (both from the American Dietetic Association).
Here are some research briefs for your entertainment:

ADA times (Spring 2010, Volume 7/Issue 3)
(If you'd like the respective journal for the articles I listed, just let me know)

Lunchtime Coffee Break Best for Fighting Diabetes
-People who drank coffee with lunch were 1/3rd less likely to develop type 2 diabetes over several years than non-coffee drinkers. This was true for decaf and caffeinated coffee, with or without sugar, but drinking coffee at any other time of the day didn't influence diabetes risk.

Higher fast food prices lead to lower weight and diabetes risk
-Both weight and diabetes risk decreased for people in communities where fast food prices increased. The study also showed that the reverse was true: When fast food prices decreased, consumption, weight and diabetes rose.

Mediterranean Diet may aid those undergoing fertility treatments
-Women being treated for infertility may be more likely to become pregnant if they follow a diet high in fish, vegetable and vegetable oils. The study found that women undergoing fertility treatments who most closely followed the diet were 40% more likely to get pregnant compared with women who followed the diet the least.

Teen girls look to classmates to gauge weight goals
-Whether high school teen girls will try to shed pounds depends on the bodies and behaviors of their peers. Researchers found that an individual girl's attempts to lose weight is most strongly associated with the dieting behaviors of girls of a similar body size. For example, the odds that an overweight girl is engaged in weight control increase substantially when other overweight girls in her school are trying to lose weight. Researchers say this study demonstrated how social comparison theory improves understanding of how health behaviors are linked to social contexts.

Taxing unhealthy foods may encourage healthy eating habits
-Taxing unhealthy foods reduced overall calories purchased, while subsidizing the prices of healthy food increased calories because mothers used money saved on subsidized fruits and vegetables for less healthy treats for their family.

Drinking milk during pregnancy may lower baby's risk of MS
-Mothers-to-be with high milk or dietary vitamin D intake during pregnancy may help reduce their baby's chances of developing multiple sclerosis as an adult.

Moderate drinkers appear to gain less weight than non-drinkers
-Normal-weight women who drink a light to moderate amount of alcohol appear to gain less weight and have a lower risk of becoming overweight or obese than non-drinkers.

Magnesium-rich foods could cut colon cancer risk
-A study in Japanese men and women found that men who consumed at least 327 mg of magnesium daily were 52% less likely to develop colon cancer than those who consumed less than 238 mg.

A closer look at the link between diet and breast cancer risk
-A review of 18 published articles found an increased risk of breast cancer with high consumption of alcohol, and a lower risk with diets rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Obesity impairs body's ability to remember how to fight flu
-Obesity may limit the body's ability to develop immunity to influenza viruses, particularly secondary infections, be inhibiting the immune system's ability to "remember" how it fought off previous comparable bouts of illness.

Activia reaches restaurants
Einstein Bros. Bagels launched a fruit and yogurt parfait made with Dannon Activia Yogurt-the first prepared menu item featuring probiotic yogurt in a chain restaurant.

Panera is first to market
Panera bread is the first chain to voluntarily post calorie information on menu boards in all company-owned Panera Bread, St. Louis bread CO and Paradise Bakery & Cafe locations by April and in franchises by the end of the year.

Greek yogurt goes mainstream
Yoplait launched a Greek yogurt line that contains approximately twice the amount of protein per serving in other yogurts.

Sargento lowers the sodium in six varieties
Sargento foods is introducing six cheese varieties available in shreds, slices and snacks that will have 25% less sodium than regular cheeses.

Hellmann's switching to cage-free eggs
Unilever announced it will use certified cage-free eggs in U.S. production of Hellmann's light Mayonnaise and, once there is a consistent supply, in its other mayonnaise varieties.

PepsiCo to nix sweetened Drinks in schools
PepsiCo will remove its full-calorie soft drinks in schools in more than 200 countries by 2012., and will sell water, milk and juice with no added sugar in elementary schools. secondary schools will include low-calories drinks and sport drinks.

Wonder Bread makes Health pitch
Wonder Bread, which was first promoted as a health food 60 years ago, is again being promoted for its fortified "goodness" under a new name, Wonder Smartwhite.

Sony CEO requests Nutritious movie snacks
The CEO of Sony urged attendees of the National Association of Theatre Owners' annual convention in March to provide nutritious food items in movie theatres, such as fruit cups, vegetables with dip, yogurts, granola bars and baked potato chips.


One Nation, Overweight & One healthy quinoa salad

Thank you Sean C. ( for reminding me to record One Nation, Overweight tonight on CNBC. It airs at 10pm (EST).

I have my opinion on the state of our nation as it relates to the correlation of the lack of physical activity and the rising obesity crisis. I also have my feelings relating to the struggles of overweight individuals who are extremely active. However, I am going to watch this special before discussing my thoughts.
Do you have any comments, thoughts, speculations before watching this special?

Here is an article from The New York Times.

Big Nation. Big People. It’s Clearly a Big Deal
May 18, 2010
There are two Americas.

One is a ruling minority of the healthy few who rely on vegetable gardens, personal trainers and spa getaways to stay fit. The other is the majority of Americans, who are overweight or obese, many of whom risk their own form of assisted living — XXXL clothes, mobility scooters and diabetes treatments that can tip over $50,000 a year.

“One Nation, Overweight” is a CNBC documentary on Tuesday that provides a chilling portrait of a health epidemic that endangers all Americans — without being overly alarmist or too sanguine. And while that doesn’t sound like a big deal, this program stands out in a landscape cluttered with mixed messages and grossly distorted images of reality.

Television used to ignore obesity; now it wallows in it. But the effort to portray the problem — and the solutions — mirrors the way most Americans eat: the most basic facts are larded with sugary entertainment and creamy dollops of instant gratification.

Weight-loss reality shows like “The Biggest Loser” turn obesity into a contest, painting the solitary, often costly struggle against obesity as an exhilarating and financially rewarding team sport. Even do-good missions feed the appetite of viewers accustomed to supersize entertainment. The British chef Jamie Oliver tried to tame the eating habits of an entire town in West Virginia, called the fattest place in America, for his reality show, “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.” Not surprisingly, French fries won.

Meanwhile, series like “Drop Dead Diva” and “Glee,” which recently devoted an episode to a character’s battle with her weight, try to preach self-acceptance by showcasing plus-size heroines who learn to value their physiques. Mostly, they present an unrealistic image of a world populated by whippet-thin women, each of whom has one large friend.

“One Nation, Overweight” isn’t a treat, but it’s rich in salutary warnings. It begins at the Cleveland Clinic, one of the top destinations for growing numbers of patients — some weighing 500 and 600 pounds — who want to have their stomachs stapled. (There were 220,000 such procedures done in 2009, according to CNBC.) The corridors of the bariatric ward, filled with hugely fat people who can barely walk, provide the kind of flesh-and-blood look into the future that was the apocalyptic message of the animated movie “Wall-E.”

And that future may not be so far away. Kenneth E. Thorpe, a health economist at Emory University, discusses a study he published that warns that if current trends continue, the cost of treating weight-related illnesses will double to $344 billion a year by 2018.

The CNBC correspondent Scott Wapner interviews experts who describe obesity as a disease, but the obese people he speaks to rarely blame their size on genetic predisposition or other extenuating circumstances.

“I did to this myself,” says Henry Butler, 62, who was 330 pounds when he went to the Cleveland Clinic. “Who said I had to eat all that?”

School cafeterias are part of the problem, and CNBC visits a school in Virginia where snack carts sell sticky buns, candy bars and chips three times a day. The principal explains that the profits go to help after-school sports programs, a vicious — and viscous — cycle.

There are schools and workplaces that are trying to fight back, including the owner of a car dealership who pays for his overweight employees to join a $2,500 weight-loss program — he says it saves him tens of thousands of dollars in health costs. An inventor demonstrates his answer to a sedentary work force: a machine that allows an employee to work at a computer terminal while walking on a slow-moving treadmill.

Over all, CNBC provides a broad, sensible look at a problem that is not new, but is increasingly dire. There are a few journalistic lapses, however.

The film spends quite a bit of time on a promising weight-loss drug, Qnexa, that is awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration. It helps suppress appetite and has had better results than similar drugs in clinical trials, according to the documentary.

Mr. Wapner interviews Leland F. Wilson, the chief executive of Vivus, the maker of Qnexa, who is predictably bullish. So is the only research scientist shown on camera, Dr. Michelle Look, a sports medicine specialist who is a lead clinical trial investigator on Qnexa and a paid consultant to Vivus.

A deputy director of the F.D.A. is interviewed but doesn’t say much about Qnexa, except to explain that his agency is under pressure from advocacy groups to speed up approval of anti-obesity drugs.

Particularly because so many viewers are overweight and desperate for a medical breakthrough on obesity, CNBC should have also interviewed an independent scientist who could have added a grain of salt to Mr. Wapner’s boosterish report.

And credibility, once shaken, is hard to restore. Jim Trudeau, a small-business owner from Madison, Wis., who attended a weight-loss program at the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge in Ivins, Utah, lost 200 pounds, but has another 200 or so to lose, since he started at 600. Mr. Trudeau is an articulate and sympathetic figure, but it’s hard not to wonder if he was picked for his personality, or because “The Biggest Loser” is on NBC, a sister network to CNBC.

“One Nation, Overweight” takes a serious look at a serious problem, and it would be better if it showed more discipline in curbing its own weaknesses.

On a lighter about trying my dinner last night? It was the perfect ending to a recovery day which included a morning of core work w/ Karel + an easy 30 min swim while Karel stretched in the therapy pool.

Quinoa Salad
1/4 cup cooked quinoa (I made 1 cup and added a dash of cinnamon, a giant clove of garlic and a dash of pepper and cumin after the quinoa was cooked)
1 hardboiled egg
A little Swiss cheese (shredded)
Roma Tomato
Apricot (Fresh)
Strawberries (I bought 4 cartons yesterday...$1.39 at Wal-Mart!!!)
Chives (fresh)
Seeds (sunflower and pumpkin mix)


Yappy Hour

Late Sunday afternoon, Karel and I had the pleasure of taking Campy to downtown Jacksonville for Yappy Hour. I had never been to the Jacksonville Landing (in my 3 years of living in Jacksonville) and I was ready to treat myself to some real ice cream (I assumed there was an ice cream place down there).
I heard about this event from my good friend Laura (Beethoven's mommy). I just love exposing Campy to new things, especially when other dogs are involved. Campy is still too much of a big boy in a small body around big dogs but he just loves sniffing the little ones.
According to this event you are to "B.Y.O.D" (bring your own dog). There was live entertainment, free prizes, drinks specials and the crowning of the King and Queen of Yappy Hour!

Of course we had to enter Campy into the free contest! We filled out a card telling the judges how wonderful and special he is and how much we love him. Of course, every person there (all 40 of them!) said the same thing about their dog. Campy loved walking on the "dog walk" and showing his big smile. He was so cute when he sat at the end of the stage and just smiled at the judges. However, we were sad that he didn't win. I think it was rigged because clearly MY dog was the cutest dog out there! Ok- there were some adorable dogs but in my eyes, Campy is the most handsome and most awesome dog ever!

I Hope you enjoy the pics!
BTW-my mint chocolate chip ice cream in my cake cone was delicious. Campy couldn't wait to try it with me (the mint part, and cake cone, that is). I love planning my occasional me, it is so much more enjoyable (and friendly to my blood sugar, which I have extreme trouble balancing when I consume added sugar in my diet) to plan a treat than to indulge on a daily basis. When I plan a treat I know what to eat before and after to still keep my diet well-rounded and balanced (I had my strawberry smoothie before the event and a beautiful salad when we came home). I told the ice cream scooper that she could pack the ice cream in the cone and be very generous with my scoop.....oh was she ever generous!

Do you have an occasional sweet treat?
Does your pet have an occasional sweet treat? I was a big ice cream eater but not any more. Weird, I guess my cravings change every year. I just don't crave it like I use to. However, when I'm around Karel (while traveling) I tend to enjoy whatever yummy treat he finds. It is always nice to share :) Campy gets a lot of people food but I think his special treat is steak or turkey when we visit my parents. My dad likes to spoil him :)

Time for ice cream!


Weekend training and furry friends

Two quality long days of training are done.
Although I had a tentative schedule of what I would do this weekend, Karel decided to change things up for me and challenge me on the bike. I was all for it.
On Sat I rode with Karel and the Open Road group for a very fast 35-mile ride. I can think back to a few months ago when this 25+ mph ride was a "barely hang on" ride for me but on Sat, I was just chillin' in the back on my tri bike. Karel was taking it easy in the back until he got a flat around 20 miles into the ride. He told me to keep on going and that he would just do his own thing after he quickly changed his flat (It takes him all of 2 min. to change a flat).
After the ride I gathered my fuel belt, garmin and visor, put on the running shoes and headed out for a run.
My piriformis syndrome came back very strong after our long week of traveling and I expected it to happen. Even with a week of cardio recovery and a little strength training(Mon off, Tues, Wed, Fri swim, Thurs bike, Sat & Sun bike) my hip/butt/quad/knee was still causing me soreness/pain after 7 days of active recovery and LOTS of stretching, ice and tennis ball rolling. I was heading in the right direction, nonetheless, so I continued my therapy routine and by Wed of last week, I was running again. Because I still had a bit of inflammation in my butt and quad, I decided to walk/jog for 30 min and gradually get back to my normal routine. I did the same thing on Fri for my run of 35 min, but rather than walk 3/run 2 (WED WORKOUT), I was able to do 4 min run and 1 min walk. I couldn't have been more happy with my recovery but you better believe I continue to count my blessings that I am able to control my piriformis syndrome. It affects me after sitting for long periods of time but I wasn't doing the best over the past few months of stretching and rolling on the tennis ball (good pain!!). Another one of my secretes of effective recovery (aside from good nutrition)...compression!! I live in my compression shorts and I believe they are the missing link to helping me manage my injury.

I really love my sport and I also love my healthy eating routine. Whereas in years past I always got a little frustrated and sad when my injury came about, this time was completely different. I felt control with my diet (more than ever) and I didn't associate any guilt or restriction. I just ate my normal healthy meals and creations and accounted for my reduction in exercise/training. I also stayed positive with my training and assured myself that regardless of how long it takes me to feel 100% again (right now I feel around 80%) there is no point "trying" to "get through" a workout with an injury. I have nothing to prove by finishing a workout because I care more about what I put into the workout than just finishing the miles.

After the bike on Sat I was feeling ready to run so I decided to add a little walking just to be sure I could control any inflammation or tightness. Luckily, I felt good the entire run but decided not to change my plan.
I did 7.15 miles after my fast bike and wanted to keep on running! I Love those days.
It didn't feel as long as it took because I was really enjoying my little walk/stretch breaks and just smiling that I was able to run.
I ended up running .9 miles and walking for .1 miles. I did that 7 times.
The .9ish miles took me about 6:30-7 min (I was holding a very comfortable and easy 8 min/mile pace) and the .1 was around 2 minutes. I'd call that a successful workout based on my last two weeks!
Of course, the workout wasn't over when I got back into our apartment so as Karel watched the Giro (if you aren't watching it on the US is the most exciting race I've seen compared to years past!) I rolled my rt glute on the tennis ball, did my stretches, did my butt exercises, stretched again, had my recovery drink and iced. All in my sweaty clothes because I knew if I showered and started to prepare my post workout meal, I would put-off my vital recovery plan. After the shower came the compression shorts and socks and finally, it was time for breakfast.

This morning I had the pleasure of riding with my bike coach/hubby. Wow, 2 days riding with Karel!! He sure knows how to make me work hard.
He gave me sets throughout the workout and I was feeling good. Sadly, we got no tailwind for our 63 mile ride (around 3 hrs and 15 min) so with headwind and lots of cross wind, I'd say we both had our share of working hard. Of course Karel pushes me no matter if I am pulling (doing my sets) or if I am drafting on his wheel. Every time that I was in the front I was cautious to pay attention to my form and cadence as well as staying focused with my power.
My first set was 20 minutes w/ 10 min recovery.
Second set was 2x (5 min @ 10 watts higher than my 20 min effort, 5 min @ 10 watts lower than 20 min effort. 5 min recovery).
Third set, after Karel pulled for almost 40 min. (my legs got pretty tired behind him), I finished off the day with another 20 min. effort.
We saw a lot of our friends out riding today and they all had funny comments to Karel when they went by "Hey Karel, you letting your wife pull you around like that? Is she making you hurt?" We laughed :)

After my ride I decided to wait until next week for a quality post-long bike run. However, I always have campy miles in me :)
Campy toughed it out for 2 miles (25 min) and I could tell he was hot. Let's just say that Campy needs a bit more time to get acclimated to the Florida heat. I don't run him more than 2-3 miles in the summer cause he hasn't figured out how to pace himself when we run. He likes to sprint for 10 min. and then pee on every bush on the way back. I don't mind the heat one bit but I think Campy needs a doggy fuel belt. Next time I will bring him water :)

Well, recovery session is done and I'm doing a little resting on the couch with my furry little friends. Karel is working until 4 :(
However, Karel and I will be heading down to the Landing in downtown Jacksonville and meeting up with Laura and Beethoven for Yappy Hour. I love taking Campy to doggy events.
Hope you had a great weekend!

My furry little friends....doing what they do best!