Essential Sports Nutrition


Grilled Bok Choy and Wrap - Creations

Whenever I eat a new food and I don't really care for the taste of it, I like to say "I haven't yet learned to appreciate it".
I don't consider myself a super-picky eater but my preceptor likes to call people like myself "selective" eaters. I like the sound of that.
Karel, on the other hand, will eat anything and everything that is put in front of him. He makes for a great tester for my creations.

My preceptor gave me a full bag of veggies from her garden. Bok choy was one of the items and I wasn't quite sure if I was ready for a new green in my life. Romaine and spinach make me quite happy.
Well, after grilling the Boy Choy, I have decided that I appreciate a new green in my diet.
Bok choy is rich in fiber, potassium, and calcium. Did you know that 1 cup of bok choy has about the same amount of calcium as 1/2 cup of milk????
*FYI - 1 cup of milk meets around 1/3rd of your daily calcium needs.
Bok choy is also a good source of folate (vitamin B9) and has more beta-carotene (which gives carrots the orange color) than other cabbages. A cup of bok choy contains nearly the entire Recommended Daily Allowance for beta-carotene.

I hope you enjoy my grilled Boy choy well as checking out an awesome recipe site for any and every type of wrap.

Wrap recipes


Eat Seasonally

My summer grocery budget is a lot higher than my winter budget. With an emphasis on plant-based, wholesome foods, I find myself splurging on the wonderful assortment of summer fruits and veggies. Oh do I LOVE LOVE summer fruits.
I recently created a pamphlet for UNF which I plan to hand out on Sun. I will be interning this Sunday at the University of North Florida where my preceptor and I will be doing a cooking demo for the back-to-school weekend. We will be feeding students (and parents) yummy raw and rice/bean wraps. I can't wait!
Inside my pamphlet, called "Powerful Nutrition From the Garden" I included a season guide for fruits and veggies. I also included 10 great benefits of eating local.....

Did you know that a typical carrot has to travel 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table¹?

Top 10 benefits of farmers’ markets²:
1) Reduced need for packaging.
2) Direct contact and feedback between customer and producer on produce and prices.
3) Avoiding the middleman increases financial returns for local growers.
4) Improve diet by providing access to fresh and wholesome food.
5) Source of information on fresh ingredients.
6) Reduce food miles (ex. vehicle pollution, noise and fossil fuel use).
7) Encourage environmentally safe production practices (ex. organic or pesticide free).
8) Encourage social interaction.
9) Stimulate local economic development by increasing employment.
10) Fresh Food Tastes GOOD!

1) Pirog, Rich, and Andrew Benjamin. "Checking the Food Odometer: Comparing Food Miles for Local Versus Conventional Produce Sales in Iowa Institutions." Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, July 2003.

2) Certified Farmers’ Market. Retrieved Aug 8, 2010 from

Here's a great website to answer all your fruit and veggie questions (with a season fruit and veggie list)...

Fruits and Veggies More Matters


Rethinking our meals - Creations

I love being creative with my food. I am a food combiner and I love mixing together a lot of ingredients for one satisfying and yummy dish. In my eyes, there are no bad foods. Carbs are good, protein is good and fat is good. Brownies, muffins, bagels.. all fine in my eyes. However, if I were to eat them every day, I may be missing out on other parts of my diet and I may find it difficult (at times) to support my training/exercise routine. I think we would all agree that it is easy to overindulge in a few higher-calorie items as opposed to eating a balanced diet rich in nutrient-dense foods. Often times, it takes a high quantity of a calorie-dense item to signal "fullness/satisfaction" compared to a high quantity of volume and nutrient dense foods like fruits and veggies.
Karel and I both enjoy reading ingredients. However, if we really want something as a treat, we aren't going pass on an item because of the nutrient fact label. If anything, it is likely that I am going to go with the "real" option (ex. real ice cream as opposed to splenda added, fat-free ice cream) rather than the heavily processed "healthier" (if that can be true??) option. A treat is on occasion, snacks are for every day. I have to admit, however, I don't crave very many processed, sugary or salty foods. Typically, I crave foods with little to no ingredients because my diet is very balanced and no food is "off-limits". By having a healthy relationship with food, I don't feel those intense cravings because I don't really have any "forbidden" foods. Certainly I emphasize and de-emphasize certain foods because of how they may affect my body, my blood sugar and my daily eating habits throughout the day but I enjoy my heart-healthy lifestyle and diet and I think that shows on a daily basis. In my opinion, it is not just about the food that you eat, when you eat and the calories that you eat but how you see your eating habits during the day and if you are fueling your body throughout the day. I also think people struggle with a healthy relationship with food because of the fear of being judged wherever you are..or perhaps, you judge yourself and you are too hard on yourself. Remember, aim for progress, not perfection. If you think it would be easier to eat healthy if you didn't work, if you didn't have kids and if you just stayed at home all day....well, that aint gonna happen...that's called life. If you are trying to wait for a non-stressful/busy day, weekend or week to "start" eating healthy, you may be stuck in an unrealistic and unmanageable way of thinking about your daily diet. Eating a balanced diet does not need to be complicated but you have to start somewhere.

Take a little time on a daily basis working on 1 part of your diet.

I recommend focusing on either breakfast, pre and post training/exercise nutrition or between meal snacks. Generally, people seeking changes in diet or performance focus on the evening food consumption but I believe it all starts with how you start your day. Those first few hours of your day are critical for how your body is going to perform throughout the day and how you are going to manage your food intake throughout the day. Telling yourself that you are "restricted" from an evening snack is likely not the cause of overeating in the evening. Perhaps by having more snacks throughout the day or adding more fat and protein to meals, can help you feel at ease with what and how much you eat during the evening hours.


Mexican night - Creations

I love Mexican food. I love the flavors and the food combination's. Realizing that restaurant/fast food Mexican entree's are not always balanced with a heart-healthy mix of macronutrients, I often find myself re-creating Mexican-inspired items at home.
If we are traveling, I love a great wrap from a local Mexican restaurant. If we are traveling, I want to feel satisfied and not eat the same foods that I eat at home. So when we do eat out (typically it is only when we travel. I think we eat out locally in Jacksonville about 2-3 times per year) I am not overly concerned with fat, calories, sodium, etc. Sure, healthy options, similar to my normal cuisine, will make me feel satisfied but I do not feel guilty or calorie-obsessed when dining away from the home. To me, a few times a year of enjoying something different is more of a treat rather than a diet sabotage. I love the way I eat every day of the year so eating well most of the time gives way to eating whatever I would like the rest of the time.
For example, eating Chiptole a few times per week is not only costly but not heart-healthy nor balanced to meet my daily lifestyle and exercise needs. However, 1 time during the summer is certainly not a horrible thing. Perhaps 1 time a week on a weekly basis is not such a horrible thing either. I think it all comes down to what we do the rest of the time. Perhaps people put too much pressure on themselves to eat well 100% of the time and when dining out on occasion (which is perfectly fine) the thoughts of feeling like a failure overwhelm any thoughts of enjoying the food that you really want because you don't eat it every day of the week.
Here's the nutritional breakdown of a Chipotle Tortilla:
13 inch tortilla, Rice, Beans, veggies, cheese, lettuce and tomato salsa:
685 calories
22g fat
9g saturated fat
1890 mg sodium

Certainly, eating a Tortilla at Chiptole (that satisfies your daily sodium and saturated fat recommendations in one meal) most days of the week isn't recommended for a heart-healthy diet. However, feeling guilty or restricted with your current diet because high calories or fat are forbidden in your diet, you are going to find yourself overwhelmed and restricted when you do decide to enjoy something that isn't part of your typical routine...and who wants to feel overwhelmed and restricted when you are hungry and in need of a satisfying meal.

I created a wonderful Mexican salad and homemade cornbread for the next time that you are getting a Mexican craving and want a heart-healthy homemade meal.


Vegetarian pregnancy


100 mile ride (5:24) was accomplished last Sun and 21 mile run (2:54) was accomplished yesterday. Today I rode 77 miles with Karel and it was windy and tough. Riding with Karel is not easy but it beats a 6 hr ride alone at my own pace. I ran 4 miles off the bike and felt great (33 min).
I am really happy to be 4-weeks away from IMWI. I GLADLY welcome recovery week but I am not going to take this recovery to the extreme over the next 7 days. My focus will be on keeping my body flexible and relaxed and rebuilding damaged tissues to encourage more strength gains. This last week was my 3rd week of build and the progression has been enjoyable and well-received...all thanks to my wonderful husband/coach. After this week I will have 1 week of build which will be race-specific and then I will be entering week 1 of taper. I can't believe it but in 3 weeks I will be finished with my community rotation (1 of 3 rotations) for my internship and I will be a few days away from participating in my 4th Ironman. WOW.

My recovery this weekend went really well and after getting some school work finished (and taking a quiz on sat after my long run) and eating wonderful recovery meals and snacks (thanks Laura for inviting us over for the cook-out last night!!! YUMMO!!) I went through my stack of magazines which are piling up in my place.

Vegetarian Nutrition Update is a practice group of the American Dietetic Association. Every time I receive the newsletter in the mail I feel so proud to be a vegetarian.
My latest issue (Volume XIX, Number 1, 2010) had a pull-out guide to Vegetarian Diets in Pregnancy. Now I realize that many people reading my blog may not be pregnant or planning a pregnancy but perhaps we all know someone who may be approaching the world of parenting. The pull-out guide on Vegetarian Diets in Pregnancy is perfect for all of us, regardless if you are a male or female. I find the information useful for any person seeking a more healthy and balanced lifestyle because the guide shows the importance of nutrients in the creation of a new life. Although I am an advocate of plant-based eating, it is an individual decision to be a vegetarian or eat semi-vegetarian or eat full vegan.

Here are the important nutrients needed during pregnancy...
(the guide was written by Christine Creighton, MS, RD)

Protein (71grams)
Builds new tissue and repairs cells
-Dried beans
-Soy products
-Nuts and nut butters
-Eggs (my tip: There is a TON of research out on the benefits of choline in the diet, which can be found in high quantity in egg yokes. As far as the current research goes, eggs, alone, are not the culprit to high cholesterol)
-Dairy products

Omega-3 Fatty Acid DHA
Develops nerve and visual function
-Eggs from chickens fed a DHA rich diet
-Foods fortified with microalgae-derived DHA
(on pg. 13 of my newsletter there is a short article on a vegetarian omega-3 supplement which provides 600mg of EPA from yeast. You can find it on and search Vegetarian EPA)

Iron (48.6 mg)
Promotes tissue growth and increases blood supply
-Fortified cereals and breads: whole-grains
-Dark leafy greens
-Dried fruit
-Prunes and prune juice
*Include a source of vitamin C (ex. bell peppers, tomatoes, citrus fruits) with meals to increase iron absorption. Avoid milk, tea and coffee with iron-rich foods, which may decrease absorption.

Folate (600 mcg)
Produce and maintain new cells, reduce the risk of neural tube defects
-Dark green leafy veggies
-Orange juice
-Wheat germ
-Enriched or whole-grain breads
-Enriched cereals
-Dried beans
-Supplements or fortified foods
*A daily intake of folate rich foods should be combined with 400µg of folic acid from supplements or fortified foods.

Zinc (11mg)
Tissue growth and function
-Fortified cereals
-Wheat germ
-Hard cheeses (ex. parmesan, asiago)

Iodine (220 mcg)
Hormone production
-Iodized salt

Calcium (1000 mg)
Build strong bones and teeth, help muscle and nerve function
-Fortified soymilk or rice milk
-Dairy products
-Some dark green leafy veggies (ex. broccoli, kale, collard greens, bok choy)
-Calcium-set tofu
-Fortified orange juice

Vitamin B12 (2.6 mcg)
Helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells
-Fortified cereals
-Fortified soymillk
-Vitamin B12-fortified nutritional yeast
-Milk and yogurt

Vitamin D (200 IU)
Help body use calcium to form fetal bones
-Cow's milk
-Fortified cereals
-Vitamin D-fortified soymilk
-Skin exposure to sunlight

As you can see, it doesn't take a lot of effort to nourish a vegetarian pregnancy. Meat-eater or not, it is important to prioritize a plant-based diet in order to provide the body with a variety of vitamins and minerals to encourage longevity, immune system support and energy.

If you are interested in raising vegetarian or vegan children, check out