Essential Sports Nutrition


Veggie bean and rice stir-fry

Yesterday was my LAST day of Long Term Care. I can't believe how much information I learned, how many different conditions I saw and how much I still have to learn!
In around 8 hours, we saw 18 residents at the nursing home!! WOW-talk about a busy last day! In contrast from the first week of Long Term Care (5 weeks ago), I feel much more comfortable charting on residents. I know where to look for information in the charts, I can 80% read the handwriting in nursing and physician notes and I can recognize several medications based on disease conditions.

Monday is going to be a life-changing day. Well, the next 13-weeks are going to amazing but Monday starts it all. I can't believe it is time to start my last part of my dietetic internship! It's time to buy a lab coat because I am heading to St. Vincent's Hospital to be a acute care dietitian! I can only imagine what I am going to see and do while I intern at the hospital and I am ready for it all! I think it is so neat that I am able to take part in the experience and I know I will remember this dietetic internship for the rest of my life. Although $12,000 is coming out of my bank account to be eligible to sit for the national Registered Dietitian Exam, this 10-month internship is absolutely priceless.

This meal was super comforting after a filled day of interning. The combination of flavors and textures was super delicious and I think I could eat this meal every night of the week. YUM!

Veggie bean and rice stir-fry
firm tofu (cubed)
mushrooms (sliced)
Garlic (chopped)
Red Beans
Olive oil
Soo Foo blend (you can use your favorite whole grains) -
optional: sunflower seeds

1. Cook rice (may take 30-45 min).
2. In a small pan on medium heat, cook garlic and tofu in a little olive oil (1/2 tbsp) until golden brown. Sprinkle with a little paprika to help with browning.
3. While tofu is cooking, steam mushrooms and broccoli in medium bot until soft.
4. When tofu is finished cooking (and veggies are steamed), empty water from veggies and add tofu and garlic to broccoli and mushrooms. Add beans (if canned, rinse well with water).
5. When rice is finished cooking, place a serving of rice (1/2 cup) in a large bowl and top with beans, mushrooms and broccoli. Top with seeds.


Breakfast for dinner

Swimming early in the morning always makes me dream of yummy breakfast creations. There is something about a 6am swim, with all of my friends (and amazing Master swim coach Lindsey) that makes me happy...and with a tummy for comforting breakfast foods.

This morning pooped me do many of my master swims. Although a swimmer in college (200 butterfly, 200 IM and 100 breastroke) I only have dreams of swimming as fast as I did when I was in my late teens and early 20's. Now I am a triathlete (and wife) so I must balance swimming with everything else in my life. However, my love for swimming is greater than ever. Sometimes I lay in bed, watching the fish in our bedroom 30-gallon fish tank, wishing I could be like them and swim all day. Swim and eat, swim and eat. What a life!

So, I have had my eye on the "fast" lane for the past 2 years and it was only a matter of time that I was told to try to swim with the fast boys and Mallory (my good friend). Over the past month, I have been testing my speed in in the outside lane and well, it is paying off! I was always in between lanes and my coach said I needed a lane on the laneline because I was too slow for the fast boys and not being pushed going first in my lane. I love my lane mates but per Karel's is time to push myself in the water.
Because the guys (and Mallory) are super fast (like 1:05-1:10 min per 100yrds at a moderate pace) I can't hang with them for sets over a 200...or else I will get lapped. However, for the past few weeks, I have managed to swim with a crazy-high heart rate(and fatigued arms) and still make the cycle.
This morning was a test of my speed and endurance!
After a 5.75 mile run on the treadmill:
Main set: 5 x 2 min @ 7.8mph/1% incline w/ 1 min easy 7.4 mph
2 min easy jog
5 x 90 sec @ 8.3 mph/1% incline w/ 30 sec. rest (straddle treadmill)

I jumped in the pool for a great 4000 yrd practice in the fast lane. Yippe!!
400 warm-up
10 x 200's (desc 1-4, 5 recovery, desc 6-9, 10 recovery).
The cycle was 3 min and I did ALL of them on 2:30-2:33...I can't believe it! Just two weeks ago I was swimming 2:42 for a 200! I guess being pushed (and chased) is a good thing for me.
5 x 100's IM on 1:30
600 pull (breathing 3,5,7 by 50)
200 kick
300 warm-down

Whew...what a great morning! Glad I took MON off and slept in (with no workout) on Tues. I have been T-I-R-E-D and a little rest was just what Coach Karel ordered. NOT COMPLAINING!!! :)

The other day at a Nursing Home, I was reviewing charts and while figuring out nutrient-needs I noticed that this resident had a BMI of 13! Normal BMI (Body Mass Index) is around 18-24 for a healthy weight. Certainly, this man was extremely underweight for his height. I can't recall his diagnosis but I do remember seeing "breakfast for all meals" on his diet order.

I have seen a wide variety of meal preferences, diets and diagnoses while interning at Nursing homes but I have to say that I have only seen 1 diet slip that requested breakfast for all 3 meals. Hey...I can't blame him!

I hope you enjoy this "balanced" dinner. Who says pancakes are only for breakfast??

Fruity pancakes and Eggs
1 cup your favorite whole grain pancake mix (I typically make my pancakes from scratch with whole wheat flour)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
X-amount of water (I like to bump up the protein of my pancakes so even if the mix calls for water, I like to add around 1/2 cup milk and then whatever the "water" measurement is, I add in the rest water).
1 tbsp flax seed (ground)
Fruit - apple slices, cherries
Favorite nut/seeds - a few spoonfuls of your fav nuts/seeds, I used walnuts and sunflower seeds.

1. Combine ingredients and mix well. Add additional water (if needed) so that batter just barely drips off spoon.
2. On medium heat on a non-stick pan, spray with a little non-stick spray and spoon a ladle full of batter.
3. Flip after a few minutes.

Scrambled eggs w/ Spinach
2 egg whites + 1 whole egg (per person) w/ a splash of milk
1 large handful spinach
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1/2 tbsp olive oil

1. On medium heat, cook garlic in olive oil until golden.
2. Add spinach until semi-wilted.
3. Add scrambled eggs and toss until cooked to your liking.

Optional topping for pancakes:
Natural Peanut butter and low sugar Jelly
Honey and non fat plain yogurt w/ cinnamon
Banana slices w/ Natural PB


Quick Studies

I was just told by a friend of mine that the 2010 IMWI Kona qualifiers (for Kona 2011) were featured on So many amazing memories just rushed back into my well as a few painful ones!

Just cleaning up my stack of magazines and came across my July/Aug 2010 issue of Nutrition Action

Thought I'd provide a few quick studies that were listed on pg 8. of the magazine. Enjoy!

Sleep More, Eat Less
Wondering why you're so hungry? Maybe it's because you're not getting enough sleep.
Researchers allowed 12 healthy young lean men to sleep for either four or eight hours in a laboratory. After one night of four hours of sleep, the men ate 22 percent more calories the next day than they did after eight hours. They also reported being more hungry before breakfast and dinner.
In a separate study, scientists found that a single night with only four hours of sleep led to insulin resistance in nine healthy lean men and women in their 40s. After the night of restricted sleep, the participants were less able to move blood sugar into their cells, which suggests that their bodies were at least temporarily resistant to insulin. Insulin resistance can lead to heart disease, diabetes and possibly breast cancer.
What to do: Get enough sleep. most adults need 7-8 hours a night. (School-aged children need at least 9 hours). Other studies that limit adults' sleep find higher levels of ghrelin (which makes people hungry) and lower levels of leptin (which makes people feel full) in their blood. Changes in ghrelin, leptin and insulin resistance may explain why studies find a higher risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure in people who get too little sleep.
Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 91 1550, 2010 and J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 95: 2963, 2010.

The pressure's On
Cutting back on soda and other sugary beverages may lower your blood pressure.
In a 1 1/2 year study of people with prehypertension or hypertension, blood pressure fell by 1.8 points (Systolic) over 1.1 point (diastolic) among those who cut out one serving a day of soft drinks or other sugar-sweetened beverages.
A 3-point drop in systolic pressure, not the authors, would reduce stroke deaths by 8 percent and heart disease deaths by 5 percent nationwide.
What to do: Drink mostly water (filtered from the tap) or drinks (like tea, coffee, or sodas) that aren't sweetened with sugar.
Circulation 121:2398, 2010.

Brown Rice Rules
Why choose brown rice over white?
Researchers tracked nearly 200,000 men and women for 14-22 years. Those who ate at least 5 servings of white rice per week had a 17 percent higher risk of Type 2 diabetes than those who ate less than one serving a month. in contrast, people who ate at least two servings of brown rice a week had an 11 percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes than those who ate less than one serving a month.
A separate study found that among women who already had diabetes, those who ate the most bran (around 10grams per day) had about a 35 percent lower risk of dying of heart disease than those who ate the least bran (1 gram per day). It didn't matter if the bran came from whole grains or was added to meals as bran itself.
What to do: Switch from refined to whole grains. Brown rice may protect against diabetes because it has more fiber, vitamins, and magnesium and other minerals than white rice, and because it raises blood sugar less than white rice does. However, other whole grains, like bulgur and whole-grain pasta, raise blood sugar even less than brown rice.
Arch. Intern. Med. 170:961, 2010 and Circulation 121: 2162, 2010.


Raising Healthy Eaters

While I was interning one day last week, I picked up our local Health Magazine called Natural Awakenings.
I came across an article written by Leannette Lee Bessinger (award winning lifestyle and nutrition educator) and Tracee Yablon Brenner, a RD who founded
Although my children all have fur and four legs, I think many parents would agree that it is hard to raise healthy eaters. Regardless if you are trying to adapt more heart-healthy eating habits (alongside daily physical activity), it's tough to want to eat fruits and veggies when "all the other kids get to eat whatever they want".
I remember my childhood. Lots of candy. I became a vegetarian at the age of 12 but my diet didn't reflect heart healthy eating. My diet was filled with pasta, pizza (bagel bites), cheese, bagels, soda and more cheese and every now and then an ice berg salad drenched in ranch dressing.
While my healthy relationship with food, alongside heart-healthy vegetarian habits to support my endurance training and racing lifestyle, didn't happen over night, I feel confident that I have habits in my life that will last forever, because I enjoy what I prepare and put into my body.

Here are a few pieces from the article:
-About one in three older babies and toddlers are not eating a single vegetable on a given day and eating habits don't improve as children get older.
-According to a benchmark National Cancer Institute study, only 1% of all children between the ages of 2 and 19 years meet all requirements by the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.
-In 2010, the ADA (American Dietetic Association) reported that upwards of 23 million U.S. children and adolescents are now overweight or obese and currently at risk for other health problems associated with obesity. That's nearly 1 in 3 children.
-Key parental practices can have long-ranging benefits for the family:
1) Keep a neutral attitude about food, even if it's counterintuitive. When introducing solids to a child, it is helpful to present the foods in a relaxed, neutral way, with no pressure to eat them.
2) Avoid labeling certain foods as good, bad or even healthy to sidestep the response "This is good for me? I don't like it!"
3) Be patient. It may take up to 15 presentations before a child is willing to try something new and then several tastings before they decide they like it.
4) Offer a variety of flavors from a very young age to familiarize children with many dimensions of tastes and textures.

-A diet high in simple carbs (ex. crackers, sweetened cereals, 100% fruit juices) not only keeps sugar levels slightly elevated but prevents the true hunger signal from turning on fully. This, in turn causes little ones to act finicky about certain foods, like vegetables. It can also prompt them to eat less of more nutritionally balanced foods on their plate at mealtime.
-In children who have blood sugar sensitivity (any kind), the more sweet foods they eat, the more they will tend to want. If a parent wants to offer a sweet snack, include some additional fiber, protein or healthy fat to balance it, because these nutrients act as a time-release mechanism for sugars and will help to regulate a more natural appetite.
-According to the ADA's Pediatric Manual of Clinical Dietetics, vegetarian children tend to be leaner than their non-vegetarian peers: it doesn't mean that simply eliminating meat is a recipe for obesity prevention.
-According to the ADA, a varied and appropriately planned vegetarian diet can meet all of a growing baby and toddler's nutritional needs.
-To encourage reluctant youngesters to eat more vegetables, try roasting them, especially green produce and root veggies. Also serve a new vegetable in a way similar to one that they already like; eg. baking homemade sweet potato fries cut in familiar shapes. Kid-size veggies like mini-broccoli trees or baby carrots have appeal. Dressing up plain veggies with dips and shakers of a mild herb, spice, Parmesan cheese, ground seeds or wheat germ adds to the fun.
-Encourage toddlers to help out in the kitchen by asking them to wash and sort the veggies or arrange them in a pretty way on the platter. If children are involved in preparing foods, they are more likely to eat them.

What I really like about this article is that the article really relates to my life, my athletes and likely, everyone reading this blog. It's not about a number on a scale, a certain size clothing or calorie restriction/extreme exercise. Rather, healthy eating is all about living a quality life with quality food in the body. Regardless of your current diet, weight or lifestyle routine, incorporating more wholesome (foods close to or from the earth) foods into your daily diet will likely leave you feeling satisfied at and between meals and with more energy to meet your daily goals.

Any other tips for raising healthy eaters? I'd love to hear your tips for encouraging your children (or yourself) to eat more fruits and veggies.


Tofu salad w/ brown rice

What a weekend. My eyes are heavy.....despite getting 9 1/2 hrs of sleep last night.
To take me away from my studying life, I had several athletes racing this weekend. Talk about a quick adrenaline rush, after my 15 mile run this am (1 hr and 55 min) I anxiously waited for two of my athletes to text me. the middle of my studying, I received a text from each Lisa and Taryn letting me know that they both PR'd in the Rock N' Roll half marathon in Arizona this morning! Congrats to Taryn for breaking 2 hours (1:56) and to Lisa for a 30-min PR (2:06). Talk about putting the training to the test. Way to go girls!
In the south, Gary had a 10K PR! At the young age of 62, Gary amazes me after every training session and race. With an official time of 49:55, for a 8:02 mile/pace, Gary finally broke the 50 min 10K time!
Congrats Gary, Taryn and Lisa!!
Oh...also a BIG congrats to Ange (Angela Bancroft) for running a 3:10 marathon this weekend!! Ange was the first person I worked with on nutrition (sports nutrition) and we have developed a wonderful relationship over the past several years. We have worked together on training/racing nutrition for her first IM, Kona, IM WC 70.3 and lots of other events and she always amazes me. She has an amazing coach (Jen Harrison) and I am so happy to hear that this mom of 3 had a 17 min PR! Congrats Ange!!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!! This is my LAST week of Long Term Care!! Bear with me as I am both overwhelmed and nervous about starting at St. Vincent's hospital next week and changing up my lifestyle routine...once again. Although I have 7 months of interning and 2 rotations behind me, I have a feeling this is going to be one of the most stressful, busy, exciting and overwhelming experiences in my life. I thought graduate school was tough....but I think becoming a Registered Dietitian is right there beside getting my MS in Exercise Physiology.

I made the most delicious salad the other night. I absolutely LOVED my cherry, orange and tofu salad so I repeated the salad (same ingredients as my Winter Salad blog post) but topped the salad with a scoop of cooked brown rice. YUMMM, so comforting!