Essential Sports Nutrition


Taco Salad

We all know that the "taco" part of a taco salad is not-so friendly for the heart (or waist). Sure, once or twice a year is no big deal but choosing a taco-salad as a "healthy choice" is not likely to help when meeting your weight/performance goals if on-occasion becomes every now and then.

The average taco-salad (with the fried shell) contains around 950-1000 kcal, around 50-60g fat and close to 2000 mg sodium. The other night I was going for a veggie-filled wrap until my tortilla began to toast more than I wanted. I typically toast my tortilla on a low heat pan (after I cook my veggies) with a little non stick spray for a minute or two (total, both sides included) but when I started to see the bubbles in my "La Tortilla Factory 100 kcal tortilla ( I realized that there was no way I would be able to fold my wrap. I ended up putting my tortilla in a shallow bowl and I noticed that I was able to bend the edges (when it was still warm) so that it resembled a taco shell...but without the grease!! I was very impressed with my presentation, I couldn't wait til Karel came home from work to let him know we were having "taco salads" for dinner!

I'll leave the inside toppings up to you (be creative!) but I used tomatoes, green peppers, tofu, leftover Israeli couscous, onions, mushrooms, chickpeas, corn, garlic and romaine lettuce.

Heart-Healthy Taco Salad



It's finally here! It's all a bit surreal right now because I am 4-weeks away from no longer being a dietetic intern. As I cleaned up my binder this week and sat with my preceptor to sign-off on my many assignments and projects, I could not believe how far I have come in the past 14 weeks. It was only 14 weeks ago that I was starting my clinical rotation for Long Term Care and overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge that was necessary to be a clinical dietitian. It was a quick 5 weeks because before I knew it, I was stepping foot in St. Vincent's Hospital, surrounded by physicians, nurses, pharmacists, family health, MD's, specialty doctors and of course, acute care dietitians.
After 14 weeks of interning, today will be my last day for my clinical rotation and I will be spending 4 weeks "playing RD" with my own task list, covering different units/floors all by myself. The RD assigned to the unit(s) will sign-off on my notes but it will be up to me to assess patients, do follow-ups, do calculations and decide on the best interventions to help the patients. A few weeks ago I was scared out of my mind for staff relief, but after 5 days in the ICU and CCU, I feel much more prepared for my case load.
Yesterday I spent time with the St. Vincent's Hospital Certified Diabetes Educator and absolutely loved every minute of outpatient care. In my heart, I know outpatient is where I belong so I look forward to receiving my hard-earned RD behind my name so I can practice in an outpatient setting.

I recently received my favorite magazine in the mail (Nutrition Action April 2011) and couldn't wait to read it. I'm still having to study for my practice RD quizzes which are every weekend until my final exam on April 22 (my last day of interning) but I managed to squeeze a little time for some light-nutrition reading. I hope you enjoy a little blurb from the magazine, from an article titled "10 Common Food Goofs"

"I avoid high-fructose corn syrup"
"now, new research at Oregon Health and Science University demonstrates that the brain - which serves as a master control for body weight - reacts differently to fructose compared to another common sweetener, glucose," said the OHSU press release in February.
"High fructose corn syrup has become the sweetener most commonly added to processed foods," it noted, adding that "Many dietary experts believe this increase directly correlates to the nation's growing obesity epidemic."
NO wonder shoppers are confused. Even some institutions of higher education don't seem to know that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) isn't pure fructose.
IN fact, HFCS is, on average, roughly half fructose and half glucose. (It's "high" in fructose compared to ordinary corn syrup, which is pure glucose). Ordinary table sugar? Half fructose and half glucose.
So if anyone wants to say that fructose caused the obesity epidemic, regular sugar deserves just as much blame. As do evaporated cane juice and honey (which are also half fructose), brown rice syrup, agave nectar, barley malt syrup, and juice concentrates.
A smattering of foods actually contain pure (crystalline) fructose. But they're often foods like Vitaminwater, Kashi GOLEAN Crunchy! Protein & Fiber Bars, and Weight Watchers Yogurt. GO figure.
What's more, some people who avoid HFCS also avoid food that raise blood sugar levels-that is, foods with a high glycemic index. Guess what? Glucose has the highest. (Table sugar and HFCS are in the middle).
Bottom line: Fructose raised harmful triglycerides more than other sugars do. But most sweeteners are about half fructose and half glucose, so it's smart to minimize all sugars, not just HFCS.


4 more days!!

I can't believe I am entering my last (14th) week of clinical interning and my 32nd week of interning. After this week I will be starting "staff relief" and on April 22th, I will be finished with my internship. Between now and then comes two finals, 4 more quizzes and turning in my binder (on Thurs) and hopefully I will successfully complete my internship program in order to receive my papers that say I am eligible for the RD exam.

I had a little time this weekend so enjoy some non-interning reading so I choose the April 2011 issue of Consumer Reports on Health. There were three great articles and I thought I'd share them with you since they are very relevant to my fitness-oriented blog readers. Enjoy!

(p.s. bear with me this week....I'm hoping to stay balanced but I have 4 more days in the ICU, a meeting with my preceptor to approve/sign-off on my assignments in my binder and another quiz to study for this weekend...oh and healthy cooking + training to keep me happy)

Is it possible to make your own electrolyte replenishing drink?
Yes and it can save you money and calories. Electrolytes are minerals in your body that help maintain proper muscle and nervous system function. The best known are sodium, potassium and chloride. Anything that seriously depletes your body's store of fluids - including diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive sweating - can also disrupt your balance of electrolytes. To make your own formula for replacing them, mix 4 cups of water with 2 tbsp of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir thoroughly. You can add lemon juice or sugar-free flavoring if desired. Have a banana along with it to get some potassium. Unless you do endurance sports, steer clear of electrolyte sports drinks such as Gatorade. They have lots of calories, and the added sugar can actually worsen diarrhea and nausea.

(In my opinion, I am not a fan of Gatorade for any type of fitness training or event, unless it is on the course. I believe that you should train with a maltodextrin drink to improve performance and then on race day you will perform based on your race day fueling plan and previous training..not just what you use on the course unless your body can't tolerate the drink. As for Gatorade during training, I recommend Hammer or your choice of a maltodextrin drink)

Fat-soluble vitamins: You've reported that some fat in the stomach is necessary in order to absorb vitamin D from food. Does it matter what type of fat?
Not in terms of absorption, but you should stick mainly to unsaturated fats, found in fish and most vegetable oils, rather than saturated ones, which can raise LDL 9bad) cholesterol. Foods that contain those healthful fats are themselves often rich in fat-soluble vitamins, which include A,E, and K in addition to D. Good sources include avocados, nuts, vegetable oils, and fatty fish such as wild salmon and trout. But don't take the need for a little fat as license to overdo it. even when it's the healthful kind, fat should account for only about 15-35% of your daily calories.

Glucosamine and chondroitin: Possibly helpful
Research is mixed on whether these supplements can slow the progression of osteoarthritis. But there's some decent evidence that they can alleviate pain in a subset of patients with moderate to severe arthritis of the knee based on a large, multicenter trial published in 2006. A 2005 CONSUMER REPORTS survey of some 2000 people who tried the combination found that it eased arthritis symptoms at least as effectively as over-the-counter drugs.
Bottom Line: People with arthritis pain might consider taking 1500 mg of glucosamine sulfate and 1200 mg of chondroitin sulfate daily, separated into three doses. Stop after three months if you don't see improvement in your pain severity. Talk with your doctor before taking glucosamine if you have a shellfish allergy, since it's made from the shells of sea creatures. And don't take glucosamine with warfarin (Coumadin and generic) because it can interfere with the blood thinning action of the drug.

Manufactures of dietary supplements don't have to prove that their products are safe or effective before they reach the market, as drug makers do. So if you decide to take supplements, look for products with the "USP Verified" mark. That indicated that the U.S. Pharmacopeia, a nonprofit standards-setting authority, has verified the quality, purity and potency of the raw ingredients or finished product.