Essential Sports Nutrition


Happy Friday!

Campy reminds me that every day, we have the choice of having a good day or a great day.

"If you have a goal in life that takes a lot of energy, that requires a lot of work, that incurs a great deal of interest and that is a challenge to you, you will always look forward to waking up to see what the new day brings." -
Susan Polis Schultz

Do you have a reason to live for today?

If so, then you are far from a bad day.

"Deal with the bad days quickly, move on in a positive manner and realize that YOUR bad day could be someone's BEST day."

Keep in mind that your attitude will drive you and that one negative experience should not be seen as a streak of bad luck. Most people recognize bad days because they are often among many, many good and great days. Everyone has an "off" day...but it is never a bad day when you can love, live and make choices that will encourage a better tomorrow (and later today).

Happy Friday and don't forget to thank your body!

Happy Friday!

Campy reminds me that every day, we have the choice of having a good day or a great day.

"If you have a goal in life that takes a lot of energy, that requires a lot of work, that incurs a great deal of interest and that is a challenge to you, you will always look forward to waking up to see what the new day brings." -
Susan Polis Schultz

Do you have a reason to live for today?

If so, then you are far from a bad day.

"Deal with the bad days quickly, move on in a positive manner and realize that YOUR bad day could be someone's BEST day."

Keep in mind that your attitude will drive you and that one negative experience should not be seen as a streak of bad luck. Most people recognize bad days because they are often among many, many good and great day. Everyone has an "off" day...but it is never a bad day when you can love, live and make choices that will encourage a better tomorrow (and later today).

Happy Friday and don't forget to thank your body!


Orange walnut biscotti's

Tis the season of holiday parties

and cute pics of Campy

Last night was the end of the year Hammerhead Triathlon Club party and was catered by the Pita Pit. The falafel and hummus pita's were delicious! The party included a cookie contest and I was excited to come up with a new creations to bring to the party. Knowing that I am not a baker and that my "healthy" creations do not compare to the decadent taste of chocolate covered peanut butter balls, Andes-mint chocolate chip cookies and Scandinavian powdered balls....I figured that I was baking for me and Karel and I knew that my coffee-loving husband would LOVE my biscotti's.

Although only a few people at the party commented that they liked my creation (I'm surprised people tried them as they were sitting between chocolate chip cookies and my favorite...carrot cake!), I am positive that you will enjoy them as a crunchy treat, not loaded with butter, sugar and oil. So while we all welcome a few occasional treats around the holiday's, I invite you to try to make these biscotti's as a healthy alternative to keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Although baking requires a bit more "science" in terms of having the right quantity and mixture of ingredients to create the final product, my intent with my "Creations" is to not focus on reducing calories, fat, carbs, sugar, sodium, etc. and to promote an item as "low cal, low sugar, low etc." nor do I feel the need to add "diet" foods to my meal in order to reduce calories. My goal and hope for you, is that you will spend more time and energy focusing on adding nutrients and nutritional value to your meals and onward, to your body.
I find that when I create meals and a few blog-worthy desserts with wholesome ingredients, there is little need to "worry" about the nutrients that so many feel are necessary to control, in terms of controlling weight and reaching fitness gains. From my own experience and through working with others, there is something so magical that happens for both mind and body when you not only take pride in your creations but you build a meal from primarily wholesome ingredients.

As you are waiting for your biscotti's to bake, here's a blog I did in 2008 on
clean and healthy eating

Orange Walnut Biscotti's
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs + 1 egg white
1 tbsp plain yogurt (non fat)
1 tbsp orange zest (wash the orange before zesting)
1 tsp almond extract
3 tbsp chopped raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.
3. Beat eggs, yogurt, zest and almond extract.
4. Add liquid to dry and beat on low.
*After a few minutes of beating, I removed the beater and mixed by hand until flour was well combined.
5. Fold in raisins and walnuts.
6. When ingredients are well combined and flour is mixed in very well, lightly rub olive oil on a non stick baking sheet.
7. Take pieces of the dough and roll with hands (may need to use a little water or cooking spray on hands to prevent sticking) into logs (about the size of your pointer finger) and press down to make the shape of the biscotti.
*After 20 of them, I was tired of making the logs so I decided to just roll them in my hands so that they were more like large pretzel sticks.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly brown on the bottom and snap when broken in half.

*I made a cranberry dipping sauce to go along with the biscotti's. This is where you will likely need to adjust recipe by taste because I used 1 bag cranberries and only 1/4 cup sugar (cooked according to package of cranberries) so the sauce is a bit tart but we like it that way (and use it in smoothies, oatmeal and with PB).


Iron poppers and Seasons 52

Unbeknown to many, I spend a lot of time researching information for my articles. This article (on Iron), specifically, took a lot of time in putting together. What a complex topic!! But that's ok...all it took was a little time in my kitchen to come up with one of my most favorite recipes EVER!!! My editor and I are calling them "Iron poppers" but feel free to call them what they are.....Iron balls!

A friend of mine, Jennifer Hutchison, RD, commented that she made a similar recipe in 2000 when she made something wholesome and easy to carry for her friends who were training for an Ironman. She called them Iron Ballz.
Jennifer reminded me that we have a similar product on the market... "POWER BITES"!! Although my intent wasn't to re-create a sports nutrition product, I guess my idea to combine several non-heme foods in a food processor and roll them into a ball, is a great "powerful" snack!

I hope you enjoy them and if you want to make them a little less sticky, be sure to keep them in the refrigerator and perhaps, roll them in oats prior to putting them in the 'fridge.

Last night, Karel and I joined the other 3 dietitians from my work (Baptist Medical Center Beaches) and their hubby's at Seasons 52. This restaurant just opened in the Town Center here in Jacksonville, FL and was a perfect place for 4 RD's to celebrate the holiday season. If you have the opportunity to go to Seasons 52, get ready to be inspired!! This restaurant is a fresh grill and wine bar, that provides a "fresh dining experience that celebrates living well".

guests feel the freedom to indulge in a complete dining experience, including our custom flatbreads and signature mini-indulgence desserts, while still feeling good about themselves and their dining choices.

Here's a little about the menu from the website:

We use natural cooking techniques such as wood-fire grilling,
brick-oven cooking and caramelizing vegetables to let the natural flavors shine through. And we execute precision with seasoning, and oil with control and care to ensure just the right amount is used to bring out the great flavor profiles. An added benefit to this style is that our menu items are naturally lower in calories. In fact, we make a promise that nothing on our menu is over 475 calories. The result is great tasting, highly satisfying food that just so happens to be good for you!

Our Dinner Menu evolves with the season and features broadly appealing signature guest favorites. Guest favorites include the Cedar Plank Atlantic Salmon, Caramelized Sea Scallops, Garlic Chicken Flatbread, Roasted Crab-Stuffed Shrimp, Ripe Plum Tomato Flatbread, Grilled Rack of New Zealand Lamb and the Char Crust Filet Mignon. This menu is designed to offer something for everyone, featuring a precise balance – no more and no less- of what needs to be featured every day. It is approachable and easy to navigate with straightforward terminology and accessible price points.

Our Specials Menu features specials and new market inspirations 52 weeks a year. It features the future of Seasons 52, offering guests the adventure of tasting fresh infusions and flavor combinations which feature ingredients at their peak of freshness and flavor profile. Because the Specials Menu is constantly evolving, we keep it flexible and nimble enough to change on a moment’s notice.

We’re enormously proud to be the pioneer, originator and founder of the mini indulgence. And we’re flattered that other restaurants are trying to emulate what we have done. The whole concept of the mini indulgence is just that- indulgence in a smaller portion size. Our desserts are designed to feature high-impact flavors and top quality ingredients, such as Belgian Callebaut Chocolate. We make the real thing… dessert… in all its decadence, and then we put it into a shot-size glass. So our guests get to have all of the pleasure and none of the guilt- along with the chance to try more than one in a visit!

I speak a lot about plant based eating in order to create a solid nutrition foundation for overall health, wellness and to support the demands of physical fitness. But I also believe in my saying that "if you eat well most of the time, you don't have to worry about the rest of the time". Holidays, special events, celebrations and occasional treats are all "welcomed" opportunities that should not make a significant impact on your personal fitness and weight goals, so long as you are focusing on the small consistent habits that make for a lasting life-changing journey.

Because we do not eat out but more than a few times per year (primarily when we travel or for our anniversary), I typically look forward to something "different" that I wouldn't normally eat on a daily basis. I love a warm brick oven fired pizza veggie burger on fresh bread or a mexican-inspired tofu wrap. I love to support local and family-owned restaurants and primarily eat at chains only prior to a race (ex. Outback!). It just seems silly for me to go to a restaurant and order a (expensive) salad similar to what I would eat on a daily basis. Also, due to fact that many restaurants lack the concept that in order to keep the vegetarians happy as well as others who see eating out as an opportunity to add more nutrient density to the diet, a bowl of greens topped with veggies will not do the job! A plant based diet is simply the foundation of our daily diet and should be complimented with lean/low fat protein, whole grains and healthy fats. Sadly, most "marni-friendly" meals at restaurants leave me un-satisfied after the meal...and I cringe when I look at the prices (especially when I have to order a meal without the meat but I still have to pay full price).

Well, I was pleasantly satisfied after my meal last night. The Farmer’s Market Vegetable Plate with butternut squash, grilled ponzu tofu and toasted almond tabbouleh was one of the most amazing-tasting "creations" that I have ever consumed. Every part of this meal had my taste buds jumping up and down and I was in total "plant-based" heaven as I consumed this meal.

What's the best "plant-based" vegetarian (aka "animal-protein" free meal that you ever ordered at a restaurant? Please share your comments of your favorite restaurant and meal below. If you asked for substitutions or add-on's, include those as well!
Let's see if we can get 52 suggestions for some "rest of the time" creations! Your suggestions will likely inspire me to get creative in my kitchen!


Tabouleh and gluten-free grains

There's not a week that goes by where I don't get at least one email or face-to-face question about gluten-free and grains.

I always learn an incredible amount about the human body, every single time that I step into the Baptist Medical Center beaches (where I work as a PRN clinical dietitian). Since becoming a RD, I have a new found respect for the body and how irrational it is to think that one must avoid certain foods without having an underlying reason to do so. Working with patients who have serious reactions to gluten due to the diagnosis of celiac disease, makes me appreciate my body and how amazing it is on a daily basis.

It is apparent, however, that the human body is not like what it once was in decades past....nor are our food choices. Due to the high intake of processed foods (specifically high sugar, high fat and high sodium foods as well as artificially flavored, "diet" foods), the body is constantly fighting foods that are consumed in an un-natural form. More so, the average diet lacks adequate consumption of fruits and veggies to promote optimal health...thus my belief that we should consume a "plant-strong" diet not to avoid meat but to rather promote optimal nutrient consumption.

It doesn't surprise me that the human GI system is working overtime and many people are experiencing symptoms of bloating, inflammation, diarrhea and constipation. While it's easy to blame "gluten" for this reason, perhaps we should recognize that an increase consumption of processed foods, processed meats an over-consumption of "energy" products have contributed to an over-worked and weak GI tract.

One thing that saddens me with the current Paleo-diet fad, is the elimination of whole grains (NOTE: this is only one of my concerns as I do not feel the diet is beneficial to health, performance or a healthy relationship with food in it's strictest form). In a recent November issue of TODAY's DIETITIAN (Vol 13, No 11), there was a great article on Gluten-free grains (p. 28).

The article is specific to patients who have diabetes, celiac disease, gluten intolerances and dermatitis herpetiformis and encourages RDs to help educate this certain population on how to incorporate alternative whole grains into the diet. I find this an important piece of information because as a RD, I do not feel it is my job to tell you what to remove from the diet, without an underlying issue negatively affecting your overall health. When it comes to weight loss, performance gains or body composition changes, eliminating gluten is a simple answer to a complex problem as removing breakfast cereals, pancakes, bread, muffins, cake and crackers from the diet will ultimately encourage weight loss due to the reducing of refined flours and total carbohydrate consumption. However, there are more practical and balanced approaches to feeling better and losing weight, than eliminating a food group (or opting for a processed "gluten free" version) and not accepting the bigger issue of learning how to plan a balanced, whole-foods diet to support optimal performance gains and to encourage an improvement in overall health.
Here are some common alternative (most gluten-free) grain options that will help boost cardiovascular health, along with helping you feel more balanced with your overall diet.

-Brown rice
-Wild Rice
-Oats (sometimes safe in a gluten-free diet)

*Gluten is a protein found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye, malts and triticale.

Here's a wonderfully delicious Tabouleh recipe that I made last week. Karel absolutely loved it! I find that when trying new foods or a new way of eating, having variety in a meal will help excite and please all taste buds and will help promote balanced eating habits without fear of "failing" with a new style of eating.

Tabouleh recipe

1. Mix bulger and water according to package (depending on number of servings). Plan for leftovers as bulger has an almost identical nutrition profile to oatmeal and makes for a delicious breakfast with nuts and fruit.
2. While bulgur is cooking, combine 1 cup chopped mushrooms, 2 large roma tomatoes (chopped) and 2 large chives (chopped) in large bowl. Mix together as you add 1/4 cup dried parsley (may use fresh if you want).
3. Combine bulgur and mix well.

To go with your Tabouleh, I made a delicious salad w/ orange slices, grapes, romaine lettuce, feta cheese, hard boiled egg and sunflower seeds. I then took a serving of Tabouleh as the topping to my salad and finished the presentation with 1 sheet of an Egg Roll wrapper (see recipe from last week where I made Tempeh egg roll wrappers) and baked it in the oven (cut into 4 triangles) for a few minutes at 350 degrees. This added a nice crispy crunch to the salad since many Tabouleh meals (or recipes) call for pita bread to go with the whole grain Tabouleh.


(I LOVE my pink measuring cups...they were worthy of a picture)


Passionate about nutrition?

Or, are you in need of some nutrition guidance/help.

Have you ever been placed on a diet, been given (or ordered) a meal plan or told what not to eat by a nutritionist, health coach, triathlon/running coach or nutrition-passionate individual? More so, did you pay that person money for their service? Some say they are too busy or don't want to spend the money on obtaining the Registered Dietitian credential....some don't consider the risks (ex. healt...h of the consumer and individual possibility of being subjected to prosecution for practicing without a license) of providing nutrition advice without having the proper qualifications, education and knowledge. Although we have very strict laws (which I hope will get stricter in the new year) in the state of Florida, do yourself a favor... 1) be aware of who you are obtaining advice from if you are in need of dietary help (including "sports nutrition") 2) If you giving out advice, why not become a RD? You will NOT regret the challenging and mind-opening educational experience as it it the most valuable credential you can obtain if you are passionate about helping others. Please contact me with any questions.

Florida laws on providing nutrition: PART X

I found this section vary interesting...
468.517 Prohibitions; penalties.
(1) A person may not knowingly:
(a) Engage in dietetics and nutrition practice or nutrition counseling for remuneration unless the person is licensed under this part;
(b) Use the name or title “dietitian,” “licensed dietitian,” “nutritionist,” “licensed nutritionist,” “nutrition counselor,” or “licensed nutrition counselor,” or any other words, letters, abbreviations, or insignia indicating or implying that he or she is a dietitian, nutritionist, or nutrition counselor, or otherwise hold himself or herself out as such, unless the person is the holder of a valid license issued under this part;
(c) Present as his or her own the license of another;
(d) Give false or forged evidence to the board or a member thereof;
(e) Use or attempt to use a license that has been suspended, revoked, or placed on inactive or delinquent status;
(f) Employ unlicensed persons to engage in dietetics and nutrition practice or nutrition counseling; or
(g) Conceal information relative to any violation of this part.
(2) A person who violates any provision of this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

Want to learn more about your state?

I have received several emails from individuals passionate about nutrition, considering the RD route. I always enjoy helping others reach their personal weight and performance goals and would love it if all the "nutrition experts" out there would consider taking the route of obtaining the necessary qualifications to help the public.
Believe me, I was YOU (or someone you know) who was so passionate about nutrition and wanted to make it a career (or at least, make it part of my life). However, all I had was a Master of Science degree and a certification in sports nutrition (from the ISSN). I may have had the knowledge but I didn't have the credential. Lesson learned..I thought I had the knowledge but it turns out, my dietetic experience (specifically my internship) gave me a wealth of knowledge that could not be found in a book, a nutrition certification, a triathlon coaching certification an internet site or a blog...or even a bachelor of arts in exercise science with a minor in psychology or a master of science in exercise physiology. I am so ever-grateful for taking a little chunk of time out of MY life, in order to be qualified to help others.

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