Essential Sports Nutrition


"Bad" food and upcoming event this evening

There are no rules in my diet, nor in my training routine. I understand that each day builds on one another and with balance, I can feel growth both as an active individual and as a health conscious individual. It's important that we recognize that we can only reduce risk for disease and illness....because rarely is anything 100% preventable in life.

I believe that we all should embrace situations with the idea that what we put into something is directly proportional to what we get out of it. But sometimes, if done right, we get more out of something than what we put in. Knowing that a sweet treat here or there or a few missed workouts will not cause an "end of the world" situation, never lose sight of how you are living your life. Simply addressing those competing voices in your head is the easiest and most simple way of finding ways to create balance so that you are living life with happiness and satisfaction and not regret.

You see, what's the point of achieving personal body composition or performance goals, if you are not enjoying the process??? I always say "what's the point of a lean body if you can't do anything with it?"

We all need breaks here and there and life can not be filled with rules, restrictions, disciplined regimes and behaviors that limit social interactions and an enjoyable flexible lifestyle. Although I firmly believe that consistency with realistic behaviors will ensure a quality filled life, we all deserve a break here and there and sometimes it is best-welcomed, when we aren't expecting it to happen.

I wanted to share a few products featured in the Nutrition Action Healthletter (NA-P-362). As one of my favorite magazines, I enjoy reading evidenced-based articles, with a funny twist. We have a tendency (as a society) to always label food as good or "bad" and with these following foods, I would have to label them as "YIKES". However, with a balanced approach to living life, you can't help but laugh with an open mouth, when it comes to the following food items:

Triple Bypass: - Can't decide what to pick from a restaurant menu? No worries. Now you can order not just one entree, but two..or three...all at once. Olive Garden's Tour of Italy - Homemade Lasagna, Lightly breaded chicken parmigiana and creamy fetuccine alfredo - comes with 1450 caloreis, 33g of sat fat and 3830 mg of sodium. Add a breadstick (150 calories and 400mg of sodium) and a plate of garden-fresh salad w/ dressing (350 calories and 1930mg of sodium) and you'll consume almost 2000 calories (an entire day's worth) and 6160mg of sodium (4 days' worth) in a single meal!

Salt's on! - An average cup of Campbell's Condensed soup has 760mg of sodium. But most people eat the whole can of soup, which contains 1900mg of sodium - more than most adults should consume in an entire day! Look for Campbell's Healthy Request, Progresso Reduced Sodium and Healthy CHoice soups with sodium in the 400s (still a lot if you eat the whole can). Brands like Amy's, Imagine Foods, Pacific Natural Foods and Tabatchnick have even less sodium.

Stone Cold - Cold Stone creamery's Oh Fudge! shake (chocolate ice cream, milk and fudge syrup) starts at 1250 calories for the "like it" (16 oz) size. That's more than a large (32 ounce) McDonald's McCafe Chocolate triple Thick shake. The "love it" (20 oz) has 1660 calories and the "Gotta Have it" (24 oz) reaches 1920 calories (just about an entire day's worth) and 69g of sat fat (3.5 day's worth). That's the sat fat content of 2 x 16-ounce T-bone steaks plus a buttered baked potato, all blended into a handy 24-oz cup.

Starbucks on Steroids - The starbucks venti (20 oz) white chocolate mocha with 2% milk and whippe dcream is more than a mere cup of coffee. It's worse than a McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Few people have room in their diets for the 580 calories and 15 grams of sa fat that this hefty beverage supplies. But you can lose 130 calories and almost 2/3rds of the bad fat if you order it with nonfat milk and no whipped cream.

Tortilla Terror - Interested in a Chipotle Chicken Burrito (tortilla, rice, pinto beans, cheese, chicken, sour cream and salsa)? Think of its 970 calories and 18g sat fat, as three 6-inch Subway BLT Classic Subs! Skipping the cheese or sour cream cuts the sat fat to 6g but you still end up with 750 calories and more than a day's worth of sodium. YIKES!


Time to close your mouth and lower your eye-lids. Yes, I know...crazy stuff that the food industry is "dying" for us to try. The beauty is, however, that no one is forcing you to eat these foods. Although this is a small list compared to the many high-cal, high-fat, high-sodium restaurant-style (or fast-food) meals, along with the overwhelming amount of processed food targeted to consumers (telling us what to buy because they think they know what's best for us), keep in mind that YOU have control over what you put into your body.

The other day, one of my clients reported eating out 10 times per week. I asked my client to have a goal to eat out 5 or less times per week. My client ate ou 8 times one week but focused on decreasing portions at home, adding more fruits and veggies into the diet and choosing "smarter" options when eating out. I was thrilled at the changes in just 2 weeks!!Success comes in so many ways....aim for progress, not perfection.

In other news....

Upcoming event...TONIGHT!Ask the experts - coaching"Our Experts have come together to offer a few awesome prizes to raffle off at our Ask the Experts event this Friday. Everything from Free 26.2 with Donna SWAG to personal training sessions, free nutrition consultations and goodie bags. The fun starts at 7:00 with some light snacks and drinks with our Experts kicking off the talk at 7:30. If you have any last minute questions please contact Jimmy Manos at the Bartram Park Store 268 0608. See everyone at 7:00 this Friday!"

Marni Sumbal
I realize that hiring a coach can be a costly investment. Success in life and in sport is not easy. Achieving goals and dreams requires a lot of hard work, dedication and discipline. Because consistency is the determining factor of whether or not you will maintain that same level of success, year after year, it is suggested that you hire a coach to keep you successful in this ever changing and evolving world.

Paul McRae

Whether you have never run in your life or are just starting out and would like some one-on-
one coaching to keep you healthy and motivated, we can help. Personal Training, Personal
Results is the main focus when training with Paul Mcrae. Paul also has an indoor training
facility which houses Alter G Treadmills. These treadmills will allow you to train at levels you
never thought were imaginable. From training through injuries and rehabilitation, to increasing
speed, the Alter G Treadmill is your source.

Amanda Napolitano
As director of 26.2 with Donna Foundation, The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer, the training
Amanda provides is traditionally called the “Galloway Method” Although this run/walk method
is mostly used for marathons, it is a great tool to be used for beginner runners as it gives you a
rest/walk period followed by a run period.


Score for Brussels Sprouts!

Life with my husband is never boring....especially at meal time. We LOVE to eat!

Food is an important part of our routine and we can not live without it. However, meal time is not a time for lecturing, feelings of guilt or negative body image thoughts. Actually, there is never a time for those things in our household.

Karel is a very hard working individual, with a lot of drive, determination and discipline. With his European upbringing, Karel has taught me a lot about embracing challenging situations and never believing you will give up.

When it comes to food and exercise, Karel has played an integral role in my philosophy of creating a healthy balance in my lifestyle.

When it comes to creating new habits or improving current lifestyle practices, I firmly believe that you have to have teamwork. Every person, regardless of personal goals, needs someone to be your #1 cheerleader and supporter. We all need someone to believe in us, when we don't believe in our self. Most of all, we need someone to keep us going for as life changes, so do our beliefs, actions and habits in regards to food and nutrition

Karel is not only my best friend but my teammate in life. When I work with clients on nutrition or work with athletes for coaching, I always ask my clients "Do you have people in your life who support you?"

I find this to be an important part of your journey of life. For you never need to be or feel alone when you are trying to create healthful habits to make you a better YOU.

One of my favorite "team work" tips is to help others in your family when it comes to lunch and dinner. If you are the one who always prepares lunch, how about making doubles for others in your family. I find this much easier than always lecturing to others in your family about how important it is to bring a lunch to work/school.

When it comes to dinner, see if others in your family will shop ahead of time or cut up fresh produce. Better yet, by it pre-chopped and see if others will start the oven or start the prep work for a homemade meal.

If others in your family are not yet ready to "be like you", be accepting for we all have to start somewhere. By adding one new vegetable or one new heart-healthy option to a meal, a little bit can go a long way when it comes to appreciating new foods to improve overall health.

Always tired but know you need to exercise more often (or perhaps "train less"), how about involving the family for a walk or inviting friends for an "active" social date?

There are so many ways to involve others in your own journey, without making others feel as if they have change as well. It's important to note that being healthier is more than just eating more fruits and veggies. The best thing you can do for others is to help others when they ask for help but to leave your own personal biases to the side. I feel that the best way you can help others is by inspiring others by your actions. People have the knowledge to make better lifestyle practices, but often they need to see that it can be done. Remember, the best way you can inspire and motivate others is not making others be like you. Even if you ABSOLUTELY believe that what you are doing is the right way, everyone is different wih our own goals and ways of living the best possible life.

Last night, I had a few late afternoon clients at Spa Me. I left the office incredibly proud of my clients for achieving some fantastic changes in lifestyle practices. Of course, the weight loss and body composition changes are worth smiling over, but most importantly, all of my clients thus far are really enjoying practical lifestyle changes without having to stick to a meal plan or counting calories.
When I got home, Karel made the most delicious meal and I couldn't wait to dive right into it. I picked up brussels sprouts earlier that morning after swim practice. Not yet learning how to "appreciate them" in my diet, Karel made a fabulous meal that made me LOVE burssels sprouts!
Talk about team work!

Spicy Orzo and Brussels Sprouts
Orzo (1 serving per person)
Brussels sprouts
Red peppers (roasted in glass jar)
Bell green peppers
Olive oil
Chili pepper

1. Cook orzo according to package.
2. In large pot, coat bottom of pan with olive oil and cook garlic and onions on medium heat until golden brown.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients (all ingredients chopped except brussels sprouts) and stir until well combined.
4. Turn down heat to low and cover. Sprinkle with chili powder and pinch of sea salt. Add a bit of water if veggies begin sticking to bottom.
5. When veggies are soft and cooked, turn off heat.
6. You may either add all of orzo to veggie mixture and mix well, or serve portion controlled orzo with large portion of veggie mixture in your bowl.


A life changing day

"Pile up too many tomorrows and you’ll find that you’ve collected nothing but a bunch of empty yesterdays." -The Music Man

I'm a believer that life is a journey or rather a process in which we make each day profitable for a quality filled life.
It wasn't too long ago that I competed in my 5th Ironman, the 2012 Ironman World Championships. I remember it like it was yesterday and so lucky to share it with Karel, my parents and so many far-away blog readers and friends.

Believe it or not, I still remember my first Ironman as if it was yesterday. In 2006, I had been dating Karel for around 5 months and I wanted no outside help when it came to my triathlon training. At the ripe age of 24, my training was like a child at her own birthday party. I was stubborn, into my own "routine" and completely obsessed with what the day will bring for me.

Although I don't endorse this approach now a day, I managed to succeed very well in my first attempt at the Ironman distance. After 140.6 miles, I won the 18-24 age group by over an hour, finished in 11 hours and 54 seconds, finished top 20 overall female and qualified for Kona.

Although I had a lot of fun training for my first IM, I was very careful with my training and recovery. I paid attention to every single detail and without any help from others, I found myself really intune with my body and needs.
Although I am finding myself MUCH more balanced after 5 years in endurance sports, I still find myself improving with my power, strength and confidence as an athlete..oh, and I am also having a lot more fun.

One thing I have learned over the past 1/2 decade of my life, is that there is a lot of chatter as to the BEST way to do things. Thanks to FB, Twitter, blogs and feedback from others, there is so much advice as to the RIGHT, BEST and ONLY way to do things.

You see, I am ok with change and I am not afraid to fail. With every opportunity that I have taken in the past few years, whether it is school, speaking in front of others, writing in magazines or online, talking with others or just reflecting in my own life, I have found myself becoming a happier and more relaxed person, because I am constantly open to improving my life journey.

The other day in the hospital I went to assess a patient who was in his mid 40's and was dying from prostate cancer. Diagnosed several years ago, the cancer which was once treated with chemo and radiation, had metastasized to various parts of the body. Upon reading the history of this patient, I read the progress notes and felt sad when reading that my patient had been given only a few more months to live. With nothing more to do to save this person's life, it was my turn to visit this patient and to discuss "nutrition".

Unless a patient is in need of tube feeding or nutrition support (ex. ICU, on a vent, trach or other GI/clinical-related reason), my job is to review labs, progress notes and medications as well as activities of daily living. Once I have a snapshot of my patient, I then visit my patient in his/her room. After discussing current appetite, any weight loss/gain or changes in eating, bowel movements or nausea/vomiting, I discuss the best option, for the time being, to improve nutritional status. Typically, this includes the offering of nutrition supplements like Ensure, Nepro (for renal patients) or Glucerna (carb controlled for diabetics) or other in-house supplements.

My patient had diabetes but his blood sugars were under control - even while being on steroids (which often increase blood sugar levels). After reviewing his other labs and current status, it was under my best interest to care for this patient in the best possible way.

With a patient who has no appetite, has lost a severe amount of weight and is in the end of life....would it be wise for me to offer a carb-controlled diet or sugar-free nutritional supplements?

You see, often in life there is no "textbook" or research-supported answer. You have to do what's best for you, at this moment in life and trust your decision that you are making the best choices right now, that will enhance YOUR life. Often we have positive things (or way of doing things) in our life that start out with good intentions but we eventually become too controlled by these actions. Thus, with goals in mind, these activities of life often become negetative in terms of improving the quality of life. Whether it is loving triathlons for the challenge yet always experiencing overuse injury, burnout/overtraining or constant fatigue due to unrealistic training planning OR desiring a certain body image but having to stick to a regimed way of eating that requires conrol and too many intense feelings when it comes to must learn to discover that healthy living and a quality filled life comes from experiences in life that promote satisfaction and pleasure. For if you are too obsessed with trying to be perfect, you lose sight of embracing opportunities to enhance life.

No one knows your body except for yourself. Sure, as a health care professional, I can give you all the tools in the world to succeed, but really it is up to YOU to find the best way to trust yourself and believe in your actions.

Based on my patient's request, I honored his food preferences by providing everything chocolate that was available in the hospital. Without eating for the past 3 months due to no appetite, I was happy that my patient was excited about chocolate ensure, chocolate healthshakes, chocolate pudding and chocolate milk. I added one of each to every meal tray and charted in my notes that I would certainly monitor labs and status.

I left my patient's room knowing that I might not see him again. I smiled at him and wished him a great day and he said thank you with a smile on his face.

Sadly, this was not my only cancer patient of the day.

Thinking back to the last few years of my journey, I can't reiterate how important it is to never forget that you are living for you. When it comes to eating, exercise or how you are choosing to life your life, DO NOT associate regret with your actions. Understand that you can't change everything in life but with small changes, you can constantly work towards a better you.

Perhaps one day, you will experience a life-changing day and you will say to yourself... "WOW - my life really does ROCK!".


Homemade pizza and arugula salad

Every now and then, there comes an opportunity to enjoy a fresh, warm slice of pizza. Sunday January 22nd, 2012 happened to be that day. No reason, just a fresh bag of dough from the local grocery store (Publix) and my hubby who told me that we were having Pizza on Sunday.

Karel sprinkled sesame seeds on the "crust" of the dough after he let the dough rise and then pressed it out as thin as possible.

To dress up our homemade pizza, I spooned tomato sauce topped with chili flakes (we love spicy food!) on the dough. I use cheese as my last topping so I started layering my toppings....
Sun dried tomatoes
Roasted red peppers (in a glass jar)
Fresh egg plant (sliced)
Onions (sliced)
Garlic (chopped)
Mushrooms (sliced)
Green bell peppers (sliced)
Pineapple chunks (canned in own juice, rinsed well)
Spicy Tofu (fresh ingredients - cubed and cooked on seperate non stick pan in oven)

The pizza (and tofu) was cooked at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes (or until edges were golden brown).
TIP: while the pizza is cooking, chop up a bunch of other veggies for leftovers for a salad, stir fry or casserole.

Here's my "restaurant" style salad. I am guessing this salad would be at least $4 at a restaurant! I LOVE the tartness and crispness of Arugula...what a great Italian compliment to our meal! Also, blueberries were on sale!!
Here's my simple salad that you can't put a price on!
Blueberries (or seasonal fruit)
Steak tomatoe (sliced)
Sunflower seeds
Pomegranate balsamic dressing

A little about blueberries (as if you needed more of a reason to eat them??!?!)
(from Tufts University pamphlet - 51 healthy foods you can say "yes" to)
Tufts researchers are studying blueberries for their antioxidant benefits, including the possibility that they may boost brain functions that weaken as we age. Other scientists have found in animal testing that blueberries may lower cholesterol levels. Blueberries are also a good source of vitamin K, which Tufts researchers suggest may play a role in preventing osteoporosis and hardening of the arteries. Berries of all sorts are good choices, too: Blackberries, for example, also deliver vitamin K, along with a quarter of your daily vitamin C in just a half-cup. If berries are out of season, try frozen berries blended into a smoothie.


News "bites"...too good to be true

First off, I had the most amazing time at the Oakley Global Sales conference in LA! I think I am caught up on sleep and feeling back to my old east-coast self. I had two great workouts this weekend but did not rush the morning routine and took my time by sleeping in until my body woke me up (6:30-7am).
Despite it being a quick trip from the east to west coas and a red-eye on the way, all 48 hours were worth it! I loved being surrounded by so many passionate individuals from around the world. As a humble Oakley Women ambassador, I am proud to support a brand that supports MY ACTIVE lifestyle (Karel is also a BIG fan!). Athlete or fitness enthusiast, the Oakley is a quality brand, built from passionate individuals, who help others live the life you always dreamed of living.

Every night before bed, I read one of my magazines or journals. I have many. I was able to catch up on a bunch of them during my trip and I couldn't wait to share a few news bites with you. As you know, I love keeping up with research so that you don't have to be so confused with all the misleading info available to consumers.

According to the 2012 Feb issue of Consumer Reports, $220 million was the amount that eight pharmaceutical companies paid promotional speakers (overwhelmingly doctors) to talk about their drugs in 2010, according to independent newsroom ProPublica. Beginning in 2013, federal law will require that all companies publicly report such data. Consumer Reports suppored the push for full disclosure.

I found this statement very interesting but I am not surprised. I love reading the fine print on TV commercials and ads, as well as listening to the side effects of medications while the TV "actors" are smiling and skipping on the beach as the announcer talks about risks of death.

In my latest Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter (Volume 10G), I couldn't wait to read the two page article titled "The bad news about products "too good to be true". The article was about how to be a savvy-and safe-consumer.
I'd like to share two recent headline-making product recalls that were discussed in the article.

-In 2008, the FDA announced a voluntary recall of 14 diet-aid products sold under the Hydroxycut brand, following reports of liver damage associated with the dietary supplements. Among the best-known weight-loss brands, Hydroxycut pills, drinks and powders sold more than 9 million units last year. The FDA took action after 23 reports of serious health problems linked to Hydroxycut products, including at least one death in 2007 and one customer who required a liver transplant.

-A month later, the FDA warned consumers to stop using another popular product, Zicam intranasal cold-remedies, after more than 130 reports of people losing their sense of smell. The warning applied to Zicam producs containing zinc, including Cold Remedy Nasal Gel and Nasal Swabs; the agency cited studies showing zinc can be toxic to nasal nerve receptors. The FDA also issued a warning letter to Matrixx Initiatives, maker of Zicam, directing it to stop marketing the products.

Later on in the article, there was discussion of surprises in supplements.
-Caffeine, for example, must be listed only if it's been added in its pure form; when caffeine occurs naturally in popular supplement ingredients such as guarana, yerba mate, green tea extract or kola nut, there's no disclosure requirement. Recent testing of 53 dietary supplements by Agricultural Research Service scientists found half contained caffeine-but not all were so labeled - up to as much as the equivalent of eight cups of coffee.

Here are 5 Keys to Supplement Smarts (from pg 5 of the article):
1) Check with your doctor or healthcare provider - for example, coumadin, ginkgo biloba and vitamin E all have blood thinning effects and combining them can increase the risk of internal bleeding. St. John's wort can reduce the effectiveness of medications for heart disease, depression, seizures and certain cancers, as well as oral contraceptives.
2) Evaluate the reliability of promotional information and web sites - Be skeptical and watch out for overly emphatic language with UPPERCASE LETTERS and lots of exclamation points!!!!!, the FDA advises. Have the studies been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals?
3) Investigate the so-called experts - Are the researchers studying the product independent scientists at reputable academic institutions or are they being paid by the manufacturer? If a physician is quoted, what are his or her qualifications?
4) Does it sound too good to be true?
5) Don't assume that, even if a product won't help you, at least it won't hurt you - "dietary supplement manufacturers may not necessarily include warnings about potential adverse effects on the labels of their products" the FDA warns. "When consumed in high amounts, for a long enough time, or in combination with certain other substances, all chemicals can be toxic, including nutrients, plant components and other biologically acive ingredients." Terms such as "natural" or "herbal" are no guarantee of a product's safety.

As you consider the supplements in your current regime or the ones you are considering, please first take a look at the daily diet. Are you getting advice from unqualified personnel who tell you they have all the answers for your nutrition woes. For if you are eliminating foods that have proven health benefits, perhaps you should re-evaluate your reasons for eliminating them and work with a Registered Dietitian who can address the individual strengths and weaknesses in your current individual diet. Although we all strive for a healthy body composition, don't let your body image (or desire for a certain image) control the way you eat. You only have one body for the rest of your you care enough to take care of it?

Check out my website if you are in need of nutrition help, either for training or for overall health. Or, email me with any questions or concerns.