Essential Sports Nutrition


A Quick Sport Nutrition Tip

Nutrient timing is important to seeing gains in performance, positive changes in body composition and improvements in overall health. Don't sabatoge a training session by working out without a balanced pre-training snack. You may not think you need one so consider your mood, cravings and eating habits (ex. overeating) and fatigue level later in the day. More often than not, a pre training snack will keep blood sugar levels consistent throughout the workout, may elevate energy expenditure after the workout, will help get you in the mood to train, will help you feel energized throughout the entire workout and will keep you from dreaming of food during your workout. The snack and timing will likely vary depending on the person, workout (intensity/duration) and environmental conditions/terrain. Keep it simple and work your way up in calories as well as macronutrient distribution (carb + pro/fat) in order to find the perfect pre-training snack for your most intense and/or longest workouts of the week. Should you work out on an empty stomach? I've seen positive results in some, including myself, however most athletes do not have the daily diet under control in order to benefit from "fat-burning" on an empty stomach. Therefore, do not sabatoge a workout by trying to "get through" those tough workouts. More often than not, most athletes struggle getting in and staying in that extra gear during intervals or more intense/long workouts. This is often at the cost of not prioritizing training nutrition, particularly the timing and composition (or lack thereof) of proper pre and during (and post) training nutrition. Therefore, as you drink your coffee and water prior to your workout, never overlook the importance of an energy-boosting, pre-training snack.

Need a little tweaking in the daily diet for beneficial body composition changes and important improvements in overall health or need a little help with your "sports nutrition" to take your training/fitness routine to the next level?

Check out my services at or send me an email at

Happy Training...and eating!


Super bowl creations -thinking outside the pizza box

Through out my nutrition and endurance athlete journey, I have kept a common saying.....if you eat well most of the time, you don't have to worry about the rest of the time.

I think it would be semi pointless for me to tell you about the statistics of super bowl and food consumption. But, I'll share just a few facts that I found on
"In a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association of more than 1,000 people, 31 percent said that they will be ordering delivery or take-out, while an additional 12 million people — mostly West Coasters due to the earlier kick-off time — are expected to watch the big game at a restaurant or bar."
On the website, the top 5 must-have food items were listed in order as:
1) Salsa, dips and spreads
2) Chicken Wings
3) Pizza
4) Desserts
5) Subs/Sandwiches

"...The National Chicken Council predicts Americans will consume 1.25 billion wings on game day. That's over 100 million pounds of bird. According to the council's press release, "If the wings were laid end-to-end they would circle the circumference of the Earth — more than twice — a distance that would reach approximately a quarter of the way to the moon." Yowza. That's a lot of chicken wings."

"more pies are sold on Super Bowl Sunday then any other day of the year. The big three — Pizza Hut, Domino's, and Papa John's — will see the most sales. Pizza Hut anticipates selling 2 million pies, Domino's predicts 1 million, and Papa John's expects to deliver 9 million slices."

With hundreds of tips as to how to cut, save and decrease calories around the holidays, it is no surprise that there are also hundreds of tips as to how to cut, save and decrease calories around events. Yes, that is right. As a society, every celebration revolves around food whether it is celebrating an upcoming Ironman, finishing a marathon, graduating from any grade, birthdays, valentines day, sporting events.....need I go on?

Although selecting a few "healthier" dishes will allow you to feel a sense of consistency and balance during a special occasion where food is involved, I think you'd agree with me when I say that that our society isn't becoming any healthier despite learning how to save a few hundred calories during these special events. If anything, I would think that people become more "obsessed" with calories around these special events, despite considering that consistency is key when reaching personal weight and fitness goals.

Although I am proud to be where I am in my journey of life, it has taken a while to learn how to prioritize consistency over anything "extreme" when it comes to training and eating. I believe the most important part of my journey is developing a healthy relationship with food and eliminating negative food and body vocabulary such as good, bad, fat, skinny, cheat or off-limits. I can only hear it now as to how many people will be batteling the voices in their head on Sunday "I know I shouldn't eat this, but...." Or "I'm being so BAD right now, but I'll be good tomorrow".

The human body is amazing. If you respect the body, it'll give you the rewards you are seeking. However, anything too extreme and the body will find it's own way of not letting you move closer to your goals.

Karel and I love the opportunity to try new foods when we travel. Although we love fresh produce and heart-healthy selections, we do not gravitate towards my typical trimarni creations when we eat out. Knowing that we will continue to crave and consume wholesome and balanced meals and snacks when we return from traveling, we enjoy local pizza or mexican from a college town, a special bakery dessert from a family-owned restaurant or a filling breakfast at a local eatery.

You see, with balance in nutrition and exercise, there is no black or white, right or wrong way of doing things. For if you "indulge" a little for a day or two every now and then, you have the right tools and mindset to get back into your "typical" routine. The problem with our society, however, is that many people feel too controlled by their normal routine that they don't know how to welcome change. Because of this, there is no "adjusting" when it comes to changing eating habits to rebound from eating more than normal (which may be necessary after high volume/high intensity training or just due to low blood sugar and feeling lack of control with eating) as well as learning how to respect the body with periodized training.

Although I am excited to share a few of my creations in order to get you excited to get into your kitchen for the Super Bowl, I hope that as you are reading this blog, you are thinking to yourself...."starting today, I am really going to start appreciating the food that I put into my body on a daily basis and I will continue to learn how to develop a healthy relationship with food". Additionally, keep in mind that the body loves to move and doesn't really care if you stick to your training schedule every now and then. The most important thing is that you consistently nourishing and rewarding your body with wholesome food and a healthy dose of exercise...alongside a positive attitude and love for your one and only body.

As you enjoy some of the following recipes, in addition to your typical Super Bowl spread, consider mindful eating as you embrace one of many festivities surrounded by food.
Eating is pleasurable but it is also necessary. It is a healthy and normal way to satisfy hunger. Just like you don't lose fitness in a few days "off" from training, your body doesn't gain weight from one or two days, here and there (throughout the year or every few months) from overeating more than normal. Although may people (athletes included) have a hard time understanding what is "normal" for their body, mindful eating allows you to be attentive to what you are eating and how much, as well as feeling satisfied when consuming those food choices. When you eat mindfully, eating until stuffed is not an option. You hold yourself accountable of feeling satisfied with more pleasurable and palatable choices, focusing on a few things at a time and not feeling overwhelmed with the situation of worrying about eating too many "off-limit" foods. With mindful eating in mind, guilt is quickly thrown out the window and suddenly, life feels a little more balanced.
Now imagine if you can take this practice to both your daily eating habits and exercise routine?

Instead of nuts
(pic from

or instead of savory brownies
(pic from

Whole grain granola and nut butter popcorn crumble
1 tbsp fresh raw ginger (grated)
1 1/4 cup oats
1 1/4 cup cheerios (Plain)
1 1/4 cup grape nut flakes cereal
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup tropical trail mix
1/2 cup dried all natural cranberries
3 tbsp chocolate chips
1/2 cup honey
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sunflower oil
(recommend non or lightly salted nuts)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray non stick pan with a little non stick spray.
2. Mix together all ingredients in large bowl.
(use clean hands for better mixing).
3. Press 3/4 mixture on large cookie sheet. Save other 1/4 in medium bowl.
4. Bake for 12-18 minutes (watch around 12 minutes to prevent cherrios from burning).
5. Remove from oven and when cooled, remove from cookie sheet and place into tuperware container.
(this part was a little hard as the mixture was really sticky on the sheet).

Ingredients for Nut butter popcorn crumble
(perfect for the kiddos as a snack, in exchange for some of the other processed, high sugar options geared for children)
1 tbsp nut butter
6. While granola is baking, pop 4 tbsp plain kernels in 1 tbsp canola oil on medium heat (in large pot).
7. Combine popcorn with other 1/4th of granola (uncooked, recipe from above) mixture.
8. Add 1 heaping tbsp nut butter and mix well (with hands).
9. Portion 1/3 cup granola (both kinds) in individual baggies.

Instead of cheese dip:
(pic from

Baba Ghanoush
1 large eggplant
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup purple onions, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 cup chopped parsley

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick washed eggplant with fork.
2. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, until soft.
3. Cool in cold water and gently remove skin with sharp knife.
4. Chop eggplant and place in blender.
5. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until smooth (you may need to pulse and stop periodically and mix with fork with blender off, to get things going for the blending).
6. Blend until smooth.

Serve with artichoke or fresh veggies

Instead of chips, try Tarro Sweets and Beets chips:

Instead of pizza
(pic from

Bulgur pizza casserole
1/2 cup bulgur
1 cup boiling water

Artichoke (fresh or jar)
Marinara sauce
Shredded cheese

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place bulgur in a glass bowl of boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes.
3. When bulgur soaks up all the water, press in glass casserole dish. Sprinkle with cumin.
4. Bake in oven for 15 minutes.
5. Remove and top with sauce and toppings (mushrooms, onions, artichokes, garlic)
6. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and top with arugula and cheese.
(Here's how I prepared my artichoke -
How to prepare an artichoke)

A balanced Super bowl spread:
Veggies and/or fruit
Dip (salsa included)
Main course

A pre-meal Super Bowl plate pictured below....approved by the tummies of me and Karel.
Terra Sweets and Beets chips
Green pepper
Baba Ghanoush
Bulgur casserole

A few extra tips:
-rather than wings, pizza and/or burgers, how about chili rich in veggies, herbs and spices and "topped" with your favorite protein. No crockpot? Time to invest a litle for a time-savor, meal appliance.
-Be a mindful eater. Just as you want to be OK with occasional treats and to not feel like a failure for eating something not in your typical diet, recognize that too much may feel uncomfortable.
-use non fat plain yogurt or greek yogurt in place of mayo (or as a dip)
-have plenty of fruits and veggies (pre-chopped) for easy snacking
-keep those glasses filled....with water
-start your day with a heart-pumping workout. Intervals work great, try this set for your choice of cardio: 4-8 sets of 30-60 sec "fast" w/ 2-3 minutes easy.
-Do not skip meals or snacks and do not go into your meal starving. Eat mini balanced meals throughout the day, after you consume a wholesome protein-rich + high fiber, low-fat (but healthy fat) breakfast after your workout. Finish the workout with a glass of milk, eggs or yogurt.
-Use smaller plates for your "main" dish (unless it is salad) and don't forget to consider the USDA Plate method for planning your Super bowl meal. If you tend to be a snacker during events, avoid large portions at any one time.
-plan a Monday workout, even if it is a 1 hour walk or hot yoga.
-avoid negative food or body image vocabulary. Have a game plan for the game, as well as the day, so that you feel a sense of control and happiness with your choices.
-Remember that there is always a tomorrow and Sunday is not the only day you can enjoy these "occasional" foods. When you accept that certain foods are OK any time of the year, they are often less desirable. However, with balance in mind, you may find yourself gravitating towards the food options that allow for consistent and recognizable body composition and performance gains.

Powerful Spaghetti squash

Within my journey of learning how to appreciate the food that I put into my body, I have discovered many new tastes and ways to be more creative in the kitchen. Although 18-years of being a vegetarian has allowed me to broaden my horizons when it comes to mourishing my body and fueling for endurance sports, I can't say that I was always so adventurous when it came to learning to appreciate new foods.
Thankfully, Karel loves all food. And, I love to cook. Put those two together and I have no excuses when it comes to variety in our diet.

As athletes and fitness enthusiasts, I think it is necessary that you prioritize variety with your food choices. The easiest suggestion I can make is to think of the colors of the rainbow when planning your meals and snacks. Each meal and snack can build off one another so that by the end of the day, you feel satisfied with your choices...and in your belly.

By learning how to add new wholesome foods into the diet, the body is also able to metabolize and use new vitamins and minerals.....both during activity and for overall health. For example, spaghetti squash is is a POWERful food. It's packed with folate, vitamin C, vitamin A, pantothenic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin K, niacin, copper, fiber, calcium, iron, vitamins B1 and B6 and even omega 3 fatty acids. Add this beautiful stringy veggie to a plate of OTHER wholesome foods, you've got a fantastic opportunity to flood the body with quality nutrients that will improve your fitness and success as an active individual.

I hope you enjoy my new favorite I often say, not sure why it took so long to introduce this food into my nutrition journey. Enjoy!

Spagheti squash1 medium spaghetti squash (should feed 2-3 people, depending on portions)
Olive oil (or your favorite oil)

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut off ends of squash and slice down middle to divide into halves.
3. Use your fingers to pull out seeds (which you can bake on a sheet for 10-15 minutes at 150-175 degrees).
4. Place squash on glass cooking dish, rind side up. Drizzle with oil on top of squash.
5. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until soft.
6. Use a fork and scrape out "noodles".
7. Serve with your choice of protein (beans and eggs in picture) and either another veggie or whole grain.



Strength Training: Multi-sport myth explained

There's a lot of talk among triathletes, runners and fitness enthusiasts about "getting lean" or improving body composition. In the minds of many, a lean, toned body is the desirable body composition because......?????
This is what concerns me. As you fill in the blank, many people strive for a certain physique by restricting calories, opting for drastic changes in the diet (without consideration for long-term outcomes of constant nutrient deficiencies or excessive intakes) or engaging in unnecessary "overtraining". Perhaps your intention is to give it your all to train for the upcoming endurance event, to get in the best shape of your life and to "clean up" the diet, but often, athletes get caught up with the hype of "looking good".
In my mind, what's a lean body if you can't do anything with it? More so, if you have a little jiggle in your wiggle (or run :) but consume a balanced diet and find yourself consistently improving, what will it take to lose those last few "stubborn lbs"...and is it really worth it?

I do agree that gradual weight loss for those who partake in athletic events (particulary endurance sports, anaerobic sports and multi-sporting events) is a fantastic thing for your health and body, particularly for those who are obese or overweight. For the more weight you carry as you engage in physical activity, the more the body is taxed to perform during a given amount of work. Lucky for me, I don't discriminate as a coach (and dietitian) and I don't believe that body image is the priority in achieving personal health, fitness and performance goals. I love working with people of all fitness levels (and sizes) and I believe that getting to the starting line of an athletic event is one of the most amazing things you can do for yourself and your self-esteem...then, after you cross the finish line, the sky is the limit.

You see, cardio is becoming more and more "easy" for our population. Although the Ironman distance only welcomes a select few who choose to participate in a 140.6 mile event (and the marathon is also an elite club for those who want to cover 26.2 miles by foot), it seems as if the human body is finding it "easy" to adapt when training for long-distance. This doesn't surprise me as the body is designed to move but when you throw in unbalanced diets, too little emphasis on quality training and LIFE (little sleep, stress, etc.), the body is constantly being worn down and as a result, injuries, overtraining and weight gain (yes, I know that many people struggle with weight gain while training for a running or triathlon event, let alone a 140.6 mile event) appear out of no where.

So, with your efficient body, how about considering making your body more metabolically active? Considering the short-term benefits (listed in the article) along with the long-term benefits of preserving bone density (thanks to many many years of wear and tear due to your love of triathlons, running and weight-bearing activity), I think everyone could benefit from lifting weights, resistance training, body-weight movements and/or using machines.

Also, if you consider the cost of high-volume, weight-bearing activity, on top of possible diet restrictions in an effort to lose weight, I highly, HIGHLY advise you to meet with a registered dietitian to discuss the current weaknesses in your diet which may affect not only your current performance and body composition goals but your long-term health.

I hope you enjoy my latest article from the TRAIN section on Iron
Multisport Myths Explained-Strength Training
By: Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

Do you consider strength training to be a critical component of your fitness routine?

There’s no discrepancy – a well-designed, periodized training plan has its benefits, such as an increase cardiorespiratory endurance, hypertrophy of muscle fibers, an increase in the size of mitochondria, an improvement in economy and efficiency, gains in lean muscle mass, an increase in stroke volume, an enhanced rate of gluconeogenesis, strengthening of ligaments, joints and muscles and most importantly, an improvement in overall health. However, if you consider yourself to be a “normal” athlete, it is likely that you have muscle imbalances, weaknesses in form or significant flexibility issues, thus contributing to your performance as a motivated athlete.

Strength training is often on the backburner for many cardio-enthused athletes. However, strength training plus cardio training should not be overlooked as an essential part of year-round athletic/fitness training. The same muscles that allow your body to move in your sport of choice must be conditionally strong, powerful and flexible as they move in an acceptable range of motion.

The purpose of strength training is very similar to cardio training, albeit to many, it may not be as fun. In order to get stronger or faster, one must tear down muscle fibers (catabolism) in order to make them grow (anabolism). Because physiological adaptations require ample recovery and time, gains in muscular strength also require time.

Some of the many benefits of strength training include:
*An increase in metabolism secondary to an increase in lean muscle mass
*An increase in self-esteem, power and speed
*Stronger bones and a preventative measure in the process of aging
*Better balance and coordination
*Natural release of endorphins
*Increase in flexibility and range of motion
*Increase mental and physical stamina

To get you excited about strength training, consider that the same “push” that drives you to finish that last interval on the track, to sprint to the wall during a swim speed set or to finish strong in the last 15 minutes of a tempo bike ride is also required as you lift weights. If you are seeking gains in endurance and sprinting performance (who isn’t?), strength training is an effective workout to help you improve performance without requiring a bulk of your time in order to reap results.

To help improve neuromuscular characteristics (Mikkola, 2011) and to enhance endurance capacity by improving the proportion of muscle fibers and gains maximal muscle strength (Aagaard, 2010), it is recommended that you abide by the following suggestions:

1) Start slow and gradually work your way up in the weight you are lifting. Depending on the phase of your training plan (as underlined below):
Base phase: 2-3 sets of 15 reps – feeling the “burn” around 10-11 reps. Rest 1-2 between sets.
Build phase: 3-4 sets of 10 reps – focusing on “explosive power” during the concentric phase (when the muscle is contracted) and “relaxed” effort in the eccentric phase (when the muscle is stretched under a load). For example, squatting down is the eccentric phase and pushing yourself upward is the concentric phase. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets. It is recommended to incorporate a “recovery” week into strength training just like you would with cardio training and to experiment with plyometrics and circuit training.
Peak phase: 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps – focusing on controlled movements, moderate weight to feel the “burn” around 13 or 18 reps. Rest 60-90 seconds between sets.

2) Work with a trained and experienced professional to evaluate form and to ensure a varied strength training program.

3) Maximize your time – many athletes prefer a full body workout of 4-5 upper body and 4-5 lower body exercises. However, if you are crunched for time, you can alternate upper and lower body, every other day of the week. Allow for 30-60 minutes of strength training, including warm-up, rest intervals, stretching and core/hip/lower back-specific exercises, 2-3 times per week. Still considered about trying to squeeze it all in? How about skipping that last mile of your run, the last 300 yards in the pool or last 15 minutes on the bike to “make time” for a little strength work?

4) Maximize your routine – depending on your triathlon or running schedule, you may opt for machines to assist in movement on an “intense” training day or free weights on a “lighter” cardio day.

5) Optimal nutrition - stay hydrated during the workout. After the workout, focus on quickly repairing damaged tissues with an optimal balance of recovery protein and carbohydrates, prior to your post-workout meal. Two easy post-workout snacks include 8-12 ounces of non-fat milk (or non-fat yogurt) or 7-23 grams of a high-quality protein powder with a piece of fruit.

Always check with your physician if you are starting a weight training/training routine for the first time or are returning to exercise after an extended break (ex. injury, burnout, etc.). Just because you call yourself an athlete, does not mean that you can jump right in to lifting heavy weights, engaging in cross fit or trying out an intense plyometric routine. Start slow and enjoy the journey!

For 10-at home exercises, visit


Mikkola, J. et al. (2011). Effect of resistance training regimens on treadmill running and neuromuscular performance in recreational endurance runners. J. Sports Sci. 29(13); 1359-71.

Aagaard, P. and Andersen, J.L. (2010). Effects of strength training on endurance capacity in top-level endurance athletes. Scan. J. Med. Sci. Sports. Suppl 2:39-47.

Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

Marni works as a PRN Clinical Dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC and provides one-on-one consulting at Spa Me in Jacksonville, FL. Marni is a Registered Dietitian, holding a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) and holds a certification by the American Dietetic Association in Adult Weight Management. As an elite endurance athlete, she is also a Level-1 USAT Coach and a 5x Ironman finisher. Marn is a 110% play harder and Oakley Women ambassador. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Fitness Magazine, The Florida Times-Union Shorelines, Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes monthly to, USAT multisport zone and Lava online.


Three-ways for Tempeh

As athletes or fitness enthusiasts, we all understand the importance of eating for fuel. It's important that we are setting ourselves up for quality training sessions so that we are moving ourselves closer and closer to reaching our performance goals.
Having said that, we all know how important it is to eat for health and to not sabotoge our performance and health gains, by not appreciating the "fuel" that we put into our body on a daily basis.

If you can take away anything from this blog today, I ask that you think about your current exercise or training routine and see if you can address a few strengths and weaknesses in your current lifestyle routine that may be affecting how you fuel for, recover from and perform during your daily choice of activity. There isn't a right or wrong response and for each person it will vary. For some people, you may decide to address hunger, never feeling satisfied, always feeling stuffed, experiencing extreme cravings, experiencing low (or rapid drops) blood sugar, feeling moody/depressed around workouts, GI upset, feeling hungry during workouts, feeling full after workouts, feeling fatigue during workouts, feeling tired during workous as weaknesses affecting your current lifestyle routine. For strengths, this will vary as well.

You see, food and exercise are areas in your life that you want to control but not let control you. Your diet and fitness routine should enhance your life, not control your life.

When it comes to finding that right balance in your lifestyle routine, there is no one right answer for everyone. We all have different ways to live our life but it is up to you to address the areas in your life that may need improvement.

For me, every eating opportunity, whether it is a snack or meal, is a chance to provide my body with quality nutrients. The same goes for you. Without addressing individual choices for body composition, training goals and dietary habits, it's important to recognize that as an active individual, health is your priority, then performance. However, the two can certainly go together if you are choosing to provide your body with a balanced diet of quality, wholesome nutrients that your body knows how to metabolize and use. There's no perfect diet but rather a diet that allows you to succeed in all areas of your life. When it comes to succeeding in sport, prioritize the pre, during and post training nutrition so that you are gaining the most possible from every single workout. You should not be trying to "save calories" or "exercise to eat" as this is not beneficial for a balanced lifestyle routine. As you work on "perfecting" your individual "sports nutrition" (for EACH workout of the week - as this will also very depending on duration and intensity and the sport of choice), be mindful of how you are eating throughout the day. Be comfortable with food and do not fear food. It is there to not only enhance performance, but also your activities of daily living.

I can't help but add that exercise, which we all know is important to overall health, weight control and stress reduction, can become unhealthy. Over the years, both Karel and myself have learned how to train less and recover more, all while experiencing significant performance improvements. Knowing that we can't expect to improve just by "putting in the miles", recognize that eventually, too much wear and tear on the body may lead to long-term problems. I have said it so many times in the past, but in addition to using proper training tools to ensure quality training, along with taking advantage of some of the coolest recovery gear, please spend at least 2 times per week (or up to 90 minutes a week) strength training. There is no better way to increase longevity (both in years and in your sport) by dedicating time to strengthening your bones and muscles (especially the weak muscle groups that you constantly ask/expect to perform optimally, day after day... such as running).

I have three wonderful Tempeh recipes that made my tummy happy this past week. Although tempeh is the star in each of the recipes, I added a twist to each one as I feel variety is key to everything we do in life.

Karel and myself just love the nutty and meaty texture of Tempeh and how it can be added to any meal for that extra "yum" factor. On it's wonderful nutrition profile, you will find manganese, protein, copper, phosphorus, magensium, potassium and vitamin B2 (riboflavin) name a few.
Tempeh is a wonderful fermented food that is packed with protein so it can be used as a great replacement for meat or for those who need to increase quality protein in the overall diet. You will find tempeh at most health food grocery stores as well as Publix, in the refrigeration section near the tofu.


Stir-fry tempeh, mushrooms and purple onions
1 tbsp heart-healthy oil
Mushrooms (sliced)
Purple Onion (sliced)

1. In large pot on medium heat, drizzle olive oil and cook onions until slightly brown.
2. Add tempeh and mushrooms, toss occasionally.
3. Cook until tempeh is "browned" on edges.
4. Plate on a bed of greens, with sliced tomatoes.

Curry Tahini dressing:2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chili spice
2 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp tahini
water to meet your consistency needs

1. Whisk together ingredients. Add water to meet your consistency needs.

Arugula, tempeh and fruit salad with curry dressing
Peaches (canned in juice)

1. Cook tempeh in oil for a few minutes (until golden brown).
2. Toss together all ingredients, including dressing.

Sweet bulgur and tempeh salad
Peaches (canned in juice)
Sunflower oil
Romaine lettuce

1. Cook bulgur for 10-14 minutes, according to package/box (either on stove top or microwave)
2. Cook tempeh, chickpeas, tofu and onions in large skillet, with 1-2 tbsp oil. Toss occassionally.
3. When ingredients above are golden brown, turn off heat.
4. Plate romaine lettuce in shallow dish and make a circle in the middle to serve 1 serving of bulgur.
5. Top with veggie stiry fry mixture and add a few sliced peaches.


What is your lifestyle routine doing for you?

Decades ago, nutrition wasn't a major topic of conversation. Now a day, it's all about good food/bad food, diets, supplements, body image and food. Fast forward to 2012, endurance sports (especially running and triathlons) have become more main stream and people are constantly searching for ways to get out of their comfort zone and to prove that anything is possible.

Thanks to the media and social-networking "gone wild", there's an overwhelming amount of information as to the "latest" in health and fitness. What works and what doesn't work is only a television, I-pad app, facebook status, blog post and tweet away from your fingertips.

Without a doubt, it's hard to seperate fact from fiction and to keep in mind that there is no magic bullet (aka quick fix) to improving health and fitness. When it comes to change.....change is hard. Whether you are trying to de-emphasize processed food, embrace a more positive attitude, remove a bit of stress from your life or recover more and train less, if you want to succeed, you must be willing to open your mind to new (or improved) consistent actions and to adjust your comfortable routine.

Jack La Lanne revolutionized the health and fitness industry, living a youthful life up until the age of 96 yrs. According to the CDC, 2010 data showed the average life expectancy is 78.5 years of age. However, this doesn't take into consideration as to how you will be living your later years of life.

Jack LaLanne was always quick to report that he hated to exercise. As a person who dedicated his life to motivating others to live a healthier lifestyle through proper exercise and nutrition, there's a lot to learn from the pioneer of all things "healthy".

According to a 2007 article in the Wall Street Journal, when discussing working out... "It's a pain in the gluties," says Mr. LaLanne. "But you gotta do it. Dying is easy, living is tough. I hate working out. Hate it. But I like the results." According to the man who never missed a workout. "The way people eat today is sick, would you even feed your dog a cup of coffee and a doughnut in the morning?" Mr. LaLanne has many favorite sayings when it comes to diet (according to the Wallstreet journal article): "Everything nature's way.…If man makes it, don't eat it.…If it tastes good, spit it out.…The food you eat today you're wearing tomorrow." He lives by all of them. "Before I eat something I ask 'What is it doing for me, the most important person on Earth?' "

Mr. LaLanne ate two meals a day and supplemented with 30-40 vitamins a day. He drank wine every night, drank soy milk and changed up his exercise routine every 30 days. I believe this quote by Mr. LaLanne says it all "It's your health account. The more you put in the more you'll be able to take out."

Knowing the impact that I have as a health and fitness professional, I am constantly reading, researching and keeping an open mind. Although I do not feel it is necessary to promote my individual practices as "what works for me, works for you" my 6-7 year journey has brought me to a wonderful place in my life and I feel confident in helping change the lives of others.

In my latest Nutrition Action Healthletter (Jan/Feb 2012), the memo from the Executive Director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (pg 2) really caught me off gaurd. Thanks to social media and the ability to access anything in a space-bar hit, it's easy to promote, discuss and examine research just as easy as it is to express our individual thoughts and "best practices". Thanks to the network connecting of individuals across the globe, I believe we have gotten more and more seperated from the most important thing in the world....our body.

According to the article, Michael F. Jacabson discusses how American has experienced an "unprecedented obesity epidemic in the past 30 years". This alarms me, especially since I am 29 years of age. He goes on to add "Since about 1980, rates of obesity have tripled, to roughly 18% for children and 34% for adult. That includes 33% of white, 39% of hispanic and 44% of black adults.....Those billions of extra pound translates into more high blood pressure, more heart attacks, and more cancer..and to an estimated $150 billion a year in increased medical costs."

"The food industry says that obesity is largely a matter of personal responsibility - no one is forced to eat fattening foods. As for kids, parents should just feed them healthy diets. Problem solved!"

Sadly, this isn't working.

"It won't work in a society that makes it sooo easy to overeat and under-exercise. Blaming consumers is a convenient way to take the onus off industry and it lets companies market whatever junk they want wherever they want."

Here's the part that really got me thinking about all of us, really accepting how we choose (or don't choose) to nourish our body.

"Let's say we eventually decide to invest, say 1% of the cost of obesity in rolling back obesity. That's $1.5 billion a year. Sounds like a lot?
In 2010, Kraft sepnt $1 billion on advertising and other promotions, McDonald's Spent $1.3 billion and Procter & Gamble $4.6 billion".

"What could $1.5 billion pay for? Tax deductions to facilitate workstie-wellness programs, for a start. And major mass-media campaigns to encourage people to eat less junk food and more healthful foods. And cooking classes and ealthier, tastier food in school cafeterias. And more hiking and biking trails".

So to take the advice of Jack LaLanne...."It's never too late. Living is an athletic event."