Essential Sports Nutrition


Oakley Women Laguna Beach - day 1

For those who know me, I'd like to think that I have a lot of energy....but I often contain it inside me and release it when I compete. I am very competitive in my sport and with myself but as a strong-minded Type-A personality, I find I do my best, feel my best and act my best, when I am around passionate people....people who love life, have a lot of energy to give me and who allow me to be me.

Although this is only my second trip with the other 9 Oakley ambassadors as well as with several Professional Oakley Women athletes, sport marketing ambassadors and Oakley women staff, I can't help but feel like a better, more balanced person, when I am around such inspiring, passionate and positive women who absolutely love to be active. These girls love to be alive and they sure do know how to live life to the fullest.

We are all not triathletes, runners or snowboarders. We do not all have similar passions for a specific sport but rather, similar passions for how we choose to live our life.

Over the past year, but more specifically, since last June when receiving an amazing trip to Napa Valley for the Oakley Women fitness retreat, I have really embraced the campaign of Oakley Women of what it means to Perform Beautifully. Now, more than ever, I find myself in an amazing place in my life and really great balance for how I approach my day to ensure that it is worth remembering as a positive day.

I've always said that I am a triathlete who is more than just a triathlete. Triathlons are my lifestyle and Oakley Women has really shown me as to why I feel that way. Take away triathlon finishing lines and the pressure to succeed and I am still a woman who absolutely loves to be active. With Oakley's amazingly stylish, comfortable and quality line of sunglasses and gear, every day I am sure to remind myself as to the best approach to keep a balanced lifestyle, all while performing beautifully and remaining active.

For if I train too much and don't recover properly, I don't only risk the chance for injury, burnout or fatigue but I also risk the chance of losing my active lifestyle. Sure, an ITB flare up, piriformis ache or even a stress fracture may eventually heal, but with the healing comes a transition as to what we all dread in life......REST

I believe that we should all prioritize something more than being competitive, sticking to a training schedule or working out for a reason other than "healthy" as to why we get up in the morning, put on a fabulous outfit, choose the best gear and cheerish training/exercise as the best part of our day.....For no matter what you choose to compete in, we should all strive for a more balanced lifestyle, supported by a consistent dose of activity.

This morning was a new challenge for me as I not only learned to paddle board for the first time (Thanks to the amazing crew of SUP!) but I also did yoga on a paddle board, which was resting on two BOSU stability balls! After that hour of intense core strength, we took the paddle boards to the water and did yoga on the paddle board, in the water! NEXT, after that hour, we did fitness training on the paddleboard and learned that I have new muscles that I need to train....on the stable ground, in the gym :)

What an amazing day and a fabulous 3-hours of being active. No one says you have to be an Ironman, do marathons or ride your bike competitively in order to be healthy. Enjoy engaging your body on a daily basis and you may find yourself enjoying a bit more balance in your life, as well as an appreciation for your "real" training (if you are an athlete) and why it is so important to train hard and recover harder.

Looking forward to tomorrow.....for now, PICS!

Top 10 Smoothie Ingredients

A meal in a blender! Need a yummilicious way to pack in a lot of nutrition, all at once? Here's my top 10 smoothie ingredients....take your pick!
Top 10 Smoothie Ingredients


Off to Cali....

For the next 3 days, I will be spending time in Laguna Beach with my amazingly inspiring, friends and the Oakley Women team. Last year, I won a contest along with 9 awesome ladies, which was promoted via facebook.

This contest was unlike anything I have ever seen and not having entered hardly any contests in my life, this one felt very appropriate.
Performing beautifully contest

For the past 9 months, I have enjoyed living my life through the Oakley Women campaign of "performing beautifully". Sure, I get stylish clothes and a handful of glasses to try out and wear to support my active lifestyle...but above all, I am part of a group of women (beyond us ambassadors) that lives and breaths a beautiful active lifestyle.

Here's my response to what I believe it means to perform beautifully:

In my opinion, when one performs beautifully she is not living a strict lifestyle but one of balance, consistency and enjoyment. I believe I perform beautifully because I give myself many reasons to smile on a daily basis. I strive to be stronger and healthier every day and to not live a life of regret, failure and obsession. I feel comfortable and beautiful in my own skin because I live my life for me and I recognize my individual needs based on my training and lifestyle requirements. I love my body, not for a number on a scale, but for allowing me to cross finish lines, travel the world, be adventurous and for being healthy and strong. When one performs beautifully, she recognizes the rewards of exercise and eating for fuel. She thanks her body on a daily basis. To perform beautifully, one must be patient. When you perform beautifully you consider every day worth waking up for and you are not afraid to set goals which require dedication and energy. A beautiful performer will take pride in the steps that are required to achieve goals in life and will find ways to overcome obstacles with beauty and grace.

This weekend will be no short of activity as we have a jammed schedule for 3 days of fun. We will also be learning about the 2nd year of the ambassador all ladies, stay tuned if you feel you perform beautifully!

Pics will come shortly but in the mean time, here's a very funny video that Karel and I could totally relate to as endurance athletes. Karel as a European, bike shop manager and cat 1 rider found this video to be hilariously accurate and even for me, a someone who rides with cyclists, goes to cycling races and is very involved in the triathlon community, I think this video is one of the best ones I've seen. I know there are a lot of videos circulating YouTube within this topic so let me know if you have a favorite so I can laugh even more!


Farmers market creations - not one, but two!

On the third Saturday of every month, there is a wonderful Farmers Market in the community of Nocattee. A great place to ride my bike but also a great place to enjoy the outdoors. Campy loves the dog park and he doesn't mind meeting lots of doggies and humans at the farmers market.

After my workout and my typical recovery routine, Campy and I headed to the farmers market. With so many choices, I spent a whopping $11 on a rainbow of veggies.

Nearing mid afternoon, I was listening to my body and it was telling me that I was ready for a meal..or perhaps a hearty snack? Whichever it was, I created a flavorful farmer market dish with a few leftovers and items in my fridge.

In a large skillet, I sauteed onions, sweet peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and cooked leftover brown rice. I seasoned it with pepper, chili powder and cumin and mixed in a spoonful of ricotta cheese. I tossed in some spinach at the end. YUMMO!

For my next creation, I was inspired by a recipe in my latest Cooking Light Magazine. The pic of the
Vegetarian Meat Loaf caught my eye but no surprise, my creative mind did not follow the recipe. Perhaps my pics of the final product speak for themself as it looks nothing like what was in the picture.
HOWEVER - I let my taste buds and belly be the ultimate critics and with Karel and myself "Yumming" with every bite, the flavors were there and this dish turned out AMAZING!

I love being creative in the kitchen and I take pride in all my creations. Some creations are blog worthy and some, not-so-much. But I keep on cooking because it makes me incredibly happy to have Karel walk in after work and enjoy something homemade as we reflect on the day.

I thought about not sharing this creation as the pic doesn't speak for how amazing it tasted but if I can inspire just one person to get in the kitchen and try to make this meat loaf, well perhaps I have accomplished a lot.

Enjoy and embrace your food creativity!

1/2 large container mushrooms (Sliced)
1 medium onion (sliced)
3 cloves garlic
1 large bell pepper
1/2 large sweet pepper
1/2 Eggplant (large) - diced
1/2 Zucchini (large)- diced
Almonds (10) - chopped
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/8 cup parmesan cheese
Black pepper (2 tsp, sea salt (pinch of salt)
1 tsp spicy mustard
Olive oil

1. IN large skillet on low heat, drizzle oil and cook onions, garlic, mushrooms.
2. Broil peppers (cut in middle, seeds removed) for 10 minutes. When burnt on top, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Combine peppers and onion mixture in blender/food processor and pulse until well combined (Like sauce consistency).
4. Add to pan, turn up heat to medium.
5. Drizzle a little oil (if needed) and add chopped eggplant and zucchini. Add eggs, seasonings, chopped almonds (around 10) bread crumbs and cheese.
6. In casserole dish, pour eggplant and onion mixture.
7. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until firm on top.
(to save you time for upcoming meals, throw a bunch of veggies on a non stick pan (chopped) and toss in oil. Bake with the meatloaf so you have no excuses when it comes to having veggies for lunch or dinner, later in the week. I added some grilled eggplant and peppers to my meat loaf dish)

WOW - $11 goes a long way...and I'm not done with all my veggies!


Yumlicious Zucchini bread and tofu, pepper stir-fry

Not too long ago, I was eating lunch at work in the hospital and someone asked me what was in my salad. I absolutely love sharing my ingredient creations with others at lunch, but never do I assume the role as the food police.

When becoming a RD, I didn't earn my credential to tell people the right way to eat or what foods are bad. Perhaps for some professionals, they feel the most appropriate way to change habits is to tell people what not to do. But, in my opinion, success with my clients come when they are motivated to change and become mindful of their actions, regardless if those actions result in positive outcomes or require a little reflection and room for improvement. By inspiring others, people are more likely to change and to want to change, with longer lasting results.

Throughout my own journey of life (thus far) and learning how to help others develop a healthy relationship with food, it's easy to question your own actions/habits particularly if you are always comparing yourself to others. Whether you are eating meals with friends, training with others, reading blogs, reading books/magazines or browsing the web and facebook, it is important to feel inspired by others but to always keep the attention and focus, on yourself.

When making creations or working on my training plan for triathlons or running events, I am not too concerned as to what everyone is doing. In regard to my lifestyle, not only do I have my own personal goals that only I can accomplish (perhaps with the help of others) but my lifestyle is dependent on how I choose to live my life and most importantly, how I go about finding the best balance.

There are so many ways to train for an athletic event, become more physically fit or eat for body composition changes or eat for health. There are hundreds of experts, thousands of tips and millions of different people in this world. What makes life so special is that you are responsible for you and only you. If you have a family, work for someone or others rely on you for whatever reason, it is still up to you to keep your body functioning at an optimal level in order to respond to the actions of others and to make your life as profitable as possible.

When making my dinner last night, I couldn't help but smile as to how yummy this meal turned out. Once again, a few "on my gosh!" came out of my mouth as I was eating this meal with Karel. With many zucchini bread creations, this one is the winner. With value placed on my training as well as on my diet, I try to be very mindful of lifestyle so that I am not just a passenger in my own ride of life. I love being the driver and feeling control over my actions. By developing a healthy relationship with food, there's never a time when food becomes "bad" or the human body becomes worthless. YIKES - I could never imagine talking about my body as being "worthless!?!?" Secondly, there is no right way to train for an athletic event or improve fitness but rather the best way for you at this point in your life. Although we all strive to be better and to embrace challenging situations, the focus is always on seeing yourself grow as an athlete and to be patient with training and physiological adaptations.

I hope you feel inspired by my latest recipe as it was super delicious! A conventional dinner? Probably not. But take away the voices from the celebrities, the experts who tell you how to "eat this, not that", all the research studies and what your friends/training partners are doing and, perhaps you may find yourself taking a bit more time to prepare your own creations and being proud (and appreciative) of the way that you are choosing to live your life.

Feel like you aren't living your life like you should? Overtrained, do you have an unhealthy relationship with food and/or exercise, do you struggle with feeling hungry all day, do you need help creating a balanced training plan? Contact me ....I'm here to help and to be your guide.
If you keep doing the same things, you should expect to receive the same results. It's up to you as to whether or not those results and actions are helping you meet your ultimate short and long term goals.

My best-ever Zucchini bread!
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup soy flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar (you can use white sugar. Brown sugar is sugar w/ molasses and tends to hold a little more water than white sugar. But no signficant nutrition or calorie difference.
2 cup zucchini (2 medium zucchini)
1 cup carrot (1 large carrot)
1/4 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp rum extract
1 egg

1/8 cup chopped almonds (optional, your choice)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl and mix well.
3. Combine all wet ingredients and stir until well combined.
4. Add wet to dry and stir until combined. Add nuts.
5. Poor into non-stick glass casserole dish (or other dish), which is sprayed with non-stick spray or rubbed with oil.
6. Bake for 30-40 min or until top is firm and toothpick comes out clean in center of bread.

*THESE ARE SO GOOD! Perfect for kids, breakfast or a snack with just enough sweetness but packed with vitamins and minerals. YUM!

Nutrition info:
Servings: 20 squares
Serving size: 1 square
77 calories
3.4g fat
10g carbs
2.45g protein
1.45g fiber
4.8g sugar
78mg sodium

Tofu, pepper stir fry
Firm tofu
Red and green bell pepper
Ginger (2 tsp fresh, chopped)
Grapeseed oil

1. On a non stick pan, cook garlic, tofu and peppers in 1 tbsp oil until soft, on medium heat.
2. Add sliced/chopped tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Stir to prevent sticking.
3. Season with your choice seasoning and add in spinach. Toss and turn off heat.
4. Cover pan and let sit for 5 minutes.


Broccoli breakfast casserole with two yummy side dishes

Sleep and rest. Two things that are often hard to achieve for athletes, as well as for those who are seeking a more active lifestyle. I believe both are vital to ensuring optimal health and consistency in working toward your goals.
As for sleep, athletes often have no trouble falling asleep due to feeling exhausted after squeezing it all in but then again, many athletes struggle with sleep for a host of reasons. Depending on when you eat dinner and your evening routine, my suggestion is to pass on that evening snack around 8 or 9pm, as you wait to watch a show on TV or as you are catching up on emails or searching around on the net. Immediately after dinner, pack your lunch for tomorrow, lay out your morning workout clothes (or work clothes) and try getting to bed 30-60 minutes earlier than normal. It will do wonders for your mind, health and exercise routine.
Consider this suggestion not as "I'm not allowed to eat after 8pm" but rather that you are prioritizing sleep over that snack that is keeping you up a bit longer than necessary. We all have the same number of hours in the day, it's up to you as to how you use them and prioritize your daily activities. If you are eating a snack in the late hours because you are starving, reflect on the evening meal as well as to how you ate during the rest of the day. Don't forget...avoid going into meals starving, when needed, plan for a pre-meal snack around 30-90 minutes before the meal is served.
Next time you are considering a day off from structured training, first remind yourself that the body does not enjoy to be sedentary. Knowing that a day off from weight-bearing activity is a beautiful thing for the body on a weekly basis, it is also nice to just go for a walk or take a yoga class. Not every day needs to include a sweaty workout with intense intervals. Perhaps, next time you are anticipating a day off from training, remind yourself that the day after your "day off" will likely bring a well-rested body and the ability to push hard for 5 or 6 consecutive days of training.
After sleeping in on Monday and working all day in the hospital, I finished my day with a little time in my of my favorite places and things to do.
Sleep was great on Sunday and Monday evening and this morning, I welcomed a tough workout with what felt like a brand new body. Even though last week was a recovery week, I kept feeling as if my body was not able to produce its normal "power". Although my workouts just didn't require a lot of speed, I felt like I didn't have "it" even if I was not asked to give "it". That's one of the many beauties of training. If planned appropriately, with balance in mind, the body will respond when called to action. This morning happpened to be one of those amazing quality workouts.

But, perhaps it was the meal that sat so nicely in my tummy and gave me the right amount of satisfaction to go to bed early and wake up with a body full of energy? I suppose that's part of life..there are so many components that make for quality living. When balance is the key, everything seems to fall into place.

I am so excited about my latest recipe that I had intended to be Karel's breakfast for this morning. However, as I was making it, I couldn' resist having it for dinner so I decided to call it a "breakfast" casserole for those who are seeking something different and really satisfying to fill your tummy in the morning (or evening) hours.

Broccoli breakfast casserole

2 cups broccoli (steamed in microwave) OR enough broccoli to cover the bottom of your glass casserole dish
2 cups leftover bean and veggie soup (
Plbeany crockpot soup) or 1 can vegetable soup or 2 cups mixed veggies (cooked)
4 eggs (2 whole, 2 whites)
1 heaping tbsp plain 0% greek yogurt (or plain non fat yogurt) + 1 tbsp water
Palm-sized baguette (place in bag and crush with bottom of a bowl or cup until you get bread crumps. A few thick pieces can remain) OR 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Pepper, chili powder, dash of sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In casserole dish, layer broccoli and steam in thin layer of water, until soft. Keep any remaining juice.
3. Layer soup or veggies (without liquid) on broccoli.
4. Sprinkle bread crumbs and seasonings (to your taste).
5. Combine eggs and yogurt and water and scramble until slightly thick.
6. Pour eggs over veggie mixture and stir with wooden spoon to combine all ingredients.
7. Cook in oven for 30-35 minutes or until eggs are firm.

Side dish #1:
Pearled Barely

1. In pot, cook according to package. Allow 1 1/4 hours to cook (prepare ahead of time when making the casserole or the day before).

Side dish #2:
Oven-baked peanuts

1 bag raw peanuts
An oven

1. In oven set at 350-degrees, place peanuts on baking dish until spread evenly.
2. Cook for 20-25 minutes, give a light toss (out of the oven) around 15 minutes.

Finished product.....similar foods, different quantities. Never forget that you are always eating for YOU and what works best for you. You know your body the best. Eating shouldn't be a stressful time. Keep in mind that there are many ways to eat a healthful diet, built on plant-strong foods.
Karel's plate:

My plate:
Barely on bottom, casserole and peanuts on top


Weekend catch-up and beany crockpot stew

What a beautiful weekend! The weather forecasted rain all weekend and instead we received clouds, comfortable temps for training and a few sprinkles from the sky.
My 2 hr and 45 minute bike on Sat included a lot of wind and with every interval into the headwind, I gave my legs a little pep talk that I would be enjoying the tailwind in a matter of time. This week has been a fantastic recovery week with just enough of tempo work and "schedule" to keep my body fresh and recoverying without too much intensity. After the bike I went for a leisurely jog, monitoring my heart rate as I went by feel on the run. 4 miles later, Campy was ready for his part of the run...a quick sprint around the block. Unlike me, Campy is a born sprinter!

This morning the wind was once again howling so decided to do my 90 minute pre-run bike warm-up on the road where I live...riding 4.5 miles each way for a few loops into the headwind and then enjoying the tailwind. I saw so many people outside on the run/bike path and it made me smile. Talk about motivation.

I made sure on my bike to keep a watchful eye on my power as riding 15 or 16 mph into the headwind is no fun for my competitive ego but when I see that I am pushing watts similar to my Z3 and Z4 zones, it is easy to back off and increase my cadence in a lighter gear. No need to prove anything on an easy bike ride.

After the bike I grabbed my garmin and headed out for a run. This time around, the wind didn't bother me so much as my legs were feeling fresh and I held a steady 8 min/mile average pace for 7 miles. The last mile was with Campy and like's a fast one!

(What a cutie!)
After an epson salt bath, followed by my 110% recovery gear, I made the most delicious fruity green whey smoothie:

3 baby carrots
1 stalk celery
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger
Dash of cinnamon
Small handful spinach
1 scoop whey protein (vanilla)
1 cup crushed ice (or 5-7 ice cubes)
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 cup fresh fruit (mango, apple, orange)
1/2 cup milk
4 almonds
3 large chocolate chips
water as needed

Blend together and add water to meet your consistency needs. Most of my smoothies make around 5 cups which is too much for me to eat alone so I typically consume a large glass (around 20-24 ounces) and save the rest for a snack (in the freezer in another smaller cup).
I like to top with smoothies with a little crunch so this time I used sunflower seeds and a little organic granola that Karel purchased yesterday from Native Sun.

As we finish up the weekend and welcome another week of work, life and training, get out your crockpot as it is time to make a delicious stew for a quick dinner or two (or three) or lunch. Leftovers can be used in a casserole, stir-fry or on top of a bed of dark greens.

I just discovered this "soup" from Campbell's and at 960 mg sodium for the entire 2 cup box, I figured this is too much sodium for a person to eat in one sitting but the perfect amount when added to the crockpot.

I didn't measure everything so my suggestion is to use equal amounts (to the eye) of the following, around 1 - 1 1/2 cups..or a layer of each in the pot.

Mixed frozen veggies (carrots, green peas, corn green beans)
Butter beans (frozen)
Red beans (bagged)
Chick peas (bagged)
Mushrooms (whole)
Red potatoes (4) - sliced in quarters
1 medium onion (sliced)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
6 cups water
1 box (2 servings) of V8 garden vegetable soup
Season to taste - as needed

1. Combine all ingredients in crockpot and let cook for 8-10 hours.
2. Refrigerate when cooled to room temperature. The flavor intensifies after a day.
3. Top with a scoop of ricotta cheese for a creamy soup or your favorite cheese.