Essential Sports Nutrition


Nutty Niacin Dip and article

Need more energy? Feeling fatigued?

How about obtaining a great source of natural energy by eating a whole-food, varied diet?
It's not as hard as you think.....

Check out my latest article on Niacin from my column Plate Not Pills:

Plates Not Pills: Niacin : LAVA Magazine

Don't miss my most amazing, super delicious, mouth-watering asian-inspired peanut dip....perfect to compliment a vegetarian mushroom dish or a glaze on your favorite fish.

I have been using the dip/dressing for everything so last night I made a delicious slaw with:
Bean Sprouts
Carrots (fresh large carrots, peeled and sliced)
Red peppers

Top 10

It's National ride your bike to work day! But you don't need a special day to ride you bike.Check out my tips for safe and fun bike riding.
Top 10


Do you strive for consistency?

Another great read from Coach Matt Dixon in the June 2012 issue of LAVA magazine.

This is a word that I use a lot, in my daily vocabulary. For consistent actions bring the results.

If you think about the January 1st exerciser, he/she is so ready to join a gym and do his/her first workout. Of course, with large short term goals on his/her mind, rather than taking it easy and just walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes, he/she goes all-out with a strength workout, cardio workout and aerobic-class workout that leaves he/she walking stiffly for the next 7 days. As a result, he/she doesn't return to the gym for the next 7 days and the following week, questions whether or not it is really practical to join a gym. So, he/she cancels the membership thinking he/she can do it at home and well, back to square one and eventually, 357 days go by and the cycle continues.

Obviously an extreme example but sadly athletes do a similar thing.

The first 3-6 weeks of any new training program and triathletes and runners are loving the results. They feel great, skip the rest days and feel on top of the world. Weeks go by and the energy is overflowing. That is until it all hits them like a stack of bricks. Weight loss becomes weight gain, energy turns into fatigue, the body begins to shut down and sore spots never seem to heal. The mindset turns from wanting to get the miles done to needing to get the miles done. A big difference when the body is crying for a break.

Additionally, then there are athletes that are told to strength train and ultimately, strength training which would be designed to enhance performance, ultimately sabotages performance because too much weight was lifted with poor form by weak muscles.

How about training for miles rather than for quality? Athletes admit to this as well (whether they like it or not) considering that many athletes will have to skip/modify workouts (for whatever reason) and the training cycle continues but with the feelings as if they need to make up workouts, miles or lost time. Once again, the cycle of training with a tired, run-down, fatigued and slightly overtrained body leaves the athlete craving taper in order to "recover".

I won't get into the daily diet. For we all know how inconsistent people can be with good food/bad food, guilty, off-limit and feeling fat all in a vocabulary of someone who doesn't have a healthy relationship with food and the body.

I always enjoying the words of Matt Dixon, as well as his philosophy, I wanted to share his characteristics of consistency. There is a lot in the article that I want to share so invite you to subscribe to LAVA in order to stay up-to-date with all-things triathlons.

1) Long term vision - While we need to train in the now, lack of a long term vision will always lead to panic and loss of direction. Athletes with a clear understanding of the path to sucess understand that no single session will make or break them.

2) Patience - Even long term vision will not promise success. Going on that journey requires plenty o patience. Evolution takes time, and that means pateience throughout the process.

3) Governance: The most consistent athletes are those who have the ability to regulate when to truly apply effort. Certainly coaching can have a huge influence on this, but athletes who can drive or hold back at appropriate times will maintain consistency. Athletes who lack self-governance had better have a good coach on their side.

4) Persistence - This isn't easy, and tough times always lie ahead in the journey to improve. Positive, or expected, fatigue is a normal part of the program, and athletes who can maintain effective training when emotionally and physically challenged will be most successful.

5) Passion - Impossible to coach and impossible to fake. You have to love the journey to really create a consistent approach to training. This is an absolute must.

6) Detail-oriented - So many athletes get the main part of the session right, but forget all the supporting details. Recovery practices, fueling properly, warm-up and injury prevention count for something. Over a long period of time, all those little things really add up.

7) Outcomes of consistency -If you are able to approach training with a long term vision, persistence and patience, you will achieve the results that you set out toward. The result of applying these characteristics to training is that you will avoid the big peaks and valleys that are so rampant in many athletes' training histories. Rushing the journey, wildly training without a plan or hammering every session regardles of your energy level is a shortcut to negative fatigue, injury and a roller coaster of energy and performance levels.

According to coach Dixon, "many athletes feel they are successful in training consistency because they go out each day and work hard. But unfortunately, showing up is not enough to produce results. It is the first key step but ensuring effective training requires thought.
Mistakes happen. Repeat mistakes are called habits. The mistakes that Coach dixon discusses in the next part of the article (chasing power or pace on every workout, inability to back off, giving up before it has begun) are born out of a positive quality: a determined desire to improve. The motivation for gains often ends up being a barrier to success. "

To sum up the article, Dixon says "Don't look for a magic training recipe or plan. There are no secrets in that area. A smart training plan, built around your needs, is important, but the real magic is setting up the best possible emotional approach to training andnn being able to create real consistency. Do this and plenty of good things will follow"

Your thoughts???
If you strive for consistency, are you creating habits that allow for progress?


Weight of the Nation recap and Sweet cauli"flower" recipe

So, what did you think of the HBO documentary on "The Weight of the Nation"?? By clicking the link you can access the movies.
I have only watched part 1 (which I thought was very eye-opening) but I plan on watching the other three from my DVR this weekend. Right now, our TV is being used in the evening for cycling and all things cycling. With the Giro and Tour de California on Universal Sports right now, Karel is one happy camper when he comes home from work. You'd thinik riding his bike in the morning and working as the GM of the Trek store would be enough but I guess Karel can not get enough cycling in his life. That's ok by me..he could occupy his free time by doing many other things so I enjoy sharing his passion of bikes with him.

There are two messages that I'd like to share on behalf of this documentary.
In retrospect of the documentary that showed us that out of 9 of the 10 most obese parts in the US, they are also the poorest parts of the US, why is this documentary (aimed to perhaps, wake-up the population that change is needed), on cable..let alone HBO!! Why not air this in local theaters, in schools, on NBC? Just doesn't make sense to me.
Additionally, think about how lucky you are that on a daily basis, you likely have access to a grocery store within driving distance. For many people, within walking distance but it likely hasn't crossed their mind to ride their bikes or walk rather than drive 1-2 miles down the road to pick up a few staple items.
Many parts of the world is without food. We, in America, have access to safe and healthy food to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. However, we also have access to food that may sabotage health. Ultimately, it's your choice if you choose to eat a plant-strong diet or count calories and eat chemicals (sorry - there really wasn't a better way to formulate that sentence without it having a powerful message).
But for many people, there are no choices. Having a TV is a luxury, having a vehicle is only a dream. Where's the next meal going to come from is simply an afterthought. The first thought is "where's the money going to come from to pay for them meal?"
I've had the opportunity to provide nutrition counseling in a few tough areas of Jacksonville and despite the people having great attitudes, their health is not a priority.
On the flip side, I have had the opportunity to travel abroad and while spending 2 weeks in the Philippines. No AC, no outlets to dry your hair, sleeping on concrete floors in a sleeping bag and pumping your own water for a bucket shower. I was able to travel there for a work service project when I was 21 and a Senior in college and I remember us being served dinner the first night we were there. With around 20 of us to feed, our "typical" America portions meant that only 5 or 6 people got food. That's right, our idea of what is appropriate to consume (and perhaps at times, waste) was not realistic when living in a third world country. It was a total wake-up call and when I returned home from the US, I cried for a few days just thinking about the struggles that every adult and child faces...but to them, it's just life.

Secondly, who are the ones that are likely watching this documentary? If those who are putting their lives in danger via unhealthy daily lifestyle habits, are watching this documentary, what is the next step for them? Perhaps I haven't gotten through the 4-part series but I think this brings up an important point. The human body is complex. Eating extends far beyond a basic need to live and survive. Food needs to be understood at a physiological level just as much as it does on an emotional level. For I have a feeling that those who are truely passionate about nutrition and health, are the ones who are predominantly watching this show. They are the go-getters, ready to change the world. However, as mentioned before, there is a lot of miscommuication in this world as to the "best" way to improve health and because of that, society is confused. There are many passionate people out there but as I mentioned, the body is complex. Once again, I am really proud that I decided to go back to school after obtaining my BA in Exercise Science (with a minor in pysch) and a MS in Exercise Physiology, to become a licensed and registered dietitian. For I am legally "watched" for the info I provide to others and I understand that what I do and say on a daily basis, 100% affects the lives of others. From working as a clinical dietitian to coaching athletes to reach body composition and performance goals, I understand that I not only need to act professionally but also ethically, in order to provide the public with the most practical and sound advice to improve health.

In the Summer 2012 issue of Food and Nutrition magazine (from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics), there was a great article on "WASTE NOT".
There was a clip from World War 1 US Food Administration poster 1914-1918. Here's what it read:
1) Buy it with thought
2) Cook it with care
3) Use less wheat and meat
4) Buy local foods
5) Serve just enough
6) Use what is life


For someone like myself, who works with a variety of individuals, I have a lot to take away from this documentary. Primarily, food extends far beyond calories. Appreciate what you put into your body and recognize the steps you are taking to take care of yourself. There are no rules as to what is right, bad or wrong but rather, what makes you feel the best.

So, to jump-start your nutrition journey or to add a bit more creativity to your recipes, here's a super yummy creation that I shared in the last Jacksonville Dietetic Association newsletter. The theme for the newsletter was "Spring flowers bring May flowers" so I found it semi-appropriate to make a cauli"flower" creation. ENJOY!

Sweet cauli"flower" and butternut squash with roasted tomatoes
6 cups cauliflower florets (1 head)
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp parsley
1.5 cup sliced purple onion
1 cup butternut squash (bagged, fresh)
2 large roma tomatoes (Sliced)
2 tbsp olive oil

1.5 cups lentils
Feta cheese and pumpkin seeds to taste

Nutrition factsServes 3
Serving size: 1.5 cup cauliflower, 1/2 cup onion, squash and tomato mixture, 1/2 cup lentils)

Calories: 406
Fat: 19g
Carbohydrate: 49g
Fiber: 10g
Protein: 15g
Sodium: 172 mg


The Weight Of the Nation

Tune in to HBO tonight at 8pm and 9pm for Parts 1 and 2 of the documentary. Also, check out the website to learn more HERE.

Feel free to email or comment on my blog with any questions, comments or concerns.