2/8/14

Discover your inner Olympic athlete


I love a body in motion. I love a body that has been trained to perform and I love a body and mind that work together when it's "go time."

If you share a similar passion as I do, it's likely that from Feb 7, 2014 – Feb 23, 2014 you will be watching athletes from around the world skate, ski, snowboard and slide (and everything else) their way toward an Olympic medal in Sochi Russia for the XXII Olympic Winter Games

When it comes to sports, it's likely that you will find success in a sport that you possess the natural skills for. Getting started in a sport is tough but if you are good at something when you begin, it's easy to continue to strive to get better. 

But more important than being a natural is loving what you do. For you can be genetically gifted to succeed at x, y or z sport but without hard work, dedication, and pure athletic ability, you will never reach your full potential. 

It's true that many of of us will never have the chance to walk in the opening ceremony of an Olympic Games, let alone compete to qualify for the Olympics. But, this does not mean that you can not act like an Olympic athlete in order to reach your personal goals and dreams. 

Here are a few traits of Olympic athletes that may help you reach a new level of success in your lifetime. 

1) Olympic athletes have coaches and a short and long term plan - it's hard to be told that you have weaknesses, that you need to try again while your training partners are moving forward, to be patient and that you can not race even though you really really want to. When was the last time you trained 4-years so that you could peak appropriately? A professional, educated, caring and supportive coach will have your best interest at heart and cares just as much as the journey of progress as she/he cares about your final results. Olympic athletes are open to coaches and don't only have one coach but rather a team of experts to be guides in a personal athletic journey. Consider being open-minded to a coach helping you reach your goals so that you can you keep yourself moving forward. Coaches (especially those who have been athletes or are athletes) likely have made mistakes in his/her past (or has learned from others) and will do everything possible to help you from making those same athletic mistakes. Coaches are an investment to your health as well as to helping you make your dreams/goals come true.

2) Athlete want to win and are willing to make sacrifices - winning should not be confused with an all-or-nothing mindset. Olympic athletes make a lot of sacrifices in life to reach their goals and this may not be practical for the age-group, adult athlete who already has a lot to manage in life. But no matter what stage you are competing on, you have every right to want to perform at your best when it counts. But an Olympic athlete has his/her mind always on his/her athletic goals and has very few excuses when it comes to reaching those goals. Focus on what you CAN do every day to move closer to your goals and remember that every great performance comes from the willingness to try and the ability to not give up. Olympic athletes are no strangers to obstacles (ex. injuries, financial situations,etc.) because of their ability to push above their comfort zone and do anything to become victorious in their ultimate goals. Part of being successful is keeping your mind on your goals and being willing to make a few sacrifices, even if it means that you are not winning a race. 

3) Olympic athletes love to learn - Olympic athletes are very smart. They do not google information on the internet or read a blog about how to eat, train or live but instead, they are meticulous at correcting their own personal mistakes, errors and potential setbacks. They also train when they are not in the spotlight. Rather than sharing that a workout has been completed, they are putting in the work when others are not watching so that they can perform when the world is watching. They hold themselves accountable to what they set forth to accomplish and alongside their team of coaches, they consider what others (at the same level or higher) are doing well and what they (the athlete) is doing wrong and are always willing to correct what's not working. Olympic athletes can be very narrow minded as they learn from others whereas the average athlete can often struggle with being too much of an open book when it comes to trying everything and anything without ever knowing what's working or not working. The most successful Olympic athletes can only learn from their own personal performances and are never too quick to change what's already working just because another athlete is doing something different.

4) Olympic athletes are consistent - Olympic athletes have consistency. Although an outsider may think that Olympic athletes have very little to think about aside from training, sleeping and eating, this doesn't mean that they do not get injured, have other obligations in life that cause stress or lack of sleep or that they do not get burnt out. 
Olympic athletes are able to visualize success no matter what is thrown in their way and they are always finding a way to move closer to their ultimate goal. It's not that they do not fatigue, get injured or burnt out but the chance of that happening (through good coaching and the ability to be patient) is minimized when they are committed to reaching a dream through hard work and consistency. 

5) Olympic athletes dream big and spare no expenses- It's true that the many athletes or individuals at a young age tell their parents that they want to be an Olympian one day. Alongside the importance of parents encouraging children to never give up and to always dream big, it's also important, at any age, that you have everything in place to keep yourself moving closer to your goals. Dreaming big is a big part of reaching your goals and finding success but there is always an investment to that success. Although you do not always have to have the latest and greatest of everything, no matter your fitness level (newbie or veteran), be sure that your environment helps you find success. You want quality and safe equipment and gear and a knowledgeable "staff" in your team that can ensure that you are not wasting money (or time) as you dream big and work hard to reach your goals. 

Do you possess the traits to act like an Olympian as you reach your personal goals in life?

2/5/14

Trimarni Chiachoco heart-healthy mix


 
I love public speaking but I do not like to give talks to hungry bellies or to bodies with low blood sugar.
 
So, it's typical that when I give a talk on nutrition/sport nutrition/healthy living, that a Trimarni creation will be involved.
 
I'm giving a talk on my top 3 tips for to immediately improve overall health. The talk is in Orlando on 2/6/14 for the Lenscrafters Summit 2014 on behalf of Oakley Women. The talk will be at Caribe Royale and I am super excited to share my latest Trimarni creation.
 
I needed a little help with the name so I asked my followers on Instagram (@Trimarni) and Facebook to help me out. The responses were so creative!!!
 
-Breakfast of Champions
-A taste of heaven
-Maui mix
-Coconut mocha mix
-Cocochi
-Trimarni energy mix
-Trimarni snack mix
-HG4C trail mix
-TM's Bazinga! trail mix
-Trimarni's sweet munch mix
-Marni's mocha mix
-ChiChoCoCo mix
-Heart Healthy sweetness mix
-Endurance mix
 
 
Thank you everyone for helping me out with my latest Trimarni creation name! I hope you enjoy it as a snack or on yogurt and it makes you YUM when you fill your body with happiness and heart-healthy ingredients.
 



A few benefits of the ingredients:
(in addition to each of the ingredients separately tasting amazing!)
 
-Chocolate and coffee - rich in antioxidants, may increase alertness, energy and may reduce risk for heart disease and stroke, dementia, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. May boost mood. Coffee may not be appropriate for every body.
-Goji berries - rich in vitamin A and antioxidants. Goji berries may interact with diabetes and blood pressure drugs as well as Coumadin so discuss with your doctor if this may affect you.
-Nuts and seeds - rich in heart healthy fats, may lower cholesterol and decrease inflammation, increase satiety, and provides fiber, protein and immune-boosting minerals and vitamins.
-Chia seeds - provides omega 3 fatty acids, increase fullness with insoluble and soluble fibers, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, and calcium.
-Honey - natural source of carbohydrates/sugar and energy, antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties, soothes a sore throat, may reduce allergy symptoms.
-Coconut - beneficial for skin, contains iron, manganese, copper and fiber.
-Ginger - may decrease inflammation, reduce nausea and GI issues, may reduce risk for cancer, help with acid reflux/heartburn.


Trimarni Chiachoco heart-healthy mix


 
Ingredients:
3 cups trail mix (I used the goji trail mix at Whole Foods which included almonds, cashews, goji berries, raisins, pumpkin an sunflower seeds)
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup crystalized ginger (chopped)
3/4 cup chocolate covered coffee beans (crush in a baggy)
3/4 cup organic honey
3 cups plain Cheerios
2 large bowls
Spatula
 
1. In large mixing bowl, combine first five ingredients and combine with spatula.
2. Add in honey and combine well until evenly mixed.
3. In another large bowl, pour 1/2 of the above mixture in to the bowl and then add 1.5 cups cheerios. Stir until evenly combined.
4. Then add the other 1.5 cups cheerios and the above mixture.
5. Stir gently until the entire mixture is evenly combined.
6. Keep refrigerated for a more firm mixture.
(you can make bars with this recipe but the recipe may require more honey for better sticking).
 
Nutrition facts:
(
Nutrition facts may vary based on how much of the mixture is in your serving, ex. more cheerios or more nuts depending on how the mixture sticks together. Also depending on your trail mix, nutrition facts may vary)

Serving size: 1/4 cup
Servings: 44 servings
(great for events or parties)
 
98 calories
5g fat
12g carbohydrates
2g fiber
5g sugar
2g protein
 


 





2/3/14

World Cancer Day - reduce your risk


I haven't been a clinical dietitian for that long (2.5 years) but I have seen, learned and experienced a lot in the hospital. Although it was never my goal when I pursued my RD credential, I really wanted to experience (and challenge) to learn more about the body when it is not in optimal health. I can say that my job is so rewarding when I work as an inpatient clinical RD and I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had to learn from those who are sick to better help those who want to be well. 

Alcoholism, drug overdose, anorexia/bulimia, cancer, heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, UTI....

The list goes on and on as to what patients get diagnosed with when they are admitted and seen in the hospital and I still can't believe all the illnesses and conditions that patients are diagnosed with on a daily basis. I learn something new every time I am in the hospital for work. 

It's absolutely unreal to think about all that goes on in a human body that can not heal itself. It's very easy to take for granted what the human body is capable of (ex. if you have had the flu recently and you were able to recover without being admitted to the hospital, consider your body "healthy" that it could heal itself) especially if you ever think you are "healthy." 

It's also easy to take for granted your "good health" when you do get diagnosed with a disease or experience an illness or injury. 

And as a dietitian who specializes in sport nutrition, I come across a lot of bodies who train and race for finish lines. I absolutely love a body in motion but what I do not appreciate is a body that is pushed through extreme pain, injuries and even with low fuel in the tank, just for a training session or race. But, nonetheless, when a race is on the horizon,  it's all too common that athletes will often compromise their health at any cost just to get in a workout because it's on the training plan, or to burn calories or to start a race that was on the schedule.

In honor of World Cancer Day, it's important that you are doing everything possible to take care of your health. Not later, but now. 

Just like you can not prevent accidents that may increase mortality risk, you also can not prevent cancer. 

However, because cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells (if spread is not controlled may cause death), it's important that you live an awesome life, making memories as you check off things on your bucket list, as you also take control in your lifestyle to reduce your risk. 

Cancer is caused by external (ex. tobacco, infectious organisms, chemicals, radiation) and internal factors (inherited mutations, hormones, immune conditions and mutations that occur from metabolism) according to cancer.org facts and figures 2014. Ten or more years often pass between exposure to external factors and detectable cancer. 

The World Cancer Fund has estimated that up to 1/3 of cancer cases that occur in economically developed countries like the US are related to overweight or obesity, physical inactivity and/or poor nutrition. Many cancers can be prevented through behavior changes and screenings offer the ability for secondary prevention by detecting cancer early, before symptoms appear. Early detection results in less extensive treatment and better outcomes according to Cancer.org. 

Because all cancers involve the malfunction of genes that control cell growth and division, there is great evidence as to how you can reduce your risk of cancer and promote overall health. 

Remember, you can not prevent cancer. The goal for any individual is to live a quality life and while you may not diet from cancer, you also have to be sure you are taking care of your health to prevent your risk for other diseases as well. I know it's not the happiest topic to discuss but if you are going to live to 50 or 100 years of age, what kind of life do you want to live for the years you are given on this earth? Are you going to let 65 years go by and then when you retire you are going to make the time to take care of your health? Or do you keep telling yourself that tomorrow you will be better but instead, it turns into another year that you are still trying to make a change? 

I once heard a fabulous doctor talk at the Mayo Clinic and someone asked her "what are the top foods that can reduce risk for cancer." I was very excited to hear her response and the first thing she said was along these lines, "you know, we can't live our entire life trying to eat to prevent cancer. You also can't live your entire life trying to prevent cancer. You have to live your life and if you get cancer, you have to be strong enough to fight for your life. Don't be scared of cancer."

I found that really powerful because it's so true that we can't assume that only the diet will reduce risk for cancer.  Cancer affects so many for so many reasons but among those who choose to fight...wow, do they fight hard, inspire others and many times, they are the reasons that so many of us get incredibly motivated and excited to set goals and work hard for them. Why? Because 50 years or 100 years...life is short and you only get one shot at it with your one and only body. 

A few ways that you can reduce your risk for cancer:
1) Maintain a healthy body weight throughout your life
2) Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes
3) Emphasize a plant-strong diet - reduce added sugar, fruit juices and sodium in the diet and limit processed and red meat. Choose whole grains, low fat dairy and naturally-rich high fiber foods, emphasizing lots of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, lentils, fish, fermented soy and heart healthy oils. Portion control, eat slowly, drink water.
4) Get a restful night of sleep most days of the week
5) Manage stress
6) Surround yourself with positive people and maintain a positive attitude
7) Alcohol in moderation - don't start drinking if you don't currently drink

When it comes to nutrition and cancer, it's very complex. There is no cause and effect, one specific answer how the diet can reduce risk for cancer. However, there is much evidence showing that it is not one single nutrient, but instead the combination of nutrients in a balanced and portioned manner to nourish the body and to support daily activity, all while helping the body achieve a healthy weight, that can reduce the risk for cancer. Oh, and fad diets, detoxes, elimination diets and anything else extreme does not cure, prevent or control cancer. Considering the many different eating styles by cultures around the world, we can only look at research that shows us that yes, there are many ways to eat in order to be healthy but there is one style of eating (ex. plant strong) that is universal for improving overall health because of the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. that our body receives to to protect our immune system.
We all know someone who has been impacted by cancer. Cancer affects everyone, not just the person who gets the diagnosis. 

According to cancer.org, in 2014 there will be an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed and 585,720 cancer deaths in the US. Cancer remains the 2nd most common cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths. 

Regardless if you train for an Ironman, finish a marathon or make a 6 figure salary, cancer doesn't really care how fit or successful you are in life. Also, disease or accidents often come without much warning so no amount of credentials or highlights in your resume make you destined to live until you are 100 years of age. 

I encourage you to never give up on what you want to achieve in life. Do not wait for the perfect time to start living the life you want to live. You are never guaranteed a tomorrow but if you get one, make it a great day. 

Take the steps to reduce your risk for cancer and you will find that your ability to improve your health also makes way for an awesome life. And if you get diagnosed with cancer or experience a disease or illness or injury, my hope is that you have years of memories that will help you stay strong and continue to fight but also the good health that you have worked so hard for will allow you to prolong life or even better, come out a winner in the fight for your life. 

I'm all for a quality life. I'd rather live 50 amazing, memory-filled years than 60 unhappy, miserable years. More so, I want to be independent, free of medicine and very active when I grow older and I know that I have to take care of myself now so that I can increase the odds of me living a quality filled life as I age with Karel by my side.  I can't predict the future so I choose to make the most of every day that I am given on this earth.

What makes you happy to live, to be alive, to smell fresh air and to move your body freely? 

If you are happy you are making enough money to support your family or to travel, that's fantastic...just be sure your health is helping you continue that success. 

If you have a goal of finishing an Ironman, writing a book, getting a promotion or running in a marathon or climbing a mountain.... take care of your health as you continue dreaming big, working hard and enjoying the journey of life. 

To everyone who has been affected with cancer, stay strong and make the most out of every single day. 




2/2/14

Rethink your plate - indulge in a healthy way

 
 
My body is nourished by a real food, whole food, balanced, plant strong diet.

This is how I stay healthy and well, it's how I am reducing my risk for disease and it's how I choose to fuel my active lifestyle.
 
As a clinical RD who specializes in sport nutrition, I enjoy helping others learn to appreciate a more real food, plant strong, balanced diet but also how to let food enhance life.
 
Above all, a healthy relationship with food is a top priority when it comes to living a quality life with a healthy body and mind.
 
I am very passionate about life for I only have one chance at it. I want to live a good life...no, I want to live a great life. I absolutely love using my body for sport but also to be productive in my career and to make memories as I age.
 
So to help me live a great life, I do not support an off-limit food list. I have to enjoy food in order to enjoy life for food is part of our society, not to mention we need to eat to live.
 
 If there is anything that can assist in having a healthy relationship with food, I am a firm believer that food should make you feel good when you eat it and after you finish eating it.
 
How many times or when was the last time you said "Oh, I should not have eaten that or that much?"
 
So if you are currently seeing a food as bad or off-limit for whatever reason, I want to make sure that your relationship with food is what's helping you use food to enhance your life.

A good place to start is rethinking your plate so that you don't feel restricted in your diet.
 
There are many ways to eat "healthy" and many ways to describe a healthy diet. I think that's great that we can all live our own life and discover our own ways to live a healthy life.
 
What works for me may not work for you BUT as a health professional and licensed RD, I have absolutely nothing to hide when it comes to my diet and what I feel may work well for others.
There is great research showing what "works" when it comes to healthy eating
When it comes to eating, I'm an open book. I share my pics on social media because I am so proud of what I choose to put into my body but also what helps me live a healthy and active lifestyle.
I love to eat around others and I never lecture others about food (I am not the food police). You will never hear me say "don't eat that - it's bad". EVER!
 
Practicing what I preach allows is important to me but also, I can help others, treat others as individuals and also relate to many real-world situations which involve food.
 
A common issue for many is indulgences. Often times, these indulgences - pizza, cake, ice cream, cookies, candy, chips, pastries, etc. - are found on a "bad" food list and often times, people feel "bad" or guilty when an indulgence is consumed. Perhaps an individual needs to recognize that the food is not "bad" but instead, the relationship with food can be changed but for many, it's very easy to overeat something that tastes oh-so-good and not feel so good afterward.
Because many of these calorie dense foods are often found on an off-limit food list when it comes to diet plans, I want to help you learn how to indulge in a "healthy" way.
 
Although, we do not want to treat ourselves every day because then when a special occasion does come (birthday, anniversary, wedding), we may not feel the same about the indulgence that is often consumed in celebration for something special.
 
Compare eating brownies on valentines day versus eating brownies in your office because they were on sale at the grocery store.
 
 
So when you find yourself about to indulge - for whatever reason - think about creating a plate that will leave you satisfied, feeling nourished and great when you finish and allows you to indulge without feeling guilty.
 
I have so  many great ways that I maintain a healthy relationship with food, nourish my body to reduce risk for disease and illness, fuel my active lifestyle and live an awesome life as a travel and make memories with Karel.
 
Here is one example as to how I enjoy one of my favorite indulgences.....pizza (which I LOVE while traveling and on occasion at home). What's great is that I can enjoy the perfect portion of pizza to fill my mouth with flavor but also feel satisfied thanks to a healthy portion of nutrient-rich food (packed with volume, fiber, vitamins and minerals).
 
If you are trying to change eating habits for a more real-food diet, if you current struggle with overeating, feel a bit stressed when it comes to indulging at parties, use the word "cheat" in your diet or often feel "guilty" when you indulge, let's work on it.
 
Consider taking the same approach to your favorite indulgences:
Instead of a large cookie straight from your hand, have 4 ounce plain Greek yogurt in a small bowl and 1/2 cookie crumbled on top.
Instead of a large bowl of ice cream, have a cup of fruit in a bowl with 2-3 spoonfuls ice cream on top.
Instead of eating chips straight from the bag, top a hearty salad with a small handful of crumbled chips.
Instead of a large bowl of pasta, serve steamed veggies in a large bowl and top with 1 cup pasta.

 Super Bowl Dinner tonight
(Bottom plate)
 

 
Here's my experiment to show you that you can asbolutely indulge and feel great about it and NOT have an off-limit food list or feel as if you are "cheating" with pizza.
 
Top right: 1 slice pizza on a large plate
Well, that doesn't look very filling despite being "calorie-controlled".
Top left: 2 slices pizza on small plate
At least we have a "filled" plate which may make you think that you are eating a more filling meal but we still haven't solved the issue of creating a plant strong, nutrient dense plate.
 
Bottom plate: 1 slice pizza sliced into thirds on small plate, served with roasted broccoli, mushrooms and onions.
Not only does this plate look filling but you still get your pizza AND veggies to leave you satisfied as you indulge and feel great about what you are eating.
 
Perhaps you'd like two slices of pizza with veggies or a salad - that works too! Have fun with rethinking and recreating your plate so that you can indulge and feel great about it.