Essential Sports Nutrition


Avocado, quinoa, pomegrante and pecan salad

Some of my favorite creations are created in my head when I'm training. 

As I rode my tri-bike on the trainer last night for 45 minutes, I started to think about what to make for dinner. Karel is in Jax for RETUL bike fits so it was just me (and Campy).

 I had cottage cheese and yogurt for an easy protein option but I wasn't sure what I could make for a meal. I wanted something light as I had a satisfying afternoon snack as well as a pre bike workout snack so I wasn't in the mood for a normal-size Trimarni creation dinner. 

So, then it occurred to me...I had a few ingredients in my refrigerator that may taste great (or not) when combined together. This is always the start of a Trimarni creation....what can I combine together, without having to measure anything, and make it be healthy, yummy and taste amazing???

After tiring out my glutes with a main set of single leg drills, I cleaned up, took Campy for a quick walk around the block and got busy in the kitchen. 

So here it is. The most delicious combo of ingredients....who knew??

Avocado, quinoa, pomegrante and pecan salad
1 cup dry quinoa (cooked in 1.5 cups water)
1/2 pomegrante (seeded)
1 avocado chopped
1/8-1/4 cup chopped pecans (I used the yummy pecans from Veronica's Health Crunch)

1. Let quinoa cool and combine ingredients in a bowl.
2. Add a pinch of salt and lightly toss together.


Healthy eating without following a diet plan

When I was 10 years old and decided to not eat meat anymore, my choice to become plant strong was not for a body image, to get healthy or to follow the crowd. I had made a personal decision that not eating meat would be my way of showing respect to animals and thus I titled myself as a vegetarian. 

Almost 23 years ago I made a dietary choice to become a vegetarianism. But unlike the brand of shoes I prefer or my favorite color, choosing to eliminate meat from my diet started a lifestyle change that had no deadline in place. Because plant strong became my new lifestyle, it required commitment and knowledge to make the diet work for my personal health and performance goals. 

I have never persuaded anyone to be a vegetarian athlete to boost performance and I have never told a person that his/her health and performance will automatically improve once meat is removed from the diet. 

All fitness enthusiasts and athletes must understand the importance of consuming a balanced, wholesome diet so no matter where you get your protein from, you should never let your dietary choices keep you from reaching your fitness potential and ultimately improving your health and quality of life. And above all, your diet does not have to leave you unsatisfied, without energy, feeling isolated, requiring an excessive amount of planning and prep and costing you a lot of money. And if your current diet does not leave you with any of the above statements, that's great but just make sure that you are eating for a lifestyle, and not for a body image. 

The cost of getting lean: is it worth it?

When you think about the diets that are marketed to the masses these days, many come across as "eating healthy". Or, perhaps they boldly read that "this is not a diet, it's a lifestyle."

“Healthy eating" is extremely confusing in our food-obsessed society which is supported by a multi-billion dollar diet and health industry.  Therefore, meat or no meat, in our sugar is horrible, carbs are bad, gluten is evil, is soy out or in today, society, many athletes struggle to understand how to consume a healthy diet and fuel appropriately while training for sports. 

Therefore, it’s important to have an appropriately planned diet to support your athletic development. Because any diet that is restrictive (ex. Paleo, Gluten-free) or lacking in variety (ex. you rely on fast food, you don’t like to cook, etc.) may demonstrate potential nutritional deficiencies, all athletes should consider working with a dietitian who specializes in sport nutrition, prior to making dietary modifications/swaps. Also, for any athlete who is seeking a change in the diet, be mindful that if there are underlying dietary clinical issues (ex. IBS, food allergies, gluten intolerance/sensitivity, Hashimoto’s, PCOS, etc.) those should be top priority in an effort to create the most balanced, varied diet possible. 

I'm not here to waste my time to discuss every diet out there but let it be known that regardless of what diet name you give to your dietary habits, all fitness enthusiasts and athletes should remember that your personalized style of eating should never limit your performance potential or compromise health. A restrictive, low energy diet may change your body composition but there’s not a lot you can do on race day with an underfueled and undernourished body. 

Because the focus of this blog is not on body image but instead eating a healthy diet without following a diet plan, here are a few tips to get you thinking about food for fuel and for health. 

Healthy eating without following a diet plan

1. What's your motivation to change? - If you feel the need to eliminate or add certain foods to the diet, be sure to have a really good reason to do so. A good reason would be doctor's/dietitian's orders OR lab work that reflects the need to place emphasis on certain areas of your diet. Weight loss is typically a top priority for most people wanting to change nutrition habits but a better focus would be on what you can do with your body when you start eating healthier. Maybe less sick days, reducing risk for cancer, being around longer for your grand kids/spouse, having more energy, taking better care of your body, performing better, having less focus on food and more focus on living life to the fullest? Whatever your reason may be, let a change in body composition be that added bonus as your health is always top priority.

2. Create a positive food environment - stock your kitchen with everything you need to prepare wholesome foods at home and store leftovers in Tupperware. And don't forget the foods that you want to eat as well. I recommend to shop every 3-4 days when you are transitioning to a more real food diet so that you do not overwhelm yourself with a lot of produce and then find yourself throwing it out after 7 days. Think of what you can keep in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer for easy and healthy meal prep.

3. Don't be perfect, aim for progress - create a very simple lifestyle log to plan your day. The diet mentality is to log your day as or after it happened and this often doesn't initiate change but instead guilt, control and self-defeat. Instead, create a plan for yourself. When you think about what you will eat before/after workouts, for your 3 meals and then snacking with a purpose, you have a better opportunity to set yourself up for success. Not only do you have a plan for staying nourished and satisfied but you are now forced to make sure you have those food items available which reduces the risk for overeating later in the day as well as going long hours without eating (or eating on a whim). This also helps the athlete fuel better so that pre and post workout nutrition isn't an afterthought.

4. Rethink your plate - I'm all about  a plant strong plate. You can pick your protein choice. Fill up your plate with fresh foods, packed with vitamins and minerals. Your plate should never limit fats, carbs or protein so find a way to create that beautiful plate that leaves you satisfied and feeling great about your meals. If you can't do this on your own, have a dietitian who specializes in sport nutrition help you plan your diet to support your active lifestyle and health goals.

5. Get in the kitchen! Do I even need to give you a reason as to why you should cook more? Don't find the time to cook, make the time.

6. Give it time - Don't expect to change everything overnight. Focus on a few changes every 1-2 weeks so you can make that lifestyle change. Be sure to have a strong, supportive team around you who will keep you motivated and inspired to learn  how to eat for fuel and for health. Also keep in mind that even though you may find yourself questioning your new or improved eating habits, your diet is created by you and for you. You have your reason for your dietary changes and you are making these changes for the right reasons. You are not chasing a body image or wanting a quick fix but instead, you are taking the time to make a lifestyle change. Enjoy this wonderful journey that you are taking your body on as you learn how to eat for fuel and for health AND how to develop a great relationship with food and your body.


Honey Pear Muffins

Moist, delicious, flavorful, seasonal, refreshing, fluffy, warm. 

My honey pear muffins are exactly what they are suppose to be.....a tasty and satisfying muffin!

Karel left for Jacksonville, FL yesterday for 3 jammed-packed days of Retül bike fits. 

To make sure my hubby had some healthy/feel-good snacking options for the road trip (and between fits) I packed him a cooler of foods as well as a snack bag.

I also decided to make Karel some muffins since he loves muffins and well, anything that resembles bread. FYI: we are a carb loving family. 

I picked up a few pears the other day and I thought a honey pear muffin creation would be fantastic...and it was!!!

I hope you enjoy the muffins and make sure to yum really loud when you eat them so others around you know how great it feels to eat a yummy creation that you made at home. 

Honey Pear Muffins

2 cups white whole wheat flour (here's a substitution list for baking)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup 2% organic milk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pears (very ripe)
Honey - drizzling
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a muffin pan, either coat with cooking spray or use paper muffin liners.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour through nutmeg)
3. In small bowl, whisk together milk, melted butter, egg and vanilla.
4. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry and stir until flour is thoroughly mixed.
5. Gently stir in chopped pears.
6. Fill each muffin tin 3/4 full. This recipe should fill an entire muffin tin.
7. On each muffin, use a honey stick (or fork) and drizzle a honey on top each muffin. Optional add chopped walnuts for a little crunch.
8. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until muffins are firm on top. Remove from oven and let cool. 


Talking Sport Nutrition at Run In

Where: Run In
When: December 8th
What time: 5:45-7:30

 It is within the daily diet AND what you eat before, during and after workouts that can help you gain the competitive edge. You can be the hardest working and most passionate athlete out there but if you don't eat right or constantly tell 
yourself that something needs to change but never change anything, you will never reach your full potential.

Taking pride in your fueling and eating strategy throughout the day can help boost performance, assist in recovery, prolong fatigue, keep the immune system healthy, help you maintain a healthy body composition and reduce risk for illness/disease and injury.

No matter what your fitness goal may be or your workout routine, your diet is more than calories in and calories out. You must learn how to eat for fuel.

If you are tired of making the same mistakes over and over with your fueling/eating strategy during training and racing or are looking for new tips to take your fitness to the next level, come join me on December 8th at Run In at 5:45pm. I will be discussing the following topics:

-Top foods that athletes should and should not eat before workouts/races to minimize GI distress (for triathletes and runners)
-How to fuel more efficiently on the bike to set your body up for a stronger run off the bike. (for triathletes)
-Learn the easiest way to fuel your body during running that will make it much easier to meet fluid, calorie and electrolyte needs. (for runners, triathletes and run fitness enthusiast)
-Recovery nutrition will no longer be your missing link. You will learn a few easy and simple ways to kick start the repairing and refueling process after every type of workout (for all athletes and fitness enthusiasts)
-See the top foods that every athlete should include in his/her diet. (for all athletes)
-Stop chasing a body image. This entire presentation is dedicated to the athlete who wants to learn how to eat for fuel and for health in order to achieve optimal performance with a healthy and strong body that can perform well in training and racing. (for all athletes and fitness enthusiasts)

What else can you look forward to at this event?
Athletes will learn, meet other triathletes/runners/fitness enthusiasts in the Greenville community, try a yummy snack from Veronica's Health Crunch and will get a 20% discount off ALL sport nutrition products

Thank you Veronica's Health Crunch for providing a yummy and healthy snack for my sport nutrition talk on Monday at Run In
It's only fair that if I'm talking about food my audience of athletes shouldn't be hungry!

In case you missed it, here's my delicious refueling yogurt parfait. Thanks Oakley Women for letting me share my nutrition tips for creating the perfect recovery meal.