Essential Sports Nutrition


3 Explore Cuisine product recipes

As promised in my last blog, here are three delicious recipes using Explore Cuisine products. 

Bean Pastas: Organic adzuki bean spaghetti, organic black bean spaghetti, organic edamame and mung bean fettuccine, organic edamame spaghetti, organic soybean spaghetti.

Product Spotlight: Organic black bean spaghetti
Per 2 ounce dry serving:
215 calories
2g fat
23g carbohydrates
1267mg potassium
12g dietary fiber
4g sugar (natural)
25g protein
32% daily iron (based on 2000 calorie diet)
15% daily calcium (based on 2000 calorie diet)

Black Bean spaghetti with kale cilantro pesto
1 cup kale
1 cup cilantro
1/3 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1 garlic clove
1 small sweet banana pepper
2 tbsp lime juice
Pinch of salt
½ cup parmesan cheese
½ cup olive oil
1 box (8 ounce) Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti

1. Blend first 7 ingredients in food processor. Add cheese and slowly pour in olive oil.
2. Boil 8 cups of water and pour in Organic Black Bean Spaghetti. Cook for 8 minutes and drain.
3. Top spaghetti with pesto.
(recipe adapted from Explore Cuisine website)


Pulse pastas: Organic chickpea fusilli, organic chickpea spaghetti, organic green lentil lasagna, organic green lentil penne, organic red lentil penne, organic red lentil spaghetti.

Product Spotlight: Organic Chickpea fusilli

Per 2 ounce dry serving:
200 calories
2.5g fat
35g carbohydrates
5g fiber
11g protein
15% iron
4% calcium

Organic Red Lentil Penne Mac n’ Cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion (finely chopped)
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1.5 cups 1 or 2% milk
2 cups shredded cheese (sharp cheddar)
1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
¼ tsp pepper
Pinch of salt
8 ounce organic red lentil penne (cooked)

1. Heat deep skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and onion and sauté until golden brown. Remove to plate on side.
2. In skillet, add butter and 1 tbsp olive oil. When butter melts, add flour and stir to combine with heat-resistant whisk until smooth (about 3-4 minutes).
3. Slowly add milk while whisking.
4. Bring milk to a bubble while stirring so that milk can thicken. Then stir in sharp shredded cheese, one handful at a time. Keep stirring. Add pepper and a pinch of salt.
5. Add cooked penne to the sauce and coat completely by turning over and over into the sauce with a spatula.
6. Transfer penne and cheese mix to a baking dish and top with parmigiana cheese.
7. Place baking dish under hot broiler and brown the cheese. 


Product Spotlight: Organic Red Lentil Penne

Per 2 ounce dry serving:
190 calories
1g fat
35g carbohydrates
3g fiber
11g protein
15% iron
2% calcium

Baby tomato, peptias and goat cheese chickpea fusilli 
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped baby tomatoes 
1 cup chopped white onion 
1 large garlic cloves (finely chopped)
8 ounce package sliced mushrooms
½ cup dry roasted pepitas 
½ cup chopped basil
Pinch of salt 
2 cups baby spinach
1 tbsp lemon juice
8 ounce Organic chickpea fusilli (cooked)
½ cup goat cheese (soft, crumbled)

1. In medium skillet, heat to medium heat and add olive oil chopped tomatoes, onion and mushrooms. Gently toss until soft and lightly brown (around 6-8 minutes). 
2. Add garlic, salt, pepitas, basil, lemon juice and spinach. Gently toss and cook for 2 minutes. Turn off heat. 
3. Add cooked pasta to veggie mix. 
4. Top with goat cheese.


Explore Cuisine is committed to fair trade and sustainable living. Two percent of all Explore Cuisine worldwide proceeds go directly to the Food To Thrive Foundation, providing education, empowerment and advancement in farming programs to every Explore Cuisine team member. 


Explore Cuisine gluten-free pastas

Introducing Explore Cuisine:
A pasta for anyone.

For decades, pasta has ruled as the go-to comfort food for athletes. It’s quick, easy and a beloved source of carbs. However, pasta alternatives are slowly finding their way into the supermarkets and on the plates of many health conscious athletes.

Loaded with plant based protein, Explore Cuisine has taken a new delicious approach to traditional pasta. Integrating beans, peas, lentils, edamame and chickpeas into their line of products, Explore Cuisine has a pasta for everyone, without sacrificing taste, quality or nutritional value.

I found out about Explore Cuisine (formally called Explore Asia), as I received a bag of edamame pasta in my Ironman World Championship goodie swag bag (well more like two bags as Karel received a bag too). 
I was excited to try it out when we returned home from the big island.
I followed the directions and added in some veggies and sauce and viol
√† - it tasted pretty good!

-Bring 8 ounce cups (2 liter) of water to boil. Add pasta.
-Reduce heat and simmer for 4-11 minutes (depending on the type of pasta).
-For a more al dente texture, rinse under cold water and then strain.

Recently, Ironman asked me if I wanted to write an article (with recipes) on the products and I couldn't turn down the delicious opportunity to get inside my kitchen and try new creations.

To help me out, Ironman sent me a box of products to use for my recipes.
Like all my Ironman articles, I received compensation to write the article expressing my thoughts and views but this time I was asked to feature Explore Cuisine products (which was really not all that hard - so yummy!).

Explore Cuisine offers 5 different types of products: bean pastas, pulse (part of the legume family) pastas, rice noodles, rice pastas and soups. Each product is 100% Non-GMO, USDA Organic, Gluten-Free certified, low glycemic, kosher certified and vegan, high in protein and a good source of fiber and rich in iron and potassium.

Seriously – there is a pasta option for every athlete, no matter your dietary needs. Each product cooks similar to your usual pasta option – which means easy prep for the busy athlete in training.

In my next blog, I will share 3 absolutely amazing recipes - Karel, mom and neighbor tested...and Campy too!
 To get you started, visit your closest natural food store to pick up the following plant based pastas (if your store doesn't carry Explore Cuisine, you may be able to find another brand).
Organic black bean spaghetti
Organic Chickpea fusilli

Organic Red Lentil Penne

Here's a preview of one of my delicious recipes to get your mouth watering: 



Are you recovering well post workout?

Endurance training takes a toll on the body. And if you are like most athletes, where your long workouts occur on the weekend (after a stressful week of training, work and life), you can imagine how easy it can be for the body to carry around residual fatigue as training volume increases if you are not recovering well from your daily workouts.   

Adequate recovery is critical in the restoration of physiological and psychological processes.

From a nutrition point of view, replenishing glycogen, increasing protein synthesis and rehydrating are three critical components to maximizing your fitness but your post workout recovery nutrition also acts as nourishment to keep your immune system functioning properly. 

Consider these three reminders when it comes to post workout recovery.

1) Recovery is everything that happens between two workouts. If you want your body to consistently perform well at every workout, you  need to consider everything that happens between two workouts, which includes sleep, diet, stress management, mobility, etc.
To minimize risk for injury or illness, you may need to make some lifestyle changes (or investments) to ensure that your life allows you to recover, refuel, rejuvinate and repair between every workout but specifically after the more intense or high volume workouts. Endurance triathletes are known to squeeze in a lot into one day but sometimes you will gain more out of your workout by slowing down (and not feeling the need to rush to the next thing in life) and allowing your body to recover properly. 

2) Recovery nutrition depends on the sport duration and intensity. Therefore, there is a fueling and rehydrating strategy for every type of workout. As an athlete who seeks performance gains, it is important that you see recovery nutrition as part of your workout. Your workout is not complete until you recover with the appropriate fueling and hydration snack or meal. Keep in mind that what you eat post workout is part of your daily nutrition needs/calories (whereas what you eat before and during a workout are "extra" calories to support a workout and should not be added to your daily recommended caloric intake).
You will know if you are not recovering well if you find yourself with a run-down feeling in the 4 hours after training, you have difficulty sleeping at night (yet feel exhausted during the day), you can't give the effort that you know/think you should be giving during a workout, you are struggling to get through easy workouts, your muscles feel fatigued, exhausted or sore to the touch, your appetite seems a bit wonky or you have trouble reaching or sustaining higher intensities.

3) Recovery nutrition will not destroy your body composition goals. A common mistake for the athlete who seeks a change in body composition is not prioritizing the fueling and/or hydrating post workout all in an effort to lose weight. Keep in mind that weight loss in the form of reducing body fat (which is the kind of weight loss you want - not from water weight, muscle loss or bone loss) is dependent on expending calories or reducing calories and staying consistent with training so you can get stronger, faster and more powerful. Nail your recovery nutrition so that you can reach your full athletic potential.


34 years old

It's hard to believe that I have been alive for 34 years!!!

To celebrate 34 years of life, I thought it would be fun to share with you 34 things that you may or may not know about me. 

1. I was born and raised in Lexington, KY. I moved to Davie, Florida for graduate school (FAU) in 2004 and graduated in Dec of 2005. I then moved in with my parents (who moved to New Port Richey for my dad's new job as the chief Optometrist of the VA clinic) for a year and then moved in with Karel (after we had been dating for a year) in Dunedin, FL. We then moved to Jacksonville, FL in 2008 and Greenville, SC in 2014.

2. I swam competitively in HS and college and my specialty strokes were 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly and 200 IM. I was a lifeguard all through HS (in the summer), taught swimming lessons, taught water aerobics and have always loved being in the water.

3. My brother was a gymnast from a very young age. He went to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado to train a few times and went to University of Michigan on a full ride as a gymnast. He finished 4 years of Division I gymnastics as the 2007 Big Ten High Bar champion.
We think his next calling is to be a Ninja Warrior.

4. I have 11 ear piercings and my belly button pierced. I had my tongue pierced my freshman year of college (sorry mom, I know you hated it). I got a Mdot tattoo (on my right ankle) after my first Ironman in 2006 (I was 23 years old).

5. I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian when I was 10 years old for animal reasons. I love all animals and I rescue anything "alive" in our  house (bugs/insects). Please don't talk about killing animals, hunting animals or the death of an animal around me as it makes me very sad and uncomfortable. It's ok if you eat meat in front of me. I will never lecture anyone about meat or not eating meat.

6. I suffered from hip/back injuries throughout my competitive swimming years and then from 2007-2013. I had my start of hip/back injuries as a triathlete 30 days before my first IM World Championship. I haven't had an injury since May 2013.

7. I haven't been sick since 2007. No cold, no flu, no antibiotics, no medications. Thank you body.

8. I've never broken a bone or had a stress fracture. But my muscles are not always the happiest with my active lifestyle. I do 70%+ of my running on the treadmill which works well for my swimmer turned runner turned triathlete body.

9. I don't have any food allergies or intolerances. But if a bug bites me, I will swell-up right where I was bit/stung. No perfumes or smelly lotions for me in the summer!

10. I love cinnamon!

11. I haven't chewed a piece of gum since September 2014. I gave it up cold turkey because I didn't like eating sugar alcohols every day and found myself "addicted" to chewing gum for many years prior.

12. Karel and I met on a group ride outside of Clearwater, when we were set up on a blind date, on my birthday in 2006. I was a horrible cyclist - but Karel took me under his wings and believe in me (or he knew that our relationship would be a lot more fun if I knew how to ride my bike better).

13. Karel and I got engaged on his birthday in 2007 and married in 2008. Karel asked me to marry him at a restaurant in front of a group of friends (and much of the restaurant watching). I decided that he was the one for me after we traveled to Reno, NV and rode our bikes around the lake. During IMFL (6 months after we met) I told Karel I loved him while I was racing, after he told me "you are going to Kona!"

14. We rescued Campy from a foster family (found on in 2008 just a few weeks before our wedding, when he was almost 1 year old (although we were told he was 18 months).

His original name was "Sparky". HERE is the story about how we rescued him.
Campy was found behind a building from a foster family before he came to his forever home.
Now he is living the GOOD life.

With a little attitude and always protecting his mommy!

15. We have two cats. Smudla is Karel's cat who is 13. He rescued her when she was just a few months old. Campy found Madison (who is named after cow's in Wisconsin - although she is white with black spots) in a bush outside of our apartment in Jacksonville just a few months after we rescued Cmpy. After a few months of seeing her outside, we welcomed her to our home to stay.
Smudla (pronounced SHMUD-LA but we often call her Shmud-lee) runs our house - drinks only from the sink, eats when she wants to eat and loves sleeping and hiding in boxes. She always has a new sleeping spot in our house.

Madison (or Maddy) is obsessed with Campy.

We also have two fish tanks (55 and 70 gallon).

16. My grandpa is 94 years old and is sharp as a whistle.

17. My dad passed away from cancer 3 days before my birthday in 2014. My dad was liked by everyone and never had a bad day. I talked to my dad every day on the phone and he was always there when I needed him, especially for a good laugh. I got my positive attitude and constant need to smile from my dad. He is now resting peacefully here in Greenville.

Every time Karel and I travel or go somewhere to make memories, we bring back a rock or shell (from nature) for my dad.

18. I am 5 feet "tall".

19. For seven years I watched Karel race crits (his favorite), road races and circuits as a Cat 1 cyclist. Karel has been racing bikes for all his life.

I have always loved being on the sidelines for Karel. I get such a rush when I watch him race.

Karel's first season of triathlon racing included a sprint, olympic and then half ironman (all within 4 months). His first half was Branson 70.3 which was then ranked with the hardest US bike course. Go figure Karel would pick that race as his first long distance triathlon. And he finished 5th AG!
It was a special experience to share that race together as it was also my first overall amateur win in a triathlon.


20. All of Karel's family lives in Czech. We have visited them twice (and in 3 weeks we will be traveling to Europe for the third time). Karel went 12 years before he went back to Czech for the first time, since coming to the US.

Karel loves being back in his hometown and seeing his family....and drinking some good beer.

Did I mention that Karel loves his Czech beer?

21. My mom lives 1 mile from us. Campy loves going to grandmas. We love having her close by too. She is always super busy with activities (she has more friends than we do!) and she goes hiking with her "hiking class" at Furman (Olli program) once or twice a week. She's always been supportive of my/our active lifestyle and loves watching us race.

22. I went to graduate school to become a strength and conditioning coach but after receiving my MS in Exercise Physiology, I wanted a career in sport nutrition.

23. After graduate school, I did a 6-month internship with Ironman (back when Dr. Gills owned the company and there was only a handful of employees) and met the fabulous Judy with Iron Girl who was a great mentor for me as I was finding my way in the field of endurance sports. I then worked at a YMCA as the wellness coordinator for 1 year and then went back to school to earn my RD credential. I love writing and public speaking. My most memorable speaking event was at the CIA where I helped with a cooking demo and talked about nutrition at an Oakley Women event. I nearly cried (ok, maybe a little) as I was overjoyed with the experience.

24. I worked as a clinical RD (PRN) for 3 years before moving to Greenville. I never wanted to be a clinical dietitian when I was a dietetic intern but when the opportunity came about, I thought it would be a great challenge to learn something new and balance it with sport nutrition. 

25. Karel and I moved to Jacksonville, FL (from Clearwater) in 2008 after he got a job as the GM of the Trek Bicycle Store of Jacksonville. Karel had an amazing boss and we are grateful for his opportunity to work with Trek and to be the general manager of two concept stores as he gained a lot of knowledge and experience about running a business.
I started Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition in 2012 and Karel started to work with me full-time in May 2014 when we moved to Greenville. We spend almost every minute of every day together as we are training partners, business partners and life partners.

26. I traveled to Japan in 8th grade for an exchange program and to the Philippines in 2004 for a work service project.

27. I went to IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) for my freshman year of college and swam competitively. I transferred to Transylvania University in 2001 and continued to swim competitively for the next three years.

28. I majored in Chemistry in undergrad for my freshman year and then moved majors to Exercise Science. I minored in Psychology. Transylvania University is a liberal arts school which focused heavily on writing and public speaking.

29. I have been strength training since I was 10 years old (when I started swimming).

30. I never take naps but I'm a great sleeper at night.

31. I love to travel but do not like to fly. I think I would be more relaxed on an airplane if it was filled with doggies.

32. I read textbooks and research articles before bed each night. But I am not a book/novel reader. I'm also not the best at watching movies as it is hard for me to sit still and not multi-task.

33. I qualified for the Boston Marathon after my first marathon and the Ironman World Championship after my first Ironman.
My parents thought I was crazy for training for an Ironman and Karel thought I would be one-and-done after IMFL.

Ten Ironman's later, I still love this sport and feel so lucky that I get to share it with Karel.

We love coaching all levels of triathletes but absolutely love helping athletes train (and understand fueling) and complete their first Ironman distance triathlon.

34. I went to Montessori school and then an arts school before High School. I was very creative and loved drawing (and making things) growing up and played in piano competitions throughout middle and high school.

I'm a very visual learner and learn best when I can see and apply information as oppose to just reading things in a book.

And for a bonus for next year....
35. I am incredibly thankful for the amazing coaching and nutrition athletes that have come into my life over the past 4+ years. I learn so much from every athlete that I work with and I feel very lucky to have a job which allows me to make a difference in the lives of others, as it relates to performance, health and nutrition.