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Tara Dell Tells Vol. 7

As a junior in high school, I won every single cross-country race I competed in followed by an epic track season that got me sports scholarship offers to places like Brown University and the Naval Academy. Being a Montana girl, I accepted a scholarship to Montana State University and signed on as a Bobcat.

Little did I know, the path I was on as a competitive athlete was not sustainable. I was winning races based on the idea that I had to be thin to compete. During my freshman year of high school, I was a promising runner who gained the freshman fifteen, lost it, and got faster, fast enough to win. I also lost my period and my boobs. I believed this to be a good thing. I ran low on energy, didn’t eat enough protein to repair, and depleted nutrients in the bloodstream like iron, calcium, and B12. This was common among competitive runners and remains so today.

If you are a man or woman and a coach don’t be afraid to give words to this function of the female body necessary to produce life and health! Learn to talk out loud with your athletes and kids openly about the impact the menstrual cycle has training and racing and, the health implications associated with not having periods (known as Relative Energy Deficiency in Sports (REDS) syndrome).

I trained with the guys and I perceived these two milestones of female development (periods and boobs) as slowing me down. After all, the guys I ran with didn’t have to deal with this inconvenience.

After the weight loss, I learned how to keep proper growth and development at bay so I could be a “runner.” Another little known fact was that I also wrapped my chest in ace bandage wrap to keep the boobs from slowing me down. At such a young age, it is impossible to see that what you are doing to your body to run is actually bad for the “long game.”

When I went to college, the idea of being thin to be fast was perpetuated by our male coach doing body fat measurements. I had nine percent body fat and was told: “this is a little high for a female athlete”. My poor eating behaviors centered around eating too few calories to train and compete and eventually I ran myself into the ground.

This is the story of so many female runners who don’t realize they are playing the “short game” that will keep them from both good health and from running just for the love of it. My story is far from unique in the female running world. Yet, it is not talked about. Our college coach did send the entire team to a dietitian after one of our teammates ended up in eating disorder treatment for severe anorexia. The belief that thin equals fit is so pervasive, it wasn’t until adulthood that I was actually able to retrain myself to do what I coached so many athletes to do – eat in a way that makes you feel your best doing what you love. For me, that has always been running.

Today in my work with young athletes the goal is a mindset to feeding and nourishing their superpowers versus leaning up and deprivation.

Today’s share is of strong and talented women speaking up and out about theses issues common to so many female athletes. If you are a man with a daughter, sister, mother, girlfriend or wife, read and watch! There is more to the women in your life than meets the eye.

Opinion

I Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I Joined Nike

Mary Cain’s male coaches were convinced she had to get “thinner, and thinner, and thinner.” Then her body started breaking down.

Is flaxseed a good source of omega-3 fatty acids?

A first glance at the nutrition profile of flaxseed and you might be like, “hell yeah this stuff is awesome!” Even if it isn’t as deserving of that “hell yeah” as looks appear, it is pretty dense in nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (more on these good guys in a minute).

One tablespoon contains the following:

Protein2 grams
Fiber2 grams
Magnesium27 mg
Potassium57 mg
Zinc.304 mg
Manganese.174 mg
Thiamin.115 mg
Niacin.216 mg
Lutein & Zeaxanthin (phyto-nutrients)45.6 micrograms
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA -omega-3)2.4 grams

Being a good source of protein, fiber, and plant-based beneficial compounds like phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, flaxseed packs in a good amount of nutrients in a tablespoon. Have you ever tried to eat a tablespoon of flaxseed? It is pretty dense with seeds. Mix into oatmeal, smoothies, salad dressings, soups so all those sounds don’t end up in your mouth in one spoonful. Trust me, you will enjoy the experience more.

Appearances also show it to contains the omega- 3 fatty acid found in plant foods, ALA. The thing about the ALA form of our friend omega-3 is that the body MUST convert it into the form of omega-3 that it actually uses which, are the other two you have probably heard of:

  • EPA – eicosapentaenoic acid  
  • DHA – docosahexaenoic acid

EPA and DHA can be synthesized in the body from ALA, however, very little is converted (3-15%) to EPA and DHA. Conversion rates of ALA to EPA and DHA vary greatly depending on gender, genetics, and intake of omega-6 fatty acids. Gender, for example, was shown to favor young women with greater conversion rates than young men. Why? Hormones! This is thought to be due to the presence of estrogen. Genes can also impact conversion rates. Certain gene variants (are associated with lower production of the enzymes necessary to convert ALA to EPA and DHA.

Overall, flaxseed alone can not be counted on to provide the essential fatty acids of EPA and DHA through the conversion ALA.

EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids are essential polyunsaturated fats that have anti-inflammatory properties and are understood to reduce the risk of heart disease. This makes them more than just good fats! It makes them incredibly-good-for-you-fats. EPA and DHA can be consumed in their ready-to-use form for the body in fish, sardines, anchovies, fortified foods, and supplements. The American Heart Association recommends eating two to three servings of fatty fish per week. Omega-3 fatty acids also work in neurological and brain development of infants and growing kids.

Aside from fish, Omega-3s are lacking in our food supply. Milk fortified with a meaningful amount of Omega-3 provides another option that is easily integrated into the menu for both adults and kids. 

Daily consumption of fish is a tough sell to my kids although, sardines on crackers have become our new favorite snack when backpacking together. If your kids are turning their noses up to fish in any form, fortified milk offers another good option to supplements. 

When purchasing milk fortified with Omega-3 it is important to consider the source – which you will find on the ingredient label. Algae is a non-animal source of DHA that the body can put to use, and is commonly used in milk because it doesn’t have a fishy taste. The amount added to the milk is also worth noting. The Institute of Medicine recommends between one and one and a half grams per day (1-1.5 grams) to avoid deficiency. More is probably recommended for optimal prevention as an anti-inflammatory but, research is still emerging on what that level would be. While there is no specific recommended intake for DHA  in the United States, international experts agree that 200-250mg of each are good benchmarks for now.

So, 40 mg of DHA in milk would provide you with about as much as you would get in about 2.5oz of sardines which is about 20% of the DHA level recommended by the European Union health agency.

The bottom line is flaxseed can contribute a variety of nutrients to your diet and some ALA that can then be converted (estimates are around 3-15% is converted). Just don’t count on it as your only source of omega-3 fatty acids or you will likely fall short.

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Tara Dell Tells Vol. 6

“What should I eat?” I get this question all the time! Of course, it is because helping people answer that question is part of my profession. I find the question easiest to answer with a quote from Michael Pollan.

“Eat food, mostly plants, not too much”

It’s not that I can’t write you a menu of exactly what to eat every time you need to feed yourself. I can but the question is would you follow it? Maybe? Probably not. Maybe for a few days or even weeks but then what? You need to be able to make food choices that support your purpose. Why? Because that is how you adopt purposefully healthy eating as a lifestyle. This way instead of it being something you just do, it becomes something that just is.

So this week I provide you meal planning tools I use often to help athletes, myself and my family with fresh, new, healthy, and fun ideas that go beyond 4oz grilled chicken (no skin), steamed broccoli, 1 cup for rice!

Meal Lime App

This handy dandy app for your phone is full of simple recipes that are quick to make. They don’t even brag about being quick to make, they just are. You can save your favorites and it creates a grocery list that you can check off as you go through the grocery store! My son loves being in charge of the list, telling me what is next and checking it off so I don’t have to keep looking at the phone!

Run Fast Eat Slow

This is the cookbook that will have sticky pages and water drops because you will be using it so much! It is beautiful with great pics of what you are making and so simply. Get it now. I don’t know why I waited so long. I guess maybe because I find cooking from cookbook recipes tedious but this so isn’t tedious.

Meal Planning Guide

This is a tool created by yours truly. I have adapted it over the years to suit based on the needs of the many athletes I have had the opportunity to work with.

This year I did some summit nutrition planning for mountaineers heading up Everest. There response to how well they stuck to the plan? “It was hard. Everything felt bad. My body hurt. I had no appetite and we got our masks off just long enough for the photo. Fueling up there is hard.”

Check out this short film of the first-ever ski descent of Lhotse by a Truckee local and Telluride local.

In case you missed it Intentional and Active Lifestyle with Kids

Intentionally Designed, Active Lifestyle with Kids

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of leading workshops at festival focused on intentional living for the outdoor-minded called Outwild. The founders and the people in attendance are simply the best! Jeremy Jensen, Sanni Mccandless, and Courtney Sanford have followed their passions and are at the forefront of a movement focused on living by design rather than unknowingly falling into constructs created by society. I could go on but this post is about one of the topics I lead, living an active and intentional lifestyle with kids.

As a Mom who refuses to accept fitness and adventuring outdoors peaks after having kids, this is a topic I am extremely familiar with. Having kids doesn’t make intentional living less possible. In fact, despite the added complexity, it makes it even more important.  I have found that being active with my kids outdoors brings us closer together and makes us happier people. Yet, it can be a struggle to get out there especially when daily routines are built around being moved around by cars indoors.

My workshop attracted a broad range of people, some parents and some not with different levels of experience around intentionally active lifestyles with kids. Some said, ” It isn’t that hard. Just pack up a bunch of snacks and water bottles then hit the trail.” While others struggled with WHEN to fit it in, logistics, and prioritizing their own outdoor time without feeling selfish.

Couples with no children attended wondering how having kids would impact their ability to get outside and be active. Then there was Alex Honold, climber and Free Solo star, who thought he was attending a nutrition workshop. In the spirit of Outwild, he stayed and participated much to Sanni’s amusement. Haha!

The challenges and fears were similars across the group. Everyone wanted to involve kids in an active lifestyle without losing what they loved (climbing, hiking, gardening, trail running, skiing, surfing etc.) and be able to support the whole operation.

My approach to intentional and active living is much like my approach to trialing a new food in the market place or a fueling approach for an athlete.

PURPOSE | PRINCIPLES | PREFERENCES |PLAN

When advising a food company on the nutrition profile of a new product, I start by asking them what purpose this food serves in the lives of their audience. Then we consider principles that support how to make it happen based on audience and market preferences. After that, we outline the plan.

Then it is time to move into action. Iterating, prototyping, and problem-solving. No matter what happens we are active in the right direction and it is all training for something.

The purpose of living an intentional active lifestyle is based on values. I value fitness, outdoors, learning, and exploring. Principles of well-being support my husband and my preference for being active with our kids and on our own. So we create a plan for living that intentionally prioritizes outdoor activity.

My  approach to involving my kids has always been “it is all training for something!” A short walk around the block or backpacking trip – add kids and instant adventure and workout. Expect to carry the extra weight (literally) and walk the extra mile with it.

Running and skiing have remained none negotiables in our family. Those who don’t value those activities would advise us to “wait until the kids are older”. That just didn’t compute with our values. What did we do instead of wait? Three important things:

  1. Reset expectations of what a run or ski day both with and without kids looked like
  2. Became flexible with plan A, B, and maybe even C and always the option to abort the objective
  3. Adapted as we all grew with our ultimate adaption being to move closer to the activities we loved doing in the mountains.

Carrying 4-year-old Noah on my back in full ski gear up a mountain to the magic carpet only to be yelled at (appropriately) by the twenty-something lift operator for ducking a rope to take the shortcut was absolutely training. Running while pushing jogging stroller loaded with a kid, push-bike, and snacks down the black-topped path to see if I could maintain pace between snack, water, and bike breaks, was also training.

It is the endurance and resilience of parenting that has trained me for ultra-running and adventures like that before kids I would have been too apprehensive to say YES. In fact, I didn’t pick up trail-running and racing again until after having kids! I am running faster, further, and have more fun than I was running in my twenties!


Think about……..What do you want for you and your family right now? Are you there already? Not there right now? Why? What is holding you back? Are those things self-limiting or actual things? Write down it all down and reflect on it.


Society today is moving fast and structured to keep us churning and burning at both ends. It can be easy to miss dismiss signs that it is time to adapt. 

Recognizing signs it is time to adapt is kind of like heading off meltdowns before they happen. There are signals that show up when we need to adapt to avoid family meltdowns. I tried to push past signals until I could no longer shoulder the weight of the giant snowball I was pushing up a mountain alone.


My husband lost his job. Our marriage was suffering. The kids’ school was closing, and I was at a personal tipping point in my career. These were signals that told us it was time to act


“Dear Sir or Madam, Tara has permission to leave this amazing job that has launched her into who she is today and move to the mountains with her family. Thank you”


Give yourself permission to do the thing. Recognize signals it is time to adapt. Walk next to fear. Mitigate risk with preparation.


Common fears we all have are time, money, our own judgment or judgment of others. It is easy to rationalize these fears and problems that hold us back from doing what it is we actually know we should do for our family. The real problem is that it is easy to get stuck in what we think we must do instead of what we feel is most important for us and our families.

One of the main tenants of Outwild is acknowledging that fear exists and choosing to move forward anyway. Fear is a normal response to something that scares us. Adapting can be scary but it isn’t the saber tooth tiger. Acknowledge the fear and in the theme of Outwild, walk patiently beside it.

With Alex in our parenting workshop, we took a closer look at his approach to fear. “If there is a high level of risk you should be feeling fear. It’s a warning that there is real danger. Typically if I’m feeling a lot of fear, then I wait and prepare more, do whatever it takes to mitigate that, and then do the climb when I feel comfortable.”

Recognizing the signals allows us to prepare and mitigate risk to reduce fears (not eliminate). It is unnecessary and unwise to make one big leap into the pool of risk and uncertainty. Preparation is key.

Define what it is you want, how you will involve your kids and prepare to adapt by assessing the situation.

Adapting doesn’t have to involve a list a mile long to determine readiness. It depends on how BIG you are going! Are you adapting from camping out in the back yard to backpacking? Or, do you live on a giant hill and your kids are now able to ride bikes and you want to move to mitigate risk?

Most things come down to intuition, timing and developmental stage of you as a parent and your child as a kid. Eventually, you have to just do it or you will get stuck in expending too much mental energy and harboring resentments.

Be resolute in your purpose, principles(values), preferences, and plan because you will face judgment and criticism that will challenge who you are and what life you want for your family. You will have self-doubt and question your own sanity at times with questions like, “ Should I bring a newborn with me to the crag? Sail for 3 three months with a 4-year-old and two -year -old?” Reset, be flexible, and do what feels right.

Do I need a protein supplement?

The answer is probably not. Healthy people who eat a variety of foods likely eat plenty of protein. All the protein the body needs can come from food like chicken, beef, beans, eggs, lentils, seeds, nuts, shrimp….I could go on. The point is protein is abundant in the food supply whether you eat animal foods or not.

Supplements like protein powders and bars can be convenient when aiming to sustain a level of protein in the body throughout the day and in timing protein around work, workouts, and sleep. A scoop of whey protein can be a nice addition to a fruit and veggie smoothie too.

A common mistake many people make is not spreading those protein foods out throughout the day. They skimp out on protein at breakfast, lunch, and snacks and backfill with a big portion of protein at dinner. Daily protein intake should be incorporated into a meal pattern that distributes moderate amounts of high-quality protein (20-30 g/meal) across the day and following intense activity sessions.

Each protein is made up of single elements (amino acids) joined together, forming a chain. Amino acids are the “bricks” that allow the construction of new muscle tissue and repair old tissues; they are also the building blocks necessary to build other molecules such as hormones and enzymes, which are very important for a well-functioning body. SO don’t leave your body “wanting” for protein all day. Spread it out!

One major pet peeve of mine is when people tell me protein makes them feel “energized”. The way they ate may have been lighter and they may indeed feel like they have energy but in reality, proteins are not a source of energy. Only 10% of the energy expended during very long physical activity comes from protein and that is only if carbohydrate intake is inadequate

Another thing to note is that eating more protein than your body needs will not give you bigger and stronger muscles. Protein demands are higher for those who practice sports, compared to resting people, because they help repair and grow muscles after a workout but for the most part there is never a need to eat more than 1 gram per pound of body weight.

Following strength training activity, muscle protein breaks down, followed by an increase in muscle protein re- synthesis. Consuming high-quality protein post-activity can speed up and enhance this process, resulting in the growth of skeletal muscle.

Active individuals have higher protein needs than those that are sedentary. Protein helps repair and strengthen muscle tissue, so it is particularly important for individuals involved in both endurance and strength activities. Recommendations for protein intake for active individuals range from 1.2-2.0 g/ kg (0.5 to 0.9 g/lb) of body weight per day. 

Protein in Popular Foods

FoodGrams of Protein
6 oz. canned tuna40
4 oz. chicken breast35
3 oz. salmon23
8 oz. yogurt12
4 oz. tofu10
8 oz. milk10
1 cup beans7
1 oz. nuts6
1 egg6

Eat onward my friends and while you are at it, check out the film Game Changers. I joined my friend Scott Jurek on a portion of his Appalachian Trail quest featured in this film about athletes accomplishing amazing feats without eating animals!

Tara Dell Tells Tuesday Vol. 5


ARTICLE: To Pay Extra for Organic Food or Not…..that is the question we addressed in an article for Training and Conditioning magazine

Ultimately the answer to this question is dependent on a person’s values. While I truly believe that foods grown organically have greater potential for higher nutrient content, it doesn’t always work out that way. The primary reason to chose organic and/or local food sources is because it has less pesticide residue. If there are also more nutrients, well that is just gravy on top! I co-authored an article for an audience that I was super psyched to see interested in the information. You can check it out here at Training and Conditioning magazine


Must Listen to Podcast: The Adventureprenur’s Playbook

I have been listening to the Adventurepreneur Playbook Podcast since episode #1. Jeremy Jensen began publishing his podcast about the time I had the idea to “go pro”. He interviews big-name and up-and-coming entrepreneurs, professional athletes, and outside the box thinkers – who have built their passions for adventure, travel, and the outdoors into successful startups, lifestyles, or personal brands. To me going pro is having the courage to take your skills+experience+passion seriously enough to level-up your game an amplify your impact by being who you really are. This podcast shares stories from people who do just that. Listen, learn, and then act!


New Product Find: Birota Foods

Longtime sports dietitian colleague is in the food business with functional creamer and cocoa that intend to bring a little extra focus to your medium of choice. I have adding the creamer to my morning coffee for months now. My ‘n of one’ seems to say the primary functional ingredient ( a medium-chain triglyceride called caprylic acid) is doing what it claims to do, providing an alternative, fast-acting energy source to the brain. Their ingredients are straight-up premium too! Give it a try and let them know I sent you!

Eating with Purpose

The last few weeks have been wild ones! Literally, as I prepared for a retreat known as Outwild! Generally, Wednesday is my blog sharing day and Tuesday is my day to tell you about things I have discovered that are (subjectively) cool or interesting. BUT, I fell off the schedule and this week you get this post on Friday. As my friend’s Instgram handle states, atleastitsnotnothing. Be well for the weekend people!

The idea of eating with purpose didn’t hit me until well into adulthood. After abruptly and traumatically becoming a mother for the first time, purpose became clear. My son was born early at twenty-six weeks into my pregnancy (which is typically 40 weeks for those not in the know). So really, really early. Before this event, I stressed and fretted over what foods I could or could not eat, over gaining too much weight too soon in the pregnancy, and if my body would ever be the same. Until pregnancy eating was a function of ‘looking like a runner’ instead of being a runner. After the first year of motherhood, it was clear. No matter what I ate or how I looked I was both a runner and a mother. Only things of true importance stayed in my life. That did not include being stuck in my head about food.

Purpose permeates my personal approach to eating and my work. When advising a food company on the development of food or personalize a nutrition approach for an athlete, we start with purpose.

More energy for the things you love

Psychic energy is a real thing. Actual glucose is used in making decisions and problem-solving. Conserving psychic energy for the most important things is kinda like conserving glucose for energy in an ultra-race. Eating with purpose begins the development of an automatic roadmap on what to eat. It doesn’t make food good or bad and, once you are on a path, it requires less and less of your decision making energy so you can save up for the big stuff like running mountains or chasing your kids around the ski hill!

The same goes for developing food that supports active lifestyles. I advise food companies to determine what purpose the food they want to create will serve. That purpose could be anything from curbing mid-day munchies to fueling one-hundred-mile races. Once the brand and development team lands on a purpose, the path ahead for choosing ingredients, servings sizes, packaging and everything else involved come into view. Purpose makes the whole process more efficient.

What is eating with purpose? It is eating in a way that aligns with your intentions to be your best at something. The steps to eating with purpose look like this:

  • Set your intention
  • Make no food forbidden 
  • Take a mental note of the purpose of the food serves towards that intention 
  • Recognize what the food will do for the body such as build, protect, energize, satisfy a craving, celebrate, or something else. 

Food is so multifaceted. As much as I think its sole purpose is about nourishing activity, for most, it is much more than that.

In today’s society food is also about enjoyment, celebration, and community. Most of my eating occasions are centered around being healthy and fit to do the activities I love to the best of my abilities. The rest are about enjoying time with friends or family. Eating with purpose provides permission to be human and eat for pleasure, taste and not just in consideration of health and performance – there is room for both.

Eating with purpose is also about trusting our intution and common sense. We know what to eat, truly. When someone asks me, “what should I eat?” I repeat the line from investigative food journalist, Michael Pollan:

Eat food, mostly plants, not too much

It seems so simple yet confusion leaves us from trusting our intuition and searching for answers and plans to show us the way. What happens is we run into conflicting information, misinformation, and misunderstanding about what to eat. It becomes easy to overthink it, be overwhelmed and just give up.

In an attempt to find structure in overwhelm we jump on the latest diet or fad food that someone told us about. We find a generic plan that maybe our friend or neighbor followed and vow to stick to it. Excluding, forbidding, and restricting food, we muscle through for a few days, a week, a month, maybe more but eventually we “fall off” or “cheat”. Cheating or worse failing at the plan sets us up to shame ourselves for what is only natural human behavior. I heard a dietitian once say there is no cheating, only eating. When you choose to eat with purpose that is the way.

It is time to shift our mindset from this:

Find a nutrition plan > Try it > Fall off > Blame/Shame Ourselves

To this:

Set your purpose > determine principles of eating that support your purpose>determine food preferences that set your purpose > create a routine way of eating that supports your purpose

Why losing weight isn’t an intention?

An intention that involves appearance is not sustainable because it isn’t lifestyle changing. A number on the scale, pants size or body fat percentages are just numbers.  Getting to the number becomes a goal that once reached, leaves us lost in the woods wondering what to organize and focus our food choices around now. Choose purpose and intention first. If you are eating for an active lifestyle, the numbers will follow over time.

Eating in a way that supports a purpose makes healthy eating sustainable as part of a lifestyle. For example, today my boys are healthy, happy, and active. My purpose is to stay active with them and still have energy to grab a long run, ski or work on my business.

Every time you eat something ask yourself what purpose that food our meal is serving. Is it going to support well-being, health, or sport? Sometimes the purpose is to energize your body, help you recover, prevent hunger pains, or provide nutrients your body needs. If it does all those things it is what I like to call a multi-tasker food! My three top multi-tasking foods are blueberries, sweet potatoes, and milk!

Other times the purpose is about coming together with others, celebrating, or enjoying flavor. Candy corn serves the purpose of re-experiencing the nostalgia of my childhood. And donuts have a purpose on occasion too. Purpose of donuts = fun!

As long as you know what the purpose the food is serving, there is no good or bad. They are simply of variety of purposes. Fueling, building, repairing, and preventing are the purposes my food is serving most often because I am athletic and tad bit competitive with myself. There is however room to be human. Purpose is giving you permission to be human and eat for pleasure, taste and not just in consideration of health and performance – there is room for both.

So the next time someone says to me ” it must be a cheat day” when the seeing me eating something they restrict I will respond with the word of a mentor ” it aint’ cheatin’, it’s just eatin'”!

Tara Dell Tells Tuesday Vol. 4

How is Tuesday again already? And Also fall? It is a beautiful fall to be sure and I am overwhelmed trying to run all my favorite high country trails before the snow settles in and prepare for exciting projects!

OUTWILD

Starting my own business was inspired not only by my desire to help others realize peak experiences but also so I could begin melding how I live and work in a way that best suits the lifestyle my family and me. This weekend I am leading two workshops at the Outwild’s flagship event! It takes place at a river rafting camp on the American River and is complete with a learning, outdoor experiences, and inspiration! It may rain and the whole thing is outdoors but, if you know me, you know I like the added challenge of adapting for weather!

I am leading two of my active lifestyle workshops:

  1. Engaging in an (outdoor-minded) Life of Your Design with a Family

and

2. Give Up the Food Fight and Make Food Your Ally

GREAT APP for MEN & WOMAN

Let’s talk about periods for just a second. Once a month a woman’s hormones shift in ways that are both natural, life-giving, and inconvenient for active women and those who live with women. For years I have counted days on the calendar to determine if I was going to have the added challenge of contending with Premenstrual Syndrome(PMS) or the period before, during, or after a race or some other kind of activity like backpacking. There is a definite impact on energy level and performance, not to mention logistics! For years I have blamed myself for feeling low energy and so tired that I can’t keep up with my day let alone a workout. Now I am back on my supplement regimen and have been using this app to learn more and track what is going on with my body and how it will impact my training. Check it out here

Why should men check it out? 1) so you can try and empathize maybe just a little 2) see what is going on when you think ladies are just crazy

Article you may have missed A Response to a case for the apple fritter as marathon fuel

What Do I Do?

Meeting new people often involves answering this question, “what do you do?” While a person does many things this question usually refers to the type of “work” a person identifies with to sustain the livelihood of themselves and/or their family.

If my neighbor were to answer this question for me she would likely say that I pull weeds in the yard, run with my dog, and go skiing with my kids. I do all of those things and while these activities are certainly sustaining they don’t buy the groceries or afford us the money to keep up with the gear needed to stay active all year round with a family of four!

I actually do waaaay more than pull weeds. The root (too punny?) of my work is connecting people to wildly active lifestyles that create opportunities for peak experiences, preferably in the outdoors. I do this by advising the development of foods that serve the needs of active people, delivering workshops and talks at events, and meeting with mountain athletes to create a personalized nutrition strategy.

Peak experiences fill our buckets and the buckets of those we surround ourselves with. They help us to be who we really are with no apology and prepare us to get out in the world a contribute our uniquely ‘us’ gifts. Peak experiences don’t have to be epic days on the highest peaks or the longest runs. They can and should also be small moments we pause to recognize in our every day. Like the conversation, I had with my son during breakfast this morning. It was just the two of us and he drew a lovely picture of a walrus with a conversation bubble…..ON HIS MATH HOMEWORK….that said, “This walrus is too tired to do any more math problems.” I paused and said how much a love his creativity AND, for me to sign the homework he will have to also do the math problems. While those without kids may not see this as a peak experience, I assure you, having the time to with my son to talk this interesting scenario through made us both more engaged humans.

To help others create more peak experiences in their own lives I started my own business Summit Nutrition Strategy!  I offer a variety of services including consulting for food companies, lifestyle brands, and mountain athletes. My services represent my years of experience and passion for connecting brands and organizations to people through nutrition.

I support food companies with product development and branding, and I help mountain athletes with nutrition coaching. I also love bringing nutrition workshops to retreats, festivals, athlete summits, and other events!
When working with food companies on established products or entirely new products, I focus on three key areas:

  1. Product Nutrition Formulation: I work with your R&D /Innovation teams  read more
  2. Brand Strategy: This works gives your strategy legs to stand on by substantiating your  marketing messages read more
  3. Nutrition Marketing: I help you establish your brand position in the market with support marketing strategies and tactics that amplify awareness and build trust in your brand read more

For lifestyles brands and organizations looking to make nutrition speakers, workshops or counsel part of their programming I offer the following:

  1. Mountain Athlete Nutrition Coaching for Teams Make nutrition your wingman in enabling peak experiences for your athletes  read more
  2. Event Experiences I can lead one of my signature workshops at your next event or develop a new based on a new vision read more

For the motivated mountain athlete, I also offer individual coaching !

If what I do might interest you sign up to receive my free nutrition guide!

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Sitting Still, STILL, Sitting Still……

In the book It Is Hard to Be Five  there is a part in the story where this five year old boy is using every bit of effort and might he has to sit still in morning circle. Sitting still. Still. Sitting still. SIT STILL. He is struggling quietly in his mind to stay sitting still because that is what his job requires. We teach children that there is a time for movement and a time to sit still.

As I sit here with a sore back from sitting, writing, reading, watching, learning, and computing I know  we sit too much. Our work and society has us chained to the act of sitting.  Movement is wrong or something you do when you get punished, like when the teachers gives my son “laps” for fighting. Sitting however, is the real punishment, especially for kids!

I certainly feel like I am being punished or trapped when I am cramming to get work done as efficiently as possible so I can get back outside and moving.

I respect stillness and a time for it but, we have flipped to far on the scale as society that rewards sitting over movement. We have to consciously schedule time to move instead of moving naturally like we are built to do.  We are told to get up and take breaks in our desk-job sittingness…..problem is these movements are just a reminder of a sad state of sittingness. They aren’t fun or productive.

Days where I must work on a computer, I try to incentivise myself with the hope moving outside shortly! I have  also been doing everything in my power to think creatively about accomplishing my work without sitting. Technology is so that we can move and work at the same time if we get creative. I can record thoughts to write about later while I am running or walking the dog. I can give “moving workshops” or coaching sessions like I will be doing at Outwild in September.  I can talk calls while I am cleaning, walking, or pulling weeds. These are of course, the advantages of the new movement in the work force to “work from anywhere (WA)”!

I wake up every day thinking about how I can incorporate as much movement into my day as possible. I am not opposed to rest. Rest will happen because we must sleep but, unless  I re-think how I function each day it is quite possible there could be no movement at all!

Can I do a walking meeting instead of a sitting meeting? Can I run to an appointment? Can I bike the kids to school? Can I literally “run” and errand. The answer is most often yes! I will rest when I must finally sit down and jam out emails and blog posts.