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Happy Mother’s Day to all moms

Mother’s day, like holidays and birthdays, are fraught with expectations on all sides. Mother’s who have martyred themselves their whole lives expect to be made to feel extra loved today (of all days) when what would have been more appropriate is for those mother’s to have not sacrificed their own needs only to now have unrealistic expectations of their loved ones for this day. No one wins. Showing mothers love, kindness, and respect all year would be better for everyone.

My greatest adventure, challenge, and reward is being a mother. How I became a mother was far from the normal baby-arrival preparations. Like all mothers whose babies arrive early or with complications that send them to the NICU there is an eyes-wide-open moment when you are faced with how vulnerable we all are. The gift of becoming a mother to a baby born too early is that you will never take even the simplest of moments for granted. My 26-weeker just passed his eye exam at the DMV while applying for a driver’s permit. My heart is full.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mother’s I know. Once upon a time when I was surfing the web for some preemie-mom support I found this below. Enjoy!

The Special Mother

-Adapted from
Erma Bombeck
Motherhood The Second Oldest Profession

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit. This year thousands of mothers will give birth to a premature baby. Did you ever wonder how mothers of preemies are chosen?

Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting His instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

“Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron saint, Matthew.
“Forest, Majorie, daughter. Patron saint, Ceceila.
“Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron saint… give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.

Finally, He passes a name to an angel and smiles, “Give her a premature baby.”
The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”

“Exactly, “ smiles God. “Could I give a premature baby a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel.”

“But does she have patience?” asks the angel.
“I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she’ll handle it.

“I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence that are so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has his own world. She has to make it live in her world and that’s not going to be easy.”

“But, Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”
God smiles, “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness.”

The angel gasps, “Selfishness? Is that a virtue?”
God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she’ll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child who comes in a less than perfect way. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied.

“She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says ‘Mommy’ for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. When her child sees green grass or fall colors with perfect vision she will know that it is nothing less than amazing. When she describes a tree or a sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations.

“I will permit her to see clearly the things I see – ignorance, cruelty, prejudice – and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.”

“And what about her patron saint?” asks the angel, the pen poised in mid-air.

God smiles. “A mirror will suffice.”

Enjoy this day and every day on this note:

There are two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as if everything is.

-Albert Einstein (fellow preemie)

Fabulous, Fit, and Whole Women Everywhere

I was enjoying breakfast and some quality “girl time” with a few friends after our Saturday morning run when the conversation took a turn to body and diet—and the foods that seem to exist only to sabotage both. These conversations do little for anyone’s self-esteem and fall short of supporting the whole-body approach to wellness, which starts by feeling good in your own skin.

I sat back, listening to my friends bash their strong, fit, and truly feminine selves and realizing with sadness that not one of these intelligent and beautiful women was completely happy with her body despite the fact that it had just taken them on a beautiful trail run on the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean. Each friend criticized her own body’s imperfections, obvious only to herself, as needing improvement. I visualized it as a poker game: “I’ll see your flat stomach with my curly hair and big thighs.” Each one not seeing the beauty in themselves and envying something another disliked.   

If the only way you think you will ever love your body is by changing it, think again. Wellness from the whole-body approach starts by accepting who you are right now, no apologies, and discovering who you are when all that obsession over food and body is stripped away. Because of years of conditioning by society’s image of beauty, this will not be a quick task. It will be a practice of acceptance, compassion, and gratitude.

Trust me. I have learned this both through studying and my own pitfalls. This is the way. Only when we are free of shame can we begin to stop looking at foods as cheating and let it be just eating. We can reset the relationship with food to one of nourishing what we want out of life instead of living for the next meal. Find something else to look forward other than food. Look for other solutions than food. Many set their schedules around meal time. Meal time is important but it doesn’t have to be the driver. Maybe gathering is the driver? Conversation? Celebration? all places food happes to be part of.

Approaching exercise and eating right from a place of acceptance in who you are is the first step and taking good care of yourself.  Don’t wait for a number on a scale to begin appreciating your body for what it capable is of doing like walking, running, reproducing, or breathing and swallowing at the same time (a highly underappreciated skill)!  Once you move beyond food and body image “overthink” so much time, energy, and space opens up for relationships, rest, hobbies, and noticing things outside your body more.

My morning running ladies in this story are all fit and nutrition savvy eaters. Everyone had strong beliefs around what they could and couldn’t eat: “I never eat butter, too much fat,”(Never butter! Not even a little bit?) “I feel so guilty when I eat pasta, so many carbs,” (Guilt over pasta? But it fuels your long runs?) It depresses me to hear women who generally have healthy habits most of the time  associate shame and guilt with their food choices. We all deserve the pleasures of good food and healthy eating. Once we realize this, we are better able to savor foods and associate feelings of delight and satisfaction with moderate portions of foods that satisfy us without eating more calories than the body needs. Enjoyment of  food that triggers shame leads to unnecessary restriction. When you treat yourself to an occasional pastry, take pleasure in each bite because you know it’s not a delicacy you choose often, especially if it is freshly baked from a favorite local bakery. 

At this point in our discussion, I make a suggestion: “Let’s erase the beauty standard and start fresh! Delete  all your fashion and fitness followings representing unrealistic, unhealthy notions of ideal beauty and perfect diets. Get rid of ideas of should and shouldn’t with food, and replace it with a more attainable and sustainable approach. Let’s set beauty standards that respect individuality and celebrate real, confident, and healthy women who exercise because it feels good, who eat whole and fresh because we enjoy it, and who eat cake when it best serves us. It’s one hundred percent right and not wrong to eat chocolate cake and ice cream without feeling guilty when you eat with a healthy dose of intention. You have too much good work to do to waste time with worry over the size of your jeans or a number on the scale.” The girls looked perplexed, as if this was an impossible goal. Then one friend spoke, “You know, we’d probably all be a lot happier.” 

Adopting new standards and accepting yourself today will pay off immediately. In the short term, you will have more time for what is really important in life and less time to worry about never achieving some distorted standard. And ultimately, you will have more confidence and feel better about yourself most days. 

But don’t expect the outlook to change overnight. Tomorrow an airbrushed visual will  cross your feed and tempt you into feeling bad. Delete it. It isn’t even real. Don’t hold yourself to standards set by the latest beauty app. Do take steps to loving yourself, and over the long term, this road will lead to a happier, healthier you.

Need help shifiting your mindset and eating in a way that honors who you are?

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Four Nutrition Tips for More Energy while Skiing and Riding Your Favorite Mountains

My family and I are fresh off of winter break or as we call it here in the mountains, Ski-Skate week! Really it should be Ski-Ride-Skate week. Or maybe it should be Ski-Skate-Skin-Ride-Glide week to encompass more of the activities we participate in all this week.

Whatever activity de jour is on the menu, to make it happen, especially on back-to-back days, we must be fully fueled

Here are tips for keeping your family fueled for fun and hopefully sans meltdowns for multiple days of winter activity in the mountains!

  1. Eat a Sustaining Breakfast

I get it. I am not much of a morning eater myself BUT I am an afternoon skier so breakfast is a must. Skipping breakfast is a day breaker! Start with something that will stick with you for the morning. My favorite option is a breakfast burrito which I can make the night before alongside making lunches. Load it up with scrambled eggs, cheese, spinach, and tomato. Other options are oatmeal topped with nuts, yogurt, and blueberries and bananas. Any fruit will do here. The key is getting a little bit of carb from grains and fruits and stacking it with protein (eggs, nuts, seeds) and kicking in some fiber (veggies, fruit whole grains) and a fat (olive oil, butter, nuts, seeds). This gives you the magic combo for carb, protein, fat, and fiber that will have you cruising through the morning.

2.Plan for hydration and have easy-to-access water

Staying hydrated makes all the difference for me at the higher altitudes. On the drive to the mountain drink about 32 ounces of a hydrating beverage. Beverages that hydrate you are ones with a small amount of sugar and sodium. I personally like Hydrant or Nuun. They help your body absorb and transport the fluid and start your day with a solid hydration base. Because winter is cold, thirst isn’t triggered like it is when its hot, you have to consciously drink. Fill your water bottle the night before and set it next to your car keys!

Carrying water that you can easily sip also makes a huge difference in my energy level on the mountain. . An insulated (so the water doesn’t freeze in the reservoir) hydration pack is a great option for bringing water along. I like to think of my brain and muscles as sponges. If they dry out they just don’t function as well as they could.

3. Load Your Pockets

Plan for mid-morning, portable snacks that can be stuffed in pockets to help prevent hunger and bonking before lunch. You can tuck almonds, energy bars, or dried fruit in your pockets for easy access. I personally love Trail Butter packets. They come in a variety of flavors and offer a sustaining combination of healthy fat, protein, and a small amount of sugar. Remember, sugar is the most efficient fuel source for your brain and muscles. Combining sugar with nutrients like fat and protein will slow the digestion of sugar and provide a slow release of energy perfect for ski-lift-repeat. If you are not locked into a noon lunch hour with everyone else, these snacks will help extend your skiing while lift lines are shorter and hit the lodge for lunch later.

4. Après recovery

When you have multiple winter play days in a row, recovery nutrition is a must. Your muscles have worked hard, depleted energy reserves, and broken down. To shorten recovery time get something with both protein and carbohydrate into your body right away. I keep a stash of recovery drinks, fruit, and protein bars in a tub in my care. Orgain protein drinks, while a bit pricey, are well worth the it. I have one-hundred percent noticed a difference in my kids’ mood and energy when they get 15-20 grams of protein immediately following their return to the car. I also noticed a clear difference in my ability to keep up with them!

Many people reach for a cold brew after skiing but I find this slows me down for the evening and the next day. I save the alcohol for later in the week and instead reach for an Athletic Brewing Company NA beer. It hits the spot for hydrating and IPA’ing without the lag I feel if I drink alcohol. Try it using a promotion code TARA20 for your first purchase on their website

Try one incorporating one of these five tips into your winter activity days and see what difference it makes for you!

Wondering if you are getting enough key nutrients?
Book a complimentary Nutrition Coaching session and we can talk about how to analyze what you are eating compared to what your personal needs are.

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Book a complimentary discovery call for Strategic Nutrition Insight

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Six Nutritents to Pay Attention to When eating Mostly or All Plant-based

Year after year health agencies have stressed the health benefits of eating a diet high in plant-based goods. This advice is making its way into the minds of people who are looking not only to increase the amount of plants in their diets but also limit or remove animal products from their diet for compounding reasons of health, sustainability, and ethical reasons. For people who cut out animal products completely, there are several nutrients that need special attention.

While variety in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based protein sources can help ensure athletes are getting the nutrients they need, there are few nutrients either only found in animal-based foods or the more absorbable and digestible forms from the animal source. Vegetarian athletes should pay close attention to calcium, iron, B12, choline, vitamin D and zinc. I always recommend that competitive athletes, especially women, get their iron levels in their blood tested a couple times a year. Iron absorption can be increased by combining iron-rich foods with vitamin C rich foods.

  • Iron-rich foods: legumes, soy products, nuts, seeds, whole & enriched grains, certain dark-green leafy vegetables and dried fruits 
  • Calcium-rich  plant-based foods include dark-green leafy vegetables, calcium-fortified foods such as tofu, soymilk, almond milk, rice milk and orange juice; legumes, nuts and seeds
  • Vitamin B12 plant-based foods are few and far between but it is sometimes fortified foods in  foods like soymilk, cereal, meat substitutes
  • Zinc-rich  plant-based foods include: legumes, soy products, nuts, seeds, and whole grains
  • Vitamin D is commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” however, there are many factors that limit the amount the body can generate when exposed to sunshine. Fish, sea foods, eggs, and fortified milk are the primary sources of vitamin D. Portabella, white, crimini and maitake mushrooms are also sources of this vitamin.

Vitamin D and B12 are difficult to get enough of in vegetarian eating because they are found mainly in animal based foods. It is usually a good idea to get a simple blood test to determine your levels of vitamin D and B12 before supplementing. 

Creatine is an important compound involved in making gains in  muscle strength, short energy bursts, recovery, and increases in lean body mass. Because it is found in meat, vegetarians may also benefit from a supplemental form of creatine from a reputable sports nutrition company certified for sport.

Wondering if you are getting enough key nutrients? 

Want realistic inspiration for fueling an active lifestyle? Follow me on Instagram

Plant Based Protein You should Try

Yes, I am a dietitian with a passion for helping people achieve peak experiences! Did you know I also am committed to reducing the amount of junk foods on the shelves by helping food companies on how to make foods that will have positive impacts on the health of people and our food system?

In late 2018 I kicked of consulting services that have since resulted in some very cool foods that help nourish fuel people! I work with great intentioned food and supplement companies looking to make a difference but often are uncertain about nutrition. While these companies pay me to advise them on ingredients and nutritional integrity, they don’t pay me to talk about them with you. I only do this if I believe them to have created something that serves a nutrition purpose. With that late me share with you this great protein source with a really cool story and Montana roots!

Natures fynd   / Discovered in Nature, Crafted in Montana, Grow in Chicago / makes foods with a fungi protein originally discovered in Yellowstone National Park!

Fy is a nutritional fungi protein, and a complete protein, with all 9 essential amino acids present and accounted for! Being orginially from Montana anything crafted there peeks my interest. This is an entirely new discovery. The original microbe was found by a researcher studing life forms in the geysers of Yellowstone National Park.  With breakthrough fermentation technology that uses uses just a fraction of the water, land, and energy compared to traditional protein sources, Fy protein was born. Products made with this protein are in select stores and include cream cheese and breakfast patties. Can’t wait to see what they make next!

Wondering how to make and share nutritionally sound,  better-for-you food products?

Wondering if you are getting enough key nutrients? 

Want realistic inspiration for fueling an active lifestyle? Follow me on Instagram

top view photo of vegetables

Is it possible for athletes to eat enough protein on a plant-based diet?

Absolutely athletes can thrive on a plant based diet. Have you seen “Game Changers” feature friend and ultra-runner Scott Jurek? Many athletes make the elite ranks without eating meat or other animal-based foods. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it is simple however. It takes time to evolve your food into a master puzzle pieced together with a variety of foods and potentional supplements to make sure you stay nourished and fueled. Trying to be a vegetarian or vegan athlete on French fries, energy drinks, and rice won’t cut it.

Those who achieve good health and athletic performance without eating foods from animals pay close attention to variety to ensure they get high quality protein from a variety of different protein sources. This helps to ensure they piece together the essential amino acids from different plant-based protein like legumes, tofu, textured vegetable and soy protein, quinoa, nuts, seeds and commercially available powders like hemp, pea, and brown rice.

Aside from the basics, innovative food companies are sourcing high quality foods that provide vegetarian and vegan options for delivering and creating really delicious and convenient options for vegans and vegetarians. 

I advise food companies on how to make foods that can have positive impacts on the health of people and our food system.

Two companies offering innovative and sustainable sources of delicious animal-free food are Nature’s Fynd and Adda Veggie!

Each of these foods brings new nutrient dense  options to the table!

  1. Nature’s Fynd  / Discovered in Nature, Crafted in Montana, Growin in Chicago

Fy is a nutritional fungi protein, and a complete protein, with all 9 essential amino acids present and accounted for! Being orginially from Montana anything crafted there peaks my interest. This is an entirely new discovery. The original microbe was found by a researcher studing life forms in the geysers of Yellowstone National Park. With breakthrough fermentation technology that uses uses just a fraction of the water, land, and energy compared to traditional protein sources, Fy protein was born. Products made with this protein are in select stores and include cream cheese and breakfast patties. Can’t wait to see what they make next!

  1. Adda Veggie

This product is a staple in my pantry! After working directly with Trishna , owner and founder, we uncovered the nutritional beauty she had crafted in the kitchen using organic ingredients that help move vegetables to the center of the plate while also delivering plant-based protein. Talk about being nutrients dense! My kids are also sold. What I also love about this company is that they are on a mission to make plant-based diets accessible, inclusive, and equitable! 

While I haven’t had the pleasure of working with Beyond Meat, I find them to be a tasty alternative to ground beef. Beyond Meat is also  committed to sourcing organic ingredients which means exposure to fewer pesticides than with some of the other ground beef alternatives. 

Wondering how to make and share nutritionally sound,  better-for-you food products?

Wondering if you are getting enough key nutrients? 

Want realistic inspiration for fueling an active lifestyle? Follow me on Instagram

man in blue shorts jumping in a body of water

Thirty Day Challenges

Thirty day challenges can be a great tool when trying to create new habits. As someone who tends to take on more challenges than I can handle at one time, I have steered clear of any additional pressures that thirty day challenges bring up for me. It reminds me of a morning years ago when I sat sobbing in the living room chair of our San Francisco flat with a newborn sleeping in his room down the hall. I was sobbing because the lactation consultant said all I had to do was “pump more” to produce more of the liquid gold milk my son needed to nourish his little body. My production had slowed and he needed me more so time to plug in to the milk machine was limited. “Well, you can nurse him more too,” she said. Months of feeling sucked dry and meeting the challenge of pumping six to seven times a day per instructions and I could no longer take the pressure. I was deflated, spent, and exhausted. I was sobbing because Iwas cracking under the weight of this challenge.

The pressure I was feeling was too much. I probably should have stopped trying sooner but presented myself with a challenge that has measurable outcomes and I will persist. I persisted to the point of sobbing while also feeling isolated and alone. It was time to give myself grace, the grace to quit.

I have taken on many challenges since then and have always remembered to give myself grace and consider whether persisting was right or if the timing of the challenge was right. Thirty day challenges with visible accountability measures felt like a slippery slope out of grace and into the shame game. So I never committed to one openly until now.  

One of my two writing coaches sent out an email inviting her contacts to join in her daughter’s 30 day challenge beginning December 1.  Curiosity in myself, my capabilities, curiosity, and what I might discover through the process lure me into challenges, particularly when it comes to fitness, rehabbing my knee and running. I am also deeply curious about writing and the ability of words to evoke emotion or inspiration. 

So I am showing up here to discover and learn by challenging myself to open a blank page each day and write for at least twenty minutes every day! I can do this for thirty days during one of the most hurried times of the year. No pressure is the key ingredient. Accepting this challenge is birthed out of curiosity and nurtured with the desire to go there, NO pressure to perform.

Also, I am accountable to our group by logging it as done in our group spreadsheet. This sounds very tactical, I know but it keeps the challenge from happening in a vacuum where things can get dark and lonely.  Some days will certainly require grace.

If you are considering taking on a thirty day challenge. Ask yourself these questions before you begin:

  1. Is now the right time to take this on?
  2. Is there a reasonable beginning and end date?
  3. Is there a human connection to others taking on their own challenge?
  4. Does this challenge feel like pressure or curiosity?
  5. Where else will grace be required while taking this challenge?

Thanks for playing! Here we go!

Women RUn the Vote 2.0 Virtual relay 2021

On September 20th -26, I will be running with @oiselle and @run4allwomen for Run the Vote 2.0, a 907 mile virtual relay for Indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice.

After visiting countless public lands and growing up in Montana learning lots about settlers and too little about the tribes that inhabited the land first, I am eager to learn 

Funds raised will be divided equally between @duwamishtribe of Seattle, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (@niwrc), and @runners4publiclands. If you’d like to donate or participate, you can find my personal fundraising page, more information about the event, and a link to register by clicking the DONATE button below. I know times are wildly difficult, so please don’t feel pressure to contribute if that’s not an option for you right now.

Why am I joining this effort?

I am joining this effort because the outdoors is for everyone and running brings us together with others who seek nature as a source of spirituality and connection. I want to share this while also learning how to better advocate for the people and places connected with these lands

I grew up in a town in Montana where Native Americans were marginalized as second-class citizens. I was told to stay away from” Indians” because they were dangerous and would beat you up. This wasn’t the whole story or the story of the majority. I also ran cross-country and the kids that ran for schools on the reservations were talented, strong, and fast. I wanted to run with them. Train with them. Native American lands are sacred not just to the tribes but to all of us. This planet is the responsibility of all of us and it is time we all treat it with the respect she needs to thrive for us and with us.

Eyes Opened

This summer we did a six day camping trip consisting of day-hikes to an area of Northeastern California new to us. We visited Burney Falls, and the lower, middle and upper falls of the McCloud River. We also did a short trip through Lassen National Park the day before it was evacuated to make way for the quickly moving Dixie Fire.

Throughout this trip we read placards that provided insight into the history of the land. What really struck me was that explorers came through and stripped the land from the tribes and renamed it. Native American tribes inhabiting these areas were Atsugewi, Yana, and Mountain Maidu. The names of the land and the mountains given by these people came from respect and the spiritual nature of the places to the people. The white men came through looking to make profits, colonize and industrialize the land most often without regard to the spiritual nature of the place and the people already living there. So Lassen Peak was renamed after a pioneer even though it already had a beautiful nam, Kokm Yah-mah-nee, which translates to Snow Mountain.

Then there was Burney Falls. The Ilmawi tribe believed the falls to be a sacred place. Native American historians say that the tribe considered things of beauty to have great power and used it as a place for meditation and visions. Naturally I was pissed off to see plastic water bottles carelessly littering this place. I felt the great power of the place and to see it disrespected with plastic sadly left me picking up more water bottles than I could carry.

With that, I vowed to begin learning and acknowledging the original inhabitants of the outdoor places that bring me peace, presence, and allow me to lose track of technology and time so I can focus on being in these places of beauty with the people I love.

Women Run the Vote 2.0

Funds raised will be divided equally between @duwamishtribe of Seattle, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (@niwrc), and @runners4publiclands. If you’d like to donate or participate, you can find my personal fundraising page, more information about the event, and a link to register HERE!

This is a virtual relay, completed in teams of 20, from Apsaalooké (Crow) lands at the Yellowstone National Park and ending in Duwamish territory (Oiselle HQ, Seattle, WA), taking place September 20th – 26th, 2021.Throughout this 900+ mile journey, I will be learning about the Native people and nations whose land we will traverse along the way. 

Along the way I will learn more about the connection between Environmental Justice, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls epidemic, and the fight for #landback and #waterislife. I will also learn about the deeply problematic history of the National Parks and meet amazing leaders in the movements to protect Indigenous lands, waters, and our non-human relatives.” This planet is everyone’s responsibility

I will be sharing my progress with all of you beginning tomorrow and am super excited to be a small part of this important event!

McArthor-Burney Falls of the Ilmawi, a Pit River Tribe

red strawberry and raspberry on white ceramic bowl

Four Benefits to Pre-Workout Fueling

Long ago, despite knowing better, I would avoid eating anything before heading out for a morning run. Knowing and doing are two different things. It was like I was afraid to consume more calories during the day because  consuming calories at the end of the day (or in the middle of the night) was more satisfying and comforting.

After registering for my first trail race however, this all changed. I wanted to feel as good as possible for every workout so I could get stronger and fitter to do what made me feel more connected to myself, the outdoors, and a community of outdoorists.  Feeling good meant practicing what I preached and timing food to fuel the work I was doing finding real means of comfort.

Here is a short list of benefits pre-exercise fueling (especially in the morning)

  • Increases energy to your muscles
  • Avoids “grumbling stomach”
  • Improves energy level and mood
  • Helps avoid overeating after exercise or later in the day

The loss of fluid and a reduction in the body’s carbohydrate stores are the two major causes of fatigue in exercise lasting more than one hour.  To achieve your goals it is essential that you define your optimal nutrition and hydration strategies.

When you exercise your body needs energy. This energy comes from what you eat and what you drink. The body’s preferred source of energy is carbohydrates that are stored in your muscles and liver as a ‘fuel’ called glycogen.

The body’s glycogen stores are limited and fatigue occurs when glycogen stores are depleted resulting in significant reduction in performance. Crossing the start line with already low glycogen stores is like taking a car out with a half empty fuel tank – you will run out of fuel more quickly and may suffer premature fatigue.

Are you cheating yourself out of optimal training for better performance because you believe it will help you burn more fat? If you are skipping out on pre-exercise fueling opportunities in the form of breakfast, you are losing out on fat burning AND energy in your late afternoon workout according to a recent study discussed here

All that time and effort needs to be supported with fuel to do the job and get the results of increase strength, staminia, endurance, speed, and agility. Working out without having eating anything in the one to four hour “window of energy optimization” only leads to shorter workout times at lower intensity simply because you don’t have the energy on board to do what your training plan asked of you.  


Remember, knowing and doing are different things.

This guide reminds you what to eat and when in the one to four hours before a working out. That is the ‘knowing’ part. The ‘doing’ part is writing down your go-to options for each time frame. By doing this your are accomplishing three things:

  1. Creating a pre-exercise fueling routine depending on when you workout. The idea is NOT to eat every hour in these four hours but to instead determine based on your schedule that day which hour you will be able to eat.
  2. Having foods you know you tolerate well planned out ahead of time so you have the food you need when you need it. For example, I always have energy bars and bananas on hand for my two hour time.
  3. You will create a positive routine with nutritious options that becomes a reflexive action and takes you less time to incorporate into your exercise routine.
1 hour or less2 hours3 hours4 hours
Water & easily digested carbsWater & carbohydratesMini meal with fluidsPre-Exercise meal
low to no protein, fat, fiberlow protein, fat, fiberInclude some protein, fat, fiberlean protein, starchy vegetables, fruit, (carbs + fiber), Fat (avocado, nut ro seed butter
100- 200 calories200-300 calories300-400 calories 400- 500 calories
Banana, 16 oz sports drink, or 1/2 sports bar + water
Examples: Pretzels with water + banana, bagel w/jelly + juiceExamples: Greek Yogurt, 1/2 strawberries, 1/2 granolaExamples: Bean, cheese, & rice burrito OR banana/honey/sunflowerseed butter sandwich with a glass of milk


Some people can eat a burger and hop on their bike while others need food to be totally digested before they can even think about exercise. Just ask Scott Jurek, the ultra runner with an ultra digestive system. He has been known to eat pizza and burritos during his run.

Create a plan using the free downloadable at the BUTTON below (created by my friends at Oregon State University Health and Human Performance lab). Try out different foods at different times to see what works best for you prior to different types of workouts. Be ready to scratch out foods that didn’t sit so well and write in new items to try.

Keep in mind that a dehydrated body can lead to an upset stomach during exercise no matter what you eat before the workout. For more on hydration read on here.

Bottom line is to eat and/or drink something before you workout to improve the quality of your exercise and ultimatley you performance in life and sport!

composition of fresh ingredients for healthy breakfast

Five Resources & Nutrients for Meeting the Meatless Challange

According to project DrawndownIf 50-75 percent of the world’s population restricts their diet to a healthy average 2,250 calories per day and reduces meat consumption overall, we estimate at least 43-68 gigatons of emissions could be avoided from dietary change alone. If avoided deforestation from land use change is included, an additional 21.8-23.5 gigatons of emissions could be avoided, making healthy, plant-rich diets one of the most impactful solutions ” to draw down carbon and slow the climate change.

The benefits of eating a diet of mostly plants are extensive for both the health of the body and the planet which is why many people are trying meatless on for size either in the short-term or long-term.

If you are moving meat away from the center of the plate and shifting to animail-free foods, make sure you are replacing it with nutrient dense veggies and plant-based protein options!

To help you get some staple recipes in the quiver, checkout these five resources below. They are not all 100% animal free but they definitley include some delicious, nutritient dense, animal free options.

  1. The College Vegetarian Cookbook is a collection of 150 budget-friendly vegetarian recipes for beginner cooks
  2. Here are some great recipes with vegetarian options. For the quesadilla recipe replace chicken with tempeh and dairy-based cheese with almond-based cheese like Daiya
  3. For vegan ideas, the book Eat & Run by Scott Jurek has recipes within the story. The story is about his transformation from meat to vegan and how it impacted his running and life. If you aren’t interested in reading the book you can spin through it for recipes. His blog also provides excellent recipes
  4. This is a classic cookbook for vegetarians and one I always recommend Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katizen
  5. My absolute favorite cookbooks for athletes (not just runners) are Run Fast East Slow & Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow they also created a companion meal planning guide that is very useful for athletes that I have used with a few clients.

Meeting nutrition needs on an a plant-based eating plan is totally possible and just takes some “nutrient awareness” and shift in where the nutrients come from. Here are foods to add to your diet if you are ditching animal foods:

  1. PROTEIN: Tofu, nuts, seeds, tempeh, non-dairy cheese, quinoa, chickpea pasta, pea protein powder, plant-based meat alternatives such as Beyound Meat, fungi protein sources like Fynd, crickets
  2. IRON: Broccoli, spinach, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, raisin, peas, kidney and white beans PRO TIP: Add vitamin C from a fruit for increase absorption
  3. B12: most abundant in cow-based dairy products but can be found in Tuna and fortified cereals, bars, and non-dairy milk options
  4. CALCIUM: Spinach, kale, tofu, nuts, seeds
  5. ZINC: Soy, nuts, seeds, whol grains

There has been a shift away from cow’s milk despite its efficient source of nutrients. Here is a look at how to replace nutrients found in cow’s milk with cow-free foods.

I grew up in Montana surrounded by cattle ranchers. While I find raw meat disturbing and cattle oh so cute, I can not deny that after a long run, I good (well-done thank you!) burger sounds delicious. When consciously consumed beef doesn’t have to be eliminated completely to do good for your body and the planet. If you like beef, think about how many times you eat it, where it comes from, and shift it from the main dish to the side dish.