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?
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!
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!
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?
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:
Is now the right time to take this on?
Is there a reasonable beginning and end date?
Is there a human connection to others taking on their own challenge?
Does this challenge feel like pressure or curiosity?
Where else will grace be required while taking this challenge?
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.
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.
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!
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.
MAKE IT HAPPEN
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:
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.
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.
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.
Examples: 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.
According toproject Drawndown “If 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.
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
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
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:
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
IRON: Broccoli, spinach, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, raisin, peas, kidney and white beans PRO TIP: Add vitamin C from a fruit for increase absorption
B12: most abundant in cow-based dairy products but can be found in Tuna and fortified cereals, bars, and non-dairy milk options
CALCIUM: Spinach, kale, tofu, nuts, seeds
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.
When you go to the bathroom do you ever look at the color of you pee and resonate with this thought:
As someone who has to work at drinking enough fluid each day, this completely resonates with me.
My super smart friends at Oregon State University put together and educational program for student athletes. It focuses on soccer players but can be adapted for other athletes. I have been using it as an educational tool with my student athletes at Sugar Bowl Academy!
The hydration lesson gives a simple acronym for self assessment of hydration status known is WUT?! Yes, WUT. Let’s talk a look:
Everyone has unique sweat rates, so it is important you know how much fluids and electrolytes you need. On top of that, conditions such as heat, clothing, altitude, and humidity can alter how much a person sweats. If training in different conditions often you will want to determined your sweat rate in each of the variable climates to have an idea of how much fluid to drink during workouts. Here is how to determine your sweat rate:
Weigh yourself before & after exercise to determine how many pounds of fluid you lost. For every pound lost replace with 2 cups of fluid.
If you lose four pounds during your workout you will need to replace that with 8 cups of fluid. You want that fluid to contain sodium as well! Why because you may also loose about 800- 1000 mg of sodium and it is needed for reabsorption, retention, and transport of fluid!
Looking at the color of your urine is the easiest way to tell how hydrated you are during the day. Your urine will ususally be dark in the morning after waking up but after that, it should be light colored Dark yellow means your wastes are concentrated and you should be drinking more. Pale yellow is what you want to see.
Thirst is an excellent indicator during the day when not exercising. When you experience thirst during the day drink water. Durin exercise thirt is an indicator that you are have probably already lost 2% or more of your total body weigh in fluid.
Two-percent loss of body weight from fluid is enough to see a ten-fifteen percent decline in performance! So drink ahead of your workout and then drink six to eight ounces every 15 minutes or so of a sports drink containing some sugar and sodium.
There you have it – WUT – in all its glory. How dam hydrated are you right at this momemt?
To say I am a bit anxious…..might be an understatement.
Summer is winding down. School is starting up (virtually). Wildfires are raging in my state of California and, and, and…..
What helps me calm down? Summiting peaks with friends and knowing I have the food to fuel the weekly adventures (big and small).
I am pleased to say a number of innovative food companies are working hard to make eating healthy simplier. They hire me to do the nutrition thinking for them and then pass it on to you! Without giving away any secrets I can tell you that the biggest trends in ‘eating’ are animal-free food options, meal delivery services, and nutrient dense foods.
Here is a word or two on each of these trends:
Animal-free I am not a vegetarian. I am however,a lover of variety and often mix in animal-free with animal foods. For example, sometimes I go full-on beef burger and other times, I reach for a meat alternative just to mix it up. You don’t have to be one or the other. You can enjoy the nutrient variety from healthy options in both categories. You don’t even have to identify as a ‘flexitarian’ ! You can just be eating as you!
Meal Delivery Services There are a number of meal delivery services these days. I subscribe to Daily Harvest and limit the delivery to about every ten weeks. This keeps my freezer stocked with options when I am short on preparation time. With kids back to school, having this simple shortcut to nutrient dense, organic food is worth it.
Nutrient Dense Food Pairing Back in my early Clif Bar & Company days, LUNA BAR had been fortified with one-hundred percent of the the Daily Value (DV)for twenty-three vitamins and minerals. This was what I called the “Total Cereal Syndrome” and it was too much. No one food is meant to provide you with all your nutrient requirements. After some research on average nutrient intakes and deficiencies, we were able to improve taste and bring the vitamins and minerals to a level that wouldn’t just be lost in the toilet.
Different foods provide varied nutrients, portions, and absorption rates. Increase your daily nutrient density with a variety of fresh foods preparied in variety of different ways (raw, cooked, blanched, bake, sauteed) and you will likely meet your nutrient needs.
Click on the buttone below to download my go-to food pairings listed as seven different meal options. I also included a grocery list and some of my favorite cooking resources!
Coconut oil has been getting health benefit praise for a while and, often makes headlines as a “healthier” fat. The real question we should be asking is “healthier than what?”
From a nutritional standpoint, the best-added fat is from a monounsaturated source. Why? Because replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats serves the nutritional purpose of lowering blood cholesterol and improving heart health. Dietary recommendations from all leading health organizations emphasize a diet low in saturated fat. When it comes to impacting health, at best, coconut, palm, cocoa butter, and dairy fats may have a neutral impact on heart health and some anti-inflammatory properties. In cooking and food production however, a saturated fat is often needed for taste, texture, and melting point. Perhaps, in that case a saturated fat high in medium-chain triglycerides is the better option. Let’s look a little deeper.
Oils contain a mix of saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated. This mix impacts everything from melting point to healthfulness. This chart below provide a good visual of fatty acid content in various oils.
Monounsaturated fats are dubbed the “healthy fats” because they help to reduce inflammation and lower risk of heart disease.
Fats with high amounts of monounsaturated fats include:
High oleic sunflower oil
High oleic safflower
What about fat sources with high amounts of polyunsaturated fats?
These fats contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids and are very prevalent in the American food supply. At one time it was suggested that people cut back on sources of omega-6 to improve heart-healthy ratios of omega-3:omega-6. An improved ratio is better achieved by increasing the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish are the primary source of omega-3’s which is why I am a fan of adding sardines and anchovies to sandwiches, salads and topped on crackers with cheese.
Fats with higher amounts of polyunsaturated fat for consideration include:
Hemp Seed oil
Of course, soybean and corn oil is most often sourced from genetically engineered crops that require more pesticides to kill superweeds. If you are looking to avoid genetically engineered ingredients purchase, oils that are certified organic and read ingredient lists on labels.
Levels of Saturated Fat in a Healthy Diet
Saturated fat is in our food supply. It adds flavor and texture. I certainly add coconut oil for flavor and occasional substitute for butter or lard. It doesn’t need to be completely avoided, just limited.
Leading agencies continue to recommend a diet low in saturated fat. The guidelines are:
Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the World Health Organization, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics all recommend that saturated fats shouldn’t exceed 10% of total calories. On a 2000 calories eating plan that suits most people that is a limit 22 grams of saturated fat per day
Guidelines from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recommend limiting saturated fat intake even further, to less than 7% for the general population, and 5% to 6% for those with high LDL cholesterol. For a 2,000-kcal eating plan that is a 11-15 grams limit of saturated fat.
Isn’t coconut oil “healthy fat” because it contains MCTs?
Coconut oil is highly saturated, with higher saturation than butter or lard. All saturated fats are not created equal, however. Their fatty acid chains vary!
This is what makes coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, cocoa butter, and dairy fat interesting.
My Bottom Line
Saturated fats high in MCT’s are better for you than saturated fats with low MCT’s because they likely neither raise or lower cholesterol. They are also thought to be an alternative source of energy during exercise but have not shown any performance improvements when combined with carbohydrates. When consumed as the single source of fuel, performance declines.
Saturated fats with MCT’s are not healthier than poly or monounsaturated options. So don’t go replacing olive, almond, avocado, or high oleic sunflower seed oil for coconut oil.
Confused about what fat ingredients to add to add to your food? Let me help!
Email nutrition coaching is right for you if:
You have clear questions that need answers or a situation you’d like advice about.
You’re good at organizing your thoughts in writing.
My work as a nutrition advisor for active individuals and food companies centers around improving the health of people and the planet. I do this by helping food companies make foods that serve a sound nutrition purpose AND by coaching people to fuel wildly active lifestyles.
Why wildly active? Wild is a reference to trying something beyond your normal comfort zone and outdoors. Active is in reference to moving your body, not because you have to but because it feels good.
Why make foods with nutrition purpose? There are already plenty of junk foods in every category on the shelves. Making foods that taste good and deliver a benefit to the body can help active people living with purpose apply the tactics below. The three tactics are common practice for the world’s most successful athletes. They are beneficial for those who may not consider themselves “athletes” too but, I contest that if you have a body, you are an athlete.
Three Elements to Building Body and Planet Resilence with Food
#1 AMOUNT OF FOOD YOU EAT #2 QUALITY OF FOOD YOU EAT #3 TIMING OF THE FOOD YOU EAT
#1 The amount of food you eat is basically about not eating too much or too little. Eating too much puts the body at risk of carrying more weight and straining its systems. This doesn’t mean you have to be skinny. You can be healthy and fit at any size you feel most comfortable. Eating too few calories also puts a strain on the body systems and puts it at greater risk for nutrient deficiencies. Eat in a way that fuels the activity you are doing. If you would like help figuring out how the amount of food your body requires, book a session with me or reference this tool I help to create!
#2 The quality of food is of critical importance. You may need 2400 calories per day but, what is the best way to spend those calories. First, spend them on the foods that nourish you body and all the things you demand of it. I call these impactful calories. More nutrients per calorie equal more impact! This doesn’t mean counting calories. It does mean eating a colorful variety of food with different tastes, textures, and temperatures.
#3 TIming eating occasion throughout the day is tactic athletes apply to make the most out of their workouts. Whether or not you consider yourself an athlete, your daily performance can also be improved by spreading foods out throughout the day in ‘small more frequent eating occasions’. This tactic provides a steady stream of nutrients to your brain and muscles all day long.
For more behaviors that can help support performance, resilience, and health read my short series on Three Performance Nutrition Behaviors: