All posts filed under: Nutrition

Milk: The Irreplaceable Superfood

Truth be told, I don’t like the term superfood but after doing a deep dive on the nutrients naturally occurring in milk, I felt the term was well-deserved. I did this deep dive on behalf of my client, Clover Sonoma Dairy. Trust me when I say that if the facts did not support milk as a source of naturally occurring nutrients with only three ingredients, I would not be writing this article. Dairy has been getting a bad wrap with the increasing popularity of plant-based alternatives, but dairy (more specifically milk) is a highly overlooked superfood that is not easily substituted. This distinction, superfood, is often reserved exclusively for brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are certainly deserving, but after my in-depth analysis of the nutrients in milk, I believe dairy to be extremely underrated. I am actually embarrassed to have not given milk more credit, although I have long been a supporter of milk as an optimally-formulated-by-nature recovery drink due to its beautifully proportioned carbohydrate and protein profile. In an airport with …

Fueling Summer Running

Back in May, I started ramping up the running miles. The snow had (mostly) melted and it was time to get base miles in for summer running adventures. By the end of May a starting feeling run down, worn out, and just wasn’t recovering from even short runs. My first instinct was “panic”. “What is wrong with me? Chronic fatigue? Adrenal Insufficiency? Imbalanced hormones?” I had already spent the winter not running and focusing on replenishment of nutrients, muscles, and rest. As I struggled through a twelve-mile Memorial Day run with my new running group, The Donner Party Mountain Runners, I felt like I had no energy and picking up my legs was more work than it should be. “Should I be on the gluten-free diet after all? Am I pre-menstrual, low on vitamin D? There is no way I am bonking! I eat plenty of carbohydrates daily and during my runs.” Or do I? I am a fueling expert. I know what I need and how often. At least that is what I have …

Response to: A Case For The Apple Fritter

After eighteen years of overseeing the nutrition integrity and efficacy of the Clif Bar and Company sports performance foods made to keep runners and other athletes moving, Brendan Leonard’s account of his careful consideration of an apple fritter as fuel during his marathon intrigued me. First of all, I believe good donuts to be one of the most fun foods on the planet. I kind of consider myself a careful connoisseur of good donuts. I am not one to get excited about meals and food in general. It is all sort of just nourishment to keep me doing what I love at this point. Donuts, however, get me excited. Not just any donut though. Grocery-store, air-puffed, raised, and glazed are not worth the dough. Donuts made at a bakery with some intention on tasting good are a whole other story. Despite the legacy of “donut killer” I left behind at CLIF, it was never my intention to remove donuts from the breakfast menus for the weekly (formerly known as “Bagels and Donuts” meetings). I SAID …

Basic Framework for Fueling Activity

I love the simple nutrition framework of eating before, during, and after activity is one tool in the toolbox for optimizing the body for more fun in whatever athletic adventure awaits! Whether hiking, climbing, running, sking or anything in between considering what to eat before, during, and after can mean more energy to do the “thing” and better recovery to do the thing again! Looking at the table you will see that there are ranges. These ranges help people to adapt what to eat based on moving time. Going out for a sixty-minute bike ride won’t require much eating during the activity because the body has enough stored on board. It does, however, require consideration of eating a meal about three to four hours before to ensure energy storage is topped off and recovery is primed. When returning from an hour of activity, a small snack will suffice. Planning on being out there for more than one hour requires some carbohydrates during a ride to stay fueled and prime the pump for utilizing fat as …

Nutrition Daze and Concussion Recovery

Literally it has been a few months since my last post.  Recovery from a concussion incurred when walking my dog has set me back months on 1) Resigning my from eighteen year post as the lead nutrition strategist for Clif Bar & Company 2) Launching my own nutrition strategy company, and  3) Training for mountain adventures! No matter how a head injury is obtained, it is no joke. After a febal attempt at slowing down for two weeks and coming back to full speed the third week post concussion, I set myself back further. Big plans and big ambition have had me in over drive for the last year. When my doctor said take two days off and take it easy for a few weeks, she had no idea how ampt up my baseline was. Leaving one of the best offices and companies to start my own business from the mountain town of Truckee has been a year in the making and had me in a whirlwind of driving, texting (not while driving, thank you!), …

Practice Discipline in these Three Areas to Support Athletic Performance

Speaking on a panel at the Spartan World Championships in Squaw Valley, California may be one of the most interesting angles I have come at nutrition from yet. The panel topic is discipline. Learning to eat in a way that supports what you set out to achieve – in this case completing thirty plus obstacles, over thirteen or more miles while running up and down mountain peaks at elevation – requires discipline to change from eating behaviors that do not support what you hope to achieve. For many non-competitive athletes who want to improve and achieve in sport as a hobby they first have to shift in mindset from exercising to burn calories to then be rewarded with food  to that of an athlete who exercises to train and who eats to train for the reward of achieving something more than the calorie credit to eat lots of pizza after a race. How does someone begin to change the mindset? Well, in my experience as an athlete and working with the pros I have found applying discipline  …

Third in a Four Part Series on Getting High: Nutrition Considerations at Altitude

Planning to spend fourteen to twenty one days at altitude before competing is not directly a nutrition consideration. It is however, worth mentioning because adjustment time can indirectly impact nutrition by altering appetite and, how the body feels overall. Unfortunately, before some of my biggest mountain races I haven’t had the extra time to hang out high up. So I searched for clean short cuts of which I learned, are limited. In short,  there are not short cuts for adapting your body at altitude. It takes the time it takes. How much time it takes specifically will vary because, as with nutrition, how the body responds is individualized.  Everything I have read says get to your altitude twenty-one days ahead of your race. With work, kids, and other obligations it just isn’t realistic to get that kind of time at elevation (unless I move there!).  So here are some the strategies that helped when time at elevation is limited: Go up the night before if you can’t do two-three weeks! So save the PTO and …

Second of Four Part Series on Getting High: Nutrition Considerations at Altitude

While I am a back at sea level for the moment, my attitude remains elevated post adventures above tree line.  My Broken Arrow Sky Race  experience has my giddy weeks later. The run started off slow for me as one can expect going up a mountain at elevation. The air, however, was crisp, sky clear, and snow (in June) slushy for bombing down the mountain without wiping out on jagged rocks! Toeing the starting-line a running friend asked me for last minute nutrition advice for running at elevation. Scanning my mind for tidbits that would be useful to her on short notice, I opted for this piece of intel:   Eat early and often! Experience (aka fails) has confirmed for me that the body indeed runs at a higher intensity at altitude (as if there is room to doubt) due to the stress of less oxygen. This stress results in an increase basal metabolic rate, respiration, and heart rate creating increase demand for energy (food with carbohydrate calories). The trick is to remain conscious of …