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Fuel your body to recover faster and prevent unwanted weight gain while maintaining muscle mass!

Did you know >3.5 million injuries occur each year in teenagers 14 and under? Two million of those sport injuries occur in just high school aged kids each year. This results in ~500,000 doctor visits! Although there’s not a ton of data on sport injuries in adults, a recent study revealed 642 of 3,498 adults reported a sport injury in the past year. If we’re considering non sport-related injuries, the number is even higher. If you’re reading this, you probably have a sport injury and this isn’t new news.

We won’t go much into concussions in this blog post. If you want more information on that you can check out my blog, “Concussions and Athletes.” However, here are some quick stats on concussions:

  • >3 million concussions/year from all sports
    • 33% occur during practice
    • 21% of TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) from sports in athletes <18 y.o.

According to CDC, 50% of all injuries are preventable and one of those ways is through proper sports nutrition!

Physiology of an Injury

There are essentially 3 phases of an injury. Let’s explore what happens in each:

  1. Inflammation- The body’s natural response that occurs immediately following tissue damage. Main function is to defend the body against harmful substances, dispose of dead or dying tissue and to promote the renewal of normal tissue.
  2. Vasodialation- Body releases chemicals to cause vasodilation (widening of capillaries) and increase permeability. These also act as chemical messengers for natural defense. As a result, this can increase pain sensitivity.
  3. Chemotaxis– The migration of white blood cells to damaged area
    1. Neutrophils are first at the site to neutralize harmful bacteria
    2. Macrophages engulf bacteria and dead cells so new cells can grow at the site 72 hours to several weeks following injury

Now, there’s a little bit of a debate on whether or not inflammation is good or bad. I won’t get into the nitty gritty details of that. However, as a general rule, a little inflammation is ok- like after a workout. Your body can actually adapt to this and it can help with muscle protein synthesis, given that you are eating. A lot of inflammation and prolonged inflammation is not so good. This is what you get after an injury.

Why is injury inflammation bad and workout inflammation ok? In short, prolonged inflammation and pain can lead to atrophy of the muscle. That means muscle loss. So basically after an injury, you’re returning weaker than you were previously. That’s not good for performance!

Goals of Nutrition for Sport Injuries

There are several goals to focus on when it comes to nutrition for sport injuries:

  1. Support muscle growth
  2. Preserve muscle mass
  3. Prevent body fat gain
  4. Maintain energy levels
  5. Reduce inflammation

So how do we accomplish all of these goals? A good sports nutrition plan! What you need to eat actually depends on what type of injury you experienced. However, a quality overall diet is of the utmost importance. If you are not stocking up on healthy, nutrient dense foods throughout the day, then your ability to recover will be much harder. I suggest checking out my new online course, Recharge Your Health! It will teach you everything you need to know about fueling your body properly for your activity level.

Soft Tissue Injury

Soft tissues include muscles, tendons and ligaments. Tendons and ligaments provide structural stability to joints and serve as the connections between muscles, cartilage and bones. Injuries can be acute (trauma) or chronic (overuse). Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Consume adequate protein- Aim for 1-1.2 g per kg of body weight each day (to convert lbs to kg, simply divide your weight in lbs by 2.2)
  2. Modify intake of calories– Reduce by 300-500 calories per day if you will be significantly less active/sedentary. Under eating is just as bad as over eating so consulting a sports dietitian to estimate your needs is best.
  3. Hydrate- Drink at least ½ body weight in ounces water/day
  4. Nitric oxide- Helps stimulate collagen synthesis to speed healing and strengthen damaged tissue. Beet juice or Beet Elite are both good options for nitric oxide.
  5. Vitamin C & gelatin– Promotes greater collagen production following tissue injury. Mixing gelatin powder in a vitamin c rich drink (orange juice) 60 min prior to activity helps to prevent injuries by helping to rebuild the tendons/ligaments. Aim for .05 g/kg body weight gelatin mixed with 5 mg/kg body weight vitamin c. You can use a gelatin powder or bone broth.
  6. Leucine- An amino acid that stimulates muscle protein synthesis and reduces breakdown after exercise-induced stress. Leucine combined with other amino acids is better than alone (think whey protein or dairy). Aim for 2-3g/serving
Bone or Joint Injury

Bone and joint injuries can be acute (trauma) or chronic (stress fracture). Here’s what to include in your diet:

  1. Glucosamine- An amino sugar that plays a key role in growth and repair of connective tissue such as cartilage in joints.
  2. Chondroitin- A component of cartilage that aids in cartilage synthesis by providing material for formation of new tissue and absorbing fluid into connective tissue. You can’t get glucosamine and chondroitin from food sources (unless you like eating shrimp shells!), so a supplement is necessary here. I recommend and personally use Thorne supplements, which can be purchased through this link.
  3. Calcium- Provides strength and structure to bones. Aim for 1500-2000 mg/day. Food sources include dairy (including alternative milks), leafy greens, broccoli and fish with bones. A supplement may be needed here if you’re not much of a milk drinker. Again, I recommend Thorne supplements since they’re NSF certified to contain what they say, nothing more and nothing less.
  4. Vitamin D- Needed for calcium absorption and bone turnover. Vitamin D blood levels >40 ng/mL is best to prevent stress fractures. It is best to get vitamin D from sun, egg yolks, sockeye salmon, shiitake mushrooms over supplements. Supplement only if blood levels are low enough, which will require a lab test.
  5. Vitamin K and magnesium- Both of these may inhibit bone healing if intake is below DRI (daily recommended value). A lab test is also encouraged to see where you stand. If intake is at or above DRI, no supplements are needed. Food sources: leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains.
Does this only apply to sports injuries?

In short, no. An injury is an injury no matter what the cause is. Many times we injure ourselves doing everyday tasks. Like that time I sprained my ankle 5 days before my half marathon while walking down the stairs reading a text message. That was a bad idea! If you’re not sure how all of this applies to you or how to restructure your diet while recovering from an injury or surgery, let’s talk! Click to set up a free no obligation consultation to learn how I can help you.

The post Nutrition for Sport Injury Recovery appeared first on Elite Nutrition and Performance.

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Realizing I had a problem, I wasn’t ready to change. “No food tasted as good as being skinny felt.”

Last blog I posted about the background history of my personal struggle with an eating disorder. Today I want to share with you the downward spiral of my eating disorder. For many of you who have never struggled with this, you may be surprised about some of the things I did or thought. For many of you who have struggled or are struggling with an eating disorder, you’ll totally get it.

If you did not get to read part one of my personal struggle with an eating disorder, click to read it now. So let’s pick the story up where I left off, which is while I was in college. In fact, this is the majority of where my story will be.

Culinary School

I left the story off when I was in my freshman year of college (culinary school) and had just stopped using diet pills. All the weight I had lost came flooding back on, unfortunately. At some point during the semester, I was in one of my cooking labs at school. All the sudden we heard and ambulance pull up and someone said a girl in the next lab fainted. It turns out this girl decided to become a vegetarian but hadn’t done her homework. Instead of eating plant sources of protein, she just cut out protein all together. While everyone else was worried, I thought this was the coolest thing! Nutrition is an exact science; not just eat whatever you want!

We were required to take a nutrition class while at Johnson & Wales, which I absolutely loved. After much thought, I decided that cooking for a career was not what I wanted to do. I loved food and nutrition and especially how it related to supporting an active body. Since culinary school is quite expensive to be unsure, I decided to not continue after my freshman year. After talking to my mom who did some research for me, we realized there’s a profession for me: a registered dietitian (RD)! Honestly, I didn’t know much about what an RD did or the requirements but I said sign me up!

College Transition

Kristen at 155 lbs

University of Maryland offered the accredited dietetics program required to become an RD. So I decided to move home and knock out some prerequisite classes at the local community college. So I packed my bags and moved home for the summer. At this point, I weighed 155 lbs- the most I’ve ever weighed. For someone who is just under 5’4, that weight shows up easily. I didn’t like the extra weight I was toting around but I still didn’t know how to lose it. Diet pills were out of the question.

That summer I picked up a lifeguarding job at a pool that was 30 minutes away from home. I had made a number of friends at the pool and would stay late after work to hang out with them. Instead of going home for dinner, I was skipping dinner to hang out with my new friends. After a couple weeks of starving from lack of dinner, but having fun, I started to lose weight. I thought, “this is awesome, you don’t eat and you lose weight!” So as you can imagine, this is where things spiraled out of control into the depths of an eating disorder.

The Beginning of the Downward Spiral

Over the course of the summer, I started to eat less and less. This was partly in attempt to lose weight but also because I physically couldn’t eat more. I don’t know if my stomach was getting used to less food or what. Sadly, what I can remember is measuring out ½ cup of cereal for breakfast and not being able to finish that. I would feel nauseous so I would chuck the rest (about a ¼ of a ½ cup of cereal). Then I would go to work and hours would go by before I ate again. I’d stop by McDonald’s and get a 2-cheeseburger meal…I know, nothing healthy. I would only eat one burger with a few fries. Again, hours would go by without food. No dinner again because I was hanging out with friends. So I survived off 500 calories a day, if that.

Over the course of 2 months I had lost 30 lbs. I didn’t eat anything healthy. Instead, I ate junk and only a tiny bit. I started to feel out of control, like I couldn’t eat even if I wanted to. People started to comment on how I lost weight and looked great. That just added fuel to the fire. At some point I lost my period, which I didn’t worry about at all. In fact, it was just a disturbance to my life so this was an added benefit! I started to obsessively weigh myself multiple times a day. If I gained even an ounce I would become so depressed that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. How I coped was to take a nap.

Kristen 30 lbs lighter on the right (wearing the same shirt)

Was There Something Wrong With Me?

Supermodel, Kate Moss, once said, “no food tastes as good as being skinny feels.” This stuck with me because this is exactly how I felt. It became my motto. Eventually my family started making comments. My sister would tell me I looked disgusting and deathly. I took this as a compliment! My mom would ask me if I were anorexic, to which I’d say no and leave me alone. Even my uncle would point out how my belt, which was on the smallest hole, was falling off me. I ate it all up and I loved how I looked but hated myself at the same time. Ultimately, my goal was to be super skinny and take up as little space in the world as possible. I actually felt awkward sitting on a couch next to someone, like I was taking up too much space.

One day I had picked up the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) from the library. I got it for a completely unrelated reason to my eating disorder but started to look in that section. After reading the criteria, I realized I had a real problem. I was anorexic! I met the criteria for restricting type, as follows:

  • Refusal to maintain a healthy body weight (I actually was at a healthy body weight but had lost VERY fast and wanted to be skinnier)
  • Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat
  • Disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight
  • Loss of at least 3 menstrual cycles

Although I knew I had a problem, and now a name for the problem, I didn’t know what to do about it. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do anything about it because I still wanted to be skinny.

I Dove Deeper

That fall, I started school at the local community college. I wanted to keep with my lack of dinner as to maintain my weight. So after classes ended (even at 6 pm at night), I’d pick up a coffee for “dinner.” This helped to curb my appetite and prevented me from eating. I started looking at nutrition facts and quickly memorized the nutrition information for everything. Even though I didn’t know the difference between a fat gram and a protein gram, I knew too many calories were bad. So I just counted calories and kept them as low as possible. Although I felt out of control and like a crazy person, I also felt very much in control.

During this time I became more interested in fitness. I picked a front desk position at a gym close by and started to workout more. I became friends with personal trainers and gym rats. As a result, I got deeper and deeper into the myths regarding nutrition and working out. I believed that eating fat and carbs together would make you super fat. For example, bread with peanut butter was off limits! Yes, I was told this and totally believed it.

I started to have “skinny days” and “fat days.” Skinny days were days where I ate “good” in my mind. Fat days were days where I ate “bad” and either ate too much or not the right type of food. As you can imagine, I had to make up for the bad days by restricting even more the next day. I can’t remember what or how much I ate at this point, but I know it wasn’t enough to support how active I was.

At school I signed up for a yoga class, which was an amazing decision! I loved the class and it helped me to feel more calm and centered. We were required to write a personal essay on ourselves every week on how we were doing in life. This was perfect for me because I could let on to my secret (since it controlled every minute of my life) to the teacher, without actually talking about it. I started this pen pal type relationship with the yoga teacher about my eating disorder. It helped me get my thoughts out in a safe environment. I couldn’t put all the pieces of the puzzle together at the time but I knew I felt crazy. She was the first person to know somewhat of what was going on in my life.

Until Next Time

So this blog post has quickly gotten longer than I expected. Apparently, I have more to say than I thought I did J So I will pick this story up again and share with you my lowest moments. If you missed the first part of this story, check out previous post on “My Personal Struggle with an Eating Disorder.” To be the first in the know about my blog posts, subscribe to my blog (to the right)!

If while you are reading this you are starting to realize you might have a problem, don’t wait to get help. That’s what I did and the problem drug on for years- much longer than it should have! I’d love to connect with you and help you get on the path to recovery! Set up a FREE No Obligation Consultation with me to learn how I can help!

The post My Personal Struggle with an Eating Disorder Part 2 appeared first on Elite Nutrition and Performance.

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The early days of how my childhood brewed an eating disorder for my teenage years.

This is my personal story about my struggle with anorexia and disordered eating. It’s a long one so I will break it up into a couple blog posts. I have never written this story down on paper (only pieces of it); I’m not sure why. People used to tell me I should write a book but I guess I never got around to it. I help people in my practice with eating disorders and disordered eating but I think our own personal story can be a huge help to others who are struggling and those who just don’t know. Today I’m going to share with you the years leading up to my eating disorder. I guess you can say it was the seeds that were planted so long ago.

My Love of Food

My love of food began at an early age. I remember still living in Brooklyn, NY (where I was born and lived till the age of 5), and dipping my finger in a tub of butter and eating it. Eventually I started eating things like cheese melted on a plate, extra buttery homemade graham cracker crust that I would freeze and eat and biting off a stick of butter. I didn’t drink much water, except during sports, and mostly drank sodas. However, I loved all foods, including salads, eggs, vegetables, cheese and so on. My parents used to tell me, “this is going to catch up to you one day!” Of course I didn’t believe them. They also gave me the nickname cholesterol queen.

Growing up, I played lots of sports- everything from basketball, to soccer, to dance, to competitive swimming. I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full. I ate what I wanted and didn’t feel bad about it. People used to call me bottomless pit for how much I ate and I got poked at for how much and often I was eating. However, it didn’t make me fat. My body knew I needed that food and knew what to do with it. I was always more muscular than my friends, which I’m sure helped me in playing sports. It never bothered me until I reached middle school.

The start of the fall

In middle school is when I started swim team during the summer thanks to some friends I had made at school. I really loved swimming and felt like it was “my sport.” My best friend at the time was very petite and skinny and I felt somewhat huge in comparison to her. At the same time, my mom and older sister were exploring every diet they could get their hands on. This likely started before this time but this is when it seemed to affect me the most. They went to Weight Watchers (WW) together, ate WW meals and desserts, and I can still remember my mom standing by the sink chugging her 64 oz of water she had to drink. Then it was on to the cabbage soup diet and so on and so forth.

One day I tried to eat one of my mom’s WW frozen desserts because I liked it and was told, “you don’t need to eat those.” To which I replied, “I’m just trying to be proactive.” I also have memories of my dad telling me I couldn’t get a Lunchable from a convenience store while on our road trip because they were unhealthy and would make me fat. I have vague memories of both my parents making comments here and there about this food being “bad” and “don’t eat that, it’ll make you fat.” I’m probably making my parents out to be the food police but they really weren’t. I believe they had my best interest at heart. However, the teenage me took all these remarks and internalized them and eventually came back to haunt me. This is one reason it is so important to be positive with your kids and encourage them to focus on foods that will fuel their body rather than what they shouldn’t eat. Read more about that in my blog post, “The Importance of Being a Positive Role Model”

Middle and High School

At some point in middle school I started to think I was fat, despite having defined abs. I made a comment to my parents one night that I thought my calves were too big. They were really just muscular. My parents looked perplexed. I don’t know if I actually thought they were too big but I thought it was normal to point out things you didn’t like about your body. I picked this up from my mom, sadly.For the next several years, till senior year in high school, I swam 2 hours 5-6 days a week on a competitive swim team. As far as my feelings about myself during this time, it was really a blur. I can remember feeling starving after swim practice and eating until I felt content. Still, I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full.

I ended my swimming “career” my senior year of high school because I felt like swimming was interfering with my ability to spend time with my boyfriend. I went from swimming 2 hours 5-6 days a week to just going to the gym with my mom here and there. That summer after senior year, I was at a party. A guy I knew from high school made a comment, which eventually made it to me, saying I was really packing on the pounds. I felt horrible.

College

In the fall of 2002, I enrolled in culinary school. I went to Johnson & Wales University for my freshman year of college to study culinary arts. I loved to cook and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life so this seemed like the most logical path.

While in culinary school, I was in a cooking lab 7 hours a day. We were cooking gourmet meals that would eventually become our lunch or dinner. I was still eating as if I was swimming 2 hours a day and lived up to my nicknames. As you can imagine, the food combined with lack of exercise really started to pack on the pounds. Although I don’t know how much I gained, I would imagine at least 30 lbs. Unhappy with my looks was an understatement but I had no idea how to lose weight…none. My boyfriend at the time told me to just eat salads so I started ordering the most loaded up salads you could find. That didn’t work.

When Xenadrine, a diet pill, came out I thought I’d give them a try, starting with half a dose.  It felt like I was going crazy because I was jittery all of the time. I took the pills for probably a couple weeks before people started commenting how skinny I was. During that time I likely lost about 15 lbs or more. I felt kind of strange that I looked so different and my clothes were about falling off of me but I was ok with it.

It wasn’t long after that I started to read online that people were having heart attacks, strokes and dying. All because of the main ingredient in these diet pills- Ephedra. I quickly threw the pills out and the weight came flooding back on almost as quickly and plus some.

Until next time…

Next week I’ll pick this story back up. I’ll share with you how I dove head first into an eating disorder and didn’t even realize it. Stay tuned! In the mean time, if you think you’re struggling with a poor relationship with food, check out my blog article to find out.

Do you know you struggle with disordered eating, a poor relationship with food or a full blown eating disorder and need help? Set up a FREE No Obligation Consultation with me to start getting help now!

The post My personal struggle with an Eating Disorder appeared first on Elite Nutrition and Performance.

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Spoiler: The best diet is not what you think!

If you’re an athlete or an active person, losing weight may not be as easy as one might think. You have to balance eating for energy with eating to elicit a weight loss. But I’ll be honest…I’m tired! I’m tired of hearing about the latest and greatest diet that comes out every month that we all know won’t deliver. Sure, it might for the first week or two but once you start to feel sluggish and your performance suffers, then forget it! Next, the weight loss comes flooding back on…not cool!

As a dietitian, it’s exhausting to see a new diet come out every month that is only going to ruin metabolisms, physical & mental health and performance. I’m sick of going on Pinterest to look for a recipe to make for dinner and I’m bombarded with strictly Keto/Whole 30/Paleo recipes. So what will I be cooking? Air?! Chances are if you’re still reading this, you probably agree with me! So what IS the best diet for an athlete or active individual? Well let’s first look at some of the popular diets first:

Keto

Keto is basically no carbs (<20-50g/day), very high fat and moderate protein. Both carbs and fat are energy sources so you’re just swapping one for the other. Yes, your body has more fat stores than it does carb stores, but the research shows that carbs are still king when it comes to athlete nutrition. Carbs help build muscle, maintain muscle, aid in recovery from workouts and fuel your brain. Starting Keto generally causes the “Keto Flu” which is exactly what it sounds like. You’re depriving your body’s primary fuel source so it’s going to feel like death. Most people wind up overeating on protein, which leads to fat gain. It can also be dangerous if your micronutrient, electrolyte and water intake isn’t balanced correctly; especially if you have a brain disorder. Want to get off Keto because you’re tired of not eating carbs? Think again! I’ve seen clients gain 10 lbs in a week trying to get off Keto because it’s a lifestyle!

Intermittent Fasting

IF is basically just calorie restriction. Research suggests that cutting back on what you’re eating slightly gives you the same weight loss benefit. However, the problem with IF is that most people don’t do it right. It all depends on how much weight you have to lose and your activity level. The longer and more frequent your fasts are= sluggishness, exhaustion, poor performance in sport and daily life. Another big problem is a lot of people that I’ve worked with trying to get off IF have wound up eating very low calories, they have no appetite and as a result they’re stuck on the IF hamster wheel. Meaning, they can’t increase their intake without unwanted weight gain. This means, a metabolism that has been damaged!

 Paleo

Paleo does not allow grains but it does allow other sources of carbs like fruits, starchy vegetables (depending on who you ask). No legumes/lentils, dairy, refined sugars, salt (depending on who you ask), artificial sweeteners and processed foods. You can eat grass fed meats, fish, shellfish, eggs, nuts & seeds, healthy fats, fruits and veggies. The idea is to eat like our caveman ancestors ate- which is still out for debate. Paleo is probably the least intrusive of the diets listed here and I do believe has a good premise behind it. However, it’s too restrictive. Limiting processed foods? Sure! Limiting artificial sweeteners? Sure! Limiting refined sugars? Again, sure! But to never eat these foods?? Come on! There’s something to be said for eating for enjoyment every once in a while. Mental health is very much part of the wheel of health, not just physical health. No salt? Good luck on preventing muscle cramps! No grains, legumes, dairy? Now make those muscle cramps double worse! Not to mention, you’ll be struggling to get through some grueling workouts and how you train is how you’ll perform.

Whole 30

Whole 30 was not developed to be a weight loss diet but rather a means to “reset” your poor eating to healthier eating. However, people use it as a 30 day weight loss “cleanse”, go back to their poor eating habits and when they need to lose the weight again, they jump back on the Whole 30 bandwagon. Not ok! It’s incredibly unhealthy to yo-yo back and forth with weight loss. This actually causes more health conditions and a higher mortality rate than being overweight! The other problem with Whole 30 is it does not allow grains, which provide carbs. Carbs= energy and fuel to your working muscles and brain. You can do the math on what will happen without this important fuel source.

Of course there are many more diets in circulation but these are the most popular diets for right now. So you may be saying, “What can I eat? I’m so confused! What is the best diet for athletes?” Read on to find out!

So What Is The Best Diet for Athletes and An Active Lifestyle?? 

The best diet for athletes and active individuals is one where you fuel your body and give it what it needs. Yes, you heard that correctly! If you focus on giving your body what it needs, then it will do amazing things with that fuel like turn it into power producing muscle! This means

  • listening to and obeying your physical hunger and fullness cues- even if you feel like you shouldn’t be hungry (check out the hunger fullness scale below!)
  • eating balanced meals and snacks throughout the day- check out my blog on this!!
  • focusing on carbs and a small amount of protein before and after workouts/trainings
  • hydrating with water throughout the day and fluids with electrolytes during workouts- check out my blog on hydration!
  • obeying cravings and not restricting your food intake (because that will only lead to stronger cravings and going overboard later)
  • savoring and enjoying your food- this means paying attention to what you’re eating and not eating while looking at your phone
  • not feeling guilty if you ate too much or something that contained carbs (gasp!!)
  • not labeling foods as good or bad

What I’m describing here is a mixture of fueling your body for life and sport, eating for health and intuitive or mindful eating. This is something I’m very passionate about because of my own personal experiences and professional experience with working with hundreds of clients. When we follow what our body is telling us to do, it just works! That’s because our body knows what it needs better than we do. I highly suggest assessing your relationship with food before moving forward. You can do that by checking out my blog on assessing your relationship with food.

Assessing Your Hunger/Fullness

Check out the scale to the left. Where are you before you start eating and when you finish? This can really be translated to a 1-10 scale. Start eating when you’re in the hungry phase and depending on your goals you should stop eating when you’re in the high neutral to satisfied stage. Combine this with balancing your plate for your activity (more on that here) for the best diet for an athlete!

Are you sick of all the fad diets?

Ready to get healthy and learn how to fuel your body properly? Let’s Recharge Your Health! Recharge Your Health is a revolutionary 12 week program where you will learn the truth about what YOU should be eating for YOUR body and YOUR goals! No fads here; only science based information you can easily put into practice. You’ll learn everything you need to:

  • look and feel better
  • fuel your body for optimal physical and mental health
  • have energy to make it throughout the work day AND workouts
  • not be confused on what to eat, when and how

More details will be released on this program as we get closer to it’s release date in mid March, 2019. To get the latest info on this program, sign up for my newsletter (to the right) or sign up for a FREE No Obligation Consultation to find out if it’s a good fit for you!

The post Best Weight Loss Diet For Athletes An Active Lifestyle appeared first on Elite Nutrition and Performance.

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Learn to pick the right cereals to give you the proper nutrients and energy you need as an athlete.

Mornings are hard, especially when you’re not a morning person. Getting in a nutritious breakfast is even harder when you’re rushing around. But we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day so what is one to do?

Cereal can be a quick and healthy option and can deliver the proper nutrients and energy that an athlete’s body demands. However, you just have to pick the right one. I’m going to share with you the Sports Dietitian’s top cereal picks for athletes.

What do you want in a cereal for an athlete? 

When we’re analyzing cereals for athletes there’s a couple things to keep in mind:

  • It’s made with whole grains (must be first ingredient and contain >3g fiber)
  • Low in refined sugars (<10g)
  • Contains protein (>5g)
  • Contains healthy fats

Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of energy. However, if you’re only eating carbs, your meal is going to be long gone by the time your next meal or snack rolls around. What’s the end result? Hunger, fatigue and sluggishness are what are in store. So you’ll need to combine your nutrients- combine fiber rich whole grains with slow digesting healthy fats and protein. This will help to time release the energy from your food so you stay energized and satisfied. Bonus points if it’s non-GMO!

Top 7 best cereals for athletes: 
  1. Kashi Go Lean- contains a whopping 12 g protein and 13 g fiber! First ingredient is “7 whole grain honey puff cereal”
  2. Post Great Grains Cereals- one of my favorite tasting cereals because it has a number of “goodies” like dried fruits and nuts! There are a number of flavors from Banana Nut Crunch to Crunchy Pecan (personal fav). These contain >5g fiber, only 8 g sugar and >5 g protein.
  3. Granola- there are hundreds of granola brands but my personal favorites are Nature’s Path Pumpkin Seed & Flax Granola or Coconut Chia Granola (non-GMO, organic, 6 g protein, 5 g fiber, 10 g healthy fat, 10 g sugar and wheat free!). I also like Bear Naked Granola and if you want to get really crazy I have my own granola I like to make, Olive Oil Granola! It’s super easy and costs way less than buying a box of pre-made granola.
  4. Overnight oats- not an oatmeal fan? That’s ok, this is basically like cold cereal and you can customize it to whatever your taste buds fancy. Just search for overnight oats on Pinterest and you have a ton of options! Made with whole grain oats that are chock full of filling fiber and protein. Add some chia seeds, shredded coconut, blueberries and milk, stick in the fridge overnight and now you have an awesome, quick cereal!
  5. Muesli- Muesli is basically like overnight oats but done for you in terms of all the extras like nuts and fruit. You can either soak overnight just like overnight oats or add milk and eat as is! You can also heat up in the microwave if you prefer it warm. A great brand is Bob’s Red Mill.
  6. Raisin Bran- Raisin Bran is very high in iron (25% Daily Value), which is something athletes sweat out and can easily be deficient in. It only has 9 g added sugars, contains 5 g protein and a whopping 7 g fiber! Kellogg’s even has an Omega 3 version that contains 250 mg Omega 3’s from flaxseeds; a natural anti-inflammatory.
  7. Kashi Whole Wheat Biscuits, Organic Island Vanilla- non-GMO verified and organic! Contains a filling 6 g fiber and 6 g protein plus it has a delicious vanilla flavor that won’t make you miss the frosting!

No matter if you train in the morning or afternoon, cereal makes a great pre-workout snack as well as breakfast. And yes, even if you’re training early in the morning you still need a pre-workout snack. Just grabbing a handful of dry cereal will do the trick! Check out “Do I Really Need A Pre-Workout Snack” to find out more about this crucial piece of a good sports nutrition plan.

The post 7 Best Cereals for Athletes On Busy Mornings appeared first on Elite Nutrition and Performance.

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This recipe is almost like an “everything but the kitchen sink” type recipe but has the added benefit of fitting into a healthy Mediterranean Diet. You can easily throw everything in your crockpot in the morning before leaving for work so you can walk into a wonderful smelling house and have dinner waiting for you! Who doesn’t love that?! You can also set this to cook at night so you have a healthy lunch to bring with you to work.

The Mediterranean Diet…

is not as much of a diet as it is a lifestyle. It consists primarily of plants, healthy fats like olive oil, poultry, fish, beans and grains. Following the Mediterranean Diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. That’s because it’s high in antioxidants and low in artery-clogging saturated fats.

As an added bonus, this recipe is low in FODMAPS! FODMAPS are foods that can trigger IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) symptoms, causing unwanted gas, bloating, pain, etc. Like many, I have IBS and cannot eat garlic and onions, except green onions. Therefore, I leave the garlic whole in this recipe so I can easily remove them before eating. That way I get the flavor without the pain!

Ingredients:

1 c. sliced celery

1 c. sliced carrots

3 c. shredded kale (no thick stems)

1 c. sliced green onions

5 cloves garlic, whole

4 c. low-sodium chicken broth

4 c. water

2 lbs chicken breast

6 oz crumbled feta or shaved parmesan

1 c. dry brown rice

15 oz can chickpeas

15 oz can diced tomatoes

2 T. dried oregano

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Directions:

Put all ingredients except kale and cheese in a slow cooker. Stir all ingredients together. Set to low and cook for 10 hours or 4 hours on high. When stew is done, add a handful of kale to your bowl, spoon stew over top and sprinkle with feta/parmesan cheese. The kale will get overcooked if left in the slow cooker the whole time.

It’s that easy! The best part is since this is a one-pot dish, there’s only one pot to clean!! Plus it makes a nice warm and cozy lunch that’ll keep you full for hours. For another easy Mediterranean style lunch or dinner idea, check out my Salmon and Quinoa Salad.

Makes 10 servings each: 

387 calories, 10 g fat, 28 g carbs, 38 g protein

Need more easy and healthy recipes like this one? Download my Healthy Living Cookbook! Chock full of dietitian-approved recipes that the whole family will love.

The post Mediterranean Diet Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Stew appeared first on Elite Nutrition and Performance.

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Are you a parent of a teenage athlete who wants your child to become faster and stronger but not at the expense of their health? Sports nutrition supplements are usually the first go-to to reach these goals.

There are key factors you should be looking at when it comes to sports nutrition supplements and I’m going to share them with you. Along with what’s proven safe and effective. So read on!

What is a supplement?

A lot of people think of supplements as only pills and that is true. However, supplements reach beyond just vitamins and minerals. The FDA defines dietary supplements as, “Products taken by mouth that contain a “dietary ingredient.” Dietary ingredients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs or botanicals, as well as other substances that can be used to supplement the diet.” These include:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Probiotics
  • Herbs and botanicals
  • Enzymes
  • Protein powders and amino acids
  • Pre-workouts
  • Recovery drinks

Does your teenage athlete take any of these supplements? I’d be willing to bet at least one, if not more. Unfortunately, consumers generally believe the FDA tightly regulates supplements. Unfortunately, they don’t. It’s not until enough adverse effects have been reported that they look into them.

Safety- What is Not Safe?

First, let’s talk about safety. Your teenage athlete is still growing and will be for many years so making sure that their supplement is not contaminated is of the utmost importance!

Here are some quick stats:
  1. The supplement industry has grown from $4 billion to $38 billion annually from 1994 to 2016
  2. Ingredients (not listed on label) have been identified in supplements that cause liver damage, cardiac arrest and death
  3. In 2007, 25% of 52 supplements studied contained steroids
  4. In 2009 >70 weight loss supplements contained prescription drugs
Avoid supplements that have THIS on the label:
  • Promise unrealistic results
  • Contain red flag words like hardcore and extreme
  • Contain a “proprietary blend” (this means it could contain anything that might work and in any amount, good or bad)
  • Warning labels
  • The top 10 ingredients to avoid
    1. Yohimbine (a.k.a. erex, testomar, yocon, yohimar, yohimbe)
    2. Phenethylamines (a.k.a. PEA, B-phenylethylamine, N-methylphenylethylamine)
    3. Geranium (a.k.a. DMAA)
    4. Any ingredient containing “andro”
    5. Bitter orange (a.k.a. biarade, seville, sour orange, citrus aurantium)
    6. Germander
    7. Guarana
    8. Yerba mate extract
    9. Kratom
    10. Bael tree fruit (a.k.a. N-[2-hydroxy-2(4-methoxyphenyl)ethyl]-3-phenyl-2-propenamide)
Safety- What is Safe?

So by now you may be thinking, “oh my gosh, is any supplement safe for my teenage athlete?!” The answer is yes, but you need to do some homework because there are A LOT of supplements out there!.

In 2009 there were over 55,000 dietary supplements with new ones coming out each year.

 

Here’s what you need to look for:
  • Where is the company located and supplements produced. Inside the US is better (more than half are outside the US).
  • Does the company follow regulatory compliance and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)? Check this list to find which companies are.
  • If the supplement has the NSF certification label.
  • If the supplement NSF for Sport Certified– it will have a different label. The differencebetween the last one and this one is that they will pass a screening for athletic banned substances. This is only if the athlete is playing at the collegiate level or above.
  • Check out ConsumerLab.org, an independent testing company, to see if your teen’s supplement contains what it says it does.
Does it Work?

Unfortunately, there are only a handful of supplements that actually work. Below is a good list that is ok for use in teenage athletes. Keep in mind the individual needs your teenage athlete will vary. Consulting with a doctor and/or sports dietitian are key!

  • Beet Elite
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids
  • Multivitamin and mineral supplements
  • Fish Oil/Omega 3
  • Probiotics
  • Protein supplements- protein supplements are safe and can be an effective source of protein for increasing muscle size and strength with a balanced diet. Whey protein is the most effective. However, food should always be considered first over supplements. Limit protein intake to 30 grams per time taken. A lot of people take protein shakes when they don’t need them. I suggest reading my blog article, Do I Need a Protein Shake Following a Workout?
  • Vitamin D

 

**I know someone will ask so I will stick this in here. I do not recommend creatine supplements to teenagers because it can place too much stress on the heart. Check your teenage athletes supplements to make sure it does not contain creatine.

What Brands are Good?

There are tons of brands on the market and lots of them make good products. However, what I recommend to my clients and personally use are Thorne products. They follow GMPs, are NSF certified, have NSF certified supplements, have lots of research to back them up and are regularly tested. Thorne makes a wide variety of supplements from multivitamins to protein powders. Check out their selection and order online!

Want more information on supplements, what’s good for what and who should take them? Download my e-book, The Comprehensive Guide to Sports Supplements!

The post Sports Nutrition Supplements for Teenage Athletes: What’s Safe and Effective? appeared first on Elite Nutrition and Performance.

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