Monday, December 29, 2014

Fad Diets: What you should know before you proceed

Today's blog article is a guest blog written by Eve Pearson MBS, RDN, CSSD, LDN. She is a sports dietitian in Texas who serves the Dallas, Fort Worth, Keller and Austin areas. Learn more about her and her services at What a great article to read this week when so many of you are creating your New Year's Resolutions - thanks Eve!

Be Extraordinary,



 “I have to have cheese, I don’t care what the diet says!”
This is what I heard someone say at the Whole Foods salad bar the other day.  I think it’s unfortunate #1 – that people feel like they have to cut things out completely and be on a diet period and #2 – this is the mentality that most people have when entering a diet.  Most of the time, I find many people are not 100% committed going into a diet, which is why they aren’t very successful.  If they did happen to lose weight on the diet, it’s likely to come back. Not surprising since most diets don’t include enough calories to withstand over longer periods of time.

Fad diets are easy.  There are rules, dos and don’ts, what you can’t eat and drink.  They tell us to count points, we count points.  They send us food, we eat it.  They allow you to be on autopilot after you learn the basic ins and outs of the diet.

I’m not saying I’m a proponent of many diets out there but next time you pick up a diet book, read online or hear from your best friend the latest fad, go into it with this mentality:

Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday sweets that work to your nutrition and athletic advantage

Who says that desserts can’t be good for you? The trick is to  make desserts that actually provide some nutritional benefit other than being low in calories, fat or sugar. Here are some sweet ideas that can be brought to any holiday gathering while also providing some performance-enhancing benefits!

*Disclaimer: While healthy, these treats should still be consumed in moderation

With the only ingredients being tofu, peanut butter, and confectioners sugar it doesn’t seem like there’s much too it. However, it provides 10g of protein from the tofu and peanut butter, only 17g of carbohydrate, and 13g of the healthy fat.

This recipe combines several ingredients that athletes commonly turn to for proper fueling. It gets its creaminess from avocados, which contain omega 3 fatty acids, shown to have antioxidant properties and decrease inflammation. The cinnamon and the dark cocoa are not only the flavor enhancers, but are sources of antioxidants that can be beneficial for recovery. Bananas are another main ingredient and also an athlete staple when it comes to getting a good source carbs and fiber.

The rest of the ingredients provide great protein: egg white, Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and whey protein powder. The dessert alone provides 24g of protein and 8g of fat, only 1g being saturated.

*Leave out the protein powder unless this is your main/only source of protein for the meal or snack. Remember, 25-30g of protein is the max you want at one sitting.

Crunchiness is not the only thing that sets this recipe apart from the others. While it contains the typical “healthy dessert ingredients” (peanut butter, rolled oats, whole wheat flour, dark chocolate, cinnamon, etc.) offering the usual benefits of antioxidants, fiber, and protein, this recipe also has wheat germ and chia seeds. Wheat germ contains many B vitamins, necessary for metabolism, and vitamin E another essential nutrient with many uses in the body. Chia seeds are another nutrient dense food, known namely for it’s omega 3 fatty acids. These more unique ingredients make this dessert a great treat option!

This recipe is fast, easy and doesn’t require many ingredients. The gist of it is a piece of fruit covered with granola, cinnamon, and dried cranberries all with their own positive qualities including 4g of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Not to mention that pears are in season and can make a beautiful holiday dessert.

*Try baking them in the oven 

Dark Chocolate Covered Berries
Melt dark chocolate and then dip, coat, or cover berries with it. I recommend berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and even pomegranate seeds. These berries are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory power...not to mention the extra antioxidants from the dark chocolate.

 .....Not a bad way to indulge in holiday treats while also providing beneficial nutrients to the body and promoting your physical activity!
Be Extraordinary,

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Start your winter fueling with performance-enhancing soups!

Now that you know all the nutritional benefits of soup for athletes (see last week's blog if you missed it), here are some recipes to try for winter fueling!

Vegetarian Chili

2 Tbsp olive oil
½ onion diced
½ green pepper diced
4 cloves
5 Tbsp Chili powder
3 Tbsp cumin
Diced tomatoes (24 oz can) not drained
3 cans of various beans drained (black, Kidney, garbanzo, etc)
2 cups of broth (any kind) *may add more or less depending on thickness preference
2 small zucchini or ½ medium butternut squash diced

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Why you should eat soup as a post-workout snack or meal

As the temperature outside continues to drop, our typical post exercise snacks and meals of smoothies, cold shakes, and salads tend to become less appetizing. Soups can be a great way for athletes of all types to meet many of their nutritional needs while also satisfying the craving for warmer foods. 

Benefits of soup for Athletes:
-Vegetables: Soups are a great way to load up on veggies and work to meet your daily recommendations. Whether you make your own soup or buy it pre-made, “beefing” it up with vegetables is always an option. Aside from the obvious benefits of vitamins and minerals necessary for great health and physical performance, most vegetables tend to be a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which are essential for keeping your digestive system in top shape. As many athletes know, this is of the utmost importance. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Surviving the Holidays When You Are an Athlete

Holidays are a wonderful opportunity to see family and friends that you might not otherwise see during the year. But what is a holiday without rich and tantalizing foods? While it is important to enjoy the holiday season and its delicacies, it is essential that you make smart food choices as an athlete. It is very easy to lose focus and suddenly find your weight up and your performance compromised. To arrive into the New Year with only positive memories of the holiday season, here are a few nutrition tips and tricks to guide you:
1.      Remember - calories in vs. calories out: Unwanted weight gain is the result of eating beyond your body’s needs.  Keep this in mind over the holidays. A great practice is to be sure to exercise on days you know will be full of eating (like Christmas). Begin the day with a great workout to kick-start your metabolism and set the pace for continued healthy choices into the evening.