Fuel Your Fire with Carbo Loading

photo 1Okay, peeps.

Ya’ll love yo’ carb loading. I get it. Just because we dished that carb loading may not be beneficial for women; doesn’t mean I expect you to not do it. I totally get it. I carb load because I’ve been doing it the last fourteen years I have been running- and running is a total mental sport. I’m going to stick to my pre-race routine and do what has helped me reach for PRs in the past, especially since the research doesn’t suggest carb loading will hurt performance, just that it may not be beneficial.

(Although all that extra sugar for no reason does make me a cringe a bit, but, alas, the superstitious athlete “self” trumps the nutrition nerd “self” on race day)

Let’s talk about all about dat science and carb loading.

Carbohydrate loading works well for athletes (literature suggests that, more specifically, it works well for MALE athletes) who are engaging in 90+ minutes of activity or less than 90 minutes of intensity but at a hard or intermittent sprint pace.

To figure out the right amount of starch to FUEL YO’ FIRE, ya gotta know your weight in kilograms. I know, I know. I like doing math as much as you like learning that chocolate cake isn’t healthy for you, but I promise this is easy math. Take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2… voila! You now know your weight in kilograms.

Glance at this schematic, and figure out if carb loading is right for you.

carb load schematic


Okay. So now ya’ gotta plan. What do you use for carbo’ loading exactly?

Check out this post for real food carb sources

. And then this post for race day fuel sources.

Happy Racing, folks!

Carbo’ Loadin’ for Femmes ( woot woot! #chimarathon #tcsnycmarathon)

Lead everyday with the energy and vivacity of a toddler with real food for fuel!

I’m in surrious tapering mode. If you guys heard the last episode of da world’s greatest podcast, The Running Lifestyle Show, I mentioned I wanted to do a fifteen miler before The Chicago Marathon on October 11. Um, I’m pretty sure I didn’t realize how soon October 11 is approaching when I said that- cause fifteen miles is def not happening.

Right now, I’m doing tons of non-impact movement (think, adaptive motion trainer and spin class), yoga, and some light lifting.  I’m doing some easy runs because the weather is screaming for it (I LOVE FALL RUNNING WEATHER!), but really going easy on the mileage because my left knee is really aching as of late. Bleck.

Ah, but I loveee tapering. Like, its basically about, sleeping, food and music. I love making my marathon playlist! I take it VERY SERIOUSLY. Every song has to elicit joy; yoyful lyrics, an upbeat tempo, a song that has an amazing memory associated with it, songs that I’ve listened to when previously running a personal record, etc.

And food. I love how the weeks leading up to a marathon REALLY clean up my act. I mean, duh, I eat pretty dang cleanly all the time… but weeks pre-marathon I totally forego alcohol, say no to pizza (pizza is my weakness. Totally admit it.) and really AMP up the omega-3 rich fish (holla at da salmon & tuna!!!) as well as nitric oxide dense veggies (like beets, kale, spinach, EnergyBITS).

Did ya notice I didn’t mention anything about stuffing my face with pasta, bagels, rice or quinoa? Those of you who know me well know that I’m not a huge fan of carbohydrate loading (especially with nutrient poor, refined carbs); but let’s dig a little deeper here just for the sake of fun.

So, to be specific, I’m not a believer in carbo loading for females. Let’s define carbo loading first. Carbo loading is a pretty “hardcore” science in the fitness realm that requires about 72 hours pre-race of increased calorie intake with a goal of about 4 grams of carbohydrate for every pound of body weight, and 70% calories from simple carbs. It seems that for men, increased carb may increase muscle glycogen (glycogen is just a fancy-schmancy word for stored sugar) concentration by around 41% with  dietary manipulation which can assist in improving performance time. However, the same does not hold true for women. It seems that carb loading does not influence a woman’s ability to increase glycogen storage nor influence performance


Roasted beets, an eXo protein bar or salmon nori rolls allll are on the agenda during taper weeks!

Say it ain’t so? Sorry but I can’t! Women have more estrogen than men and it changes our body’s ability to use glycogen during a long run. Your body stores glycogen in your liver (which is the sourced used first for energy) and in muscle & fat cells. To use glycogen as energy it must first be broken down into glucose. This is where the theory of carbo loading seems to makes sense because glycogen storage occurs as a result of excess calories; so you’d think, the more glycogen you have saved up in your muscle cells, the more energy you’ll have to run like the wind.

But in women, estrogen gets in the way of the metabolic reaction that happens oh-so-easily in men…that conversion of glycogen to glucose. Instead, a female’s body selects fat burning pathways to break down fat (otherwise known as lipids) to use for energyin addition to glycogen breakdown. To make things more complicated, depending on a female’s phase of menstrual cycle the amount of fat versus glycogen utilized during a long distance run will change. Women in the luteal phase of their cycle have more estrogen and thus use more fat than glycogen to fuel their runs than a woman in the follicular phase. Women on birth control tend to use a similar amount of fat:glycogen breakdown as women in the follicular phase of their cycle…but overall, all women use significantly less glycogen than their fellow male runners. Dangit. Carbo loading doesn’t seem like such an awesome idea now, does it? There’s no reason to go overboard on the carbs if you’re not even ever going to get a chance to use ‘em up anyways.

track workoutYes, this stinks because eating a diet 90% of simple carbs for 3 days sounds fun, but a woman’s natural ability to burn fat actually makes females equipped for endurance athletics. The conversion of glycogen to glucose creates a bi-product called lactic acid, which is why your legs feel achey and stiff for days after a hard run. Less lactic acid build-up in the female athlete makes her a more efficient endurance runner than her male counterpart. So less rice but less lactic acid build up?? I’ll take it!

So, ladies, instead of worrying about the specifics of carbo loading…My approach to pre-race fueling involves lots of water for hydration, balanced eating emphasizing anti-inflammatory fatty foods like fish or olive oil; lean protein like chicken or pork; and low fiber carbs. The low fiber carb part is unique to the 72 hours leading up to raceday; as limiting insoluble fiber for 72 hours before the event will help to reduce the chance of sh…ocking the GI system and needing to stop for a bathroom break!

In actuality, it only takes about 48 hours for fiber to move through the colon, but I fiber fast for 72 hours just to be safe. You can decide what works for your body.

Simple carbs include foods with less than 2 grams of insoluble fiber per serving (read your nutrition label!). Good ideas include white rice, rice cakes, poached/baked fruit or well cooked veggies (since cooking breaks down fiber so your body doesn’t have to deal with it), bananas (these are mostly soluble fiber which does not irritate the colon), and even some organic, fresh juice (made with veggies and fruits!). Minimize legumes (beans, lentils, nuts), raw/al dente veggies (especially cruciferous like broccoli or cauliflower), and whole grains (flax bread, whole wheat bread).

Another tip is to avoid hot beverages the morning of a race. Hot beverages such as tea, broth, or coffee relax your gastrointestinal system to allow for more efficient peristalsis which means food will move more quickly through your system…  On race day, we want your leg’s moving quickly, not your digestive system! Ya get my drift?

Race week, also remember to avoid trying new foods (ESPECIALLY THE 72 HOURS PRIOR TO RACEDAY!). Last thing you want is to discover a food allergy and spend extra time in the bathroom depleting your body of electrolytes and nutrients during a time you should be priming for a freaking phenomenal race.

By the way, for those of you who prefer listening to educational but entertaining content while racing; I totally recommend my awesome podcast with my pal, Kari Gormley!




Marathon Maniac in the Making

Last week, Kari Gormley (my pal at The Running Lifestyle Show) and I were invite by Goretex to run the Philadelphia Marathon this November.
I agreed. Mostly because I’m crazy. But also because running is literally the love of my life. After a year filled with crazy big changes and transitions and … just realizing how unreliable life plans can be; its been the biggest blessing in the world to have the consistency of running.
So, yup, I am officially running three marathons this fall, but it feels like the appropriate way to say “THANK YOU” to the greatest gift in my life- the gift of having a strong, healthy body to carry me over hundreds of gorgeous, relaxing, challenging miles.
Also, it just seems fitting that Kari and I should conquer the Philadelphia Marathon together, since its essentially the race that brought us together. Ya see, Kari and I both ran it back in 2013 (BOTH HATED IT– we just had bad race days, nothing against the course)… I happened to bump into her friend at an organic grocery, we reminisced about how his friend and I both had bad marathons in Philly…and voila! …he hooked Kari and me up– rest is hizz-istory.
Anyway, right. Marathons. I’m training for three. I don’t even know what that means. My training schedule has been pretty relaxed… I’m being good about getting long runs in (did twenty miles two weeks ago, plan on repeating that this upcoming weekend while visiting my parents on the Jersey Shore), but haven’t done a whole lot of speed. That’s worrying me, to be honest, but I’m sort of trusting that I’ll be able to squeeze some speed in the three weeks leading up Chicago just in time to peak. Since I’ve been consistently training in >90*F weather, I know my speed will naturally increase with the cooler temps of Chi-town (my first marathon on October 11) and as fall approaches. Fingers crossed. I’d love to run a 7:50min/mile marathon at this event (3:25.23).
New York City Marathon, my second marathon, falls on November 1st. I’m doing this one simply for experience. I plan on aiming for 8:30/9 minute pace. Really, I plan on just being amped up at the surroundings of BEAUTIFUL New York City and the idea that my cousin will either have just had a baby, or will be due any minutes. NYC Marathon is going to be filled with thoughts of me spoiling my little niece, Gianna, and I truly cannot wait to get lost in the thoughts of baby kisses and landscape of skyscrapers and hoards of spectators.
Finally, Kari and I will meet at Philadelphia to conquer the Philly Marathon on November 22. If I didn’t PR at Chicago, then that will certainly be the goal at this race. Otherwise, I anticipate trying to have a better experience than last time, and probably try to beat my course PR of 3:34.42.
Anyway, the point of this post was to say “Hooray running!” And to announce that I am ecstatic to soon be crowned a “Marathon Maniac.”
Anyone else conquering a crazy training schedule or crazy training goal this upcoming racing season?

Real Food Fueling for Runners

089It ain’t easy being a runner and eating a whole food diet, but someone’s gotta do it. So what’s more challenging than trying to train for two marathons in a month? Training for a marathon while fueling your body with REAL food while you’re on the run.

First, ya gotta decide if you will be fueling with carbohydrate OR fat OR fat and sugar.

Choose sugar if:

  • You eat a traditional, American diet OR
  • You are fueling for performance

Choose fat for fuel if:

  • You have been following a high fat diet (60-70%) calories for at least 7-10 days prior to race day…AND
  • You perform endurance exercise regularly…AND
  • You are more concerned with minimizing inflammation on the body rather than maximizing performance
  • You regularly do fasted runs

Personally, I use a combo of calories from sugar (I fuel using caffeinated Gel Ginstengs) and ½ tablespoon coconut butter. This combo works well for me because while I do not usually consume 60-70% calories from fat, my typical intake does typically include at least 40% calories from fat, so my body is accustomed to using fat for fuel. When choosing dietary fat as a fuel source, focus on coconut or red palm oil, which are naturally high in medium chain triglycerides; a fatty acid which does not require the lymphatic system for absorption and can readily be used for energy. Choosing caffeine before or during a run helps your body more efficiently use fat for energy rather than solely carbs. Being able to tap into fat and carb for fuel gives my body a fueling advantage, as the body is able to store more calories from fat than carb to tap for energy.

union marketOkay, so whether you’re fueling with fat or sugar, reaching for real food sources is always a good idea. Runners inherently have a heightened level of systemic stress due to the oxidative stress of running, and one consequence of this chronic stress is that our gut lining is more prone to being “leaky.” A leaky gut lends itself to gastric discomfort and frequent, loose bowel movements; something that is particularly problematic when you’re mid-long-run. Eating a nutrient rich, real food based diet will help minimize that systemic stress and support gut integrity. Old habits die hard, I know, but choosing real food when you’re on the run (especially if ya wanna’ avoid gettin’ da’ runs ifyacatchmydrift) is an important strategy in being the best runner you can be.

On the Run Carb Source Ideas:

  • Dried fruit
  • Raw honey packets
  • Grapes
  • Rice cakes

On the Run Fat Source Ideas:

  • Olives
  • Nuts
  • Coconut butter/coconut oil in a baggy (choose about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon to avoid gastric discomfort)


  • ~½ tablespoon Coconut oil/butter with honey (or Honeystingers! My fave!)
  • Coconut flakes with dried fruit
  • Nut butter packets with honey
  • Plantain chips (made with palm oil—which is a source of medium chain triglycerides)
  • Honey roasted nuts

Last, but certainly not least, there’s my real foodies who are stuck with a sensitive tummy. For those of you who cannot escape diarrhea/gas pain while fueling on-the-run; I’ve got a few options for you.

Firstly, how long are you running for? If you’re running less than an hour, fuel really isn’t necessary. And if you’re following a diet higher in whole food fat, then you probably can run fasted for greater than an hour without a problema (but that’s a blog article for a different day!).

But when fueling is a must, choosing liquid based fueling tactics is best for those with a sensitive stomach. While something very simple, such as raw honey, will probably work just fine, a lot of times people who experience cramping are also experiencing electrolytic imbalances.

Filling up your fuel belt with a few bottles of coconut water, bone broth, and honey is an awesome way to provide energy and potassium, magnesium, sodium, and zinc to your hard working bod. Add green tea or matcha for some caffeine and an extra performance boost!

If you loved the info in today’s blog, you probably would love this episode of The Running Lifestyle Show where everyone’s fave podcast host, Kari Gormley, interviews Meb (oh, you know.. NBD… winner of the Boston Marathon and Olympian! THAT MEB!), there’s a whole nutrition segment on real food fueling.

Just a little running advice from “Your Fave Real Food RD.”





Zoodle Lasagna Recipe #JERF #recipe

serena and da zucchiniI roll deep with some pretty awesome dietitian friends who are just as obsessed with veggies as *moi*. One of said friends went on a little weekend vacay last Thursday. When she left her beautiful garden, the zucchini you see in that there pic was too itty bitty to be picked! Four days later she returned and had a HONKER zucchini on her hand. Its safe to say my darling friend has a green thumb :)
Um, what’s a gal to do with a honker zucchini?! Give it to me, of course!
Once in my possession, the Italian in me couldn’t stop thinking of the possibilities. Zucchini makes for an excellent pasta replacement, and that mondo zucchini was the perfect width for LASAGNA NOODLES! Also, I happened to have tons of extra goat cheese from a weekend picnic the week prior, so lasagna was never not happening.
This lasagna was super easy to make. The hardest part is optional, and its not really hard, just requires some prep. In order to keep the lasagna from getting too soggy, its a good idea to “salt” the zucchini for a few hours before baking it. Once all the excess water is removed from the zucchini, they’re truly the world’s best veggie for fakin’ pasta.

Zoodle Lasagna
Recipe type: Dinner, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Vegetarian, Primal
Cuisine: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9 generous slices
  • 1 very large zucchini or 4-5 medium zucchinis
  • Salt ** OPTIONAL
  • 3 ounces goat's cheese
  • 15 ounces ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • Fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano, 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1 tsp black pepper
  • 32 ounces organic tomato sauce
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups kale (or other dark green leafy), chopped & wilted over low heat in a pan
  1. OPTIONAL: To salt the zucchini: Slice zucchini lengthwise in thin, ¼" thick strips. Place in a colander and coat with salt to drain for 6-8 hours. Prior to using the zucchini for the recipe rinse with cold water to remove excess salt. Squeeze the zucchini slices in a clean dish towel to remove excess water.
  2. Preheat oven to 375*
  3. In a bowl, combine ricotta, goat's cheese, egg, garlic, onion and spices. Mix well.
  4. In a baking pan, pour ⅓ of the tomato sauce to cover the bottom of the pan.
  5. Place zucchini slices on top, lay them parallel to the long side of the baking pan.
  6. Coat with approximately half of the ricotta mixture.
  7. Top with ~1/3 of the sauce. Place additional zucchini on top.
  8. Coat the zucchini with the other half of the parmesan mixture. Top with sauce.
  9. Mix kale and parmesan cheese, sprinkle on top.
  10. Bake for 50 minutes

And just sayin’– leftovers tastes AMAZING cold from the fridge the next  morning. #spokenfromexperience

Choosing Nutrient Dense Carbohydrates

union marketThere’s been a lot of press about low carbs diets lately; and I admit that I probably have contributed to the hype, because I fully and most completely do not endorse a diet with more than 50% of energy coming from nutrient poor “whole grains” (which tends to be the recommendation of the Standard American Diet).

That said; carbs are a necessary, delicious and micronutrient rich source of calories that should be a part of most people’s diet (there’s some therapeutic indications for ketogenic or very high fat, low carbs diets; but chances are you’re not one of those people). Besides micronutrient content, carbohydrates provide appropriate energy for sprint/endurance athletes, help modulate hormones (including inactive to active thyroid hormone conversion), provide beneficial antioxidants and simply help a lot of people feel their best.  The thing is; everyone’s “carbs sweet spot” varies. And quality, timing and quantity do matter.

Conditions which may warrant lower carbs intake (like, <150 grams/day carbs mostly from nonstarchy vegetables) include polycystic ovarian syndrome or those with poor glycemic control. That said, carb quality remains important. Naturally skinny, super active, those with thyroid conditions may warrant a higher carb intake, But once again, quality remains key.

The thing is; the perfect “macronutrient distribution” for you is going to be unique and ever-changing. Lifting heavy things? You’ll need to amp up the protein. Doing tons of sprint, quick movements? You’ll need additional carb. Spending a ton of time logging endurance miles? You may benefit from a load of medium chain triglycerides to help prevent you from “hitting the wall” mid-run. On The Running Lifestyle Show, the host always says “Every BODY is different.” And that’s totally true.

pancakes cherries breakfastBut getting nutrient dense carbohydrate, alas, is the key to eating carbohydrate and keeping your body insulin sensitive. Nutrient rich carbs provide a great source of carbohydrate, but also fill your beautiful bod with micronutrients such as minerals and vitamins. Remember, each time you eat, a chemical reaction happens to convert that potato into usable/stored energy; and that chemical reaction “costs” nutrition. We don’t want to consume mineral/vitamin-poor foods that “cost” our body nutrition without repleting it.

See below for some examples of nutrient rich carbs (this list is by NO MEANS exhaustive!)

Nutrient Rich Carbohydrate

Plantains / 62 gm per cup

Sweet Potato / 58 gm per cup

Chickpeas / 45 gm per cup

Black Beans / 41 gm per cup

Yam / 37gm per cup

White Potato / 27 gm per cup

Parsnips / 27 gm per cup

Butternut Squash / 22 gm per cup

Onion / 21 gm per cup

Beets / 17 gm per cup

Carrots / 13 gm per cup

Pumpkin / 12 gm per cup

1 Glass Organic Milk/ 12 gm per cup

Spaghetti Squash / 9 gm per cup

Overindulging On a Schedule to Keep Your Summer Body Slim :)

photo 1Its summer. Okay. Maybe not officially, but it sure as heck feels like it. Since May, my social calendar has been packed to the brim with birthday celebrations, excursions to Miami and the Jersey Shore, and LOTS of “Woah, its 9pm, barely dark outside and still warm enough to rock a tank with shorts- let’s celebrate with beer.”

Paired with a knee injury, this has led me to notice some undesirable changes in my physique. Don’t get me wrong, I am ever the hugest fan of my body (I think its important for ALL women to shower their human-form with love and affection)…but I just know that its not what it was, let’s say, a month or two ago.

Since I know I eat pretty cleanly when I’m living my normal life, I know I need to bust out the ole’ iPhone calendar and get a handle on my social calendar and when I choose to overindulge.

See, I totally don’t believe in deprivation. I totally believe that being relaxed about “diet rules” is the only way to guarantee a lifetime of adherence to a healthy way of eating, but I also know that addictive (literally, addictive– wheat, sugar, excessive salt and trans fats can wreak havoc on the dopamine centers in your brain!!!!) foods can make even the cleanest of eaters reach for the bread/candy a little too often.

So, whether you plan your activities via Google Calendar, your iPhone calendar, or a good ole’ fashioned planner, its time to lay down some healthy food rulezzz.

seared salmonAnd its simple. Choose 3-6 events a month where you’re going to shrug your shoulders and bend the rules. At the other events, enjoy yourself (OBVI) but do so by getting dressed up, inviting a sessy date, hobnobbing with your best friends, & try and stand steer clear of the tempting foods. Fill up on a balanced snack loaded with nonstarchy veggies, lean protein and healthy fat beforehand so you can stare any food in the eye and walk away like it ain’t no thang.

And! MOST IMPORTANTLY, no guilt. No beating yourself up. Noooooo self-loathing. Its summer- and you’ve got the rest of your life to get that perfect balance just right!


Does Whole Milk Have Less Sugar than Low Fat? #Nutrition

IMG_3033On the most recent episode of The Running Lifestyle Show, Kari and I discussed which milk is most healthful. You can listen in here, or I’ll just cut to the chase. I’m a big fan of organic, pastured cow’s milk. But coconut milk, hemp milk and almond milk are pretty cool too for those who are sensitive to dairy.

But peeps be confused about cow’s milk. I am constantly being asked whether whole milk has less sugar than nonfat milk, or if low fat milk has more protein than whole fat milk.

And, guess what?! I LOVE CLEARING UP SOME NUTRITION CONFUSION. Let’s talk milk.

The reason there’s so much confusion about how percent fat in cow’s milk affects protein and sugar content is simply a matter of percentages. SO, because skim milk has 0 calories from fat, that means 54% of its calories are from carbohydrate and the rest from protein. However, since whole milk has 72 calories or 49% of its calories from fat, it appears that there’s less carbohydrate in whole milk because “only” 35% calories are from sugar. However, all ze milks have the same ~12 grams of sugar per cup.

So, stay cool. And remember:

Of the cow’s milks, all the fat percentages have 12 grams of naturally occurring carbohydrate from lactose and 8 grams of protein. The amount of fat varies, but the amount of protein and carbohydrate is ALWAYS the same. Also, while milk gets a lot of press for being a “high protein” food– notice that it actually has more calories from carbohydrate than protein :)

Let’s talk fat. And why, sometimes, its a good idea to reach for whole milk over skim milk.

First of all, we all know I’m a proponent of dietary fat because it keeps us satiated by slowing down gastric emptying.

But, if you (can afford to) choose organic, pasture raised milk; then puh-leaseeee reach for the full fat stuff!

Why? Because full fat dairy yielded from pastured cows is loaded with anti-inflammatory fat. Pastured dairy is packed with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), about five times the amount of conventional milk! This is pretty nifty because literature suggests CLA’s potential for disease prevention, including inhibiting tumor development and reducing risk for cancer, inflammation (all my fellow runners are gona’ loveee dis), and heart attack. CLA may also help slow or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes by increasing our body’s sensitivity to insulin. (3,5) UM, I LOVE DECREASING THE RISK OF DIABETES. ALWAYS. I’m about that life.

Okay, guys, so run, be free, YOU ARE NOW ENLIGHTENED! All the (cow’s) milk have the SAME amount of PROTEIN and CARB– its the fat content that varies– and, I argue more importantly, the fat quality that varies.


“Conjugated linoleic acid in adipose tissue and risk of myocardial infarction,” Smit.,L.A., et al. Am. J. Clin. Nutrition, May 2010.http://www.ajcn.org/content/early/2010/05/12/ajcn.2010.29524.full.pdf+html

Simple Swaps for a Summer Bod #Health #TRLS

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Summer is fast approaching and I’ve got three words for ya. ” THANK THE LAWD.”

 Its freaking April 8th as I write this and it was SO cold on my run today that I could NOT use my hands. I’m going to complain. A lot. Because, UGH. I thought it was spring?
The cold weather makes it hard to stay on your sexy body game, because,  let’s be honest, when its cold outside even I know its hard to resist a TV-a-thon and chocolate.
But! Summer aside, robust health and bountiful energy are amazing to experience all times of year, but especially when swimsuit season is a hop, skip away.
Let’s talk simple swaps you can make to contribute to a thinner, healthier, and more energetic summer-time-you.

1. Top salads with distilled coconut oil or olive oil and vinegar

Okay, duh. We all know salads are healthy and swapping salad for pasta at lunch is a great choice, but tdid you ever step back and wonder what the heck you were dumping all over that bounty of greens?
If you take a hot second to glance at the ingredient list of your salad-dressing-of-choice you may be SHOCKED to see inflammatory-promoting oils as some of the first ingredients. Since obesity is a disease of inflammation, we certainly don’t want to add a whole load of canola oil, soy bean oil, vegetable oil or corn oil to our plate of salad! And don’t even get me started on any oil which has been partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated. 
Instead, stick to monounsaturated fat olive oil, which actually mobilizes fat from your midsection, or distilled coconut oil which may help your body preferentially burn fat for fuel.
2. Wrap that sandwich in a collard green of honker proportions
Skip the nutrient poor, carb laden bread for a low cal, crispy, nutrient rich collard green. One of the least expensive veggies in the store, collards can easily replace wraps and bread. Simply cut out the stem and layer collards on top of each other so the hole where the stem once was is covered. Now load it up.
Collards are sturdy, so they can handle a delicate turkey and sprouts sandwich, as well as a hefty beans & cheese burrito (YUM).
I can’t mention their nutrient density without allowing them a little moment in the limelight. Collards are terrific sources of vitamin A (which helps eyesight and is a powerful antioxidant to fight aging), and as a member of the cruciferous veggie family, we know it rocks awesome cancer fighting effects from all those powerful glucosinolates.
3. Skip calorie containing bevvies
This is a hard one for me, because I totally admit to lovingggg some cream in my coffee. I can totally drink it black, but heavy cream and coffee is soooo delish.
That said, a lot of people find that drinking calories is not as satiating as consuming them in a solid form. So even though grass fed cream can be a wonderful way to add balance to a meal lacking in nutrient rich fat, a lot of time the cream is really just my little way of overindulging rather than adding balance to a meal. Its your call.
Creamer aside, calories can sneak into beverages through soda, sugar/agave/honey sweetened tea or coffee, juice (YES! even organic, cold pressed, $35 a cup juice), andddd juice (I just really do not like juice!).
When its time to really delve into perfecting nutrition for a special occasion or to fit into a teeny weeny red bikini, get calories from solid noshes instead of liquids.
My favorite trick for this is seltzer water plus tea bags. I loveeee infusing seltzer with fruity tea by steeping cold seltzer with a bag for approximately ten minutes, then sipping on an herb infused faux-soda.
4. Snack on fat
You guys probs weren’t expecting this one, but I find that snacks are farrrr too often filled with nutrient poor, carb laden food choices.
200 calories of popcorn versus raw almonds or sliced avocado or raw cheese? Um, the fat filled foods win every time. Dietary fat delays gastric emptying and will help you eat less at your next meal. Also, dietary fat does not elicit an insulin response, meaning that while your body is consuming calories from the snack, metabolically fat burning can still be taking place (depending on when and what you consumed at your last meal).
5. Sprint!
Okay, so this one isn’t really a nutrition recommendation, but one of the best ways to SCORCH fat is to SPRINT! With your doctor’s permission, choose a mode of sprinting: running, eliptical-ing, stair master, stationary bike, spin bike, whatevs.
Then, alternate between super fast, heart-speeding, sweat-inducing intervals for 20-60 seconds and rest periods. Do this for ten minutes a few times a week (for those of you who are “fat adapted” or trying to become “fat adapted” this would be a great time to do a fasted workout!).
I’m not an exercise professional, so check out Ben Greenfield’s website for interval training tips cause he’s profesh (and kind of cute).

Foods That Love Your Heart #HeartHealthy

cherries & chocolate–Let’s be honest for a sec. Boys are unpredictable. Girls be cray.


This Valentine’s Day, the only one you can trust with your heart is FOOD. That’s right, ya heard me; nourishing, nutrient dense food is all I am looking for this Saturday.

Let’s talk about why we should even give a flyin’ fig about heart disease. Um, well maybs because, according to the CDC, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds…and someone dies of heart disease every 60 seconds. Scurry stuff right thurr.

[Although, At least that means if you have an ex-lover you’re wishing ill this Valentine’s day, there’s a chance he or she will have a heart attack in the next 34 segundos.

34…33..32…just kidding!]

All kidding aside, let’s get back to food. Because it’s delicious. And it’s guaranteed to do your heart goodddddd! And luckily, its all the delicious food.

— Nuts! In the randomized, controlled PREDIMED study of over 7,000 people, the intervention group provided with the Mediterranean diet and nuts had over a 13% decrease in diastolic and systolic blood pressure!! That’s more than the group who was receiving a Mediterranean diet with an emphasis in EVOO! (1)

And, even more interesting, that’s a greater effect than reducing salt intake has on blood pressure. So eat yo’ nuts

— Dark Chocolate! In a study of 60 young, healthy individuals provided with a measly 10 grams of dark chocolate daily, they reaped benefits of decreased blood pressure and decreased arterial stiffness. Make sure you choose chocolate with greater than 75% cocoa content and read the ingredients for the word “alkali!” If the cocoa has been processed with alkali, then the polyphenol (antioxidant content) has been ruined and its no bueno! (2)

Red wine! I was shocked at just how powerful the studies suggest the active polyphenol, resveratrol, packs on the human body! One to two glasses of red wine (usually, one for females and two for men) has been associated with increased good cholesterol (HDL) and decreased blood pressure. (3)

Coffee and Green Tea! Lawdy, Lawd—there’s nothing I lurveee more than a piping hot cup of tea on a colddd February day. Right now I am addicted to licorice tea (which supports adrenal glands and incidentally metabolism!).Coffee and green tea are loaded with catechins, a type of flavonoid which has cardioprotective effects.

Consumption of greater than five bags of green tea or 1-2 cups of coffee daily have been associated with improved insulin response (which means better blood sugar control and decreased systemic inflammation) as well improved endogenous nitric oxide production.

We’ve talked about how I adoreeee EnergyBits because they promote nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide promotes vessel dilation and decreased blood viscosity, thus its gona keep ya’ from having a stroke. Thanks. I’ll take it.YUM. YUM.

All I know, is I can’t wait to warm up by the fire with dark chocolate and red wine this V-Day and fantasize about the beautiful, beating heart that lives within me; and cherish a loved one.

Happy Valentines Day, my lovely friends!


Your Go-To Real Food RD