Rhabdomyolysis, Too Much of a Good Thing


As I sit here typing this I’m listening to the pumping of my compression boots. Unfortunately it’s not the type of compression boots I’d like to be wearing (those after a hard endurance workout). I’m unfortunately in the hospital and because of my lack of movement, I’m wearing them. I was hesitant to write this, but as so much of what I’ve tried to write here is to help others, I knew I must. It is yet another “you’ve got to be kidding me, not something else” in addition to the potential for feeling slight shame that your body couldn’t handle what you were having it do. On a side note, this is eating disorders awareness week and I was working on a separate blog about that. But we’ll throw this one in for good measure.

My journey starts here: after my hamstring surgery I had a long long road back to full hamstring health. And along the way I had some awesome physical therapists help me. I’d like to write another post on those two specialties (women’s specific/pelvic floor and PRI-postural restorative institute) because I believe they can be of help to others as well. But coming back to my hospital visit, here goes.

For the past 5 weeks I’ve worked with a great strength coach  (Bobby Allison at Hustle Fitness) to rebuild my hamstring strength. Along the way we’ve been working on Olympic lifting and more basic lifting like bench press, some kettle bells, body weight exercises, etc. I had made great progress and I had been feeling really strong, like I was becoming an athlete again. And I thought my body was ready to graduate to a traditional strength class vs the 1:1 that we had been doing. But because of my recent strength improvements I believe I was susceptible to a condition called Rhabdomyolysis.

Rhabdomyolysis (From Google Doctor Web MD): is a serious syndrome due to a direct or indirect muscle injury. It results from the death of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream. This can lead to complications such as renal (kidney) failure. This occurs when the kidneys cannot remove waste and concentrated urine. In rare cases, rhabdomyolysis can even cause death. However, prompt treatment often brings a good outcome.


  1. Using illegal drugs- nope
  2. High doses of antipsychotics/statins- nope
  3. A crash/fall- nope
  4. Extreme muscle strain- Yep!

Symptoms: (exercise ones)

  1. Extreme muscle pain-like 9-10/10 pain, much worse than DOMS
  2. Swelling-your muscles will swell up like balloons
  3. Stiffness-you won’t be able to move the body part-I couldn’t lift my arm…at all
  4. Joint pain- I didn’t have this
  5. Coke colored urine-I didn’t have this although after drinking copious amounts of fluid my urine is still apple juice colored. But just because you don’t have very dark urine, don’t think you don’t have Rhabdo
  6. Vomiting- I didn’t have this either.

Exercise that can cause it: (any)

  1. Eccentric exercises mainly
  2. Specifically I’ve seen the most reports on pull-ups/negatives, abs-specifically a hamstring/back machine that you can do abs off of and leg exercises.
  3. Body weight exercises: those that mean you can do a lot of them before getting fatigued. It’s actually better to do heavier lifting because the heavy weights will not allow you to do so much that this happens.

Psychological Mindsets that Play into It:

  1. Those that have been athletes in the past, but have taken say the past 6 months off.
  2. Those that have the mindset to push through pain.
  3. An athlete who may have a bigger aerobic engine then strength-so they can go for much longer than someone who was more out of shape
  4. Women-no seriously the ER doc told me this. We’re just stronger mentally 🙂


This isn’t a one size fits all kind of thing. Some people take a week, others take several months. For me I think this was a more mild form and I expect to be out of the hospital in a day, and hopefully back exercising (lightly) in a week. This can be deadly, require dialysis or a transplant. So just don’t mess around. Listen to your body and seek help.

So in my first full strength class we were doing pull ups. But because I can’t do full pull ups, I did negatives, which are really just the eccentric part of the pull up. Imagine you are at chin level to the bar, then you lower yourself down. As stated above, eccentric exercises are one of the main reasons you can get Rhabdo.

I’m not sure if it’s still thought to be cool, but those doing Cross Fit used to joke about “Uncle Rhabdo” and even had tee-shirts made of a cartoon character of someone hooked up to dialysis. Let me tell you anyone that jokes about Uncle Rhabdo is not cool and neither is it a badge of honor. It is something that is very scary and requires immediate attention. Let me say this again, if you think you might have Rhabdo, go to the ER. Do not go to urgent care and do not go to your general doctors. Go to the ER. There is a specific type of blood test they run (CMP-complete metabolic panel) that they need to run to check you CK-creatine kinase levels. In addition to checking a kidney panel- BUN, potassium, sodium, myoglobin, etc. I thought that urgent care’s ran those tests, and I went to one on Sunday. After waiting two hours, they got some blood and urine, they came back and said, well your red and white blood cell count came back normal. No kidding, I didn’t think I was sick, I thought my kidneys might be failing. Turns out the urine did have blood and protein in it, but they said it would take 2 days to have the blood work done. So I went home.

After 1 full day of stressing thinking “am I sitting at home damaging my kidneys just to wait on a test.” Brett was away in Houston, so I took myself to the ER. As when I went to urgent care, when I told the nurse/assistant I thought I had Rhabdo, they looked at me blankly. For as serious as it is, it appears not that many people know about it. I told them I just needed a CK blood test and to test my kidneys. They took me back, took blood, a urine sample and the doctor came in amused (in a good way) that I had self diagnosed myself. The nurses and doctors have been great by the way (Alliance Medical Center-Fort Worth) and I am so thankful!

The CK tests take 90min to run, and if you get a high reading, they run again, and then again. And they ran mine 3x.

A normal CK (I believe) is around 100. My CK today was 56,000. Yes, that’s thousand. And kind of humorously, the urgent care people called today to tell me that my CK was 45,000 on Sunday. I told them I was already in the hospital but I’m glad they called. Unfortunately it’s not good that my numbers have been going up since Sunday. I’m not 5 days out from injury and my numbers should be going down. All we can do is give fluid and take blood. Last check my myoglobin (what leaks from the muscles and can’t pass through the kidneys) is high and they are re-running my CK. Tomorrow they will run the same tests again. The nephrologist said that with a level of 15,000 I can go home.

Let me be blunt. Do not push your body more than you should when you are coming back from injury or just being a bit out of shape. Don’t try to keep up with others when they can do 50 pull ups. Work at your own pace and don’t feel competitive to match them. If you do think you have Rhabdo, go to the ER right away. Even if you have DOMS, it’s better to be safe than sorry. And you may not have all the symptoms, so don’t think just because you don’t have coke colored urine you are ok. Go, don’t be ashamed.

I can tell you it’s so strange sitting here in my bed hooked up to an IV, my compression boots pumping along, IV humming, hospital noises all about, and I’m working on my computer. I don’t feel great, but I don’t feel bad. I’m probably the most positive hospital patient. I don’t have a fever, not vomiting, not cranky, etc. I’m in pain and scared, but I know that I’ll be ok. I listened to my body and I came and sought help. It’s a waiting game, but I’m confident my next numbers run will be slower. I’m several liters of fluid in and I’m drinking as well.

So get out there and train, but be careful. Listen to my advice from above. Push yourself, but there is no need to push yourself until you reach this point. Supposedly this is rare, but I’ve known others who have had this, and my nurse today has seen 3 people in the past year-all 30ish or under, athletes who love exercise. Time for another blood draw.



Recipes to Help you Not Over Indulge on Super Bowl Sunday


As you gear up for super bowl parties this Sunday, you might be thinking “Yes, party time, lots of great albeit not as nutritious foods” or “I’m really trying hard to eat right, this party might kill my nutrition plan.” So, instead of it being an either or, how about both. Good food can taste awesome and be nutritious as well. I set out to make a few things that you could make if you’re staying home, going to a party or hosting a party.

Chips and dip are party mainstays and twice baked potatoes/potato skins are as well. So you can whip up an easy guacamole with healthier baked chips and instead of a saturated fat laden/fried potato, make this awesome chicken and bean stuffed potatoes. Only healthy ingredients allowed. Both of these can be made under 30 minutes, so it will make your party (or just dinner) prep easy.

Enjoy some good party food!

Guacamole and Chips: (serves 6)

Ingredients List

  • .5 cup tomato minced
  • .3 cup red onion minced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice -about 1/2 of a lime
  • .25 tsp cumin
  • Dash salt
  • 3 small avocados
  • 6 servings baked tortilla chips


  • *You can either mince the first 4 ingredients or use a food processor/blender to mince them. I used a blender.
  • 1. Blend the first 4 ingredients. I did not mince them since the blender did it for me. Use the pulse button so that it doesn’t turn into a liquid.
  • 2. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
  • 3. Add the avocado and mash with a fork.
  • 4. Season the mixture with lime, cumin and a dash of salt.
  • 5. Each serving of guacamole is 3 tbsp. Serve with 1 serving of chips per person. Since chip portions vary, choose a portion that will give you 140kcal.

Nutritional Data

246 Calories (kcals)
28 Carbohydrate (g)
4 Protein (g)
14 Fat (g)
6 Fiber (g)
193 Sodium (mg)
 Mexican Pulled Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: Serves 4

Ingredients List

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes scrubbed and washed
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenders
  • 1 cup lower sodium chicken broth
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • .25 cup red onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp lime juice -1/2 lime
  • 1.5 cups black beans rinsed and drained -15oz can
  • Dash cumin
  • .75 cup salsa divided
  • 2 tbsp cilantro chopped
  • .5 avocado chopped
*Wash and scrub sweet potatoes.
  • 1. Poke each sweet potato several times with a fork.
  • 2. Dampen a paper towel and wrap around potatoes.
  • 3. Microwave for 3 minutes. Flip potatoes and microwave another 2-3 minutes until desired softness.
  • 4. Remove from microwave, cool and slice in half.
  • 5. You will have 4 halves.
  • Chicken and Beans: Start while the sweet potatoes are cooking
  • 1. Pour chicken broth and 1/2 cup of salsa into a medium large sauce pan.
  • 2. Add chicken, bring to a boil and boil 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  • 3. Remove the chicken and let cool slightly. While the chicken is cooking boil the broth mixture down until it is about 1/2 it’s original amount.
  • 4. Add the garlic, red onion, lime and black beans.
  • 5. While the beans are cooking, shred the chicken back into the pot.
  • 6. Stir the mixture and remove from the heat.
  • Serve:
  • 1. Scoop out 1/3 of the sweet potato flesh. Reserve the extra for later use (sweet potato biscuits on the site).
  • 2. Spoon 1/4 of the chicken and bean mixture into each half.
  • 3. Top with remaining salsa and avocado.
  • 4. Serve and enjoy. Each serving is one sweet potato half.

Nutritional Data

379 Calories (kcals)
42 Carbohydrate (g)
35 Protein (g)
8 Fat (g)
13 Fiber (g)
438 Sodium (mg)

Breaking News: There is no perfect diet!

I’m being a little dramatic with the breaking news, but I feel like it needs to be shouted. THERE IS NO PERFECT DIET! I must have been living in a box, or maybe just working really hard and haven’t watched the TV in a while. It’s possible it’s both, but I’m leaning towards working really hard and don’t have too much spare time. But…who has heard or seen the show “My Diet is Better than Your Diet?” I believe that is the name of the show.

Yesterday was a pretty busy day-worked (created my first landing page), did a strength workout, ran the dogs, cooked, etc. Generally my go to shows are anything on the Food Network or HGTV. And that’s usually just when I’m cooking. Yesterday was a pretty complete day. One of those days where you really feel like you accomplished a lot. I decided to just spend an hour sitting on the coach and relaxing. Cue flipping channels and I come upon this show. It appears to be like the Biggest Loser: you have contestants, trainers, exercise sessions, nutrition sessions, etc. The difference comes in where the contestants are each following a different diet.

These include names like:

  • The strong and sexy diet
  • The hunter diet
  • The superfood diet

I might have gotten those a bit off, but in reality, they look like they match a paleo diet/high protein, or lower carb but more veggies and protein diet. I’m sure I am being too simplistic. But you get what I mean.

So imagine you have each of the contestants, each on a different diet, each working with a trainer, each has a life story worthy of sharing on national TV, each vying to lose weight and win the show. And I don’t know this, but my guess is the person who loses the largest amount of weight or greatest percentage is the winner. Possibly winning a large sum of money?

Whats the problem with this program you say?

There are several things.  I heard several trainers saying or implying incorrect information on nutrition. For example:

  1. Pasteurized food isn’t great for you. Really? I pretty sure the pasteurization process has saved countless lives and illnesses. Today people argue for raw milk and raw cheese. I’m sticking with the safer and healthier option.
  2. Sweating releases toxins. Not exactly. Sweating releases minerals like sodium (and water), which most be replenished with water/fluid and the food you eat. If you’re too dehydrated the kidneys may not work properly. So in a round about way you could argue that since the kidneys (and liver) are what detoxes our body, if the kidneys aren’t functioning, then yes, it can’t remove toxins.

But it’s less about the trainers spouting fad-laden things, and more about, each person is very different and different diet plans will effect people different. In order for a program like this to really work, you’d have to have the same person go on each diet for a few months, then gain the weight back, and go with the next diet. Or, they’d have to clone the person so that same person is doing each diet. That would be the only true way to say “which diet is the best.” Besides the fact that I don’t like the word diet, nutrition is an individual process. Not everything will work for everyone, or not everyone will feel great with a certain diet. On the other, I just read a study that said, just about anyone will lose weight on any diet (low carb, Paleo, vegan, etc) because they are all about restricting calories or a negative caloric intake. I can’t remember the study name now though. But true, anyone on a “diet” implies cutting calories. So whether it’s from Paleo or vegan, if you’re cutting calories, you will lose weight.

So if any diet can work for anyone, what’s the best nutrition plan to have? One that’s fit to your specific needs, based on your own body and how much you’re exercising. That’s why I created the Fueled and Focused software. Since diets aren’t sustainable, why not adopt an all around nutritious meal plan where you feel satisfied, eat delicious food, have no restrictions or deprivations and still achieve your weight and performance goals. It’s all about making easy choices that also happen to be delicious. It’s really that easy. It’s all about developing a new relationship with food and yourself. Learning portion control, learning what foods fit around exercise, learning the most nutritious foods for your body. And never cutting out entire food groups just because a fad diet tells you to.

I love helping athletes achieve more through training and nutrition. I’d love for all people athletes and non-athletes to adopt a more balanced and well rounded way of eating. Personally my passion is athletes, so I’ll continue to focus in that area. I’m pretty sure I won’t be watching more of the TV show, but it would be interesting to see which diet they claim is the best diet. I believe they had a “no diet” option. I am guessing that person didn’t change their diet and just exercised. It would be interesting to see where they fall in the order of weight loss at the end. But again, its very different for each person, so they might lose more or less than someone else on the same plan.

If like me you’d like to stop the headaches and frustrations around fad diets/restrictive diets, check out my Fueled and Focused meal plan software. Just go to fueledandfocused.com and check it out. Let me know if you have any questions. I’m really excited to help people break free of the word diet and the negative implications around it-mainly restriction or deprivation.

Change the way you make your New Year’s Resolutions

2016 is almost upon us. And boy did 2015 not disappoint when it came to life changes and new beginnings. We moved to Texas, Brett graduated from Towson and has a career as a geologist, I left PowerBar to create my own nutrition coaching and meal planning business, we adopted a rescue Ridgeback and so much more. Looking into 2016, I am so excited for all the new changes that will take place, new people to meet, new places to explore, new adventures to conquer and life in general. I hope that 2015 was good to you as well. This is the time of year that people start making resolutions, deciding on what changes they might want to make in their life, setting new goals and resolving to do things differently and/or better. There’s nothing really magical about the day. When to clock strikes midnight, you’ll still be the same person. It’s just how you approach the new year that makes it special. It’s like a fresh start.

A friend posted on Facebook a great sentiment: don’t buy into creating resolutions that make you feel bad, stop criticizing yourself and be you.  I am a big believer in being yourself. In fact, one of my sayings (especially in nutrition and endurance coaching) is “be the best you that you can be.” We need to love ourselves first and foremost because if we don’t love ourselves, how can we be the best wife/husband, mother/father, sister/brother, etc. We can’t. And just because someone is say a professional triathlete, it doesn’t make you any less deserving of love because you are a middle of the pack athlete. This is just an example and really we can apply that towards anything.

If you feel negative when thinking about creating a resolution, or you hear people saying you must change to be a good person, don’t make a resolution or listen to them. I feel differently about resolutions. I don’t think of resolutions as telling yourself you’re not good enough, I think of them saying to us “how can I make me (who’s pretty awesome) better?” If the answer is, “I’m pretty perfect as I am” then no worries. Ignore making a resolution. But if there is an area you want to get better at or grow in, awesome.  And really, I think we can all make ourselves better.

I do think that resolutions can be apart of our yearly routine, or even daily and weekly. Some people are bothered by ads marketing towards News Years resolutions. Thankfully I don’t notice that there are marketing adds designed towards wanting to change someone from a negative perspective. Maybe it’s since I don’t watch a lot of TV, listen to the radio with ads, or maybe I just tune them out. I do notice marketing, but I’m at a place in my life where if I am going to make a change, it’s because I want to make a change. Not because someone else tells me that I need to. So I think of resolutions as a way of goal setting. In fact I think the words can really be used interchangeably. And that’s how I hope you look at them too. Not as something negative because people think you aren’t great and need to change, but because you are striving to make positive changes in your life and to be “The best you that you can be.”


As you look into 2016, think about the goals that you set out for yourself. It seems that people are often talking about weight loss. Well, if you need and want to lose weight, it’s as good a time as any to start. You might even get a great deal at a gym now. If you want to be more organized (this is one of mine), it a great reminder that it’s a new year. If I want to make this year the best it can, being more organized will help me achieve my goals. If you want to eat healthier because you want to feel better, achieve your goal weight, recover faster and race stronger. Great, think about  how going into 2016 you can do this. There are many ways, and ahem self plug, if you’re struggling with knowing what food choices are the best for you, making delicious meals or saving time on preparing foods, go to my meal planning site http://www.fueledandfocused.com. You might be reading this blog from the site as well. I love helping others feel better, make better choices and just have overall better lives. It’s a great thing about being a nutrition and endurance coach. I help people to achieve their goals.

So if you’re feeling inundated with resolutions and are either feeling stressed about them, down on yourself or just don’t know what resolutions to make, here are some tips on how to create them.

Goals give us an edge in 3 ways:

  1. Direction-they tell us where we’re going and how we get there
  2. Feedback- how is our progress
  3. Support-they help us to keep going when we might give up

Goals can be small, or they can be huge. I recommend having both. But I also believe it’s important that you focus on the smaller goals first, because they help us to achieve the larger goals. Here’s an example:

Small goal: I’d like to go to practice every day

Large goal: I’d like to make the Olympic team

In order to make the Olympics, you need to go to practice. Those that skip practice won’t achieve their large goal.

Goals should be SMART:

  • Specific- I’d like to gain 10 watts of power on the bike vs I’d like a stronger bike
  • Measurable- You could use the same specific goal- the power meter will measure your watts
  • Achievable- a 10w increase in FTP (1 hour power) is very achievable vs wanting a 200w increase
  • Realistic- This is a realistic goal
  • Time Bound- Now just change the goal to, “I’d like to gain 10w in my 1 hour FTP within the next 3 months.”

So looking at it, you might have said: I’d like a stronger bike. But then, using the SMART principles, you’ve clearly defined it.

Use these guidelines to help you create your goals. Here are some nutrition examples:

  1. I’m going to eat breakfast every day, even when running late-create some make ahead meals to take on the go
  2. I’m going to always bring a water bottle with me when I go to practice, and I’m going to drink 20oz per hour.
  3. I’m going to bring a protein and carbohydrate based snack in my bag for post practice so I can start refueling my muscles.

As we approach 2016, think about what goals/resolutions you might want to make going forward. Remember, if they make you feel bad about yourself, they aren’t good goals. Choose goals/resolutions that help you to make you the best you that you can be. Here’s to a happy, healthy and wonderful 2016!



Healthy (and yummy) Holiday Cookies

This past week I set out to make some healthy holiday cookies. I had a few requirements like lower in fat, calories, sugar, using ingredients that weren’t too hard to find, and lastly, gluten free. Since many athletes and possibly some of your family and friends are going gluten free/are gluten intolerant, I wanted to make cookies that they could enjoy. Now, let me say, if you aren’t gluten intolerant, or have Celiac’s disease, going gluten free is not healthier for you. You are welcome to substitute in 100% whole wheat flour in the place of gluten free flour.

I made 5 types of holiday cookies and these 2 came out the best:

Gingerbread Molasses: a more traditional New England holiday cookie (4g of added sugar per cookie)

Gingerbread Molasses Cookies


  • *Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • 1. In a large bowl mix the flours, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
  • 2. In a medium bowl cream the butter. Add the egg and mix.
  • 3. Add the Truvia, molasses and orange juice. Mix.
  • 4. Add the molasses mixture by hand to the flour mixture folding gently.
  • 5. The batter will be soft, however roll the batter into 12 even sized balls. The size will be approximately the size of a silver dollar.
  • 6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the top is cracked and the bottom is a golden brown.
  • 7. Let cool on a wire rack and store in an air tight container.

Ingredients List

  • 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter/coconut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup Truvia
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tbsp orange juice or water

Nutritional Data

157 Calories (kcals)
29 Carbohydrate (g)
3 Protein (g)
6 Fat (g)
1 Fiber (g)
108 Sodium (mg)

Oatmeal Spice Cookies: (2g of added sugar per cookie)

Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookies

Ingredients List

  • 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour-I used Bob’s Red Mill
  • 2 cups oats-gluten free if needed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Dash of cloves
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar Truvia
  • 1/4 cup Stevia
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup Craisins


  • 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • 2. In a medium bowl place flour and oats. Stir.
  • 3. Mix in baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Stir well and set aside.
  • 4. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream butter.
  • 5. Add Truvia and Stevia and blend.
  • 6. Mix in egg, applesauce, orange zest and vanilla and mix until blended.
  • 7. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, a little at a time.
  • 8. Mix gently with the mixer, or remove and continue to mix by hand.
  • 9. Stir in walnuts and raisins by hand.
  • 10. Roll the batter into balls about the size of silver dollars.
  • 11. Place on baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown. My oven took 12 minutes.
  • 12. Remove from pan and let cook on a wire rack.

Nutritional Data

121 Calories (kcals)
16 Carbohydrate (g)
5 Protein (g)
5 Fat (g)
2 Fiber (g)
80 Sodium (mg)
I hope you like these cookies as much as we did. Remember, it’s ok to indulge a bit, as long as you are eating 80-90% healthy and unprocessed foods. But when you’re at a party or holiday meal where almost everything is loaded with fat and sugar, it’s nice to have something you know is a good choice.
Happy Baking and let me know what you think!

Thanksgiving Nutrition Survival Tips and GF Cranberry Orange Pecan Stuffing

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Christmas comes close, but neither is about the food or the presents. Both mean family and friends to me. Growing up I was blessed to have both sets of grandparents living within a 2 hour radius of my family. So that meant I got to spend time with both. I didn’t know any better or that others didn’t have the same thing, but I loved it. Of course the food was good, but spending time with loved ones is what it’s about. Now as Brett and I are in TX, we are far away from family, but we are thankful to have good friends 20 minutes away who invited us to spend Thanksgiving with them. And in an awesome fashion, two sets of our new neighbors just asked if we had plans. They knew our family was far away and didn’t want us spending the day alone (if we didn’t want to). I am grateful for them and their kindness. I could spend this entire blog talking about how grateful I am for my family, my parents especially, our friends, careers, etc. But then I wouldn’t give you the tips I want to share. So let me end with, I am grateful to live in a country who allows me, a female entrepreneur to start her own business, I am grateful to Brett and my family that believe in me, I am grateful for friends for posting comments on FB when I fear no one will and I am grateful for everyone who has signed up for the Fueled and Focused meal plans and who is willing to give me a shot. Thank you!

 Thanksgiving Nutrition Survival Tips:

  1. Have a hearty breakfast-this will start your day off right and you won’t be starving when dinner comes
  2. Drink plenty of water-keeping hydrated and feeling full from the water will help you from being tempted to overeat
  3. Bring a dish or side dish you know you’ll want to eat-that way, you’ll know there is something you feel comfortable eating
  4. Watch the appetizers- appetizers are generally calorie bombs. And they are so small they are easy to grab and eat without thinking about it. Bring a veggie tray that way you can load up on veggies.
  5. Use smaller plates- Using a smaller plate means less food can go on it
  6. Portion out small amounts-Start with just a little of everything you’d like to try. Don’t heap food on and then realize 10min later  you’re stuffed to the brim.
  7. Practice mindful eating-Really think about how hungry you are, if you’re feeling full and whether you really want seconds or thirds
  8. Listen to your body cues and stop eating when you are 80% full-Our body takes some time to catch up when we’ve had enough. Slow down and listen to when you’re starting to get full.
  9. Turkey Trot or family walk/hike after-Going to a Turkey Trot before you eat, and then going for a family walk/hike after you’re done is a great way to help with the additional calories you might consume.
  10. Don’t feel guilty- lastly, the most important tip. If you over eat, or if you have foods you don’t normally consume, erase the guilt. Guilt is not something I want you to allow yourself to feel. Help yourself my acknowledging it’s a special occasion and no matter what, your self worth is not dictated by the food you consume.

Special Holiday Recipe: Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Pecan Stuffing (serves 6 as a side dish)

Cranberry Orange Pecan Stuffing

*the term stuffing is only loosely used here. The is not a traditional stuffing, but a yummy side dish that those that are Celiac or gluten intolerant can enjoy instead of traditional stuffing.*


  • 2.25 cups prepared quinoa: this is 3/4 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion chopped
  • 3/4 cup celery chopped-about 2 stalks
  • 1 cup mushrooms chopped
  • 1 cup raw cranberries halved
  • 4 seedless mandarin oranges peeled and divided-two whole and two sliced into chunks
  • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning-I used salt free
  • 1 tbsp French vinaigrette-I used Brianna’s Homestyle-French vinaigrette is an oil, vinegar and mustard based dressing
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup pecans chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


*Prepare quinoa ahead of time-I believe this recipe could also be prepared cooking the quinoa after you saute the garlic, onion and celery (with broth), however due to quinoa sometimes needing to be drained, this is a surefire way to have the dish be successful.


  • 1. Slice two oranges in half and squeeze juice into a small bowl. Discard the flesh or consume :).
  • 2. Add the poultry seasoning, vinaigrette and maple syrup. Stir to combine.
  • 3. Set aside.

Quinoa Stuffing:

  • 1. Heat a large saute pan or a stock pot over medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 2. Add the garlic and onion and saute, 3 minutes.
  • 3. Add in the celery and cook an additional 3-4 minutes or until starting to soften.
  • 4. Add the mushrooms and cook 1 minute.
  • 5. Stir in cooked quinoa, mixing well.
  • 6. Stir in cranberries.
  • 7. Add the dressing and mix well. Cook for 5 minutes until mixture is heated through and cranberries are starting to soften. The dressing should also be mixed in and no liquid left at the bottom of the pan.
  • 8. Remove the quinoa from the heat. Stir in the two sliced oranges and the pecans.
  • 9. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.
  • 10. Serve as a side dish
Nutritional Data:
187 Calories (kcals)
27 Carbohydrate (g)
4 Protein (g)
7 Fat (g)
4 Fiber (g)
180 Sodium (mg)
*Plus 100% RDI for vitamin A


My Mission and Promises to You

I hope my excitement and passion comes through your screens, as I’m very excited about the launch of my nutrition site. I am writing this blog post because I felt it very important for me to share a few things about me, where I see Fueled and Focused going and in essence, my mission to both those on my blog, my website and through the newsletter. This will also be part of my first newsletter set to go out tomorrow. Now, if you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet,  go to http://www.fueledandfocused.com and click “join newsletter” at the bottom. Or feel free to reply on here with your email. And better yet, sign up for the $1 meal plan trial. That way you’ll stay on top of the latest and greatest in the world of science, nutrition and performance.

I am an open book. Those that know me and work with me face to face, know I have no poker face. I am a very honest person, I believe that ethics and integrity are of the utmost importance, I try to treat everyone equally and my athletes (nutrition and coaching) mean the world to me. I would not be doing what I am, if you didn’t believe and trust in me. Thank you.

My mission: (non necessarily the traditional company mission)

To deliver nutrition based education and recipes in a way that lifts the athlete up, helps them to succeed in achieving their goals, while making nutrition fun and less fearful. My goal is for every person to strive to be the best athlete and person they can, using nutrition as a tool to help them succeed and to help them get there. And finally, to help every athlete know, that how they look or perform does not make them who they are and no matter what, food does not make you and it should not define you.

My promise to you is three fold:

I promise to always use science first and foremost. Science is our guide, and while nutrition is also an art, unless we use evidence based science, it’s hard to know exactly what is true and what isn’t. I am a big believer in education and to always strive to better myself through knowledge. I will continue to pursue advanced degrees, certificates or diplomas, while working with, alongside or under fellow scientists, dietitians and nutritionists. Science is always changing, and we see that from day to day and year to year. One year low fat diets are the key, the next year, high fat diets. It gets complicated, and I promise to stay on top of what’s going on. And while I will use what I learn from science, I’ll always think outside of the box to help athletes. Just because science says one thing, does not make it true for everyone. But we need to start somewhere.

I promise to never use nutrition as fear. I will never use the words “Detox, Toxin or Chemical.” Boy do I hate those words. I just want to scream NO NO NO over and over again when I see people post on these.  The media and so called nutritionists/doctors are using those words to instill fear into you. Instead of looking at the evidence, some nutritionists or media personalities use these words to line their pockets with money, they fear monger and want people to buy this product, or that product. I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but when that opinion is based in fear, and broadcast to thousands and millions or people, it isn’t right. I am not going to pretend to be a smarty pants because I certainly am not, so instead I am going to say “do your own research, seek out answers from those in the field, follow scientists on Facebook and Twitter.” There are so many people trying to spread the truth, but the fact is, it isn’t sexy. It isn’t sexy to say there is no evidence that GMO’s cause health problems. There are 1700 studies saying this. Or, that chemicals are poisonous and we need to be careful of what we put in our body. Yes, of course, some chemicals are not healthy, however all food is chemistry. And yes we do need to be careful of what we put in our body, but it’s different when people are advocating for untruths. When I write carbohydrate, I write CHO. This is because carbohydrates are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. So even the healthiest fruits and veggies are chemicals. And lastly, if you see anyone telling you to “detox,” run away, even if they have credentials behind their name. Our body does a wonderful job of getting rid of toxins by using our kidneys and liver. We don’t need to detox with food or lack of food.

I promise to never post pictures of myself or other athletes scantily clad in order to promote my site through sexism or unattainable goals. Since starting on Instagram and sometimes on Facebook, I’ve seen pictures of everyday people, athletes, fitness celebrities, etc. promoting and putting high on a pedestal, bodies that are not attainable or healthy for everyone. Daily I see pictures of men flexing their huge muscles and women wearing skimpy bikinis and super short shorts in provocative and/or sexual poses.  We were born with a specific body and a type of musculature/stature. This is mainly genetic, and while we can manipulate it, it is only to an extent. For example, there is a person/site on Instagram promoting big butts. I kid you not. There are photos of before and after shots of women who supposedly did this fitness routine, or ate these foods, and miraculously their butts grew. I’m sorry, but there is only so much someone can increase the glute muscle. It’s all about genetics. I am not saying to glorify unhealthy bodies. What I am saying is, everyone’s body shape is different. If you or another athlete is training hard and eating healthy, then they are doing what they need to do to have their best performance ever and you shouldn’t have images of fitness models/athletes in your face or heads who are doing things that allow them to look a certain way. I want to highlight that every athletic body shape is different, and just because you see pictures of a size zero model, or a female with 10% body fat, does not make that what you should strive to be like. We are athletes and depending on our sport, different body types are drawn or perform best with different sports. A swimmer like myself, will never have a runners body. It’s just how it goes. If in the future we add before and after photos, they won’t only be of someone at 125lbs going to 110lbs. It will be anyone who wants to post. And in reality, how cool would it be to have a before and after time vs picture. Because it’s not about a number on the scale.

Instead of promoting the latest detox, preaching that chemicals will kill us, saying to only eat lean meats and veggies to look like this person, posing in skimpy clothes in provocative postures, I promise to use science, not educate through scare tactics and promote everyone’s healthiest body. My nutrition site may not grow very quickly, as I’m not promoting fasts, detoxes or throwing out promises of losing 15lbs in one month. And I am ok with that. I want to promote nutrition and health not because I’d like to make a quick dollar, but because I believe it can really help us to be healthy, feel good, live long lives and perform our best. Food is a fuel and a tool we use to help us excel in our sports. It is not something that makes us feel shame, guilt, fear or any other negative thought. We need stop judging ourselves and others on what we eat, and encourage better choices. Not because we all want to be 0% body fat, but because we all want to be the healthiest and the best we can, both from a health and performance standpoint. The recipes that I post will range from meats, to salads to pastas, to breads, to desserts. There isn’t one right way to eat for everyone. It’s definitely possible to be vegetarian and be successful, it’s possible to eat meat and be successful, and it’s possible to eat or not eat gluten/dairy and be successful. While I’ll always teach to consume a mainly plant based diet with plenty of fruit, beans, nuts and legumes, the other choices you make are up to you. Everything is truly ok in moderation. If you eat the way I described 80-90% of the time, having occasional unhealthy meals and foods is just fine.

So to sum up and end this on a calm and relaxed note, my goal is to help you be successful in whatever that means to you. I love helping others and I’ve been given the opportunity to do this through nutrition and coaching. I’d love to help as many people as I can. I’m open and willing to listen to suggestions, needs and wants. I can’t promise to be able to fulfill everyone of them right away, but I will try.

If you’ve gotten to the end of this letter, thank you. I really appreciate you letting me share with you, my mission and promises. I’d be honored if you shared Fueled and Focused with your friends and team mates. Please like my Fueled and Focused Facebook page, and you can find my on Instagram as Fueled and Focused_nutrition. Thank you for allowing me to serve each of you.