Tag Archives: food

The Picky Athlete’s Pocket

When an endurance athlete reduces/eliminates gluten and dairy from the diet, there are a lot of things out the window! There are the obvious good-byes – bowls of whole-wheat pasta, peanut-butter & banana sandwiches on whole-wheat bread, most cereals, etc – and then there are the “THAT has gluten/dairy, too?!” moments. The breakups that follow include most* energy bars, gels, sometimes-worth-the-splurge candy, etc. It’s a tough wake-up call, but well worth turning over those bars to glance at an ingredient list or two.

CLIF Dietary options

Exhibit A: the CLIF site makes it very easy to see which products fit into your dietary-needs pocket. But click “Gluten Free” & “No Dairy” and your options are instantly diminished. (Kudos for the user-friendly way to find this out, though. Scrolling through an FAQ section isn’t as fun.)

When did fueling on-the-go get so complicated? Wasn’t there a day when these didn’t exist, and people still crossed finish lines riding/running strong?

YES. Yes, those days did exist.

*Being selectively picky might have been quite the chore as few as 5-10 years ago – aside from homemade options and loaves of frozen gluten-free bread, you might have been grazing the sport store aisles & internet pages without much luck. Last Spring, taking on the “Sherpa” role with D’s cycling, I quickly realized that my marathon-fueling tactics didn’t extrapolate to a 100-mile ride, followed by an 80-mile jaunt the next day! (Let’s not get into how they physically do this, in the first place. My lower half aches at the suggestion of that weekend agenda.)

Enter: the Feedzone Cookbook, Picky Bars & Vega protein.

Feedzone cookbookPicky bars
picky bar science
Vega logo Vega slogan
Vega package instagramPicky Bar ski day

Photo source: Feedzone cookbook.

Sure, we could make our own bars all the time and get really creative with flavors & textures and combinations. When I feel the urge to do so, I’m all for it. We also can, and do, make trail mixes, simply grab hand-fruits, etc. when the kitchen is stocked.  But for the quick-fix, somebody-else-has-figured-this-out option?

ALL of these are gold to the picky athlete’s pocket!

The Feedzone cookbook (written by Allen Lim, who has worked with endurance cyclists for years) has recipes for rice-based bars; Picky bars are made by professional endurance athletes (Stephanie Rothstein, Jesse Thomas & Lauren Fleshman) as is Vega (Brendan Brazier). They get it. 

If you’re among the “picky” athletes looking for alterative options, these are all waiting for you. If you make your own bars, there are plenty of recipes out there to test out & enjoy! If you’re just looking to clean things up a little bit on-the-run or ride, these products are worth your investment.


What’s lining your pockets when you’re on-the-go?
Do you have any easy go-to recipes for bars, snacks, drinks, etc?


Filed under cycling, food, gluten free, Nutrition, running

Juicy FRUIT {For All} Giveaway

Today’s post is outside the box, but speaks to the first area of Nutrition that I felt strongly passionate about – childhood health and development through nourishing foods. Read on, for a giveaway of sorts at the end!


The sight of a juice box provokes nostalgia for the brown-bag lunching elementary school days. My mom packed ours almost every day, and the juice box was a staple next to the cut-in-half sandwich, chips, fruit and/or vegetables (carrots or green pepper slices) and the best homemade cookie treat.

These days, my lunches may never include a juice box and very rarely end with a homemade cookie. They do almost always include fresh fruit and veggies.

While I’ll always be in the fresh-first camp, it’s simply accepting a reality to know that this isn’t an option for every family, all the time. And while you’ll rarely, if ever, see me with a juice box in hand (though, that would be an interesting post-race freebie!), I still felt compelled to participate in the Juicy Juice Fruit for All (FFA) project when Nestle approached me*.

JJ FFA map

“What Juicy Juice is doing is just amazing…it will really help to fill the gap that we’re experiencing right now.”  

-Carole Tremblay, Los Angeles Regional Food bank

This project, partnering with Feeding America, is dedicated to providing 35 million pieces of fresh fruit to kids and families across the U.S. Most of us don’t think about living in hunger, or being “food insecure” often, because our realities are unique. But food deserts exist, where fresh produce is a luxury, not a norm.

Their documentary provides more information around the FFA project, the families who benefit from it and the adorable kiddos who taste the unbeatable natural sweetness of fresh, juicy fruit.


A nutritionally balanced and varied diet is key for growth and health at any age, but is especially important during childhood developmental years.

If kids aren’t exposed to fresh food, how will they ever know to seek it and choose it? How will they know that it tastes great, and the juice is deliciously sweet and sticky? If it’s not familiar, it’s foreign; they’ll mature to find comfort in what they do know (packages, convenience, “inexpensive”), vs. what’s better for them.

“America’s battle is not about having enough food; in fact, 20 billion pounds of food go to waste each year.”  -FFA project

Instead, it’s about getting that food into hands and mouths!



In participating and spreading the word about Juicy Juice’s FFA campaign, they will bring 400 pieces of fresh fruit to a food bank in DC, and provide the same for your community if you win**!

— TO ENTER: Leave a note sharing the first fruit you remember loving as a kid. Mine? Cold, juicy summer watermelon. The BEST. Hands down.

U.S. residents only, please. Entries will be closed as of 10 p.m. (EST), on Wednesday, August 8. watermelon FFA smile

I think she agrees with me. {Image source}

To learn more about what you’ll be supporting, check out the FFA site and/or Facebook page.

**Even if you don’t win here, there are plenty of other ways to be involved if you’re interested!


*Full Disclosure: this post is in partnership with Nestle and their Fruit For All project. I was not paid to promote this campaign, and did not receive any Nestle product as part of my involvement. All media in this post is from the Juicy Juice FFA website.


Filed under food, Giveaway, Nutrition

Five Faves: A Green Mustard, Tunes & Dollars

This week my food taught me a (very  important) lesson and surprised my taste buds. I read the last few pages of a good book, jammed to new tunes and continued to enjoy the fruits of summer! A few of those favorite things:

1. CSA Mustard greens

It’s been a long time since a green, or any “spicy” food, has shocked my system. Thanks to Good Life Farm I have now tasted, prepped and cooked Mustard Greens – in that order.  But, our first date was awkward.

Tell me: at first glance, what does this look like?

Mustard Greens 1

Answer: Kale!….anyone else? If not, I’ll gladly admit defeat. It wouldn’t be the first time this week, and it certainly won’t be the last in this vegetable-guessing game of life.

I was all set to sauté “kale” with my dinner on Tuesday night. The oil was heating, and I started tearing the large leaves into smaller pieces. I popped a stem in my mouth for some crunchy goodness…..! WHOA.

Mustard! Why does this taste like spicy mustard*?!

Admittedly, the “a ha” moment took a few. Racking my brain, I finally put two-and-two together, realizing what the “mustard seed” comes from. And oh no, this is not kale. This is a mustard green. Slowly, but surely.

Don’t judge a green by its look and feel. It is all ready to surprise you with peppery, spicy goodness.

*Fun fact: I strongly dislike the taste of spicy mustard. I promptly put a drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar into this sauté pan, for some added flavor.

Good to Know Nutrition Info: mustard greens are known for their “cholesterol-lowering abilities” as they bind bile acids, are a good source of the phytonutrient glucosinolate (thought to be cancer-preventative), and are an excellent source of vitamins K, A and C, and folate.

2. Cantaloupe – thank you, dear orange cutie, for not surprising me in any way. Rather, your familiar taste and refreshing juiciness was exactly what I needed.

Cantaloupe slice 1

You can find this melon at its peak from June-August – a summer melon that, when cold and ready, will be just what the mouth needs after a hot summer run, day at the pool or whatever has you sweating.

As you may have guessed from its orange hue, it’s an excellent source of vitamin A, and also provides almost 100% of our daily Vitamin C needs in just one cup. If you’re looking for a unique way to enjoy this melon, try this – Polenta Cantaloupe Rice.

3. Langhorne Slim has been on repeat all week. D discovered him a few months ago – if my memory is accurate, this was via New Belgium’s Facebook shout-out – and I’ve been late to the party.

Friends, meet Langhorne (click, and listen):

Langhorne Slim

4. Brown Rice PastaIn an attempt to branch out and try some new grain options, we picked up a bag of brown rice pasta. Ingredients: organic brown rice, water. Well okay then, that’s nice & simple! I’ll take it.

It looks, cooks and tastes very similar to any whole-wheat pasta variety. The texture is a little bit thicker, which I like.

I made a batch of this pasta on Monday,  and have used it as a salad topper (along with many other things – salads don’t get away lightly over here), and in a few dinners with the above-mentioned kale mustard green. Last night, it was topped with steamed broccoli, and a sautéed mixture of chickpeas, sweet potatoes & greens.

5. All the Money in the World by Laura Vanderkam

I’ve referenced this book recently, and just turned the last page on the plane home from San Diego. I’ve already found myself going back through dog-eared pages, highlights and notes taken while reading.

All the Money in the World book

The subtitle reads “What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending” – notice the absence of the word saving? While this practice is referenced in the book, and of course important in the course of life, the main points really focus on how to prioritize your passions, values and experiences to get the most out of what you do spend.

The pages also offer quite a few thought-provoking inquiries into how we spend our time, resources and energy – which, in most cases, involve a few dollars and cents.

I doubt this will be the last time you see a reference to these pages, but it certainly deserved a “favorite!” shout-out. Two thumbs strongly standing, and typing, for this read!


What’s been added to your favorites list this week?


Filed under about me, food, music

Simple Delicious: 5-Ingredient Meals

Last weekend’s grocery trip was a hefty load, my Mom offered to pick up the bill and specifically asked that we get anything we want. Well, twist my arm, Mamacita…we stocked up on all things fresh and in season (tricky, at TJ’s, but possible) and set up our kitchen for a successful week of eating in.

A stocked fridge doesn’t change the mindset around here; these meals are simple, around 5(ish) ingredients or less, and satisfied all taste buds.

sauteed zucchini and tomato tacos

Sautéed Zucchini & Tomato Tacos

1 whole zucchini, halved & sliced
1 tomato*, middle removed, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp canola oil
Seasoning: dried thyme & oregano

Corn tortillas
Tempeh slices (optional)

*Tomatoes from the farmers market in Dupont, finally back in season!

Heat oil over medium in a deep sauté pan; add zucchini, stirring for 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms & tomato slices, cooking until softened. Season to taste.

Heat tortillas in the oven for a few minutes, or in a pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side. Stuff with taco fillings and add tempeh, or bean of choice, for an extra protein punch!


broccoli and orange pepper stirfry

Broccoli & Orange Pepper Sesame Stir-fry

1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 orange pepper, sliced
1/2 block tofu (or the whole one, if you’re feeding more than two!),
cut into bite-sized pieces

Sesame oil
Sesame seeds
Quinoa or rice, cooked

Steam the broccoli. Meanwhile, heat ~1 tbsp sesame oil over medium in a deep sauté pan. Add tofu, cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add peppers, saute an additional 4-5 minutes until tofu is lightly browned & peppers are softened. Add broccoli, a dash of Low-sodium soy sauce to taste and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Serve over cooked rice, quinoa or even noodles – whatever those grain-loving taste-buds are craving!


Outside of my kitchen, we made Vegan Berry Smoothies for work yesterday at a Health Screening event, and these things were  a huge hit! Most people were surprised there was no yogurt, or dairy at all. Some were shocked to hear we had added spinach. All were happy to see how easy this is to do at home.

vegan mixed berry smoothie ingredientsvitamix mixed berry vegan smoothie

Vegan Mixed Berry Smoothievegan mixed berry smoothies

1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen blueberries (or raspberries. OR both, if you’re feeling fancy)
1 banana
1 cup dairy-free milk (we used allergy-friendly Rice milk)
1 drizzle agave (optional)
1 cup raw spinach leaves

Blend everything together, and drink up!


These will be happening in our kitchen more often, as summer has definitely joined the May party and oatmeal is making me sweat (yum). The frozen berries eliminate the need for ice (blender-friendly) and the banana adds just enough texture to leave it spoon-needing thick. Perfection.

Oddly enough, more than one person had suggested a shot of vodka or clear rum here. I mean, to each their own. It was only 10 AM. But, virgin or otherwise, these smoothies would be a perfect Memorial Day weekend party-goer!


What meals have you been mixing up lately? Any summer foods making “early” appearances?

Happy Holiday Weekend! Stay safe. Soak up the sun. Relax & recharge. Welcome summer however you like to!


Filed under DC, food, recipes

Goods from Good Life Farm {CSA}

The Outback Steakhouse wasn’t the first to coin the term ‘Bloomin’ Onion’. Believe it or not, the true thing exists outside of a deep fryer, and straight from the ground. It has a real edible flower (a purple one, no less), real nutrients, and a fraction of the calories (understatement).

Behold, the real blooming onion:

Blooming Onion. GoodLifeFarms

These  little beauties came to my kitchen via the CSA our office has with Good Life Farm. This local haven is less than 30 minutes from our desks, and delivers our shares in a Farmers Market-style Friday afternoon set-up. Last week, we were greeted with mustard & collard greens, cute-purple-flowered onions, onion chives, large leaf spinach and huge (by our grocery-store-standard) leaf kale.

Fresh greens were aplenty in our kitchen this week! They starred in many meals.

Chickpea radish spinach saladSauteed kale. GoodLifeFarm

Left: another favorite from our first share, baby radishes & spinach.

D & I purchased a “half” share, splitting with my coworker, Leah. This gives us enough fresh-from-the-farm veggies to feed two people for the week, until at least October. After only the second round,  I now know my cells will be bursting with pride (ahem, nutrients) until late into the Fall season.

We’ve heard tales of corn by the box, strawberries by the pint, eggs if we choose, and an open invitation to visit the farm – to pick our own veggies & fruits! – at any time. My 10-year-old self can’t believe I’m counting the days til fresh tomatoes land in those salads and atop summer sandwiches.

If there’s any way to learn what fruits & veggies are in season and when, this is it. We’ll be spoiled with the best of the best.

This is the good life.


Are you part of a CSA?

What’s coming in your shares these mid-Spring days (or, from your grocery basket)?


Filed under DC, food