What a Nutrition Specialist Eats

Have you seen this site floating around social media?

It’s got some great graphics.  I definitely learned a few things.  And, if you are new to clean eating, this is a perfect starting point.  I don’t mean to knock this too much with this lengthy post, but, as with everything, I have some suggestions to make it even better.


Good fats + nutrient-dense, yet low calories + protein

However, beans tend to cause all sorts of digestive issues with people.  Beans and legumes have phytic acid.  This substance binds with calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc, making it hard to impossible for you to absorb those nutrients from other food sources.  The Paleo World cause it an anti-nutrient.  It can also be irritating to your digestive system.  By soaking and sprouting these, you are neutralizing phytic acid very effectively. .

I have just started experimenting with soaking sprouting beans and will let you know if it helps the situation.  What’s sprouting?  Check out this tutorial.  Yes, it takes extra time, but I’m already learning that if you keep the system going (each time you finish one batch, start another) it’s much easier.  Plus, it’s basically just putting beans in water and letting them sit.



Protein + nutrient-dense, low calorie + complex carbohydrate

Again, not a bad combo.  But, the beans have the same issue as above and so does the rice.

WHITE OR BROWN RICE?  You’ve always heard brown rice is the way to go because of its higher fiber and nutrient content than white rice.  Well everything eventually gets overturned right?   Don’t judge white rice just because of its color.  Remember it’s a NATURALLY occurring color.  But, overall, rice is NOT a good source of vitamins or minerals. It is an easily absorbable form of glucose, which is why you will see elite athletes consume it after a workout.  Other than that, it’s really just a filler.  My suggestion:



Sweet potatoes (when cooked and cooled) are a resistant starch.  Catch up on that term HERE.


Carbohydrate + good fats/protein + fruit

How to make it better- try



 Gluten keeps showing up in my research to be detrimental to just about everything.  Check out this post I recently wrote.  Waffles typically are made from wheat and therefore contain it.  Try Ezekiel brand because they sprout their grains (think above why I recommended sprouting your beans/legumes).  Or, make your own waffles:

1 banana

1 cup oats

sprinkle of cinnamon

Place all in blender.  Mix well and then cook as regular waffles.

Peanuts… they have that phytic acid too (can’t get away from it).  That’s why I opt for almond butter.  Plus, almonds are one of the nuts that keep you full longest.  Read this great post by Laura about almond butter.



I love this combo.  Healthy fats and omega 3s +  nutrient dense, low calorie vegetables.

I would possibly add a starchy vegetable for some satiety (plantains, taro, potatoes or sweet potatoes).


And, get a cold-water, wild-caught fish like Atlantic mackerel, cod, haddock, herring, mahi mahi, salmon, anchovies, pollock, trout, whitefish, canned light tuna and sardines.  They have the most omega 3s and healthy fats!


Yummy combo, yes.  And not a bad choice of nutrient-dense, low calorie veggies + healthy fats and protein.  I would just spruce it up with even more good fats (avocado, coconut or olive oil and sunflower seeds) and veggies (eggplant, summer squash, parsnips, brussels) to make it pack more of a  punch.


Go full-fat, UNpasteurized, raw, organic dairy products whenever possible.  RAW MILK?  Yes, read all about it’s benefits and if it’s actually harmful HERE.  While this kills the harmful bacteria, it also kills the good bacteria.  Read Chris’s article to get the full scoop.

In an effort not to make this a novel… to be continued.

What would you add to this chart?

Fuel Leading Up to Race Day

The Race 13.1 Half Marathon is only 3 weeks away.  Very excited to be racing so close to home and to be leading the pre-race warm up.  If you are headed to this race, come stretch with me beforehand!



Little Gentry!  And I would never take you through a sitting stretch pre-race, I just couldn’t find any other “stretchy” looking pictures.

So, what should you do leading up to race day?  

Unfortunately, I did some too early tapering last week because Justin broke our treadmill.  Ok, maybe I helped too.  One Saturday we totaled 28 miles on it.  Guess our residential brand wasn’t meant for that.

But, we got a Precor with a 5 speed motor.  The treadmill guru basically said if we break that, we aren’t meant to own a treadmill.

For a half marathon, you really only need to start tapering about 2 weeks out.  A that 2 week out point, you should reduce your mileage to about 66%.  It has also been recommended that you reduce your carb intake, due to the lower mileage.  One book I’m reading now even suggests doing this so it forces your body to start storing extra glycogen.  Again, check out THIS POST I wrote about not really needing to be too concerned about fueling for under 2 hour races (if your half will be that fast).

One week out, it has been recommended to reduce your mileage to 33% of what you were running and to pick back up on the carb intake on Days 5 and 4 our from the race.


Again, for a half marathon, you don’t need to carb load, but it never hurts to eat a few more sweet potatoes, right?  Marathoners (who have not been fat-fueling) should follow this rule and get about 70-80% of their calories from carbs on days 5 and 4 out from the race.

That big pasta dinner the night before the race, doesn’t actually do you any good.  It’s too late by then to add to those glycogen stores.  In fact, it’ll weigh you down.  Save that reward for post race.


 I’ve already touched on what to eat for fueling race day in THIS POST.

Back up a little bit to the fat-fueling comment I made above.  The latest trend with endurance athletes has been to teach your body to use fat vs carbs for energy.  Carbs are readily available and quickly converted to energy, but fats are actually your body’s first choice.  If you are interested in learning more about this topic, stay tuned!  Working on a post now!

And shameless plug… join my 15+ women I already have signed up for this


Contact me below if interested!

Resistant Starches

Sounds appetizing doesn’t it?  For your gut flora, it is!



What are resistant starches?

Starches are long chains of glucose that are found in grains, potatoes and various foods.  But not all of the starch we eat gets digested.  Sometimes a small part of it passes through the digestive tract unchanged.In other words, it is resistant to digestion. SOURCE

So why would we want to eat something that’s resistant to being digested?

Because it feeds our good bacteria!  Resistant starches go through the stomach and small intestine undigested, eventually reaching the colon where it feeds the friendly bacteria in the gut.  Other foods we eat feed about 10% of our cells, but these feed the other 90%

So how can I add them to my diet?

Grab some unripe bananas, plantains, cooked and cooled rice, legumes and potatoes.  The cooking and cooling process  turns some of the digestible starches into resistant starches.  On a low-carb diet?  Bob’s Red Mill Raw Potato Starch has been suggested by some experts as a supplement.  Always consult with your doc before consuming any supplements, however.

Here is a great post giving you even more info on RS.

Here’s how I’ve been adding them

Roasted and and cooled purple potato “chips.”

Roasted and cooled plantain chips. We like chips.  Although the greener the plantain the better!

Veggie burgers made with any type of legume.

If you are interested in learning more about gut health, join my group!


Fill in the form below to join!

What are your favorite recipes using this type of starch?

Healthy Gut Group- Edited

How many people do you know that go on low calorie diets, burn out the treadmill and still gain weight?


Ok this is technically my Sutton baby bump, but let’s just pretend like it’s belly fat ;)

Seems impossible to restrict calories and constantly workout without LOSING weight, but here’s why…

1.  Low calorie diets end up suppressing hormones that regulate insulin sensitivity (New England Journal of Medicine).  And these hormones end up remaining suppressed for up to 18 months after returning to a normal calorie intake.  SOURCE  If you begin to lose insulin sensitivity, it means MUCH insulin needs to be secreted in order for you to deposit normal levels of glycogen.  What does this mean?   Well, insulin is also a fat-storing hormone, so the more of it that circulates in the body, the harder it becomes to burn body fat.  Secrete more of it, burn less body fat.

2.  Low calorie diets disrupt your gut flora AKA good gut bacteria.  Don’t think your gut is important?  Check out this study:

Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University in St. Louis and his colleagues conducted an elegant series of experiments with so-called humanized mice, published last September in Science. First, they raised genetically identical baby rodents in a germ-free environment so that their bodies would be free of any bacteria. Then they populated their guts with intestinal microbes collected from obese women and their lean twin sisters. The mice ate the same diet in equal amounts, yet the animals that received bacteria from an obese twin grew heavier and had more body fat than mice with microbes from a thin twin. As expected, the fat mice also had a less diverse community of microbes in the gut. SOURCE

3.  Overexercising and under-eating causes adrenal fatigue.


According to Webmd (because who doesn’t get their medical info from here),

 Your adrenal glands make hormones. One of these is cortisol, which helps your body deal with stress. According to the adrenal fatigue theory, if your life is too stressful, your adrenal glands may not pump out enough hormones, leading to a wide variety of symptoms.

They call this a theory because it isn’t entirely proven.  But, who wants to cause themselves adrenal stress and then go through all sorts of various experiments for science?


Not even this crazy guy.

This added stress DOES alter your gut bacteria, and from what I mentioned above, gut bacteria is HUGE in determining your weight and well-being!

Many other factors can contribute to this lingering weight, but these are a few

So how can you fix this and KEEP belly fat at bay?

It’s simple.  Eat more REAL colors.


I am going to be hosting a “Healthy Gut Group” in the month of May.  If you are interested in joining, you will learn about ways around this weight loss plateau, foods and small lifestyle changes that feed that good bacteria and ways to fit it into your lifestyle.  There will be an initial and final informational “meeting”, suggested meal plans, frequent check-ins, recipe sharing and a support group, including unlimited access to me.  A small fee will be associated with this group.  I have decided to open this up to non-local participants after many requests.  So, if you are interested in being part of it, please fill out the information below.

**Share on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook tagging @bemomstrong and be entered to win a free spot**

Ever hit a plateau?


Chia.  You’ve heard of it.  Either through source A


or source B


So what’s all the fuss?

Chia seeds are little black seeds that come from the plant Salvia Hispanica.  This plant is related to the mint and  grows natively in South America.  Chia seeds were staple food for the Aztecs and Mayans back in the day because they provided sustainable energy.  Cool fact- “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.” SOURCE

1 ounce of chia seeds contains 137 calories, 1 digestible carb and all these goodies

Fiber- 11 g

Fat – 9g

Protein- 4g

Calcium – 18% of RDA

Phosphorus – 27%

Magnesium- 30%

Manganese – 30%

They also absorb up to 30 times their weight in water. What does this mean for you? Hydration help!

There is some debate over the true POWER of these tiny seeds.  Health Warrior (no, I’m not sponsored by them, just love them) portrays chia seeds as little David… as in David and Goliath


But others say it’s just the latest health food fad

Several articles like THIS exist claiming that a very small percentage of the plant-based ALA omega 3’s in chia seeds can actually be converted for human consumption, that the phytic acid in these seeds can block absorption of other important nutrients and cause a “leaky” gut.  Most of these claims come from the Paleo crowd, while the very opposite comes from the plant-based one.  I wrote a post about phytic acid HERE if you care to read and chose your own “side.”

Either way, I would highly recommend adding them to your diet.  Maybe not daily, but often!  Here are some great ways to do just that.


Gluten-free blueberry muffins



Combine 2 mashed bananas, 1 cup of GF oats, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup of chia seeds and 4 TBS nut butter in a bowl. Mix well and divide between 6-9 muffin “holes” in a muffin baking sheet. Cook on 350F for 15 min.

Chia pudding

1/3 cup chia seeds, 1 cup milk, 1 tsp vanilla and sprinkle of cinnamon in a mason jar. Shake, put lid on and store overnight in fridge. Yogurt/pudding for the AM!

Chia drink


1.5 cups of water with 1 entire lemon squeezed in or 1/2 cup of favorite juice (I used a splash of cranberry above) and 3 TBS chia seeds.  Combine in a mason jar and shake well. Seal the lid in store in the refrigerator overnight.

Want some more?  Check out THIS SITE.

Still time to sign up for my Healthy Gut Group whether you are local or not!  Just fill in the contact info below.  Also, if you are local and interested in attending my Prepping Party April 25th, fill in this:

Do you use chia?

Snacking- Should you or Shouldn’t You?

Research is constantly changing.  Eggs are good, then bad, then good again.

I’m still waiting for the research to prove these eggs are good.

Awhile back I wrote this post about eating every 2-3 hours.  It made sense… when you don’t eat:

1.  You get SUPER hungry and pig out the next meal OR

2.  Your body goes into “starvation” mode and stops burning calories.

I like eating every 2-3 hours and my body seems to respond well to it.

BUT, I have been coaching some clients that don’t want to eat breakfast, or snack all the time.  So I started digging a little further…

Here are my new thoughts to these theories:

1. The thermic effect of food does cause more calories to burn.  So, you may consume  a 200-calorie snack and burn 20 of those calories digesting them; hence the thinking that your metabolism will keep burning all day long if you don’t continuously feed it.  However, at the end of the day, no matter how many times you ate, what matters is the total quantity of food.


2.  Your body does respond to long periods of very low calorie intake by slowing your metabolism to conserve energy – but that long period is far from the 2-3 hour range… try more like 3 days.   SOURCE

If snacking is working for you, great.  However, realize that you are training your body to be hungry at specific points throughout the day.  For example, I always drink a vega shake at 9AM, either right after or before teaching.  Even if I eat breakfast at 8AM, I am starving for that shake at 9.  But, if I go a few days without it, I’m no longer starving.

*Everyone is different, so find what works for you.  Just take that “eat 5-6 small meals a day” suggestion with a grain of salt.

If you are a snacker, I would highly recommend finding whole food snacks with fat.  Yes, FAT.  Think nuts, an avocado, WHOLE FAT yogurt or cheese, a shake with coconut or MCT oil.  More on all this fat on a later post.

My favorite on the go snack?


Why do I have these new thoughts?  My new BFF Ben Greenfield.


In listening to every single one of his podcasts in the past week, I have learned much about teaching your body to become a fat-burning machine.  I love it because it’s not traditional.  Does that mean it’s just some new-age fad?  You decide.  I’m deciding it’s not due to the fact that what I’ve been told traditionally all my life about health and nutrition is proving wrong time and time again.  Like…

Milk actually doesn’t do a body that much good

Ok.. maybe his…



Those hearty whole-grains aren’t really so healthy.


What are your thoughts on snacking?

Does it work for you?

Fueling During Races

As the Race 13.1 Richmond nears, it’s hard not to think about race day decisions.

What to eat  that morning

What to wear


What songs to put on my playlist

What to eat during the race

I can’t help you with the music or clothing (I’m awful at both), but food, that I can do.

I see so many people at the start of races with their GU gels lined up in their runner fanny packs.  While GUs are just trying to keep you from bonking, they aren’t always needed and can actually hurt you.

Your body is perfectly capable of exercising for up to 2 hours with the storage it already has, given that you’ve properly fueled before.

So, what to eat before?

It depends (doesn’t it always?).  Find something that doesn’t upset your belly and practice using it.

Some love bagels with nut butter

Others grab a protein breakfast bar

Maybe a mimosa would help ease the pain?

Now, take this next advice as what I have researched and believe in.

1.  Stay away from fiber.  We all now what that does for you and as it may be good for your diet, not so much for race day.


2. Stay away from artificially flavored drinks, GUs, etc.  They just aren’t clean and NOT what God put on this earth to fuel you to the best of your ability.  Enough said.

3.  Stay away from FODMAP foods.  Another post to come, but here is a quick definition of FODMAPs…

are carbohydrates (sugars) that are found in foods. Not all carbohydrates are considered FODMAPs. The FODMAPs in the diet are: Fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), etc) Lactose (dairy) SOURCE

The big concept here is the word carbohydrates.  FODMAP carbs are those that contain wheat- AKA gluten.  So, instead of that bagel, look for non-gluten, easy to digest carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, yams, even white rice… brown will have too much fiber for a race).

You don’t really need as many carbohydrates as you think.  I’ve read forever that you need 40-65% of your diet as carbohydrates.  I’m really questioning this approach as I learn more about turning your body into a fat burning machine via eating more good fat.  Yes carbs have been toted as your body’s primary fuel source, but (and I’m working on posts detailing this) they don’t have to be.  In short, be weary of carbs with gluten, which can cause GI issues and noticeably slow you down even if you aren’t celiac.

4.  Add some healthy fats- coconut milk, nut butters, avocado.  Your body CAN burn fat as fuel just as good as carbs, it’s just a matter of teaching it to (again, another post to come).

5.  Have some protein, but not a lot.  It takes your body a lot of energy to break down proteins, and they aren’t really used as fuel unless absolutely necessary.

I ate a gluten-free bagel (easy-to-digest carb) with almond butter (fat) before the Shamrock Half.  I’ve also eaten a gluten-free egg sandwich (easy-to-digest carb) with a smashed avocado (fat) or a banana with almond butter.

As I type this I realize this post needs to be about 500 paragraphs longer… for another day!

How about during a race?

If your race will be under 2 hours, you can get away with nothing food-wise.  Hydration is FAR more important.

Depending on your size, you can store roughly 1500-2000 calories of storage carbohydrate. (SOURCE) That is plenty to get you through that under 2-hour performance.  When you go over that two hours, that’s when your body needs some help.  While GUs and gels are very portable, think REAL FOOD.  It takes much experimentation to find what works for you but here are some suggestions

handful of nuts, raisins, or other dried fruit

a portable from The Feed Zone Diet book

Justin’s nut butter (they come in a squeezable pouch)


Health Warrior chia bar (a little hard to chew, but very portable

So much info to share, but stopping here!  Remember, if you need a running coach, or nutrition one, I’m available!  Check this out.

How do you fuel for a race?