First things first.
I was away from Campy for 5 Looong days and I can't stop taking pictures of this little ball of cuteness. I mean, seriously....does life get any sweeter?
Ok, on to a more fun note......FOOD!!!
Between the ISSN Sport Nutrition conference in Clearwater on June 22nd and 23rd in Clearwater Beach, FL, Napa for 5 days and then the Florida Dietetic Association Symposium on Tuesday July 3rd, I am ovewhelemed with info that my fingers can't keep up. One of the most enjoyable parts of being a professional in the field of health and wellness is learning new information - especially when it is ground-breaking, hot-off-the-press. But in the past 2 weeks, I have also enjoyed hearing information that I already know but more importantly, confirming my philosophy of food to fuel exercise and the lifestyle as well as how I choose to motivate, educate and inspire others. Certainly I am open to new things as I don't believe in a black or white -style of counseling/consulting/coaching but it is nice to have credible people to support my views on food and training. Of course, saying that they are "my" views is not true because I have learned from some of the best in the field and I believe in passing along this credible information to others.
I don't waste my time or energy on diet fads nor do I believe there is one way to live life. For if you are happy with how you are living your life, your health improves. And if your health improves, you are going to be happier. It's just that simple.
One of the biggest take-aways from the two conferences is my style of working with others. As you may (or may not know) I do not give meal plans or prescribe a specific style of eating. Plant-strong...absolutely. However, that's only the foundation of building the house. You still need to build supportive walls and decorate...that's where the fun begins.
I believe in a 3-step process of changing lifestyles.
1) Address behaviors - creating a positive environment and developing a healthy relationship with food.
2) Prioritize food for health - improve quality of life.
3) Sport nutrition - gain the competitive advantage by learning how to fuel for activity, recover faster and encourage optimal performance gains.
Each person is different but I still believe in a step-wise approach. For it is my responsibility to make sure a person has a healthy relationship with food, much prior to addressing the limiters to a current sport nutrition fueling routine during a long workout. Additionally, if food-related behaviors are not positive, it would be difficult for me to suggest eating a more plant-strong diet if you don't like grocery shopping and you don't like to cook. With every behavior change, comes a new habit and with new habits come a new passion for life. It is only when you see yourself doing things that you thought weren't possible, yet make you feel amazing, you will strive for consistency in your new lifestyle routine.
Last night was a simple dinner. A salad.
But with simplicity came a bowl full of nutrients....or as I'd like to say, medicine.
When I was at the Culinary Institute of America - Greystone, I started my intro describing my philosophy of creating balance with diet and exercise and then I discussed my two seperate, yet similar points-of-view.
As an athlete, food is fuel. I eat so I can compete. I fuel so I can reach my goals. That's the bottom line. What's the point of achieving a lean body if I can't do anything with it?
But as a RD (clinical RD), food is my medicine. It nourishes my body, keeps me well and improves my quality of life.
If we could all treat food like a prescription, I think we'd all live a healthier lifestyle....that goes without saying.
For if you were prescribed x-pills to take a day to help you with x-problem, you would take them because you know those pills will help you (or in many cases - save your life). Take less, your body would suffer. Take more, you would be overdosing and harm may be done.
Without even considering the countless (I mean endless) nutrients found in whole foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, oils) complimented with quality protein, you have a purpose and a reason to enjoy the food you are providing to your body.
And if you think I am not giving myself a prescription to eat dark chocolate on a daily basis....well, I'm glad you aren't the doctor of my body because we can write a prescription for anything - just recognize the purpose of how it will enhance your life. For in life, we should not live each day feeling guilty for our actions. You may regret a decision but it doesn't change your character or who you are. Time to move on and make for a better tomorrow (or perhaps, a better next hour).
I hope you enjoy my medicine in a bowl dinner. Light in the belly but heavy in nutrients. A perfect post-workout meal or a delicious bowl of color on a summer day. Enjoy!
Medicine in a bowl
Red bell pepper
Sweet orange pepper
Protein choice - Low fat cottage cheese (I recommend Daisybrand
- lower in sodium than many cottage cheeses on the market and only 3 ingredients. I tried some at the FDA conference and it was delicious!)
For a dressing - I used orange juice (about 2 tbsp) which is rich in vitamin C and will help with absorption of non heme iron in the dark greens. It added a nice sweetness and tartness to the salad.