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Trimarni is place where athletes and fitness enthusiasts receive motivation, inspiration, education, counseling and coaching in the areas of nutrition, fitness, health, sport nutrition, training and life.

We emphasize a real food diet and our coaching philosophy is simple: Train hard, recover harder. No junk miles but instead, respect for your amazing body. Every time you move your body you do so with a purpose. Our services are designed with your goals in mind so that you can live an active and healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Trimarni Blog

A blog dedicated to exercise, nutrition and my life

Filtering by Category: "Heartwise"

You aren't eating celery???

Marni Sumbal

Celery isn't the most cravable food. There are those who love celery and those who - well, hate it. Their words, not mine as I am a lover of celery.
I suppose there isn't much to hate about it as it doesn't provide many calories and it is quite tasteless but for some reason, celery isn't the choice when it comes to needing something to snack on throughout the day.

In my recent article for, in my new column "The Triathlete's Kitchen" I choose celery for the reason that it may be neglected in the athlete's/fitness enthusiasts diet. I find celery to be a remarkable food for what it offers the body and the creation I made (Celery, Apple and Strawberry Salad with Coconut Yogurt) is so delicious that you don't need to be sold on the health benefits of celery to add this veggie to your daily diet.

Here's the article and recipe:


Also - I just finished a 4-month journey with News Anchor Melanie Lawson-Minor. If you are someone who feels stuck and needs some motivation in changing body composition, getting fitter and improving the diet, check out Melanie's story. I had a great time working with Melanie as she was part of the Baptist Heartwise for Women program which involved getting herself screened for her cardiovascular health, taking part in regular exercise and learning more about nutrition. I was not alone in her journey as there are several of us (RDs, RN's, MD's) that are dedicated to changing the lives of women in the Jacksonville community.

Here are the most recent TV segments:
Big reveal: Part 1
Big reveal: Part 2


Mediterranean eating - it's not about off-limit food

Marni Sumbal

A big thanks to the Today Show for sharing the recent significant research on adopting a more plant strong diet! I really like that the focus was on addressing what "we" should be eating more of rather than talking about bad or off-limit foods. This makes it easier to change eating habits without feeling like you are sticking to a food-controlled diet. Hopefully there will be a follow-up study on adopting a more Mediterranean lifestyle which includes finding the right balance between work, sleep, exercise, food and friends/family. It’s about slowing down at meal times, not rushing life, staying active (moving the body) and enjoying it all through fresh, wholesome foods, enjoyed with family and friends.

Today show segment

For dinner last night I took use of a few spices in my kitchen. This is just a few of the many herbs and spices that I use with my meals - from morning to night. If you aren't adding herbs and spices to your daily diet, watch this video and you will be convinced.
I had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Greger speak at the 2012 Florida Dietetic Association conference and I was blown away by his knowledge and passion for whole foods. 

I hope you enjoy my plant-strong creation that was enjoyed by Karel and myself last night. We both YUMMMMM'd our way through dinner as it was packed with flavor!

Best part about this don't have to "cook". Allow 10 minutes of prep and 45-50 minutes of cooking (use your time by catching up on emails, laundry or stretch your tight hip flexors) and you will have a delicious dinner that is perfect to keep your heart and tummy happy.

Feel free to use your own choice of protein.

Fresh garlic (chopped)
Lentil and bean mix
Wild rice
Olive oil
Tumeric, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion flakes, pepper

1. On stove top, cook lentil and bean mix according to package (allow around an hour for this). I used a baggy of raw lentils/beans and prepared 1/2 bag.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
3. Wash and chop head of cauliflower.
4. Chop off stems (about 1 inch) of asparagus, wash and steam in microwave in shallow dish w/ a little water (I set on vegetable setting).
5. Chop garlic and slice tempeh into 1 inch strips.
6. Cook rice according to package (I used boxed wild rice w/ seasoning packet and only used 1/4 package of seasoning) - allow 8-10 minutes for cooking.
6. Place chopped cauliflower (in large pieces) on baking dish and toss in a few tsp of olive oil. Season with spices to your liking (I used tumeric, garlic powder, pepper, red pepper flakes)
7. On separate baking dish place asparagus and tempeh. Drizzle asparagus with a little olive oil (then toss) and sprinkle chopped garlic (about 2-3 cloves). Season with onion flakes.
8. Bake for 40-50 minutes for cauliflower to turn soft and slightly golden. Asparagus will be done around 35-40 minutes (should be soft and tempeh should be firm and golden brown).

9. Assemble your plant strong plate - add more seasonings to your liking and yum away!

Carbo loading, TREK tri night and TV segment

Marni Sumbal


Dr. Seuss makes it sound so simple and easy. Although at times, I am sure we all feel like the following...


As an athlete, I always tell myself I am teetering on the edge: the edge of injury, burnout, exhaustion, over-commitment, stress, anxiety, etc. etc. etc. the list goes on and on and on. We (as athletes and fitness enthusiasts) are very comfortable with a lot on our plate and while some people may struggle with one or two daily tasks, we love to see how much we can handle until we break. Of course, we never expect to break, right?

Really no point in the beginning of this blog post except to continuously remind yourself as to the best balance in your personal life so that every night you go to bed feeling satisfied with the day and excited for tomorrow. Find that right balance between diet and exercise so that your days aren't wasted but rather used with a purpose.

As you reflect on your daily routine, here are a few recent media links of mine, that I would love to share with you. Thanks for reading/watching.

Carbo-loading: Friend or Foe?
is a recent article I did for 904 magazine. A topic that is heavily discussed and one that can be confusing in today's society due to a number of factors. I hope you enjoy my take on carbo-loading.

Introducing new foods into the diet - maintenance
is a recent TV segment I did for News4Jax on behalf of the Baptist Heartwise  program. It's not just about eating certain foods but understanding why they are helpful in your diet.

Creating a positive home environmentHERE is my January article for my monthly column on Be sure to check out my tips on creating a positive environment at home to help you reach your goals. And while you are on the site, ladies be sure to check out the event series! Can't wait to see you at some of the events!

Build a better body imageHERE is my last article for my new column with This was one of my most favorite articles to write as it is a topic that can not be overlooked in the beginning parts of a training season (or New Year). Stay tuned on for my next article on destructive eating. I'll be sure to let you know when it is posted on my Facebook Page.

Lastly, I am really excited to be speaking at the next Hammerhead Triathlon Club meeting on Feb 6th, 2013 which has now become an exciting Trek Bicycle event at Trek Bicycle Store of Jacksonville!!


Trek travel will be presenting about their trips/camps as well as handing out some cool swag! I will be talking about "Breaking out of triathlon boredom - how to train smarter to train harder."

If you are in the area, I'd love to see you there!

Oh and one more thing.....

What good is a blog post without a Campy pic?

A few plant-strong creations

Marni Sumbal

On Monday evening I had the opportunity to teach the Baptist HeartWise nutrition class to a room full of 20 passionate, energetic and open-minded women who want to improve their cardiovascular health. 

I don't feel as if a meat-free, vegetarian-style diet is the best diet for everyone but there is a tremendous amount of research that a diet strong in plants will provide the necessary vitamins and minerals to help keep the body well. You can't prevent disease but you can certainly minimize the risk. 

I feel our society needs a little kick in the butt when it comes to de-emphasizing the processed, convenient food and emphasizing a more wholesome diet. When I speak to people about eating a more plant-strong diet, I avoid telling people what not to eat but instead, speak in a way as if you have no idea what you are missing in consuming a more real food diet. 

But with this great attention placed on eating more wholesome food, this can also be a double-edge-sword in that anytime a person wants a quick fix with health or body composition, he/she will quickly think about everything and anything that is not a vegetable and feel the need to eliminate it from the diet in order to quickly change habits. So while we want to consume a more plant strong diet for overall health, we do not need to feel hungry, restricted, bored or act extreme when it comes to eating more fruits and veggies....alongside low fat dairy, whole grains and quality low fat/lean protein. The idea is to consider variety in nourishing your body with foods that make you feel good. Acting mindfully with food in order to eat with attention. Recognizing how food makes you feel but also thinking ahead as to how food can enhance your life. 

So as you consider adding more wholesome food in the diet, ask yourself where you are spending your energy, time and money when it comes to fueling your lifestyle? 

Here are a few of my recent creations to help inspire you to enjoy a more plant strong diet. All creations were enjoyed by me and my non-vegetarian husband (Karel) who has given me the "yum" approval to post the following dishes. Side note: All creations are helping to fuel our Ironman-in-training lifestyle. 


Red potatoes, tofu, spaghetti squash, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, roasted red peppers (jar), garlic.
Squash prepared in oven. Veggies and tofu prepared on skillet in olive oil. Potatoes sliced and cooked in 450 degree oven until golden brown.

Fuel for a day of work at the hospital:
Oatmeal creation (1/2 cup oats, mixed frozen fruit - strawberries, peaches, blueberries, 1 tbsp ground flax seed, 1 spoonful whey protein powder, cinnamon, sliced almonds), Baggy of carrots and sliced apples for munching to control blood sugar, 2% Daisy cottage cheese (1/2 cup), mexican salad w/ beans, corn, bell pepper, onion, dark greens, chopped egg, pear slices, farmers cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds, salsa. 

Egg omelet packed w/ roasted veggies
1 whole egg + 2 egg whites made w/ greek yogurt (Fage) instead of milk for a more fluffy omelet (about 1 spoonful yogurt).
Roasted veggies - zucchini, onions, mushrooms, red sweet pepper, garlic
Brown rice w/ herbs and spices

Mixed veggies (frozen) cooked in olive oil and drizzled with rice vinegar tossed in broken lasagna noodles. 

Sweet potato (cooked in microwave) mixed with beans, grilled tofu, peas, corn, onion, red sweet pepper and garlic in olive oil - cooked in skillet. Served with jasmine rice. it is your turn!! Time to get creative in your kitchen! Make the time instead of trying to find the time. You only have one place to live for the rest of your life - take care of your body.  

Eat, drink and be healthy - chocolate and wine

Marni Sumbal

Yesterday I did a segment on behalf of Baptist Heart Wise and it was great to be on set again for News4Jax. I was really excited for the segment on chocolate and wine but I received a few looks at the grocery check-out when I was prepping for the show on Monday evening.
Along with my props for the segment, I needed PB and bananas for home. Good thing I wasn't wearing my Clinical Dietitian name badge from the hospital!
After a sweaty 1 hour and 10 minute session on the trainer, early in the morning, I was getting myself ready around 6am and left for the TV station (downtown Jacksonville) around 7am.
The news reporters stayed busy with the morning stories as I started to prep my yummy display. For a nice presentation, I used a little mint on my chocolate plate. Each of the glasses have 5 ounces of "wine" (aka "cranberry juice).

For your viewing pleasure......

Thanks to Baptist Heart Wise for the still pictures from the segment.
Because 3 minutes and 38 seconds is not enough time to explain all about wine and chocolate, here are a few more tips, facts and suggestions:

Is red wine part of the Heart Wise eating plan?
If you already consume alcohol (beer, wine, spirits) occasionally, alcohol in moderation may play a role in heart health to  help increase good cholesterol, reduce clots and help prevent damage to the lining of the arteries.
What are the heart healthy benefits?
The benefits may come from polyphenols or antioxidants, specifically resveratrol, which is a naturally occurring non-alcoholic plant based substance which appears to protect against artery damage. It may also slow the progression of neurological degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
Much of the "alcohol" research is done on red wine but there may be health benefits with other types of alcohol as well. We need to keep in mind that a lot of resveratrol research is done on animals and the amount of resveratrol given to the animals would be similar to an extremely excessive amount of daily wine.
Red vs. white wine? The higher resveratrol content comes from the skin of red grapes which are fermented longer than white grapes. In white wine, the skin is removed before fermentation. Also, wine in cooler climates may have more resveratrol. Both have the same number of calories.
Do other foods contain similar health benefits?
Peanuts, blueberries, grapes and cranberries all contain resveratrol. For a healthy cardiovascular system I encourage people to eat real food for the other nutritional benefits as well (vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc.).  

What are the negative effects of drinking?
The holidays are stressful but so is daily life. Alcohol can be addictive and for many, may be a coping mechanism which may lead to excessive drinking. Alcohol may worsen health problems like hypertension, hyperlipidemia/high triglycerides, liver damage, obesity, certain types of cancer, accidents and weaken heart muscles. Pregnant women should not drink during pregnancy and individuals at risk for breast cancer should discuss with primary physician regarding alcohol consumption because alcohol may raise estrogen levels and tumor progression. Wine is also a trigger for migraines either for the tannins and histamins or from the sulfites so if you suffer from bad headaches, I recommend doing an elimination trial of wine for a few days or keeping a journal. 
Take away message:
the best advice is if you already drink alcohol, do so in moderation. You can’t just drink your way to good health so if you don't already drink, that's OK - you don't need to start. Don’t ignore the many benefits in a real-food, balanced diet.  
Moderate drinking is up to 2 drinks/day for men and 1 drink/day for women. Men can drink more generally because of a larger body frame and more enzymes to help metabolize alcohol.

1 drink = 12 ounces beer, 5 ounces wine, 1.5 ounces 80-proof distilled spirits.
5 ounces of wine is ~120 calories. Alcohol is a little more concentrated with calories than carbohydrates with more calories per gram (7calories per gram in wine vs 4 calories per gram in carbohydrates).

4 glasses or 1 bottle of wine = ~ 480 calories.
Is Dark Chocolate part of a healthy diet?

All the chocolate lovers can breathe easily now – absolutely! Dark chocolate is not only heart healthy but it can play an important role in a balanced diet.

Is all chocolate the same?
When it comes to chocolate we have many options. Butterfingers and twix to 90% cacao (pronounced kacow) or cocoa. What we want to look for is cacao – with an A - which refers to the bean itself, particularly in an unprocessed form. The cocoa is more processed due to the addition of other ingredients.
The percentage of cacao on a label refers to the percentage of ingredients by weight in that product that come from the chocolate liquor, cocoa powder and cocoa butter (see definitions below). In general, the higher the percentage, the more intense the flavor. In the US, cacao standards require that milk chocolate have at least 10% chocolate liquor, semi sweet and bittersweet have at least 35 percent. A higher % also means less added sugar. 75% cacao dark chocolate has about 25% sugar whereas 65% has about 35%. Unsweetened baking chocolate is 100% cacao and is very bitter.

 Definitions of chocolate ingredients:
(definitions found via the internet)
: Refers to the bean, which is the source of chocolate liquor, cocoa butter and cocoa powder.
Chocolate Liquor: Produced by grinding the center of bean, called the nib, to a smooth, liquid state. Chocolate liquor is also called chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, baking chocolate, bitter chocolate, cocoa solids, cocoa mass, cacao mass and cocoa paste.
Cocoa Butter: The fat naturally present in cacao beans that melts at body temperature and gives chocolate its unique mouthfeel.
Cocoa or Cocoa Powder: The product made by pressing most of the cocoa butter out of the cocoa bean and grinding the rest to a powder. Under U.S. regulations, “cocoa” and “cocoa powder” can be used synonymously.
What are the health benefits of dark chocolate?
Believe it or not, there are many health benefits of eating dark chocolate. Research shows that eating up to 1.5 ounces a day of dark chocolate may help lower blood pressure by improving blood flow. Dark chocolate may also help with arteriosclerosis and reduce risk for stroke but this doesn’t mean that after you eat a loaded hamburger that you will clean up the cardiovascular system with a Hershey Kiss.
Also, since chocolate appears to improve blood flow, it may improve cognitive function to help with thinking and memory. It may also help with tooth enamel.
Chocolate also contains chemical compounds that make you feel good, similar to the hormones and endorphins released when you fall in love. Maybe that’s why so many people say they love chocolate because they just feel good when they eat it....I know I do!
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids which not only help to protect the immune system and cardiovascular system but reduces free radical damage to cells and may help with the aging process. Also, dark chocolate may help with insulin resistance for better glucose control. Dark chocolate contains high concentrations of potassium, copper, magnesium and iron.
Take away: I recommend around 85% cacao but if that’s too bitter, try 65-70% and check for cacao for more flavonoids. Keep in mind that A 1.5 ounce bar of dark chocolate contains 27 mg of caffeine. Depending on storage, handling and processing of the cacao bean, the % of cacao doesn't always mean that you are receiving a full amount of flavonoids for many of the heart-healthy nutrients may have been destroyed or removed.
Recommendations:Savour your chocolate - suck on it, don't chew it. Portion control chocolate by choosing individual wrapped pieces or breaking into .5 ounce servings.  
For example, each square in a bar of 86% Ghirardelli dark chocolate (~.4 ounces) contains ~ 63 calories and 6.25g fat so enjoy dark chocolate in your already heart-healthy, balanced diet.

Breaking news! Trimarni creations are going LIVE tomorrow am!

Marni Sumbal

Two of my passions in life are public speaking and writing. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to a room full of women, wanting to learn how to eat better to improve cardiovascular health.
Baptist Heart Wise is a program that was recently created by Dr. Rama. The program is a comprehensive prevention program addressing the unique cardiovascular needs of women at every stage of life. A leading edge program designed by women who are experts in women’s cardiovascular care, HeartWise connects women across North Florida to the medical services, information and resources you need to maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle.
For less than $130, you can get screened to know your numbers, learn how to eat heart- healthy in a 2-hour nutrition lecture (incorporating the Heart Wise Eating plan) and get a fitness assessment to get the body more active. Talk about the truth in "Prevention is cheaper than medicine."
What I love so much about this program is that it is everything I believe in....and more. I don't have to fake anything when I talk and I am surrounded by a room full of passionate women (alongside working with a team of well-educated and passionate health professionals).
Recently, I also had the opportunity to speak to, on behalf of the Heart Wise Program. My very first time on TV and I could not have asked for a better platform to talk about food and health.

Here are the clips:
Back to class

Inside the kitchen
As I mentioned above, this program has been a dream come true for me because it has provided me with several opportunities to speak passionately about food for fuel and for health. I get to endorse a plant-strong diet as well as introduce women to the importance of a balanced diet - whole grains, lean/quality protein, healthy fats and low-fat dairy. As an endurance athlete, it is easy for me to express the importance of daily activity as well as food to support a healthy cardiovascular system.
Speaking of dreams coming true......
Tomorrow I will have my first ever LIVE segment on TV during the 8am hour of Jax4News!!! Nervous???? Kinda.

First off, I get to talk about food and the Heart Wise Program. YIPPEE!
Secondly, 4 of my new whole grain creations will be showcased on the segment. What a dream come true!!!
Third, an early morning interval run should shake out any last minute jitters. I'll consider it a healthy dose of medicine to calm any nerves.
Finally, I had the best audience ever to "prep" for my taping (although it is live so I am not sure what questions I will need to answer and how it will flow)

I'll be sure to post the link on my Trimarni Facebook page after the video is on the website. I encourage you to also check out the Baptist HeartWise for Women Facebook page as well (lots of great articles, tips and recipes).
For your viewing are the creations that I will be talking about tomorrow morning (I'll try to do the nutrition facts tomorrow on my software program):

Carrot Cake oatmeal
1/2 cup oats (dry)
1/8 cup packed shredded carrots
Pinch of all spice
1 Tbsp raisins
1 Tbsp almonds
3/4 cup non fat milk
1/4 cup coconut water

1.Mix together in large bowl.
2. Microwave for 2 minutes (watch to prevent spillage, the oatmeal mixture will grow)

Quinoa, chickpea and avocado salad1/2 cup quinoa dry (cooked in 1 cup water)
1/2 avocado (diced)
1 Tbsp cashews (chopped)
1/2 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup diced no salt added tomatoes
Seasonings to taste: Parsley, chili pepper, pinch of sea salt, pepper, basil

1. Prepare quinoa according to package (allow ~15 minutes)
2. Combine other ingredients in container.
3. Add quinoa and mix well.
Serves 2

Pear and walut pita (a nutrient dense replacement for a granola bar snack, with less than 180 calories)
1/2 whole wheat pita
1/2 medium pear thinly sliced
3 walnut halves (chopped)
1 tbsp farmers cheese (or whipped cream cheese)

1. Slice pita bread in half, open carefully.
2. Spread cheese on bottom of pita w/ fork or back of a spoon.
3. Lay pear slices on cheese.
4. Stuff w/ arugula and finish off w/ chopped walnuts.

Rosemary and Parmesan popcorn
2 tbsp popcorn kernels
brown paper bag
2-3 tsp Sunflower oil
2 pinches rosemary
2 tsp Parmesan

1. Place kernels in brown paper bag. Fold bag over two times (don't do a big fold, just about a thumb size).
2. Microwave for 90 seconds.
3. Place into large zip lock baggy.
4. Drizzle w/ sunflower oil (I will be using a spritzer on the show that I purchased in the travel section of Wal-mart)
5. Add rosemary and Parmesan and shake.

Although these may be Trimarni creations, these are 4 simple ways to boost your intake of whole grains, which is an important component of the Heart Wise Eating Plan.