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Greenville, SC

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: "plant strong"

Trimarni Tip: Inside-out sandwich

Marni Sumbal


I'm sure you can only imagine the fun I had at the grocery stores in Czech Republic during our trip in May. And oh did it all taste great too!


Have you been adding to your "off limit" food list over the past few months/years?

How about rethinking your meals as you learn how to develop a healthy relationship with food?

It's time to free yourself from food rules and "bad" food.

Trimarni Tip (from the Sumbal household who always has a loaf of fresh local bread in the house at all times):

Pics from our Czech Republic trip in May

I find many people are all or nothing. Either you LOVE bread and eat it all the time or bread is bad and it is off limit. I think the same is true for any food or food group. People hear low and they think no and if they hear something is good, it is consumed in excess. Since when did our society become so extreme with everything?

The key is balance for any meal but hopefully you are looking for easy ways to create more plant strong meals to provide your body with lots of vitamins and minerals to reduce risk for disease and to support your immune system.....but you also need to feel satisfied. Whereas a plate of lettuce and veggies is not going to satisfy you or fuel your body, the same may be true for two slices of bread with veggies and a few slices of meat in between.

Since I do not have any bad, off limit food in my food vocabulary, I welcome any opportunity to enjoy real food. Eating time is always a happy time for Karel and myself. There is no food critiquing but instead lots of yumming.

Consider turning your sandwich inside out and use your veggies as the base and then top with your choice of protein, whole grains and heart healthy fats. Keep in mind that you can only stuff a limited amount of plants between two slices of bread and a plant strong meal may require the use of silverware and a table (instead of eating with your hands or behind the steering wheel). As a side dish, no need to give up bread. Enjoy an open face sandwich with cheese/yogurt spread, avocado or hummus or enjoy your bread as a pre/post training snack with nut butter. Tweak your diet to find what works best for you.

Here is a creation I made to help you get excited that you don't have to have an off limit food list when it comes to enjoying plant strong meals to fuel your active and healthy body.


In case you missed this post, here is a blog on our experience to a vegetarian restaurant in Czech. 



How we eat: The Sumbal's

Marni Sumbal

Every day we go to bed with happy tummy's  and wake up with a body that is energized and ready to train and have a great day. We owe it all to real food that fuels our active lifestyle and keeps our immune system healthy and our brain thinking clearly. 
No matter how many legs you have in the Sumbal house, we all love real food. 

I created the plant strong meal for Karel  (see below - my entire dinner) and he finished it off with Kuřecí řízek (chicken schnitzel) and local sourdough fresh bread. Nothing like European food that brings memories from home. 

So simple yet so delicious. Frozen mixed veggies with fresh mushrooms and sliced onions sautéed in olive oil with toasted quinoa and brown rice. I can't believe my 21 year plant strong diet is gearing me up for my seventh Ironman in 32 days. Yay for real food that makes my tummy and body happy.

And for my little furry child who is not a fan of any type of dog food (we've tried so many!), even Campy got a real food dinner tonight. He loved his Trimarni creation of boiled shredded chicken breast with mixed veggies, eggs and brown rice. (if you make your dog real food - please send me a recipe because Campy is a bit picky with his food and he would rather play outside than eat doggy food)


I wanted to share part of the lecture I gave to Wesleyan University in Macon, GA last week (Thursday). I absolutely love public speaking and having the opportunity to change lifestyles.
Sadly, my camera stopped working but I hope you enjoy the first part!
To conclude the part of my talk that was not recorded (the tip on developing a healthy relationship with food and the body), I find that many people do extreme things when they let a number on the scale run or ruin their day. Sure, the scale can be used wisely but many people use it irresponsibly. For I would never put Campy on a fast, a cleanse or a juice diet if he gained 5 lbs. I would never over exercise him or restrict his diet. So if it seems absolutely ridiculous for me to hypothetically do these things to Campy if he gained 5 lbs, why would you ever put your body through such extreme measures just because you are letting a household appliance determine your "health". Create a positive relationship with food and the body and stop using words like off limit, bad, fat, guilty, ugly, disgusting, gross, horrible, cheating and instead, give your body some credit for what it allows you to do on a daily basis such as getting you up in the morning, having a productive day, crossing finishing line and enjoying your one and only life. 




                             

2013 Speaking of Women's Health event recap (w/ recipes)

Marni Sumbal



When I started triathlons, I was rather obsessed. My life revolved around training morning and night. Twice a day, everyday. The training lifestyle was not too much different than my college life of swimming twice a day, 5 days a week and then a long workout on Saturday, day off Sunday. Although I had about a year of discovering triathlons after college in 2004, I welcome my new triathlon lifestyle when I was in graduate school as I loved having something to prepare for and look forward to every day, all day. 

That passion, excitement and motivation has not gone away for if it did, I would not be doing triathlons now 7 years later. But instead, my approach to training has changed as I have discovered that triathlons is not my life, but instead my lifestyle. Life has presented many obstacles, highs and lows over the past few years and as much as I had my swim-bike-run routine to look forward to every single day, I had other commitments in life that required more of my attention and energy. 

Before I started my journey to be a RD I remember my dad, Dr. James Rakes, sharing his wise words with me (as he always does)...

"Marni, make sure you have something in life besides triathlons that makes you happy."

Like any stubborn daughter, I listened to him but it took a while to grasp what he was saying. 

My dad never wants me to stop dreaming big and instead, he is my #1 fan that will be cheering me on as all my dreams come true with everything I do. He has encouraged me to dream big but has installed a "hard work" mantra to everything that I do in life. Nothing worth having comes easy. 

After receiving my RD credential, I discovered that he was right, like always. Triathlons are my lifestyle and I never want that love of sports to go away. But, I have so many other things in my life that make me excited and motivated every day to see what the day will bring. And although I have not slowed down my life in the past 7 years, I have learned to create a routine where I can train hard with the least amount of training stress to experience big performance gains. With quality training and a less is more approach, I have so much room left in my day to spend the unused energy that I could spend training more for triathlons to other things that carry the same value (or more) as triathlons. 

                                         

One of the reasons why I went back to school to earn my RD, LD/N credential (Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist) was to become more credible as a speaker and writer. Now a day, any person with a strong voice and personality can provide info to the public and receive fame and recognition but I never wanted to the loud voice. I wanted a higher education to learn more to give the right advice with a caring voice. A voice that shows that I "get it" and I also practice what I preach. Two things that required time, patience and hard work...skills also used in triathlon training. 

I was invited by 2013 Speaking Of Women's Health to speak on behalf of Baptist Heartwise for Women a few months ago. I love public speaking but with my audience full of women, there was no way I could say no. I love my job and what I get paid to do and changing lifestyles is what I am all about. 



Months of preparation on a power point presentation, time spent preparing for the cooking demo. Practicing, setting things up, rehearsing over and over. The excitement and nerves of when the day will come and then the rush before it starts and the comfort of when it actually begins. Then, the sadness when it is all over.

Public speaking is my release from triathlons. It brings me a similar excitement, passion and energy that I can not explain but welcome when I have the opportunity to provide my philosophy and knowledge about food, health and exercise.

I don't feel that everyone needs to be a public speaker or a writer but instead, finds a few things in life that bring you happiness and require hard work. Perhaps for you, signing up for that upcoming running or tri race is your hard workout and happiness and for others, finding a different outlet to bring happiness, besides training is needed. Whatever you choose to do, remember that to be successful in life, you must love what you are doing. If you are wasting your time doing something you don't love or haven't learned to love and appreciate, step back, re-evaluate and consider your goals and dreams. Sometimes hanging in there is needed and other times, it's time to move on. If something is very important to you, you will find yourself looking back sometime down the road, thinking that you couldn't believe where you were when you started.

My 45 minute presentation was not long enough for me but I did my best to squeeze in as much as I could for a room of 225 chairs. Amazingly, there were people standing in the back and guesstimates were around 240-250 people in the room. Thank you HeartWise for asking me to speak for this was my largest audience I have ever spoken to and I loved every minute of it!

                          

I have to give a HUGE thank you to Mai Oui Gourmet Catering for they were hired by Baptist HeartWise to prepare 4 of my creations for the participants in the talk. They perfected my 3 recipes (tempeh stir fry, avocado mango salsa with pita chip and homemade granola bar) and also provide trail mix for dessert as the participants were leaving. I never like to talk to hungry bellies so even though my talk was at 10am on Saturday, everyone was very happy during my talk...and lots of yumming was occurring too.


                           

Who doesn't love a lecture that has free samples?

                        

What a beautiful presentation!

                       

Yummy trail mix for dessert.

                                  

After spending about 20 minutes discussing my philosophy for eating for fuel, for health and for pleasure and providing a few tips supported by the research of a Mediterranean style of eating, it was time for my cooking demo. When I speak, I try to make sure that my audience leaves feeling inspired and has information that they can easily apply to their every day lifestyle. I don't waste too much of my time talking about grams, portions and recommendations beyond what I feel is most important. Therefore, I stress the importance of the lifestyle component and considering the thoughts behind our actions. I feel there is enough info out there for people to learn what it means to eat healthy but it gets wrapped into a tangled mess because there are too many "experts" out there trying to make a simple concept of eating a more real food diet far too complicated. I try to make eating fun and easy to understand and to break the cycle of women having a negative food vocabulary and to stop the body bashing.

I had a few GREAT volunteers to help me with my cooking demo.

I showed how EASY it was to prepare a homemade trail mix and to bulk it up with cheerios (one of my favorite processed foods for it is fortified very well and is very wholesome) OR popcorn from a brown paper bag (1/3 kernels, roll down back twice and pop for 75-90 seconds in microwave).

While we were preparing the trail mix, I had a volunteer read the ingredients on a protein bar. She was still reading it after we prepared the trail mix in less than a minute.


The Hyatt kitchen hooked me up with a hot plate and I had a blast actually "cooking" in front of everyone. I am not a trained chef but I know food and love to talk about food so my volunteer (Who was a male, a husband of a wife who always attends this conference) was outstanding and we had so much fun cooking my tempeh stir fry. I kept it super simple: 1/2 package of tempeh (chopped) and sautéed in a few tsp olive oil on medium heat with with a cup or two of frozen mixed veggies. We seasoned it with ginger, oregano and garlic and then added prepared quinoa in the skillet for a little toss and voila....a beautiful creation serviced on a bed of greens to make our dish more plant strong.




And lastly, who doesn't love salsa? Salsa actually means sauce but many people think of it as a dip. My volunteer was incredible as she had great cooking skills and I could do all the talk. What a great combo!



I kept the salsa SUPER simple - mango, peaches, cilantro, avocado. All seasonal ingredients for a delicious topping to any sandwich, dish or salad...or straight from the bowl to help boost your vitamin and mineral intake. 


I had such a great time talking that I ran out of time and had to quickly clean up before the next speaker began. What a bummer because I didn't get to answer questions so if anyone has any questions...send me an email as I'd love to help you out.

I also want to send another BIG thank you to Mai Oui and HeartWise for helping me out with my talk. I couldn't have done this without both of them! Also, for the event putting on a top-notch, inspiring, life-changing event for women. I love being part of events like this for I love helping to inspire women and I feel everyone deserves to have good health, happiness and fun in their life and I want to make sure that no day is left wasted. 


                        

At the catered lunch, there was an inspiring video with a segment on Julia Child. I just love her message and what she was all about in life and most importantly, how she approached life and cooking. There are too many quotes of hers to choose from as I love them all but pertaining to my talk, I feel this one is most appropriate. 













Nutrient-dense event-day creations

Marni Sumbal

Salads don't have to be boring unless this is your idea of a salad.



And certainly, you don't have to be the party-pooper if you bring a plant-strong meal to a holiday event. Certainly, there will be plenty of options to enjoy a little of everything and of course, I want you to enjoy your options and feel great about whatever you put into your body. But, perhaps, as you happily indulge in some occasional treats/eats, you may inspire others by your delicious, nutrient-dense creation.


Growing up as a competitive swimmer, I was never a salad eater and didn't really focus on eating a lot of veggies..... unless they were drenched in ranch dressing and covered with croutons and cheese.  And even though I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian at the age 10ish, my definition of plant-strong was "I don't eat meat"....so that meant, bring on the cheese and anything that doesn't have meat or fish in it!

Oh how times have changed. Still a competitive athlete but I have a great appreciation of how plant strong meals can give the human body a powerful dose of nutrients.

So, in honor of any event/party that you may be going to tomorrow or in the future, here are 3 of my many favorite plant strong creations for you to enjoy!

Have a great 4th of July and be safe.

Mango-kiwi fruit salad
3 kiwis (sliced)
1 mango (cubed)
10 baby carrots (chopped)
1 small apple (chopped)
1/4 cup grapes (halved)
1/2 large lemon juice (or small lemon) for dressing




To cut kiwi's:
1)Cut kiwi in half.
2) Use a spoon to remove skin from kiwi
3) Turn skin inside out.
4) Cut off the ends.





To cut mango:
1) Cut segments out around the core
2) Use a sharp knife to make a grid on mango segments.
3) Use your thumbs on skin-side to pop out the top of mango segment.
4) Cut off cubes with knife.






Carrot, Coconut and Raisin salad


1 bag pre-cut matchstick carrots
4 tbsp shredded coconut
2 tangerines (sliced, seeds removed) + juice
1 pear (chopped)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup cranberries
1/2 lemon (juice)


Cucumber Tomato salad




1-2 large cucumber - halved then sliced again in half (I made it look extra pretty by scraping a fork on the outside of the cucumber before cutting it)
5 roma tomatoes - halved, then sliced again in half
2 ounces block mozzarella cheese - cut in small cubes
Pepper, pinch of salt, pinch of sugar
2 tbsp balsamic or any vinaigrette
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Food trend - plant strong athlete

Marni Sumbal


If you are like most individuals, you are not surprised by the number of new, trendy, hip or cool foods on the market. From fresh to processed, our culture loves to eat trendy foods, companies love to profit it off of them and the media loves to talk about them. (perhaps I have reversed this timeline as the media has a major influence on how, what and why we eat). 

Coconut, kale, gluten-free, greek yogurt, juicing, quinoa. Just a few that come to mind when you think of the recent foods that are most talked about when discussing "healthy eating" or dieting. Anyone remember Olestra?

Did you know that there are over a dozen types of lettuces? I wrote a blog a while back on the many types of green leafy options that you can add to your current diet. 

How come the media isn't obsessing about Mâche, Mesclun or Mizuna and how come the grocery stores aren't carrying them for us to enjoy? 

When I work with individuals on the diet, specifically for performance or health purposes, it is very important to me that I treat each athlete/fitness enthusiast as an individual. But in our quick-fix society, it is so easy to want to be like the masses - do like others to receive the same results. 

In the past 20 years, I have "worked" on my diet to create a diet that gives me food freedom and peace with food. Comfort with my food choices without obsessing about calories or portions or food preparation. I have worked on mindful eating the most in that keeps me constantly in the moment when it comes to eating. I know how it feels to overeat and it doesn't feel good. So I don't do it. I don't get cravings or drops in blood sugar because I have tweaked my diet in a way that prevents these issues from happening. It may not work for others how I eat but my body is happy and my body is healthy. Why should I try to  follow a food trend or diet if I have created my own diet that allows me to function well in this world (and performance to the best of my ability during training/racing)? 

 At age 10-11, I decided to not eat meat for animal reasons and since then, I have learned how to eat as a healthy and active athlete/health conscious individual. I call myself a vegetarian because I don't and will never eat meat. It isn't a fad or a temporary trend. 

I know how to maintain my diet when traveling, eating on the road, eating at events and eating at home. I am always excited to better myself with my food choices, especially when it comes to bettering my health and performance but I am not "trying" new ways of eating as if I need to fix what is not broken. I have never fasted, cleansed or detoxed for my body never gets out of whack. 

I see nothing wrong with trying new things and tweaking the diet. Some styles of eating that are trendy (Ex. Mediterranean, vegetarian) actually come with a host of health benefits but that doesn't mean that you have to follow them strictly to still receive health benefits. That is how I work with others for I believe that learning how to create a healthy relationship with food is best mastered when you recognize what foods make YOU feel the best and enhance your lifestyle. Although adding kale and greek yogurt to your diet will not override other dietary choices, certainly there are many great foods out there that without the media, perhaps we would have never seen in the grocery store or recognized at farmers markets. 

When you think about the food trends in 2012, I am sure you have tried those foods or have adopted a diet that includes those foods (some or all). Nothing wrong with that as I hope that you are still working on your diet to support your individual needs and goals and not eating something temporary or for a quick-fix because the news, a celebrity, coach or nutrition guru told you that if you eat this, you will be "healthy". 

As I mentioned above, my plant-strong diet is with me for the rest of my life. It is not something that I will deviate from but instead, enjoy it as it helps me live an active lifestyle. But in the past 20 years, I have worked at it and I invite you to do the same for your own diet. 

Elimination diets are very trendy and I am not a fan. I feel that spending your energy on what not to eat is only going to set you up for failure and restriction in the diet and lack of flexibility with eating (especially around others). Banning food is not the way to go if you want to "be healthy" so instead, I invite you to think about what you aren't eating, possibly what you could be eating instead, as a way to create a positive relationship with food and perhaps, stop blaming the outcome or effect and instead, direct your positive energy to the missing link(s). 


I love writing about plant strong eating because not only do I practice what I preach in consuming a plant-strong diet for health and performance benefits but also, because we all need to do a great job, every day, of making sure we nourish our bodies with real food, mostly plants. If you feel you have "bad" food in the diet, perhaps you just don't have room for other foods (or not making room or the time to consume them) and it is within those other foods that you can make a positive impact on your health, mood, body and performance. It isn't as if one food is better than the other and certainly, no food is "bad" when consumed on occasional eats/treats but take some time - a few weeks at the minimum, to give a little thought to your diet to make sure that you are not "working" on your diet to be like others or to "fit-in" but instead, create a diet that works for you and is here to stay.

Is Plant-Strong "Healthy" for an Athlete? By Marni Sumbal

Healthy eating can be confusing when it's aimed to the masses. With many research-supported guidelines for "healthy" eating, a plant-strong diet is often celebrated as the most effective way to reduce risk for disease and manage a healthy weight. Although it is not required that you give yourself a dietary title as to what you don't eat, consider a variety of health promoting plant-strong foods to fuel and nourish your active lifestyle.

Protein is essential to assist in growth and repair of muscles, bones and tissues, keeps hair, skin and nails in good health, is helpful for the immune system and helps to keep the metabolism, digestion and brain in optimal health.

For most athletes, meeting recommendations for protein (1-1.5 g/kg/d) can easily be accomplished through a varied diet. To ensure a decrease in fat mass (and not lean muscle mass) if striving for weight loss/body composition changes, do not neglect quality, portioned controlled protein at meals, snacks and for workout recovery. 

For proper digestion and absorption, satiety and control of blood sugar with carbohydrates, all individuals should aim for around 20-30g of protein per meal and addition protein with workout recovery/daily snacks to meet your individual daily recommend protein intake.

Nutrition plays a major role in your training regime and the choice for a specific dietary regime (or any variation) should not sabotage your training plan. Because you can't out-train a poorly planned diet, your diet should keep you healthy, active and happy. If your eating today is restrictive based on how you ate yesterday, ditch the diet plan mentality. 

Maintain a healthy relationship with food and consider a more plant strong, balanced diet as you enjoy the creativity, freedom and flexibility that come with eating a variety of whole foods.

Meat or no meat, choose foods that are simple to prepare, convenient, safe, wholesome and pleasurable as you support your healthy lifestyle with consistent fitness/performance gains.

Here's a protein-rich, plant strong meal which has an extra bonus:  many valuable vitamins and minerals within this meal aside from protein!

1 cup mushrooms - 2 protein
2 cups cooked broccoli - 8g protein
1/2 cup farro - 4g protein
1/4 cup black beans - 3.5 g protein
3 ounce tofu - 7g protein
1 cup cherry tomatoes - 1g protein
1/2 cup peas - 3.5g protein
1/2 ounce pumpkin seeds - 2.5g protein
Total: 31.5g protein


Read more: Iron Girl