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IMG_1747Have you ever run a marathon in your life? There are usually two answers to this question, depending on the person. One answer might be, “Yes, I have run one or multiple marathons and I can’t wait to run another!” The second answer might be, “Are you crazy? Why would I willingly put my body through the stress and pain of running 26.2 miles?!” The running community tends to be a strong, goal oriented group of people with Type-A personalities who love to challenge themselves in a physical sense, learning to push their body to its limits. Although running (or endurance training) is not suited for everyone, it is my preferred “vice.” Running helps me to clear my mind of worry or anxiety that I may feel towards the future or unknown. It allows me to release my stress and float on my “runners high,” knowing and trusting that everything will work out the way it is supposed to and everything happens for a reason. Many people have never experienced this runners high, however once you do, I promise you will never want to go back. I strongly encourage a long run or two and then you can let me know how you feel afterwards. I’ve never heard anyone say, “I regret going on that run.” It’s even better if you live in a climate where you can run outdoors. I love being outdoors and running along the mountain trails or alongside the ocean at the beach. The photo above is of me 1 day before the LA Marathon 2015 – excited and ready to take on the challenge. 


IMG_1696I ran varsity Cross Country and Track in high school, but never committed to any races longer than a 10K after that. In November 2014, I was selected among hundreds of applicants to be a part of Team Nutribullet to run and train for the LA Marathon 2015 stadium to sea. I was so excited and committed myself to putting my energy and focus into training and running my first marathon.

Over the next 5 months, we trained as a team with weekly speed training drills and long distance runs over the weekend (starting at 5 miles and increasing all the way to 24 miles towards the end of training). Speed training was at night during the week and endurance training was every weekend early in the morning, along with additional 5-10 mile runs we were required to do on our own time during the week. Strength training was also encouraged at least 2 times per week, as well as a yoga or pilates 1 time per week (flexibility and stretching class). This training schedule required discipline, strength, perseverance and so much more. Eating properly and adequate sleep are two key factors in maintaining a healthy, injury free body. This photo describes what marathon training consists of, in a nutrition facts style format. I love this!


As a Registered Dietitian, I know how to nourish and fuel my body properly. However, when you are training for a marathon, it is difficult to keep up with the high calorie requirements because your body is burning so much more fuel throughout the day. I highly recommend small, frequent meals because you will be hungry every 2-3 hours anyways, and overconsumption of high density foods can lead to weight gain (even with marathon training). Sometimes people overestimate the calories that are burned during a workout, and therefore consume more calories (i.e. pizza, double cheeseburger, etc.). You can treat yourself here and there (in moderation), but let’s not overdo it. Staying fueled properly throughout the day is important to maintain your lean muscle mass. Do not make the mistake of “packing too many calories in” only around your workout (in the afternoon for example) because this will lead to increased body fat composition (the opposite of what you want as an athlete or marathon runner). Here is an example of my nutrient consumption during marathon training:


IMG_1691Breakfast: Greens protein shake (i.e. 1 cup spinach or kale, 1 cup mixed organic berries, ½ banana, 1 tangerine, 1 scoop plant based protein powder, 1 tbsp. hemp seeds, 1 tbsp. raw unsalted almond butter, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 6-8 ounces of unsweetened almond or coconut milk.


IMG_1481Mid morning snack: Steel cut oatmeal (1/2 cup dry or 1 cup cooked) with ½ cup organic strawberries, ¼ cup raw unsalted walnuts or almonds, 1 tsp. cinnamon (cooked in water or unsweetened almond or coconut milk).


Lunch: Grilled chicken sandwich: 3 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast on 100% whole wheat bread or Eziekel 4:9 bread (or gluten free bread if needed), with ½ of an avocado, spinach leaves, chopped veggies (i.e. onion, cucumber, tomato), and 1 tbsp. hummus or mustard spread.


IMG_4848I hope you are all off to a great start to the New Year, and are now enjoying the beginning of “Fit February.” I know it is difficult to maintain a slender figure over the holidays with all of the temptations around and indulgences. Research shows the people tend to gain about 5 pounds on average over the holidays between the consumption of more alcohol (wine and more wine), heavy rich meals that are eaten later in the evening (dining out), and sweets (cakes, cookies, pies, etc.). Some of the overconsumption of foods can be due to mindless eating as well, which occurs when we as consumers, are distracted and not paying attention to what we are putting into our mouths. For example, when we are snacking on a bag of chips or a large bowl of salted nuts and chocolates while watching a movie, we may lose track of how much we’ve eaten. Remember that every bite counts!

The above photo is a snap shot of a nutrient packed lunch (or dinner option) that is filled with variety (color) and moderation (portion control) and is a great example of how to balance a healthy meal. It includes 1 cup of low sodium tomato basil soup, a spinach and veggie side salad with 1/2 of a 100% whole wheat English Muffin with 1/4 of an avocado on top, and a few spicy soy flaxseed chips with salsa for added crunch and metabolism boost.


January is the most popular time when people want a fresh start and decide to make their “New Years Resolutions” to lose weight, eat healthier, and exercise more. However, many of the resolutions that are made are unrealistic such as “I want to lose 15 pounds this month.” When the goals are not achieved, people feel a sense of failure and want to “throw in the towel.” This is the wrong approach.


IMG_4787I encourage you to set S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and can be achieved in the time frame you desire). An example of a more reasonable SMART goal (or New Years Resolution) for the average person would be to eat a balanced breakfast within an hour of waking up daily, pack and bring a balanced healthy lunch to work and exercise 3 times per week for 30 minutes. Diets don’t work. However, making nutrition and fitness part of your every life lifestyle does work!


Super bowl Sunday is just around the corner, and similar to the holidays, it can bring on mindless eating behavior and overconsumption of unhealthy foods. Research shows that people consume up to 6,000 calories on Super bowl Sunday. That’s more than people eat over a 3-day period of time!


Consider the usual menu: lots of beer, loaded nachos, chicken wings, chips, pizza, sugary soda, burgers, cookies and more beer! A fit person can burn up to 500 calories an hour while running on the treadmill. This means that you would have to exercise at this moderate to high intensity for 12 hours just to burn off the 6,000 calories you consumed in one day.




It’s Fall, which means “pumpkin everything” around here. Even if the weather outside does not feel like fall, it is still fun to get into the holiday spirit and embrace the changing of the seasons. There are many different recipes and treats that include pumpkin, however I wanted to bring a little something different to your table. It’s my job as a Registered Dietitian to encourage balanced eating and give you healthy substitutions for foods in recipes to increase the nutrient density, fiber, and decrease the saturated and trans fat (bad fats). These moist, healthy pumpkin muffins are one of my favorites! Give them a try!


Preparation Time: ~25 minutes

Cooking Time: ~20-25 minutes



  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1 cup nonfat (or low fat) plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 egg (cage free, omega 3)
  • 1 ¾ cup quick cook steel cut oats (Trader Joe’s) or gluten free oats
  • ¼ cup Plant Fusion protein powder (or 100% natural whey protein is fine also)
  • ¼ cup organic coconut sugar (healthier version than cane sugar)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)


Add- In’s:

  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Unsweetened shaved coconut (to top the muffins off with)




  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Combine all of the wet ingredients into another bowl.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Line 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners or spray with coconut oil nonstick spray.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin tins, and place into the pre-heated oven.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until tops are lightly golden brown.
  8. Cool muffins for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.
  9. Enjoy!!



Everyone travels…whether it’s for business, pleasure, a much needed vacation or a spontaneous weekend away. At some point, we all depart from the comfort of our own homes. It could be a quick trip to the next town for a business conference or it could be a 3-month backpacking trip halfway around the world! No matter what type of travel it is, there is one thing that is certain; our normal routines get thrown out the window making it difficult to stay fit and healthy while traveling.


If you usually work out in a gym, you might not have access to any equipment or machines. If you usually take long adventurous runs in your neighborhood, suddenly you no longer have a familiar route to follow. If you usually prepare your own meals, you suddenly may not have access to a kitchen or fridge. Your regular sleep patterns are usually thrown off because from taking a red eye or landing in a different time zone. When we travel, nothing is familiar which again makes it difficult to have any sort of routine. But, stay positive! I have some great tips to keep you healthy and fit while on the road.


I am here to encourage you that you CAN make exercise and eating healthy part of your “travel routine,” but it just takes a little bit of planning ahead. I know it is difficult to plan oftentimes because much of it is out of your control when we are traveling. However, here are a few of the tips that I use when I travel:


IMG_2087_2Rule #1: Pack snacks for the airport/plane

Your flight might be delayed, or you might be sitting on the runway while something is being checked out… and when hunger calls, you need to answer. The food in the airport and on the plane is usually packed with added calories, preservatives, sodium and fat; which can pack on the pounds quickly if you travel regularly.


Snack ideas:

  • Raw, unsalted nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, Brazil nuts, etc.) You can make your own trail mix by mixing 2-3 of these nuts with dried cranberries, raisins or figs. Eat about ¼ cup serving at a time.
  • Tosi super bites (with chia and flaxseeds – great source of anti inflammatory omega 3 fatty acid)
  • High fiber cereal (eat ½-1 cup, dry in a zip lock bag). Crunchy cereals that are high fiber, low sugar and contain some protein are a great option (i.e. Kashi Go Lean, Kashi Crunch, Kashi Heart to Heart, Nature’s Path Flax plus, etc.)
  • Turkey’s jerky, salmon jerky or beef jerky (I like the Trader Joe’s brands because they contain no nitrates, no preservatives, MSG, no artificial colors or ingredients).
  • Whole wheat pretzel thins
  • Kale chips (I highly recommend making your own if possible because many of the store options contain added cheese, salt and fat)
  • Dry packaged plain oatmeal (you can always add hot water to this in your hotel room and have it for breakfast or as a snack)
  • Portable fruit (if you’re able to fly with it) such as apple, pear, peach, banana, orange, pluot, tangerine, etc.
  • Granola/Protein Bar: Think thin, KIND Nuts and Spices, STRONG and KIND, Luna Protein, Lara bars, Go Macro bars, etc. These bars are lower in sugar, higher in protein, and lower in saturated fat (the unhealthy fat) then most of the other bars out there.

SaladFebruary is American Heart Month and I’d like to focus on bringing awareness to heart disease and how you can prevent it. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. The good news is that is can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices – focused around diet and exercise. That is why I am here as your Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer to help sort out the facts versus myths regarding nutrition and fitness and get you on the right track!


Here are a few ways to lower your risk:

1. Get Your Annual Doctor Evaluation: I highly recommend going to see your doctor for an annual check up, where you can get your labs drawn, and “know your numbers.” You might feel okay, but your labs will indicate that your LDL (low density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol) and triglycerides are extremely high, which will put you at greater risk of heart disease. You will not know until you get your labs checked.

Lab goals:

  • Cholesterol <200 mg/dL
  • LDL (bad cholesterol) <100 mg/dL
  • HDL (good cholesterol) >60 mg/dL
  • Triglycerides <150 mg/dL
  • Blood pressure 120/80

Note* LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides are increased by foods that are high in saturated fat, and trans fat. Your Blood pressure is affected by mostly by sodium intake.


Make it a goal to consume <7% of total calories from saturated fat and preferably no trans fat (this is added to many processed foods for increased shelf life, preservation). Eating fresh food is always best. Make it a goal to consume approximately 2300 mg or less of sodium per day.


Fit2. Watch Your Weight:

Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of heart disease. A healthy body mass index (BMI) range is between 18-24. Please note, that BMI does not always apply to individuals with large muscle mass (i.e. athletes and body builders) because BMI does not take into account muscle mass. Therefore, if you have a large muscle mass, you may fall into the “overweight” category, which is not accurate. I recommend getting your body fat % tested for a more specific measure and better alternative for those who fit into this category.


DeterminationHappy New Year! Each year thousands of people make a list of “New Years Resolutions” most of which include something related to losing weight and/or joining a gym. Resolutions are things that you want to change and resolve to do better. The difficult part is that many of these resolutions are created unrealistically, which results in a loss of momentum, a feeling of defeat and thoughts of “I’ll just throw in the towel” by the end of January. We start the year feeling excited for change, but in reality, we as human beings are creatures of habit and ‘change’ is not a comfortable feeling.


Change is defined as the act or instance of making or becoming different. The obstacle is that people like to stick to what they know and trust. Change can bring on thoughts of worry and anxiousness, followed by a long list of “what if” questions. Making the decision to change (yourself or something about your lifestyle) is the first step in the right direction. Once you commit to change (mentally), your body will follow (physically). Many people are scared of failure, but don’t be! I love the saying, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” Stay confident and believe in yourself. Success can mean many different things to different people. However, I view a sign of success as taking a leap of faith and allowing change to occur in your life. You have to be prepared for it and accept it with open arms, but when you do …there is endless opportunity.


MotivatePeople specifically don’t like change in regards to their eating habits. You might have been raised on a farm eating meat and potatoes, or you might have grown up eating vegetarian for cultural reasons. Each of you has your own genetic makeup and background, which has made you who you are today. Accept that and embrace it! Oftentimes people will order the same entrée at a restaurant even when there are 200+ menu options. Again, we are creatures of habit and we like to stick to what we know.