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Protein is key for fueling her intense workouts. By Tanya Pai
Christy Adkins. Photograph courtesy of DC Brawlers.

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail for details.

Christy Adkins is a member of Washington’s newest professional sports team, the DC Brawlers. The team—one of eight groups in the National Pro Grid League and the inaugural champions—competes in coed functional fitness “human performance races.” Christy, 29, is a graduate of George Washington University, where she played Division 1 lacrosse; she now works as a registered nurse and a personal trainer. She started CrossFit workouts seven years ago, and has placed in the top ten in the CrossFit Games three times since 2009.

As a pro athlete, her daily schedule involves plenty of physical activity, so to fuel up for her grueling workouts, she relies on a diet rich in protein and healthy fats, plus plenty of vegetables and even the occasional chocolatey treat. Between training sessions and indulging her love of bacon, she likes to spend time with her husband, Tim, and their yellow Lab, Bella. Read on for a look at a typical day of eating for Christy.

7 AM: “I always wake up hungry and ready for coffee right away. Luckily, my husband makes coffee before he leaves the house at 5, so there is some waiting for me. I like to drink it black or with heavy cream if we have it. I love when I have the time in the morning to sit, sip coffee, and eat an About Time bar with almond butter. If I’m heading into DC for work, I eat this on my drive.”

8 AM: “I cooked applewood-smoked bacon in a pan, threw in some frozen veggies or the leftovers from dinner, and let them cook in the bacon grease. Then I added three eggs for a delicious scramble.”

11 AM: “After an hour and a half of lifting (five sets of five back squats, heavy double snatches, and snatch pulls), this fuel pack gave me the energy I needed to get through my sets of weighted pull-ups and powers me through a conditioning workout with rowing on the erg, muscle-ups on the rings, and dumbbell clean-and-jerks. The Fuel for Fire packs are just puréed sweet potato, apple, and whey protein. I like that they don’t upset my stomach while giving me the carbs I need without any of the fake stuff like some of the goos and gel packs have.”

12:30 PM: “My post-workout protein shake—just water and chocolate About Time protein.”

2 PM: “Lunch was leftovers from dinner last night: grass-fed, organic ground beef purchased from the Organic Butcher, cooked in a no-sugar-added marinara sauce from Trader Joe’s, and served over spaghetti squash.”

2:30 PM: “Afternoon coffee with something special added. CrossFit friends and some of my Grid teammates got me hooked on coffee blended with organic butter and coconut oil. Add a tablespoon of each to hot coffee, blend on high, and get a yummy, creamy, high-in-good-fats coffee treat.”

5 PM: “I needed a snack to tide me over until dinner. I made an open-face pb&j sandwich with Paleo bread, almond butter, and Crofter’s organic raspberry fruit spread. My mom visited last week and bought this bread for us, but I usually make my own with a really simple recipe that consists of almond flour and eggs.”

7 PM: “I roasted an organic brined chicken I bought at Trader Joe’s following this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo. I used sweet potatoes and a regular onion instead of her suggested veggies. I cooked some more bacon in a pan, then sliced Brussel sprouts in half and tossed them in. I could seriously cook all my vegetables in bacon fat; sometimes I’ll do coconut oil instead, but my true love is bacon.”

9:30 PM: “Sometimes at night I will have a couple pieces of dark chocolate or some Paleocrunch from Steve’s Club. Almost every night, I make a shake with chocolate About Time nighttime protein, a frozen banana, a spoonful of almond butter, ice, and water. It’s a sweet treat that helps me not wake up hungry in the middle of the night!”

Posted at 01:00 PM/ET, 10/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This passionate runner and mom of two relies on a high-protein vegetarian diet to keep up with her busy schedule. By Francesca Saunders

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail for details.

Deborah Brooks is the author of the healthy living blog Confessions of a Mother Runner and the mother of two teenagers. She also “runs” the McLean chapter of the nationwide running club Moms Run This Town; coaches Girls on the Run, a program to get young girls active; and serves as a Rock ’n’ Roll Race Ambassador for the DC series. 

A lifelong vegetarian, Deborah strives to eat healthy, well-balanced meals full of vegetables and protein. She tries for five small meals a day, typically cooking for her family and herself during the week and reserving meals out for the weekend. She also works out six times a week—including plenty of running, of course.

Thanks to her balanced meals and her activity level, Deborah says she doesn’t feel the need to count calories or weigh herself frequently. Keep reading for a look at her typical diet—and some of her go-to recipes. 

Breakfast: Omelet with two egg whites and one egg with tomatoes, black beans, half an avocado, a sprinkle of shredded cheese, and homemade salsa; one piece of Ezekiel sesame bread with Smart Balance spread; coffee; and sparkling water. “Today I’m doing an hour and a half of high-intensity kickboxing and strength-training, so a healthy breakfast is important.”

Pre-workout snack: Homemade chocolate protein muffins (see Deborah’s recipe), Chobani 100 yogurt, and water. “I drink mostly SmartWater and homemade sparkling water.”

Lunch: “I’m completely starving after my workout and need to replenish with carbs and protein. I am newly obsessed with tempeh for protein, so I created this tempeh, rice noodle, edamame salad [see Deborah’s recipe]. This was my biggest meal of the day and really filled me up post-workout.”

Afternoon snack: Low-salt almonds, a plate of cantaloupe, and sparkling water.

Dinner: Black bean, sweet potato, and veggie tacos on corn tortillas with half an avocado and salsa.

Dessert (not pictured): Four Hershey’s Kisses. “No one’s perfect! I need a little chocolate every day, and this does the trick for me.”

The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 08/12/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Neighborhood Farm Initiative director Kristin Brower teaches city dwellers how to grow their own food. Take a look at her daily diet. By Tanya Pai

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail for details.

Kristin Brower is the director of the Neighborhood Farm Initiative (NFI), a nonprofit that aims to educate Washingtonians about how food is produced and help them learn the skills to grow their own. NFI, founded in 2008, has a community garden in Fort Totten at which it hosts programs such as Grow, Harvest, Eat! and Adult Urban Garden Education; the organization also donates the produce grown in its garden to area food bands and kitchens. 

Given Kristin’s occupation, it’s no surprise she has a focus on healthy eating, with a diet that incorporates plenty of fruits and vegetables. Still, she admits it’s not always easy to stay active during the day. “Every time I tell someone I work at a nonprofit that does urban garden education, they think I must never sit at a desk, but unfortunately, my job is fairly computer-heavy,” she says. “I need the garden time to stay sane, so I usually go out two or three days a week to weed, harvest, or just help with our classes and volunteer days. My typical fitness routine usually depends on whether I’ve signed up for a race or triathlon. I’ve realized those help keep me really motivated. I’d say on average I run two or three times a week, bike almost daily for commuting and transporting veggies with my bike trailer, and take my dog for long walks.”

Read on for a look at Kristin’s daily diet. 

Breakfast: “I start out most of my weekday mornings having toast with peanut butter. I wanted to dedicate more time this year to breadmaking, so I pledged—via Facebook, so everyone would see—that I would make a new loaf of bread every month. This month it was a hearty, whole-wheat oatmeal loaf, which was delicious with the peanut butter. I also start every day with tea. A month ago it was coffee or black tea, but after an eight-year addiction, I decided to go cold-turkey with caffeine. Now my go-to is dandelion tea—it has the same bitter taste I love in the morning, but is great for your digestive system.”

Drink: “I used to be a big snacker at work, but after I switched from the 9-to-5 gig and was on my feet most of the day, either in the garden or running around, I noticed that I stopped snacking. Now I usually just enjoy tea or a hot beverage during some downtime. This morning, it was peppermint tea to help perk up my brain.”

Lunch: “It makes me sad when I see someone eating a granola bar or something else probably unsatisfying for lunch. To me, it’s a time in the day to take a step back and refocus, so a healthy lunch is my way to go. Today’s special was leftovers from dinner, something my husband and I nicknamed ‘Trasherole.’ Two summers ago, we noticed we had so many greens from our garden and CSA that we just didn’t know what to do with them all, so we came up with Trasherole. It’s basically eight cups of greens or veggies, four eggs, some cheese, and any kind of spices you want, baked for about 30 minutes with bread crumbs on top—and voilà, dinner! I also got used to having salad at almost every meal besides breakfast, because of the amount of fresh greens we’d have at one given time. I love it when half my plate is full of salad. The red sauce is hot sauce made by NFI’s garden manager last year with NFI-grown peppers. To end the meal, I brought in a beet brownie. I made these once when we had so many beets that I just couldn’t down another one, so I found a way to make a dessert out of them, and I’ve never baked another kind of brownie again.”

Dinner: “This is probably one of my favorite dinners: collard wraps! They are so easy and so delicious that I end up eating them a lot when collards are in season. The filling is a mix of ‘soysage,’ quinoa, onions, several spices, and kale. Of course, a salad is also part of the meal, topped with flaxseeds and carrots. Not pictured here (because I forgot) was a Heavy Seas IPA, also a great way to end the day.” 

The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet. Find Tanya Pai on Twitter at @tanyapai.

Posted at 12:18 PM/ET, 08/05/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The two-time Ironman triathlete believes in a balance between eating well and eating what you want. By Francesca Saunders

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail for details.

If you ever find yourself lacking motivation to work out, Danny Metcalf has a solution. This recent Cornell University grad, swimmer, and two-time Ironman triathlete is one of the founders of the November Project DC, a grassroots fitness movement that aims to keep adults on their fitness track through a team-sports mindset. The local “tribe” started in 2013 with five people and has grown to attract some 350 participants to its early morning workouts. (For more information, read Well+Being’s review of the November Project.) And that’s not his only fitness endeavor—since moving to DC, Danny was selected for the Collegiate Recruitment Program of the USA Triathlon Team, an incubator for Olympic triathletes.

He is also the cofounder of a local nutrition bar startup called PravAha Vita (soon to be Mission Bar), based out of Union Kitchen. The concept is to provide athletes with natural alternatives to the highly processed, additive-laden foods athletes are sometimes forced to rely on—think bars made with ingredients such as quinoa, dehydrated coconut water, and chia seeds.

Danny believes nutrition, like fitness, should be for everyone: “I don’t make it out to be rocket science; I eat natural and listen to what my body tells me,” he says. Read on to see how that philosophy translates to his diet—even when he starts his day at 4:15 AM.

Pre-November Project snack: A banana and a cup of coffee before running to the Lincoln Memorial to lead a tough stair workout, to “start the engines and flush the oil.” 

Breakfast: Steel-cut oats, fresh fruit, and chia seeds with almond butter, and a grapefruit on the side. “I believe in consistency in my meals—I always know what I’m putting in and how my system will react. I have been eating the same breakfast for years. As for java, I’m a Portland native, so Stumptown is the way to do it. Since it’s summertime, blueberries and raspberries are going in with the banana.”

Pre-swim snack: “Before completing a 5K swim, I eat a Mission Bar. Made with quinoa, almond butter, and dehydrated coconut water, it contributes sodium, potassium, and the right amount of complex carbs and protein, and doesn’t ‘sit heavy’ the way other bars do.” 

Lunch: Summer salad. “Since my fridge was stocked with summer berries, I went with a summer salad, another college staple. I added beets to quinoa and let them cook together—it saves a pot, and you get red quinoa when you’re done! After refrigerating the cooked quinoa and beets, I added blueberries, apple, strawberries, kale, spinach, avocado, chia seeds, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. I ate it out of the pot, because plates are overrated.”

Midday snack: “Today I went with muesli, almond butter, and an apple—simple, filling, quick, sustaining. I gulped it down with a Trilogy Kombucha.” 

Dinner: Seared tuna and vegetables. “After a round of yoga, for dinner I like to eat more proteins and fats to give my body what it needs to recover overnight. Tonight was seared (more like raw) tuna in sesame oil, garlic, all the veggies in the house, wasabi, Sriracha, snap peas, edamame, avocado, and some almond slices. Carbs, fats, and proteins, balanced and easy. (I eat out of pots and bowls exclusively.)”

Dessert: Ice cream. “After a day of training and working, my girlfriend and I split a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.” 

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Posted at 12:22 PM/ET, 07/29/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This registered dietitian proves quick and easy doesn’t have to mean sacrificing nutrition or taste. By Francesca Saunders

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail for details.

Anne Mauney is a Washington-area registered dietitian and the writer behind the food and fitness blog Fannetastic Food. Her goal is to show readers that being healthy doesn’t have to be hard or complicated—it can even be fun. In addition to blogging, Anne owns her own nutrition counseling practice, working with clients to help them lose or maintain weight, gain energy, and improve their relationships with food. 

Anne is also an avid runner—she’s completed two full marathons and more than ten half marathons, and loves early morning treks along the Potomac River. You will also find her hitting CrossFit, boot camp, and yoga classes. 

Read on to see how Anne fuels her active lifestyle, and check her out on Twitter and Instagram for more daily eats and exercise adventures. 

Pre-workout snack: Ezekiel sprouted-grain cinnamon-raisin toast with peanut butter. “This is my favorite pre-run fuel—I eat a little more or less of it depending on how hungry I am that day, and mix it up with almond butter and cashew butter, too.”

Breakfast: Flour-free breakfast pancake (see Anne’s recipe) with fresh blueberries, and a whole-milk latte. “This pancake is one of my absolute favorite breakfasts—so tasty and easy. As for the latte (we have an espresso machine—it rocks), it’s so creamy from the whole milk that I don’t need any sugar, just a sprinkle of cinnamon.” 

Lunch: Salad with baby kale, lentils, avocado, yellow pepper, brown rice, and homemade balsamic vinaigrette (this recipe minus the garlic). “I love having huge grain/bean salads for lunch—the volume from the veggies helps to keep me full, and the healthy fat from the avocado and the salad dressing go a long way with satiety. In addition, adding a carb or whole grain really makes a salad more satisfying and well-rounded. I used 90-second plain brown rice. I have some variation of this salad (with different beans/veggies/grains) most weekdays because it’s so easy and tasty.”

Afternoon snack: “While out and about for client meetings I had a peanut butter and wild cherry Nouri bar. The bars are delicious—just mashed-up dried fruit and nuts—and I love that they donate funds to a good cause, too.”

Second afternoon snack: Cheese and crackers. “I love these Blue Diamond crackers, and Cabot cheese is my fave. I eat a lot of afternoon snacks to keep my energy up and to make sure I don’t get overly hungry by the time my (usually late) dinnertime arrives. Getting too hungry means it’s very hard to make good food choices, and to eat slowly and savor your food.”

Dinner: Saucy tomato-and-artichoke chicken (see Anne’s recipe), served atop a bed of microwave-wilted spinach. “I love this dinner because it’s so quick, easy, and versatile—it’s on the table in minutes. To wilt spinach in the microwave, just place a big handful on a plate and pop it in for about a minute. Easy!”

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Posted at 11:45 AM/ET, 07/22/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Between reporting on food and nutrition and feeding her three children, see how she manages to maintain a healthy diet. By Tanya Pai

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail for details.

If you’re a fan of NPR’s food coverage, you’re likely familiar with Allison Aubrey’s work. The award-winning correspondent’s stories about food and nutrition appear on Morning Edition and All Things Considered; she also hosts the video series Tiny Desk Kitchen, and she and her colleagues at The Salt won a 2012 James Beard Award for Best Food Blog. 

Though Allison explores the food world for a living, she doesn’t always have time to plan elaborate meals for herself. “Since I am feeding three kids—from toddler to teen—my day-to-day food choices tend to be more functional than frivolous,” she admits. “Usually, my most exciting meal is lunch, which I eat out, at food trucks, media lunches, or the NPR Café.” She also enjoys checking out new restaurants, occasionally stopping by for a drink and a snack from the bar menu on her way home from the office.

To keep herself fit, Allison is a fan of yoga, but she recently underwent surgery on her ACL, which she tore in a skiing accident earlier this year. She is building back up to her usual routine by taking a 30-minute class online in the mornings. “My surgeon Scott Faucett has also turned me on to the stationary bike, because I’m not cleared to run yet,” she says. “And I love aqua-walking (walking in the lap lane) as a low-impact way to get a lot of resistance and build back strength.” 

To fit her demanding schedule, Allison relies on simple, make-ahead meals that can carry her and her family through the week. Read on for a look at her typical daily diet. 

Breakfast: “A small bowl of steel-cuts oats—I make a big pot on Monday, and it lasts through much of the week—with apricots and blueberries from the Kensington farmers market, some full-fat plain yogurt (I’m not fat-phobic), and a little honey drizzled on top. I usually have a cup of coffee at home, and one perk of working at NPR is the free Peet’s coffee.”

Snack: “Radishes, snap peas, and leftover roasted beets with a small serving of guacamole (not homemade; I’m fan of the individual-serving cups from Costco).”

Lunch: “I took some leftover pesto and stirred it into cooked lentils, which we always keep on hand in refrigerator. I also had some fruit and a green salad with cherry tomatoes from my neighbor’s rooftop garden. This all took about three minutes to put together.” 

Snack: (not pictured): “I shared an ice-cream sandwich with my daughter at the pool. Nothing fancy—snack-bar fare.”

Dinner: “Leftover squash-and-ricotta galette, from a recipe I got from Cooking Light, and a simple green salad with fig balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Mom trick: I drizzle the fig glaze on lots of vegetables. It makes them slightly sweet, and my daughter is much more likely to eat them.”


Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Posted at 01:30 PM/ET, 07/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Find out how this trainer and health coach uses a healthy diet to manage both her busy schedule and her Crohn’s disease. By Francesca Saunders

Erika Elko is a coach and VP of business development at Adams Morgan’s Solidcore studio, as well as a yoga teacher and an avid proponent of healthy living. But she wasn’t always so health-focused. At age 11 she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which affects the gastrointestinal tract, and struggled for a long time with her diet and medications. “I used to eat a ton of sugar, dairy, and processed, out-of-the-box foods. I was constantly sick with stomach issues, tired, moody, and never felt my best,” she says. “I was so sick for so long I actually forgot what it felt like to feel good.” 

Eventually, Erika figured out how to use food to help, not hurt her. She now sticks to a diet full of whole, unprocessed foods that helps her manage her Crohn’s disease without medication—but she still indulges in the occasional square of dark chocolate to curb her once insatiable cravings for sweets. 

Those natural foods give her the energy to keep up with her busy lifestyle, which includes a tough personal workout regimen. “I do everything from running, biking, and swimming to yoga and lots of Solidcore,” she says. “I love to mix it up and keep my body challenged.” 

Read on for a look at Erika’s typical routine and diet.


Pre-workout snack (5:45 AM): “I wake up every day starving. This morning, I swam 2,500 meters, so I fueled myself with a banana and a spoonful of peanut butter. This is my all-time favorite snack—it’s easy, it tastes good, and the natural sugars from the banana and fat and protein in the peanut butter are enough to keep me going during my workout. If I do not have at least two dozen bananas in my kitchen at all times, something is seriously wrong.”


Breakfast (7:30 AM): “After my workout, I scrambled two whole eggs and added spinach and grape tomatoes. Something else I always have in my fridge: lots of greens and veggies. Adding them here and there throughout the day makes it easier to get in all your daily servings.” 

Coffee (not pictured): “Every day I get a Starbucks Venti blonde roast. Today I ordered mine black and added almond milk when I got to the office. Crohn’s patients typically should stay away from coffee, as it is highly acidic, but it never has given me issues.” 


Snack (10 AM): “I can never make it to lunch without a snack, especially with a morning workout. My other go-to snack is roasted, unsalted almonds. I go through about a bag a week. They are easy to grab and, again, taste delicious!” 


Lunch (11:30 AM): “Okay, I made it to 11:30 for lunch. Today I had a Sweetgreen salad. They are filling, fresh, and use local and organic ingredients. I create my own with mesclun mix greens, tomatoes, avocado, a hardboiled egg, mushrooms, broccoli, green and red peppers, spicy pickles, and carrot-chili vinaigrette.” 


Afternoon snack (4 PM): “For mid-afternoon nourishment, I usually reach for an apple. My favorites are Honeycrisp, but I had a fresh Braeburn on hand today. Since quitting sugar, fruits now are enough to satisfy my sweet tooth, plus they’re high in fiber, which means filling and great for the digestive system.”


Post-workout snack (7:30 PM): Goûter Tonic in root punch flavor. “I worked out at Solidcore after work. It’s one of the hardest workouts, so I like to hydrate and supplement my body immediately afterwards. I drink at least one of these tonics a day, to help refuel, refresh, and revitalize myself.”


Dinner (8:15 PM): “I had dinner plans tonight, so I went out—a rarity on weeknights for me, since I usually get home late and make myself something quick. I treated myself to a green salad with seared scallops and extra avocado. The dressing used on the side was made from yuzu—delicious!” 

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail for details.

Posted at 01:50 PM/ET, 07/08/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
For this registered dietitian, it’s all about balance and moderation. By Tanya Pai

Cat Taylor, a registered dietitian with DC’s Vida Fitness, grew up in Northern Virginia in a family of food connoisseurs and runners. She studied dietetics and gerontology at James Madison University, where she discovered her love of helping others improve their lives through nutrition. Cat believes in a total-diet approach to healthy eating based on the principles of balance, adequacy, moderation, variety, and portion control. “There is no ‘one size fits all’ in nutrition,” she says, and her job at Vida is to help her clients find strategies that work for them and that they can maintain.

To keep herself fit, Cat relies on running, biking (both indoor and outdoor), and high-intensity interval training classes, interspersed with weight-training sessions and yoga and barre classes. “Since I started lifting, I spend a lot more time on stretching and mobilization exercises,” she says. She’s also training for the Nation’s Triathlon, coming up in September in DC. 

Read on to find out how Cat plans a balanced diet that keeps her energized.

Breakfast: Overnight oats (13 cup old-fashioned oats, ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt, 13 cup Lactaid skim milk, ¼ cup frozen blueberries, ¼ cup chopped walnuts, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, a dash of cinnamon, and fresh raspberries), orange juice, and coffee with skim milk. “I prep the oatmeal quickly the night before, throw it into a Tupperware in the morning, and I’m on my way. An orange would be better than orange juice, but they’re messy and time-consuming; I make sure to keep the portion small.”

Snack (not pictured): Fruyo fat-free Greek yogurt by Fage topped with ½ ounce raw almonds and about ¼ cup Go Lean Original cereal by Kashi. “If yogurt isn’t part of my lunch, it’s almost always a snack. I like to spread my protein intake out over the day, as I recommend to my clients for optimal utilization by the body.”

Lunch: Four ounces of grilled chicken marinated in Annie’s Organic barbecue sauce, a medium sweet potato, and Baby Bella mushrooms sautéed in olive oil. “I absolutely love sweet potatoes as a starch—they fuel me so well, my workouts are noticeably more powerful! Mushrooms are easy to sauté without too many added fats, because they produce their own juice when cooked. I could use a green vegetable in this meal, but hey, we can’t always get it perfect. I aim for a lean protein, a healthy carb, and a small amount of healthy fat with each of my meals.”

Post-workout snack (not pictured): From Vida’s Fuel Bar, either a Strawberries Gone Bananas smoothie (strawberries, banana, unsweetened almond milk, and vanilla whey protein powder) or a peach-mango smoothie (peaches, mango, unsweetened almond milk, and vanilla protein powder).

Dinner: Nature’s Promise organic spring and herb mix topped with sliced orange and yellow bell peppers, grape tomatoes, raw baby portobello mushrooms, beets, 13 cup quinoa, a hardboiled egg, two tablespoons of sunflower seeds, and four ounces of baked salmon topped with homemade sundried-tomato pesto, with balsamic vinegar as dressing. “I love loading up on veggies at night, and when I slice the veggies ahead of time this is a very quick dinner to throw together. It offers a balanced blend of non-starchy vegetables, portion-controlled healthy grain, lean protein from the salmon, and fats from the egg yolk and sunflower seeds.”

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail for details.

Posted at 12:45 PM/ET, 07/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Katherine Thornhill sticks to a Paleo, gluten-free diet throughout her busy schedule. See how she manages it. By Tanya Pai

Katie Thornhill knows plenty about choosing a diet that keeps her energized. During the day she’s a full-time political fundraiser and an ambassador for the DC meal company Power Supply, and just launched her own health-coaching company called Grip DC. She’s also a Yoga Sculpt instructor at Georgetown’s CorePower Yoga, a class she describes as “an intense mix of sun salutations, plyometric work, ab work, cardio, and a whole lot of booty whooping. My students love the class, and I love seeing their energy soar.” On top of all that, she finds time to fit in runs along the C&O Canal. This leads to some long days—as in, 5 AM to 11 PM.

“My days are long, especially on Monday and Thursday when I teach Yoga Sculpt at 8:30 PM,” Katie says. “Maintaining my energy levels so I can perform my best at work while also working out is important to me.” To keep her fueled for her marathon schedule, she relies on a Paleo and gluten-free diet, including periodic healthy snacks, and stays hydrated with lots of water. Read on for a closer look at her typical daily diet.

Breakfast: Cold water with apple cider vinegar and lemon, two eggs sautéed in grass-fed butter, and spicy V8 tomato juice. “I highly recommend adding apple cider vinegar to your daily diet because it is rich in potassium and acetic acid, and can help regulate blood pressure, clear up skin conditions, and boost your metabolism. At first the flavor threw me off, but after the first few times drinking it I really enjoyed the taste.”

Coffee: Grande Starbucks iced coffee with sugar-free mocha syrup. “If I don’t have time to make my own iced coffee to take to work, I pick up a grande iced coffee with one pump of sugar-free mocha. I know there are a ton of artificial ingredients in this mocha syrup, and I really try to stay away from artificial anything, but try going off five hours of sleep each day! If there is something you don’t mess with, that is me and my coffee. I also picked up five Power Supply Paleo lunches from Balance Gym in Glover Park, because I don’t have the time to prep all my food for the week, and these list both the ingredients and the nutritional value so I know exactly what I’m putting into my system.”

Morning snack: Wonderfully Raw Brussels Bytes. “These are the best. I will try any flavor, but my favorite is the tamarind-apple crunch. I love that they are raw, gluten-free, and organic—everything I want in a health snack.”

Lunch: Power Supply chicken, shiitake mushroom, carrot, and bok choy sauté.

Afternoon snack: Epic Bar in turkey-almond-cranberry. “Naturally low in fat and loaded with vitamins and minerals, turkey is an exceptionally dense source of nutrient-rich protein. This delicious bar is loaded with almonds and cranberries to add both texture and balance to the meatiness of the turkey.”

Pre-class snack: “Since I had some time before teaching my class at 8:30, I changed into my running gear and headed out for a run along the canal. It felt great to squeeze in a six-mile run; it may seem like a lot in one day, but I am passionate about running and working out. It makes me feel good! Then, for a little boost before class, I grab a handful of my PaleoKrunch cereal. This is the perfect mix of gluten-free, grain-free cereal made from a blend of raw almonds, raw walnuts, shredded coconut, raw sunflower seeds, and raw pumpkin seeds with a hint of honey, vanilla, and maple syrup.”

Dinner: Sautéed vegetables and kelp noodles with chicken sausage. “Once class is over and I say bye to all my students, I make my way home to fix dinner. I love to cook, but at 9:45 PM I want to fix something quick that will refuel my muscles and glycogen stores quickly. While rehydrating with more water (have to stay hydrated!) I throw into a skillet a cut-up Japanese sweet potato, kelp noodles, green beans, purple cabbage, and an organic chicken sausage, and sauté it all with some coconut oil and Braggs liquid amino. Once the vegetables are cooked and the sausage is perfect, I top it all with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast. I sit down to enjoy my dinner and talk to my fiancé about his day. Then it’s lights out by 11, because before you know it, it’ll be 5 AM!”

The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail for details.

Posted at 03:15 PM/ET, 06/24/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Amy Rizzotto has a passion for helping busy people stay on a healthy track. Find out her tips and tricks. By Tanya Pai

Amy Rizzotto is impressively dedicated to a healthy lifestyle. Though she has a full-time job as a fundraiser, she spends her nights and weekends teaching at Yoga Heights (which she co-owns), blogging about fitness and healthy recipes on her website, MOARfit, and coaching others on nutrition. “My wellness work doesn’t feel like a second job—it’s truly my passion to help people find their path to the happiest, healthiest version of themselves,” she says.

When it comes to her own fitness routine, Amy says she’ll try any workout once, but her staples include yoga (practicing and teaching), running, biking, hiking, and high-intensity interval training classes. She explains, “I’m a big fan of exercise that requires little to no equipment beyond the clothes you wear. Functional fitness training, using my own bodyweight for resistance and challenge, is more than enough to get my heart pumping and muscles burning, and achieve that sweaty, exhausted feeling of hard work and transformation. While I not-so secretly love being sore for a day or three after a workout, I’m also a big believer in self-care and rest—which is why more restorative styles of yoga, meditation, and foam rolling are key to balancing my fitness grind.”

To keep herself fueled for her busy schedule, Amy relies on a diet heavy in fruits and vegetables, and likes to prepare meals in advance so she always has nutritious options on hand. Read on for a look at her daily diet, and check out her website and Twitter feed for some of the recipes she mentions.

Breakfast: Pumpkin-apricot smoothie. “I make a smoothie for breakfast four or five times a week and load them with nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, protein—either nonfat Greek yogurt or hemp protein powder—spices, and fiber-rich superfoods like chia or flax seeds. They’re convenient on the go, super-healthy as long as you avoid added sugar and watch portion sizes, and filling enough to get me through the morning. I love this pumpkin-apricot version because it sneaks in lots of vitamin A with the orange fruits and veggies and tastes like fall, which I’m craving right now with all this DC humidity!”

Snack: “Mid-morning, I usually have a piece of whole fruit as a snack to carry me through to lunch. I keep a bowl with some combination of avocados, apples, peaches, and grapefruits on my desk, so when hunger strikes I have a healthy option in arm’s reach.”

Lunch: Radicchio-wrapped quinoa kale taco salad with spicy avocado dressing. “I always advise my nutrition clients to prep meals on the weekend so they don’t get caught underprepared or overwhelmed during their busy work week. Knowing how time seems to evaporate Monday through Friday, I practice what I preach and (almost) always make two large meals that I can split up into four lunches and dinners—I like to give myself the option of one lunch and one dinner out per work week! One of my favorite packable lunches is this healthier version of a taco salad, which uses radicchio leaves in lieu of taco shells or chips. It’s vegan and full of fiber, heart-healthy whole grains and fats, keeps well, and tastes delicious.”

Snack: Pomegranate power bites. “I try to avoid eating processed foods as much as possible, but sometimes baby carrots and celery sticks just don’t do it for me. I love to cook, so getting creative with homemade snacks is fun for me. I’ve made various versions of these ‘power bites,’ and I love the pomegranate molasses in this recipe. It contains tons of immunity-boosting antioxidants and a slew of B vitamins, which benefit everything from your skin and muscles to your cardiovascular and nervous system.”

Dinner: Harissa-pomegranate roasted chicken with avocado, grapefruit, and mint salad. “Two strategies I suggest for people trying to eat healthy on a budget are to pay attention to the cuts of meat they purchase and to use spices to add bold flavors to basic meals. Chicken thighs are a much more affordable cut than breast meat, and harissa—a North African spice blend featuring a variety of flavors ranging from hot chili to caraway—will take any meal from blah and boring to bold and yummy.”

Dessert: Raspberry-rosewater popsicles. “While I typically opt for a square of dark chocolate as my post-supper sweet treat, in summertime, sorbet and popsicles are in order. I ordered a popsicle mold off Amazon last summer and really enjoy coming up with unique combinations. I once had a raspberry-rosewater macaron in Paris and have been enamored with the flavor combination ever since. This popsicle mimics that heavenly Parisian pleasure and at under 100 calories is 100-percent guilt-free.”

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail for details.

Posted at 10:43 AM/ET, 06/17/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()