“But where do you get your protein?” – my least favorite question. Ever. It’s a little frustrating that many people trust the media for nutrition advice. The media has their own agenda. It’s been over two years since I’ve gone meatless.  I feel great, I’m still progressing in my sport, and I don’t miss it. However, I’m not going to try and preach vegetarianism at you. Let me give you a little backstory.

I started caring about nutrition and what I ate fairly young – middle school to be exact. I am the youngest of three active children and both my older siblings had an influence on my diet choices. At that time, I decided to give up red meat and pig. I tried to eat low-fat, whole-grain, and plenty of fruits and veggies. Chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and dairy were my main sources of protein. I ate little refined sugars, but I do have a bit of a sweet tooth. Sometimes the smell of grilling steak would get to me, but I really didn’t have much of a problem giving it up. Fast forward 13 (ish) years and my husband decides he wanted to start working towards a more plant-based diet. He discovered the triathlete Brenden Brazier and his story of going vegan. At that point, I was like, “I’m not ready to give up my chocolate milk, but eh, let’s start vegetarian. No meat or fish.” This changed my focus to getting in more beans, legumes, and lentils, but I did some reading and realized it really isn’t that hard to get enough protein without meat. The realization that brought me to this conclusion is that we really don’t need as much as “they” say we do. The second realization came from reading and researching the protein we get from plants already (it’s more than “they” lead us to believe).

The key to making the switch is to take it slooow. I still eat eggs, and some dairy. I’m very slowly cutting down on dairy, but I’m no where close to cutting it out completely and I may never will. Your body does not like rapid diet and/or activity changes. And if you’re a real meat lover and try to go cold turkey, it’s bad for your psyche, too. Make it a lifestyle change, not a fad diet.

There is another factor to consider when looking at healthy diet for YOU – genetics. What did yo momma eat? Grandparents, great-grandparents? I believe it matters. This might even mean going totally meatless isn’t the best decision for you. If your ancestors survived on eating a lot of meat, your genes probably picked up on that. My family on both sides grew up kinda poor. Even my mother says she remembers when she was young eating just corn on the cob (that they grew) for dinner and that was the meal. Throughout my parents’ childhood, their families progressed economically and in the United States meat became less and less expensive as the farming industry boomed. But I think my genetics play a role in how well I do without meat.

I told you it’s not hard, but it’s not super easy either. You do have to try, and think about your meals, and make sure you’re getting good nutrition from what you eat. You can’t just eat pasta. Start with reading a book. The Thrive Diet by Brenden Brazier is a good one. The Plant-Based Power Diet by Leslie Beck is also a good one.

Whatever you do, my advice is to NOT believe everything the media tells you, read health and nutrition books, and just try things. See how you feel. Don’t get all “Type A” and try and get a 32-week diet plan that someone else made. The human body is so complicated and while there are groups, there aren’t identicals. So don’t get stuck on someone else’s diet plan. Learn objectively and apply subjectively.

Alright, so to answer the question (where do I get my protein), mostly from beans, legumes, lentils, peas, hemp, nuts, and seeds. I try to get variety, especially with beans, to get a good balance of the essential amino acids. I’m not vegan so I still have dairy and eggs. My body loves eggs. I use milk as a recovery food. I no longer use low-fat dairy unless I’m not eating it for nutritional benefit – like if I want to enjoy a latte or something. Although protein is not the bulk of what I eat, I’m certainly not on the “fat is fuel” train. Bring on the grains! I am not gluten sensitive individual, so sprouted whole wheat bread is on my grocery list (which, by the way has 5g of protein per slice). Brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, barely, corn, oats, I’m in love. Potatoes are a favorite, and of course I eat a lot of fruits and veggies. More than 60% of my daily calories come from carbohydrates.

Unfortunately, I have nutella and wine weaknesses. But I make sure I don’t consume these dangerous foods too often. And I’m a sucker for baked goods. Treats with refined sugar are terrible, but because sugar is a carbohydrate and I use a large amount of carbohydrates in training, I’m not as worried about “cheating” as much as you might think. For more on that, see Alcohol is another issue, and I rarely drink while I’m in a training cycle for a marathon.

My diet is pretty picky as I’ve become sensitive to what my body needs when. Timing is just as important as the food itself. How I train and recover depends heavily on how and when I eat. Another book to consider is Nutritional Timing by John Ivy. Sport specific nutrition books will give you better ideas concerning training needs. If you are an athlete, you are not the same! Sports Nutrtion for Endurance Athletes by Monique Ryan, The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition by Matt Fitzgerald, and Racing Weight also by Matt Fitzgerald are good resources.

I enjoy reading nutrition books and learning new things as we continue to find out more and more how the food we eat affects us. However, I don’t take much at face value – I have to take into account experience and feel. Nobody has it all figured out. I try to be open to change as my body adapts (or doesn’t!) and to being flat out wrong and learn from my mistakes.


Banana Bread

Banana bread doesn’t have to be on your “do not eat” list when you’re training hard for a race. If you make it with the right ingredients, it can actually be a runner’s superfood! Bananas, of course, have many health benefits, but some key nutrients are potassium, vitamin B6, managanese, magnesium, and yes, even a little vitamin C. Coconut oil is an immune booster, having antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid, and capryilc acid which have antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Yogurt (cow’s milk) is a complete protein, with calcium and probiotics. Cinnamon works as an anti-inflammatory and is high in antioxidants. Below is a recipe that I use:


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup whole milk greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup agave nector, honey, OR pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups of flour (I use, 1 cup wheat flour, 1 cup coconut flour, and 1/4 cup sprouted rye flour, or some other random grain flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • If you want, you can add chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, sliced almonds, dried blueberries, etc. Use your own judgement on how much you want in there.


  1. Grease/spray baking dish(es) and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients except whatever additive you decide to use (if any).
  3. Make sure all ingredients are mixed thoroughly, then stir in additive.
  4. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.

Helpful tips

This recipe makes two loaves, but you can also use an 8×8 baking pan. If you do, try baking it at 325 degrees F for 35 minutes instead.

I use frozen bananas (thawed) because they are much easier to mush. But because they are cold, they tend to harden the coconut oil, making it impossible to mix. So what I do, is heat up the oil on low in a sauce pan with the bananas and get that mixture warm before stirring it into the rest of the batter.

The batter is kind of thick, so you’ll probably need to smooth out the top with a spatula before you put it in the oven.

This is a great post-run, second breakfast meal. It has the carbs to replenish your body and fuel to move on to the rest of your day. It’s calorie dense, but filled with very useful calories. You can also use it as an alternative to common baked goods, if you’re slowly trying to step away from the sweets. If you add chocolate chips, it definitely could pass as a dessert, and then all you have to feel guilty about is the chocolate. Ha! Enjoy.




dont look

Hot Chocolate 15k 2017

Last year I ran this race and the course was fun and challenging (hills), so I was looking forward to racing it again this year. RAM Racing added an “elite corral” with a little bit of prize money for the first time in the series, but I wasn’t sure if it would draw out more competition or not. I was happy to know I made the cut off time and was gunning for a podium finish. I hadn’t done as well as I’d liked at the half-marathon a few weeks prior and I was ready to redeem myself.

Race morning was relaxed because of a later than usual start time and the luxury of living close to the starting line. After squirting my HoneyStinger Energy Gel over some Cheerios, I got dressed and was off. I found my spot at the front of the starting corral and realized I was the only one with an “elite” bib on (yeah, I felt pretty dumb) and there was no starting corral for those bibs as promised. I guess they didn’t get the word out soon enough? Unfortunately for the other racers, that eliminated their eligibility for prize money. Oh well!

Upon starting the race, my legs felt great. However, my lungs couldn’t keep up (which is usually not the case). I knew I was breathing too heavily to speed up like my legs wanted me to, but I tried my best. After the first four miles, I settled into 4th with little hope of moving up. My pace was steady, but my lungs couldn’t push any harder. It was a peaceful disappointment, realizing this, because I knew with more long runs, my lungs would come back – my skeletal muscles were improving.

Passing the 10k mark, I could hear another female coming up behind me. We were going downhill and nearing the bottom she passed me, but only for a brief moment. Because after the course went downhill, it went uphill – and the quad squad dominated. I regained my 4th place status and stayed there through the finish. After the results were in, I dropped to 5th – a racer from another corral actually took 3rd in chip time. After getting my bag from gear check, I headed straight for the chocolate. It turned out, I was the first 15k racer to get in line, so the volunteers made a big deal about it and offered me two servings. I had to decline, but it was pretty funny.

I didn’t PR or podium finish like I hoped, but I was happy with leg muscle improvement and insights in body awareness and sensitivity. For this training season, I want to peak in November for the New York City Marathon, and I feel like I’m on track to do so. I made some gains and I’m ready to make more. Bring on the Carlsbad 5000!

Final Statistics

Finish time – 1:02:17

Overall – 13th of 3954

Female – 5th of 2809

Age group – 2nd of 381