Philly Tri Rock Recap and Ultima Giveaway

Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Ultima. This is a sponsored post. I received product samples from the company to share with clients. All opinions stated are my own.

Happy fitness Friday everyone! Happy 4th of July weekend, too ūüôā

Last weekend I finally competed in a sprint triathlon after a couple of year hiatus due and I had a blast. This past year I acted as the sports nutrition advisor for the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Fit to Lead group. They have a few fabulous and fit leaders itself who put together a program each year to show women how being active can improve not only their health but also their careers. The Philly Tri Rock sprint is the goal for the group but, they aren’t only given a training plan, they are also coached on leadership, sports psychology, and nutrition. Since I was doing their sports nutrition webinars and providing tips, I thought I might as well make my triathlon comeback with them, too!

The Race

If you didn’t already know, I was¬†a competitive swimmer and swam for the University of Connecticut’s DI team so, while everyone else dreads the swim, that is the easiest part for me! In 2015, the swim was cancelled due to weather/river conditions. Not only did that make me nervous for this year (what swimmer wants to have to run twice instead?!) but, it also made me nervous about how clean that river would be! This girl grew up in clear pools seeing everything below her.¬†Lucky for me, we had a gorgeous day! This is unlike the cloudy, rainy, cold weather for the Newport 10 Miler I completed with friends 3 weeks earlier! It was still the most beautiful course I have ever raced, I have to add. Anyway, for the tri, it was sunny and low 60’s at the start of the race, the river water was 80 degrees and according to what they told us, as clean as can be. While it wasn’t moving much to push us downstream and make the swim easier, I was totally OK with it feeling like a pool! I wound up being the 14th overall female finisher for the swim (out of over 800) which was exciting since I only hopped in the pool 3 times to train all year before this!


Transition went well and I hopped on the bike. I felt like I was really moving. Key word felt! I hadn’t biked outside all year other than a total 20 mile casual bike in Nantucket that Tim and I did to Siasconset and the Cisco brewery. I won’t make this mistake again!! Looking at the results, this was the weakest part for me and I know training outside would¬†have made a big difference.

The transition from bike to run was speedy. The run felt as expected – harder in the beginning and easier as it went on as my legs were accustomed to not being on the bike anymore. I have to say though, when I saw the 1 mile marker I was thinking “how the &%^&* did I only run one mile?!”. As I said, it got better after that.


I had an¬†amazing time doing this. I really enjoy the tri’s much more than long running races and will be competing in an Olympic distance in early September. I know I can’t slack on training like I did for this one so, once I return from our family vacation after next week, I am going to have to stick to my plan.

The Fuel

Yes, it is only a sprint but for me that “sprint” took an hour an 45 minutes – for most people in the Fit to Lead group, much longer! So, thinking about fuel is important. You may have followed along on instagram but, I did a one meal carbo-load with some delicious Zavino whole wheat pizza on Friday after the race expo and packet pick up. I had some brussel sprouts on the side too with Tim – gotta get those veggies!

For race morning, I had to get up at 4:45, be out of transition set up by 6:45, and my wave wouldn’t start until almost 8:15. Friday night I threw together some overnight oats in a pyrex container (1/2 C quick oats, 1 tsp chia seeds, cinnamon, maca, vanilla extract, 1 tbsp almond butter and 6 ounces of almond milk). In the morning it was ready to grab from the fridge and I ate it once I got to Philly with a banana around 6:00. This left me plenty of time to digest, get energy into my blood stream, but keep me from getting hungry while racing. [Sorry, no picture!]

At the first transition, I had Energy Bits with water and hopped on the bike. I had 2 water bottles on the bike Рone was mixed with 2 packets of lemon Ultima, my go-to electrolyte drink for intense exercise ever since Expo East last fall (see below to get some for free). FullSizeRender (23)

By the end of the bike I needed a boost for the run and the salted dates I’d packed were perfect. I couldn’t eat too much so I just grabbed one, swigged some water back with it and off I went!

Fueling went perfectly for me and I felt energized the entire race without ever feeling hungry or having an upset stomach or cramps. I have a sensitive GI tract and can feel bloated really easily so, I practice what I preach, and never have anything new within 48 hours of a race.

Now the post-race food was for sure something to write about. I have never completed a race and seen food¬†like this. Typically you’re looking at bagels and unripe fruit or worse, just donuts and bars. Winnie’s LeBus¬†killed it. In addition to the amazingly fluffy yet hearty whole grain roll, quinoa/arugula salad, and hard boiled eggs you see on the plate,¬†I also got a cup of delicious berries¬†with a touch of granola – and a banana that I couldn’t finish (eyes bigger than my stomach). They also had a veggie-full pasta salad, marinara foccacia, and yogurt available. It was so perfect we didn’t even think about going to brunch after. The chocolate chip blondie was amazing too!

The Ultima Review and Giveaway

I had spent several years trying to convince teenage and college athletes that they would love coconut water (with a dash of salt) for their practices and competitions but some of them will just never like the flavor. Thankfully, I saw that Ultima provides a natural alternative to sports drinks, with a great blend of 6 electrolytes, that wasn’t adding tons of added sugar. It also is gluten-free (if you need it) and vegan, which is fabulous!As I mentioned above, I found Ultima for the first time at Natural Products Expo East and right away had an interest. I am still surprised it took me that long to find them since the product has been around since the 90’s and aligns with my values!


At almost every sports nutrition talk I give to a team, an athlete will raise their hand before I mention hydration and ask “Do I¬†have¬†to drink Gatorade? It hurts my stomach!”. Nothing you eat or drink should bother your stomach or, any other part of you for that matter! Having concentrated sources of added sugar can cause GI discomfort in some people as the sugar is being absorbed. The lower level of carbohydrate in a serving of Ultima, only 4 grams, is just enough to keep your blood sugar normal without giving your intestines that stress. Of course, if you are training for two hours or more, you will absolutely need more carbohydrate than that.¬†Most athletes are eating something in between events or at half time and often runners prefer gel products to get their carbs in during long races. Cyclists often just eat actual food! So, Ultima is a great compliment to that intake of dietary carbs as it provides not only electrolytes but a {natural} flavor to enhance thirst and ensure adequate fluid intake.

While I still do like coconut water, sometimes I really don’t need the amount of carbohydrate in it and Ultima has done a great job keeping me from feeling sluggish at the end of a workout. I also never finish a whole container of coconut water and then it spoils. Ultima, is a shelf stable powder that I really like in the sticks versus the tub because I can take it anywhere. It also gives me just enough carbs to prevent me from¬†feeling overly hungry¬†when I am done exercising! I started to use Ultima during intense workouts that were over an hour. I first used it for a race when I did the Newport 10 Miler that I mentioned above. For that race, I drank some before and a little after¬†because I couldn’t add the packet to anything on the race course. I also gave a packet to each of my friends that was racing and got their stamp of approval. The Tri-Rock was the first race that I had the Ultima during and it worked out great just like it had in training.


My favorite flavors are the lemonade and tart cherry but, when I brought samples to an event in Atlantic City with some NFL players on Monday, raspberry seemed to be the preferred flavor! They are still getting their “rest” in before training camp and in this case I told them to try it on the spot since i found out they were out a¬†little¬†late the night before and could use some extra hydration!

So, if you’re an athlete or active individual who wants to maintain hydration and energy during workouts and races, and who wants to prevent excessive thirst and hunger after a workout, Ultima is sponsoring a giveaway!¬†Between the flavors I mentioned plus the grape and orange, there is something for everyone.

Head to my Instagram or Twitter pages for details on how to enter to win a free tub of Ultima in your flavor of choice to fuel your training or active lifestyle this summer! The last day to enter is Thursday, July 7 and a winner will be announced next Friday, July 8!

Even if you don’t end up being the winner, you can sign up for their newsletter and receive 15% off your first order at

What’s your favorite way to fuel your exercise, whether it be pre-workout or during?

A Taste of Tredici Enoteca

My trip back from Austin was hectic. After landing in Dallas around 4:25, I thought I’d have a tiny bit of time to grab a salad or some veggies to pair with an RxBar for a dinner of sorts on the plane. But, no, Dallas airport had different plans. I would sit on the runway at the back of the plane waiting for a gate to become available for a half hour and literally run to the tram and from the tram to my gate in a different terminal, panting as I just made my connecting flight to Philly. So, Rxbar alone for dinner it was. I had no veggies all day other than a few pieces of lettuce in a hummus wrap I was served at lunch and my body was craving some greens!

Saturday Feb 13 clearly was a busy Valentine’s celebration night so, to just roll up in Philly on the way home from the airport and find a table was risky. We headed to 13th and Sansom where there’s plenty to choose from. We hit Zavino first cause their Brussels and spag squash are ridic and put our name in. The plan was to check out Charlie was a Sinner next but we ran into Tredici Enoteca first, just in case they had room, because while we had not yet been there, it looks so fab and they have a vegetable section on their menu. Table for 2 was available and it was the best decision ever!

We sat down and were greeted with super fresh garlicky olives. I haven’t liked olives ever but, these weren’t bad. Tim love love loved them.

We were just planning to share some veggies and have a beverage. The server informed us that the menu is composed of “small plates” meant to be shared. We’re thinking, Garces style, 7 green beans will come out on a plate, but we were served massive portions! Below is the unbelievably yummy Mediteranean Sampler – plain hummus  w/ perfect flavor & texture, grilled bread, quinoa salad, edamame falafel and warm peppers & green beans. We also got extremely fresh green beans prepped in a garlic basil sauce as well as currant glazed Brussels {sans bacon}. The Brussels and falafel tasted just as good leftover as a snack the next day!  

Who else has been to Tredici? What did you order? We can’t wait to go back to try an entree soon!

Snap Kitchen Philly Review

Disclosure:  I received free samples from Snap Kitchen while at the event as well as meals to take home. All opinions stated are my own.


I had such a great time checking out the brand new¬†Old City Snap Kitchen location in Philadelphia last week before the grand opening! Local bloggers and IGers were invited to not only try whatever foods we wanted but also snap blog-worthy photos with the picture station they had set up that you can see below – so much fun! I’m sure you can still see a collection of the pics on Instagram by searching #snapkitchenphilly. Continue reading

Dairy Free Jalape√Īo Poppers & Heart Month

Looking for some heat and crunch on Super Bowl Sunday without all the grease? Since it’s Heart Month we should be doing what we can to build habits that support our current and future health. That never means compromising on flavor and texture!

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Heart disease is known as the biggest killer in the US, costing us over $500 billion per year. While we say it is heart disease, we should think of poor diet, lack of activity, and smoking as the leading causes of early death! In women, even birth control pills increases risk. Continue reading

Habanero Rosemary Hummus

These flavors just mesh so perfectly! My first experiment with habanero and rosemary was in my sweet and spicy white bean soup and it went perfectly. This new experiment resulted in an equally delicious versatile hummus. I have used it as a dip for veggies and Flackers crackers, as an omelet topper and as a spread for my veggie packed wraps. If you are looking for a Superbowl dip packed with flavor and nutrients to help fill you up, this quick hummus is perfect! Continue reading

Garbanzo Flour Flatbread and Pizza

Want a pizza that is filling enough that you won’t overeat? Looking for one that is gluten free and free of additives? How about one more rich in fiber, protein, potassium, iron¬†and not “empty” processed carbs? On top of all of that do you also want it to taste good and be able to make it in 15 minutes? This recipe has you covered. Continue reading

Raw Vegan Pumpkin Pie

I realize I should have posted this pre-Thanksgiving but if you are like me and continue eating pumpkin through the rest of winter, you can enjoy this recipe for the rest of the holiday season!

We traveled to Jacksonville, FL for Thanksgiving this year to spend the holiday with my in-laws. While everyone is very supportive of my dairy allergy and choice to not eat meat, I hate to ask for dishes to be altered – it makes me feel too high maintenance. While we had plenty of dairy free side dishes, I didn’t want to feel left out during appetizers and dessert. In addition to packing some pistachio stuffed dates and Treeline cheese spreads, I thought I’d make a dairy free pumpkin pie. In my searches I continually saw tofu as an ingredient. While I hated it just a couple of short years ago, I have¬†grown to love tofu and am better at cooking it on my own but, using it in desserts has never worked well for me. So, I scrapped any recipes I had found and threw together a cashew base and sweetened with¬†dates with a little cocoa added in for fun! Continue reading

Warm Kale and Butternut Squash Salad

Warm kale salads are my fave. I get into patterns where I want to eat this salad every day for weeks so I am perplexed as to why I have not yet posted it. Better late than never to share with the world, I suppose! While this salad started out dressed with both tahini and sriracha, I made it a little more “clean” by adding in cayenne and ginger with the tahini instead of sriracha. Sometimes I mix it up but as I am posting this before the “jump start” week for the new 13 week wellness program pilot at the NAC, I went with this version since sriracha always has added sugar and xanthan gum (even if you choose Organicville or Trader Joe’s¬†brands).

Warm Kale and Butternut Squash Salad (GF, V, DF)

Ingredients (for one serving):

1.5 C chopped Kale (any variety)
.5 C diced butternut squash (pre-cooked)
1/4 C diced onion
2 teaspoons sesame tahini
Ground black pepper, ground ginger and cayenne powder to taste
1 teaspoon hemp seeds


Heat a small pan over low-medium
Add diced onion and cover 1-2 minutes
Add a splash of water to keep onion from sticking, stir.
Add kale and butternut squash as well as 1-2 tbsp of water and cover immediately. The steam from the water should keep contents from sticking and quickly soften the kale without over-cooking.
After 1-2 minutes, remove cover, sprinkle with black pepper, ginger and cayenne.
Transfer contents to a small serving bowl and drizzle tahini over top.
Sprinkle hemp seeds over the salad and serve!

Kale never gets old for me – please share your favorite way to enjoy this nutrient packed “superfood”!

Spelt and Oat Pumpkin Muffins

Happy Autumn! While I waited until it was truly fall in late September to start enjoying fall foods, I am completely embracing and enjoying fall tastes with apples, winter squash, and of course pumpkin. I do have to say though, that while at Trader Joe’s last week, the amount of processed pumpkin foods on every end cap and stand in the store was scarier than anything I will encounter on Halloween.

Anyway, I am so excited to share this recipe! While I love my gluten free almond meal pumpkin muffins, the texture of these new ones really hit the spot with Sunday brunch this past week. I actually adapted it from a pumpkin cookie recipe and originally intended to put chocolate chips and nuts inside the batter but was distracted with other food prep. I am happy I forgot because the drizzled chocolate and crushed maple chia nuts on top add a little crunch to the light, fluffy and tender  texture of this delicious pumpkin spice muffin.

Continue reading

Broccoli and Cabbage Slaw Recipe and intro Expo East Review

My Expo East reviews have been a long time coming (okay, so only 1.5 weeks). There was just so much to catch up on last week after the trade show and conference! Plus I didn’t want to just start posting products without having tried them and there are only so many times to eat in a day!

It was my first time at the expo so I was obviously very excited. There was so much to take in that after two days I was spent! I don’t know how people are there for 4, especially those in booths -cheers to you!

I was thrilled that I purchased the Superpass which allowed me into extra educational sessions on Thursday and Friday. The keynote speakers had such energy and enthusiasm. They were so optimistic about our food system and the environment in a time where many people feel like giving up. Thursday’s keynote was given by former MSBNC host and current sustainability entrepreneur Dylan Ratigan – really cool and motivated guy! Friday morning’s keynote was given by Joel Salatin, a farmer and author who was featured in Food Inc. Even more interesting and enlightening were the small sessions I attended where I heard former Stonyfield CEO and current¬†driver of the Just Label It campaign, advocating for GMO labeling in the US. The first session he spoke in was led by Colin O’Neil from the Center for Food Safety and in addition to Gary, a panel updating on national and state legislation included Marni Karlin of the Organic Trade Association and Tara Cook-Littman of Citizens for GMO labeling. Hearing them speak provided clarity on some of the confusion surrounding the state legislation on GMO labeling as well as updates from other states.¬†After this session, while some of the information was repeated, I stayed to hear Gary’s next session “The Reason we need GMO Labeling”. For all he is doing for the perceived “food fight”, he is SO optimistic and really inspires me to focus my energy in what I want to promote more of rather than on topics I am against. This relates to all areas of my practice, not just the tiny bit where I educate on the food system.

Enough from the neRD side of me (more sessions to be covered in another post) – let’s talk about the foodie side! Here are a few¬†of the products that caught my eye on the floor. I’ll share some others that I have more review type info on in posts in the next couple of weeks!

We will start with spice! While I love the Organicville sriracha brand to pour all over everything, having it already in hummus def makes life easier (even though I like to make my own hummus every week). Or you can pick up BAO Fermented brand hot sauce. Spicy and good for my gut? Woohoo! They have delicious Kombucha too!

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When the holidays hit in a few month, these are the peppermint patties you need in your life. Ditch York and pick up Seely’s mint patties or even more pure and my style, Eating Evolved brand mint coconut patties. The only ingredients are:¬†Organic Coconut, Organic Cacao, Organic Cacao Butter, Organic Coconut Sugar, Organic Peppermint Oil. KJRD Approval is a NO BRAINER!
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A couple of fun products are below. The first is a coconut spread made out of just coconut oil and coconut sugar. SO delicious and can be added to anything that you want a hint of sweetness on. The second picture below is Baobab fruit. Yes, that is a fruit and yes it was even the first time I saw it! Out of it they make a powder which I found similar to maca root powder. It does contain a large amount of vitamin C but the current “superfood” claims are that its antioxidants are energizing, support the skin, support immune health, and detox the liver. We will see what research has to say about that in a few years! In the meantime, it can be a flavorful addition to smoothies I suppose.

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Finally, my favorite convenience meal on the floor comes from Sweet Earth brand. Typically I am not a fan of frozen sandwiches and burritos but these vegan or vegetarian convenience meals (or veggie burgers and meat alternatives) are made with simple ingredients and¬†are not packed with sodium! YAY! While I don’t recommend eating the products everyday, it can be a good emergency breakfast after a weekend away or when you’re low on sleep and need every last minute in the morning.


Now for some recipe inspiration!

Yesterday I was throwing together a quick stir fry w/ the typical garlic, onion, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, edamame and spices that I always use. It was also over quinoa which you can’t even see in the photo below cause I prefer all the veggies! I decided though to pull out the Temple Turmeric beverage (with anti-inflammation spices) I had gotten at expo and use it for some flavor, nutrition, and to replace water to keep the veggies from sticking to the pan. While I don’t my calories daily, I am not one to drink them, so 185 for a beverage is a lot for me. This was a great way to use about 1/3 cup of the product – now I need to add it to other dishes to use the rest of the bottle!

After making the stir fry I still had cabbage left over as well as the fresh broccoli stalks. I figured a new slaw would be fun so I grabbed some carrots and walnuts, got out the food processor and this recipe was born!

Creamy Broccoli and Cabbage Slaw (GF, V, DF)


2 broccoli stalks
1/3 medium purple cabbage
2 med-large carrots
1/4 cup walnuts (preferably roasted)
3 Tbsp tahini
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
Pepper and salt to taste

-Add the cabbage, broccoli stalks and carrots to your food processor. It is helpful to chop them slightly beforehand and depending on the size of your machine, 2 rounds may be necessary.
-Pulse until you have fine shreds of the veggies
-Add vegetables to a glass bowl
-Drizzle tahini, vinegar, and honey over the top of the minced veggies
-Stir with a rubber spatula well until all of the vegetables are coated
-Chop walnuts finely and mix in with black pepper and salt
-Serve as a yummy side dish or afternoon snack!
Purple Cabbage is a great source of antioxidant anthocyanins and sinigrin, both researched to have anti-cancer properties. For vitamins, you receive a great amount of A, K, C and B6. Manganese and potassium are among many minerals cabbage provides. Overall there is a great anti-inflammatory and gut health benefit from cabbage too, due to not only the antioxidants but also the fiber this food provides.

Broccoli Stems/Stalks contain more vitamin C than citrus fruits and are a good source of fiber. You’ll also receive calcium, magnesium and potassium from this part of the veggie.

Carrots are most known for the role in eye health. This is because they have a high content of Vitamin A and other phytochemical carotenoids which not only support your eyes but also skin, hair and antioxidant systems. They are also high in Vitamins C & K and the mineral potassium.

Walnuts have been pinned as the most heart healthy nut by many researchers due to their high omega-3 content (discussed here at and their vitamin E and antioxidant phytochemical content. Omega-3′s support heart health by helping to regulate inflammation, Vitamin E is heart healthy by protecting cells and fatty substances in the body, and the phenols present are thought to support a healthy metabolism and healthy blood vessels.

Due to its natural sugar content honey is a great sports nutrition aid as discussed in this Runner’s World article. When purchasing real nectar or clover honey, especially local to your region, honey is also great for the immune system. And your mom didn’t add honey to tea when you were sick for no reason; it is an excellent cough suppressant. See more on its nutritional benefits at the National Honey Board. *Be careful what you purchase though as a report revealed most store bought honey isn’t real honey and the pollen, which has immune benefits, is removed (more info here).