For Nostalgic Sake

The recipe below is one of my family’s recipes. My grandmother loved to bake and she made the best ever banana bread. Is it healthy…not by any means…there is Crisco in the recipe.  In my opinion, it’s normal to occasionally have a special treat, and this is a special treat for me and my family. I love this recipe because it makes me think of my grandparents every time I make it and it tastes amazing! Both of my grandparents have passed and I miss them dearly. This blog is in memory and love of my wonderful Grandma and Grandpa Cooper. I hope you enjoy my Grandma Wilma Cooper’s banana bread recipe.


Grandma’s Banana Bread
Servings: 30 (10 per loaf); Serving Size: 1 slice

3 cups white flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup Crisco
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 tablespoons Mootopia
3 eggs
5 bananas, very ripe
1 cup pecans, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and Crisco and beat until mixture is blended.
  3. In small bowl, combine vinegar and Mootopia. Add to flour mixture.
  4. Add eggs to flour mixture and blend well.
  5. Add bananas to flour mixture and blend well.
  6. Add chopped pecans and blend well.
  7. Pour evenly into three greased loaf pans. Bake for 30 minutes and rotate bread to cook evenly. Cook for another 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Cut each loaf into 10 slices and serve hot.

Note: I often freeze bananas that are not “edible” to me and use them in the bread. If using frozen bananas, allow to thaw or microwave until slightly icy feeling. The texture of the batter seems to be thicker and cook better when the bananas are not completely thawed.

Note: I prefer to break the pecan halves into quarters rather than chop them into tiny pieces. It’s a texture thing.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 137, Total fat 7g, Saturated Fat 3g, Cholesterol 19mg, Sodium 50mg, Potassium 85mg, Total Carbohydrate 19g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Protein 1g


Too Much to Do & Not Enough Time

Under Training, Under Eating & Under Sleeping….a recipe for disaster. My body was as good as burnt toast last weekend!toast photo 

Today, I am going to share a true story from my training last week. First, I want to start off with saying….I am a Registered Dietitian and know better, but I am still human and succumb to putting my health on the back burner sometimes.

Last week, I kicked off a fundraising campaign to be named Woman of the Year for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I am competing against other women running for the title, “Woman of the Year” but we are all raising money for the same amazing cause; a cure for cancer. The goal my team is aiming to raise is $100,000 in the next 9 weeks. If you are interested in keeping up with the campaign, click HERE.

With that said, I have been investing a lot of time and effort into the campaign as well as working and training for a half ironman triathlon. Last week, I saw over 40 clients at work of whom I truly care about and make an effort to invest into every one of their lives. I also manage dietetic interns and student doctors who rotate through our company. On top of that, on May 20th, I will be competing at Tri Fort Worth 70.3 triathlon and have been making an effort to keep up with the intense training necessary to perform at my best.

Needless to say, last week, my training fell apart as I shifted my focus onto the campaign and kickoff events during the week. As a result, my sleep began to suffer; averaging 3-6 hours of sleep per night and I began to drop weight as I was skipping snacks and meals as I tried to just make it through the week. Now, I LOVE to eat and I know EATING is imperative to my intense training schedule. I do not remember the last time I skipped lunch, but unfortunately I did last week along with other snacks I usually look forward to. My hydration began to suffer too as I went from averaging 50-70 ounces of water during a work day to 20 ounces.

I was in bad shape, but it wasn’t until Friday and Saturday’s training that I truly experienced how poorly I had been treating my body. There had been no training in my life from Monday to Friday, so I felt that since the week was complete and all the events had been successful, it was time to get back to training. Friday, after work, I put my running clothes on and headed out for an evening run. For the most part it went ok and I could hold a decent pace. After the 11.5 mile run is when it hit me….my legs hurt so badly I could hardly stand. The pain was terrible and I wasn’t sure why. My quads were on fire and it felt like I had torn something. The inflammation in my body was so high, it felt like I had just completed a full Ironman. I hobbled into my car and to HEB to get some recovery chocolate Mootopia because I had not thought about bringing anything to drink for a recovery shake. Once I got home, I rolled out and iced my incredibly tender quads hoping they would feel amazing the next morning.

Unfortunately, Saturday morning I was still in quite a bit of pain. I needed to get a 3:30 hour bike ride in and a 30 minute run afterwards. With all the proper nutrition and hydration, I set out for the bike ride. As I started the ride, my quads were unhappy but they seemed to eventually warm up. The ride began to get more difficult and the fatigue set in…every hill felt like a mountain and I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it up. Hills that I have ridden hundreds of times felt like mountains and the fatigue felt like when I first started riding back in 2014. Sixty miles later, I made it home somehow. I threw my running shoes on and headed out. The run was so slow and difficult, all I wanted to do was soak in a hot bathtub and not move. Everything hurt and was inflamed. With pure determination, the brick was finally complete but my body was screaming.

Lessons Learned

That day, I learned firsthand the importance of food, sleep, hydration and stress management. My body was a mess by the end of the week and due to poor food intake, inadequate sleep, lack of hydration and no stress management in sight, I was internally inflamed. It’s amazing I did not get sick after last week.

I write this, because often times we have no idea how amazing we can feel because we have never been there. We get used to feeling crummy, tired, sore, in a brain fog, and in pain. Normally, I feel amazing, look forward to working out and don’t let anyone get in the way of my snacks, meals and sleep. Not only do I love food, I also love sleep!

I am happy to say that my food, hydration, sleep and stress are getting back to normal. My weight has returned to its normal level and I am looking forward to training this week!

The take away from today’s blog is this: Make your health a priority. Take time to relax, eat, sleep, train and you only have one body. Treat it like it is a rare jewel because it is….it’s all you got!

Need for Speed

Most athlete who I consult one-on-one, are looking for nutrition education as well as a new edge in their sport. The new edge may be a new protein powder, electrolyte supplement, BCAAs or even antioxidant green drinks. The options are endless. When selecting a new supplement, key word supplement, it is important to ensure the products are free of banned substances. I like to use or to find safe products and look into personal reviews to get an idea of taste, flavor, bendability, etc. It is very important to remember that these products are not replacements for real food. Nutrient absorption and bioavailability will ALWAYS be better when consumed from real food. However, I do understand the desire to have some of these convenient products in your pantry at home.

Over the last few weeks, I have communicated with several companies who have sent me product to try and promote if I like them. This week I am going to review two products I tried out this last weekend. To give you a little background on my activity, I used these products, during my run on Saturday. First, I swam about 2300 meters and then ran for 1:20 hours.

Note: Typically, I recommend trying one new product at a time, just in case something does not sit well with you. This weekend, I did not listen to my own advice and tried two at once….thankfully all was swell!

BIOSTEEL High Performance Sports Mix

Flavors: Mixed Berry, Lemon-Lime and Orange

Description: This is an electrolyte supplement that is mixed in water. I used a 20 ounce water bottle for 1 packet of mix. The main ingredients include amino acids, electrolytes, B vitamins, sea salt and stevia. Each blend has slightly different ingredients for flavoring.

Review: The flavor is palatable and sweet. After shaking 30-60 seconds, it blended well in water; I did not have any chunks or chalkiness when drinking it. This was the first day running in afternoon Texas heat and did not have any issues with cramping or muscle fatigue.


Flavors: Cherry, Orange, Citrus, Raspberry, Apple, Espresso, Lemon Lime, Berry, Lemon Mint, Chocolate *some available in caffeine*

Description: The gel is recommended as an easy way to consume carbohydrate during activity. They are easily digested and do not need water to help wash down after consuming.

Review: About 15 minutes into my run, I consumed the gel after a hard effort to take back my QOM on a segment on Strava. (I got it back J) The gel was palatable and not too strong in flavor. Personally I like supplements to be a little more on the mild side of flavor; therefore I liked this gel and would recommend others to try.

Hopefully this review has helped your learn about other options that are safe of banned substances and appropriate for athletes to consume. I would love your feedback and opinions of your supplements.

Go Further with Food

Ever since 1980, March has been recognized as National Nutrition Month. The theme this year is “Go Further with Food”. In response to the theme, I decided to pose a question to my readers….

What would it look like, if you could go further than ever before?

 What image popped into your mind? Was the image focused on family, spirituality, personal character, health, fitness, travel or career based? What does greatness look like in your life? What is holding you back from going further than every before and pursuing your dreams?

As a Dietitian, I have the privilege of helping people learn how to pursue their dreams along with optimal health every day! So, now I am going to challenge you…take one step towards your dream and comment below what your step will be.


As a side note, today is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day! So to all my fellow RDN’s, Happy RDN Day!


The Innie or Outie Concept

I want to give a heads up that today’s article is going to be WOMEN focused. The link to the article (listed at the bottom of the blog) is VERY VISUAL of the woman’s anatomy and I am giving fare warning if you check it out!

Men: I did not want to leave you completely out, so click HERE for the link to Cobb’s website for help selecting the right seat for you. There is nothing visual on your links.

Women: Have you ever hopped onto a bike seat and thought, “how in the world do people sit on bikes for hours on end?”. Cobb posted an article called “The Innie or Outie Concept” that changed the way women select bike seats. The article describes and shows how the female anatomy differs and helps educate women on how best to select a bike seat that is better for their anatomy.

If you are struggling with numbness, pain, saddle sores or discomfort on the bike, maybe it is time to look into a different bike seat. Click HERE to check out the article. I found it very helpful when it was time to purchase a new seat. While, I would never say that my bike seat feels like clouds, it is definitely much more comfortable than any other seat I’ve tried. Being a 2x Ironman, I have been on my bike for quite some time and can say having the right bike seat makes all the difference!

I would love feedback, comments or questions! Thanks for taking time to read my blog.


The Innie or Outie Concept Article

Seat Selector Guide

I was not paid or compensated to feature Cobb.

Parmesan Crusted Salmon with Parsley

Parmesan Crusted Salmon with Parsley (Serves 4)

16 ounces Salmon, Wild Caught (leave skin on filet)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/3 cup fresh Parsley, chopped
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Rinse salmon and pat dry. Place salmon, skin side down, onto foiled baking sheet.
  3. Top salmon with lime juice, parsley and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes, using a food thermometer, bring the fish to 145 degrees for 15 seconds.

Note: I like to use a food thermometer to prevent overcooking fish.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 229, Total fat 8g, Saturated Fat 4g, Cholesterol 59mg, Sodium 100mg, Potassium 51mg, Total Carbohydrate 2g, Dietary Fiber 0g, Protein 36g

What’s the big deal about the Triad and RED-S?

I am so excited that the winter Olympics has begun! It is always inspiring to see so many talented individuals excelling in the sport they love. With so much talk about the athlete’s performance and fueling, I thought it was appropriate to discuss the concepts of the Female Athlete Triad (Triad) and Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S). As athletes training intensity and duration increases, they are at a higher risk of developing these conditions.

So what is the Traid? The Triad consists of three conditions, a low level of available energy, irregular menstrual cycle and bone loss. This condition is common in athletes where aesthetics and weight are extremely important for success. In extreme cases, when the Triad is experienced over a long period of time, female athletes can suffer from amenorrhea, infertility, stress fractures and develop osteoporosis. As you can tell, if an athlete is dealing with any of the symptoms of the Triad, their performance will suffer and they SHOULD reach out for help.

Further research assessed that the underlying factor that impact all aspects of the Triad begins with a low level of energy intake when compared to the energy expended. Obviously, this concept does not only affect women; men are also subject to low energy availability. After further assessment, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) termed the overall syndrome, which effects men and women, Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S). In the cited consensus statement, “RED-S refers to impaired physiological function including, but not limited to, metabolic rate, menstrual function, bone health, immunity, protein synthesis, cardiovascular health caused by relative energy deficiency.”

So what is the big deal? Long term effects of RED-S could lead to nutrient deficiencies, mood changes, eating disorders, chronic fatigue and increased immune vulnerability. Medical and physiological damage can occur to the cardiovascular, endocrine, skeletal, renal, gastrointestinal, reproductive and central nervous systems. Basically, all our important systems in the body become at risk if we do nothing and continue to be in an unhealthy energy deficiency! Putting yourself into an extreme energy deficiency and maintaining a high level of training is very dangerous and will not give you the results you are looking for.

This is a HUGE deal!! I work with athletes all the time who want to drop weight and cut calories. On a weekly basis, I see individuals who have succumb to an extreme energy deficiency and are now having to deal with those consequences. Often times, they are extremely fatigued, testosterone is low, lacking a regular menstrual period, experiencing dizziness often, feeling like food is the enemy, struggling with recovery and are going down the path of disordered eating. None of those symptoms I just listed will help you achieve your goals.

Any athlete reading this should take a moment to assess how their energy intake has compared to energy expenditure. As training volume goes up, your needs go up. Therefore your energy consumption should change depending on goals and whether you are in season or off-season. If weight loss is your goal, I highly recommend you focus on that during off-season or during the very first part of your training when volume is lower. Adequate energy intake and a focus on nutrition are extremely important in order to train and perform at your best.

Remember, thin does not mean healthy no matter what sport you are in. Choosing to make healthy changes to your physique, if needed, with proper education is very important. Changes take time, so seek assistance and be patient. Don’t let urgency of weight loss or the pressure of fitting into a “perfect” physique ruin your athletic abilities, health or dreams!

Read Allie Kieffer and Adam Rippon stories to learn about their struggles with body image, proper fueling and performance. I hope this blog has hit home to yall and maybe helps you think a little more about your nutrition and performance!

Please feel free to leave comments or questions below regarding energy needs, nutrition for performance or any other nutrition related topic, I would be happy to help!

Consensus Statement