Orzo Salad

April 29, 2013
Lately, I've been a Pinterest fool. I love finding new recipes, hair styles, home decorating ideas, you name it! My most recent find was this Minted Orzo Salad with Chickpeas and Feta. It looked delicious so I had to try it out.

I wasn't feeling the mint, so I modified this recipe to my liking. Here's what I did:

Cook 1.5 cups of orzo in 4 cups of chicken broth until tender. Drain, set aside and let cool.

Next, combine chickpeas (1 15 oz. can), crumbled feta (3/4 cup), finely chopped red onion (1/2 onion) and finely chopped basil (2 Tbsp) in a large bowl and set aside.

Next make the vinaigrette by whisking together:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
1/4 cup EVOO
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Lastly, combine the orzo with other ingredients and toss with vinaigrette

Serve chilled or at room temperature. 

You could easily make this a meal by mixing in grilled chicken. I chopped up some chicken and it ended up combining well with the other ingredients. Try it out!

?   I'd love to know, what's your favorite side dish?  ?

Q&A with Sports Dietitian, Scott Sehnert

April 24, 2013
Scott Sehnert has been a Sports Dietitian for Auburn University Sports Medicine staff since August 2009. He oversees the sports nutrition needs for 21 of the University's varsity sports including nutrition education, counseling, training table, body composition analysis, and supplement evaluation. Scott holds a Bachelor's degree in Dietetics from Ball State University. He earned his first Master's degree in Nutritional Sciences with a wellness and sports nutrition emphasis from the University of Kentucky. He received his second Master's degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in exercise physiology from Michigan State University. Prior to Auburn, he held a similar position at MSU where he coordinated the sports nutrition services for their student athletes.

I recently had the privledge of asking Scott some important questions regarding protein. Check out our Q&A below!


Scott Sehnert
Image & Bio Source

JRN: The most common protein powders available are whey, egg, casein and soy. Do you find that one is more effective than another and why?
SS: It depends what you mean as effective. Whey would be the most effective post-workout, muscle recovery protein as it has the highest leucine (branched-chain amino acid) content and leucine seems to be the trigger when it comes to protein synthesis.

JRN: Are there any ingredients people should avoid when buying a protein powder? What ingredients should people look for?
SS: People should look for 3rd party certifications like NSF for Sport, Informed Choice, and BSCG (Banned Substance Control Group). Since there’s NO regulation on supplements I really don’t trust any unless a company has invested in 3rd party testers that can verify what’s on the label is in the container. Otherwise, I like to keep it simple, whey protein and as little extras as possible.

JRN: What are the pros and cons to using a protein powder versus eating the same amount of protein in lean meat, fish or eggs?
SS: Pros – Powders are convenient for those who don’t have refrigeration close by (or a method to cook) and for those that are lactose intolerant, whey isolate is lactose free; if there is a specific concern to limit additional calories protein powders can practically give you only protein which is not always the case with whole foods. 
Cons – you miss out on other nutrients that are in those foods. The omega-3 in fish,  zinc or iron in red meat, or the vitamin B12 all provide additional benefits for the active individual and you will miss out on those by consuming just the protein powder. The whole protein will also do a better job providing satiety as it will take longer for digestion/absorption than powders. This would be important for those trying to lose body fat.

JRN: Are there any specific protein powder brands that you would recommend?
SS: Cytosport, Bipro, EAS, True Athlete just to name a few.

JRN: High protein, low carb diets get a lot of publicity. What kind of recommendations do you make when counseling athletes on weight loss?
SS: Carbs are fuel, so in the off-season or during an injury we don’t need as much carbohydrate. Otherwise, my general recommendation for weight loss athletes is to include lean proteins and fiber rich foods at every meal and ideally every snack. This helps you consume fewer calories at each meal, keeps you satisfied longer, helps “hold on to muscle” during fat loss (higher protein protects muscle in catabolic states), and is very nutrient dense. Low carb diets help you lose weight because you lose all of the fluid bound to the glycogen in the muscle. It’s not meant for athletes (especially team sport athletes).

JRN: Do you find a certain percentage of protein in a diet makes one more or less successful with their weight loss goals?
SS: I generally shoot for 1.8-2.0 g/kg body weight for protein.

JRN: For the average person trying to lose weight do you find that the timing of protein intake is essential for successful weight loss? For example, a protein shake post workout. What about for those trying to gain muscle mass?
SS: Recent research suggests the best thing for building muscle and optimizing body composition is to consume 20 (up to 30 grams for the 250#+ guys) grams of protein every 2-3 hours.

JRN: Is there a maximum amount of protein you can absorb at one time? If so, how much?
 SS: This is often talked about but I’ve never seen data to tell me exact numbers. You only have so many amino acid receptors in your gut, so I do think you excrete the extra nitrogen in the urine but that doesn’t mean you’re still not storing extra calories as fat. 

JRN: What about creatine? Is it useful for recovery, muscle building, etc.?
SS: We could talk for a long time about creatine. Creatine is a fuel source (like carbs) and 60-70% of those that take it properly do respond to it and will likely be able to get out another rep or two, which in turn stimulates muscle damage/repair and therefore muscle building.

A big "thank you" to Scott for such an informative Q&A!

Scott Sehnert is a Registered Dietitian (RD) with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and is a member of the Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN) dietetic practice group. Scott also holds certifications with the AND as a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD), and with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He serves on the Board of Directors for the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA).

**Please note that Scott works with collegiate athletes. His recommendations are not specific for the everyday individual. If you are looking for personal protein or meal planning recommendations you should seek out a Registered Dietitian in your area. Find one here**

Book Review: Joy's Life Diet

April 22, 2013
Time for another book review! This book was written by one of my favorite dietitians...Joy Bauer! I actually had the opportunity to see Joy speak in Michigan during my dietetic internship. She's definitely someone I look up to professionally. You can watch her on the Today Show and see previous clips here! (click on Joy Bauer on the left hand side under "contributors")
Let's get into the book review shall we?

Joy's Life Diet book is centered around "four steps to thin forever." It walks you through how to change your lifestyle and eating habits for good. This isn't a fad diet but rather a lifestyle change that promotes "reprogramming" your appetite and the way you eat.
Some takeaways I liked from this book include:
Drink plenty of water
Eat 3 meals per day plus a snack
Incorporate lean protein, fruits/vegetables, whole grains and reduced fat dairy
Get off that couch and move!
I also enjoyed the inspiring weight loss success stories shared throughout the book!
 Like most diet books, this one included meal plans (6 weeks worth!) as well as tons of recipes!
 What I didn't care for in this book was the "foods allowed" versus those not as part of the first few steps of the plan. I think having the mindset of forbidden foods only increases people's desire for them.  You need to learn to acknowledge cravings with a bite or two and move on. Don't let food control or define you.
Overall, this book would put many people on the path towards success. The stories leave you inspired and the meal plans are straight forward. Bottom line, eating healthy is a way of life...how are you living yours?

Buy this book and others written by Joy Bauer here

? Do you have any diet book suggestions for my next book review? ?

Fit Fashion Friday

April 19, 2013
I have a mild obsession with workout clothes. They have such fun, colorful options these days...what's not to love?!
Here are some things I'm loving (and wanting) right now:

Zobha Draped Tank - Loving this for my yoga or pilates classes
Sweaty Bands - SO many patterns and colors to choose from
Beach Runner Crop, Lululemon - How fun is that color?
Nike Compression Shorts - These will be my next purchase!
? What workout gear are you loving right now? ?

Not so Boring Treadmill Workout

April 17, 2013
The weather was rainy yesterday here in Cincinnati so, I took my workout indoors. We all know the treadmill can get boring and mixing it up can help pass the time. The workout below is super easy and changes things up, challenging you while the time flies by. I felt great at the end and ended up doing ~3 to 3.5 miles.
Remember, workouts like this can also be done on another piece of cardio equipment such as an elliptical or bike.
? How do you pass the time when doing cardio? ?

Protein Pancake

April 15, 2013
Most of you know by now that I LOVE Pinterest. It has great ideas for every aspect of your life! I recently tried out this recipe for a protein pancake and fell in love. It was amazing! Plus, it was super quick and easy!

In a bowl combine the following:

1/4 cup oats (any kind will work)
2 egg whites
1/2 ripe banana, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
Dash of cinnamon

Spray a pan with non-stick spray and add your batter. I have to admit I was worried this would be a disaster to flip but if you let it cook through a ways it should flip just fine. I would also recommend using a larger pan! :-)


I topped it with some almond butter and blueberries and it tasted fantastic!

I love this recipe because you can be creative and the combinations are endless. Try adding other fruit, nuts, spices, flaxseed, protein powder, etc. to make your own unique combination! Plus, this would also work for those who have a gluten allergy (just use certified gluten free oats).

Follow me on Pinterest here!


April 3, 2013
What inspires you to be fit?
I often ask myself this question and find that the answer changes frequently....
 Some days I get inspiration from the terribly sick patients I see that make me feel grateful for the healthy, strong body that I have. 
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Other times I see a picture of a gorgeous model with a perfect shape and can't help but have a little body envy (ok...a lot!).
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Some days it may be a great quote hitting so close to home that I'd swear someone was reading my mind.
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Family and friends also inspire me. It's nice to have people in your life that have similar health and fitness goals and are willing to give you a nudge when you don't want to get off the couch!
Jimbo and I snowshoeing...my first time!

A majority of the time I get inspiration from past experiences. Being able to recall how awesome I felt once that workout was done keeps me coming back for more! Runner's high anyone?!

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Whatever your health and fitness goals, find what inspires you! 

The Eat-Clean Diet Stripped

April 1, 2013
Happy April!!! I still can't believe it's April...where did the last 3 months go?! I hope none of you are victims of pranks today! ;-)

Last week I read "The Eat-Clean Diet Stripped: Peel Off Those Last 10 Pounds! " by Tosca Reno. My first book review! I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I usually turn my nose up to "diet" books because they're full of empty promises and leave consumers disappointed. Plus, most of them offer plans that aren't realistic or even healthy. This was a quick read and was the perfect balance of words and pictures.

The goal of this book is to help you "lose those last 10 pounds." It promotes "eating clean" while adding strength training and cardio. Here are some takeaways that I liked and would promote myself:

Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day (2-3 hours apart)

"Eat Clean" by eliminating processed or chemically laden foods

Incorporate lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats

Drink plenty of water

Don't be affraid of weights!

The book also contained a 2-week hypothetical meal plan as well as plenty of recipes.

There was one specific part of the book where I would disagree. Dairy is frowned upon during those 28 days. Dairy contains lactose (which breaks down into glucose or sugar in our bodies) and the book states, "avoid foods high in natural sugars." Personally, I think low-fat dairy is an important part of a healthy diet and is a great source of vitamins, minerals and lean protein.

Overall, I think this book could help those looking to make healthy changes in their life. While not all the information is factual, the message is still clear: Clean up what you put in your mouth!

? What "diet" or healthy lifestyle books have you enjoyed? ?