Category Archives: Sports Nutrition

In addition to being passionate about health, wellness and sports nutrition, Janet is a Clinical Dietitian and an educator at the Eastern Michigan University.

Branch Chain Amino Acids

livewithintentionI receive a lot of questions about Branched-Chain Amino Acids. Here is some great information that helps:

Branched-Chain Amino Acids

Branched-chain amino acids, including leucine, isoleucine and valine, are used by endurance athletes as an energy source late in exercise when muscle carbohydrate stores are low. Research suggests that BCAA also may delay mental fatigue by altering brain neurotransmitters that contribute to fatigue. The theory is sound, but there is not enough evidence to show that BCAA supplementation can delay fatigue.

Eating foods rich in BCAA is a smart move for athletes, but for reasons other than delaying fatigue. Leucine has been identified as an anabolic trigger to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Leucine is a key amino acid in whey, a protein in milk. Milk may have a muscle-building advantage over other protein sources because milk protein contains both whey and casein. Whey is a “fast” protein that is rapidly digested and absorbed, leading to a rapid rise in amino acids in the blood, while casein, a “slow” protein, results in a slower release of amino acids. The combined fast and slow release of amino acids leads to a more sustained availability of amino acids to muscles.

Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RDN, CSSD, is the sports dietitian for Georgia State University athletics and editor-in-chief of Sports Nutrition: A Manual for Professionals, 5th ed. (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2012).

Endurance Foods-Turkey

Got turkey?  If it were the day after Thanksgiving we would all say YES! But, even this time of year, it is  easy to get turkey.We know the value of protein for an athlete; it can be animal protein or plant protein, depending on your own preference. Personally, I am a vegetarian and prefer plant proteins; but I am always glad to share the value of animal protein with my athletes.

So, let’s talk “turkey!”

Why is turkey a superfood?  This is why:

Turkey skinless (or) chicken skinless

They contain: low fat protein, niacin,B6, B12, iron, selenium, zinc

Servings: 3-4 servings of 3-4 oz per week.

Benefits: heart health, reduce risk of cancer, improve immune system.

I especially like that turkey improves your immune system!  We have talked alot about free radicals and the importance of fruits and veggies  Now, we can add turkey to that list (though I still recommend fruits and veggies first…)

Need a recipe for Turkey Quinoa Soup?  Here it is:

1 Tablespoon olive oil

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped carrots

½ cup chopped celery

2 cups shredded, diced OR chopped cooked turkey

About 6 cups turkey broth (depends how you like your soup)

About 2 cups leftover veggies from Thanksgiving OR

1/2 cup each peas, corn and spinach (a Superfood)

½ cup quinoa, rinsed well

Herbs (optional) You may add a few springs of rosemary, thyme or marjoram while simmering.


  1. Saute onions, carrots and celery in olive oil.
  2. Add remaining ingredients
  3. Add herbs, if desired
  4. Simmer 15-20 minutes or until quinoa is done
  5. Salt and pepper to taste (I am suppose to say that in a recipe, but only add salt if you need it for training or MUST have it for taste.)
  6. Most importantly…ENJOY!

Yields  10-12 cups of soup

Endurance Foods-Spinach

How is your season going?  Mine is just beginning with a 5K Tutu run last week and the Martian 10K next week.

Even though our weather does not point to Spring, I am excited that, at least, the calendar does!

What shall we eat to get ready for the Spring season?  Spinach, of course!  (just ask Popeye, he would never lie)

Spinach is a wonderful Spring vegetable, and is definitely a SUPER FOOD!  Look what it has to offer:

Spinach (or) kale, collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, bok choy, romaine lettuce.

They contain: A synergy of multiple nutrients/phytonutrients, low in calories, lutein/zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids, glutathione, alpha lipoic acid, vitamins C and E, B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, polyphenols, betaine.

Servings: 1 cup steamed or 2 cups raw most days.

Benefits: heart health, reduce risk of cancer, reduce risk of macular degeneration, reduce risk of cataracts, reduce risk of stroke.

Of course, we always need a recipe to go along with our Endurance Food, and, of course, it will have quinoa in it…   Here goes:

Quinoa-Spinach Soup

Makes 4-5 servings


1 cup water 1/2 cup quinoa 4 cups vegetable broth or 2 (14.5 oz) cans vegetable broth 1/2 chopped onion 1/2 diced carrot 2 cups spinach, washed and chopped coarsely salt and pepper to taste.


Rinse quinoa before cooking to remove the coating of a bitter substance called saponins.

Bring water to a boil.

Stir in quinoa, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add broth, onion and carrot

Simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in spinach, allow to wilt in soup

Salt and pepper to taste


Nutrition facts: 100 calories; 18 gm carbohydrates; 4 gm protein; 1 gm fat

Endurance Food-Beans

Here is our next super food-beans (all beans are included in this super food).

1. Beans

Pinto, navy, Great Northern, lima, garbanzo, lentils, green beans, sugar snap peas and green peas.

They contain: low fat protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, folate, potassium, magnesium, phytonutrients.

Servings: try to eat at least four ½ cup servings.

Benefits: Control blood sugar, weight management, help prevent cancer, heart health

What is YOUR favorite bean?

This time of year, I am longing for green beans; the ones in the summer that  I can pick right off the plant, rinse them off under the hose, and start nibbling on them.  It is not summer here in Michigan, yet, but I did find some beautiful, fresh green beans at Trader Joes yesterday.  I purchased a handful, brought them home and pretended that they were fresh picked from my garden.

Need a great recipe for green beans? Try this one:

Quinoa Gazpacho with Green Beans

Serves 8


1 cup quinoa 2 cups water 1 48-oz bottle vegetable juice 1 tablespoon Worchester sauce 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tomatoes, finely chopped (seed and peel, if preferred-but not necessary) 1 large cucumber, finely chopped (seed and peel, if preferred-but not necessary) 1 cup green beans, cut in one inch pieces and blanched. 2 green onions, sliced (use the whole onion) 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)


1. Rinse quinoa before cooking to remove the coating of a bitter substance called saponins. 2. Bring water to a boil. 3. Stir in quinoa, cover and simmer 15 minutes. 4. Chill 5. While quinoa is cooking, mix together all ingredients for the soup 6. Chill 7. Serve cold with the quinoa scooped on top of the gazpacho (I use an ice cream scoop) 8. ENJOY!

Nutrition facts: 141 calories: 24g carbs, 4g protein, 2g fat,(from olive oil)