Carb loading in 3….2….1…


On November 2, 2014 at 7 A.M. over 3,000 participants will take off running at the Marshall University-St. Mary’s Marathon and Half Marathon! This year is kicks off the 11th year of the marathon and there a multiple reasons why thousands have decided to take on this incredible challenge. Did you know this is the largest marathon in West Virginia? Did you know donations can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project as well as awards? Many have prepared tirelessly for months and months to make this event a success. I want to commend all of those who have worked to make this event possible and those who are participating.


To prepare for a marathon is no easy task. Many have conditioned for months and years to be able to physically endure the course they will run. Participants have prepared for the marathon by running, stretching and core conditioning in order to achieve optimal performance during the race. While many have taken physical activity as a measure to reach high performance levels, a lot will also take their diets into consideration during the final hours before the main event. Some will partake in glycogen loading, also known as carb loading. This is a hot topic that many runners are familiar with.


What is carb loading and why do runners do this? Let us first start off with what carbohydrates are and how carb loading works. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and are converted to sugar in the body. When carbs turn into sugar, the sugar is allowed to be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen; hence “glycogen loading.” The thought behind carb loading can be broken down like this…more carbs=more sugar=more glycogen= more energy for running!

Carb loading could be considered a type of diet for runners. If you are a person that works out and runs for 30 minutes or so, you would not really need to worry about your glycogen stores. This type of diet is for athletes that are performing for more than 90 minutes. So what is the correct way to carb load? Carb loading is a little complex. I have heard many times from people to eat a bowl of spaghetti the night before, but it is not as simple as that. Carb loading should begin about a week before the big event. Typically in a normal diet, 45-65% of the diet is carbohydrates. In carb loading it is suggested that about 50-55% of your diet be carbohydrates a week prior to the race and then increase to about 70% 3-4 days before the race. It is also suggested to reduce your workouts 3-4 days before the race and to not workout at all the day before the main event. This is the overall outlook of what carb loading is.

It is important to stay hydrated and to keep your body fueled during distance sports. Breakfast is also a vital component to maintaining energy. Typically I suggest eating whole grains, however on race day, these are not your friends! On the day of the big event, avoid whole grain products. Otherwise you might be running to the restroom instead of running the race. Other good sources of fuel during the race can be chia seed bars, sport beans, Powerbars, honey packs, Gatorade, and gel packs.

Whether you are running the full marathon or the half marathon, give yourself a huge pat on the back! In your final days of preparation remember to eat nutrient dense foods and be gentle on your body. On the big day, keep in mind the importance of staying hydrated and fueling your body during the race. To all, good luck and congratulations on completing the 11th Annual Marshall University- St. Mary’s Marathon and Half Marathon!!! For more information please visit


How do you stay fueled during a race?

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Butter It Up!

Last week I finally had the opportunity to visit Butter it Up! in Heritage Station. My husband has been there several times and has given the food rave reviews, so I headed down there on a dreary day last week when I needed a caffeine boost at lunch time.


Butter it Up! is located in Heritage Station where the Wild Ramp used to be, and first off, I was blown away by the transformation. It looks completely different now, and  everything was displayed well. I especially like the old milk (cream?) jugs that they use as stools. So cute.

I’m going to be honest here. Full transparency. I went in not exactly wanting to like it. I have been very skeptical to the whole butter and heavy cream in coffee idea since I first heard of this. For a person that is extremely active and always tries to make good food choices, there is a tiny alarm that goes off in my head when I eat something that may be full of fat. Remember when the Atkins Diet was all you heard about? I couldn’t grasp that all that meat could be good for anyone. Bacon is good? Since when?

For those of you have never heard of this phenom that is bulletproof coffee, it actually consists of strong, high quality coffee; grass-fed, unsalted butter and MCT oil or coconut oil. So you can see my apprehension, right?

Here’s the scoop: the coffee was delicious. They put it in a high-powered blender and mix it all together, so its frothy and just super yummy. I was pleasantly surprised at the taste. Here’s a picture of the coffee menu:


It’s hard to see, sorry about that.

I bought the “Katie”, which they said would be sweet because it is made with honey. I didn’t feel like it was that sweet and I usually take my coffee without any form of sugar. It was just perfect.

I also ordered something to eat seeing as how I wanted to give you guys a good review. The food menu is relatively small, and they were out of a couple things. I went with the chicken salad.


It had grapes in it, which is SO good. Since all the food at Butter it Up! is paleo, there was no bread involved, but this salad didn’t need anything to take away from the taste. Fresh chunks of chicken with crisp grapes and nuts all mixed in a wonderful creamy texture. I also caught some of their egg muffins in the picture, and what looks like a pecan pie.

As I happily ate my lunch I found myself thinking about the fact that bulletproof coffee is in fact, a meal replacement. It has the jolt of the caffeine to wake you up, and enough calories to get you through a larger portion of the day without needing to snack throughout the morning, or as what I like to call it my 10:30 Cheez-It break. It was true that after I finished the coffee I was awake and alert the rest of the afternoon. But what about the nutritional content? I usually have yoghurt, oatmeal or eggs and veggies in the morning, and isn’t the coffee low in essential nutrients? I’m no dietician, these are just random thoughts of a health conscious person.

Plus, I know that having the chicken salad in addition to the coffee probably had more saturated fat than what I would need for 2 full days, but do other people know that? I think that many people are uneducated of the effects of some types of diets. You hear the word “paleo” and that means it’s healthy, right? My thought is yes, but in moderation. it doesn’t give you the green light to inhale coffee and foods full of saturated fat all day, every day.

Before I left, I walked around and snapped a couple more pictures and asked them if they had any bacon wrapped dates. I saw on our old friend Christine’s blog that she had picked one up during her recent trip to Huntington, and I was dying to try. They let me have one on the house, and I must say, the salty sweetness of this little treat may go down in my all-time faves.


It was stuffed with almond butter, and totally hit the spot!

They also have other sweet stuff like cookies and stuff, as well as a line of dressings.

IMG_6077 (2)IMG_6082 (5)

So I walked in VERY skeptical, and I walked out thinking that the food was delicious, fresh and well-made. Just like anything else- in moderation. The staff and owner were super nice, answered all my questions and just looked happy to be there. Huntington is lucky to have such a unique coffee shop in Huntington.. and the owner eluded to burgers being a thing in the future?? I vote for that!

Have you ever tried paleo before? Have you ever been to a paleo restaurant?

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A Fall Fix: Starbucks Options for the Calorie-Conscious

Fall is in full swing, and with fall comes pumpkin carving, leaves falling, sweater weather….oh, and Starbucks fall drinks. As much as I would love to say that I don’t really obsess over Starbucks or think about their wonderful drinks often, I can’t because that would be a lie. Rewind back to freshman year when I got the meal plan that allowed me to visit Starbucks on the daily (not my proudest moment).


I am happy to say that my Starbucks addiction has gotten much better. Part of that being the lack of a convenient meal plan, but most of it being the shocking calorie realities in Starbucks drinks.

When I first started really eating healthier and watching my diet, I completely cut Starbucks out. And while it did wonders for my wallet, it was a little too extreme for me.

So now I’m all about moderation and I think it’s important to give yourself a break sometimes when it comes to healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle, so I ventured back into Starbucks recently to reunite with my long lost friends (coffees, mochas, lattes).

But this time, I wanted to come prepared. I knew I wanted a festive fall drink, maybe the pumpkin spice latte, because come on…it’s October, I’m wearing scarves and boots, pumpkin flavored things are all around, it just makes sense.


Anyways, I found this article in POPSUGAR website’s health and fitness section, “Starbucks’s Festive Fall Drinks: Which to Skip and Which to Sip.” Exactly what I needed.

The writer, Lizzie Fuhr, breaks down the bad drinks and replaces them with a healthier option, showing you the difference in calorie counts (it’s crazy how much difference syrup and whipped cream makes).

The famous “Pumpkin Spice Latte” (a huge favorite of mine from freshman year) is replaced by a “Caffe Misto” topped with cinnamon. My personal fave the “White Chocolate Mocha” replaced by the “Skinny Vanilla Latte”…a difference of 350 calories!!!

If you want to see the other pairings, click on the link here:

The takeaway from all this….you can still celebrate fall at Starbucks without sacrificing a meal’s worth of calories to do so. So get out there and get some coffee, Happy Fall!!!

What are your favorite drinks at Starbucks? Have you found a lower calorie replacement the article didn’t mention?

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Orange you glad you can fight off that fall cold?!


Have you ever had a cold and your mom gives you chicken noodle soup? What about warm tea or some food with vitamin C? If so, the old adage of mom knows best stands true. Cold season is on its way and germs are preparing for attack! This does not mean that you have to sit around and wait for them to sneak up on you. Put those tissues away and prepare your body to fight off those pesky little microbes when they try to take over.


Here are a few nutritious foods that can help keep the sniffles at bay:

1. Oysters- these are packed full of zinc which helps fight off the common cold by keeping your immune system functioning properly. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, we should consume 8 ounces of seafood a week for optimal health benefits. Go ahead and add this to your foods list.

2. Citrus fruits- oranges, grapefruit, and clementine’s are just a few citrus fruits we commonly hear about. Citrus fruits may not help cure a cold; however some research shows that it can help shorten the length of a cold. These fruits are packed full of vitamin C, an antioxidant, which is good for your skin, immune system and a multitude of other health benefits.

3. Tea- black, green and/or white tea contain antioxidants, which could help fight off a cold. Plus we all love a good hot cup of tea when we are feeling down. It helps break up chest congestion and soothe a sore throat. Add honey for sweetness and couple it with a vitamin C source and you’ll be well on your way to good health.

4. Red Peppers- just like citrus fruits, red peppers contain vitamin C. Grill up your favorite dish and sauté red peppers or add roasted red peppers to a strawberry salad. YUM YUM!

5. Milk- a lot of us know that milk helps build strong bones, but it also helps build our immune system! Milk is fortified with vitamin D, which may help fight off colds.

6. Lean protein- chicken and turkey are good sources of protein. Have you heard of protein building muscles? This is true, but protein also helps create antibodies that help fight off unwanted creatures in our bodies. Mom knows best with chicken noodle soup! However if you do not consume meat, no fear. You can still get protein by consuming beans, nuts and dairy.

7. Dark Leafy Greens- Leafy greens such as kale, arugula, and spinach are WAY more nutrient dense than iceburg lettuce. One study showed that there might be benefits to fight off a cold when consuming these foods.

8. Dark chocolate- SIGN ME UP! Okay so this just as any other sugary food should be consumed in moderation. However, dark chocolate actually contains antioxidants and zinc! Double trouble for those feisty germs.

9. Carrots- we might know carrots for our eye sight. When we were kids and our mothers told us to eat our carrots or we will have bad vision. Mom wasn’t lying, but did you know that carrots and other orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes contain vitamin A, an antioxidant? Vitamin A is essential for maintaining a strong immune system.

10. Sunflower seeds- need a snack on the go? Create a trail mix and add these little seeds in the mix. Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E, an antioxidant which helps protect the cells in our bodies, thus helping protect our immune system. Other foods that contain vitamin E are nuts, olives, eggs, sweet potatoes (also contains vitamin A) and avocados.

While the battle may be lost at times, it does not mean we lose the war! Antioxidants play a huge role in keeping our immune system strong and these include vitamins A, C, and E among others. As the weather gets cooler and more and more people become ill, be proactive. Start implementing some of these foods within your diet. Create a homemade chicken noodle soup with added carrots, add a side of spinach salad topped with walnuts and red peppers , sip on hot green tea with honey and for dessert enjoy a piece of dark chocolate. Also, do NOT forget to have good hand hygiene as we gear up for flu season. As always my friends, don’t be vicious to your bodies, stay nutritious! – Christina

Question- how do you fight off a cold?

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Planning Makes Perfect

One of my main workout dilemmas, because if I’m being honest there are plenty, is thinking of new and different workouts to do at the gym. I am also very much a planner. I like to plan out the basics of my workout before I go in the gym so I know where to go and what to do…it’s like making a shopping list for Walmart so I don’t end up with $50 worth of things I never thought I needed (a wooden crafting kit, for example).

There are days when I know I can’t do cardio, days when my abs just won’t crunch anymore, so workout planning is essential for me.


So I scoured the Internet, as I always do when a thought or question pops in my head, and I found a workout planner on Health Magazine’s website,

Basically it gives you about 15 different workout moves to choose from, which you can drag and drop in your “Today’s Workout” boxes. After you have 5 moves selected, you can print the lineup to take with you. The great thing about the workout planner is that it separates exercises based on what area of the body you want to work.


You can choose between:

· Abs

· Arms & Shoulders

· Legs & Butt

· Full Body

And really, you can design any variation of them and use it as your workout.

I am 100% a believer in at least somewhat planning out your workout before going to the gym because I think it helps your mind and body match up, and I think you’re more likely to stick through your whole workout if you have it planned out from the get-go.

Here’s the link to the workout planner:,,20851161,00.html


Are you a workout planner or do you prefer to just wing it at the gym?

If you try the workout planner on Health’s website, let me know what you think!!

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100 Mile Meal



What is a 100 Mile Meal you might ask? It is part of the Real Food Challenge and a movement for National Food Day. Food Day is a nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable and sustainably produced foods, and a grassroots campaign for better food policies. Food Day builds all year long, culminating on October 24. Food Day is an opportunity to support better local, state and federal food and nutrition policies, educate the public about healthy and sustainable diets, and push for change in the American food system.


Did you know that the average meal in the U.S. travels 1,500 miles from the farm to your plate? Long distance traveling can impact the environment, food security, nutrition and the economy. What are the benefits of purchasing locally you might ask?

•Local farms benefit from earning extra business, improving the economy.

•Consumers benefit by receiving whole, natural foods that improve health.

•Awareness increases likelihood of encouraging health promotion.


Last year, universities across the country played a major role in making the campaign an overwhelming success. Over 300 universities organized Food Day events from campus farmers markets to lectures and debates on a range of food issues. This year Marshall University is prepared to join the movement.

Marshall’s Student Association of Nutrition and Dietetics is partnering with Dining Services and the Sustainability Department to host a 100 Mile Meal on October 23th in Towers Marketplace. Food for this dinner will be sourced within 100 miles of Marshall University, helping to support our area farmers and to create a more stable, sustainable economy.

What will be served at the 100 Mile Meal?

· Chicken and Dumplings

· Smoked Ham

· Southern Green Beans

· Mashed Red Potatoes

· Butternut Squash

· Brown and Serve Rolls

· Ice Cream topped with Baked WV Grown Apple Slices

· Salad

· Drinks: Milk, Lemonade, Tea and Water

The Marshall University Sustainability Department, the Wild Ramp and the 30 Mile Meal will be at this event to share valuable information on how you can reduce your carbon footprint, purchase wholesome foods and impact the economy.

There will be games, prizes, and a photo booth for you and your friends to partake in! I hope to see many faces of the Marshall community at this event. If you are a student with a meal plan you will receive the meal on your plan and if you do not have a meal plan you can enjoy this delicious meal for $10.49 tax included. Come join us next Thursday, October 23 from 4:00-7:00 P.M. at Towers Marketplace to make your impact! For more information please visit or contact me, Christina Gayheart, at

Do you know where your food comes from?

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Standing Ab Workout

If you read my last post about workout styles and personalities, you may remember that my favorite workout is cardio or a fun exercise class, weights and core workouts aren’t my cup of tea. Core workouts, like ab crunches and planking, are my least favorite of all, so I try to come up with creative ways to work out that part of my body.


Well, this week I found an article and workout on the Women’s Health magazine website that switched up traditional ab workouts.

Standing ab workouts.

The only thing you really need for them is a set of weights, but if all else fails, you could do it without the weights and still get a little workout in.

The moves aren’t extremely difficult, but you will definitely feel the burn. I like that the moves are relatively simple, and the workout doesn’t require a ton of equipment or anything. It’s a nice change from my traditional regimen.

I included the workout below. If you try it, let me know how it goes. Or tell me about ways you switch up your workouts…because let’s face it, we all get tired of our workouts eventually.


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