shephard's pie1

Sweet Potato Shephard’s Pie! My GO TO Meal!





shephard's pie1


Here’s how to create the magic! Serve with fresh ground sea salt on top, just adds that final touch.

Take 5 large sweet potatoes and boil until soft. Peel once cooked and discard the skin. Wait until they cool a bit, careful of the steam.

Mash sweet potatoes in a large bowl with ¾ cup of almond milk and sea salt to taste. Set aside. Butter optional here to mi x in.

In a large pan brown 1 sweet red onion, chopped and 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped, in 2tbsp of olive oil.

Once browned add in one pound of lean ground turkey or chicken, breaking it into pieces until cooked through. Mix in 2 tablespoons of chili powder with the meat mixture. Set stove top on medium, mixing until cooked. Set aside.

Next come the veggies. I use frozen corn, peas and carrots for this recipe to keep it simple and quick. Gather your flash frozen veggies. Get ready to layer the goodness.

In an 8×11 oven safe glass dish first put the ground turkey or chicken mixture on the bottom. Next layer the mashed sweet potatoes on top. Lastly cover with the 3 veggies however you like, mixed in rows etc. You CAN use fresh veggies, but athletes are tired and busy :).

Bake in the oven at 325 for 25 minutes. You can do the veggies first and potatoes on top if you like as well. Up to you!

Let cool for 15 minutes and serve. I love to freeze portions of this as it reheats very well and is a great go to meal!

A great combination of protein, vegetables and wholesome carbohydrates from sweet potatoes.

NSAG – Real food, real simple. Next Level Nutrition!



Is it the Gluten?

After reading the article link above I had a few thoughts.

An interesting topic indeed. I work with many clients who have intestinal bloating and discomfort and often gluten is not the culprit. We can remove all of the gluten and still it persists. Then we remove all of the FOODMAPS. And it persists. Then we remove… get the idea. Perhaps it’s not always the foods, but we do try that route and test it.

There are so many irritants in the foods we eat today but even more so, we must consider the weak digestive systems that many of us have from 10-15 years of throwing garbage into our bodies. Alcohol, antibiotics, sugar, over eating, stress, all negatively affect the digestive tract. We MUST consider STRESS.

And there are HEALTHY foods that cause these issues too. For some it’s broccoli or beans. It’s not always something “bad”. Some digestive tracts simply don’t tolerate beans and excess fiber as well as others. We are not exactly the same and we have all done different things to our bodies over the past 20 years. We are not all built equally. Some can eat a can of beans…some can’t eat 1/4 cup without bloating and gas. We figure those things out.

For some it’s the intensity of sport that gets the GI system bloated. Again, something different and not everyone has these issues.

Sometimes I come across people who are allergic to everything and continue to cut everything out of their diets. The question then needs to be, perhaps it is the BODY, not the foods and if we focus on improving the digestive strength, and slowly re introduce foods, the person may have a different and lesser reaction to many foods.

As I have noted before, the gluten free band wagon is often just that. If you are not celiac and have no reason to be gluten free, it is simply a fad. Avoiding many foods with gluten such as pastries, excess breads etc can certainly improve your health, however that’s not the gluten, that’s the food overall being a low nutrient choice and many of those processed foods also have tons of sugars and additives etc. that can affect your energy and well being. Again, it’s often not the gluten itself.

I’m sure we will see a lot more research over the years in regards to gut bacteria and IBS and GI disorders. I’m hoping there is more investment into research in these areas. For now, keep eating simple clean foods. CHEW your foods well and avoid the artificial everythings. And remember your stomach has no teeth, so when I said CHEW your food, I meant it! Digestion starts in your mouth




The Taunting Halloween Sweets!



Giving out candy this Halloween? Already sneaking a few bars? Here’s my suggestion. 

Of course I could suggest you boycott the day because of the sugar. But I’m realistic. It’s going to happen for a lot of people. 

I suggest you don’t buy chocolate etc. until Halloween day. Once the night is over bring the left overs and donate them to a food bank or give them out the NEXT MORNING. Or give the last spooky costume a whole lotta candy and send them on their merry way!

One if the biggest reasons people eat junk is because it’s IN THE HOUSE. Out of sight out of mouth out of mind. Get rid of it. Have your treat and call it a day!

If you keep it in the house you will battle the fact that you KNOW the little kit kat and snickers bars are sitting behind that wooden cupboard door. You will justify “they are small”. Yet 6 mini bars later you will surely have matched the new jumbo sized version at the corner store.

Don’t kid yourself. You won’t win that battle with the bag of minis!

NSAG – Reality checks

Simple Salmon

Keeping it Simple Can Be Just as Delicious!

Simple Salmon


I have many clients who work full time, have kids, train full time (same hours!) and truly don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. Some people just don’t want to make recipes.

Well the jury is out, you don’t have to! That’s OK! Really it is.

With these clients I work with basic structured simple meals with adequate protein, carbohydrates and fats.

No fancy recipes. A spice rub for the protein is the extent of it. A slice of citrus and if they want a few drops of sesame oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper. To be honest I really like this style of simple clean eating. Always based on whole foods. No fuss. Quick.

Different spice mixes can totally change the protein from maple glazed to blackened and spicy in a jiffy! You can even buy pre made mixes like Harissa or jerk chicken etc. But making them is actually quite simple too!

NSAG – Keeping it simple. All the way to the podium!

It’s CARB Loading not FAT Loading


Carb loading does not equate to “eat anything and everything”.

Many carbohydrates such as pastries, muffins, scones and cookies are very high in fat. These are not the types of foods to focus on before a big race or weekend ride. These types of carbohydrates simply add many excess calories. It’s not fat loading. It’s carb loading.

When carbohydrate loading you want to focus on low fat carbohydrate dense choices, such as rice, potatoes, cereals, dried fruit, breads, jams, juices and pastas. Along with hydration from water.

By planning ahead and spreading your consumption evenly throughout the day prior to your race. You will find it’s quite achievable.

You cannot simply carbohydrate load with “a big dinner”. That would be anywhere from 400-700g of carbohydrates!!! By starting in the morning, pre race day, you will prevent you overdoing the dinner portion size in an “attempt” to get it all in one meal. This can leave you feeling ill, causing GI distress or discomfort.

Start early the day before your race/event. Calculate your needs based on the duration of your event and execute the plan.

For all the time and effort you put into your training it would be a sure shame to see it all fall apart due to poor attention to your nutrition. It happens all too often.

Success follows good planning.

NSAG – Planninig for success

Need help with your pre-race day plan? Check out the store on and select your Race Day Plan by weight. Try it out and see the difference in your results!

I love this!

Pina Colada Smoothie! Part of My Carb Loading Day! Yum!

Carb loading for a 140km ride tomorrow (first one in a year?! Best to follow my own advice! The nutritionist can never bonk on a ride. I don’t have that luxury lol). What’s on the menu? Her’es my favorite item.

The Pina colada smoothie!

2 cups of pineapple juice
3/4 scoop whey protein (North Coast Naturals -vanilla)
1 frozen banana (key is to freeze it! Makes it cold and THICK)
1/4 cup LIGHT coconut milk

Damn that’s good!

Calories: 500
Carbs: 100g
Protein: 20g
Fat: 4g

That’s Podium Nutrition!

I love this!

I love this!

Killer Kale Salad in Under 10 minutes!

Killer Kale Salad in Under 10 Minutes!


It’s that time of year when salads are feeling fantastic and bright!


Try this Killer Kale Salad! It’s super quick. Anyone could pull this off!


HOW TO MAKE THE KILLER KALE SALAD! ( I timed it, it can be quick if you are feeling energized and on the ball!)


Step 1: Find your favorite play list and press play.

Step 2: Choose a sunny day, open the windows and let the sun and air into the kitchen, smile.

Step 3: Ignore step 2 if you live in Vancouver

Step 4: Take 6-8 large cooked tiger shrimp. Thaw in a warm bowl of water for 3-5 minutes if frozen.

Step 5: Take 5 cups of kale and rinse. Break into small pieces and place in a bowl.

Step 6: Warm up a 1/4 cup of edamame for 1 minute in hot water. Toss into the bowl.

Step 7: Throw in 2 tbsp of whole grain croutons

Step 8: Chop up 10 cherry tomatoes, toss into bowl

Step 9: Chop up or grate one carrot, toss into bowl

Step 10: Toss in 2 tbsp of shredded asiago

Step 11: Heat shrimp quickly in a pan with blackening spice (key for flavor! Many easy recipes on line including Martha Stewart’s blackening spice mix). I use PC (President’s Choice) Harissa spice mix.

Step 12: Toss shrimp on top of salad

Step 13: Toss in 1 tbsp of dry cranberries or raisins

Step 14; Add 2 tbsp of balsamic vinaigrette and toss well. Can be oil and vinegar or oil vinegar and a bit of OJ and maple syrup to taste.

Step 15: Sit outside, put your sunglasses on, face the sun, make sure a good tune is playing…and dig in!

Optional: Pre-cook cubed sweet potatoes the night before or use left over sweet potatoes from another recipe to up the carbohydrate content and toss in.


Great for rest days when carbohydrate needs are lower or add the sweet potato and it’s a regular meal.

Calories: 500 (with the 1/2 sweet potato cubed)

Carbs:  75g or 51g without the sweet potato and 410 calories for the meal

Protein: 27g

Fat: 15g

Fiber:  23g


NSAG – That’s Podium Nutrition!


Asian Chicken Burgers with Roasted Thyme Potatoes


asian burger 2

asian burger 3



During an awesome SUNNY weekend of road and mountain biking a woman needs some quality nutrition!

One of my all time favorites is my Asian Chicken Burgers with Roasted Potatoes! The bun is optional, you could add more potatoes 🙂 if you desire.

This is super simple, nothing tricky and I like to double it up so that I have left overs. You can easily do this on the BBQ but I just did it on the stove top. Wishing I had a BBQ handy as I love the smell of BBQ in the summer.

Here’s the recipe and my personal photo shoot ;)! Yes my neighbors likely think I am nuts taking pictures of my dinner on my balcony. Maybe they have a point.


1 pound of ground chicken or turkey (Makes 3-4 patties depending on how large you want them)

1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

In a bowl mix the ground turkey or chicken with all of the above ingredients. Make into burger patties. In a pan, set to medium heat, spread a bit of olive oil. Cook each burger for 5-7 minutes per side until cooked through. Don’t put it on high, they will start to burn and will not cook through the center.

While the burgers are cooking take some ketchup and mix with wasabi paste. This is a nice touch! I used 4-5 tbsp ketchup for 1 tsp wasabi. Mix well.

Cut 4 whole wheat buns in half. I like them a bit toasted so put them face down in the over (or on the BBQ) at 350 until a bit toasted.


For the potatoes all I do is chop up cubes of potatoes and toss them in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, dried thyme leaves and 1 tbsp of lemon rind. I used one large potato per burger, it depends on how many carbs you need :), sometimes I would certainly require 2! But the riding wasn’t THAT EPIC…yet :).

I cook the potatoes on a baking sheet at 500 F tossing them a few times over the course of 50 minutes. The more crispy you want them the longer you will want to leave them in, up to an hour, as long as you are tossing them every 15-20 minutes. I make extra each time as I love these re-heated. Perfect leftovers that get more crisp with each heating.

Serve the burger with home made guacamole. Keep this simple. Just peel avocado, slice it in have, pop out the seed with a knife then scoop the inside out with a spoon. In a bowl mash it with a few tbsp ( l LOVE LIME!) of lime juice and some sea salt. I know there are many versions but I keep it this simple. Another option here is to add some fresh chunks of MANGO! I ate mine while cooking, so I no longer had this option by the time the burgers were ready. Oops.

Serve with some fresh sliced red onion, guacamole and wasabi ketchup. Perfect on the deck after a good day on the bike!

NSAG – Fueling the engine one meal at a time.



Quick Note on Training Once Carb Depleted. What Not To Do.

While speaking to a group yesterday on Sports Nutrition, once again we hit the topic of training in the “fat burning zone” to lose weight.

The comment was that this person had clients train with weights in the gym until they depleted their carbohydrates and then do their cardio activity. The point in their words was along the lines of “they will burn more body fat and get leaner, since now they are burning more fat as fuel since there are no carbs left to burn”.

To re visit this topic, as an athlete this is not a good approach to training. Nor a good approach to weight loss. Here is why, as briefly as possible.

First off, if you want to get faster and stronger, you don’t train while you are carbohydrate depleted. NO quality intervals are coming your way in this state. Carbohydrate depleted athletes can’t run/ride at high intensities and will feel mentally awful and exhausted. This is not empowering any athlete to feel good about their training, nor will they get quality training.

Secondly, just because you burn a larger ‘percentage’ of fatty acids when you exercise at lower intensity, it doesn’t mean you burn more CALORIES. If you keep your carbohydrates coming in during 90 minute or longer training sessions you will be able to sustain harder efforts for a longer period of time and reduce the time to reaching fatigue. And while you are able to push harder you will burn more OVERALL calories”. If body composition changes are the goal, this is what matters.

Lastly, by putting clients into a state of being totally depleting and continuing to train, you will likely send them home ravenous at which point they will overeat and pick food that they crave, which tend to be carbohydrates higher in fat. Low blood sugar = POOR CHOICES. Don’t get there on purpose! Better to eat a bit of carbohydrate during the longer workout and have a strong cardio session, going home with a sensible mind to make a healthy recovery meal.

NSAG – Keeping it real and simple

Affordable and Tasty Training Nutrition


Sticky Rice and Raspberry Jam Bars

rice bar 2

rice bar 3


Ride food can get expensive. Rice bars are an easy to digest and very affordable option. Low in fiber and fat, white rice and potatoes are both excellent training food options.

Of course gels have their place when breathing is heavy and you just can’t be chewing on anything during a hard effort. But for many athletes,  rice bars are a top choice and are great on the GI tract. Especially on long rides or races where 10-12 gels can really start to get to your guts not to mention the boredom of the same thing all day long.

Use calrose or arborio ‘sticky’ rice to make the bars or they will fall apart. For these I layered half the rice on the bottom, then the jam, then more rice on top. I could have put extra rice on top to create more of a ‘center’ to them as well.

Other options include chopping up peeled apples and mixing with cinnamon and some brown sugar, or layering rice then honey mixed with dates in the middle, again topping with rice.

You could buy a 20 pound bag of rice to last a season! For $20 bucks?!

It’s fun to experiment.

To wrap them use Pan Liner paper, which is parchment on the inside (the side to lay the bar on) and foil on the outside. Using foil alone or saran wrap will make a mess and foil will stick to the rice. With pan liner you hold the bar in the paper and it never touches your hands making them sticky.


NSAG – Keeping it simple and affordable! 🙂