Listen to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy Podcast 🎧

Are you OK? Coffee & Questions - 29th July 2021

Jul 29, 2021

How are you doing? No really?

Can you think of one positive thing that’s happened in your life as a result of Covid-19?

For me, it’s meant my husband now works from home pretty much full time. This means that he’s so much more involved in the day-to-day running of our household and our family which has been awesome.

Let me know in the comments below what positive thing has happened in your life?

Today I also helped Chris with meeting his protein, iron and B12 needs after stomach surgery.

And also Nella with a simple strategy to help maintain her weight with a huge reduction in training load post-injury.

Watch the replay to join the conversation. See you same time, same place next week! ☕️


If you need help with planning meals for the week, shopping and cooking - check out my Weekly Menu Planning Service.

I've done all of the hard work for you so you don't have to stress about it!



Check out our Weekly Menu Planning Service HERE 👇

If you are looking for a Sports Dietitian to help you with training and racing nutrition, learn how you can work with me HERE


Good morning and welcome to Coffee and Questions!

This morning, I wanted to start by asking you a bit of a question. And I really want to know if you're okay. There's so much crap going on in the world at the moment. And it can get really easy to just get into a bit of a negative sort of tailspin or spiral. You know, you watch the news, it's negative. Everything is negative and you'll notice that I never talked about that sort of stuff here in this sort of platform. I don't think there needs to be any more negativity online. So I've not really talked about COVID or lockdowns or anything like that because I don't think it's useful to project more negativity. So today, I want to ask you if you're okay.

So yeah, are you okay? Is everyone okay? And I wanted to give you a couple of strategies for sort of staying positive in the time and the moment. I think it's really important to do that. I've just noticed a lot of negativity lately, online, in people that I've speak spoken to and that's fine. Like, I get that life is hard at the moment, but I think it's also really important that we find some positives in the day to day.

So I want you to think about if you're online, and if you're watching the replay later, you can pop it into the comments or chat box, sort of section. I want you to think about something positive that's happened as a result of COVID. And it could be anything. It could be that you've found, say, a new coach, because your coach has quit and that has led to different sets of outcomes. It could be that you've started putting yoga into exercise routine, because you've set up a little yoga studio at home with a mat to help sort of calm down and relax and meditate at the end of the day. It could be like I'm thinking of you Jo – it could be that you now order all your fruit and veggies online, which has actually saved you heaps of time and energy in that process and it means that you know that you've got fresh food available because it's being delivered to your house every week.

For me, as an example of something positive, that's happened as a result of COVID is my husband works from home now pretty much full time. He occasionally goes into the office, but he is mostly at home. And so for us, that means that he's here more, and I get to see him more and he's much more present with our family like he knows what's going on now. Whereas before, he had no idea what was going on. So I think that's a huge positive for us. And that would never have happened if COVID didn't happen. He would still be in the office during long days, I'd be responsible for keeping our house afloat. And now the division of responsibilities is not even but it's closer to even than it ever was. And for me, that's huge. Like that's really positive. So if you can think of anything now off the top of your head, pop it into the little comment box for me so I can hear some of your stories about what's positive in your life as a result of COVID. Because I think it's important to think about that sort of stuff when there's so much negativity going on in the world.

Also pop in any questions you have for me in terms of sports nutrition while we're at it. I've had no questions come through ahead of time. So if there's anything that you want to know live, just pop them in, and I'll answer it for you. But I just wanted to say that at the start. Because I'm not somebody that is going to talk about that sort of negativity stuff online. And it's not that I don't care or it's not that I'm like heading this end. It's more that I don't think another voice needs to be sharing that negativity online. So I acknowledge how hard it is, but I think he knows that another voice doesn't need to be doing that as well. So please try and think of something positive to help with the current mental state of the world right now.

On Facebook, Chris has said, “I've had the opportunity to walk my dog clearly at least 3km a day. And then there's a time for me to relax, get some extra exercise, plus build a bond with a beautiful dog.” That's amazing, Hammo! So things like that, like our poor doggos have definitely benefited from COVID. And Jo actually on Instagram said, “Happy dogs, lots of walks.” Yeah, so that's like I think that's awesome. People are working from home more. And a lot of parents have actually really benefited from being home more because you can throw a load of washing on and quickly hanging out in your lunch break. You can sort of get dinner prepped or in the oven early and so you're not scrambling for things right at the end of the workday when you come home, and all this stuff has to happen then now at once. Monique said, “I love that I live so close to a 6k lake at my door. So didn't have to go far to exercise during lockdown.” There you go! That's great positivity Monique and Carly said, “Working from home a few days a week makes it so much easier to get my 8 hours sleep.” Yes, that is also true. Less commute time, less time wasted doing that sort of stuff. And more time to get stuff in that is actually really important to you.

So thanks for sharing, guys, thank you for sharing. If there's anyone else that's online and can think of something positive that COVID has helped bring into their lives, please pop it in now too. Because I think it's really important that we stay positive. And instead of going into a negative spiral, where we're trying to think of the good things that have happened. For me, it's been a huge change in probably what our lifestyle could have been. And I think it's been way more for the positive. So like my husband probably cooks 50% of the time now as well. Whereas before, I was doing a lot of that. And you know I can throw a lot of washing on in the mornings is one currently running now, which I'll hang out a bit later on which you know, you just never get that stuff done. And then you spend your whole weekends doing house tasks and house jobs, which is just lame. So it just helps all of that.

Chris also said on Facebook, “Plus seeing Rob and Ben every day, sharing chores, dropping Ben at school, picking him up and that he'd never dropped in at school before, as I was always at work.” There you go. So I think as from the perspective of dads, you've probably spent much more time like in that little family unit rather than it being like always being at work and it being someone else's responsibility. So the shift the rise of women working, and not doing all the things is benefited from COVID.

Alright, cool! I just wanted to start with that. And just let you know why I don't kind of talk about this sort of stuff. I'm not going to talk about vaccinations, I'm not going to talk about, COVID numbers, I'm not going to talk about lockdown, all that sort of stuff. Because I'd rather be a distraction to you. And happy safe place than just another negative voice in a sea of heaps of negative voices. Thanks for joining me for that. Now, if you have any sports nutrition questions, please pop them in into the box and we can have a chat about those sorts of things, because I have no questions come through at all, I had a blank one on Insta. But nothing, nothing specific. So yeah, let me know if you need help with anything or I guess the other thing is, like, is there anything else that I can help you with? Is there something from a nutrition perspective that you're really struggling with at the moment? Like is there something that's a real challenge, whether you're locked down or not, that a dietitian could help you with.

So one of the things that I often talk to clients about in terms of making their life really easy at the moment is something that Joe's doing and she's ordering a fruit and veggies online, it's being delivered straight to her house. So part of that is you know, COVID safe and not having to go to shops. But also it just takes a lot of the extra effort out of doing that process if you hate it. And that could be a good strategy for you. I know a lot of families are at home more and having to cook more. So something like the recipe database could be a good option if you're looking for recipes or getting a meal delivery service, whether it's something like Marley spoon or… what's the other one called? Hello Fresh. And there's probably heaps more now, there's things like your foods which are more fresh. There’s dynamic. There's quite a few sorts of meal delivery services now. If you want to be able to either just like put something in the microwave to reheat it or the oven, or you actually want a simple recipe card with the ingredients or sent to you. Like try and make your life easy path of least resistance, not trying to overload yourself with all the things. So if you want to do like shopping and cooking, and you need just some ideas and strategy around what to eat and the recipe for it, then about a year ago, bit longer maybe, like start-up COVID, I developed the Weekly Menu Planning Service to help people with that. So that might be something to revisit if you're struggling in that space.

And what it is, I don't have one with me, one of these is a menu plan for the week, with all of your dinners laid out and your shopping list that goes with that. So everything that you need to cook those meals for the week for your family, and then you get access to the recipe database too. So you get all the recipes to follow along. So something like that could be a good strategy for now. If you find yourself that you're if you find yourself at home more and you're having to cook more, then yeah, over a year ago, I launched that so it might be something that's good too.

Good to revisit for some people. Hammo said on Facebook “After my tummy operation? I had lost about 20 kilos, so I'm skinny, but I'm sure I'm not getting enough protein on etc. Is there a way to get all of your needs in those areas through food? I was also diagnosed with very low iron and B12. I hope that is okay to ask you.”
Of course, it is Hammo! You can ask anything. Absolutely, you can get iron and protein and what was the other one? B12 from food.
Hammo said, “Not really a iron tablet taker and protein shakers.”
So it's very easy to get enough protein from the food and no need to necessarily take a supplement. Have you got any problems with volume of food Hammo? Or you’re okay to eat like a normal-ish volume? Or you’re having to stick with really tiny, tiny portions?

We’ll start with protein. Our high protein foods are meats. So red meat, chicken, fish, pork, what else? Turkey all those sorts of animal meats. They're really high in protein. And Hammo said, “Yes, volume is tiny.” Yep. So if you're struggling with protein then and I know that you eat meat, then just have small portions of a meat on your plate. So you only need like 100g, which is not that much to get a good sort of 20g to 30g of protein which is all you need. And you just want to have that more frequently. So if you're struggling with volume, you might want to have more like 5 to 6 small meals across the day, rather than trying to sit down to have 3 main meals. Sounds like you might need to maximise each mouthful.

“Fluid not a problem, meats a struggle.”
Have you tried things like mince then, Hammo? It's much kind of easier to eat and you can use lots of gravies and sauces and things to moisten it and help it get it down. Rather than trying to sit need a big steak. Or something like fish which is much softer or poach up some chicken and shred it with a bit of sauce or gravy or something to help that piece. So try meat then if you're struggling with protein and volume’s a problem. Your other high protein foods are dairy so if you're okay with liquids, then things like milk can be good. A high protein yoghurt something like Chobani.
“Yes to mince. Yes.” Yeah, it’s a bit easier than a steak.

So all the meats, dairy, so you could try things like cottage cheese that's really high protein and quite a lean dairy source. Then you've got legumes as well. They're high in protein and can be sort of mashed so it's softer. Meat, dairy, legumes, where else can you get protein from? Nuts and seeds. Tofu, so firm tofu. How's that dietitian can even pull where protein comes from? Rough start to the day. Firm tofu could be a good one too Hammo and it can be quite soft. It's quite high in protein and any of those other vegetarian alternatives if you're into eating those sorts of things. So tofu, tempeh, or any vego sausages or patties or those not meat-type products, as well, or corn is another one. But I know you eat meat. We absorb animal sources better, doesn't mean that we have to only eat animal sources of protein. But if your protein intake is really low, and in particular B12, we get that from animal meats and iron as well. We get the highest sources of iron come from animal meat sources with red meat being the highest, but you also get some from chicken and fish.

And just for good health, for everyone listening, you should aim for less than 500g of red meat a week. And that was brought out by the World Health Organisation a while ago now, maybe 2014. Because high intakes of red meat are linked to things like bowel cancer. And as a population, like I'm being quite general here, but Australians overeat meat. So reducing your meat intake for a lot of people can actually be a good thing and a healthier way to eat without having to go to vegan to do that, if you don't want to do that. Because a vegan diet is kind of trendy at the moment. But I like to think about food as balance. And I think that meat has a place in a healthy diet, but we definitely overeat it. And so reducing our quantities of particularly red meat can be beneficial for our health long term.

So Hammo, a bit of summary of that for you is maybe 5 or 6 smaller meals a day, which the hospital probably told you and try and have like a high protein food on your plate at each little meal or snack. You could try something like eggs for breakfast, and then use some mince and maybe some fish or something as the day goes on. Because you're only having small portions, that's okay. Like just keep it sort of 100g when it's cooked to give you enough protein. And if you if you're having, say red meats less than 500g in your week, then that's going to benefit you B12 and your iron as well. Some other high iron foods you can include if you're interested. Things like oysters and mussels, you can get iron-fortified breakfast cereal, so things like Special K is one of them. Milo is also fortified with iron if you want to have some milk and Milo before you go to bed. And yet, there are some plant-based sources of iron. So things like green leafy like spinach. But to be honest, when people like in particularly GPs, I’ve heard midwives and stuff, say you need more spinach, the bioavailability of our plant-based sources of iron are actually quite low. So you have to eat a heap to get the iron to then absorb. And there's also things in, say phytates in whole grains and stuff that block iron absorption. So there's a range of things that enhance iron absorption and a range of things that block iron absorption. And if your iron is low, then I suggest going to see someone about it and actually getting a bit of a food plan to give you a good balance of what you need. And make sure you're not blocking iron absorption throughout the day as well.

So Hammo said, “Got it. Cheers!” We're going to talk offline Hammo if you need any more sort of structured help then that. On Insta Tri_it_chick said, “I've been unable to train for going on 9 months due to a bone infection and struggling to control the weight gain. Any suggestions on foods to avoid? I eat healthy and low carbs.” Hammo have said, “Do you know anybody?” I'm happy to help you offline, Hammo.

Any suggestions on foods to avoid. Okay, so Tri_it_chick. It's not necessarily that there's certain foods that you need to avoid. It's more than you're probably calorie expenditure has gone from triathlon training to sedentary. And your overall calorie intake just needs to probably come down a bit. Carbs are not the devil. So cutting those out is not necessarily that useful, particularly if you are planning on doing endurance exercise stuff again, or you might be doing a little bit so I wouldn't avoid carbohydrates. But I would avoid foods that aren't providing you lots of nutrition and a high-end calorie. So I would in terms of foods to avoid – junk food would be the main one.

So chips, chocolate, lollies, ice cream, anything deep-fried. High-fat takeaways like, you know, you probably don't eat Maccas, but maybe Maccas or any of that sort of crap. Anything that's really high calories that's not actually providing you nutrition. So I would as a baseline every day, if you're relatively sedentary, and you're still trying to get back into things is make sure you're taking off your two serves of fruit, and five serves of veggies every single day. If you did that, then at least you know you're getting a huge range of vitamins and minerals to help the body like heal and repair and bounce back. And it's setting you up with a really solid foundation for nutrition when you do start to get back into training again.

So you know, fruit has carbohydrate, doesn't mean it's bad for us. And I think it's important to not label foods as good or bad. But for you, it sounds like you've gone from training load to sedentary and so the food choices that you make are so much more important now, because your energy budget for the day is probably a whole lot lower than you're used to. So you need to stay full without starving yourself by eating your two serves of fruit and five serves of veggies every day. Make sure you've got protein spread right throughout your day as well to help you muscle recovery. And make sure you're not losing too much muscle as well if you become much more inactive, and just try and focus on not eating crap food. Hopefully that helps.

Alright, if we've got any more questions? Let me scroll down Facebook. Thank you for those couple of good questions, though. And if anybody has just joined me, in the beginning, we're talking about trying to think of something positive that has come as a result of COVID. So if you're watching the replay too or you would have got that got that a bit at the beginning, but make sure you pop in your in the comment section later. I'll read them later. If you can think of anything that's positive as a result of COVID I think it's really important to stay positive through these times.

Alright, if there's no other questions, I will jump off soon. So Tri_it_chick said “Thank you. Yes, it'll help.” And just try to you know, stay active Tri_it_chick with things that you can, I'm sure you are. If you're a triathlete, you don't know how to sit still. But there might be things you can do within the scope of what you're up to that can still be active but just in a different way. You know, walking maybe trying to do more steps each day, put yourself little challenges or something or put your steps in training peaks to help you tick that off and get a sense of achievement each day.

Alright, thank you for joining me doesn't seem like there's any other questions. So I hope you have a great day stay positive and I will see you next week!


50% Complete

Register here to get delicious recipes and expert nutrition advice delivered straight to your inbox.

You'll get special discounts and offers only available to our Crew!