About Lyndsey Robinson

Nursing Student, Chef, Triathlete, Yogi, Health Coach

Food Lies: How to tell if what your buying is what you think you’re buying

This blog will be an updated one with tips about how to determine if you’re getting what you think you’re paying for.  Food labeling today is highly confusing because there are constant changes being made…in hopes to clear up the confusion.  Many people find these tidal wave of labels even more confusing than before.

What is food labels do you need deciphered?

Tip #1:  Grass-fed or Grain-fed Meat

Happy Cows!

happy cow

  • Purchase some ground beef.
  • Slowly cook the beef then drain & collect all the fat.

Grass-fed beef fat is much thinner and watery and liquid at room temperature. This means less saturated fat…not that all saturated fat is bad (i.e. coconut oil = good saturated fat/medium-chain triglyceride).  Also, grass-fed is usually organic BUT organic does not mean grass-fed when it comes to meat.  The two are not synonymous so don’t be fooled.  Many organic meats are grass-fed BUT grain finished in order to fatten the meat and supposedly boost the flavor.

MORE INFO: This fattening with grains disturbs the animals plant-based digestive system causing inflammation aka fat/immune response (cows have multiple stomachs to process the fibrous grasses not the grains/sweet feeds).  If the cow is inflamed/fattened then you are eating the hormones released from the inflammation.  It’s like our bodies know that what we are eating wasn’t treated/killed kindly or properly, therefore, it responds with the same negative reaction BUT grass-fed meat has lower saturated fats, higher Omega 3s, higher CLAs, more beta-carotene (converts into Vit. A) & Vit. E, and more.  ALL BEEF IS NOT CREATED EQUALLY.  Choose wisely.

Keep it clean, keep it kind.

Tip #2…..TBA


Gingerbread Cookies (Paleo)

These are my new holiday favorite!  Quick & easy. Soft & chewy. Can be rolled out into gingerbread men/women with a little extra coconut flour to keep them from sticking to the shape cutter.

If you want to know nutritional facts, look for Paleo Gingerbread in MyFitnessPal.

FOR BREAKFAST  with coffee


or DESSERT with Samuel Adams Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout.



2c Almond Flour

1/4 c Arrowroot Starch

6 TBS Coconut Flour

1-2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1 TBS Baking Soda

2 tsp Ground Ginger

1 TBS Crystallized Ginger (chopped)

1/2 tsp Coarse Sea Salt

1 egg (broken up)

8 TBS Unsalted Butter, melted (recommend Kerry Gold)

1/3c Honey, slightly warmed

1/3c Molasses, slightly warmed


Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.  Mix wet ingredients together. Combine wet with dry ingredients.  Let dough rest or refrigerate until ready to use.  Scoop out dough and roll into a ball then press onto sheet tray lined with parchment paper.  OR scoop out a large amount, dust with coconut flour, then use gingerbread shaped cutter.  Bake 10-12 minutes depending on thickness.

**REMEMBER!  Honey needs to be cooked at lower temperatures in order to keep it from scorching.

The season of transition

Over the past 3.5 months, I have been buried by my full-time job as a organic cafe manager. While rewarding and educational, it’s also been stressful and exhausting. During this time, I have continued my triathlon training with the help of Coach Heather Hagan @ Entelechy Coaching. I’ve found that full-time work and triathlon training/injury prevention requires immense focus and dedication. Something I knew I had but also didn’t quite BELIEVE I was very good at either. After successfully completing an Olympic triathlon in August and placing 5th AG, I realized I had reached a new point not only in my training/performance but also in my personal/professional career. I realized that if I want to race a half or full Ironman race, I would need more time to train and energy to train physically, mentally and emotionally. I was now ready to look for other work options that kept me close to my training requirements physically and nutritionally but also fed my spirit and inspired others.

As a result, old and new friends began to present cooking and teaching opportunities that I had left behind a few years ago. The Universe indeed has a way of bringing us back to the people, places, and things that feed us and need us. So now I am about to transition yet again to a different work environment, new schedule, and new training volume that I could not have imagined before. It’s too easy to doubt but even more rewarding to hope and see what comes your way when you’re willing to change and grow despite the discomfort.

What areas of your life are pushing your buttons and urging you to take a leap of faith? What do you need in order to take the first step? Remember that support and help are only a phone call or email away. I know I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it hadn’t been for the support and encouragement of many.

Happy transitions to us all!

When Weight Loss Plans Don’t Work, Try Going “Keto”

When nothing else has worked, why not try the low carb, high fat diet?  Not Atkins or South Beach even tho it may look a little familiar.  The biggest problems with the above is the excessive focus on protein and a lack of focus on quality of food.  If you eat a slab of Hormel Bacon and Generic Eggs then you might lose a little weight initially, but you’re going to clog your arteries and rocket your triglycerides to mention a few things. BUT if you eat local free-range, hormone-free eggs and bacon that have been humanely raised then you’ll receive vital nutrients that the other meat lacks because of how it was raised and slaughtered.  Granted, if you eat such a breakfast every day and for most meals, you probably will die of a heart attack.

fat cat

The key to low carb, high fat diets (which will eventually cause “nutritional ketosis”) is eating high quality, nutrient dense versions of these foods including a ton of non-starchy vegetables. Healthy fats (50-60% of daily calories) includes avocado, coconut oil/milk, olive oil, cold-water fish like sardines, tuna and salmon. Protein can be a challenge is your a vegetarian as the best versions of protein with high nutrient load are grass-fed, free-range, hormone-free, local animals. Unfortunately, vegetarian diets can be overfilled with soy, beans, and rice, all of which are carbohydrate dense. Pescetarian can work if you watch your mercury levels. Safe starchy veggies and fruit include sweet potatoes, taro, quinoa, and low glycemic fruit like berries. BUT when these carbs or refined ones or over consumed or not used post-activity for recovery purposes, they can turn quickly to sugar which spikes your blood sugar thereby increasing AGEs (advanced glycation end-products).



Ben Greenfield, a health and fitness professional and Ironman Triathlete, experimented with ketogenic endurance training for IM Canada a few years ago with success.  I began a ketogenic diet in January and have gone in/out of ketosis along the way.  The success has come in fewer injuries, decreased joint inflammation, better sleep, stronger digestion and increased performance as I completed my first marathon in March & my first Olympic duathlon in April.  Dr. Terry Wahls wrote a book called The Wahls Protocol after researching and trying out all sorts of traditional treatments for MS without success.  She began a paleo-style diet then eventually moved into a highly ketogenic diet which eventually sent her multiple sclerosis into remission.  Her research confirmed that diet matters and finding the right one for you can mean the difference between life and death.

LR carrollton bike

If you’re ready to try something different that allows you to eat great food and have amazing energy, then contact me to start your journey. Whether you just want a free consultant and some education or you want a full scale plan of action with detailed food, workouts, meals cooked for you, and more, I can help you meet your goals and re-discover your happiness through food.

Here’s to your health!

Eating for Endurance & Health

Most people don’t consider eating when working out besides the occasional Gatorade or Powerade drink that is glowing fluorescent blue, green, yellow or red beside the handrail of the elliptical machine or treadmill on which they trod.   Most people I know exercise to burn calories so why on earth would they CONSUME calories at the same time.   Fortunately or unfortunately, I grew up with this “exercise to eat” mentality so I am well versed in the non-sensical rationalization of in order to lose these two must match.  Additionally, after damaging my mind and body with such rationalization, I learned what was really true about dieting, exercise, racing, and winning (the war against weight gain – mentally & physically).

TRUE/FALSE: If I consume 2000 calories/day (based on my height/weight/activity level), then I need to burn via exercise at least half of those calories in order to lose weight.

chicken lasagnaFALSE!  Caloric intake should be based on height/weight/current activity level in order to maintain current weight.  Cutting calories/increasing activity will allow for weight loss BUT cutting your intake by over half or even 1/4 can be dangerous.  It can actually cause your body to hold on to fat because it thinks your starving to death….because you are in that moment.   Slow changes are best.  Remember, your body needs a baseline amount of calories from fat, carbs, and protein to simple keep your organs and brain functioning – without extra activity.

TRUE/FALSE: It isn’t necessary to consume calories when you are exercising.

IT DEPENDS!  If you’re workout is less than an hour, water will do.  If you’ve eaten in the last 3 hrs prior to activity, your body will probably have enough energy/glycogen to fuel you without a bonk.  As in the picture below, if your activity (triathlon) is over an 1hr and you haven’t eaten within an 1-2 hrs of the start of your activity, then you will need some fuel.  I’ve got an Ignite REFUEL Energy Gel hanging from my bike which will top off my glycogen storage for the later half of the 45 minute bike and 3.4 mile run I am about to endure. If the race/activity was longer I would need to keep fueling with gels/energy drinks/water/etc. every 15-30 minutes adding more fat/protein as the length grows.  (FYI – because of good clean nutrition…and solid training, I won that race.  Thanks Ignite Naturals, Arbonne Nutrition Line, and Coach Craig Cecil of Peak Performers!

Use coupon code IN0730 for 10% off Ignite Naturals!
Use ARBONNE ID #13270083 to sign up for 20-35% off gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan protein powder, energy drink mix, fit chews, & more!

LR carrollton bike

TRUE/FALSE: It’s important to eat carbs/protein right after I workout to help my body recover.

TRUE! Within the first 30 minutes after workouts ~1hr or more, you need to consume 100-200 calories of sugar/carbohydrates to keep your body from burning muscle mass and producing anti-healing stress hormones like cortisol. Often times, it’s hard to stomach much after a long or hard workout/race but at least consume some sports drink or fruit. Within two hours, you also need to consume a 4/1 or 3/1 ratio of carbs to protein to help muscle recovery and healing. Post-activity nutrition is vital to keeping you healthy during those long training periods so that you can reach the start line AND the finish line of your next race!

So who is willing to take the opportunity and commit to 18-20 weeks of training for the Asheville Marathon? We start Monday November 4th, for the 19-20-wk training program or Nov. 11th for the 18wk program. Run/walk, run, or walk your way there with a group of new and experienced marathoners. Anyone can do it, just read “The Non-runner’s Marathon Guide for Women” – a hysterical read for anyone considering their first race of any distance or wondering why anyone would want to run any distance.

Let me know your thoughts, feedback and if you’re interested in running/training with me.

Happy trails!

Who’s up for a Marathon?

The 2nd Asheville Marathon is about 21 weeks away on March 16, 2013.  It is run on the grounds of the beautiful and behemoth (8,000 acre!) Biltmore Estate and is a Boston Marathon Qualifier race (for 2015). Here is a link to the qualifying times.  The course is a mix of paved and dirt trails so it’s easy on the joints along with being fairly flat to rolling.  This is a great 1st marathon and in an amazing location during a great time of year!

I was invited to be an Asheville Marathon Ambassador which means I’m advertising the race, signing people up (use my name :), getting a local Birmingham training group together with the help of some experienced marathoner friends (thanks Donna & maybe Dan!), blogging about race nutrition/injury prevention, and hopefully running the thing in 5 months.  Your first question is probably, “WHY would you want to torture yourself like that?”  If you know me well or even if you don’t, you know that I like to push myself and experience new things.  You also probably know that I have struggled to stay injury-free since I started running/biking/swimming again 2.5 years ago.  So although I’m not healed I am a woman on a mission to learn to cope with almost constant pain and maintain an active lifestyle, while hopefully inspiring others to do the same.

My hope is to inspire others to set goals, find support, and achieve those goals.  You’ll never know if you can until you TRY.  So who’s up for a marathon?!

power of the mind

We will begin training this Monday, October 21, 2013, with an informational meeting/email on Sunday or Monday.  There will be 2-3 different pace groups, one of which will be doing run/walk for the LSD – long slow distance runs on the weekend.  We will give out training schedules and try to meet/run as a group 1-2x/wk (at least for the LSD weekend run).  I’m setting up a Facebook page so we can share our strengths and struggles along the way as well as to maintain some accountability.

My pacing group will be using Jeff Galloway’s Marathon Training Plan which is a gradual build of mileage with short week day runs for those of us who are either first-time marathoners and/or injury prone. I am so fortunate as to be BOTH.

As another incentive to participate, we will invite runners to raise money for a cause.  Those participating from Baptist Church of the Covenent will choose a ministry to fundraise for such as the Capital Campaign, Youth Program, SouthTown Leadership,etc.  One way to do this is ask someone to sponsor 1 to 26.2 miles of your race OR commit an amount to each mile you train leading up to race.  We will keep a log of each person’s miles so that you and your sponsors can see how far you’ve come and how far you’ll go during the next 5 months!

Contact me if you’re interested in joining the group.  When you register for the race, please mention my name so our group gets credit.  Let’s bring a big ‘Bama group to the Mountains!

Chopped! (leftovers)

One of my favorite cooking shows is obviously Chopped on Food Network. Recently, the show’s theme was leftovers/discards but in the form of wilted carrots, fish carcass, & the like – basically, stuff you’d probably throw away. I was inspired to use my leftover items from this week: herb-roasted purple, sweet, & red potatoes / bacon-wrapped chicken / canned chickpeas / pickle juice.

I had the chicken last night, which was highlighted by the greasy, salty bacon. So that was on my taste buds. The potatoes were a few days old, and I remembered they needed salt & flavor to pull the various potato flavors together. The canned chickpeas were too few for hummus and too many to toss so what to do.

I thought the multi-colored potatoes would create a uniquely colored potato salad. On the salad vein, why not add some “chopped” bacon-wrapped chicken for salt/protein, smashed chickpeas marinated in pickle juice, then fresh chopped dill & mayo. Because I need my veggies, I roasted fresh summer squash & mushrooms with fresh dill, garlic, and S&P to surround my “salad.”

To offset the salty, savory of the salad & the use of seasonal veggies, I had a rose wine. YUM!


Or you could serve the salad in a mini-romaine lettuce cup!


Overcoming & Accomplishing…Mind over Matter

On Saturday July 13, I begrudgingly drove to Carrollton, GA, to scope out my next triathlon, the Carrollton Sprint Triathlon on July 14th. Unlike my last race, I hadn’t been training as much, mentally or physically, for this one, and despite it being a simple lake swim, my nerves were already drowning me. We previewed the course and took a quick swim which was filled with good strokes followed by gasps and coughs. Fortunately, I have enough memories of successfully choking through swims and conversely, swimming smoothly through courses. Whatever was to happen would happen and I would survive the swim.

mass swim startI’m not sure what it is about the swim, but when I get to races, think about races, see OW swims or photos, my heart races and my body freezes up. When I played competitive tennis in high school, the same thing began to happen at the end of my career. The pressure to win, succeed, or something, caused me to freeze and literally forget how to swing a tennis racquet. Now I forget how to swim, trying to sight and breathe at the same time which gives me a mouthful of water and a headful of fear and panic. As a Master Scuba Diver and Lifeguard, I know how to handle stress in the water, rescue people in the water, perform CPR, etc., but I turn into a panicked child who can barely dog-paddle. Ugh!

20 seconds before the race started, we found out that the gender-based wave starts would be changed into one mass start. So with 10 seconds left, I had to figure out where to position myself and how to keep myself calm. Oh shit! So with those positively pleasant and calm thoughts the race began! I got about 10 strokes in before I started sighting and simultaneously trying to breath at the same time. Big mistake! As I began taking in big gulps of of water versus big gulps of air. Safe to say the panic began along with half-assed dog-paddling and one-legged breaststroking….with over 400 yds to swim. At the first buoy I saw a young guy flip over and start backstroking. I knew I could go faster and maybe calm down this way, so I followed suit and began swimming as fast as I can on my back. Towards the end of the swim course, I tried to return to normal swimming which half-worked, allowing me to exit the water with a horrible swim time and a head full of negative, self-defeating thoughts.

LR carrollton bikeAt this point I assumed I’d have to be satisfied with simply finishing the race versus placing or even winning (right?!). Relieved to be out of the water, I tore off on the bike with my pre-race goal of a 40 minute bike split on my mind. Unlike my last race, I didn’t really watch my speed, simply focusing on keeping a fast cadence and steadily tracking down the people in front of me. I passed a few women, one early on a hill because her chain came off, then a young girl who was drafting with her father. I saw my wife up ahead as finished the last mile or two. Coming into T2 together was a welcomed relief after a crappy race start. As we headed out onto the run, I got my next (positive) surprise of the day. A spectator yelled out, “first female out.” My head spun around and I asked him if he was kidding. Nope, we were the first two females on the run course. Not only first female but fastest female bike split of the day (under 40 minutes). My first thought was, “HOLY SHIT! I could actually win this race!” Finally some positive thoughts!!

I’m a fast runner but many are much faster so I knew I had to run faster than I expected to win this race. For the first 2 miles, I kept the lead. Remember that chic I passed on the bike whose chain had come off? Here she was again! We ran together for the next 1/2 mile up and down some brutal hills. I finally needed to slow down, afraid I might have to walk if I didn’t. I kept her in my sights and tried to calm my breathing and savor the fact that I was still in 2nd place overall. Wow! Thoughts of settling with 2nd place came and went, supplemented by the fact that I could still win since she was less than 50 yds ahead of me. At that point I began to fill my mind with positive affirmations and memories of sprints and chasing people down in other races. I told myself to just, “shut up and run!” I began to pickup the pace about 100 yds before the last turn uphill to the finish. As I made my turn, she was only a few steps away from me, until a spectator yelled, “Here she comes behind you!” THANKS! She glanced back then picked up her pace. I knew this last 50 – 100 yds would be an all out sprint…and it was. Sprinting uphill is like torture, but I felt like a bicycle switching into easier gears in order to pickup the cadence and hopefully pickup my speed. With only a few yards to the finish line, I began to pull past her, crossing the finish line for the win by .05 second! Excited, exhausted, and in disbelief I congratulated her on a great finish then wandered off to the adjacent track to let reality settle in. “I did it! I can’t believe I pulled out a win, especially after such a disastrous swim start!” I cried and laughed and shook my head in disbelief, along with the occasional fist pump that decided to make a comeback from my tennis years. I couldn’t wait to tell Laura, who gave me a high five and told me to take off and win it when we started on the run earlier. I was hoping she would win her division as well so we could both celebrate individual wins (and she did :))

What started as a racing disaster turned into an experience of overcoming and accomplishing something I have been seeking since I began recovering my physical health 2 years ago. I learned that my mind is probably more powerful than my body and impfinish line closeupacts me more in racing and training than I had realized. All the years of yoga and mental training now had another use besides the curbing of general anxiety and depression. I must train my mind as much as if not more than my body because when it comes down to race day. If my mind is weak and unprepared, then I might as well not even step in the water. Recently, I picked up the book, Mind Gym, which is filled with stories and exercises pertinent to mental strength via rehearsal, visualization, and affirmations. Check it out here along with some of my other recommendations for gear, books, magazines, etc.

See it, believe it, then DO IT!

the “Left-Overs” Salad

This recipe is borrowed from the Gluten-Free Gus blog. You can substitute tuna for chicken, salmon or quinoa for vegetarian version since the lentils & egg provide additional sources of protein.  Because of the small amounts of meat, lentils, eggs, and vegetables, the Nicoise salad is a great “leftovers” salad creation.  So plan your weekly menu with the above ingredients and make a little extra to use for a “leftovers” Nicoise Salad for the end of the week.


12 oz. tuna/chicken/salmon (optional)

1 cup cooked lentils (we like small organic french duPuy lentils)

3-4  hard boiled eggs cut into wedges so each serving gets 3-5 (Everything in moderation – divi up 2 eggs if cholesterol is an issue.)

20-28 cherry or grape tomatos, halved

4 cups loosely packed mixed baby greens

20 green beans, steamed and cooled

1 medium yellow or red potato (7-8 oz.), cooked, cooled, and quartered

1 avocado, peeled and sliced thinly

1/4 cup tiny capers, plus a little juice

1/2 cup green or black olives

1 teaspoon fish/chicken/vegetable broth

1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

2 teaspoon good quality white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon caper juice

freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, dill or cilantro

1/2 cup of your favorite savory vinaigrette – it shouldn’t be overly sweet


1.  Combine the caper juice, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, broth, and ground pepper in a bowl; whisk to blend.  Add the tuna, and gently toss to coat.

2.  Evenly divide the lettuces amongst 4 (pasta) plates, leaving a bit of a well in the center.

3.  Fill each (well) with a quarter portion of cooked lentils.

4.  In a (pin-wheel), evenly place the beans, avocado, and wedges of potato and egg around the lentils.

5.  Place a quarter portion of tuna over the lentils in the center of each plate.  Evenly scatter the tomatoes, capers, and olives. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and drizzle  1 tablespoon of dressing over the top of each salad. Offer the rest of the dressing from a small pitcher at the table.

Sprouted Mung Bean & Minty Quinoa Salad

This light refreshing salad is full of healthy protein, veggies and carbs especially during hot summer days. The longer this salad marinates, the better it tastes! Feel free to add different dried fruit or veggies to it.


1c. cooked quinoa (multi-colored adds a nice visual flair)

1c. sprouted mung beans

2 TBS honey

1/2 c. olive or sesame oil

2 TBS lemon juice

1/4 c. freshly chopped cilantro or parsley

1/4 c. freshly chopped mint

1/2 c. slivered almonds

1/2 c. currants/raisins/dried cranberries

1/2 c. shredded carrots

1/2 c. diced cucumbers (de-seeded)


Cook quinoa & let it cool.  Gently cook sprouted mung beans (freshly sprouted or store-bought in dry section) in 3c. of broth – boiling for 5 min then resting in hot broth for 10min.  Let cool.  Combine all ingredients and chill at least an hour so ingredients can marinate.