Plant based meat versus beef patty. What you need to know!

Plant-based meat?

Plant meat alternatives are being promoted more and more each day. I am often asked by consumers, those online, and our community if plant patties are “healthier”.

 

 

In short, NO. This is not my opinion this is what researchers who assessed cooked samples of both plant and beef patties found in their analysis. The nutrition facts label also does not illustrate the key nutrient differences. The plant and beef patties differ in terms of salt, cholesterol, calories, protein content, carbohydrate, texture, moisture content, flavor, and price!

  • Researchers cooked samples and analyzed the samples suggesting a more clear and thorough breakdown. The researchers assess nutrients and categorized the amino acids making up the proteins and various metabolites found within both the plant patty and beef patty samples.

 

 

 

*I recently was at the ISSN conference and was motivated to do this blog. Check the data that was exclusively shared from a presentation on plant-based meats!


What did they find?

According to the metabolomics comparison, there’s a large nutritional difference!

  • This heat map illustrates just how different the impossible meat and beef patties are at the metabolite level.
  • Of the 171 out of 190 annotated metabolites (90%) were different between beef and the plant-based alternative.

 

 

 

  • Beef has creatinine, hydroxyproline, and glucosamine, (marked with the red arrows), none of which are found in the plant-based alternative.
  • Bioavailability MATTERS. Just because a component is found in food doesn’t mean that it is digested and or available to us.

 

  • Iron in meat is far more available than the usual iron supplement. Equivalent amounts of iron on the nutritional label do not necessarily translate into equal amounts of iron in you.

 


Plant versus Beef?

The ingredients in a plant patty?

  • Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Sunflower Oil, Coconut Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% Or Less Of: Methylcellulose, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Yeast Extract, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols (Antioxidant), L-Tryptophan, Soy Protein Isolate, Vitamins and Minerals (Zinc Gluconate, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12). Product contains an allium derivative
  • Price per 8 oz serving = $6.97

 

The ingredients in a beef patty?

  • Beef

  • Price per 8 oz serving = $3.62

 

*Best foods to gain strength and lose fat! Click here


Conclusion?

  • Researchers conclude that plant-based meat alternatives are not interchangeable with meat; they complement one another.
  • Beef is superior to plant “meat”
  • Beef contains > more bioavailable protein, iron, zinc, selenium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus, pantothenate, magnesium, and potassium than plant “burgers”.
  • Beef is a lower cost per serving and offers more nutrients that are bioavailable.
  • The NUTRITION LABEL DOES NOT TELL ALL!! 
  • In case you missed my post on plant-based alternative “milk” click here to learn more!
  • Plant and animal protein bar list
  • Here’s a FREE grocery list to get you and your family started with healthy choices!

 

 

 

DOWNLOAD THE BEYOND MEAT COMPARISON HERE.

In good faith, health, and athletic performance,

Wendi A. Irlbeck, MS, RDN, LD , CISSN

Wendi is a registered dietitian nutritionist and performance coach. Wendi utilizes evidence-based science to tailor nutrition programs for athletes to optimize performance, minimize health risks, and enhance recovery from training while focusing on injury prevention. She partners with high schools, colleges, sports performance staff, individuals, and families! Wendi and her team offer custom fueling plans, group coaching, presentations, and team talks nationwide!

Wendi provides virtual services including telehealth but is based in Nashville, TN.  Wendi works with clients of all levels internationally.

What can hire a sports nutritionist offer your program? Learn more here.  Interested in signing up for the NEW and upcoming NWW newsletter? Click here to sign up!


Citations and resources to learn more:

Source: A metabolomics comparison of plant‑based meat and grass‑fed meat indicates large nutritional differences despite comparable Nutrition Facts panels Nature Scientific Reports DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-93100-3

Healthy Family Summer Recipe’s

Summer is HERE!!  You can find tasty ways to enjoy a healthy dish or simple recipe on the go or with friends or on your way to a tournament!!

 

Check out our Healthy Family Summer Recipes below!

  • Chipotle Bowls for easy meal prep and a way to eat the “Rainbow”.
  • Headed to a party? The Texas Caviar is a tasty dip that is FIBER rich and bright in color.
  • For a lighter meal, our Zucchini Boats incorporate a little coconut for a Fresh summer taste. Hanging with the girls for a pool day?
  • Try our Grapefruit Paloma Mocktail!  Last, but does not lack in taste, the Protein Mango Sorbet!  Make this one Fresh or make it in bulk and freeze it in containers as a grab-and-go Tasty  Treat!

 

 

Download your FREE ebook below.

Healthy Family Summer Recipe’s

 


All foods fit but be mindful of your choices! Healthy food = a healthy body!

To book a discovery call with an NWW Coach to discuss your goals click the Booking Link Here!

 

Nutrition Tips for Student-Athletes with ADHD

Do you, your child, or someone you know struggle with ADHD? Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopment disorder involving inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness

How does ADHD impact nutrition?

The impulsivity and inattention related to ADHD can increase the prevalence of binging or overeating. It can increase difficulty in planning meals, remembering to eat, appetite changes, impulse food decisions, and more.

How does Nutrition Impact ADHD?

  • Although ADHD is not considered curable there are some nutritional things you can do to help manage it. While the effect of food on ADHD symptoms is inconclusive – diet can help improve mood and behavior. 
  • ADHD Medication is a stimulant that can reduce your appetite. On the flip side, with one of the medications, you may find yourself extremely hungry and craving foods high in sugar and fat. How to navigate this? 
  • Plan meals ahead of time and Pack Protein + Carbs
    • Eggs + Cuties
    • Cheese Stick + Grapes
    • Yogurt + Berries
    • Hummus + Carrots
  • Eat small frequent meals while appetite is low.
    • Smoothies
    • Whole-Fat Dairy 
  • Work with an NWW Nutrition Coach to build habits
  • Eat with the intent to regulate blood sugars 
    • Low and High Blood sugars can increase difficulty concentrating, Dizziness, irritable, and food cravings.
    • Work With a NWW Coach to know What, When, and How much to eat to feel best! (Student-athlete coaching)

Nutrition Interactions 

  • If you are on medications, it is super important to work with your Doctor, Dietitian, or Med Provider to see review these concerns.
  • Foods that contain large amounts of citric acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) may prevent the absorption of certain ADHD Medications. 

ADHD and Eating Disorder Prevalence: 

  • Research from Biederman, J., et al. (2010), indicates that adolescent females with ADHD are 3.6 times more likely to develop an ED and 5.6 times more likely to develop bulimia nervosa.
  • One Sample from Mattos, P. et al (2004), found that 10.4% of participants with ADHD experienced an ED, most commonly binge eating disorder [3]

WHY? 

“One theory is that there is a neurological basis for both ADHD and binge/pure EDs. Researchers believe that individuals with either/both disorders have a “lack of dopamine-based natural reward,” leading to impulsive behaviors such as hyperactivity and/or binge eating “[1].

How to raise dopamine?

  • Avoid Alcohol
  • Healthy Diet
  • Limit highly processed foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get some Sunshine
  • Sleep 8-9 hours
  • Fun activities
  • Meditate or practice yoga

 


Have more questions? We have answers!

  • If you are looking for a team talk or presentation fill out our contact form to set up a FREE 15-min call HERE. Check out our performance nutrition partnership HERE.
  • Health and performance guidebook that has over 170 resources including meal plans and tip sheets HERE.
  • Take our FREE health assessment to see if you’re a good fit for our family or student-athlete nutrition coaching programs. Click here

What can hiring a sports nutritionist offer your program? Learn more here.  Interested in signing up for the NEW and upcoming NWW newsletter? Click here to sign up!

The Nutrition with Wendi team utilizes evidence-based science to tailor nutrition programs for athletes to optimize performance, minimize health risks, and enhance recovery from training while focusing on injury prevention. We partner with parents, athletes, health professionals, and individuals and offer elite nutrition and health guidance for optimal athletic performance, injury, and disease reduction.  We provide virtual sports nutrition coaching, education, and presentations virtually in Texas, Florida, California, Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Arizona, and Michigan. Our primary office is based in Nashville, Tennesse where we serve the greater Brentwood, Franklin, and Green Hills communities.  Follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for more nutrition information. Services booking here to consult with Wendi for a team talk or QA session.

 

 

_________________________________________________

[1] Bleck, J et al. (2015). Underlying mechanisms and trajectory of comorbid ADHD and eating disorders: proposing an innovative systems framework for informing research. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 14: 449-458.

[2] Biederman, J., et al. (2010). Adult psychiatric outcomes of girls with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: 11-year follow-up in a longitudinal case-control study. American Journal of Psychiatry, 409-417.

[3] Mattos, P. et al (2004). Comorbid eating disorders in a brazilian attention deficit/hyperactivity adult clinical sample. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 248-250.

 

 

Fueling the XC/Track and Field Student Athlete

 

Track & Field athletes compete in one or more events that consist of running, throwing, and jumping. Track and field competitors train for strength, speed, power, and endurance and require adequate nutrition and hydration to support the demands of the sport. In order to excel in the season of season nutrition, sleep, recovery, and overall habits are critical.

Track & field/ XC athletes require a high amount of calories, carbohydrates, and sufficient protein. The number of calories, carbs, protein, and fat will depend on the phase of training, along with the intensity, and whether the athlete is in season, pre-season, or in the off-season. The athlete’s performance plate is a simple place to start. Portions will vary based on the athlete’s goals and training phase respectively.

Carbohydrate requirements in the health and fitness industry are constantly being debated. Randomized control trial studies which are the gold standard for research support the notion endurance athletes require carbohydrates for optimal performance.

Regardless, the carb conundrum continues on leading to significant confusion amongst both young, college, and even masters athletes. I can’t tell you how many countless conversations I have had with fellow dietitians, practitioners, and sports scientists about this carbohydrate debacle. 

 

Several keto and carnivore physicians are making the water even more muddled with their banter on carb needs for competitive athletes and even young athletes without respect to context. I have written many blogs about fueling young athletes based on the position stand papers of both the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN). Read here

 

 

 


  • The TheAcademy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), Dietitians of Canada (DC), and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) published a joint position stand paper that recommends that moderate exercise (1 h/day (h/day) recommends 5–7 g per kilogram of body weight per day (g/kg/day) of CHO.
  • Whereas moderate to high-intensity exercise (1–3 h/day) requires 6–10 g/kg/day. 
  • Ultra-endurance athletes with extreme levels of commitment to daily activity (4–5 h of moderate to high-intensity exercise every day) may need up to 8–12 g/kg/day (2). 
  • The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) recommends in order to maximize glycogen stores athletes should consume an 8–12 g/kg/day high CHO diet (1).

 


Over the years I have delivered presentations to high schools, clubs, and collegiate programs on how to properly eat and fuel for endurance and power.

Below is a table outlining the recommendations using common body weight for an athlete that we have received great feedback on Specifically from one of the NWW  partners, DOANE University Track and Field.

Why focus on nutrient quality?

👟Protein for muscle maintenance, growth & repair

👟Hydration and minerals for muscle contraction & cardiac function

👟Carbs + calories for power, speed, strength & endurance


Another common example of a 165 lb.👟 that is best to spread meals and snacks throughout the day but focus on eating within targets listed below:

👉375-525g carbs

👉120-150g protein

👉60-80g fat

Total kcal range: 2,500-3,500 kcal

 

 


Nutrient quality and why it matters

When deciding how to eat and fuel you must focus on nutrient quality. You should strive to balance as many high-quality protein sources as eggs, beef, chicken, fish, Greek yogurt, and beans to ensure you’re getting key nutrients you won’t attain from protein supplements. Many athletes often use protein powders and bars in place of real food and fail to understand that quality is more important than quantity. (click here for snack and meal ideas)

  • For example, Greek yogurt is going to offer you high-quality protein rich in leucine (the number one driver for muscle protein synthesis) along with other key nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and probiotics you won’t get from a protein powder or bar. (food first supplement second should always be your focus. 
  • Supplements are meant to supplement the gaps in our nutrition not replace actual meals. If you expect supplements to be a “meal” you are literally rearranging furniture on a sinking ship. -A quote I enjoy using for many topics like discussing pre-workouts and advocating for quality food choices.

Practical application:

That being said you can take a look at a simple fueling example for XC/TF athletes along with some recommendations on snacks. 

 

In good health, faith, and fitness

-Wendi A. Irlbeck, MS, RDN, LD, CISSN

The Nutrition with Wendi team utilizes evidence-based science to tailor nutrition programs for athletes to optimize performance, minimize health risks, and enhance recovery from training while focusing on injury prevention. We partner with parents, athletes, health professionals, and individuals and offer elite nutrition and health guidance for optimal athletic performance, injury, and disease reduction.  We provide virtual services including telehealth but are based in Nashville, TN. Follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for more nutrition information. Services booking here

 

 

 

Resources
1. Thomas D.T., Erdman K.A., Burke L.M. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. J. Acad. Nutr. Diet. 2016;116:501–528. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2015.12.006.
2 Vitale, K., & Getzin, A. (2019). Nutrition and Supplement Update for the Endurance Athlete: Review and Recommendations. Nutrients, 11(6), 1289. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061289
3.Kloby Nielsen, L. L., Tandrup Lambert, M. N., & Jeppesen, P. B. (2020). The Effect of Ingesting Carbohydrate and Proteins on Athletic Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients, 12(5), 1483. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12051483

Raw Versus Pasterized Milk

Milk contains essential nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, B-vitamins, Calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and phosphorus. Milk is consider one of the most nutritious drinks in the world and is know for reducing risk of osteoporosis. “The majority of cross-sectional and prospective studies indicate a beneficial relationship between the consumption of milk and/or calcium and body weight and body composition in children and adolescents  (Spence, Cifelli, miller, 2011).” Better body composition is ideal for athletes looking to get stronger.

Raw milk from a cow must be pasteurized to be safe. Pasteurization destroys all disease-producing organisms that may be present, making milk safe to drink.” From the USDA Website

Raw 🆚 Pasteurized Milk have No Significant Difference in:
✅Nutrients
✅Minerals
✅Fats
✅Allergens
✅Lactose Intolerance

Raw Milk Does have Increased:
🚫Disease Producing Organisms


Fact and Myth

Myth: Pasteurized milk has less nutrients.

Fact: There are no significant difference in vitamins, carbs, minerals, or fats (Bezie, 2019). “The fat, fat-soluble vitamins, carbohydrates and minerals’ of milk are essentially unaffected by heat treatment” (Bezie, 2019).

 

Myth: Pasteurizing milk reduces fatty acids.

Fact: Multiple studies have show no significant difference in reduced fatty acids (Pestana, et al., 2015), (Tunick & Hekken, 2017). 

 

Myth: Raw milk protects against allergies. 

Fact: A National Library of Medicine study found that the two milks had similar allergic reactions (Host & Samuelsson, 1988). 

 

Myth: Raw milk is better for people with lactose intolerance. 

Fact: Raw and pasteurized milk contain similar amounts of lactose. Raw milk also contains the lactase-producing bacteria Lactobacillus which is destroyed during pasteurization (Quigley, et al., 2013). 


All foods fit but be mindful of your choices! Healthy food = a healthy body! To improve your relationship with food check out the simple tips in our Gentle Nutrition blog!

In good health, faith, and fitness

 

To book a discovery call with an NWW Coach or Dietitian to discuss your goals click the Booking Link Here!

3 Reasons You Crave Sugar and How to Stop

Three reasons why you crave sugar and how to correct it!

  1. You’re starving yourself which includes skipping meals and restricting which = cravings.
  2. Sugar tastes good and so does salt, right? Our brain recognizes the feel-good emotions with sugar and the brain will release serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters make us feel immediately good the second we feel that spike in insulin but then the crash comes after. Then you crave that dopamine response again and again. 
  3. You’re not eating enough critical nutrition which includes a protein that supports satiety and fullness. (Click here to listen to my audio on cravings)

What about hormonal/menstrual cravings? Click here to learn more about how to overcome those and why ladies crave chocolate during their cycle. 1/2 slides shown below.


How to outsmart sweet cravings? Apply these tips immediately!

  • Sleep a minimum of 7 hours nightly! Sleep deprivation = more belly fat? LEARN  MORE
  • Manage stress. You can meditate, belly breathe, take a walk, and call a friend but you need to write down why you are stressed what will help you is not stuffing your face with sugar but doing something constructive like getting to the root cause. 🙂 
  • Do not buy junk you know you struggle to portion and control yourself around. If you buy it you will eat it. No, it’s not for the kids LOL you will eat in. If it is in your cart it will go in your mouth.

 


  • Plan a special treat to share with your family 1x/a week and go out and get it.
    • Like ice cream!  Try my high-protein ice cream! This will also prevent depriving yourself of your favorite sweet treat.
    • Besides, dessert is sometimes food! All foods fit but we have become a society where “treat yourself ” means treats at every meal… #yikes .
    • If folks would eat well 80% of the time and then have the dessert they love 1x/a week or a few times a week via portion control they would actually binge less too! 
      •  Binge eating/then restricting is not healthy and puts you back in a vicious cycle. Give yourself grace but set up your environment for success! Pack the fridge with nutrient-dense foods! Here’s a great list to start.
  • Pack meals + snacks (DO NOT SKIP BREAKFAST)
  • Drink more water. Aim to consume 100 oz daily
  • Eat balanced meals regularly to avoid dips in blood sugar
  • Prioritize protein + produce at meals you will be less prone to eat and crave low-nutrient foods
  • Exercise regularly which includes resistance training and plenty of walking!
  • Have a Greek yogurt + fruit + dark chocolate serving (this will balance blood sugar and offer you some sweetness without the crash because of nutrition!) -see the graphic for illustration on other meals.

All foods fit but be mindful of your choices! Healthy food = a healthy body! For some mindful eating tips check out NWW Coach and Dietitian Sydney’s fantastic blog on Gentle Nutrition!

In good health, faith, and fitness

-Wendi A. Irlbeck, MS, RDN, LD, CISSN

The Nutrition with Wendi team utilizes evidence-based science to tailor nutrition programs for athletes to optimize performance, minimize health risks, and enhance recovery from training while focusing on injury prevention. We partner with parents, athletes, health professionals, and individuals and offer elite nutrition and health guidance for optimal athletic performance, injury, and disease reduction.  We provide virtual services including telehealth but are based in Nashville, TN. Follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for more nutrition information. Service

 

Are Eggs Good for Us?

You have probably heard someone say, “eggs are bad for you and you should only eat the whites.” This could not be the furthest from the truth and the egg yolk contains the most nutrition!

Plenty of cherry-picked studies you’ve likely seen give eggs the bad rap and have made them one of the most controversial foods to date. As you know I am an evidence-based dietitian so, show me the data supporting egg consumption.

The data:

  • A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition illustrated that even for those suffering from type-2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, eggs did not influence risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
  • Eggs themselves are high in dietary cholesterol and type 2 diabetics tend to have elevated levels of the ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. That being said, the research that shows consumption of eggs has little effect on the levels of cholesterol in the blood of the people eating them.
  • Eggs are indeed a rich source of nutrition that I outline below according to a 2021 analysis published in Nutrients.

So, you’re saying eggs are good for me? YES!!

Stop listening to charlatans who don’t understand science or physiology….Those that claim eggs are bad are those that wear clown masks and you shouldn’t listen to them. 🙂 Jokes and laughs aside take note of why you should eat eggs.

  1. Eating eggs increases levels of (HDL), also known as the “good” cholesterol. Cholesterol is GOOD for us and protects against CVD by preventing cholesterol buildup in the blood! Griffin B. A. (2016) 
  2. Yolks contain large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that help reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Vitamin A also supports eye health!
  3. Rich in choline, an essential nutrient needed to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter for memory, mood, muscle control, and other brain /nervous system functions!
  4. Low-cost nutrient powerhouse!! One egg contains 6g of high-quality protein and 5 grams of healthy fats! Protein helps build and maintain muscle along with increasing satiety. Fat is key for hormone health. Do not fear fat.
  5. Rich in vitamins which include vitamins A, B5, B12, D, E, K, and B6, folate, phosphorus, selenium, calcium, and zinc! Zinc helps with wound healing and immune health
  6. Contain omega-3 FAs which help reduce inflammation triggered by stress and exercise. Eggs also reduce triglycerides, a type of lipid fat in the blood. Do not fear eating eggs, they are good for your body, brain, and mood!

 You can safely consume 2-3 eggs daily! Why consume 2-3 eggs daily? 

  1. Protect against CVD and reduce inflammation
  2. Brain Health
  3. Eye Health
  4. Hormone health and satiety
  5. A budget-friendly way to build muscle and improve health!
  6. Rich source of nutrients for overall health and immune function

 


Visual aid folks: DOWNLOAD THE GRAPHICS HERE ON INSTAGRAM TO SHARE WITH A FRIEND!

 

In summary, eggs are not bad for you. What is actually bad for you is bad nutrition advice that is outdated. As a bonus, I had the privilege of being a guest on the Fitness Disrupted Podcast with Tom Holland which you can listen to here from our discussion from a few years ago.

We discussed the cherry-picked studies that give eggs a misunderstood reputation. It’s gold to listen to in the car or while you’re cooking your NWW Sweet Potato Egg Hash :).

 

In good health, faith, and fitness,

-Wendi A. Irlbeck, MS, RDN, LD, CISSN

The Nutrition with Wendi team utilizes evidence-based science to tailor nutrition programs for athletes to optimize performance, minimize health risks, and enhance recovery from training while focusing on injury prevention. We partner with parents, sports performance staff, and special needs and recreational athletes to offer nutritional guidance and optimal athletic performance and lifestyle plans. We provide virtual services including telehealth but are based in Nashville, TN. Follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for more nutrition information. Service

References:

Nicholas R Fuller, Amanda Sainsbury, Ian D Caterson, Gareth Denyer, Mackenzie Fong, James Gerofi, Chloris Leung, Namson S Lau, Kathryn H Williams, Andrzej S Januszewski, Alicia J Jenkins, Tania P Markovic. Effect of a high-egg diet on cardiometabolic risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) Study—randomized weight-loss and follow-up phase. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2018; DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy048

 

Papanikolaou, Y., & Fulgoni, V. L., 3rd (2021). Patterns of Egg Consumption Can Help Contribute to Nutrient Recommendations and Are Associated with Diet Quality and Shortfall Nutrient Intakes. Nutrients, 13(11), 4094. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13114094

Iron Deficiency: Fast Facts You Need to Know

Iron Deficiency: Fast Facts You Need to Know

Iron is a mineral that the body needs to grow and develop. Iron helps make healthy red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron is critical for normal immune function. Iron is the structural component of hundreds of essential molecules. Iron assists antioxidant enzymes.

  • Iron deficiency is the number one nutritional deficiency in the United States. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) II. iron deficiency occurs in approximately 11% of women,1-2% of all adults, and in approximately 12.5% of athletes.

 

  • It is the No. 1 cause of anemia in athletes. Iron deficiency rates (with or without anemia) in athletes range from 20-50% in women and 4-50% in men.

 

  • Iron deficiency anemia occurs when the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells due to a lack of iron in the body.

Two forms of dietary iron

  • Heme iron is better absorbed than nonheme iron; the absorption of nonheme iron is enhanced by vitamin C. 


  • National dietary surveys indicate that iron is under-consumed by adolescent and premenopausal females.

 

 

 

 


Iron recommendations vary between adults and teens

 


What causes iron deficiency

  • Iron losses occur from blood loss in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, microscopic losses in urine, hemolysis of red blood cells (RBC) breakdown, menstrual cycle, sweat loss, and intense exercise. 

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, Advil, and naproxen deplete iron and folate. Frequent use of medications with GI side effects such as aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or naproxen can cause or worsen iron deficiency.

 

  • Physical activity particularly high intensity and endurance types increase iron losses by as much as 70% when compared to sedentary populations. Athletes lose more iron due to heavy sweating as well as increased blood loss in the urine and GI tract.

 

Causes range from a variety of health issues to simply overtraining or even lack sleep.  Any athlete that experiences a decrease in training or performance coupled with symptoms should seek out their primary care doctor for further testing and analysis.


Signs and symptoms of low iron

Weakness, fatigue, decreased physical endurance, feeling hot or cold, diminished immune response, alterations in energy levels, cognitive performance, and overall behavior.  Iron deficiency is not the only cause of these common symptoms.  

 

 

 

 


Food sources

Iron in meat, fish, and eggs is easily absorbed by the body but the iron in plant sources is attached to phytates that bind iron in foods.

Following a plant-based diet and limiting animal iron sources can be a challenge. As a practitioner, I meet the client where they are at but do share that consuming animal protein will offer greater iron to support their health and performance goals.

 


Guidance on increasing iron as a plant-based athlete

  • Pair leafy greens (bok choy, kale, spinach) with a source of vitamin c (broccoli, strawberries, bell peppers, and kiwi) –This can increase the absorption by up to 67%! (3)

 

  • Cooking food in cast iron or stainless steel cookware also aids in iron absorption (cook all veggies and protein in the cast iron skillet)

 

  • Eat more beans, lentils, edamame, baked potatoes, and Iron-fortified oatmeal (higher sources of iron).
    • Lima beans
    • Red beans
    • Kidney beans
  • Drink tea or coffee separately from an iron-containing meal or snacks. Caffeine inhibits iron absorption.
  • Additional ways to combine vitamin C-rich foods with beans
    • Drain a can of pineapple cubes and add them to canned baked beans
    • Toss cooked black beans with shredded cabbage in your favorite coleslaw recipe
    • Sauté red peppers and onions in olive oil and stir into the white navy or Great Northern beans (cast iron pan)
    • Add any type of cooked beans to a spinach or kale salad with pineapple or fruit

Add fatty fish into your diet 1x/week (3 oz of salmon) or oysters (also a rich source of iron)!!

    • Blend up leafy greens and fruits rich in vitamin C with your smoothies (you can even add beans – I promise it is a neutral taste)
    • Eat more lean red meat, chicken, seafood, beans, lentils, edamame, baked potatoes, and Iron-fortified oatmeal (higher sources of iron).
  • Sauté red peppers and onions in olive oil and stir into the white navy or Great Northern beans (cast iron pan)
  • In a skillet prepare steak, spinach, or collard greens paired with berries (best way to increase iron)

 

 

 

 


When young athletes or adults we start with simple guidance to help increase iron

  • Set meal goals: 4 oz of flank steak 2-3 x/week paired with leafy greens
  • Snack idea: A side of roasted chickpeas paired with pineapple
  • Snack idea 2: A 1/2 cup of mixed berries paired with fortified oatmeal

Before taking an iron supplement to correct an iron deficiency you should contact your physician and work with a dietitian to raise iron levels properly. It is best to work closely with a dietitian to ensure you or your young athlete is getting the proper amount if iron to avoid health and performance consequences. We have worked with hundreds of teen athletes and plant-based adults that have struggled with low iron. We can help you too! Contact us for student-athlete coaching or for a virtual presentation for your sports team.

 

In good faith, health, and athletic performance,

 

Wendi Irlbeck, MS,RDN,LD,CISSN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Citations and resources to learn more:

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) II.

 

Hurrell, R., & Egli, I. (2010). Iron bioavailability and dietary reference values. The American journal of clinical nutrition91(5), 1461S–1467S. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2010.28674F

 

Goldstein, J. L., Chan, F. K., Lanas, A., Wilcox, C. M., Peura, D., Sands, G. H., Berger, M. F., Nguyen, H., & Scheiman, J. M. (2011). Hemoglobin decreases in NSAID users over time: an analysis of two large outcome trials. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 34(7), 808–816. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2011.04790.x

 

Hallberg, L., & Hulthén, L. (2000). Prediction of dietary iron absorption: an algorithm for calculating absorption and bioavailability of dietary iron. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 71(5), 1147–1160. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/71.5.1147

 

Koehler, et al.  Iron status in elite young athletes: gender-dependent influences of diet and exercise.  Eur J. Appl Physiology, 2011.

“The Sixty Dollar Effect”

Part one authored on 8/4/2021

Last Sunday, Pastor Tom of Calvary Church, in Grand Rapids discussed contentment and the 3 steps to achieving contentment in your life. During worship, I always take notes and try to dig into the message from God so I can unpack it later in the day to best implement what I learned into action. This service was a little different. So different that I wanted to share some magical moves God made that I can’t stay quiet about. But first, the three ways to achieve contentment include:

1.Rejoice in God’s provisions

    • Be grateful for what you have been given by God. If you’re reading this, you likely have all that you need because you have access to the luxury of technology. That is a blessing. Be grateful for what you have because God has provided and meet all of your essential needs. He may not give you what you “want”, but God sure does provide what you need. I thank heavens for that because what God has in store for us is always so much better than what we as humans, “want”.

2. Understand contentment is not connected to circumstances

    • What is going on in the world or who is the president should not affect your gratitude for God and the joy you should feel for His love and provisions.
    •  No one is ever happier or more joyful by acquiring more “stuff” or going from one activity high to the next. This speaks to me as a small business owner who is constantly working on my next client, sale, and growing the business that I have given to God. I have learned that it is not about acquiring more but being humbled and grateful in the now. Which should not be affected by the current circumstances whether they be good or bad.

3.Contentment is learned

    • Being happy and joyful for what you have is not a natural response for most humans. We complain constantly, I included about not having what we “want” and what we think we need.
    • Think of Apostle Paul who was in prison and was still joyful. I bet most of us would not be joyful if we were in prison. Especially if we were in prison due to unfair or unjust circumstances. Jesus wants us to be reliant upon Him. Not self-sufficient but Jesus Christ sufficient.

During this worship service, Pastor Tom shared about a man and his wife who sold all their possessions to start an orphanage. The man’s name was George Mueller. Long story short one day a wealthy businessman walking on a trail donates the necessary money needed to keep the orphanage in operation, I.e. coal, food, and basic needs. George had prayed for God to help because they were down to their last day of rations. So, God provided via the wealthy businessman who donated enough for them to get by for the next two days. God provides what we need. Let it be known to him because He cares for you.

Hang with me as I promise this is a magical message.

After church on Sunday, August 1st, I went and did my workout at the downtown YMCA in Grand Rapids. Following the workout, I did my post-lift recovery walk around downtown. During my walk, I was reflecting on my life, God, and where I am currently at.  As any Christian does, trying to make sense and how I can apply what I had learned in church that morning. I decided no matter what storm encases me I need to choose joy in my current situation both personally and professionally to achieve contentment. Because it does not matter what I have or do not have because I have all I need, I have Jesus.

A concept that is not easy to remember when we are in the thick of pain, suffering, experiencing financial hardship, loss of loved ones, relationships, and more. All of which have hit me the last year and brought me closer to Christ. Instead of blaming and playing victim, I took my power back with God’s help.

I have built my strength from God’s grace, lessons, and have built my last year of life on His will and rock. Many do ask me, “Wendi, where do you get your motivation from?” I used to respond with my work ethic as a child, finances, achieving success, or simply something about myself, etc. But now my answer and motivation are simple, “to Glorify Christ in all that I do. Being healthy for God so that I can help other people.” See my recent Instagram post on this.

 

God doesn’t need me, just like He does not need you. But He chose you and He chose me. He loves us and wants us to experience His blessings. He loved us so darn much He gave up His only Son, Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. By living my life for Christ I have so much motivation to be healthy, kind, and giving to others. We are ambassadors of God in the work we do. For me, that means as a dietitian, business owner, daughter, sister, friend, and more I must live as Jesus would. Yes, I fall short, and always will but the more time I spend in His word, worship and with Him in solitude the more I become like Jesus. I also have more peace in my life knowing heaven is my eternal home and none of this stuff on earth matters. Truly, Jesus does is not interested in our performance. Jesus is interested in our hearts. Our joy comes from the Lord when you’re truly a follower and have 100% given your life to Christ. I learned that lesson much later in life, but I am glad it was late than never. Jesus is all I need because back to the circumstances of the world, well look around or turn on the TV things aren’t looking great. But Jesus’s love for us and grace never waivers. Back to my story on my walk post-workout.

Back to the point, of achieving Joy. On my walk last Sunday, I saw a homeless man very parched from across the street. Two young men walked by him. The homeless man cried out to them, “have some change to spare?” The two men walking by were about my age and responded with, “no, I have no cash.” Now some context here, years ago before I was a believer I would have thought, “wow what a bum. Asking for money. Go get a job.” But since learning humility and walking life in alignment with God the last few years I have been less likely to judge. Because I do not want to be judged. We also have no idea what landed that man on the streets. I remember thinking to myself, “I wish I had some change or something.” I then actually prayed to myself, “Lord help me find some spare change on the ground to give this man.” There was something about this situation that really made me want to give. Historically, I have given the change to homeless walking through the YMCA parking lot here in Grand Rapids because God says to “give”. And giving a dollar is nothing I can’t spare and it’s a good thing to do that is easy. Sure, do I selfishly want to keep the money to pay off student loans, of course. But the more I grow in my faith the more I know that I am here to glorify God, and not just worry about my own needs but to help others. Plus, if today Jesus came the student loan debt won’t matter.  However, being a kind human will. Remember that fellow Christians. We can’t take anything with us when we go. That means not only assets but also debts.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe in working hard and earning everything. It is how I was raised but practicing love and giving to one another is something that has brought me more joy than paying my student loan fees each month.

I prayed about “getting needs met” for this man. I had nothing on me to give. I had my car keys and sunglasses. I prayed that God would help me find some change on the street to give the man on my walk but nothing came about after several blocks of looking aimlessly. Once I got back to my car, I looked for change and found nothing. Of course, though, I could have driven to the store to buy water, and give it to him. But I drove home to prepare for my busy week of clients. I journaled about the experience before going to bed.

I woke up the Monday after feeling a bit of unrest. Pastor Tom said that if we prayed to Jesus, we would have our needs met along with others. My needs were met but the man I walked by did not. I thought about the rich businessman who immediately stopped in his tracks and gave the orphanage what they needed for the next two days and thought, wow what a great role model. Lord, please forgive me for not driving back to give that man some change. Then I went on to do the final touches on my business newsletter that I had spent hours slaving on. I felt a bit restless as I had not taken my morning walk. So I went out for a walk and decided to take a totally different path than usual.

While on my walk, I was feeling frustrated, stressed, and then even more guilty because I am not having contentment for my life. Which I just learned in church the day before. I began thinking okay, I can do this. I can learn this and practice it. Because as I had learned in church yesterday that it is a learned skill. So, I told myself time to learn a new habit and skill let’s go! So, I spoke aloud while walking “Stop complaining Wendi. What are you grateful for, right now let’s go list off five key items.”

I rambled off, health, opportunity, legs to walk, brain to think, sunshine on my skin, safety, a business, purpose, God’s love, and God’s grace. I took one more step, then I stopped and in front of me on the sidewalk was a crisp $20.00 bill. I thought woo lucky day! Then I remembered and muttered, “God provides, God delivers provisions.” I immediately looked up to the sky, flashed God a giant smile knowing He is listening, and answered the prayer I prayed!! God answered my prayer requesting some petty change on the sidewalk to give to the homeless man. Only instead of some coins, Gods put down $20.00. That’s the thing about God is there are no coincidences. The $20.00 should have been filthy since it was on the sidewalk near a bunch of brush and sticks after rain showers. But it wasn’t. I stopped, prayed, and thought I am going to go back to the spot I was walking at later and give this money to this guy or whoever is in the spot. How amazing is God?

I kept walking and a few steps later laid another crisp $20.00 bill and I thought WOW you have got to be kidding me? As I reach down to pick up the crisp $20 about 6 feet ahead was another $20.00 in the grass. To remind you I was praying for a whopping $0.60 to give to this homeless man. But God provisioned $60.00. To you non-believers reading this here is the picture of the fresh $60 because it was too clean and crisp to not be blessed by God.

Did I selfishly want to keep the sixty dollars and go on my way thinking what a lucky day? Sure, but that would be Satan’s work and I don’t work for him, nor do I belong to him.  I work for God. I belong to God. I am a child of God and I proudly proclaim my faith in the Lord. Additionally, this isn’t my money in the first place and greed is not Godly. Greed is a form of evil. Like Adam and Eve in the garden. We always want “more” when we should have contentment for what God has given us. See the connection here? I hope so!

God blessed me with sixty dollars to help others and experience joy in the blessings of giving. God wants us to be joyful. I went home immediately after that walk to write down what had happened because this is a ripple in God’s work. Lately, I have not been hearing from Him and felt I likely have not been listening. SO, by practicing what I had heard in church and trusting God showed up and worked some magic. God is not interested in our performance here on earth but in our hearts. If your heart is in the right place, and you live in alignment with Jesus your odds of heaven are looking pretty good.

I am not sharing this to brag and say, “look at me but a look at HE”. If anything I haven’t given enough and feel shameful for my lack of generosity in the past. Case in point,  I am sharing this because God answered back with more than what I wanted. God is always listening. He blessed provisions to help more than just one person. Honestly, five years ago I would have kept the $60 for myself. But now that I am a follower and have fully put my life in Christ’s hands, I want to be more kind, and giving like Jesus has been for me to live my life in a Christ-like way.

I would rather use the provisions to help others which is what Jesus would do. I hope this inspires you to know God is listening, He answers prayers maybe not on your time but on His time. Had he answered my immediate prayer for coins on the street within a radius of the sidewalk I would have only had some coins to help one human? Jesus fed 5,000 people with the miracle five loaves and two fish. God doesn’t give us what we want, He provisions what we NEED. I thank Jesus for loving me and I hope this message inspires those out there to practice contentment in their lives but also glorify you in their thoughts, words, and actions. Be an ambassador of heaven. I’m calling this act of God, the “Sixty Dollar Effect”. Who knows, maybe it will be contagious.

 

Part two authored on 8/8/2021

Today, I heard a great message in worship that wrapped up a series studying Philippians by pastor Tom at Calvary Church. Today, August 8th was on generosity and giving. The sermon is found here for those interested. It motivated me to take the sixty dollars I found on the sidewalk last Monday and match it with my own $60 to go purchase a total of $120 worth of bottled water, oranges, bananas, and apples to hand out around downtown Grand Rapids. Starting with the street corner I was walking on last Sunday where I mentioned there was a homeless man on the street crying out for change and help. Just an image to motivate you.

God blessed me with an opportunity to not just give someone some coins, but I was able to go out and feed > 100 people in the extreme humidity. Contributing an additional $60 of my own money has never given me so much joy. Every single person on the street that I gave a bottle of water to, or a fruit said, “thank you girl, wow God bless you!” And I can’t express how much that meant for those who do not know me but are appreciative of my generosity. Some of the sincerest thanks I have gotten. I said, “no don’t thank me, you can thank God! He provisioned these nourishments through me. I then wished them a blessed day back and we all smiled.

This act of service was the best use of money and 3 hours of my entire thirty years on this earth. God is good. God provides and we can’t take any of what we accrue with us to Heaven. This is what Pastor Tom talked about in worship this morning. Thank Goodness for that, I do not want any of these earthly things. There’s no monetary value to the Joy I experienced today giving back to my community.

I encourage everyone who has read this to spend $60 on water and some soft fruit to hand out to those in the street. Store it in your car in a cooler.  Mini bottled water for example is extremely cheap and can be given to someone on the street who needs hydration or bananas on your way home if you know you will be met with those in need. These are just simple ways to give back to your community. God does not need you to donate your livelihood, and you don’t have to be a celebrity to do something extraordinary. God works through us ordinary people to do the extraordinary work and give all Glory to Him. I love God and everything I do is to glorify Him. I made the choice to give my life to Christ and I never looked back. I used to be self-sufficient but now I am Jesus Christ sufficient. Jesus Christ is not only my savior, but He is our secret weapon in any battle we face. God works through me, and He absolutely works through you in your daily work and tasks to help His Kingdom. Don’t underestimate the ordinary small acts of service that are all good in His eyes. Please watch my video post on Instagram to experience my Love and Joy from God’s provisions.  See the video here and be sure to watch until the end.

If you can’t give money you can also do acts of service. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

✅Donating stuff or your time

✅Pick up groceries for those in need

✅Volunteer at local hospitals, shelters, community centers

✅Help your neighbors with household things, tasks, transportation for those without

God Bless you and be sure to pay it forward. I hope this blog gives you hope.

THIS IS A NEW PROJECT CALLED, “PROJECT NOURISH”. Minutes after I published this blog and shared it out three different people who were former clients sent money to my Venmo name with notes reading, “Great work, here is another $20.00 to get you started”, another read, ” You are AMAZING, use this for those in need with a $25.00 money gram.” If you wish to contribute to this fund which I will continue to go out and give to the community on a weekly basis via water, fruit, and nourishment please let me know. You can email me, wendi@nutritionwithwendi.com or you can Venmo me Wendi-Irlbeck. GOD IS SO GOOD!!

Wishing you many blessings of good health, safety, prosperity, and joy.

 

-Wendi Irlbeck

🍉Healthy Lifestyle Coaching for Men

Registration for the next NWW Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching program for men only is now LIVE!! That is right a program designed just for men.

As a participant and client, you will receive guidance from an experienced health professional, registered dietitian, former college athlete, physique competitor, and fitness coach, Wendi Irlbeck. With our support, you will learn how to:

  • Build a plate that supports your goals without rigid diets or deprivation.
    • 95% of the population that loses fat or weight ends up re-gaining it and it becomes even harder to lose.
  • Increase your activity levels no matter what fitness level you currently find yourself at.
  • Leave behind the “diet mentality” and misinformation around fad diets and diet culture by gaining confidence in what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat it!
  • Build a routine that supports the life you want to live. Unsure what that life is? No worries, Wendi will help you come up with a plan that is built using lifestyle modification and establishing S.M.A.R.T. goals.
  • Set a realistic S.M.A.R.T. goal in any area of your life beyond nutrition, health, or fitness. Wendi believes in a spiritual approach integrating faith and Christianity to help solve challenging barriers within our life.

 

What about the results or outcome? You will:

  • Lose fat and lose the excess “weight” holding you back from being your healthiest, best, and strongest self. Sometimes the weight holding us back is not around our mid-section but behind our ears. Wendi will help you retrain and rewire your thought process to form a positive mindset to achieve your dream physique and self!
  • Build physical, mental, spiritual confidence and strength in your body!
  • Gain the mental clarity and confidence to approach life’s most difficult tasks that are holding you back from being your best self as a parent, coach, brother, sister, daughter, and more.
  • Gain peace of mind that comes from living a healthy lifestyle without the stress of knowing if you are doing the right thing.

Click here to enroll Or schedule a discovery call with Wendi to discuss other options and resources here.

 

Wendi Irlbeck, MS, RDN, LDN, CISSN is a registered dietitian nutritionist, former college athlete, physique competitor, and performance coach. Wendi utilizes evidence-based science to tailor nutrition programs for athletes to optimize performance, minimize health risks, and enhance recovery from training while focusing on injury prevention. She partners with parents, sports performance staff, and special needs and recreational athletes to offer nutritional guidance and optimal athletic performance and lifestyle plans. Wendi provides telehealth and on-site services. Wendi works with clients of all levels and ages across the US as well as Canada and the UK.