Disordered Eating, Often Overlooked

Allison Ballina MS, RD, LDN

The pressure to be thin is as real as ever. People, especially young females, are willing to go to extremes for the ultimate goal…the perfect body. But what is the perfect body? Is it having a muscular appearance, having the “thigh gap”, being able to fit into size 0 jeans, or having a flat stomach? There is no definition for the perfect body. However, what our mind tells us tends to be what dictates our decisions. It can become an obsession that is difficult to explain, and ultimately our actions create an outcome.


Disordered eating and eating disorders often get confused. Disordered eating can refer to wide range of abnormal eating behaviors, some which are shared with eating disorders. Some common symptoms of disordered eating include: binging, dieting, skipping meals often, laxative use, chronic fasting, body shaming, misuse of laxatives, and self induced vomiting. These are not as easily diagnosed as an eating disorder. Individuals struggling with disordered eating exhibit many of the same symptoms as eating disorders but not as extreme or at a lower frequency. Many people suffering with this have a tarnished relationship with food that includes fears, phobias, avoidance, and emotional eating. All of these are included on the spectrum of disordered eating. It is just as common in people who are overweight and obese, they continue to gain weight because of an emotional attachment to food. People with disordered eating are at a greater risk for developing eating disorders. Their eating patterns may lead to malnutrition, fatigue, or poor concentration. It can also greatly affect a person’s social life due to the constant anxiety around food.

Turkey Cabbage Stew

Turkey Cabbage Stew



1 1/2 c. yellow onion

1 clove minced garlic

1 lb. lean ground turkey (93/7)

7 c. chopped cabbage (about 1/2 head)

8 oz. tomato sauce

1 (16 oz.) can of diced tomato with green chili (Rotel)

1 tbsp. hot sauce (may omit if desired)

1 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper as needed



1. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in medium sized pot.

1. Add onion and ground turkey to pot over medium heat until meat is brown.

2. When meat is fully cooked, drain off excess fat, then return to pan.

3. Add in minced garlic, tomato sauce, diced tomato, hot sauce, and cabbage.

4. Cook on low to medium heat with lid, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes.

5. Add salt and pepper to desired taste.


Nutrition facts (per 1 cup serving):

145 calories

6g fat

10g carbohydrate

13g protein

For more healthy eating tips, check out!


Banana Nut Chip Muffins

Banana Nut Chip Muffins



  • 3 c. dry oats
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 large cage free eggs
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 3 overripe bananas (medium size)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c. melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (oats, spices, baking powder, salt).
  3. Combine wet ingredients (honey, eggs, banana, vanilla extract, almond milk, coconut oil).
  4. Slowly add wet ingredients into dry ingredients while mixing with blender.
  5. Stir in dark chocolate chips and walnuts.
  6. Spray muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.
  7. Fill muffin tins half full with batter.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Yield: 20 muffins

Nutrition facts per muffin:

  • 150 calories
  • 20g carbohydrate
  • 3g protein
  • 7g fat

Recipe published by: Allison Ballina MS, RD

To see more from Case Specific Nutrition, check out our website!


Osteoporosis & Bone Health

What We Need to Know Regarding Osteoporosis:

written by: Allison Ballina MS RD

Did you know that most of our bone mass is completely built by the time we reach the age of 20? This is part of the reason why we encourage milk intake for our infants and adolescents. We begin recommending whole milk after breastfeeding and then serve milk with both breakfast and lunch in our schools. As we age further, we see the constant “Got Milk” ads throughout our magazines and billboards. Unfortunately as we age past 30, our bone mass begins to decline. The body begins to break down more bone mass than it can make. This is especially true with women after menopause. Our bones begin to leach calcium and other important minerals that are important to maintain the integrity of the bone. This decline in bone mass may lead to a disease called osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis causes our bones to become brittle and frail. The likelihood of developing osteoporosis depends partly on how much bone mass you were able to attain during that critical building phase in your youth. However, we do have some say in the changes of our bones.




Never Get Stuck

I don’t know about you, but I am a creature of habit. I like routine. Don’t get me wrong, spontaneity has its place in my life, but when it comes to most daily activities, I like to have at least a tentative plan. This can mean different things to different people. Some like to have the same schedule Monday-Friday. Personally, I like each day of my week to have variety, but I like the variety to be planned. What I do on Monday is likely not the same as on Tuesday, but my Mondays are all very similar. With this schedule, instead of having a daily routine, I have a weekly routine. Some people, especially those in health care, sales, city service and trade professions have a biweekly or completely unpredictable schedule.


Race Day: Preach What You Practiced

Race day is upon us. By this point in your training, you have completed your longest training run, and are tapering down to give your muscles a chance to repair before race day. Nutritionally speaking, I hope you are confident in your plan. Throughout training, you have been able to test your body out, and look for ways to perform better. This blog was written to focus your attention on the key areas of nutrition during training. I hope it gave you meal and training ideas, and enhanced your understanding of the runner’s diet.

At this point in training you are ready. We have discussed fueling for sport, along with the role of carbs, fat and protein in the body. Pre-, intra- and post-workout meal are already planned and practiced, and hydration status with attention to electrolyte needs is routine. Last week we discussed carb-loading, which I hope you found useful for these next few days leading up to the race. This is your chance to fill up your muscles with energy and fluid before the race.

If you have followed this blog over the last 11 weeks, paid attention to the key points, and tried to apply the recommendations into your training, you are ready for this race. There is no doubt in my mind. That said, I have no new topics to introduce this week, but I will leaves you with my 10 tips for Race Day:

  1. Plan your breakfast meal the night before. I might even make it so my morning had as few steps as possible.
  2. Pack your snacks the night before in packaging that makes sense for your race.
  3. Plan ahead when you are going to eat/feed during the run. What and where should be tentatively set based on training, predicated pace, and glycogen load.
  4. Decrease carried load by giving snacks to family/supporters at selected mile markers.
  5. Take note of the water stations on the map to schedule fluid intake. Which stations will you use sports drink?
  6. Take note of the weather and make sure you are dressing and refueling accordingly. Remember heat increasing our own body heat, which means more calories burned and more sweat lost. Increase feedings, fluids and sodium.
  7. During the run make sure to appreciate your surroundings. This is what you have been training for! Stop end gaming and enjoy the moment.
  8. Remain confident in your training. Trust your body’s ability to push harder and farther.
  9. Run through the finish line. Cross that line knowing you left nothing on the course.
  10. Enjoy your post-workout meal with attention to needed hydration, electrolyte replenishment, recovery needs and of course taste!

I hope this blog has been helpful for you during training. Whether a first time run or an experienced athlete, the material discussed here applies to your race, and when used appropriately, will have a tremendous impact on performance. Thank you for reading. All of us associated with PG Marathon Ready appreciate your participation and look forward to your feedback once you’ve crossed the finish line!

Andrew Wade, RDN, LDN


Race Week: Modified Carb-Loading

We are quickly approaching the big day! One of the last areas of focus for this blog is “Peak week” preparation for the race. Carbo-loading is a common practice among runners. I fondly remember pasta parties during high school cross-country season before our weekend invitationals. Though a 5k was hardly a reason to binge on carbohydrates, the practice had the genuine intentions. While short distances don’t warrant a “load”, your glycogen stores need to be as full as possible for a half-marathon and marathon. Half-marathoners with proper glycogen stores can often get through the race with no intra-workout feeding. Marathoners will still need to feed, but the extra glycogen will earn them an extra couple miles, which can have a large impact on motivation in an endurance contest. There are two well-known ways to carb-load, the classical method and modified method. I recommend using the modified method, especially for new runners.

pills versus food

Supplementation: A Food First Approach

Supplementation has become increasingly popular in the United States over the past 20 years. Many products have potential application and benefits to target populations, but it is rare that a supplement truly enhances the health or performance of the general population better than an optimized diet. That said, there is always a place for supplementation, especially as a way to fill the gaps in the diet. Endurance athletes need to pay attention to a couple key nutrients during training. If these cannot be consumed adequately through diet, supplementation should be considered to prevent deficiency and keep the body functioning at its best.


Protein Needs for Marathon Training

The phrase “Not all calories are created equal” has been passed around quite a bit on social media recently. This phrase became popular with the trend of high protein diets, and its meaning can be traced to the purpose of the 3 macronutrients in our body. We have adequately discussed the role of carbohydrate and fat in the diet as sources of energy. Both of these macronutrients have a caloric value, which measures their value as energy expended. Carbohydrate is almost exclusively used for energy, while fat is used for energy along with a variety of processes in the body. Even with variance in purpose, both carbohydrates and fat are our body’s primary energy sources to fuel activity. Protein, the third macronutrient, does not follow suite. While protein also has a caloric value, it is not used primarily for fuel. In fact, a majority of the protein in our diet is destined to serve as a building block for new tissue like muscle, hair, skin, and fingernails, or in the creation of a variety of hormones and neurotransmitters. The body can use protein as energy when carbohydrates and fat are not present in adequate quantity, but the dominant role of protein is the creation of new tissue, so much so, it is often referred to as a secondary energy source. With so much time devoted to fueling and maximizing performance during training thus far in the blog, it makes sense to properly address recovery, and with it, protein.


Hydration in Marathon & Half-Marathon Training

Over the last 4 weeks we have investigated fueling for sport in terms of energy. While energy is mandatory for performance to occur, there is another equally important area of nutrition that dictates your ability to perform well. The general term hydration refers our body’s need to maintain proper fluid balance. Fluid balance involves proper intake of water, as well as management of the main electrolytes sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium. While I do not plan on going into detail about what each of these do in our body, I do hope to leave you feeling confident about consuming adequate amounts of each from food daily, as well as replenishing them during and after a physical demand such as a half-marathon or marathon.