VO2 Max and Health/Wellness

VO2 max

After listening to the Huberman Lab podcast (and you should too! He’s got nuggets of info on health!), I decided to schedule a Dexa Scan as well as VO2 max test. I want to have a baseline of where I am at my age. This year has been a huge year of change. I’ve committed to my health (yes I’m currently 7 months in with a strength program called Rise; I started 1-2x/wk rowing; MMA 1x/wk). I’m changing jobs. I have cut back or cut out unnecessary or harmful things to my life. I’m participating in a glucose monitoring study. I wish I had done these metrics every decade of my life starting at 10.

What is VO2 max?

How to Improve VO2 max

6 Ways to Improve Your VO2 Max

VO2 Max: The Fitness Metric That Can Help You Run Faster and Workout Harder

Effect of dietary fat on metabolic adjustments to maximal VO2 and endurance in runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1994 Jan;26(1):81-8.

VO2 max test on Concept 2

The more I dig into the world of health and wellness, the more there is to learn. Hormones, gut health, nutrition, supplements, macros/micros, exercise (role for mobility, flexibility, cardio, strength, functional, etc). I wish they taught this stuff in medical school. This is the real foundation of health and wellness.

Cardiorespiratory Coordination in Collegiate Rowing PDF

A New Fitness Test of Estimating VO2max in Well-Trained Rowing Athletes. Front. Physiol., 02 July 2021. Sec. Exercise Physiology

How to Improve:

Indoor Rowing Workouts That Boost Your Vo2 Max

More gems:

From Novos

iollo – metabolomics testing (metabolite measuring)



Zoe – gut health, blood sugar, blood fat

Athletic Greens – comprehensive nutrition and gut health support

Ka’Chava – whole health meal replacement

Seed – pre- and pro-biotic

Vedge Nutrition – fitness supplements made by vegans for vegans

Mud/WTR and Ryze – mushroom supplementation


Huberman Lab

Jason and Lauren Pak RISE workout

The Brain Docs

Glucose Goddess



Overall, I felt I could have pushed a bit harder but I was nervous on the treadmill. My legs were burning. Oh the dreadmill.

What whole food plant based experts eat in a day

YouTube: Plant Based News

YouTube: Physicians Committee – First 21 days going plant-based

Dr. Gregor’s Daily Dozen checklist YouTube video

Top Plant based Nutrition hacks from Dr. Gregor YouTube

Books to start:


Whole Food Plant-Based Diet

I’ve been hearing more and more about a whole food plant-based diet. There’s definitely data out there that shows this lifestyle is the key to longevity and protective from illness and disease. My curiosity first started when I had our first child. It was important to me to learn more about nutrition because I wanted to learn how and what to prepare food for my kids. From this curiosity, I stumbled upon a book called Genius Foods. Then, I listened to the Audible version of The Obesity Code. Most recently, I’ve been embracing How Not to Die and Eat to Live. Add Fiber Fueled to this list and I’m for certain that WFPB is the way to go. And add The Starch Solution for more evidence toward a whole food plant based lifestyle. I’m working on it.

From DanielleBelardoMD.com

Am I vegan? No. Am I a vegetarian? No. Am I here to save the animals? If saving the animals is a positive side effect, then absolutely! My main goal is to have the l o n g e s t quality of time with my kids as well as teach them how to incorporate nutrition into their lives. As a parent, I want to make my kids’ lives easier, more meaningful, and more fun. Aside from financial freedom and responsible parenting, the next best gift I can give to my kids is the power of nutrition. I wish I knew this information when I was a kid and grew up knowing what was helpful to fuel my body.

CME for healthcare workers:

Why eat organic?

I wasn’t always a huge supporter of eating organic.  I was a poor college student… a poor medical student… and a poor resident.  In fact, I didn’t start thinking about my health seriously until my husband and I were planning to get pregnant.  Maybe this was a little late in the game at 37 years old… but better late than never, right?

In college, I lived off of lean cuisine microwaveable meals with plastic and drinking 3 diet dr. peppers a day.  In medical school, I survived off a protein bar, sandwich, and microwaveable dinners as well.  Did I mention that I experimented with smoking to help me study?  Ick, what horrible habits!  In residency, I continued with protein bars, microwaveable meals, and hospital food that was free for residents around 9p.  Not to forget, that I made sure I went to a bunch of residency interview dinners to meet potential incoming residents.  Fast forward to getting ready for my wedding day, I went 3 months on a paleo diet and felt incredible and saw real changes in my body without feeling deprived or hungry.  We went organic during my first pregnancy.  We’ve placed more importance on sustaining our baby and helping her maximize her growth and learning with a more nutritious diet.  During my second pregnancy, I again ate organic.  But, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and moved to a more Whole30 diet — eliminating processed foods as well as sweets.  I was able to really control my blood sugars with diet alone, and I feel better without all the processed food and sweets in my system.

Why do I think about this now?  More and more, I feel the impact of a well-balanced diet on my body.  My AGING body.  Perhaps in our youth, we can fake it and make it by eating crap food and maintaining an unhealthy lifestyle.  But as I’m aging, I feel the effects more and definitely sooner.  Additionally, I care more now about what I put into my body and in my family’s.  I would love to teach my kids the importance of healthy eating and what good food tastes like.  So, enter my quest to eat organic as well as grass-fed, hormone-free meats as well as going more plant-based.


HelpGuide – Organic Foods: What You Need to Know

HelpGuide – Healthy Food for Kids

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research – Organic vs. Non-Organic PDF

MindBodyGreen – A Doctor’s Top 4 Reasons to Eat Organic

Dr. Axe – Dirty Dozen

EWG – EWG’s 2018 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce


Time – 4 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Eating Organic

The Organic Center – Bringing you the science behind organic

Food Safety Magazine – 2018 Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists Rank Produce Items by Pesticide Level

Association between organic food consumption and metabolic syndrome: cross-sectional results from the NutriNet-Santé study. Eur J Nutr. 2018 Oct;57(7):2477-2488.

Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture: a comprehensive review.  Environ Health. 2017; 16: 111. 

Organic Food in the Diet: Exposure and Health Implications. Annu Rev Public Health. 2017 Mar 20;38:295-313.

Are organic foods safer or healthier than conventional alternatives?: a systematic review.  Ann Intern Med. 2012 Sep 4;157(5):348-66.

Nutrition-related health effects of organic foods: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jul;92(1):203-10.


Clean Label Project: Methodology

Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health: Health Risks of Pesticides in Food

U.S. Right To Know: Monsanto Papers

U.S. Right To Know: Pesticides

Time: Why Organic is the Right Choice for Parents

NBC News: What a nutritionist wants you to know about pesticides and produce

U of Washington Center for Ecogenetics & Environmental Health

Key Points

  • Eat organic and free-range/cage-free/grass-fed/hormone-free when possible
  • Pesticides are toxic and can lead to health problems later in life
  • Choose organic alternatives to the Dirty Dozen
  • Babies, young children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding women are more susceptible to pesticides and toxins in food.
  • Research the labels and get the facts
  • Consider these Netflix documentaries on Health and Nutrition

Nutrition 2019

I’m not one to make New Year’s Resolutions.  Why?  Because I used to make a list of 10 things and NEVER got any of them completed.  My goal these days is to constantly re-asses my goals daily.  Every day is a new day to accomplish something or try something new or go outside your comfort zone.  So, this year, my husband and I both want to work on our nutrition.  It’s more evident now (we’re in our 40s) than ever before that we really take responsibility not only for our own health, but the health of our littles.  Therefore, this is a top priority for both of us.  The more we learn about nutrition and what to put into our bodies, the more we can teach our kids the importance of health and nutrition.  I hope this knowledge continues to transfer down into our kids, grandkids, etc.  The gift of good health is more valuable to me now than before.   The older I get, the more I see my parents/family aging.  Luckily, my family has good genes are have lived into their 90s.  However, I want to take what I can into my own hands and make sure it stays that way.  I come across so many patients who either have bad genes, poor diet, poor access to nutrition, lack of knowledge of nutrition and exercise, or simple complacency with an “I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do” attitude.

Three Books that I’m tackling this year:


From CBHS Fund

6 months post-partum

Arden is 6 months old!  The time flew by… although it didn’t seem like it her first two months of life.  She is such a sweet, happy baby who loves to drink her milk (she takes around 30 oz/day).  She doesn’t care too much for daytime naps, however, she is a great sleeper through the night once she goes down.  She’s still getting up around 4a or so for a feed but then falls right back to sleep.  Sometimes, she cries out but it’s mainly bc she was on her tummy and doesn’t quite roll back to her back.  She loves jumping around in her jumperoo and playing in her gym with her various toys.  She’s getting so strong with her legs and her arms.  Her grip strength is really good and she’s getting better with her grasping.  She is now purposefully placing her feet to walk in her scooter.  We’ve started her on purees.  The first one she tried was peas and brown rice and she did not like it.  Now, we’re on to winter squash and she seems to like that a bit more.  Maybe it’s because the texture and consistency is a bit smoother than the peas.  We have our 6 month pediatrician appointment soon and I’m curious to see how much she weighs and how tall she is.  I feel like she’s grown a ton in just the last month!  She still has just her two bottom teeth.  It’s incredible to see the changes taking place in our lil girl.

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She got a fever at daycare on August 14, 2018 and Bear picked her up and brought her home.  Arden seemed lethargic and fussy and didn’t want to feed.  She started developing blisters on her hands and feet and in her mouth.  The pediatrician said it was hand, foot, and mouth disease.  This has been going on at daycare, so I knew it was just a matter of time before she got it.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week were pretty brutal as you could tell she was hungry but it was too painful to feed.  She slept more throughout the day and woke up several times at night bc of hunger or discomfort.  We give her infant tylenol and infant motrin for the first time.  She ended up throwing up the Tylenol the first two times we gave it to her.  It was a larger volume of medicine than the motrin.  After that, we opted to stick with the motrin and give it to her in smaller aliquots — she tolerated this and felt better shortly after and was able to feed.  Luckily, she never got too dehydrated or lethargic.  We tried to give her pedialyte when she wasn’t taking formula and she didn’t really like that either.  But, it’s now Sunday and she really started to turn the corner on Friday/Saturday.  It’s so good to have our smiling, happy, active girl back!!

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She’s really into textures now.  Arden loves to feel materials with her hands and fingers.  Everything still goes in her mouth, but that’s ok… that’s part of learning and the sensory feedback.  Her upper two teeth are starting to come in (6.5 months old).  She loves sleeping on her tummy, esp with her booty up in the air.  She still dislikes purees… we’ve tried avocados, peas, bananas, blueberries, winter squash (this has been her favorite so far), carrots, sweet potatoes, peanuts.  I tried my hand at making purees at home and it’s been lovely.  These two websites: Wholesome Baby Food Recipes and The Vintage Mixer have shared wonderful recipes as well as personal experiences of feeding their babies with whole unprocessed foods made at home.  This is my jam (right now).

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Nutrition and Macros

I’ve always been fascinated by nutrition, but I’ve never had the discipline to really take control of my nutrition.  Well, it’s time.  It’s a good time for me to truly dive in and learn about nutrition as well as be able to teach my daughter good eating habits.

In the workout community, people seem to talk a lot about macros.  What the heck is a macro?

“Macronutrients are what make up the caloric content of a food,” says McMahon. Sometimes referred to as “macros,” the three categories of macronutrients are carbohydrates, fat, and protein. The caloric combination of the macros is where that mysterious total number of calories comes from. Here’s the breakdown:

So it’s not about how many calories are in your food, but what kind of calories are in your food. 

How to read nutrition labels Macro-style

From Muscle and Fitness

  • Stats I entered for all the below calculators:

    39 F, 148 lb (that’s a guess), 5’7″, sedentary job (sometimes) but works out 3-4x/wk doing Alexia Clark.

  • Training day (cardio not included): Carbs 205g (56%), Fat 33g (10%), Protein 126g (35%), Calories 1,620
  • Rest day (including cardio): Carbs 105g (35%), Fat 42g (14%), Protein 153g (51%), Calories 1,408

Flexible Dieting macro calculator

  • Carbs 157g (42%), Fat 41g (25%), Protein 122g (33%), Calories 1,491

IIFYM Macro calculator

  • Carbs 137g (45%), Fat 30g (10%), Protein 137g (45%), Calories 1,270

Kathy Hearn Fit macro calculator

  • Carbs 116g (39%), Fat 51.7g (18%), Protein 125.6g (43%), Calories 1,432

Meal prep on fleek macro calculator

  • Carbs 172g (48%), Fat 44.4g (12%), Protein 138.8g (39%), Calories 1,646
  • Per meal breakdown (for 3 meals/day)=Carbs 57.6g, Fat 14.8g, Protein 46.3g, Calories 549

Avg numbers according to the macro calculators above:

  • Carbs 149g
  • Fat 40g
  • Protein 134g
  • Calories 1,478
  • 46% Carb/ 12% Fat/ 41% Protein

I have to be honest…I can’t tell you when the last time I ate 1,500 calories in a day.  That seems to me to be more calorie restrictive than I would like to be.  We’ll see how this goes.  I’ll be logging my food diary via MyFitnessPal App.

From Women’s Health Mag UK

Make Nutrition a Priority

This past weekend, we went to my mom’s for Mother’s Day.  It’s always a treat to be able to catch up with the fam.  Both my aunt and my mom are extremely health conscious.  My aunt has been practicing a very healthy lifestyle since 1999 when she had a health wakeup call.  My mom has more recently adopted a health-conscious lifestyle probably in the last 8 years when she moved out to California.  Nutrition is my aunt’s passion — any chance she gets, she’s always interested in educating me about eating whole foods.  I feel like I’m pretty healthy, but I certainly make my food mistakes: preferring quick and easy to wholesome nutritious, craving sweet and/or fatty foods over better choices to satisfy my craving, and stress-eating without hunger.  Sure we all do it.  But, I got to thinking that now is a great time to really educate myself on nutrition and taking care of my family.  I don’t know why it was such an epiphany, but now that I’m responsible for a tiny human… I’d really like to educate her on good food choices.  So, it starts with me… leading and setting a good example for my daughter.  It’ll be a bonus when the whole family jumps on board.

From JSHealth

There’s a ton of nutrition info out there as well as recipes.  Recently, I came across a gal’s website on nutrition: JSHealth.  She has a very relatable story regarding her relationship with food.  I think what she’s trying to accomplish is fantastic, and it should be a goal of not only girls and women, but anyone we love in our lives.  Food is something that will be with us for life.  There are so many fad diets out there.  Some claim quick results — hey, who wouldn’t want to drop 10lbs in a month?  But is it sustainable through life?  If not, then you’ll just yo-yo back and forth and continue to look for “diets” instead of a “lifestyle”.  Plus, look at the health gains or losses from a diet vs. whole food lifestyle.  Will this be easy?  Probably not.  I will be changing the way I’ve eaten for the last 39 (eek) years of my life.  But, it’s important, and I wish I knew and started sooner.

Here is her program.

Have you been on yo-yo dieting?

How do you feel on your current diet/eating routine?