TBR 30: Q&A with Mitch Felipe-Mendoza

Wednesday, 13 July 2011  |  Healthy Food + Recipes

Hi TBR 30 Challenger: it’s Day 13 of our commitment to eat right for 30 days!  How have you been doing?  So far, we are over 100 runners strong and counting!


To help us stick with the program and learn more about proper nutrition, I’ve interviewed Mitch Felipe-Mendoza, one of my favorite nutritionists to bug about my food and weight concerns.  Here it goes:

1. What are the top 10 healthy foods you would recommend for us runners to keep in our pantry?

  • Fruits
  • Whole grain bread
  • Eggs
  • Wheat pasta noodles
  • Low-fat milk
  • Oatmeal
  • Wheat cereals
  • Low-fat, low-sugar granola bars
  • Canned tuna, salmon or sardines, beans and veggies
  • Low-fat, low-sugar spreads

2. What are the top 10 bad foods we should not even buy?

You can still have some but in moderation:

  • Processed foods like meatloaf, sausage, ham and hotdog
  • Fatty viands like bacon, fatty cuts of pork and beef, longganisa
  • Chips
  • Chocolates and cookies
  • Pork rind or Chicharon
  • Ice cream and cake
  • Cream cheese
  • Alcohol
  • Regular mayonnaise
  • Flavored drinks

3. Can you give us a sample of an ideal lunch or dinner meal for a runner?

  • Rice or pasta (choose brown rice and whole wheat pasta to get more fiber)
  • Veggies (go for fresh, green leafy veggies and fresh red tomatoes)
  • Protein (Choose fish, chicken and if you are trying to lose weight, eat meat 3 to 4 servings per week and choose grilled, boiled, steamed)
  • Fruit (always have a fruit for dessert as substitute for pastries or you can have a fresh fruit juice)
  • More water (avoid sodas or powdered juices)

The total amount and calories will depend on your activity level, weight, gender and goals but the standard serving is a cup of rice, ½ to 1 cup veggies, 1 to 2 servings (size of your palm- 1 serving if you are trying to lose/maintain weight) protein and a piece of fruit

4. What would you recommend as healthy snacks for runners?

  • Whole grain breads with low-fat, low-sugar spreads or tuna and veggies
  • Whole fruits or fresh fruit shakes (like banana, apple, mango)
  • Snack bars (low-fat, low-sugar energy snack bars)
  • Low-fat milk or chocolate drinks
  • Yogurt
  • Cereals with skim milk (choose cereals with less sugar, go for wheat)
  • Boiled eggs (lessen the egg yolk)
  • Saging na saba (without syrup)
  • Corn (with less butter, use reduced fat butter)
  • Fresh vegetable lumpia (with less nuts, meat and sweet sauce)

5. Can you advise us how to manage cravings?

  • Never skip breakfast (or your first meal upon waking up) to avoid cravings that usually set in after lunch or late night.
  • Stay away from low-carb diets to avoid sweet cravings like ice cream, pastries, and chocolates
  • Make sure that you get a sound sleep of not less than 6 hours per day
  • Stay away from craving foods (salty and sweet) during PMS
  • Ask the support of friend or your spouse to distract you whenever you crave for extra foods.
  • Drink more water instead of flavored drinks
  • Rest well, manage stressors and your emotions

6. What tips can you give to us runners on the TBR 30 Challenge?

  • Eat according to your goals and program. If you are running three times a week plus other physical activities like weights and cycling to maintain your fitness level, then stick to a healthy and balanced diet. If you are training for a marathon, increase percentage of carbohydrates. If you want to lose weight, avoid fatty foods and eat meat in moderation
  • Avoid overdoing your workout (too high intensity or too long) so you won’t experience too much stress, burnout and/or injuries. Start and progress gradually.
  • Log your experiences and progress. Choose the best self-monitoring tool that you can realistically complete – either a journal notebook, simple notebook with blank pages or you can log everything in a computer file or lifestyle applications.
  • Create a support system by asking participation of your family and friends. Get help of professionals.
  • Avoid eating out as much as possible and make an effort to prepare and cook your meals and snacks, to save calories …and money.
  • Having a healthy lifestyle is a life-long effort. Your 30-day journey can be a great jumpstart to eat healthier foods, to reduce stress and to improve your fitness level. Then it is your choice to step up to the next level.

Mitch Felipe-Mendoza is a lifestyle & weight management coach, fitness trainer and runner who has helped her clients manage weight and improve running performance by combining her background in psychology, exercise, nutrition, and injury prevention.  She is a contributor to The Bull Runner Magazine and is also a regular wellness contributor of Philippine Daily Inquirer and a weight loss columnist for Women’s Health Philippines.  If you have comments or questions, email her at mitchfelipe@gmail.com OR follow her on twitter @mitchfelipe for more tips and daily fitness and weight management updates