Eating Real Food to Fuel Performance

Stephanie Violett, PhD.
April 25, 2019
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#NOWAmbassador Stephanie Violett is an Ultra Marathoner, Coach and Sports Nutritionist.

As an athlete, what I put in my body is really important. I want to make sure that the foods I eat are more than just calories; that they are nutrient-dense, nourishing foods that will keep my body healthy and strong.

This doesn’t seem like a hard thing to do in a culture with an overabundance of food. But, many of the “foods” available are not food at all- rather they are refined, processed, packaged things formerly known as food.

To avoid this, I choose to focus on eating real food- things that have been grown out of the ground and resemble their initial state. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. These foods have so many more nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  2. These foods don’t have additives, preservatives, and a long list of ingredients. Some of which I can’t pronounce.
  3. They just taste better! Fresh, real foods tastes best, hands down.

NOW® is a company that really gets this. I get most of my non-produce groceries from NOW. They offer high quality foods that are not subject to mass processing or refinement. I feel good about the foods that I get, which is very important to me.

Stephanie’s Typical Day

Breakfast #1

A typical day usually starts with coffee and a small pre-run breakfast. Normally, I reach for plain whole-milk yogurt topped with NOW Real Food® nuts and seeds, and frozen berries.

Then I run. Or bike, ski, lift, yoga, hike, etc.

Breakfast #2

Next up is second breakfast. I use this eating occasion post-activity to absorb a lot of good nutrients. Depending on my mood, I’ll choose sweet or savory. My go-to sweet option is a smoothie bowl, made with frozen berries, NOW® Spirulina, almond milk, avocado, NOW Real Food® Chia Seeds, a handful of nuts, and spinach. Blend it all up and top with homemade granola for crunch. My savory option is eggs cooked in Ellyndale® Organic Avocado Oil, and served with roasted sweet potatoes, greens, and avocado.

Lunch + Afternoon Snack

Lunch is usually dinner leftovers + kombucha. I usually have an afternoon snack consisting of nut butter and chocolate, or some sort of homemade treat.


I love to cook and create new recipes. I’m always trying out new combinations of flavors and ingredients. One staple in my household is my Nourish Bowl. I love this recipe because it’s simple and can be made with almost any ingredients I have at home. Here is the base recipe:

  1. 1 cup cooked grains: Living Now® Quinoa, Sprouted Brown Rice, etc.
  2. 2 cups of greens: spinach, arugula, kale
  3. ½ cup roasted vegetables: sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, squash, broccoli, etc.
  4. ½ cup beans, chickpeas, lentils, or tempeh
  5. ½ avocado
  6. Homemade dressing: Avocado Oil, NOW® Nutritional Yeast, apple cider vinegar, salt
  7. Top with thinly sliced radishes, NOW Real Food® Pumpkin or Sesame Seeds, fresh cilantro or mint.

YUM! I will use salmon or elk instead of the beans at times when I’m craving more protein. And to keep it fresh I try to use seasonal produce.

Before Bed

Part of my bedtime ritual includes a cup of NOW Real Tea® + yogurt with a drizzle of honey or a handful of nuts and chocolate.

No two days look the same for me, but this is a good example of how I use real foods to fuel my body. I always feel good when I eat like this!