Protect Your Noggin’

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Have you entered the Glo Bar Raffle for the Livestrong Foundation?  It’s a super short, one-day raffle, so your odds of winning delicious vegan treats are high! 


It’s going to be a busy day up in hurrrrr!  I’ve got an Operation Beautiful presentation at University of Florida tonight, and I’m really excited. Im also going to try to squeeze in a visit to the gym later – I’d really like to go swimming!


Breakfast was a twist on the Grilled Banana Sandwich (recipe):


The star of today’s breakfast sammie was this lovely, soft, juicy pear:


I followed the same recipe as the Grilled Banana Sandwich, but I made one small change:  Instead of coating the bread with a sprinkle of brown sugar, I tossed the slice pear in maple syrup and then grilled the fruit to better caramelize it. 


Breakfast perfection!


Protect Your Noggin’


In light of my Olympic Triathlon bike crash (recap and video), I asked my dad to share some thoughts with the blog world about helmets and concussions.


I’ve posted an interview with my Dad about his cycling history (check it out!).  He’s done a lot of cool and exciting races, but unfortunately, he has also been very unlucky with crashes.  Although you probably wouldn’t guess it, he’s suffered a series of bad crashes that resulted in brain injuries and affected his overall quality of life.  He always wore helmets; however, treatment for concussions just wasn’t as advanced when he was in his accidents.


Here are a few thoughts from my Dad:


Here’s what you should know about helmets, concussions, and cycling – but don’t be paranoid! This is all the equivalent of wearing a seat belt in the car:


1. Protect your head. Always wear a helmet recommended for your activity – even if only a few do and everyone thinks they look dorky. Trust me – you really don’t won’t even minimal brain damage, and there is a low, finite limit on how many concussions you can have in your lifetime before you run the risk of early dementia and personality change. 


2.  Remember that helmets are one use items.  Even if you’re in a minor accident like Caitlin was on Sunday, destroy it with a hammer so no one else can use it and buy another.  Love yourself – you’re worth it.   Read this post for more info.


3. If you have a serious head impact, don’t trust your judgment as to whether you can proceed. I’m an experienced long distance cyclist, but after a crash in Paris-Brest-Paris in 2007, I had to be restrained from trying to ride even though I was clearly (to others, and in retrospect, myself) unable to ride. 


4.  If you do have a head impact in any sport, monitor your mood carefully. If you (or those who know you) notice changes, find medical assistance. Early treatment is the best defense against permanent problems. 


5. I’m not saying be a doormat, but if someone close to you has a concussion, cut them a little slack – but after they cool down, they should apologize. Temporary mood changes due to concussion are a valid excuse (although it’s not a license to be rude forever).  They deserve the love and devotion you would give them if the had any other serious injury. 


But the most important thing – if you wear a helmet, try not to do crazy stuff (although that was always the best part to me – sigh).  Be safe, get out of the house, and have fun.  After all, it’s much better than TV and Doritos!  🙂



  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday March 17, 2010, 8:18 am

    grilled pear? great idea!

  • megan March 17, 2010, 8:23 am

    wow great info from your dad. I never took wearing a helmet seriously until I started reading yours and meghann’s blog. now I never ride without one, and i’ve convinced my husband to do the same.

    the grilled pear looks incredible!

  • Nicole, RD March 17, 2010, 8:27 am

    Your dad is so cute with his advice!

    That pear breakfast sammy looks soooo good!!

    Have a great Operation Beautiful presentation tonight!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite March 17, 2010, 8:31 am

    Great advice!! Thanks Caitlin’s Dad 🙂

    Best of luck with your presentation tonight!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg March 17, 2010, 8:31 am

    That’s really interesting– I never knew that you were supposed to get rid of helmuts after a crash– although that totally makes sense, and I now feel like a doofus! 🙂

    That b-fast sammie looks to die for!!!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet March 17, 2010, 8:32 am

    That pear just looks amazing on there. I wish I had that for breakfast!

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine March 17, 2010, 8:34 am

    Love the grilled banana sammie for breakfast, I’ve only ever had them for lunch but I should switch it up!! I cracked the back of my helmet skiing this winter, so I realize how important they are. To think that could have been my head! Great post, it’s so important to draw awareness to this!

  • Christie @ Honoring Health March 17, 2010, 8:35 am

    Great looking sammie!

    I’m a thinking of getting a bike and I will surely get a helmet and make the dear husband get one too! Thanks for the info!

  • Heather March 17, 2010, 8:37 am

    Fantastic post and great advice!! Wearing a helmet saved my life when I was little- I was riding in one of those baby seats on the back of my dad’s bike when he hit a grate and crashed. I was strapped in the seat, so I wiped out with the bike and my dad said he could just see my head smash into the ground and keep bouncing. But I was perfectly fine, thanks to my helmet!!

  • Whitney @ Whitinspired March 17, 2010, 8:37 am

    Such good info from dad ;). It really is important to wear a helmet, just like it’s important to wear a seatbelt in the car. It’s awesome that you care enough to put this out there!

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly March 17, 2010, 8:42 am

    Such good information. I always wear my helmet even if I am out for a short ride. I cringe when I see riders without helmets. But thankfull living in Austin, home of Lance Armstrong, we are a BIG cycling community and so helmets have become so main-stream here that I don’t think anyone ever feels dorky! 🙂

    Goodluck tonight….rock it girl!

  • Mara @ What's For Dinner? March 17, 2010, 8:44 am

    Good luck with the presentation tonight! I have a group of girls OB-ing the school this week. I’ll take photos for ya 🙂

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) March 17, 2010, 8:46 am

    Thanks for the helmet tips! 😀

    And yummy looking breakfast sandwich! Totally love the pear addition. 😀

  • Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance....after a 100+ Pound weight loss!!! March 17, 2010, 9:01 am

    Love the breakfast sandwich! I wish I had time on the week days to make such breakfasts……I am so sick of oatmeal & cereal! =(

  • Madeline - Greens and Jeans March 17, 2010, 9:04 am

    After you have cracked a helmet or two you quickly become a major helmet advocate!

  • Caroline March 17, 2010, 9:07 am

    mmm…I think grilling/cooking fruit is one of the best things you can do. This would probably be really great with the banana too.

    And I liked your Dad’s point on how your have to cut people slack when they’ve had concussions. My good friend had what my friends now think was a minor concussion (never even got diagnosed!) and for a week or so, she would show up in the wrong classes and be really disoriented.

  • Lauren March 17, 2010, 9:08 am

    Seeing as I only own the equivalent of an old school Huffy, I hadn’t really even thought about wearing a helmet as I try to get into cycling. Glad I’m reading this now!

  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing March 17, 2010, 9:09 am

    LOL, love how your dad has a “best part” of getting a concussion.

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs March 17, 2010, 9:09 am

    Oh gosh Caitlin, stop with the amazing breakfasts! There’s a limit to how many recipes I can take note of and buy ingredients for so I can re-create super breakfast recipes 😛

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin March 17, 2010, 9:09 am

    That breakfast sandwich looks incredible!! Very good info from your dad – I had no idea that helmets were for one time use until you posted that!

  • Meg @ Be Fit Be Full March 17, 2010, 9:11 am

    Your grilled sandwiches make me drool. Seriously. Maybe you should open up a grilled breakfast sandwich shop? Good luck tonight!

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner March 17, 2010, 9:12 am

    Great post! It’s amazing how many people you see biking without helmets….

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) March 17, 2010, 9:13 am

    Your french toast breakfasts always look so delicious.
    Love the advice from your dad. He seems like such a caring, sweet man!

    Good luck today!!!! 😀

  • emily March 17, 2010, 9:20 am

    I have to echo this: Trust me, you don’t want minor brain damage!

  • cara March 17, 2010, 9:24 am

    Holy moly that breakfast looks like heaven. I am adding this to my menu for this weekend. mmmmmmm.

  • Liz March 17, 2010, 9:25 am

    Good luck on the presentation!!!

    It’s beyond me why some people do not wear helmets. I know some people think they look “dorky” but better that than brain damage!

  • Marina March 17, 2010, 9:28 am

    Mhm, breakfast sammy looks amazing!
    I always wear a helmet when biking, although people laugh at me. I don’t care, my head and brain are more important than that!

    • HTP Dad March 17, 2010, 9:33 am

      Excellent, Marina!

  • clay March 17, 2010, 9:29 am

    Hey, I just found your blog and I really enjoy it! It took me a while to enter the blogging world but i finally did. That sandwich is amazing looking and I cannot wait to read more! Hope you don’t mind me adding you to my roll list?

    • caitlin March 17, 2010, 9:29 am

      sure 🙂 thanks!

  • Marlene March 17, 2010, 9:38 am

    haha, I just wrote a post last night about my bike helmet over on my own blog:

    I love my helmet, and I get tons of compliments on it!!

  • Andrea ( March 17, 2010, 9:39 am

    Good luck today! I loved your dad’s advice, he really seems to know his stuff when it comes to competing and riding. I also loved your breakie! Amazing grilled french toast!

  • Monica (Musings of the Granola Girl) March 17, 2010, 9:40 am

    Breakfast looks tasty! Hope your day’s great 🙂

  • Stephanie March 17, 2010, 9:42 am

    Great advice on helmets-my sister had an accident a few years back and her helmet saved her life!

    Good luck tonight with you OB talk. I’m a new blogger but have been reading your blog for awhile now, I hope it is OK that I have added you to my blogroll!

    • caitlin March 17, 2010, 9:44 am

      of course 🙂 thank you so much and welcome to the blog world!

  • Erin (Texan Couture) March 17, 2010, 9:45 am

    Good luck on your presentation tonight. I can’t wait for your book to come out!

  • stephanie March 17, 2010, 9:46 am

    I’m always so shocked when biking around here in SoCal how most people, including young children, do NOT wear helmets. I’ll never forget during nursing school talking to a pediatric ER nurse, asking her what she saw the most in the ER. She said that head injuries that likely could have been easily prevented with helmets were one of the frequent injuries, and “you can fix a child’s broken leg, not so much a damaged brain”.
    Thanks Caitlin’s Dad, for your honesty with your experiences and helping to educate!

  • Evan Thomas March 17, 2010, 9:48 am

    I just found this recipe and thought of your rhubarb situation 🙂
    The 1 cup heavy cream DEFINITELY doesn’t go for low dairy, but maybe try coconut milk?

  • Lo-Jo March 17, 2010, 9:56 am

    Once I got a road bike, I realized that I’m going so much faster than the old 10 speed I had as a kid. I’d be scared NOT to wear a helmet!

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels March 17, 2010, 9:57 am

    good “noggin” advice. I’ve had quite a few head injuries in my day (mostly from sports and a few clumsy mishaps) and they can be quite scary.

  • Julie @SavvyEats March 17, 2010, 9:58 am

    I have a feeling our dads would be great friends. It drives my dad nuts when he isn’t able to bike or work out for whatever reason.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 17, 2010, 9:58 am

    Your breakfast looks absolutely amazing!!!

    P.S. I got an e-mail this morning from VH1 with the headline “Lady Gage Reveals Rousing, EPIC New Video” and I thought of you haha

  • Laurel March 17, 2010, 10:04 am

    I’m so glad you’re not only advocating helmets, but getting a new one after a crash. My dad had a high-speed bike accident when I was young and hit so hard that it cracked his helmet about six inches. He had a concussion, but the doctor said he would’ve been a goner without the helmet. It just makes me cringe/angry when I see people flying by on bikes without one. If they only knew what could happen!

  • Jessica March 17, 2010, 10:10 am

    I want you to know that this morning I had an operation beautiful talk with myself.
    AND for the record….today is going much better than the last week…
    Good Luck tonight and GREAT job last week.

  • Katie March 17, 2010, 10:11 am

    Great post! I took a pretty nasty fall from a horse when I was in high school. The doctors in the ER all agreed that the helmet I was wearing is what saved my life. It wasn’t a cycle, but the same rules apply.

  • Matt March 17, 2010, 10:16 am

    Wow that looks AWESOME!

  • Emmanuelle March 17, 2010, 10:17 am

    Great advice from your dad, thanks to him and to you for sharing!

    (Pear caramelized with maple syrup? Why am I not going home and having this right now?)

  • Mastering Public Health March 17, 2010, 10:24 am

    Great tips from Dad. And I entered the Glo Bars raffle! After trying them at the Summit, my mom loved them. Fingers crossed. 🙂

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) March 17, 2010, 10:28 am

    such great advice…and i would say it definitely applies to other things as well (skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, etc). we only have one life, might as well protect it if we can!

  • Ellen Collis March 17, 2010, 10:34 am

    Mmm, I’m drooling. Pears are one of my fave fruits, but it’s hard to find them when they’re at their perfect ripeness.

  • Kelly March 17, 2010, 10:42 am

    Great tips from your dad, I never even thought about helmets having a one crash life span. Good luck with ur OB presentation!

  • Katharine March 17, 2010, 11:07 am

    Great post, Caitlin! Very important stuff to think about. 🙂

  • Little Bookworm March 17, 2010, 11:09 am

    Good luck on the Operation Beautiful presentation! 🙂

  • Christine @ Grub, Sweat and Cheers March 17, 2010, 11:11 am

    Great information. I can’t believe I used to be a complete eejit who thought it was way too ‘uncool’ to wear a helmet.

  • Chelsea (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun) March 17, 2010, 11:19 am

    Gosh, that grilled pear sandwich looks orgasmically good.

    Best of luck with your presentation!

  • Lisa March 17, 2010, 11:37 am

    Thank you for the info on the helmets. I had no idea you had to destroy it after you fall!

    I have a friend who refuses to wear a bike helmet. I worry about her. Who cares what your hair looks like! Safety first!

  • skinnyrunner March 17, 2010, 11:46 am

    great tips from your dad, i love the line “love yourself – you’re worth it.”

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) March 17, 2010, 11:48 am

    I love your dad’s comment about giving someone some slack with a concussion. It is hard but is worth it in the end.

    And activity is way better than TV and doritos.

  • La March 17, 2010, 11:58 am

    Grilled pear is AMAZING.
    Really great post, and great tips. I’m just starting to bike again and I live in a heavy traffic area (New York City). These are things I’ll keep in mind.

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople March 17, 2010, 12:18 pm

    That is amazing advice. I ALWAYS wore a helmet back when I owned a bike. I’m also one of those “crazy” people who ALWAYS wears a seat belt, even when everyone else in the car is looking at me like I’m crazy. I guess I value myself more than I realized!

  • Lisa March 17, 2010, 12:22 pm

    Great Advice. so many people dont wear helmets and I cringe when I see them out!

  • Shannon, Tropical Eats March 17, 2010, 12:28 pm

    mmmmm your bfast sammie looks AMAZING. can’t wait to see you tonight! Yay OB!

  • Annie March 17, 2010, 12:28 pm


    Great post and thanks to your dad for sharing these awesome tips!

  • Hedda March 17, 2010, 12:32 pm

    Mmm, when I saw that sandwich, I had to try it- success 😀

    Just curious (weird question- alert! )- when you have peanut butter on a slice of bread, how much do you usually put on?
    I find it so hard to know how much I should take, but I at least try to take one table spoon 🙂

    • caitlin March 17, 2010, 12:34 pm

      i just eyeball it 🙂 I have measured out a tablespoon of PB before so I basically know what it looks like on bread. I don’t feel the need to re-measure it every time. A few extra (or less) calories won’t hurt me. And it’s one less dirty dish!

      • Hedda March 17, 2010, 2:05 pm

        Thank you! I work on not measuring everything I eat, it is just causing stress. You are totally right, a few extra or less calories than yesterday won’t do that much harm.
        By the way, my dog saw the pictures of your dogs and just laid down and kept looking at the screen, haha! Perhaps he fell in love ;p

  • Erin March 17, 2010, 12:40 pm

    I’m totally making your grilled banana sandwich for dinner tonight. Looks soo good! Thank you!

  • Jes March 17, 2010, 12:44 pm

    Good luck at your presentation tonight! Your breakfast looks yummy! Good tips from your dad! Helmets are very important!

  • Catherine March 17, 2010, 1:06 pm

    I like that your dad advises to throw out & destroy any helmets that have survived a crash. To be honest, that never occurred to me, but makes perfect sense.

  • Elisabeth March 17, 2010, 8:34 pm

    My boyfriend used to be into competitive biking; he would bike for 8 hours or more a day. Last year he had a terrible accident and almost didn’t make it. If he wasn’t wearing a helmet, he wouldn’t be here today. So glad you’re advocating for helmets; they really do save lives!

    • HTP Dad March 17, 2010, 8:35 pm

      8 hours a day? Is he a brevet rider? I may know him!

  • HTP Dad March 17, 2010, 8:34 pm

    This is so strange – I use to post a different, more technical, foot noted helmet article at the beginning of nearly every cycling season – not just technical, but things like “equivalent of wearing a seat belt” stuff – In eight years, I got maybe 5 positive responses, and American Randonneur cut an article I wrote to a letter because “it’s all opinion and not relevant because we’re highly skilled”. Each year I got 2 or 3 flames and a few justifications about why it was necessary to use unsafe helmet mounted lamps to save a few minutes. I feel like I’ve done more good here with one post. Thanks, Caitlin.

  • Diana (Mymarblerye) March 17, 2010, 9:00 pm

    I think we both look forward to breakfast wayyy to much. Your pics always inspire me to have a wonderful rich breakfast. 🙂 Gets me up and pumpin in the morning!

  • Jolene ( March 17, 2010, 11:00 pm

    Mmmmm, grilled pear!!! I used to dread breakfast and I hated all breakfast foods. Now I can’t wait to have breakfast. It is the meal I am most inspired by.

  • Jess (What's Normal, Anyways?) March 18, 2010, 9:04 pm

    HTP Dad:

    Thanks for the informative, and super humorous post. “After all, it’s much better than TV and Doritos!” Love it!

    I have a rockin’ purple helmet that is actually from the kids department, cause I have a little head apparently, and I love wearing it….people can point and laugh all they want! Purple Brain Power!

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