Diary Of A Plant Based Runner
Nutrition currently has all the new buzz words surrounding individual eating styles. I am… Vegetarian; Vegetarian-ish; Pescatarian; Vegan; Vegan-ish; Plant based, or maybe I’m doing… Keto; Ketotarian; Paleo; or Whole 30. Whatever nutrition lifestyle you have chosen my question is, “Are you designing your plate to reach a nutritional goal; or have you designed your plate to be part of the social media society?” To answer my question, I have chosen a plant-based lifestyle with a goal of fueling my mind, body, and palate while enhancing my performance and overall quality of life.
I have shifted my focus from the calorie in and calorie out formula to lose or maintain weight to a more macronutrient focus (carbs; protein and fats). This shift supports my food mantra “Food is for fuel, not comfort or reward.”
When runners or elite athletes hear the phrase “Carb up” the mind immediately focuses on a plate of pasta. Pasta is not a bad choice, but for me, as a plant based runner, I concentrate more on beets and sweet potatoes. I know what you are saying, and I can see you making the kid yuck face when you read beets. Why beets? The nitrates found in beets improves endurance, and as a bonus, it also aids in the reduction of inflammation. I used beets and sweet potatoes while training for and completing my first marathon (the Chicago Marathon in 2016), in my spibelt I had GU and squeezable beets/sweet potato baby food pouches.
Proteins & Fats
Before January of this year, my go-to protein was fish. Now my body has decided against fish, dairy products and eggs so what do I eat? In addition to protein powders, nuts are my new go to, almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. Nuts not only provide me with the protein I need to build and repair muscles it also doubles as my healthy fat which reduces the risk of heart disease.
So how much protein do I need before and after running? 10 to 30 grams, so a handful of nuts should do the trick. Remember you don’t necessarily need protein while running but you will need it afterward.
So again "Are you designing your plate to reach a nutritional goal; Or Have you designed your plate to be part of the social media society?” Either way, understanding the differences in basic food groups nutritional necessities will help you reach your goals sooner.
Next stop, Trinity Levee Run (Dallas)