When I started running, my diet changed along with it. I felt the need to complete the “healthy lifestyle” package by eating nutrient-rich whole foods. Soon, I found myself chowing down on whole grains, fruits and vegetables only at least 5 days in a week. Refined carbohydrates – sugar, white flour- were pretty much eliminated. Before your jaw drops and your eyes pop, I do give myself “off days” and indulge in all the sinful sweet treats from cakes to cookies to ice cream. Don’t worry, I am still human. My advice is, never go cold turkey. Everything should be done in moderation. Remember, this is not a “diet”. It is a lifestyle and it has to be sustainable.
I always had a thing for fruits and vegetables so my body really loved this change. But with all that running, I lost quite a bit of weight. In fact to the point where my family and friends were all wondering if I was eating enough. Despite looking like a Somali kid, I was bursting with energy. No matter what I did throughout the day, I always ended it with a good long run. When my weight dipped even further, I made a conscious effort to eat a little more. I started loading up on proteins. When you think of protein you would think of meat (usually). That meant I was eating more meat. Finally after 3 years, I managed to gain a whopping 10kg.
Although my weight was “back to normal”, eating more meat caused another problem. It left me feeling sluggish. I found it hard to put in my evening runs and would usually suffer from indigestion after a meaty meal.
You may have heard that you need to load up on lean meat and down protein shakes (especially after a workout) in order to build/sustain muscle mass. Well, I did a little research and I found that quite a number of endurance athletes are vegans/vegetarians. Scott Jurek, 7 time Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run champ, bases his diet on whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Similar to what I was eating before the meaty saga began. The thing about consuming meaty-bulky-protein rich foods is that it takes a lot of energy and time to digest. There are many plant based foods that contain all the necessary proteins and amino acids which can serve as building blocks for muscles (More on that in my next post!). Also, we tend to overestimate the amount of protein our body needs.
These days, I try to cut back on my intake of meat but I make sure I make up for it elsewhere. It seems that I’ve been eating A LOT of fruits and vegetables so much so that people are claiming that I’m a vegetarian. I’ve been known by many as the girl who only eats green apples. I still LOVE my meats (BEEF! PORK! LAMB! SALMON! CHICKEN!) and I don’t think I can live without them. To skip the confusion, I’ve given myself a new title: Part-time vegetarian!
Meat-Free Monday meals!
Hi, I’m Adele and I’m a part-time vegetarian. Catchy.