Oh, boy! I’m pretty pumped! On Saturday, I went on a healthy food shopping spree to prep my kitchen for marathon training, and now I’m totally stocked with healthy goodies:
After reading No Meat Athlete and Thrive, I decided that rather than buy premade energy bars, gels, or sports drinks to supplement my training, I’m going to make most everything myself! It’s a little daunting, but I’m excited to get my healthy cook on.
In Thrive, the author Brendan Brazier (Ironman and Vega creator), talks about a number of ingredients that help to give athletes energy before a workout, help them stay energized during a workout, and help them recover post workout. I definitely don’t want to go full on only plant-based vegan like Brendan (a girl’s gotta have her pizza night and NYC bagels every now and then). However, his logic behind why he sticks to a plant-based whole food diet and why it works for endurance training is sound. SO, while I won’t be sticking to the Thrive Diet to a T, I definitely plan on using it as a launching point, especially when it comes to fueling up for and recovering from training runs.
Typical fruit and veggies aside, here is a quick overview of what I stocked up on. Most of these ingredients are completely new to me and all are supposed to be easily digestible. After all, the last thing you want during a 15-mile training run is an upset tummy! (Please Note: All nutrition notes are pulled from Thrive.)
Hemp Seeds & Protein– Hemp is a complete protein containing all 10 essential amino acids (the ones the body can’t produce). It helps boost immune system and quicken recovery through its anti-inflammatory properties.
Amaranth – Amaranth is one badass pseudograin. Check out these stats: It’s high in calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A & C. It’s 17% protein and has a 90% digestion rate.
Quinoa – This is one of the few things on the list that is already a staple in my diet. Quinoa is 20% protein and is a good source of iron and potassium. Nom nom nom.
Nutritional Yeast – Nutritional yeast is a complete protein with vitamin B12, which is particularly hard to find in plants. A lot of vegan cheeses rely on nutritional yeast due to its mild cheesy flavor and melting ability.
Whole Flaxseed – Flaxseed has the highest level of omega-3 of any plant. Omega-3 helps reduce inflammation caused by movement and helps the metabolism of fat. 1 tablespoon of ground whole flaxseed will allow the body to more efficiently burn body fat as fuel. Flaxseeds are also high in potassium and fiber. Hello, new smoothie staple!
Berries galore – I washed and froze all these babies. Berries are starting to get pricey again, so I wanted to stock up before I can’t afford them.
Agave – Agave is a slow-release carb that is easy to get down, making it great fuel for working out. Brendan has a recipe for fuel bites, which is pretty much just agave and dates, to use for long runs. I’m planning on giving those a go. If all else fails, I can ferment the agave and turn it into tequila!
Rooibos – Rooibos is a red tea with high level antioxidants and alkaline-forming properties, which is important to help balance out an acidic body after an intense workout. It is caffeine free (did I mention I’m trying to give up coffee?!) and rich in minerals.
Hemp Oil – Apparently, this is one of the healthiest oils out there. Hemp seeds, hemp protein, and hemp oil are all huge components in Brendan’s Thrive Diet. I’ll be a hemp queen by the end of this marathon!
Pumpkin Seed Oil – I didn’t know this existed, but apparently pumpkin seed oil is a thing and contains essential fatty acids. I’m pretty excited for this and a bunch of other pumpkin related things now that Fall is in the air.
Flaxseed Oil – Like it’s unpressed mother, flaxseed oil is high in omega-3s.
Pumpkin Seeds – Pumpkin seeds are rich in iron, which I have trouble getting enough of as a vegetarian, but now I don’t just have to pump iron, I can eat it! (HA! lame, sorry).
Sunflower Seeds – Sunflower seeds are made up of about 22% protein! Yowzah! Protein + all the other vitamins and antioxidants they hold makes these bad boys a new staple for me. Those baseball players know what they’re doing.
Dulse Flakes – Dulse is a sea vegetable, which are some of the most nutritionally dense foods in the world. They have about 10x the calcium of cow’s milk, more iron than red meat, and are the richest source of naturally occurring electrolytes!
Buckwheat – Buckwheat has 8 essential amino acids and is a good source of protein, manganese, and vitamins B & E. Buckwheat is also my favorite Little Rascal.
Sesame Seeds – Sesame seeds are high in calcium (another nutrient I don’t get much of with my lactose-intolerance). Bring on the strong bones!
I did a ton of food prep yesterday; my food processor and my Vitamix both got a pretty good workout! I ground up my whole flaxseeds to add to smoothies, made my own salad dressing, baked up some homemade crackers, and whipped up a raw dip for said crackers. I foresee many a recipe coming to all you fit and focused readers :).
What’s the most useful ingredient to your marathon training (actual food or otherwise). Do you have a favorite pre or post-workout recipe?