Have you seen the documentary, “Game Changers?” Did it make you want to drop your beloved carnitas burrito in favor of a vegetarian one?
Nearly everyone I have talked to after seeing this movie made some adjustments to their diets.
Most athletes are looking to find the next best thing to propel their performance. Perhaps it is dietary adjustments, hiring a coach, or wearing their lucky socks on race day. How do you know what is worth trying, and how can it apply to your running?
Ultimately, no two bodies are the same. One person may have great success with something that leaves another person struggling or even injured.
Here is my take on what this movie can do for you:
- It is always good to take stock of your diet.
Take a look at what you are eating and drinking: Are you getting the right nutrition to fuel your training and recovery? What are you eating between athletic moments that might be hindering your performance?
- Inflammation can be fueled by foods.
When we train, we are purposely inflaming our muscles, then letting them rest to repair, ultimately building greater strength and endurance. Some foods contribute to inflammation, making it harder for the body to repair itself, thus making your body feel tired and poorly recovered, despite your hard work on the trails and rest days.
Common foods that can cause inflammation include animal proteins, but also wheat, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
- It is very possible to fuel endurance athletics with a vegetarian or vegan diet.
It just becomes extra important to watch your intake to ensure you are consuming enough variety and calories, as well as the appropriate amount and types of carbohydrates, fat, and proteins for your body and training cycle. Supplements and protein powders may help you get to that goal a little easier.
Should you decide to give a vegan diet a chance, even if it is one day a week, here is a recipe to get you started in the kitchen.
12 ozs Firm Tofu (cut into 1-inch cubes)
2 tbsps Grapeseed Oil
1 1/2 tsps Shallot (coarsely chopped)
1/4 cup Ginger (peeled and coarsely chopped)
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds (ground)
1 tsp Sea Salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
1/4 tsp Ground Turmeric
12 ozs Baby Spinach (roughly chopped)
1/2 cup Plain NonDairy Yogurt (optional)
- Drain the tofu cubes on paper towels. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan and add the tofu. Stir-fry until golden brown and place the tofu pieces on a plate and set aside.
- Combine the shallot and the ginger in a food processor and blend until finely minced, almost a paste.
- Heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat in the skillet and add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, for about 15 seconds, or until the spices are fragrant and reddish-brown. They will easily burn, so do not walk away from your pan! Add the shallot and ginger and saute until it is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the coriander, salt, cayenne and turmeric, stir for about 10 seconds and add the spinach in batches, allowing the first batch to wilt to allow for room in your pan for the next batch.
- Stir in the reserved tofu, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is uniformly wilted and the tofu is warmed through.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the yogurt, if using. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Serve atop cooked quinoa and alongside warm naan.
Are you wondering how to best fuel between your athletic moments? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.