In relation to goal number 5, significant alteration to my eating habits will be another big goal. I have a plan – sort of. I will be experimenting a significant amount in the early days of training, simply because I need to nail down my nutrition before heavy training starts. My rough plan is to start by eliminating all added sugar, white flour carbs, and possibly experiment with going gluten free again. I’m also seriously looking at going vegetarian/vegan 2-3 days per week, and cutting down/out dairy. This goal will take shape more over the month of January – it really is the first one I need to tackle.
I have acknowledged that I’m a sugar addict, and probably always will be. I want to also stress this – after years of trying every fad, crackpot diet known to man to lose the 100+ pounds I needed to lose, I refuse to eat food I don’t like. There are lots of foods that are “good” for me (broccoli!)… I hate some of them. And that’s OK – because there are more than enough foods out there that are good for me that I do like, I don’t need to eat things I don’t. Now that I’ve got that issue out of the way…
How can I modify my eating habits in order to best fuel my body, and get to an appropriate racing weight?
I’m playing around with several ideas. The person who wrote the training plan I’m following, Joe Friel, advocates a diet high in fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins, with limited carbohydrates except at certain times (specifically after certain hard workouts). At the same time, I’ve just finished reading Scott Jurek’s book, Eat & Run, and Rich Roll’s biography, Finding Ultra. Both men race ultra distance races (Scott ultra marathons, Rich ultra triathlons) fuelled entirely on plants – they are both dedicated vegans. Rich is also gluten intolerant, so he’s a gluten free vegan.
So, what to do, what to do. I struggle on several fronts – I love meat. I mean, seriously love it. The thought of giving it up forever is just something I struggle to come to terms with. So that would suggest I should follow Joe Friel’s school of thought, right? Well, maybe… I also think there is something to be said for the sheer volume of fresh fruits & vegetables that vegans (truly healthy vegans) eat. Plus, I like rice and grains too…
So while right now, I don’t have a firm “plan”, I’m playing around with different pieces of all of them. For the time being, since December 29, I’ve been eating vegetarian. I start my mornings with a smoothie full of fruit, spinach, almond milk, and vegan protein powder. Lunch has been salads, roasted sweet potatoes, beans, nuts, etc. I am still eating eggs, but not cheese, and I’m avoiding gluten as much as possible.
I don’t know how long I’ll keep this up – I expect at some point I’ll add meat back into my diet. For now the key is to avoid sugar and processed foods, and dairy in most forms. From there, we’ll see what else makes sense.