Monday, February 27, 2012

Vegan Triathlete?


It's been a while since my last update. I've been training about 5 or so days per week, mainly cycling with some running, some strength training and very little swimming. I don't know what my hangup has been up the swim but I just haven't been able to drag my butt into the pool consistently. I'm working on it though. Still a good way from my first race of the season so I think I've just had that in the back of my mind that it's not a huge deal as long as I'm cycling, running and lifting.

The big news is that I've made the decision to go vegan. Years ago I was vegetarian but for some reason I slowly went back to meat. I can remember my first burger after not having one for so long. My boyfriend at the time took pictures of me eating it. I was pretty sick for a while after that but slowly, I was back to eating some meat. Never was a fan ever really so even after I started eating meat again, it was very infrequent and primarily chicken. While going vegan has been on my mind for about a year, I was training for Ironman so I definitely didn't want to make that type of a change in the midst of training for the biggest race of my life. Now that I'm not training like that, I think I can give it a go and see what happens. I can't make any promises that I won't have a relapse (only on cheese, not meat) but I'm going to try my best to stick to it. It's important. If you haven't seen Food, Inc, Forks over Knives, Food Matters or other food system documentaries, I highly recommend them. There are some really graphic documentaries depicting the treatment of animals and slaughter practices but I can't watch those, I can barely read about them. I will say that it factors into my decision to go vegan for sure, but really, I don't want to be preachy as it's a decision that everybody needs to make for themselves. I want to go with a plant based plan because I want to be healthier and for my family to be healthier. I also want to be a good role model for our daughter. Again, these things are important to me.

So how is someone that completes an Ironman not healthy? Very easily, a lot of processed food during training and there you have it. I'm not trying to lose weight though I feel like it will happen potentially. I'll keep an eye on it. When I was vegetarian I got pretty puny so I'll be keeping an eye on my calories to make sure I'm getting enough in to fuel my workouts and body.

This was day 3 as a vegan athlete. Today I took a 60 minute spin class and fueled with Vega's electrolyte replacement. It's a vegan line created for workout fuel so I'm testing it out some before taking the plunge and buying the big jugs. I tried the berry pom which tasted pretty good, different, but good. Had oatmeal, cranberries and granola afterwards. Lunch was my leftover dinner (brown rice, mushrooms, asparagus, onions) and some couscous. By 2p I was starving with a splitting headache. I got lightheaded by late afternoon so tonight I've got to pack some food to eat throughout the day. Normally I eat all day but nothing I had at work would 'fit' my new eating so I went without food until I got home and had dinner. Important lesson. Tonight I had some udon noodles and mushrooms. Enjoyed a bean cookie from the batch I made last night. I'm still learning what's vegan and what's not so if you see something in here that I think is vegan and you know it's not, let me know, haha!! 

I'll keep updating as I go, especially how it impacts my workouts. At Ironman I had massive stomach issues so I'm definitely hoping that the plant based nutrition will work it's magic on my workouts and stomach problems.