Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Perfomance in Sports and Life

2011 will be the year of my first marathon (Insha'Allah). I'm going to hold off on serious training until after the Baha'i fast this March. One can't seriously train when abstaining from food and water sun up to sun down. In the mean time I've been researching what it's like to train for 26.2 miles as a vegan.

Most vegan athletes have heard of Brendan Brazier. He's a vegan Ironman triathlete and runner. Brazier won two Canadian 50 km Ultramarathon Championships (2003, 2006) and was regarded as one of Canada’s top endurance athletes and among the world’s best ultramarathoners.

I decided to read one of Brazier's books this week "Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Perfomance in Sports and Life" to get tips on how to tweak my diet so I have the energy to run 20+ miles.

Thrive is a well researched book. Brazier includes numerous ideas for things to add to my diet and the general concept of being an active vegan. It's a great read for any runner/athlete. The book has tons of recipes and in-depth info. Added plus if you like a raw vegan diet. Some summary notes from the book:
  • Acidic foods can lead to numerous health problems. Try to eat more highly alkaline forming food. The goal is for your body to have a pH of 7.35. Most non-vegan items are highly acidic (cow's milk, meat etc.)
  • "One-step nutrition", eating foods already in a form usable by the body is the key. Complex carbs have to be converted to simple; fat converted to fatty acids; protein converted to amino. It's more efficient to eat things already in the converted form -> less energy used breaking the food down etc.
  • Good amino acids sources: hemp, leafy greens, sprouts. Fatty acids: seeds like flax, hemp pumpkin, walnuts and oil.
  • How to fuel your body before exercise depends on the degree of intensity. High intensity but shorter duration: 3% protein, 7% fat, 90% carbs (A mix of dates and coconut oil is recommended). Moderate intensity: 5% protein, 35% fat, 60% carbs. Low intensity but long duration (ie marathon running): protein 10%, fat 70%, carbs 20%
  • For workouts longer than 3 hours you must train your body to burn fat efficiently and preserve glycogen stores. Otherwise you will tire easily and need to take more breaks to refuel. Easy long exercises like bike riding for 5 hrs at leisure pace will train the body to burn fat.
  • Eat a lite carb within 45 min of a workout so muscles can absorb it and aid recovery (no fiber and less than 20% protein)
  • Eat an easily digestible meal an hour after the workout with protein. (If the meal is hard for the body to digest blood flow increases to the stomach instead of working to clear out lactic acid and aid muscle strain
  • Power foods: Dinosaur kale, sea vegetables (10x the calcium of cow's milk), yellow peas, flaxseeds (high omega 3 and 6), sprouts and quinoa/amaranth
Happy reading and eating :)

1 comment:

  1. Yay! Another Baha'i vegan runner! I was just doing a google search looking for how to train for a spring marathon through the Baha'i fast! Thanks for the great nutrition tips!