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Posted by on Dec 14, 2013 in Blog |

Nutrition

I am keeping committed to this blogging more theme! I have sure things will go by the wayside eventually but perhaps writing more here is like training—getting started up is tough but once you get into a routine it seems odd to omit it from your daily rituals. Speaking of which, training has begun and I am doing a little more each week. It is still pretty light compared to the mid season but working out everyday has me feeling more like myself.  I swear I was stupid and unorganized during my break. Now my thoughts are seem more coherent instead of jumbled.

I wanted to write today about daily nutrition. I will preface this by saying that I am FAR from an expert in this area and what I am writing is just my experience and what I do. Some ideas and food choices may resonate with you and others may not. Hopefully, at the very least, it just gets you thinking about your own approach to eating well.

Here are my main themes:

*I am not vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or have any allergies. I am slightly lactose intolerant so I avoid heavy creams, cheese, milk and (gasp) ice cream.

*I don’t drink coffee. In the morning I have green tea. For the rest of the day it is water to drink. I don’t do juices or soda (AKA “pop” where I grew up) because it is just sugar I don’t need. Diet Soda is out as well because it is all scary chemicals. During the hot summer I will have coconut water or water w/ an electrolyte tablet.

*I don’t drink alcohol. This is funny since I live in wine country. I don’t think it is a major detriment to performance (unless you are hungover) I just don’t like wine, beer or cocktails enough to drink them. Kombucha suits me just fine.

*I don’t have many things I can’t stand, except cilantro, but there are definitely things I like.  And, if I like them, I eat them A LOT. You will see what I mean below.

*When I am not training or racing I don’t touch my Powerbar stash. During my two weeks off I did not even open the cabinet where I keep it.

*I don’t deprive myself of fuel when it is immediately before, during or immediately after a training session. This is the time I want to be well fueled. It allows me to work harder and recover more quickly.  This is not the time to skimp on food. I “watch” what I eat between sessions but other than that I make sure to keep the engine running hot. My thought is that you have to keep the fire burning. If you let it get really low it will burn more slowly (think of embers and coals). So, in essence, feeding yourself is what makes you fitter and leaner. You just have to do it at the right time!

Fresh California strawberries. I can hardly wait for spring again!

When it comes my daily food (not including sports nutrition) I try to stick with fruits, vegetables, good fats, lean proteins and carbohydrates. For breakfast I have a load of fruit (pears or peaches, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries), some cereal, greek yogurt and a bit of almond butter all mixed together in a big bowl. I know a lot of people do a no processed food type diet but I don’t avoid boxed cereals. I don’t load up on them and I include more fruit vs. cereal. My favorite cereal is Peanut Butter Puffins. They are little pieces of deliciousness in some of my bites. I usually save them for the end because I love them so much.

For lunch I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day. I look forward to it every day.  I have eaten it for lunch since I was in kindergarten EVERY DAY.  This makes me a bit unique. A couple of the swimmers on the team I coach found this out about me a few weeks ago. Now they ask me every time they see me at practice how my PB&J; tasted. I told them they probably think I am really weird now but one girl replied that it is pretty “cool” I love something that much. I have gotten into the habit of grilling the sandwich on a panini maker. I use sourdough wheat bread from Trader Joe’s. I vary the jelly. My favorites are cherry, strawberry and grape. In the summer I will slice fresh strawberries really thinly and put them on there too. Proportion wise I prefer a heavily peanut buttered sandwich. I think if I could only have one food for the rest of my life peanut butter would be pretty high on the list.  When I travel to races I always take one serving packets of peanut butter so I don’t miss eating it on a daily basis. Along with my sandwich I have Pop Chips and a banana. I have a slight addiction to Pop Chips.  They are great!  See..I don’t avoid the processed and boxed/bagged foods. Moderation is key!

For snacks, if I get hungry before dinner, I might have some almonds or hummus and carrots.

I use quite a bit of olive oil. We have 32 gallons from our harvest so we don’t run out….

I cook dinner for Andy and I every night. Chicken and rice, pasta, steaks, burgers, tacos, homemade pizza are just some of our favorites. This time of year I fire up the slow cooker. It is great to just throw a bunch of ingredients in it and have a great meal 4-6 hours later. Chicken thighs seem to do really well in the slow cooker. One of my favorite recipes is Thai Braised Chicken thighs. Give it a try!  I use more chicken broth instead of the water in the recipe. It just makes the liquid a little more flavorful.

I have to eat something sweet after dinner—a small piece of chocolate usually does it. My favorite treats here in Napa are Annie the Baker cookies and Sift Cupcakes. Annie’s cookies are amazing. They are cookies that have the shape and consistency of raw cookie dough but they are cooked. Crazy good!  She can ship to you—my favorites are SugaSuga Rainbow, chocolate chip, peanut butter and toffee chocolate chip. She has gluten free and even vegan options but I think that unless you are seriously allergic you need to let the gluten thing go for a minute and give these cookies a try.

So…that’s it for fueling outside of racing. Next blog I will tackle training and racing nutrition. It is hardly a scientific approach and I have had my fair share of disasters. I have definitely improved in this area and have found some things that work for me.