Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Back on track

Yay! Today I (mostly) stuck to my plan! Good eating + good exercising = a good day for me. I ate my usual soy yogurt pre-run, then post-run I had a delicious 1/2 a cantaloupe, 1 cup of soy milk, and 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, sticking to the oh-so-important post-exercise nutrient calculus. For lunch I had my favorite green smoothie:

--2 scoops Sun Warrior raw rice protein powder
--1 cup frozen mixed fruit (I buy a bagged mix of peaches, mangos, strawberries, pineapple, and grapes)
--1/2 cup frozen blueberries
--1/2 a frozen banana
--1/4 of a bag of spinach (2.5 oz)

We vegans have trouble getting our protein sometimes, especially when we're pursuing vigorous workout schedules. Athletes, daily, need roughly a half-gram of protein for every pound of body weight (Sound familiar? It's the same number of grams of carbs you need immediately after an intense workout!). So, a 140 lb athlete needs roughly 70g of protein per day. Some sources say vegetarians and vegans need to up that number by 10% because vegetable-based proteins are not always as well-absorbed in the body as animal proteins, but the jury's still out on whether that's true. I stick to the half-gram rule, myself. (Scroll down to the middle of this article if you're interested in more information about the protein absorption issue.)

I also had a Vitamin Water during yoga and spinning to keep my blood-sugar up, and I had two salads for dinner. I had a cabbage and apple salad with agave-mustard dressing, and a bit later I had a spinach salad with mushrooms marinated in homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Now, I'm snacking on some raisins. YUM!

Exercise was good today, too. I did a 3-mile run this morning and a 7-mile spin this afternoon. I would have biked further, but I had a 75-minute yoga class in between those two activities, and it was killer! We focused on twists and balance poses, and it just about pulverized my quads. I really want to be able to do two full triathalon events each day, but I'm not quite there yet.

Baby steps, Ali! Baby steps!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Trying not to get down

I missed my morning run AND my afternoon swim today because of scheduling snafus that I should have caught yesterday. You can't see me right now, but I'm making a very sad face! I'm a fairly type-A person when it comes to scheduling, but law school always manages to mess things up. [sigh.] I'll do better tomorrow, right? Sometimes it's hard to let these things go, but I know I'll feel better if I just breathe and move on. It's nothing that a night at home with my darlin' can't fix! Well, I might need a bowl of banana ice cream with walnuts and chocolate chips, too...

Tomorrow I have a 5K in the morning, a yoga class in the afternoon, and a 14-mile bike ride in the evening. Here's hoping that all of those things happen when planned!

As busy and off-schedule as I was today, I did manage to bake some sweet potato chips for an afternoon snack.

Yum! These sweet potatoes had been sitting on my counter for ages, and today was the day I had to do something with these powerful, important, healthy veggies. (Check out #5 in this list of best foods for runners.) I just sliced them up, tossed them in a bowl with some olive oil, laid them in a single layer on a baking sheet, sprinkled them with salt, and baked them at 425 for about 30-40 minutes, flipping them every ten minutes. So easy, and so good!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pre-run and post-run fuel

I love all (vegan) food, but there are a few things that just rock my world. One is my pre-run soy yogurt.

It's low-fat, low-fiber, low-protein, high-carb, and it gives me just the right amount of energy I need pre-run. I don't really have a weak stomach, but I'm used to eating often; it's pretty much impossible for me to wake up and run without a snack. Fat, fiber, and protein slow me down though, so soy yogurt it is! (Check out this article for some ideas about what to eat pre-exercise.)

The other thing I absolutely adore is soy milk, which is usually in my post-run fuel, mostly because it's fortified with vitamin D2 but also because it's creamy and delicious!

Being vegan, it's a bit harder for me to get the vitamin D that I need through regular foods. I don't eat many processed foods that are fortified with vitamin D, and even those that I would be willing to eat are usually fortified with D3, which is animal derived. My good ol' Silk soy milk is fortified with D2, the plant version of vitamin D, and I love the stuff! (Check out this article for more information about the importance of vitamin D.)

My favorite post-run fuel? A 1/2 a cantaloupe, a cup of soy milk, and 2 tablespoons organic chocolate chips.

Let's talk about post-exercise nutrient calculus for immediate refueling. Ideal post-exercise refueling has a 4:1 carb to protein ratio, and the ideal amount of post-exercise carbs is one half-gram per pound of body weight. So, a runner who weighs 140 lbs should shoot for a post-run meal with 70g of carbs and about 18g of protein (18g being roughly one-quarter of 70g). For me, the equation takes me to about 60ish grams of carbs and 15ish grams of protein, which my snack of melon, milk, and chocolate chips perfectly satisfies!

Remember, the above calculus is for immediate refueling! We're talking no more than 30 minutes post-exercise if the exercise was super-intense. In addition to the immediate refueling, you need a proper meal with a good mix of carbs and protein within an hour. More on that later!

(If you're interested in post-run refueling, this article has some basics, and this article has some more specific information.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

New shoes!

When I first decided that I wanted to do a triathalon, I started with practicing my swimming and biking; I was terrified of running! I failed every single presidential fitness test when I was in elementary school through high school because I couldn't run a mile. When I went on my first run this winter, I ran about 1/4 of a mile before the pain in my heart and lungs forced me to stop. It was so hard! I kept going though. When I scheduled myself to run a mile, I always finished the mile, walking when I needed to walk and running when I caught my breath again. When I started being comfortable with a mile, I went ahead and upped my distance to 3 miles, again walking when I needed to walk and running when I caught my breath.

These days, I'm totally addicted to running! Last week, I did 3-mile runs on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday! This is my first GOOD 15-mile week, so I celebrated with new running shoes!

My old shoes were purchased when I was an undergraduate... nearly 10 years ago! I still love them, but it was time to retire them and buy new ones. These are Nike LIVESTRONG LunarGlide running shoes, and 100% of the profits go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. My mom is a cancer survivor, so I'm a sucker for products that support cancer research. I purchased the LunarGlides because I supinate when I run (I run on the outsides of my feet), so I need a lightweight neutral shoe with which I can use an insert for supination. These felt fantastic in the store, so hopefully they'll feel fantastic on my run tomorrow!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My vegan booty greets you!

I guess I'll start with a little about me! My name is Ali, and this is a record of my quest to have a better, healthier vegan booty.

Though I've been a vegetarian for 15 years and a vegan for 3, prior to last winter I was never healthy. I didn't really care about food or exercise, and my health was always on a back burner. Last December, though, I decided to get my vegan booty in gear! I realized that up until then I had done amazing things with my mind and my soul, but I had done nothing amazing with my body. I really wanted to do something amazing! I also realized that I wasn't going to do anything amazing by sitting on my tush. It was time to get to work.

In December I started eating a much healthier, mostly raw vegan diet. I started going to the gym to swim laps at least 4 times a week, and I made a pledge to myself to finish a triathalon before graduating from law school (I had about a year and a half left).

The triathalon was going to be my "amazing" thing, but now that I've been training for about 3 months and am nearing being triathalon ready, I know that it can't stop there. Healthy eating, healthy exercising, and healthy living have to be a way of life. Next goal after the triathalon: Marathon!

So, that's what this blog is about--healthy eating, healthy exercising, and healthy living while working towards my goals. I hope you enjoy reading!