Talking About Sports Nutrition
Apr 7, 2008
I would be surprised if you remember me, but we met at CSU last spring for your book signing and slide show. A refresher, my name is Cara Marrs, I live in Steamboat springs and I was getting ready to go to the Mayo Clinic for my residency (I am a registered dietician/nutritionist- just opened a private practice in Steamboat- very exciting). Anyway, I hope you are well, I have passed around your book and everyone has loved it, as well as the person I sent the extra copy to. As an athlete and professional very interested in sports nutrition, I was curious about your switch to veganism. I would be curious as to what you eat when your training, protein sources, performance changes, etc.
I know you are very busy and I understand if you have no extra time for this, but I thought I would ask. I also had another question, there is a great locally owned independent (hard to find those anymore in the ski towns) bookstore in Steamboat, Epilogue book co. They have an outdoor writers series and have featured some skiing, climbing…writers who have writen books recently at the Steamboat Mountain Theatre. Proceeds go towards a great charity to help local kids get into the outdoors. Any chance you will be driving by this area anytime this spring or summer? The community would love to have someone like you present at this. Your slide show was so great. i hope you are well and enjoying a beautiful spring day out on a rock somewhere in Moab, sounds great right now!
It’s so nice to hear from you again. I really enjoyed meeting you that time in Fort Collins, and congratulations on completing your residency and opening your practice! That’s great, and a real inspiration! Way to go! Also, thanks so much for the nice invitation, which sounds wonderful.
You will remember, that I am endlessly interested in nutrition and performance effects. It has been six years now since I turned vegan. Interestingly, I always qualified that to people by telling them “but I still use organic half-and-half in my coffee! So not fully vegan!” However, when I started to eat (mostly) vegan to begin with, it was very random and happened literally by accident. Just as randomly, about six weeks ago, I suddenly started using powdered soymilk in my coffee at home, which previously I had only done in the backcountry or on trips. Suddenly, I didn’t want the half and half anymore, and now I am completely vegan. Strange. I also just did my hardest climbing project, a couple of days ago, and am feeling stronger and healthier than ever before. I have been lifting weights for the last two months, and staying disciplined with fingerboard workouts, as well as training on the project. I’ve also been running and hiking a lot, for base jumping, and am overall feeling more fit than ever. Also, Dean has been eating almost purely vegan in the last few months, and he is also climbing and slacklining better than ever before.
I don’t eat any refined sweeteners or grains (no white flour, pasta or rice), and eat only whole foods and vegetables.
I put little to no concern into getting “enough protein.” Honestly, I think most people eat a lot more protein than they need.
A typical day for me starts with an americano (stovetop organic espresso mixed with water, with frothed powdered soymilk) and Ginger Aid tea. If I woke up hungry, I eat some Ezekiel toast with almond butter, or all-fruit (no added sugar) jam. Sometimes I eat muesli with rice milk, or fruit. Sometimes I’m not hungry, and I don’t eat anything til later, in a couple of hours. Throughout the day, I just munch on bars (Mojo bars usually) or some Clif blox, or fruit. Sometimes I eat rice crackers with almond cheese, or nuts. My biggest struggle is with dinner, because I’ve found that if I eat too much, or if I eat wheat products, in the evening, I have an upset stomach, can’t sleep, and wake up feeling bad. So I have to make an effort to be restrained at dinner–it’s better for me to eat mostly throughout the day, but sometimes the day goes by fast, and then it’s night, and it’s social….it can be difficult for me not to overeat and then have to pay for it with a bad night’s sleep. Usually for dinner, when I’m doing things right, I eat sauteed kale, chard and spinach with garlic and sliced almonds. Maybe a little tofu or a little quinoa. This is often hard for me, but it definitely works the best.
A strange phenomenon I’ve noticed, as has Dean and some other friends, is an occasional low phase, where I feel out of whack, worn down and bad. We have all experienced it, despite different eating styles. I’m pretty sure that it has to do with overtaxing the adrenal system. I notice that after extreme stress on my body (whether from hard training, a taxing alpine trip or big wall project, scary experiences, or injuries–and usually a combination of all of those things), it tends to happen. A lot of my BASE jumping friends have mentioned this as well. I went through a phase like that two months ago. I tried to do the normal things (B vitamins, iron supplements, DHEA), and take it a little more easy, and soon felt good again.
To answer your question more specifically, some favorite food items for me are “Better Than Milk” powdered soy milk, muesli, rice milk, Ezekiel bread (sesame), dark green vegetables (kale, spinach, chard, collards), tofu, quinoa, brown rice, soybean pasta, walnuts, almonds, olive oil, grapeseed oil (for sauteeing), almond butter, kiwis, bananas, Mixed Nuts Mojo bars, Margarita flavor Clif Blox, dried apples, corn thins (like rice cakes, but corn), hummus, miso soup, lentil soup, and of course, coffee and Ginger Aid tea.
Dean commented today how strange it is that when he eats much less than he wants to, he has more energy, feels stronger and stays healthier. I’ve noticed that too. Sometimes this is really hard, but when I reach the right balance of activity and eating, things seem to work perfectly.
I hope that answers your question! Thanks for writing, and hope you’re enjoying beautiful spring weather there!