Creating a Personalized Fueling Plan

Would you like to run faster? Recovery more quickly? Hit the wall…well never?

Many runners spend a great deal of time pouring over training plans, trying to find the one which will lead them to the next PR…but as with most things that’s only one component of optimized performance.

Over the years, I’ve talked a lot about my process of learning to fuel properly and a great deal of that is thanks to the folks at Vega. After meeting Brendon, reading his books and talking with his team I began to understand that sports nutrition is not calories {read more about that}. Creating a Personalized Fueling Plan For Your TrainingIn the coming months I’ll be sharing information from a sports nutritionist along with a brand spanking new genetic test that actually tells you how your body uses fuel <<I love science!

Until then Checkout Vega’s new online tool to personalize your own plan.

HOW DO I FUEL?
Many of you have asked over the years how I fuel my marathon training. It’s an evolving process as my appetite changes throughout the training cycle, but here is a generic day.

By nature I am a snacker, so when I’m home I tend to eat many small meals throughout the day with a focus on veggies! My average intake is around 1800-2000 calories depending on the day.

Pre-run: A shaker with 8 ounces of water, half a scoop of Vega Sport Protein, half a scoop of Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer, 1 teaspoon of spirulina and 1 teaspoon of glutamine (it helps my tummy)

Mid-Week Run: 10 miles

Post-run: Green smoothie with 8 ounces of water, half a scoop of Vega Sport Protein, apple, kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, lemon and apple cider vinegar. (Add in Vega Post Workout on long runs)

Breakfast: Chicken sausage {hormone free} with steamed broccoli, avocado slices and mustard

Lunch: Salmon {3 oz} with roasted cauliflower, carrots, red peppers and hummus
Snack: 2 tablespoons of almond butter with half a cup of brown puffed rice, half a cup of Love Grown Foods Power O’s, blueberries and 1 piece of dark chocolate or a Newman’s Own Cookie

Dinner: Tempeh {1/2 servings} with spaghetti squash
Snack: Half a sweet potato with cocoa powder and cinnamon, and probably another piece of dark chocolate

GIVEAWAY
One lucky ducky will win my Vega Sport favorite products to help you fuel for a month and see the difference it can make. Enter via the Rafflecopter below.

Vega Sport Protein Powder
Vega Sport Electrolyte
Vega Sport Pre-Workout
Vega Sport Post Workout

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclaimer: I am a long time Vega Blog Ambassador. I was not compensated for this post, all opinions are my own.

Sports nutrition should we stop talking calories?

Can I make a quick confession?

If it were up to me, I’d eat cake for breakfast, cookies for lunch and cereal with nut butter for dinner.

It’s true. I like sugary foods and they make me happy…well at least they do momentarily, until I’m soon starving, craving more sugars and of course having a bit of a dip in my mood. 

But breaking the food cycle by simply focusing on what we shouldn’t eat isn’t working for most of America.

Instead, I LOVE focusing on what we SHOULD eat and specifically as athletes what can we eat that is going to help us improve our performance. This mindset makes it easier over time to eat more highly nutritious food because it’s no longer a sacrifice it’s a choice moving towards a bigger goalFuel Your Better with Vega SportOMG I swear that is like a thought bubble straight from me at times!

Per your requests this is the first in a series to help address sports nutrition questions.

REDUCING FOOD STRESS
Endurance athlete and creator of Vega Sport Nutrition, Brendan Brazier is a huge proponent of reducing stress…sure there is the mental stuff we worry about that we shouldn’t, but more importantly what we do as athletes. Stress is required to tax our muscles and see performance gains, which means we need to find ways to reduce stress everywhere else to help our bodies recover; in comes sports nutrition.

“…no such thing as overtraining, only under-recovering. Nutrition can speed it or slow it, depending on the quality of foodfood is not necessarily synonymous with nutrition.”

High-net gain nutrition is a term coined by Brazier to describe what he believes it the optimal way of fueling for athletes. Food that requires little digestive energy for a substantial amount of micronutrients.

Isn’t this the opposite of all current fitness magazines?? Yes. As runners, triathletes, crossfitters we want all of our energy to be available for improvements in training.

Goal of sports nutrition:

  • reduce added stress on the body
  • improve sleep
  • improve recovery
  • balance energy
  • reduce craving for sugar
  • improve endurance
  • improve fat burning

What about calories?
Hunger is triggered by the need for NUTRIENTS <<< Key concept to understand it’s not about calories.

Think of times you’ve had plenty to eat and still felt hungry. It was probably a highly processed snack or meal that left you full, yet your body needing more.

Calorie count is almost irrelevant if you are choosing foods that give your body the nourishment it needs.”

Sports Nutrition Food PyramidMy favorite thing about this…getting focused on veggies as the bulk of our diets!

While Brendan promotes largely a raw vegan lifestyle, I don’t yet believe this works for everyone. I’m all about experimenting to find the best balance for you.

But I think there is a ton to be learned from what he shares in Thrive and even more to be gained from increasing our overall plant in-take. 

VEGA GIVEAWAY
Vega has a great free program called Fuel Your Better which goes in depth on different areas of nutrition. Just another reason that I enjoy working with this brand…I’ve been fueling my workouts for the past few years with Vega and absolutely feel a difference in my recovery {particularly when my eating is focused!}. No I’m not getting paid to say this, it’s just the facts.

Next weekend at that the Runner’s World Festival I’ll be handing out samples of my absolute favorites from the Vega Sport line so that everyone can #FuelYourBetter during the race! Please come find me if you are there!!
FuelYourBetterI don’t want anyone to feel left out…so let’s do a giveaway!

Vega Sport Hydrator {yes I’m electrolyte obsessed}
Vega Sport Protein {hello green smoothie friend}
Vega Sport Pre-Workout {rhodiola is good for cortisol help!}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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5 Tips for Quick Healthy Meals

January 17th is when New Year’s Resolutions go up in flames according to the latest research. Making clean eating goals easier is Kim McDevitt, MPH RD. Regional Educator for Vega, a registered dietitian (RD), runner, blogger, and food enthusiast!

Kim and I share a philosophy that clean eating doesn’t have to be hard and it’s starts with just #onechange at a time!! Checkout Vega’s fun #onechange program and Kim’s 5 tips for quick healthy meals.5 Tips for quick healthy meals at home1. Load up on veggies. Try to make vegetables the bulk of your meal. Vegetables deliver lots of vitamins, mineral s, phytonutrients and fiber for few calories. My secret to getting a big dose of veggies quick? Vega One! I start everyday with a Vega One smoothie – the taste is amazing, it couldn’t be faster to make, and I feel good knowing I’ve gotten over half my daily recommended value of vegetables (3 servings) before 9am. {I concur, my green smoothie makes me feel very accomplished!}

2. One pot! Virtually any combination can become a stir-fry! It’s delicious and makes clean-up a breeze. Thriveforward.com has tons of amazing one pot recipes to help you get inspired! {umm did you see yesterday’s crockpot chili}

3. Make extra. I’m all about leftovers. Especially with soups and stews. Make a hearty lentil soup for dinner and freeze the rest to pull out on a night that’s particularly hectic. {Use Lean Green Bean’s tip and good beans in bulk to freeze!}

4. Blend and Go! I think the fastest breakfast going is a smoothie. Start with a nutrient dense base such as Vega One or Vega Protein Smoothie, add your favorite frozen fruits, dairy-free milk, ice and go! Want to make it faster? Make portioned bags of smoothie ingredients and stash in your freezer. In the morning dump the baggie into the blender. Try half a banana, ½ cup blueberries, and 1 tablespoon of flax. In the morning, add to almond milk and Vega One French Vanilla, blend and you’re off!

5. Prep and plan over the weekend. If you come up with a general game plan of what your meals will look like for the week you can start to plan ahead. Do all your grocery shopping and chop and/or roast veggies, cook grains, bake sweet potatoes, etc. You can stash in the fridge and pull them out for quick mid-week assembly.

For more simple nutrition tips and recipes, head to ThriveForward.com, or join the Clean and Lean Project.  You can also checkout the interview with Kim where we cover more great tips!

What are you doing to help make clean eating easy? Love any links to recipes you’ve shared!
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Gratitude Journal
Jan 15
I am grateful for nut butter. That might be an odd one, but really it makes me happy every time I eat it Smile!

Vegan Vanilla Pumpkin Protein Muffins (GF, V, Eat Clean)

Why must all tasty treats be unhealthy?? I don’t think that needs to be the case, so after receiving some new protein powder I started pondering how to make something festive and tasty to keep me on the clean eating bandwagon this week.

The result was something high in fiber, high in protein and with no added sugars…yup, patting myself on the back right now! I think cooking started being more fun once I realized it could be easy! This took just 5 minutes to prep and then a lot of patience to let it cook and cool before I started eating!! Multiple servings of fruits and veggies in each muffin is a success to me! Pumpkin Protein MuffinsVanilla Pumpkin Cranberry Protein Muffins
Many of you have asked about how to get your family to eat more veggies and this is one sneaky way! These muffins don’t taste like veggies, but they contain carrots and you could easily swap in squash or sweet potatoes or zucchini…I plan to make a version for St. Pats with spinach!

INGREDIENTS80 Calorie Muffin

  • 1 scoop Vega Vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) 
  • 1/2 plantain
  • 1 tbsp ground chia
  • 5 tbsp warm water
  • 2 tbsp flax meal
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coconut butter 
  • 1 cup shredded carrots {can eliminate, but why?!}
  • Sweetener of choice – 4 drops of liquid stevia
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries

DIRECTIONS
Protein Muffins

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine water, chia and flax in a small bowl to create gel
  3. Combine remaining ingredients {except cranberries} in large bowl or VitaMix
  4. Add in chia/flax mixture and blend
  5. Add in cranberries and hand stir
  6. Pour in to muffin tins
  7. Bake 35-40 minutes depending on oven
  8. Eat. {But not all of them at once like I tried to do}

80 calorie protein muffinsI’m not really a muffin fan, so I would prefer to call these cupcakes since they are a sweet treat…but I think a cupcake has to have frosting. What’s your take on the muffin v cupcake? What’s the difference?
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Gratitude JournalRunning_motivation
Dec 5
I am grateful for friends who remind me that sometimes no response is the best response.

Homemade Chickpea Falafel – Eat Clean Recipe

When I first heard about falafels, I assumed they were a deep fried treat based upon their texture. Then I started buying pre-made one’s when I visited my parents in Kansas City because they made the perfect protein addition to my salads and required no cooking!!

Unfortunately in Florida I haven’t found a local vendor like the on in KC, so I finally decided it was time to explore making them on my own. After creating the mixture, I was no impressed by the smell and fairly certain this was going to be a recipe failure…but seconds after removing them from the oven I was trying not to eat the entire pan!!

My recipe is based upon what I found on the Vega site.
Easy Chickpea Falafel RecipeEasy Chickpea Falafel
Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry chickpeas
  • onion powder, parsley
  • 2 tbsp almond flour (use quinoa flour if you have it!)
  • 3 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 2 Tbsp Vega Antioxidant oil blend

Baked Falafels from RunToTheFinishClean Eating Baked Falafels
Directions

  • Place beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Leave overnight to soak and the beans will double in size {you want them to stay submerged in the water}
  • Remove from water and rinse beans again
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  • Place all ingredients in food processor
  • Pulse mixture to blend, but do NOT create a paste. It should still be coarse.
  • Pour in to bowl and begin creating small balls that are approximately 2 TBSP {this part requires some patience as they do not want to stick together very well}
  • Bake on parchment paper or spray a baking sheet
  • Bake 20-30 minutes depending upon the size of balls you make

I served it with some homemade tahini {sesame seeds ground into a nut butter} and veggies. Seriously I DIE, they are awesome!! I tend to like eating things before I bake them, this was an exception as they are only good after baking, ha!

For those who have asked me about the oil blend, I like it for a few reasons: good for high heat, a balanced blend of Omega 3-6-9, provides a great flavor to dishes. What’s it contain: hemp oil, flax seed oil, pumpkin seed oil, green tea seed oil and like 5 others! It really is a blend all pure and cold pressed, no chemicals

Have you tried falafels? Any recipes that you’ve tried recreating on your own lately that went well?
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Gratitude JournalRunning_motivation
Aug 20
I am grateful for having previously done batch cooking which left me with frozen veggie filled meals to pull out when I’m feeling lazy!!