The other day I ordered Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life and Thrive Foods by Brendan Brazier. Brendan is a pro Ironman triathlete and a vegan. He spent many years experimenting with his diet and finding a highly effective way to nourish an active athlete. (Or anybody else for that matter.)
The book appeared the other day and I read it cover to cover and loved it. The focus of the book is on eating whole foods that aren’t processed – really nothing we didn’t already know was good for us. But it’s laid out in a way that makes it an easy and enjoyable read, and includes a meal plan and a bunch of recipes (even more in Thrive Foods).
I already eat vegan, so this really wasn’t a huge leap for me to try. However, most of the foods are raw or nearly raw (lots of fruits, veggies, and nuts), which is a bit different from how I was eating (lots of cooking at high temperatures, breads, etc.).
So today I started to adjust my food intake. For most of the day I ate lots of fruits and veggies, and felt fantastic. For dinner, I departed from that a bit since I had some things I wanted to use up in the fridge, so I made our favorite vegan crab cakes.
After dinner it was time for my 12 miler, and I felt excellent! This was a big deal – I haven’t had a good run in weeks. Especially the last few days. I have felt so sluggish and terrible. So it was very exciting to have a run where my legs felt good.
After my run I popped back some delicious blueberries (how did I not like those when I was a kid??).
It’s a bit strange to not track my food – something I usually do when training since my caloric need is all over the place during that time. But one of the points of Brendan’s book is when you’re eating these high net gain foods (foods that give you the most bang for your buck, so to speak), you don’t need to eat as much of them to feel full or get the nutrients you need. So there is no calorie tracking – you eat what you feel you need to eat.
I was skeptical of this at first, but so far, I would agree. I ate when I felt hungry, and chose whole foods, and never felt deprived. I didn’t end up with any big lulls in energy throughout the day, and I felt great during my run.
I intend to continue experimenting with a raw vegan diet, and we’ll see how it goes!