One thing that I have to be conscious of is getting all the nutrients that I need to be an athlete - protein, iron, calories, healthy fats, carbohydrates. I am now tracking the foods I eat to see where I fall in my recommendations.
My goals are
I tend to fall below standards in proteins and above standards in calories. This is being corrected now. with some success already! I am down 15 lbs since Christmas and am on my way to better understandings of nutrition as a whole process, not just food to be eaten.
Ever since I got the Vitamix for Christmas, I have been into making lots of raw shakes and soups and have enjoyed cooking so much more. I find a way to add veggies into every single thing I make thanks in whole to the Vitamix's amazing ability to obliterate anything you put in there. So really I have some remarkable tools at my disposal now to assure that I am eating varied, rainbow colored diet full of proteins, minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats and oils. I freaking love this machine.
I have also been researching the best "diet" for being an endurance athlete. Obviously a vegetarian always hears issues about protein and iron consumption and is deluged all the time by people asking - "but what do you eat?, and "how are you going to make it through training let alone a race of that size by only eating plants?" Well it happens. Many have, many more will. So to be clear by 'diet' I am speaking in life-long terms; in clinical terms and not marketing terms. Not Atkins,South Beach, nor Weight Watchers. I mean what eating habits are best for performance and endurance. So far the non industry paid-for or sponsored studies point to plant based diets as being superior to animal based diets. Hmmm. Interesting. I am sure the Paleoites hate hearing this.
This also brings me to the reason for the heading of this post. The only reason I never made the leap from vegetarianism to vegan-ism was because of two things
Oh, and also I realized in my many travels when I have been in situations where I had no viable options ahead of me I just did not eat. This resulted in some bad situations and irregardless if you are in another country or another person's home, there comes a time when you have to pick your battles.
So leads to the 3rd reason I never went fully vegan
3. I will eat, graciously, whatever is being cooked for and served to me in someone's kitchen or while
traveling through an area with limited options. Especially if there is cheese involved.
Yep. I have resorted to eating an occasional animal protein including fish, sea food, and turkey. Also interesting to note is that I am still alive. So, I guess that it was not so bad after all.
I have come to accept that in order to be happy and healthy sometimes I need to bend my self-imposed rules and think about why I am doing something. I am happy with this, and still think of myself as a vegetarian that allows herself flexibility when things are out of her control - the term is flexitarian if you want to be technical. The interesting thing is that once I took the imposition of hard rules off my shoulders, I found myself not really going to animal products unless absolutely necessary. I fell into a bucket of ribs in Panama City Beach once back in November, but never went back for seconds nor have I had them since. Whew that was close!
I realize that I live by an 90% / 10% ratio these days. I eat vegetarian at least 90% of the time and eat animal products such as limited dairy, eggs, poultry and fish about 10% of the time over the larger time frame.
I am happy with this since it no longer means that I live in fear of being a hypocrite or that I have failed somehow. I still believe in animal rights and still fight the good war, but sometimes you have to give up a singular battle in order to wage war another day.
So with that I am leaving you with a recipe from my dear friend Aparna E. Bankston . I made this for dinner last night and it was amazing just as I had imagined it, tasty and very warming on a cool evening. You can easily sub in chicken for the tofu if you are not a soy lover or vegetarian, or if you wish do as I did and sub in another non-meat substitute (Gardein is my favorite so far) in lieu of the 'fu.
•1 block of extra firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
NOTE: I subbed Gardein's Vegan Mandarin Crispy Chick'n (without the mandarin sauce) for tofu in this since I really am not a huge fan of firm tofu and I stir-fried it all in coconut oil. Either way this was DELISH. I would consider adding some agave nectar or ever some raw coconut nectar to this for a sweeter take. I also added mushrooms and broccoli to the dish to add more veggies and colors, and served my portion over 1/2 Cup of brown rice. My version contained
The original yields ~