New York Times has an interesting article, Can Athletes perform well in Vegan diet. They interviewed a cross section of experts and I picked the following bits;
Plant Sources of Vitamin B12
The foods that vegans like Scott Jurek avoid, like dairy products and eggs, are the easy ways to get protein in a plant-based diet, obviously. But you still have grains, nuts, soy. Eat enough of that and you’ll be fine. The one issue is vitamin B12, which is found only in meat; B12 is important for endurance athletes, since it affects red blood cell production. But many cereals and soy milks are fortified with B12 now, or you can take supplements.
Weight Maintenance For Vegan Runners
Favorite weight gain or weight maintenance advice is to drink juice. Grape juice, pomegranate juice, tart cherry juice. They have plenty of calories, and if you pick the right juice, especially pomegranate or tart cherry juice, it looks as if they can help with recovery. Tart cherry juice was a very popular topic at the recent American College of Sports Medicine meeting. It’s a potent beverage, in terms of speeding recovery. And it’s vegan.
Read the whole article at Wells Blog.
Drinking Water while you run seems to be something simple but it isn’t? Poor water drinking technique is one of the many causes of those painful stomach cramps that we suffer while running.
Runners on the run should drink water in gulps instead of sips! Well, that is according to Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a certified specialist in sports dietetics. In an interview in the New York Times this is what she had to say…..
How we drink can make a difference in how optimally we hydrate our body. A lot of people sip liquids, but gulping is better. Gulps of fluid leave the stomach more rapidly. It’s important to do this. It seems counterintuitive, it seems like gulping would cause a cramp. People are more likely to have stomach cramps sipping because fluid stays in their gut too long.
When you take more fluid in, gulps as opposed to sips, you have a greater volume of fluid in the stomach. That stimulates the activity of the stretch receptors in the stomach, which then increase intra-gastric pressure and promote faster emptying. This is why gulping is preferred.
Her idea is supported by Doctors. Negoianu and Goldfarb medical report about sipping in their “Just Add Water” editorial published in April 2008 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology last year. Drs. G & N argue that water retention is variable, based on how quickly you are drinking. A glass downed in 15 minutes will be excreted. (What Bonci advocates for cramp prevention) A glass downed over 2 1/2 hours will be retained.
Somethings that we assume are simple are not!
The big question from new runners is what foods should I a runner eat?
I just read this list of 20 healthy foods for under $1 on New York Times. It reminds us that you don’t need to break the bank to eat healthy.
1. Oats: High in fiber and good for cholesterol.
2. Eggs: Costing about a dollar for a half-dozen, these are one of the cheapest sources of protein.
3. Kale: At about a dollar a bunch, this is one of the cheapest greens you’ll find in the supermarket.
4. Potatoes: Stay away from fries and chips, and eat them skin and all as a good source of vitamin C and potassium.
5. Apples: Tasty, cheap and filling.
Read the rest of the foods HERE
Tired of siping water? try eating your fluids instead.
How much more should you drink when the weather is warmer? Your hydration needs can jump as much as 12 cups of fluid a day. but your dont have to guzzle just water. Fruits and vegetables, which are about 80% water, can help you stay hydrated.
Fruit Nutrients and Muscle Recovery.
Fruits provide key antioxidants vital for muscle recovery and a healthy immune system.
Carbohydrates are the human body’s fuel. Just as a car runs on petrol, the body runs on carbohydrates, particularly complex carbohydrates. An athlete will need energy to undertake physical activity.
The message for athletes should be that eating well can enhance performance. Eating more complex carbohydrate-rich foods means having more energy. More energy means running faster, for longer,and recovering more easily.
Types of Complex carbohydrates
- Wholemeal/multigrain bread, rice, pasta
- Some cereals – oats, wheat -based biscuits
- Potatoes, peas, sweet corn, parsnip, carrots
- Legumes – lentils, baked beans, chickpeas
- Milk and yoghurt.
Types of Simple carbohydrates
Sugar, glucose, fructose, honey, syrup, jams, marmalades, toppings, flavourings, confectionary, cakes, sweet biscuits, soft drinks, flavoured mineral waters, cordials, beer, sweet wines, liquors.
Remember carbohydrates alone is not enough you will need to eat enough proteins and vitamins for excellent performance.
In this age of inflation sports drinks like Gatorade don’t come cheap. One clever way to beat the corporate prices is to make your home made sports drink.
If you take a look at a gatorade bottle you will see gatorade has a formulation that gives the following for an 8oz serving:
- 14grams Carbohydrate (5.9%)
- 110 mg Sodium
- 30mg Potassium
- 52 calories
The good news is that making a sports drink from home is pretty cheap. Everything you need is right in your kitchen.
I found this simple recipe for making a home made sport’s drink
Homemade Sports Drink Recipe by Dr. Lorraine Williams
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 9 tbs. Sugar
- 3/8 tsp Salt
- Water to 2 liters
I know vegetarians are some of the most passionate people. They wouldn’t eat meat nor matter what.
Most of us runners eat meat to repair the muscle tears that happen during training. What about the vegetarian runner?Vegetarian eat the same foods day in and day out, and their diet may lack the quality required to sustain adequate energy levels for good training.
Disadvantages of Vegetarian diet for Vegetarian runners
1. Become deficient in vitamin B12 or iron
2. Feel constantly fatigued.
3. Or they might not get enough calcium, leading to poor bone health.
Can vegetarians meet their nutritional needs and still compete at their best?
Famous vegetarian runners
1. Carl Lewis
2. Kenyan long distance runners, see my post Kenyan runners and their love of Vegie diet.
Alternative sources of protein and essential minerals for vegetarian runners
An animal is not the only source of protein, protein can be got from eating grains. Protein rich grain include peanuts, beans, Tofu, Lentils, and other Legumes.
Thanks to technology mineral supplements can be purchased from a pharmacy but make sure you first consult with your dietician or doctor.
If there is one food that I love is sweet potatoes. When runners ask me which is the best food for runners my answer is sweet potato.
Sweet potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, which makes them the perfect source of runners fuel.
Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, iron, and the two trace minerals manganese and copper. Many runners fail to meet their manganese and copper needs, which can have an impact on performance since these minerals are crucial for healthy muscle function.
Sweet potatoes can be baked, boiled, or microwaved. Don’t store sweet potatoes in the fridge because they will lose their flavor. Instead, stash them in a cool, dark place, and they should keep for about two weeks.
Sweet potatoes for carbon loading
One week before a race I eat sweet potatoes at breakfast, lunch and dinner to allow my body to store more glycogen.
Caffeine-enhanced sports drinks can be perfect for races or workouts when you are feeling abit sluggish.
It is important to note caffeine is a stimulant, rather than providing food energy (as measured in calories) caffeinated drinks are designed to increase a user’s mental alertness. They just make you feel good in the head!
Caffeine as a Performance enhancing drug
In a 2007 study involving cyclist and caffeine. Cyclist who had consumed caffeine had lower rates of perceived exertions and were able to push harder at the end.
As with most drinks – just be sure to train with any product before your big day.
A sports drink is a drink designed to help athletes rehydrate, as well as replenish electrolytes, carbohydrates, and other nutrients, which can be depleted after an endurance activity such as running. Electrolyte replacement promotes proper rehydration, which is important in delaying the onset of fatigue during exercise. As the primary fuel utilized by exercising muscle, carbohydrates are important in maintaining exercise and sport performance.
Types of sports drinks
According to Wikipedia, there are three types of sports drinks
- Isotonic sports drinks contain proportions of water and other nutrients similar to the human body, and typically are six to eight percent sugar.
- Hypertonic sports drinks contain a lesser proportion of water, and a greater proportion of sugar, than the human body.
- Hypotonic sports drinks contain a greater proportion of water, and a lesser proportion of sugar, than the human body.
Most sports drinks are moderately hypertonic, having between 13 and 19 grams sugar per an eight ounce serving.