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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sports Nutrition

Just because I'm the VeganHeartDoc doesn't mean I have it all figured out when it comes to my own nutrition.

I'm not perfect in my own eating habits, but I think I do better than most.  I get my fruits and veggies. I eat whole grains instead of refined grains.  I don't eat a lot of junk, and though that big chocolate chip cookie from Follow Your Heart after lunch was delicious, it certainly wasn't necessary.  I'm also not perfect with portion control either, and I do love to snack throughout the day.

I've been thinking hard about my own nutrition and what changes I need to make.  Perhaps part of it is the extra five pounds of padding that I've acquired in the off-season.  But, more importantly, I'm about to take on the most daunting physical challenge that I've ever encountered:  The Ironman.  2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of bicycling, and 26.2 miles of running, all in the same day.  My training weeks will consist of anywhere between 10 and 18 hours of cardiovascular exercise in a week.

I've recently talked to a nutritionist, and I've discussed nutrition with my new personal trainer.  The consensus is that I need more protein in my diet.  Now, the average person needs no more than ten percent of their calories from protein, and when left to my own devices, that's about how much protein I consume.  But, as an endurance athlete, my requirements are higher so that I don't catabolize too much muscle.  From what I've read, I need about 1.3 to 1.5 grams per kilogram body weight of protein per day, which for me is about 90-100 grams of protein per day.

I've been thinking of ways to get that protein -- veggie chili, soy yogurt, Chicken-Free Chicken, Luna bars, tofu, Kashi Go Lean (which is my favorite cereal already), and protein smoothies.

My personal trainer did bring up a good point -- I would benefit from a rapidly digestable protein.  Whey protein is digested rapidly, but as a vegan, I do not consume dairy.  I am looking into a good source of rapidly digestable vegan protein.  So far, I have come up empty.  If anyone has thoughts on this, feel free to share!

14 comments:

Vegan Valerie said...

I have learned a little bit about Brendan Brazier. He is a vegan Tri-athlete, much like yourself. He's written a couple of books, has his own line of vegan raw powders and bars, called "Vega", and seems super knowledgeable about all things vegan health and fitness. One of his books is called "Thrive" and that's certainly what he seems to do! You should check out his website and products. I posted the link below for you. I am nowhere near yours or Bredan's levels of fitness, but I am striving for it.

I hope this helps! You take care, Heather! :)

http://www.brendanbrazier.com/

Amanda said...

Try Sun Warrior Protein:

http://www.therawfoodworld.com/product_info.php?ref=264&products_id=1001939&affiliate_banner_id=1

I also use hemp seeds in smoothies, salads, etc. to boost protein.

Thanks for the great posts!

Lily Girl said...

I make my own variation of Vega by combining hemp, pea, and rice protein that I add to my smoothies (partially because it's much less expensive, and partially because I'm wary of over supplementing).
You also may want to look at Sun Warrior's sprouted and fermented rice protein. It's very easily absorbed (and it's raw).
Switching to high-protein tofu can double how much protein you get from that source (Trader Joe's carries an organic one). Tempeh usually has about 20 grams of protein per serving (and Trader Joe's just started carrying that - yay!). Seitan is also an excellent source of protein, you can get it ready made or make your own. Lentils have the highest protein content of the legume family, so if you can work those in that will help boost your protein intake. I also like raw hemp seeds - they are a good source of healthy fats and protein (10 grams in 2-3 tablespoons).

VeganHeartDoc said...

Thanks for the suggestions -- I have no problem getting protein. What I'm looking for is rapidly digested protein

Rachel said...

Hi,

I read about this product, a Probiotically-Digested Soy Powder:

http://www.jarrow.com/product/352/Fermented_Soy_Essence

from:

http://www.scottjurek.com/blog/2009/04/06/protein-fat-on-the-run/

Haven't tried it myself yet.

Scott

Born to be Vegan said...

I would take a look at Brendan Brazier's Whole Food Health Optimizer. Here is a clip for the website -

Made exclusively from natural plant-based whole foods, Vega is nutritionally complete, alkaline and easy to digest

Anonymous said...

Let's take a breather here...

It is my advice that you don't need a "quickly digestible" protein. Most proteins are digested at the same speed (rate). It's the fat they come with that makes the difference.

Generally, I am mostly wary of packaged products that promise to do wonder but, usually, just make your wallet a little lighter than it should be. There are many ways to up protein intake without resorting to those products.

I looked at some of the meals you post of the blog ad, check this with a food log to be sure, it looks to me you might be a little underfed. Eating more calories with the same food you already do will bring more proteins in.

I would not focus on fast/slow digestion of proteins and I would look more at your comfort for a rule.

Moreover, proteins are especially important in the post exercise meals. those are also the meals you have most time to digest.


Suggestions:

Soft tofu in ANY kind of shake

Peanut / almond butter on toast (very doable while on the bike)

Nuts and seeds with cereals

Cook with more protein rich flours (buckwheat, rye, etc.).

VeganHeartDoc said...

Anonymous -- great suggestions, thank you! You obviously have some nutrition knowledge, so I wish you didn't leave yourself anonymous with your comments.

I'm definitely not consuming too few calories -- depending on my training for a given day, I'll eat between 2400 and 3200 calories -- 2400 for a rest day, and 3200 for a day where I've done a multi-hour run or bike ride.

I have been using Vega for the past few weeks as a supplement to my recovery meals, either mixed with a little bit of juice and water, or with soy yogurt. And, as you have suggested, I've upped my protein consumption with meals. I've noticed a difference in my body composition to more lean mass. But, as this is a work in progress, I'll post more later on as things progress.

J.W. McCue said...

have you looked into hemp protein?

supplement canada said...

Nicely explored for sports nutrition. even better they should make a weekly plan of what to eat.

sports nutrition

supplement canada said...

Nicely explored for sports nutrition. even better they should make a weekly plan of what to eat.

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Anonymous said...

Nice article, learned some new things. I would just like to add that the proteins that you can get from plants individually are not covering the essential of 9 amino acids supplied by the meats, so you kinda have to eat supplements if you're vegetarian. I also have a lens about it on squidoo if links are allowed :)..



[url=http://www.squidoo.com/vegetarian-sports-nutrition-for-high-levels-of-fitness]Vegetarian sports nutrition[/url]

Runner said...

Nice article, learned some new things. I would just like to add that the proteins that you can get from plants individually are not covering the essential of 9 amino acids supplied by the meats, so you kinda have to eat supplements if you're vegetarian.

VeganHeartDoc said...

@Runner -- You can get every needed amino acid from plant-based food. There is no need to consume meat in order to get the correct protein balance.