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!