Monday, 23 April 2012

Revisiting Recovery

So this weekend was probably my highest volume training weekend yet: 45km ride on Saturday and 20km run on Sunday. The two things I noticed today were I felt super tired at my interval/strength class and I was ravenous all day.

I think that I probably should have taken today as a rest day but I tried to power through. The end result was about a 75% workout and rest day is now delayed until Thursday.  I also think I need to pay more attention to recovery nutrition.  If, like me, you simply aren't hungry after a long run there are some easy things to do to get much needed fuel back into your system to assist in that valuable recovery phase.

On a queasy stomach here are a few of my go to snacks/mini meals:

Next weekend I plan to up the bike kms a bit more but the run will be scaled back for my taper before the May 6th half I am running.  I would love to hear your favourite post run/bike fuel! Please leave a comment!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Myth Busting

This week the New York Times printed what ended up being a quite controversial article titled "The Challenge of Going Vegan".  A lot of people read it. In fact people in my office read it and asked if I had seen it too. Why was it controversial? Here are some of the articles main points:

Fact 1: "the switch from omnivore to herbivore is fraught with physical, social and economic challenge".  

Was I fraught with these challenges I thought as I read it? I certainly don't remember the transition being difficult.  Nor did I consider my shift to veganism to be "extreme", strict or hard-core. On the contrary, I often feel meat-eating is an extreme measure to get protein in ones diet.

Fact 2: Substitutes like almond milk and rice milk can shock the taste buds.

I suppose this is true. But that is like switching from coffee to tea, or from diet pop to perrier.  Sure there is an adjustment period, but I think all dietary changes will come with a period of getting used to new foods.  For example, my omnivore dad switching to 'skim' milk was a terrible shock to his tastebuds too.

Fact 3: vegan specialty and convenience foods can cost two to three times what their meat and dairy equivalents do.

I plan to do a follow-up post on this after a trip to the grocery store. I am assuming they mean meat analogs such as veggie burgers and tofu dogs.  I will admit that sometimes I pay more for a dark, vegan, fair trade chocolate bar, but in my mind that is paying a little extra to avoid the corruption associated with cocoa.

Fact 4: The people who want to shift to a more vegetarian diet find they face physical constraints and mental constraints. 

I don't think I have had physical constraints. I have run a marathon as a vegan and did just fine. I have co-instructed an entire clinic group to take them to their half-marathon goal. I think this is one of those broad-brush statements that unfortunately gets applied to all vegans. My best response is to follow a healthy vegan lifestyle and lead by example.

Fact 5: Vegan ingredients and cooking techniques can be overwhelming for beginners, even if the changes are relatively small.

This may be true in baking (goodness knows I have had my own mishaps), but is it more difficult than other methods of cooking?  I'm not sure. Vegan cookbooks are proliferating and it is easier than ever to find one to suit your needs be it the single college student, first time mom or weekend gourmet.

Concluding thoughts
Despite these so-called challenges, between 4% and 10% of Canadians are vegetarian or vegan (2003 Canadian-American dietetic association position paper).  This article on Fooducate discussed the article as well, and the comments section is particularly interesting. Here are my favourite quotes:

Being vegan is hard because of social ridicule? Seriously? Should we all change anything about ourselves others don't like?

Challenges? None dietarily.  Just getting past the misperceptions and misconceptions many people have of how hard it is, and trying to convince those who've been drinking the Kool-Aid all their lives that most people don't need all the protein the meat, dairy and egg industry have been brainwashing us about. 

Why do we have to be labeled? So we can be considered a statistic?

Feel free to share your thoughts. Did you find the transition to veganism as challenging as the article suggests? If so, what were (or remain to be) your biggest hurdles??

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Enter to win a Canopy Verde clutch!

The places I ate

I realize I have been MIA for a bit so I thought I would give you  just a quick recap of some of the places I dined this week.

First off, I am so thrilled that I finally got to try Noorish on Saturday night.  I had the treeo-of-life salad sampler and loved it all, but the kale salad was definitely my favourite. I also had a cranberry kombucha and a raw mint chocolate.  I went with my non-vegan friends, which while I am so happy they were willing to give it a try, may have defused the excitement a bit. I am a firm believer that vegans have different taste buds than non-vegans. We also sometimes have different opinions about spices too.  For example, I hate cilantro. Put it in salsa and I won't eat it. Regardless, a good time was had by all and I will definitely be going back.

Today at lunch I went to the buddhist temple (actually called Fo Guang Tea House) on 102 street for the first time too.  I am not a fan of mock meats so I may have made a bad ordering decision.  I also don't really like sticky rice. It's a texture thing, But if you are looking for a quick, $6 lunch in a bright basement hall this is your place. The people were so sweet so that is always a star in my books.

Have you been anywhere new this week or want to share your favourite spot/dish. Please leave a comment!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

On your mark!

May is a big month for running races in and around Edmonton. What better way to celebrate clear sidewalks than to train and register for a friendly race with your friends!  Here are just a few events worthy of lacing up your running shoes:

  1. What - Run Wild Leading Edge Marathon
    When - May 6th, 2012
    Distances - 1/2 and full marathon
    Where - St Albert
    Charity - Zebra Child Protection Centre and St. Albert Senior Citizens Club

  2. What - 2012 Sport Chek Mother's Day Run and Walk
    When - Sunday, May 13th, 2012 (Mother's Day)
    Distances - 5k, 10k, and little legs children's race
    Where - Foote Field, Edmonton
    Charity - Stollery Children's Hospital

  3.  What - 2012 Community Action Dash
    When - Sunday, May 20, 2012
    Distances - 5k and 10k
    Where - Santa Maria Goretti Community Centre: 11050 90 Street Northwest Edmonton
    Charity - The Action for Healthy Communities Society of Edmonton

If there are any other events on your horizon please share! I hope that gives you a reason to get out there over the next month or so ; )

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Do you do Chlorella?

This Sunday I was participating in #runchat on twitter and one of the questions was "What do you do to recover after a hard run?"  The responses were the usual:  rest, ice bath, compression socks etc. I was intrigued when one poster mentioned that she swears by Chlorella.

I quickly responded asking why Chlorella? She replied that it speeds cell regeneration, enhancing healing, quicker muscle recovery.

I had to know more! After some online investigation here is what I found:

 Brendan Brazier chooses Chlorella as a daily body detoxifier. In this excerpt from, The Thrive Diet(Thrive in the US), Brendan states that “Directly enhancing the immune system at a cellular level, chlorella treats the cause of any possible breach – as opposed to fighting the onset of sickness (as is all too often done with pharmaceutical drugs).”

Here are just some of the nutrients found in Chlorella:

  • More than 20 vitamins and minerals

  • Beta- Carotene- a powerful antioxidant known for its ability to eliminate free radicals

  • 19 amino-acids

  • Higher content of fatty acids than Spirulina or wild blue green algae

  • 60% superior protein

  • B complex vitamins, especially B12.

Health benefits of chlorella include:

  • Enhances immune function

  • Encourage the growth of friendly intestinal bacteria

  • Eliminates heavy metals and toxins from the body

  • Assists in keeping the body in an alkaline state

  • Protects you from infection due to its anti-viral properties

  • Keep your breath fresh!

  • Assists in cleansing the bowel and maintaining a healthy digestive tract

Where to find it?

  • Vega Health Optimizer contains 2.5 grams of ChlorEssence.

  • Also available in powder or tablet form - I found several kinds on Upaya Naturals

NOTE: When selecting a brand, look for one with a high level of protein (about 65-70% is considered high) and chlorophyll (6-7%)

I also found this amazing recipe from Choosing Raw

Chlorella Pudding with Chia Seeds (raw, vegan, gluten and soy free) - Serves 2

1 1/4 cups almond milk
1/4 cup hemp seeds
3-5 pitted dates (or stevia to taste)
1 tsp vanilla extract
10 tablets Sun Chlorella
1 tsp kelp granules
2 tbsp lucuma powder (optional)
3 tbsp chia seeds

 Do you use Chlorella?? Please share your experiences with me! And I would welcome some additional recipes.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Getting Technical

Gone are the days when people go for a run/hike/workout wearing cotton T's and shorts.  Stores are full of different mixtures of polyester, lycra and Lululemon's infamous Luon blend.  The more  readily available eco-friendly of these products tends to be smartwool, but for vegans who obstain from wearing/buying wool this is simply not an option.

Thankfully, hemp and bamboo clothing lines have come a long way and advancements in the science of fashion means that we can all go for a run in a t-shirt that is good for our skin and good for the environment.

Using their very on Eucalyptex and recycled polyester fabrics, Modrobes make functional clothing.  I want to run in these T-shirts!

Who can argue with a statement like this:

"If you can do something that's better for everyone wouldn't you do it? We have the technology to make garments that don't use pesticides and toxic chemicals that kill us so why wouldn't we do it. We may be just a small clothing company but if we can make the world a tiny bit better then I'll feel like I did my part as a designer and human." -Steven Sal Debus, -founder/designer

Chick'd Athletic Apparel
Manufactured in Southern Ontario, Canada, Chick’d offers apparel made from environmentally sustainable fabrics; eucalyptus lyocell, organically grown cotton, recycled polyester,and Eco-charcoal (made from ground-up coconut shells and bamboo).

A tried and true brand that is dedicated to sustainable practices.  It is quite interesting to read through their  footprint chronicles.  The steps they are taking as a company to conserve the environment seem limitless.  Read about them all here and then drop by MEC to browse the latest Patagonia lines.

I tend to wear a lot of different brands when I run, but majority of our technical/outdoor gear does come from MEC.  Would love to know where you shop for your workout gear.

Hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Easter weekend!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Spring Shoes!

It would not be April without new shoes! Here are four of my favourite spring picks to kick you into shoe shopping gear!

Starting from the top left and clockwise:

  1.  Zahra - Indigo Flowa (Neuaura) $85

  2. Love is Mighty - Koel $235

  3. Native Shoes - Women's Jericho $44.99 and made in BC!

  4. Bell - Silver (Neuaura) - $99

I know it's hard to think about cute flats with the recent instability of the weather here.  But a girl can dream! Oh and FYI, MooShoes just brought in a new line of Brooks.  I posted a while back on the Green Lightening shoe which I am still planning on splurging on when my shoes hit their max km mark.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

On my bookshelf

I have a confession. I am not a particularly good book club member.  Although I love to read, the books I enjoy usually don't make book club lists.  It would be a hard sell to get my old book club to read the time crunched triathlete, and try as I may, J has no interest in many of the vegan books that line our books shelves.  That said, as I organized our shelves and cleaned in preparation for my parents visit this weekend I thought it would be a great idea to share my favourite reads:

Crazy Sexy Diet - Truly life changing. My goal is to complete the full 21 day cleanse to reap the full benefits of this read.

The Conscious Kitchen by Alexandra Zissu
Zissu walks readers through every kitchen-related decision with three criteria in mind: what’s good for personal health, what’s good for the planet, and what tastes great

The Face on Your Plate: The Truth About Food by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, had such a lasting effect on me that I don't think I will ever change my vegan ways.  Read more about Masson here.

The Locavore Way: Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food by Amy Cotler (2009)
This friendly guide to eating locally gives readers everything they need to buy, cook, and eat food grown, raised and produced close to home.

The Happy Hebivore Cookbook - one of my favourite vegan cookbooks/blogs/people! Check out her Easter Recipe ideas for an extra dose of inspiraation.

Skinny Bitch - Ultimate Everyday Cookbook
I prefer this over the original Skinny Bitch books.  It's all cookbook and less swearing.

There are many more cookbooks that I really need to crack open. What are your favourite books?? Please share because I need to add some to my must-read list.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Shapes and labels

You know that timeless red plastic baby toy full of different shapes and corresponding holes on the outside.  I bet when you were a toddler you spend hours fitting those shapes in the right space and celebrating your success.  Maybe that is where our obsession with shapes begins.  We are taught about squares and triangles and octagons.  We name them and memorize how many sides they have. We label them so we can identify them and we know when a squares a square.

Then you grow up and a funny thing happens.  You learn about pears, and apples and triangles again but this time they are body shapes.  We agonize about which shape we are, "what to wear" to suit that shape, and in some cases how to work to change it.  In fact, most magazines will have some sort of feature on all of the above every month that they hit the stands.  Why the obsession with our shapes and everyone elses? Is a pear more attractive than an apple? And how ridiculous is a 'spoon' shape?

We are so shape conscious that shapeism finds its way into so many aspects of our lives, and we publicly criticize other shapes for not being the 'ideal'.  Adds like this one are supposedly meant to motivate people but aren't they a little harsh? Sure unhealthy norms for skinny in our culture are shocking, but there truly is a percentile of the population that has been and always will be 'skinny'.  I hate that word.  I am not a fan of this add either.

I want to see more ads (maybe like the Dove one below) of women of all shapes and sizes standing together and saying we are ALL healthy.  Health comes in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes it is 'skinny', sometimes not.  Let health be your label and let go of all the others that aren't adding to the strength of who you are.

Sorry for the rant but spending hours on pinterest will do that to you (it is shocking how many people pin ads as "inspiration").

Training Count Down!

Happy April Fools Day! Thankfully nobody played any big pranks on me today, but I did fall for the west jet tweet about new flights with no children. I thought it was a good idea for business travelers lol (I did not watch the ridiculous video).

What else does April 1 mark?? Exactly 3 months out from the half ironman!! On that note, I have decided to do more dedicated posts to my training and more importantly how to train as a vegetarian/vegan athlete.  There are a few things that you need to be conscious of as a vegan, and as a woman too (iron is one).  I would love to hear from others training for events.  It seems from the VVOA facebook page that our Edmonton community is very active!!  I am dedicating this post to athletes that inspire me and bloggers with an amazing array of nutrition and health info.

Vegan runners & nutritional gurus

  1. Rich Roll - ultra marathoner and an 'active advocate on behalf of plant based nutrition for athletes'.

  2. Brendan Brazier - you may be familiar with the VEGA products and Thrive diet.

  3. Rip Esselstyn - Founder of the Engine 2 diet, Rip is teaching people the connection between what they put in their mouths and their ability to reach their health and fitness goals.

Vegan/vegetarian health bloggers

  1. Angela Liddon - Oh She Glows (Canadian!)

  2. Caitlin Boyle - Healthy Tipping Point

  3. Brittany Mullins - Eating Bird Food 

  4. Lori & Michelle - Pure2raw

  5. Gena Hamshaw - Choosing Raw

  6. Vegan Lisa - Vegan Culinary Crusade (Also Canadian!)

Please make suggestions for what you would like to see training-related posts cover!