Friday, April 27, 2012

Food and fuel

Thanks so much for all of your kind and supportive comments on my last post. I have made a lot of wonderful connections in the running community through this blog and am grateful for so many of you (and it has been really fun to "meet" a lot of new people these last few weeks). I love being able to inspire, support, and help others, and I am answering all of the emails and questions in the comments I am getting.

One of the questions I have gotten a bunch of times in comments and in emails is what kinds of foods I eat.

*Disclosure - This is not a "food blog" and I am not an impressive cook. If you are looking for awe-inspiring dishes and recipes with beautiful pics of food, this is not the place, and you are probably going to be disappointed. I keep things pretty basic and simple. Also, I am not a vegetarian or a vegan. I eat gluten but I do have to avoid dairy. *

 If you saw how I ate four years ago and how I eat today, you wouldn't even believe I was the same person. Four years ago I ate a lot of junk. A LOT of junk. I ate chips, cookies, snacks, ice cream, take-out, fried foods, sweets, etc. etc. I drank diet soda all day long... can after can after can. I ate three meals, and snacks, and often ate at night in front of the TV when the kids were in bed. I ate almost no fruits or vegetables ever, almost everything I ate was processed, and I was taking in way, way too many calories (and wasn't exercising at all). I ate when I was hungry and when I wasn't. I ate when I was bored. I ate when I was lonely. I ate because food tastes good. If you had asked me to rate how important nutrition was to me on a scale of 1 to 100, it would probably have been a 3.

I wasn't able to change all of those bad habits overnight. It was a long, gradual process. At first I cut out soda. Within two weeks, the headaches I had been having disappeared. I started planning meals and paying attention to calories. I started choosing healthy, natural foods as often as possible. I stopped eating after 7pm. I paid attention to portion sizes, and made sure to eat when I was hungry and stop eating when I was full. I started chewing gum so I wouldn't pick off of the kids' plates when I was feeding them. I made sure to always have healthy things in the house to eat. I started looking at food as fuel for my body.

The more important my running has become to me and the more I have seen myself as an athlete, the more I have tried to eat like an athlete.

Now I eat a lot of whole grains. I eat tons of fruits and vegetables. I eat carbs like oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, rice, bread, etc.  I eat a lot of eggs, and have fish and chicken fairly often. I don't eat a lot of pork or red meat, although every once and awhile I love a good burger. I drink a LOT of water all day long, and almost never drink anything else. I do have sweets now and then, although I keep them limited.

I am a grazer. I am much happier eating little bits all day long than I am having big meals (with the exception of breakfast. I love/need a big breakfast). I eat a decent amount of food and need to make sure I take in enough (healthy) calories with all the miles that I run so my body has the energy it needs.

I am far from perfect in how I eat, and again, nothing here is very exciting, but it works for me, and I am always trying to improve.

Here is what I ate yesterday, which was a pretty typical day. I usually have a big salad at some point during the day (with an egg or two and some salsa on top) but didn't yesterday, and beans and rice, potatoes and pasta are frequent eats for me too.

I don't eat in the morning before I run, but every day after my run I drink a glass of light chocolate soy milk for recovery and then after I stretch and roll I have my bowl of "loaded oatmeal". I make a big bowl of oatmeal (plain whole grain rolled oats) and then add a banana, strawberries, blueberries, almonds, cinnamon, and dark chocolate chips. Sometimes I change up the fruit a little bit, but usually that is what I put in it. It's so yummy! Josh says it isn't oatmeal anymore by the time I am done with it and it is enough breakfast for two people, but I love it. It's my favorite meal of the day.

For a snack yesterday I had a pear and some raisins. I didn't take a picture. You know what they look like. :)

For lunch I had a turkey sandwich. I put turkey, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and hummus on whole grain wheat bread.  I ate a full tomato and half of a cucumber, although they didn't all make it on to the sandwich.

An hour or two after my sandwich I ate a bowl of sweet potato. I slice up a large sweet potato, and then bake the pieces on a cookie sheet in the oven on 375. I was impatient yesterday so I ate them when they were still a little mushy and not as crunchy as they usually get. They taste great just plain, although a pinch of cinnamon-sugar is good on them too. :)

For an afternoon snack I had some plain baby carrots and celery sticks.  You know what they look like. :)

For dinner I had pancakes. We do pancakes for dinner a lot with all sorts of toppings. Last night I had whole wheat pancakes with Adam's all natural crunchy peanut butter, a sliced banana, and some Kodiak berry syrup (all natural blackberry syrup).

And that is pretty much how I eat. :)

What's your favorite meal of the day?

What are some of your favorite meals?

Happy Friday!!!


On the Right Track said...

i love food...but I am a conscious eater as well...I would probably say that dinner is my favorite meal...i have a VEGA shake every morning and i load it up with all kinds of fresh/frozen fruits and veggies, flax oil, almond milk, chia seeds and sometimes greek yogurt...i have to watch my dairy as well so metimes. But i love a good egg sandwich on the favorite would be an egg/bacon/cheese on a toated everything bagel...From thh Bagel Lady in the shoreham plaza ;)

Dinner I love fish, chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, all vegetables actually, quinoa, salads with yummy veggies, chick peas, and gorgonzola...but i love my red wine...and my dark chocolate! can't help it :)

Gracie (Complicated Day) said...

It's hard for me to think of a food I DON'T like! I suppose dinner is my fav, since it's a time for the hubby and I to be together.
I love to cook, and I always make a nice square meal, but we also splurge and eat out at least once a week. My favorite is sushi but obviously here in New Orleans we have lots of options!

Yolanda said...

I too used to weigh 200 plus about 25 years ago and over time had put about 40 pounds back on. Sept 2010 I started changing my diet cutting out processed foods, caffeine including chocolate, and drinking only decaf coffee or water. By The end of Jan 2011 I wondered if I might be able to run for the first time in my life, and found out that I REALLY enjoy it.

For me, I now am a huge breakfast person as well, lots of oats, smoothies, eggs, or sprouted whole grain toast with a banana, raw almond butter and raw local honey. The last is my go to breakfast before a race.

I eat more now but that is because it is generally tons of fruits and vegetables, and over all I am consuming less calories because of no junk, :-)


Jen@runfortheboys said...

You're killing me with those pancakes!!!

I could use some of your eating habits. Like, REALLY. Yesterday, I had a Special K Chocolate and Peanut Butter Protein Meal Bar (180 cals) and a Diet Coke for breakfast, banana for snack, Lance Toastchee Orange Crackers with Peanut Butter ("low fat" 180 cals) and Diet Dr. Pepper for lunch, EAS Protein Shake (100 cals, 17 g Protein) for afternoon snack, and turkey sandwich (white deli bread, mayo, turkey, provolone, and lettuce), Doritos, and crystal light lemonade for supper...then one Reese cup for dessert :) Wow...this is horrible!!! Today wasn't much better - same breakfast and banana for snack, lean cuisine broccoli/cheddar dip with pita bread for lunch, banana split for snack (leftover at work from the take your kids to work function they had yesterday so the secretary made them for us so how could I refuse?!) and am now eating Chick-fil-a. Woohoo :) :) :)

Kris @ said...

My favorite meal is lunch. I always make a HUGE salad with veggies and some sort of protein (chicken, fish, etc.) with a not so healthy Diet Dr. Pepper or Coffee. My coffee or soda probably offset all the healthy veggies ;)

You eat very healthy!! The pics look so good.

elly said...

Yum. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. Usually porridge with stewed apple and nuts, or natural yoghurt with fruit and a bit of muesli. Sometimes boiled eggs and toast and mushrooms or avocado on the weekend. Today we made french toast with fresh berries and a drizzle of maple syrup after a 90min trail run. Went down a treat! :D

I rarely eat processed foods and have lots of veggies, fruit, fish, artisan bread, quinoa, pasta, natural yogurt, beans and chickpeas and a bit of free range chicken/beef/lamb.

Jill said...

I'm drooling, seriously drool is coming out of my mouth as I type, this pancakes look amazing. And hey, we have the same purple Tupperware plates :)!! I really need to organize my entire eating day an not just dinner; if I had a schedule from start to finish, I think it would help me stop obsessing about how hungry I am all the time.

Anonymous said...

Make the switch to steel-cut oatmeal- it changed my life. My husband and I started about 1 1/2 yrs ago and haven't looked back. Steel- cut w/ ground flax , banana, cinnamon, honey and almond milk! Yum.

Christina said...

All natural blackberry syrup? I need to look into that!!! I am like you, I graze throughout the day more rather than eat official 3 meals. I have diagnosed IBS (or what my dr is calling it for now) that seemed to have set in after child birth. I've come to understand that my body and I would wager almost everyone's adult body does better with 6 smaller meals rather than the 3 larger meal concept. One of my frequent go tos are whole grain Eggo waffles and eggs and fruit. Its a simple, digestible (unless one has gluten issues) and lightweight yet filling meal. I can eat that any time of the day, not just breakfast. Oatmeal is another good source for me. The one important thing I did being a "digestive tract" problematic person is to research WHICH fruits/veggies are easier on the system. I've since cut out broccoli and other cruciferous veggies as well as most high fat foods. It's made a world of difference for me. I try to stick to oats and rice over wheat products but don't appear to have gluten issues so Eggo waffles are ok too.

Wanted to mention, I have taken your recommendations on Hammer gels. They are by far without a shadow of a doubt, the best gels for me with IBS. No tummy troubles and their slow release gives me the best energy on runs compared to other products. I am just over the moon happy with how well they work for me!!! Thank you for the tips on those gels throughout your blog :-)

Annette@(running)In the Right Direction said...

ok. eating. This is still my big problem. I do so well all day and as soon I get home my pantry calls my name. When I am pms'ing its twice as bad! It's silly things like cat cookies from trader joes...and it wouldn't be so bad...if I didn't eat 60! I really just have to stop having it in my house.

I was just speaking about how I have to start my 'eating and sleeping' training NOW for NYC....

Oh and what gels is Christina talking about? Because I can not seem to find something that doesn't bother my stomach badly...caffeine in gels seem to kill me which is annoying because i love the 'pick-me-up'.

Teamarcia said...

You perfectly illustrate the point that eating well doesnt have to be anything fancy or high tech, it's about getting back to basic whole foods. That oatmeal makes me wanna actually try some. I think I'm the last oatmeal holdout on the planet. : )

Anonymous said...

Great post, thanks for sharing!

Adrienne said...

Our lunches are basically identical. Turkey and Hummus were meant for each other:)

Lisa said...

LOVE you're breakfast!! I have a history with food much like yours. Do you find that overall you feel a lot better now that you're eating healthier? You mentioned you don't have headaches as often after giving up diet soda, but wondering if you feel more energy with better eating. I definitely do. I think sometimes people don't realize how much better they'll feel just by eating better!

Thanks for sharing!

Andrea Hill said...

Looks yummy what you eat in a day. My absolute fave is breakfast also and yes its whole grain oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder and a half banana. I think I wanna spice it up like you sometimes.

I eat pretty clean too but feeding 6 kids on a low budget is hard not to have some sort of junk food in the house for them that I want to grab on my binging trip right after work while I am cooking dinner:)

{lifeasa}RunningMom said...

Love the pancakes for dinner! We did that Saturday night and I put bananas and craisins inside. Darling daughter suggested the craisins and it was a great idea!

Essentially, we eat about the same and if I don't graze....I get way too cranky!

Elyse said...

Oh my goodness that oatmeal and the pancakes look delicious! I love hearing about what other runners eat because it gives me ideas and ways to switch it up!! One of my favorite quick meals is quinoa with some fat free refried beans, shredded chicken, and a bit of sour cream. Cures my Mexican cravings super quick!