Also vegetarian!! For non-training nutrition, I generally try and go by Michael Pollan’s rule from In Defense of Food (Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.), but throw in the caveat of eating only natural stuff (“If you don’t know what plant it came from, you can’t eat it”).
Regarding “veggie meats”: I’ve tried to stay away from them recently– I did them for a while and they’re a good source of protein, but there’s so many other things in there that I get a little weary. Especially true for plant-based protein– apparently some watchdog org (clean label project, not sure who their funders are) found significantly higher levels of arsenic (super toxic) in plant-based protein powders. I’ve been vegetarian for 20+ years and have never really had an issue with protein deficiency (explained below), and I’m generally trying to keep things natural. But I’ll still work in some TJ’s meatless meatballs every once in a while.
Protein: I generally incorporate beans, eggs, or falafel into every meal, so I’m set between that and the protein in my carbs and veggies. From a satiety point of view, I find that (high-quality) fats are much more important than protein. Moreover, with the quantities of food we’re getting as triathletes, I’ve never found that I’ve been particularly protein-starved. Lastly, one of my main take-aways from Born to Run was that humans (particularly active ones) need a much bigger focus on carbs than meats (aka the condi-meat approach). So I usually come in just a little over the WHO guidelines (I’m somewhere near .9g/kg/day).
Training nutrition: Depends on the type of session
- Long and slow: I’ve been working on doing the first 60-90 minutes of these fasted (some of the pros mention doing this regularly) then about 100-175 cals an hour of infinit/gels afterwards
- Tempo or faster: 100-150 cals of infinit/gels from the start, depending on type of activity
- After all sessions: about 100 cals of easy carbs right after (usually leftover infinit), then a bigger meal 60-90 minutes later
In terms of my normal daily nutrition (not including training or post-training carbs): FYI burning about 4k calories a day
- Breakfast: banana, Rx bar, black coffee
- Lunch 1: 2-3 slices of sprouted grain bread (based on training load) with peanut butter and honey
- Lunch 2: Generally ~1.5 lbs of plain carbs (brown rice, pasta, potatoes, quinoa, etc), baked veggies (plenty of olive oil), and either beans of falafel balls (TJs)
- Pre-evening: a couple of tortillas, about 4 tablespoons of hummus
- Dinner: Generally similar to lunch (but with eggs instead of beans), or will replace with a massive bowl of pasta with veggies in marinara and cheese. Often will throw in 1/3 or 1/2 avocado at the end.
- Dessert: 50g of dark chocolate 🙂