Food Confessions….

I have a confession. I don’t cook. It’s not that I don’t know how to cook of course; it’s just that I really don’t have time before my stomach decides it needs food now or we’ll enter the hanger zone. After a long day of work and workouts I’ll typically just go for whatever is readily avaialable in the refridgerator or cupboard.

Something most people probably don’t know about me is that I’m vegetarian, just over 11 years now. No, I don’t miss eating meat, haven’t ever really craved it since I quit meat, although I did dream about eating slices of prosciutto the other night, strange. If I did go back and eat meat I’d get an Arby’s Beef n’ Cheddar (although I hear they’re not the same these days) and I’d have my mom’s meatballs, yum. I don’t do the fake meat stuff either, tofurkey or tofudogs, I just don’t crave meat so I don’t need a replacement or substitute for the thing I’m choosing not to eat.

Avocados, bruschetta, corn salsa and a spoon.
Avocados, bruschetta, corn salsa and a spoon.

So if I don’t eat meat and I don’t cook, what do I eat? I love dairy, milk, cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese, (which has 12 grams protein in one serving, Land ‘O Lakes is the best brand by a land slide, eat it) all staples of my daily diet. I do eat eggs, so breakfast often involves hard-boiled eggs because it’s easy to bring to work. I also typically have a few protein shakes at work because it’s quick and easy to have at my desk. Dinners usually involve raw veggies with some sort of dip to flavor or my all time favorite, veggies piled in a salad of course.

A salad is my all time favorite, I love it and I could eat it for dinner almost everyday. Don’t judge me yet, this isn’t some flimsy salad with a few toppings, I go all out. Since I can’t keep all the vegetables fresh for long enough, I spoil myself a couple times a week and will go make a salad at the Kowalski’s or Lund’s (downtown Minneapolis is best) salad bar. Making the salad is an art and eating it is a ritual (don’t we all have food rituals?).

Since the salad bar isn’t always the same each has it’s own taste, but if it’s a ‘good day’ at the salad bar, these are the items my salad would consist of: spinach, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, red peppers, lots of blue cheese, black olives, green olives, parmesan cheese, peas, roasted corn, edamame, craisins, sunflower seeds, hard boiled eggs and last but not least and the most important, croutons. In the end it weighs over a pound.

Check out my slideshow of the salad creation process and the eating ritual below.

In general I like to eat as healthy as possible but I think a highly restrictive diet can lead to other unhealthy habits. When I do want something sweet, anything with peanut butter and chocolate I’m in. The occasional fro-yo stop is also a classic and I’m 100% guilty of buying frosting to dip pretzels into (I highly recommend salted caramel butter cream frosting from Kowalski’s, just don’t blame me if your race weight goes up).

When it comes to race week I do try to behave and keep my sweet cravings under control. Whether resting or training hard to race day, I want to know I’m giving my body the nutrition it needs to get me through my workouts and moving into recovery as fast as possible. If I want something a little more sweet oftentimes I’ll have a bowl of oats with almond milk, sweetened with some pure maple syrup (which is supposedly is good for your immune system and more, I’ll agree it’s better than sugar).

The day before any race I eat fairly normal, yogurt, granola and bananas. I’ll still even traditionally have a big salad for dinner, I just make sure to eat plenty early so I’m well digested come race time in the morning.

Ever since I’ve started racing I’ve had approximately the same breakfast of yogurt and granola a good few hours before race time. I’ll also have coffee and a banana while prepping in transition. This meal plan has worked for me for sprint and Olympic races and even Leadman 125.

Pending the race length I find one or two GU while on the bike is sufficient, taken with plenty of water of course. For the Leadman race I had some extra shot blocks I took on the bike, but typically during 3 hour workout sessions I just have water, so I find I don’t need too much extra nutrition while racing. It’s nice to have those few extra calories for racing since the intensity is much higher than a workout.

Post race my Dad and I will usually treat ourselves to Dairy Queen. Typically I’ll get a peanut butter cup blizzard and some onion rings. Onion rings are definitely my greasy weekness. In case you’re a fanatic like I am, I think the best onion rings can be found at Lucky 13’s in Mendota, conveniently right off the bike trail. I’ll gladly take suggestions if you think there’s better.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend, I’ll be at Chisago on Sunday, hope to see you there!

My salad ritual:

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