Fueling

Since fueling is a critical part of running, and because I’m a bit of a fanatic (can one be “a bit of a fanatic”?) about nutrition, I thought I’d post something about what I eat and why I eat it.

First of all, some basics…

I’m a vegetarian. That means no meat and no fish, though I eat cheese and eggs. (I’ve adopted the 13 year old girl vegetarian mantra of “never eat anything with a face.”) My vegetarian stance is rooted in health concerns (I believe that a non-meat diet is better for the human system) and ethics (eating the flesh of other sentient beings is, to me, a form of cannibalism, and does my karma no good at all).

I like soy, in pretty much all its forms. That seems to set me apart from the majority of North America. I’m keen on soy milk, soy burgers, tofu in every way, and soy nuts. I haunt Asian supermarkets in search of new varieties of tofu. The best I’ve found so far is from a Chinese couple who sell from a booth at St. Lawrence Market in Toronto.

I love grains. A life-long weakness has been bread (many, many years ago, I pretty much existed for a number of months on a diet of bread, cheese, and beer), but I’ve toned that down to a couple of slices each of sprouted grains bread. I love steel cut oats, rice, quinoa, and couscous.

I’ve recently discovered chia. (Yes, the same stuff that makes chia pets do their thing!) It evidently slows down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrate calories into simple sugars. I keep a concoction of chia gel (chia seeds and water stirred together, and left to form a nice glop) in the fridge all the time, and have it with anything from oatmeal to dry cereal to cottage cheese. I also sprinkle dry chia seeds on the same things.

My only true nutritional vice (in the sense of being addicted to something beyond reason) is espresso. I make my own, in one of those inexpensive stove-top espresso makers, using a cheapo espresso grind coffee from the local supermarket. It’s the best espresso I’ve found, with the exception of the stuff made at Lazar, a local Portuguese deli. Between home and Lazar, I drink about three cups of espresso each day.

On long runs I consume either water or a sports electrolyte drink (current fave is HEED), and the occasional gel (GU Roctane). I’d like to move away from that to something more natural, though, so am looking into figuring out how I can carry pinole on my runs. Pinole is a native American drink made of cornmeal, honey, cinnamon, and water.

That’s it for an introduction. In future nutrition posts, I’ll write about my ongoing experiments with various foods and fuels.

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One comment

  1. I’m interested in finding people you have found a diet that works for them. As to the ethics of eating animals, I’m a christian and therefore part of the Jewish tradition, altered by the Jesus tradition. My understanding is that all these things, plant and animal, are here for our use. However I’m respectful of other ethical traditions and practices. For myself, I’m much healthier after going to a grain free, low carb, high fat diet. I believe that we are all unique and one thing does not fit all.

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