That's So RAW

Raw Vegan and Vegan Wellness Catering based in Little Rock, AR.

PLANT-BASED ATHLETE: Food tips

Top 10 foods to eat as a mostly raw vegan runner

As runners, we have to make sure we keep our immune systems strong, sufficient calorie intake, and high energy levels. Being a raw vegan adds another challenge to these priorities. Here are my top 10 suggestions for foods to eat (and tips with recipes) while training for long distance running:

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Celery

Though low in calories, I recommend this food because it is great for inflammation of bones and lungs. As a person who suffered from asthma from ages 10-18, I eat foods that aid in reversing asthma. Lungs feeling tight or are you feeling anxious during the first mile stretch? Celery is for you. High in magnesium, it is great for putting you in a feel-good mood.

Peanut sauce with soba:

2 stalks celery

1 tbs peanut butter

2 tbs liquid aminos

1-2 tbs red pepper flakes

1 tbs rice vinegar

1 tbs sesame oil

Blend well and pour over a couple bundles of cooked buckwheat soba noodles (if not gluten intolerant--if so. Opt for rice noodles)

You can also Eat a couple stalks blended into a smoothie, dipped in peanut butter, or dipped in hummus. Which leads me to the 2nd food--hummus!

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Hummus

Hummus is a great way to pack in healthy enzymes for the stomach, fats (if using olive oil, I recommend braggs cold-pressed), and protein. One of the most important things for a no-meat athlete to make sure of is that they are getting enough protein. Chickpeas have 246 calories per cup, so they will be able to keep you satiated and feeling happily full.

Hummus recipe:

1 c dry garbanzo beans, cooked

2-3 garlic cloves

1/2 c. Cold pressed olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1tbs cumin

Water to thin

Paprika for top if desired 

When paired with a whole grain, such a brown rice, they make a complete protein which contains all essential amino acids(the building blocks of proteins). This is VERY important for those who don't consume animal-based proteins. Hummus is one of those things that goes great on everything, so go ahead and make a whole tub :)

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Dates

Great fuel for the runner. 2.2 lb of dates equals 3,000 calories, and keeping your calories up is important as a vegan runner. They are full of natural sugar that the body does appreciate and they are also great for the bones. As many runners know, the knees can get pretty worn out, to the point where it feels as if you're beating your knees into the pavement. These little brown babies are SO versatile, you can sneak them into savory meals, throw them in the blender with water, or use them to sweeten vegan desserts. What I recommend :

An hour or so before the run or within 30 minutes after the run, have a datorade. 

Datorade recipe: 

20 dates

40-60 oz filtered water

Blend VERY well. The end result should be frothy topped tan-ish semi-thick liquid that tastes like yummy sweet cream! Yummy runner's fuel that is easy, simple, and quick!

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Cashews

Providing 553 cals/cup, these are great to get in your calories quick! Yes, they are also great for making gourmet raw vegan food, but you can eat them as is! They taste just fine. They are full of antioxidants and will help rebuild your muscles after a long run. They are heart healthy and keep your blood pumping and also works from the inside out to protect the eyes from UV rays. Get in at least a cup/day. 

Cashew cheese:

1 c. Cashews soaked 4 hours

1/2 c. Nutritional yeast 

1tbs sea salt

1 tbs turmeric

1 tbs garlic powder

Make it spicy by adding a tbs of cayenne or a fresh jalapeƱo

This cheese recipe tastes great on brown rice pasta (elbows make great mac&cheese)! Pasta is a great source of carbs for quick energy to get through long runs. CARB UP!

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Cacao

Not only is cacao higher in antioxidants than green and black tea and wine, it can prevent bad cholesterol. It naturally stimulates the nervous system to provide energy to get you through your runs if you're feeling a little tired. 

You can add cacao powder to your datorade! Always does the trick for me.Tastes like chocolate milk!! Yes, it's heavenly!

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Pineapple

Great  for inflammation of joints. If you're like me, sometimes your knees hurt while running. Eating pineapple will help prevent joint pain. It can also be used topically. Blend a cup of pineapple with 1/2 cup of water, pour onto a towel and wrap aching joint overnight. The pain should be alleviated (if not gone) in the morning! They  are also great sources of natural sugar and vitamin C. Vitamin C is crucial to athletes. Runners should always be aware of the possibility of getting sick because it becomes harder to get in your miles while coughing up a lung or feeling too exhausted to leave bed. Vitamin C is depleted where stressed do and when eating unhealthy processed foods, so make sure to get in extra if you're ever very stressed, around cigarette smoke, or drinking alcohol. 

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Baked potatoes

When choosing potatoes, always go for organic--preferably locally sourced. Conventional potatoes are very dirty wit) several chemicals and not good to consume. Even after you wash them, they still have chemical residueThis includes sweet, redskin, regular, and purple. Carbs help lower muscle damage! You can get your calcium from potatoes as well, which is essential to bone health. Potatoes have the perfect balance of phosphorous and calcium to avoid bone loss. They are also high in vitamin C and B-6. Carbohydrates are also known to help with getting adequate rest--so have them a few hours before bed time to help you drift away.

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Flax 

High levels of omega-3s and amino acids for cardiovascular health. They will help keep your blood sugar normal thus making your energy levels regular. Eat it in oatmeal, use as egg substitute, bake into breads, blend into smoothies--just get it in. 

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Avocado

High in vitaminK, potassium (more than bananas), and vitamin c. The most important thing about avocado to me is that is has 15 g of healthy fats/fruit. The fat helps you absorb nutrients from other plant foods. YES, it's important to have fats in the diet because some nutrients are fat soluble only! There is no cholesterol or sodium making it sinlessly delicious. They are also high in fiber which is great for metabolic health and maintaining or losing weight. Throw some on a salad, blend into fruit smoothies (great with pineapple) , or make guacamole!

Simple guac recipe: 

2 avocados

1/2 red onion diced

2 red tomatoes diced

2 jalapeƱos diced

2 garlic cloves minced

1 tbs cumin (opt.)

1 tbs paprika (opt.)

1 lemon juiced

This goes great as a dip with baked fries! Get all the good in!!!

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Watercress

Higher in iron than spinach, higher in calcium than milk, and higher in vitamin c than oranges. Inhibits carcinogens to keep immune system high. Also contains 2 g of protein/3 cups. Add into soups, smoothies, and you can also juice! It has a peppery flavor like arugula and is very versatile. Get your essential nutrient game right.

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