I have been vegan since April of 2013, so pretty near three years now. It has helped me grow, it has taught me, it has powered me, and of course it has benefited me majorly. I've simplified my life and made it more creative by going vegan and I've simply really enjoyed it. The enhancement of my life and the diversity of meals that I could make is so beneficial. Of course being vegan has also supported me in my athletics also. As an ultrarunner I need to stay light, clean of bad food, and powered. Eating plants has accomplished those goals. But, beyond going full vegan I think there are some habits people can take from this lifestyle to benefit them in their athletics.
1.) Less Bread.
Now I know bread is vegan and it is fine for you, to an extent. The carbs in it are beneficial, but when bread is a staple of every meal of the day it becomes disadvantageous. I noticed awhile ago that eating a lot of bread slowed and weighed me down. I eased on my intake a few months ago and about a month ago I stopped eating gluten. I have noticed major increases in my energy, peace, power, and ability to push far. I think eating less bread is a major facet of good health and proper nutrition for ultrarunning.
2.) Less/no Sugar.
This is extremely important for me. Eating very little non-natural sugar has been awesome. I'll eat fruit and such, but candy, jam, cakes, etc. are all out of my nutrition. The fruit is beneficial, but when you jump into that territory of high fructose corn syrup, fake sugar, and sugar in general I have found become extremely detrimental. I used to eat almond butter and jam on sourdough toast every morning. Now I eat almond butter and banana on Udi's gluten-free bread. The bread slice is extremely small and with a light spread of almond butter and the bananas it becomes an excellent start to the day. This is what you have to do, eliminate the aspect you want (sugar, bread, etc.) from all parts of your life. Sugar is addicting and it will bring you down, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
3.) Drink Water
This isn't something you should eliminate or lessen like the other two, but increase. Flushing out your system and keeping you hydrated, water is so important and people always forget it. I have been trying recently to regiment myself to drink water all day long. I want to build the habit of drinking water every half hour. This is very much something I still need to work on. But drinking water throughout your day is something I think you will find will help you a lot.
These are just some simple things that I believe will help become a better athlete and person. Remember to read next week for more stories of adventure and tips and tricks.
Thanks. Stay present.