What I eat as a vegan runner can of course vary and this is a general overview of what types of foods and meals I would typically eat during a busy week of training for a half marathon and working as a lab technician at the time. I eat intuitively and do not use an app to track my food intake.
During the week, I wake up between 5AM and 6AM and right away heat up a cup of water to steep tea in before doing anything else. Lately I’ve been choosing caffeinated pure green tea, but I do sometimes drink other tea varieties like white, mint (uncaffeinated) or black (when I need a bigger pick-me-up in the morning).
I pour the tea into one of my many Blender Bottles, add a scoop of Clean Machine BCAAs, fill up the rest of the bottle with water and shake it up to mix (not shown). I workout in the morning fasted, because I don’t like the feeling of things digesting while I’m exercising, and have been drinking this magic potion before and during every workout. This product is naturally sweetened, contains natural electrolytes from coconut water and contains Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), which can help preserve and build muscle mass and strength and may act as an energy source, especially when training fasted or in a calorie deficit.
After my workout, either a run, weight lifting, both or another activity, I often break my fast with a quick portable post-workout shake that I make the night before. One example (shown below) contains bananas, dates, non-dairy yogurt, plant-based protein powder, berries, and hemp seeds. I sometimes add greens like spinach to my shakes, but never combined with the berries, because together they often turn the shake an ugly brown color. I like to make my shakes not only calorie dense, but also nutrient dense!
I drink it on my ride from the gym or my house to work, which started at around 8:30AM. Rarely do I get time between my workout and work to sit down for breakfast, but whenever I do, I like to eat overnight oatmeal or energy bites, like this one, that I prep ahead of time too. If I could, I’d eat my favorite breakfast literally every day: banana ice cream! I pretty much dream about eating it during the week and often save it as a treat for the weekends. Below, it is paired with a slice of homemade banana bread, also one of my favorites. Yum!
As a part-time lab technician, I worked in the mornings for 4 hours or until 12:30PM, but sometimes longer. My lunch food choices were still usually the same whether I needed to eat at work or could go home for the day, but varied depending on the weather. During the warmer months, I dig fresh, hydrating, mostly raw salads! It’s another great way to pack in a lot of nutrient-dense foods in a meal!
The salad shown below had romaine lettuce, chickpeas, avocado, red onion, celery, Eat Enlightened Broad Bean Crisps and a homemade maple mustard dressing (2 parts mustard to 1 part maple syrup, mixed together). I often add a slice or two of avocado or hummus toast on the side, because toast is life! Usually 4 to 6 hours went by between breakfast and this meal, so I was quite hungry by this time and I threw everything together in the biggest bowl I find (usually a mixing bowl) and dug in!
In the evenings, I either eat leftovers from cooking the night(s) before or cook something new that night. Some of the staple easy-to-make dishes I often turn to include lentil curries or bean curries, soups or chilis or baked tofu or tempeh with a starchier vegetable like sweet potato and a cooked cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, kale or Brussels sprouts (my favorite veggie).
I love cooking with different spices! In the example below, I made a red lentil soup seasoned with various spices, including curry powder + baked plantains and spinach (not pictured). I topped the soup with hulled hemp seeds, which provide around 4g of fat that includes ALA and SDA omega 3s + around 3g of protein per 1 tablespoon! Sometimes I’ll experiment and create a new recipe or try out one I find online, such as homemade spring rolls (shown below).
SNACKS & DESSERT
I generally stick to 3 meals a day, but occasionally do eat snacks or dessert if I am still hungry between meals. Doing so can help me get in more calories without having to eat very large meals all the time. I try to maintain and don’t mind gain some weight. I still prefer fewer meals and less snacking, because I feel more satiated and don’t have to think about food as often. The times at which I eat depend on when I get hungry and on my schedule that day. Some of my favorite snacks include apples with nut butter or a homemade energy bite and when I eat dessert, it’s usually from one of the dessert recipes I make for myself or Lean Green Dad.
I rarely eat out, because I love cooking and prepping food for myself or others and have more control over options that I can choose from and what goes into my meals (oil, refined sugar, etc.), but I do occasionally eat out on Friday nights or on the weekend. There are many places I have yet to try in my local Gainesville, FL area that have many diverse plant-based vegan food options. I also find many places whenever I travel out of town. I love exploring new food spots and it’s nice to not have to do the dishes every once in a while! In the example below, I ate out with my family at a Japanese Sushi & Sake restaurant within walking distance from where I live. I ordered the sweet & sour tofu and veggie sushi rolls. Both tasted amazing!
The only supplements I currently take are Vitamin B12 (sublingual 1000 mcg cyanocobalamin) 2 times a week (every 3 or 4 days) in the morning, Clean Machine Ahifower Oil (Vegan Omega 3 source) every day in the morning/evening and Clean Machine Cell Block 80 (Vegan natural hormone optimizer) every day in the morning/evening (all 3 supplements shown below). More on these supplements in a future post! I get the rest of the essential nutrients from food, including some vitamin D from the sun here in Florida.