Saturday, July 27, 2013

Protein for Runners Pt. 1

So in a week or so I will begin really training for the next running season. To kick it off I am starting with the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon again Last year I bested my time by 5 minutes. I will be beyond happy if I can do the same this time around, but then again I'm another year older. Either way nutrition for building up for this kind of mountain climbing over 13.1 miles is quite important.

Now I know what I was eating last year; all vegan,  as per the diet of my wonderful wife and Food For Life Instructor Elizabeth Federman,, but this time I want to build some serious muscle and endurance.  For the past 3 years I have been an avid reader of Runners World. An amazingly thorough magazine to be sure, but I also noticed there is some vacillation between what is recommended in one issue vs. another issue.  Usually it goes like this: "You should buy: Eggs, Chicken, Salmon..." and they would include an array of other plant-based items, but here's where I argue.

It should be noted that any balanced diet should be focusing on a whole food synergy and not obsessed with one particular item for peak performance. In other words overabundance in focus can lead to other illnesses and chronic conditions. So while you are performing in an event well, the long term damage is being done in the form of bodily or organ inflammation.

Many sources say it is recommended that runners/athletes have at least 50% more protein consumption. This number varies depending on the source and depending on the sources funding.  But to look at a typical meal series for the day would be best.

Breakfast: Eggs for breakfast? No way. Why? Because 1 large egg consists of no fiber, only 6 grams of protein, 213mg of LDL cholesterol, 5g of fat, of which 2 are saturated.  Sure you might eat a piece of whole grain toast. but what are you putting on that toast? Butter is going to kill this plan right away.

You're best off with a whole grain cereal like oat meal or Malt-O-Meal which has 6 g of protein, and 11g if coupled with a cup of Organic Soy Milk. It also has 40mg of potassium and all your daily maximums of fiber and minerals. Malt O Meal in particular is pumped up.  Add some berries in your dish and you are set with an amazing pre-race meal.

Lunch and Dinner: The same is true for all the meals. There is no need to overdose on protein from one source during the day say in the form of a chicken breast which has about 30g of protein. Here's why: if you do, you also eat 93mg of LDL cholesterol, 13g of fat- 3.9 of which are saturated fats. Now, do this for dinner coupled with the eggs from breakfast, and you are setting yourself up for heart disease-EVEN IF YOU'RE A RUNNER.
Say grilled Atlantic Salmon for dinner; that is 21g of fat, 7g saturated fat, 488mg Sodium, sure you get 24g of protein, but at what cost?

Here's a better way to say it:

So, here's what you do. Eat from the Power Plate by PCRM.

What this means is each meal should have a whole food synergy to create COMPLETE proteins.
Boiled Broccoli, Avocados, Cauliflower (6g-half a head 3inch diameter), Potato (4g), Kale, Green Peas, Seaweed, Soy Beans (organic), winged beans, lentil sprouts, etc. Usually all of these are coupled with a whole grain as well. In doing so you complete your protein groups and create calories that are designed to optimize your carbon burn, energy usage and muscle function WITHOUT the inflammation, and added saturated fat and cholesterol intake.

Check out Scott Jurek a vegan ultramarathon runner as well.


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