It’s my offseason from racing duathlons (run-bike-run) and I’m enjoying the loosening of my eating habit compliance. When I approach my biggest races of the year, “A” races, I increase my nutrition standards to an extremely high quality level so I can push my body as hard as I can. The side effects are I feel incredible and my overall health benefits. Here I’ll share some nuances of my eating habits on a three part scale that you may be able to take an idea or two to try…especially some of the indulgences…
I was listening to Dr. Alan Goldhamer on the Rich Roll Podcast months ago and he used a phrase, nutrition compliance, that resonated with me when Rich asked him, “I notice you always call it a whole plant food diet vs. a plant-based diet. What is the reason behind that?” Dr. Goldhamer responded by explaining, “I want a whole plant food diet because a plant-based diet allows for flexibility.”
He went on to share, “when it comes to maximizing health, if a person is over weight and wants to lose weight, has heart disease, diabetes, cancer or is healthy and their goal is to live the maximum healthy life as possible I believe the evidence supports the idea of an exclusively whole plant food diet that is free of S.O.S., the international symbol of danger and it stands for Salt – Oil – Sugar.” The flexibility and what he goes on to explain as compliance comes into play with how healthy you want to be and ultimately lower your risk factors of all the chronic illnesses.
I would categorize my eating compliance into this three part scale and when I apply:
- “A” race preparation – two months leading up to the race date (experimented with three months this fall…loved it!)
- “B” and “C” race preparation – when my training season begins or between blocks of training if time permits
- Offseason indulging – after my final “A” race of the season to the beginning of my “B” and “C” race preparation to start the year
One common theme with the three parts is they are all 100% plant-based with part 1 being whole plant foods as Dr. Goldhamer defined. Even though I can indulge pretty darn well, consuming anything from an animal will never be a part of my life again. So what differentiates them and what Alan Goldhamer phrases as compliance? I’ll start backwards giving my guidelines that work for me.
3. Offseason Indulging
Usually the night after my final “A” race of the season or year I score a huge dessert. Here are some indulgences I love to get my hands on in this level of compliance:
- Dairy-free ice cream
- Plant Love Ice Cream on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, FL has amazing flavors and regularly changes the options
- Ben and Jerry’s dairy free ice cream (several that are great but the P.B. & Cookies is outrageous)
- Desserts (variety of fresh daily treats):
- Valhalla Bakery also on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, FL
- HaleLife Bakery (donuts in the feature photo) is in two Tampa Bay, FL locations
- Chocolate chip cookies and my favorites are from Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbook, Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. The most amazing cookies and you can even hold back on some of the sugar as they are sweet!
- Find me a chewy brownie topped with vanilla bean dairy-free ice cream and caramel and I’m in!
- An entire 14″ pizza from The Nona Slice House in Safety Harbor, FL with garlic knots to start…I can certainly eat a lot!
- I will have chips and desserts in the house
2. “B” and “C” Race Preparation
The compliance goes up as I begin training for real. Some of the changes include:
- An occasional chip and dessert (once a week)
- An occasional pizza (once a month…usually the night after a race)
- No chips or or processed desserts in the house
- Zero oil
- Eating more whole foods
1. “A” Race Preparation
Two (or up to three) months prior to an “A” race I up my compliance a bit more so I can feel great, be strong and race fast. Some of the additional changes include:
- Zero chips
- Zero processed sugar & desserts (cookies, ice cream, etc.); Dates become my friend and I make my own energy bars/balls to accomplish this often
- Example of a dessert I would have that is super healthy and this would be occasional – The Happy Pear’s Peanut Butter Blondie
- Cashew Cookie Larabar (2 ingredients) is my over the counter energy bar choice
- No pizza – I’m better if I just completely cut it out as like chips, it’s tough for me to stop once I have one
- Eat lots and lots of whole foods which I already do but even more…replacing the foods I cut out
As I transition and up my compliance I may have a craving for about a week or so once I give something up but then it goes away and I simply feel better and better as I enhance the quality of the plant foods I consume. Dr. Alan Goldhamer would classify my “A” Race Preparation as a the “Whole Foods Diet” option vs. a “Whole Foods Plant-Based” diet as I really eliminate the processed foods out of the equation and eat incredibly healthy. Another benefit eating this way is I’m never on a weight loss diet. I’m almost five years eating plant-based and never had to diet (loose weight) other than to get to a race weight where I perform optimally. All the diet books and craze goes away… I’m not sure how many diets I failed prior to going plant-based but I never have to worry about that again. It’s just dialing up and down my own compliance.
It feels GREAT to feel GREAT and I race FASTER! Win-Win!
For 2021 this is generally how it would look like on a calendar as I know my four – “A” races already:
- January 22 – February 22 (Level 2 Compliance)
- Training base begins to ramp up for the “B” and “C” level races in mid-January but I’ll begin cleaning up from the Level 3 compliance I left 2020 with beginning the first of the year
- February 23 – May 23 (Level 1 Compliance)
- I am choosing to go with the three month preparation for my first “A” race, the USAT Duathlon National Championships (Olympic Distance)
- May 24 – June 2 (Level 3 Compliance)
- Sneak in a week of indulgences before dialing in again for the big fall season
- June 3 – October 2 (Level 1 Compliance)
- Beginning September 3 and stretching over a five week period I will be competing in two Duathlon World Championships (Olympic and Middle Distance) and a Long Distance Duathlon National Championship so this level 1 compliance guideline will begin three months prior to the first race and continue through to the final race October 2.
- Oct 3 – Dec 31 – (TBD Level of Compliance)
- This is the first year the season ends this early. The last couple years my season ended in mid-November and I would transition right into Level 3 compliance. That is a bit of a long stretch here so I will do some combination of Level 2 and 3 I’m sure.
I hope this gives you some ideas you can steel or incorporate in some way to fit your needs and preferences. These guidelines work for me and I tweak from time to time.
– Add Health to Your Life
- Top Left – HaleLife Bakery donuts (Level 3 Compliance)
- Bottom Left – Simple four ingredient treat – thank you Lauren Nolan for sending this recipe to me! (Level 2 Compliance)
- Banana, peanut butter, walnuts and chocolate (dairy-free)
- Top Right – A Healthy Giraffe Gloriousness Bowl (Level 1 Compliance)
- Kale, Spinach and Arugula greens
- Black Beans and Rice
- Mushrooms, Onion, and Salsa
- 35g of protein, 26g of fiber and 585 calories
- Zero cholesterol
- Heart and overall health powerhouse!
- Bottom Right – A Healthy Giraffe Breakfast Bowl (Level 1 Compliance)
- I crave this incredible bowl to start my morning out right
- This is a secret Healthy Giraffe recipe and only VIP status obtains access…
- Reach out in any way for the special concoction
- 11.5g of protein, 16.5g of fiber and 560 calories
- Zero cholesterol
- Heart and overall health powerhouse!
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