Way back in October I did Whole30. I loved it. It changed nutrition for me in so many ways. Click here for some of that journey.
The purpose of Whole30 is to eliminate sugar, dairy and grain for 30 days, then gradually reintroduce them to determine if you have any food sensitivities, gluten issues…. that sort of thing. People take Whole30 into all sorts of directions. The beauty of a program like this is you take it in whatever direction you want.
I learned how to cook. I honestly didn’t know how to cook or what to cook. I learned how to really eat more vegetables. I had a pretty limited vegetable repertoire. I even learned how to fuel myself better as an athlete.
Carbohydrates are important when you are an endurance athlete. What I learned through Whole30 ( truthfully you don’t need to go through W30 to learn this….) is that carbohydrates outside of grains and breads exist! These days instead of toast in the morning I will have one of these:
- Sweet potato, eggs and Avocado.
- Sweet potato
- Banana and egg pancakes
Generally speaking a slice of bread contains around 27 grams of CHO (CHO= carbohydrates. In comparison one sweet potato ( sweet potatoes vary in size so this number will therefore vary) has 30 grams of CHO. A banana has around 27 g CHO. The sweet potato and or banana are more quality in my opinion for fueling.
I have also been experimenting with training fuel the past few months. As an athlete who trains anywhere from 12-18 hours a week I need to fuel those workouts in order to get the most out of them. For many years I have fueled with sugary sport drinks and gels. My teeth routinely sting after a long ride. I was interested to determine if there was a better way for me to fuel training, and possibly racing.
Here is what works for me.
- For fluid I have found Osmo to work really well for me. I like the ingredients, I like the taste, I like how I feel on it.
- For “gels” I use organic pureed baby food. This brand. I use the banana bluberry blend, the sweet potato apple blend, the sweet potato beet blend and the mango orange blend. I stick with the fruits and veggies, nothing else. I have found that during training these work really well. They contain 7 less grams of CHO than a powergel and 20 calories less. They are twice the volume, but I don’t care since it’s for training.
- I don’t buy the pre and post workout drinks and mixes because I use whole food for that.
- Some folks have tried salty balls with great success. Recipe here. I found they did not work for me. That much nut butter just sat in my stomach. But I have heard nothing but great things for others who have used them!
- For race day nutrition I stick to my powerbar plan that was developed for me during my time at QT2. That plan has never failed me, and was made just for me. I have been able to switch back and forth between my training and race day nutrition without issue, so I can tolerate one day of sugar overload.
My concern was more from a health standpoint. In my 12-18 hours of training what am I doing to myself from a health standpoint with the sugar plan? So developing a nutrition plan that aligned with my higher nutritional standards was important to me. My health is a big deal to me. I lost it a few years ago and it’s been a long road back. Nutrition is so key to that for me.
There are a lot of ways to fuel, and each person should work to determine the method that suits them best. Here is a great article from Cristina Caldwell who is Jennie and my partner here at Valor Triathlon Project. In this article she does a great job of explaining the whole sugar issue and touches on some great points!
Happy and healthy fueling!