I am dedicating this post to Angie Defilippi; great friend; longtime vegan and Ironman triathlete who is always at the top of the podium (she won her age group at Ironman Lake Placid this year).  She is racing the World Championship Hawaii Ironman this Saturday–I think that this is her 10th one.  Rock on, Angie!

Go vegan, go gluten free……So why the heck not?  As a classically trained chef/pastry chef and triathlete, I hear many debates on the points of a strictly vegan diet versus an omnivore’s diet.  For the most part, I eat like a vegan.  A healthy vegan, that is.  My diet (when I’m eating well) typically consists of fresh vegetables, fruits, quinoa,  sweet potatoes, legumes and super foods such as chia seeds, flax and hemp with a very small amount (if any on most days) of organic chicken, wild caught fish, organic free range eggs and raw milk cheeses thrown into the mix.

Most recently, I cut gluten out of my diet to see what would happen.  I have been nursing an injury for 6 months (it’s back to a dull “there-ness” and I can finally run again) and I have found that with my “quasi-vegan-diet-sans-gluten”; my stomach is flat (hey, I have abs!), the niggling aches and pains from training and injury recovery seem to diminish and my mental clarity is keener. Last Saturday, I indulged in cookies and bread. On Sunday, my injured hip flared up; my long run was slow and my legs felt heavy; and I looked as though someone had blown my mid section up with a bicycle pump.  They say gluten is inflammatory. I’m no doctor, but after the weekend I do believe that it’s true.

Today is Thursday. For the next four weeks, I’m going to keep the diet strictly vegan and gluten free. I’ll update on the website the progress; any recipes and tips.   I usually eat a vegan breakfast so I thought I would share my my latest top five favorites!

FIVE GREAT VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE BREAKFASTS

Chia Pudding

  • A Smoothie made with frozen berries, banana, hemp protein, flax seed, vanilla and almond milk
  • Toasted brown rice bread spread with coconut oil and sprinkled with cinnamon
  • A baked sweet potato with melted Daiya cheese (particularly good on chilly mornings)
  • Toasted brown rice bread or tortilla with avocado, mustard and sprouts (can’t see to find a brown rice tortilla that doesn’t break and crumble, but the flavor is still good).  Sometimes I also spread the tortilla with black bean dip and use salsa instead of mustard.
  • CHIA PUDDING-my new favorite–3 Tbsp Chia seeds mixed with 1.25 cups of homemade almond milk.  Mix together in a bowl for a minute and then let sit for an hour. Topped with a diced ripe pear and cocoa nibs.  You can use whatever toppings you want, but pears are in season right now and cocoa nibs are delicious.

It’s more than halfway through the day and I’ve enjoyed a bowl of chia; a sweet potato; a ginormous salad with 8 vegetables; coconut water.  I logged an 8 mile run and 2000 yard recovery swim.  And I feel great.  I think I’ll be alright without the animal protein for awhile.

Have a wonderful weekend

-LM