The power of food is tremendous. It’s pretty amazing that what you eat has a direct effect on your productivity, mood, sleep, health, etc.  When I’m eating well, I clear my inbox; my workouts go splendidly; I have a ton of mental clarity; some not-so-great life situations and annoyances don’t seem all that bad; sex is better; I’m solution-oriented; I don’t get sick and I’m calmer.

"Let Food be thy Medicine and Medicine thy Food"

“Let Food be thy Medicine and Medicine thy Food”

This year, my life is resonant of something akin to a #northcounty version of a bad country song. “…….I have a bum leg; my dog died; I crashed my bike; I’m at odds with a family member; I can’t race; I’m getting old; my other dog’s sick, my leg’s still bum and I can’t run……” you get the idea.  I find that I’m able to keep my mood positive in part by adhering to a healthy diet. When Skye was sick, I was stress-eating and going overboard on too much wine and many Aztec mochas at Lofty Coffee.  A square of dark chocolate a day creeped into twelve and I was adding other vegan sweets to the mix.  Just because something is “dark chocolate” or “vegan” or contains “antioxidants” doesn’t mean its good for you in large doses. Without the usual Ironman training to counter this, I found my clothes a little tighter…..Sh*******t!

Skye Dog unamused by Roo the pup

Skye Dog unamused by Roo the pup

For the last month or so, I’ve been eating fairly well, but I’ve decided to tighten things up for the next 5 weeks or so (37 days to be exact).   I’m going to experiment with a few shifts in my diet and see how the changes affect all of the other aspects of my life.

Note While some of you might think I’m a vegan, I’m actually not. I have followed a vegan diet off and on through the years.  My reasons for not eating meat or poultry have to do with ethical and environmental reasons more than anything.   Here is what I DO eat outside the plant world:

  • Spend the extra money on eggs and buy the pastured!

    Spend the extra money on eggs and buy the pastured or make friends with someone who raises chickens.

    Pastured Eggs I won’t eat just any eggs—I need confirmation that the chickens have a good life and I don’t see eggs as being baby chickens. What about the cholesterol you ask???? In the last 6 months, I’ve probably been eating about 12-18 a week. I recently had my cholesterol levels checked and my LDL (the bad cholesterol) was 7 points under 100 and my Triglycerides were extremely low.

  • Bivalves Usually a dozen oysters or mussels weekly
  • Canned Sardines once every 2 weeks
  • Raw fish on occasion (once an month) usually in a Sushi Bar
  • Artisan Cheese at most 2 times a month and maybe an ounce at a time

Where else do I get my protein?

  • Tempeh a fermented soy product. Fermentation neutralizes the phytic acid so it doesn’t block mineral absorption. One serving has about 15 grams of protein—the same amount found in two and a half eggs.
  • Chia and Hemp Seeds surprising good sources
  • Nut and Butters yum

Okay, now that we have the protein thing explained; let’s move on to other changes that will optimize the quality of my eating plan:

These, unfortunately, don't do anything for my well being (but they taste damn good!)

These, unfortunately, don’t do anything for my well being (but they taste damn good!)

Clean Training Foods on Rides During my Spring 400 mile Monster Bike Week #MBW, I ate bars, gels, Cheez-its, Bugles and Pop Tarts.  Training was fun but I think that because of my injury, I consoled myself by eating all different kinds of vegan junk food. This type of Hoovering eating during bike rides doesn’t exactly get me to race weight. NEWS! FLASH! HERE! TRIATHLON TRAINING IS NOT LICENSE TO EAT ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING I’ll probably be logging a fair amount of bike miles over the next couple of months and am going to make sure that my fuel is clean and  CALORIES IN ARE  <  OR = CALORIES OUT

Other Stipulations of My Clean Month Plus Eating Plan

No Grains, Legumes or Dairy I don’t really each much of those anyway, but I do like good cheeses, some hummus, the occasional tofu binge Sofrito Bowl from Chipotle, Coconut Bliss Ice “Cream” and quinoa salad.

No Sugars……Except during hard training and I’ll keep you updated as to what I use for my fueling. I do use Stevia in my hot beverages as I like the taste. This will be a tricky venture as I put maple syrup on almost anything (a-hem Kurt Perham), love raw desserts and have a penchant for snacking on Medjool dates. Unfortunately, my 48 year old body finds the hyper consumption of sugar to be problematic.

Only 2 Adult Beverages a Week Herbal Tea has replaced my nightly wine during the weekday.  I love wine, but I want to see what the effects of ditching it have on me #she’scraycrayright?

Reduction in amount of Dark Chocolate can’t really be eating a pound a day, can I?

Fats Healthy Fats at every meal: Avocados, Tahini Drizzle, Almond Butter, Coconut Butter, Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds, etc.

What I ate on Tuesday Day 2

Wakeup and Dog Beach 4:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m.  Coffee with Unsweetened Coconut Milk

Veggie Scram topped with Hemp Seeds--great way to start the morning--well, okay, I was already 3 hours into it......

Veggie Scram topped with Hemp Seeds–great way to start the morning–well, okay, I was already 3 hours into it……

Breakfast 7:30 a.m. 2 large Eggs with 3 Cups mixed vegetables (Tomatoes, Peppers, Jalapeno, Spinach and Shiitakes) sautéed in 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil and topped with 1 Tbsp Hemp Seeds

Snack before Swimming 11:40 Two Medjool Dates each with ½ tsp Raw Almond Butter and a sprinkle of Himalayan Sea Salt. The salt is next to my supplements…..does that send a clear message or what?

Lunch 1:30 p. Ginormous Salad of Spinach, Cucumbers, Cabbage, Sprouts, Carrot, Avocado, Tahini, Tomatoes, Cider Vinegar and Tempeh

Easy bowl of health and flavor--I'm enjoying the last of the season raspberries and prob. will be switching to pears in the next couple of weeks

Easy bowl of health and flavor–I’m enjoying the last of the season raspberries and prob. will be switching to pears in the next couple of weeks

2nd Lunch post Strength Sesh 1 Cup Raspberries, 1/2 Coconut Yogurt, 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds, 1 tsp Lucuma Powder, 1 tsp Maca Powder; ¼ ounce Dark Chocolate

Beverage Snack 1 Mug of Green Tea with Coconut Milk

Random Bites 2 tsp Almond Butter; Handful of Pumpkin Seeds, 1/2 Cucumber with 1 Tbsp Cashew Dip, 1/2 ounce Dark Chocolate

This was my basic "clean out the frig and braise away" dinner (in this case, a whole head of Cabbage and Caramelized Onions) Anything is better with Garam Masala #itsachefthing

This was my basic “clean out the frig and braise away” dinner (in this case, a whole head of Cabbage and Caramelized Onions) Anything is better with Garam Masala #itsachefthing

Dinner Braised Indian Veg: Cabbage, Onions, Celery, Tomato, Garam Masala, Garlic Ginger, Cauliflower, Cashews, Chilis and Cilantro; 1 Tbsp Coconut Butter; ¼ ounce Dark Chocolate

Midway through my first week, I feel pretty good and while I won’t get on the scale until Friday, I feel less puffy.  Lessons learned thus far:  I know that I need to front load my carbs just before a workout as I bonked a little 45 minutes into today’s swim.  I also need to curb the mindless snacking (not terrible, but definitely can be improved).  I find that triggers are stressful moments or when I’m on the phone walking around the house.

And what about my life as a country song? Some of you must know the joke “What happens when you play a country song backwards?

  • My achilles gets better
  • My dog gets well
  • My bike’s okay
  • I’m feeling younger
  • I’m running again

Have a wonderful day and eat your veggies