#FridayFuel – Avocado Chia Chocolate Mousse

Is it just me or has it been one heck of a week? Sooo…let’s talk dessert! Although dessert doesn’t always fit in to our training and racing goals, I’ll be the first to admit that there are many times when I’m craving something sweet & chocolatey. That’s why this super-easy Avocado Chia Chocolate Mousse is one of my favorites! And why it is featured on my Lighter profile.

How easy you ask?

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor
  2. Process
  3. Pour into serving dishes & pop in the fridge
  4. Eat 🙂

You do want to let this mousse chill for a few hours before enjoying, so I normally prepare it in the morning so that it’s ready for my after-dinner treat. I separate it into 4 serving dishes and seal tight. That’s almost a whole week of desserts!

**the recipe on the Lighter profile is for a single serving, the recipe on my page creates 4 servings

Avocado Chia Chocolate Mousse

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

When training volume is high and I need an extra dose of healthy fats this dessert/snack doubles to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder (or use raw cacao powder for an extra boost of nutrients)
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 4 Tbsp agave (or less if your taste allows – you can also use maple syrup)

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or high power blender and process for 3-5 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.
  2. Pour into a serving dish, cover and chill for a few hours.

 

 

 

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#FridayFuel – Ultimate Blueberry Beet Recovery Shake

Beet Recovery Shake

Photo: Lighter

I’m going to start sharing some of my favorite meals on Fridays. So let’s kick it off with my favorite smoothie! The Ultimate Blueberry Beet Recovery Shake is my go-to after a long or exceptionally taxing workout, or even when I just feel like I need a fresh, clean, nutrient-dense meal that I can enjoy at home or on the go! Sometimes I like to switch up the protein flavor and the fruit – right now I’ve been mixing it up with chocolate Vega One Nutritional Shake and strawberries.

This is the perfect recipe to share on my first #FridayFuel post as this week was also the launch of my profile on Lighter’s new site! If you find yourself wondering how to plan  meals to fuel your everyday training, need quick & easy nutrient-dense options with simple instructions on how to shop and prepare them, or are simply looking for some fresh ideas – Lighter is a service you should check out.

The site is full of leading healthcare providers, professional athletes, chefs, super parents and badass world changers who share their recommendations with you. Lighter simplifies the process by providing easy-to-use shopping lists to get the ingredients you need for your weekly menu and step-by-step instructions on how to create the meals. What an awesome service!

You can find the recipe for my Ultimate Blueberry Beet Recovery Shake on the recipe page of my site, or on my Lighter profile page. Give it a try and tell me what you think! 🙂

 

Ultimate Blueberry Beet Recovery Shake

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This beautiful smoothie packs a ton of nutrition, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories into one glass.

Ingredients


1/4 cup Biotta beet juice
1/2 cup tart cherry juice
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries (or strawberries, raspberries, etc.)
1 scoop Vega Protein & Greens vanilla or chocolate
1 large handful of Kale
1 Tbsp Chia seeds

Directions

  1. Wash the kale and use just the leaves.
  2. Blend all ingredients in a blender until creamy.

#whatveganathleteseat Part 2 – Foods I currently love

It’s been a long time since I’ve checked in with some of my favorite meals, snacks, and workout fuel. And since people are always asking me what I’m eating to fuel my body for training and racing – here are some of my favorites!

Prepared
Training for the 2016 season is ramping up which means quick and easy meals and snacks that taste good and have high nutritional value are key.

kale chickpeasKale & Chickpea Curry – when I hear curry, I’m sold! This recipe was inspired by an IG user (@raftingveggie) who was inspired by a recipe on VegWeb. So quick and easy to make, you can find my version here.

 

 

roasted veggies & tempeh_

Roasted Tempeh & Veggies – it doesn’t get much simpler than this. I chop up some veggies (pictured here: broccoli, brussels sprouts, delicata squash), a package of tempeh, toss all of it in a pie plate with some melted coconut oil, and bake for ~30 minutes at 350.
smashbowl

 

Southwestern Smashbowl – 1/2 cooked sweet potato, 1/2 can black beans, 1/2 avocado. I’ll throw it all in a bowl, and if I have some cashew sour cream on hand I’ll add some Tamerlaine Farm Rudy’s Hot Smoked Red sauce to make it spicy. Then I’ll mash it all together and enjoy!

 

Packaged
While I am not a fan of processed foods sometimes pre-packaged foods and snacks can make life a lot easier. The key is to find foods that have very few ingredients.

pumpkin seedsCB’s Nuts Organic Pumpkin Seeds – they taste like buttered popcorn. Enough said. There are 2 ingredients – pumpkin seeds and sea salt. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of iron.

 

 

 

 

 

lentil macaroniTolerant Organic Green Lentil Elbow Macaroni – Tolerant Foods has a full line of legume “pastas” and they are awesome! All with one ingredient. A great way to get a healthy dose of protein and fiber.

 

 

 

 

papusa

Tres Pupusas Black Bean & Sweet Corn – this is one of two vegan flavors they offer (the only one I can get locally – I need to get my hands on the Kale and Pinto Bean!) I pop these in the toaster oven for 10 minutes and enjoy them with a side of avocado and Tamerlaine Farm Casey’s Hot Super Green sauce.

 

 

Pre-Workout
dateStuffed Dates 
– If I have a bike workout in the morning I like to have a little more than my steadfast banana. I remove the pit of the date and fill it with almond butter. Then I sprinkle shredded coconut, cinnamon, and sea salt on top. They are super-filling, tasty, and also easy to eat on the bike 🙂

 

antsonalogAnts on a Log – what can I say? I cannot out-grow this treat. I have been enjoying this snack every day for at least a month now before my 2nd workout of the day. Celery stalks, almond butter, and raisins – BAM!

 

 

There’s your view into my kitchen to see what I am currently eating. Simple, nourishing meals and snacks that provide sustained energy for my training, and speed recovery. Since this is a taper week and I have a little extra time on my hands, I made one of my all-time favorites from The Post Punk Kitchen. Beet burgers! A little more work goes into making them but it is totally worth the effort!

beet burgers

Feel free to share your favorite vegan recipes that fuel your training with me – I always love to try new things! 🙂

 

Reasons Why I Love The Feed

feedlogo

If you are not familiar with The Feed, let me introduce you. The Feed is a web-based sports nutrition store supplying athletes with the best fuel (and snacks) on the market. You’re in great hands with The Feed knowing that the team is composed of athletes who have tried and tested everything they are offering to their customers. I have been a customer for over a year now and if you have yet to order from them let me share with you some of the reasons why I love this service.

  1. Ease of searching for products. The site is super user-friendly with an extensive menu on the left of the screen giving you many options to narrow your search. Type of product you’re looking for, when you would be using it (pre-workout, post-workout, during workout, etc.), brand, and of course my favorite – dietary choice. That’s right – I hop on to The Feed and click on vegan which takes me to all of the products made for me 🙂
    feed2
  2. Single servings for everyone! I’m a sample girl for sure. Sports nutrition can be pricey, and I’m sure we’ve all made the mistake at some time or another where we buy the latest and greatest product only to find that either we don’t like it or it doesn’t work for us. Most of the products you find on The Feed come in single serving size! It’s a great way to test before you commit to a new product. Or just to add some variety to your life.
  3. The box. Everyone loves the box. While I know that many people are tickled pink by the personalized message you receive inside every box, for an super-organized person like me there is even more to love.
    These are a few of my favorite things...

    These are a few of my favorite things…

    I will admit, the first thing I do when I open my box is read the message, but then I take stock of what’s inside and close it back up to be packed away. Beyond using The Feed to try new products, my main reason for shopping with them is to purchase everything I need for a race at once and have it all tidied up and safe inside its box ready for my race. I started this at Cayuga Trails 50 last year. It was my first 50 miler and I wanted to make sure I had plenty of nutrition and hydration for before, during, and after the race. I simply logged on to The Feed, clicked on all of the necessities (Skratch Labs hydration mixes and energy chews, Huma gels, Beet Elite shots, and Vega Sport Pre-Workout & Recovery Accelerator), reviewed everything in my shopping cart, and when the box arrived I was able to pack it in my bag for my trip. It was even more helpful for my trip to Switzerland. I was there for a whole week prior to the race and when you travel abroad you never know what you will and won’t find to meet your needs. I was able to purchase all of my pre, during, and post-race fuel along with plenty of healthy snacks to keep me well-fed throughout the week leading up to the race.

Those are my main reasons for using The Feed, but there are still plenty of other perks. They actually send you emails that you want, and not too frequently. If there is a new item they think you may want to check out, if they’re having a special, even tips on fueling from the pros. I always enjoy getting a code for a free water bottle. It’s the little things… There is a blog on the site that features some cool articles on nutrition and training. If you’re not sure where to start, they offer pre-made boxes (that you can specialize to some degree) for different sports or dietary needs, like the Vegan Nutrition Box 🙂 They even offer subscriptions. You can either build your own box to be delivered to you monthly so you have control over what’s in your box along with how much you’re spending, or go with one of their boxes. And there’s free shipping on all orders over $49!

So, now you know why I love The Feed and use their service for my training and racing needs. If you’re looking to try some new products or just want an easier way to order your favorite nutrition products I highly recommend it. And while you’re at it, feel free to use my referral link to get $5 off 🙂  https://thefeed.com/?raf=14308

Happy Training in 2016!

Scott Jurek’s #AT Appalachian Trail #FKT attempt

This post needs little introduction as most in the running community are aware that Scott Jurek, who is known as one of the greatest ultrarunners of all time, is currently attempting his most ambitious adventure yet – he is aiming for the FKT (fastest known time) on the Appalachian trail. He is running the 2,160 mile trail from Georgia to Maine. As of this post he is in New Hampshire and closing in on the record.

A recent debate has sparked due to a comment made by another accomplished ultrarunner, Marshall Ulrich, on Facebook:

ulrich

“Diet is everything, I make no bones about saying Vegan and multiday doesn’t work, many of us discovered this long ago adventure racing, mountaineering and recently running across America, 3063 miles in 52 days, losing only 4 pounds eating anything and everything that my body told me to. Scott is losing muscle mass and has no real food (fats and proteins) to replace it. Having said that, I wish Scott all the luck in the world and I consider him a good friend. p.s. I used to be a vegetarian YEARS ago.”

As he argued his stance throughout the thread he becomes more insulting and you will start to see why it caused friction. While I realize this was probably an attention-grab and I am only giving him more attention by posting my thoughts, I would like to share some of my views as this is obviously a topic I care about. Marshall was sharing his opinion and I support that. However I find the argument both laughable and sad. Laughable because while he feels that a vegan diet doesn’t work, vegan athletes will go about their business training and racing and proving people like Marshall wrong. Sad because there are still people out there who are completely misinformed. Here are some of my opinions on the topic:

1) As I mentioned above Marshall’s remarks reflect his opinion and he is entitled to that. However in his responses to some of the comments made he is citing his opinion as fact rather than evidence-based findings. I feel that in order to have a meaningful discussion about the topic you should do some research first.

2) He lost credibility with me simply by saying “Scott is losing muscle mass and has no real food (fats and proteins) to replace it.” If a plant-based diet doesn’t consist of “real food” I must be thoroughly confused…

3) Marshall mentions that during his Run Across America he lost only four pounds. That is great for him! He is judging Scott’s health based on a picture. While I do not intend to do the same, I did search for multiple pictures of Marshall and it is my opinion that he has a different body type than Scott. Comparing how Scott’s body handles a multi-day event to how his own body fared would be like comparing myself to Shalane Flanagan.

3) Marshall ran across the US on roads. This is an amazing accomplishment and I applaud him. I am not in any way downplaying his athleticism. However Scott is running the Appalachian Trail which arguably produces a different amount of wear on the body. So again this is like comparing apples to oranges. I don’t think I need to explain this any further.

4) I find it disappointing that Marshall felt the need to make this comment during Scott’s run. Scott is not only tackling a major goal and dream of his but he is also crushing it! He’s a fellow athlete – why not show support and keep your negative comments to yourself? To me being a professional athlete isn’t only about your accomplishments, but how you conduct yourself – how you treat your fellow athletes and fans. I feel like these comments are in bad taste.

5) I find it odd that the focus is on his vegan diet and not a question of “is he eating enough?” Newsflash: you can get enough calories/fat/protein on a vegan diet! Are we seriously still having this discussion? That argument has been squashed long ago. Why are we fixating on it?

6) Finally, what I will never, ever understand is why anyone feels the need to bash the vegan lifestyle. We are not hurting anyone with our choices. Our actions come from compassion – compassion to animals that we view as fellow beings who deserve our respect, and compassion for our environment that we wish to protect.

And with that I wish Scott continued success on his journey. I think everyone can agree that it is awesome to witness what he is accomplishing – vegan or not. I also look forward to watching Team USA at the Women’s World Cup Final tonight as I support all fellow athletes who exemplify passion for their sport, determination, and talent.

I would love to hear your thoughts 🙂

What Vegan Athletes Eat

Thankfully the longtime question “where do you get your protein?” is fading. I think it’s becoming quite obvious that 1) people, even athletes, think they need way more protein than they really do, and 2) you can meet and exceed your daily protein requirements on a plant-based diet.
pyramidThe question that I am constantly asked is simple: “What do you eat?” It is a question I love. It shows that people are curious about my diet and really want to know more about it. I am always happy to discuss food 🙂 Since it is asked of me so often, I decided to share some of the main staples.

Breakfast
My day absolutely, positively starts with a banana. Bananas are chock-full of greatness. Vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, biotin, copper & fiber. They’re easy to travel with because they come in a cozy little protective shell, and you can find them almost anywhere.
banana banana2

A banana along with a bottle of Vega Pre Workout Energizer get me ready for my first training session of the day.

After training I enjoy a bottle of Vega Recovery Accelerator and right now my go-to breakfast is homemade muesli. In the winter I’ll go with oatmeal and I’m also a fan of muffins. Muesli is the flavor of the season for me right now.
muesliI mix gluten-free oats, raisins, almonds, coconut flakes, cinnamon and soak it in dark chocolate almond milk. That hits the spot! The oats are a low glycemic carb, almonds provide essential fats and protein, shredded coconut contains selenium (an antioxidant), and raisins provide several essential minerals like potassium, iron, calcium, manganese, zinc, copper and sodium. They are also rich in dietary fibers, Vitamin C, Vitamin B-complex, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. These micronutrients are very important for an athlete’s recovery. Cinnamon is a powerhouse not only because it is rich in anti-oxidants, but it also has been shown to reduce inflammation, reduce oxidative stress and ease muscle soreness.

Lunch
I’ve been on a curry kick lately. Not only because it’s delicious – it’s also a great meal for athletes. Coconut milk is full of electrolytes, ginger is an anti-inflammatory and a digestive aid, curry is good for circulation, and turmeric is also an anti-inflammatory. I have found an awesome curry recipe that is super easy to make and store for lunches throughout the week!
curry

http://vegweb.com/recipes/coconut-quinoa-and-sweet-potato-curry

Another nourishing and delicious meal that a friend shared is super-easy to make in bulk. https://katepaicefroio.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/cabbage-sweet-onion-red-lentils/

Cabbage is a powerhouse for fiber and vitamin K. It’s also high in sulfur which is great for the skin. Paired with the vitamin C content of the cabbage, the phytochemicals in onions improve immunity. Among the benefits of lentils, one of the best is their high protein content. Lentils provide slow-burning energy and are a great source of iron.

If I haven’t pre-made my lunches for the week I’ll go with a big salad of spinach, tempeh, sunflower seeds, and whatever vegetables I have in the fridge. The previous night’s leftovers always work well too 🙂

Dinner
Dinner is where I can really have fun if I have enough time in my day 😉 I could go on and on about wonderful meals I love to try – if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram I’m sure you’ve seen quite a few! For this blog I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. A go-to dinner for me is simple: grain (rice, quinoa, millet), green and/or other veggies (kale, broccoli, squash, brussel sprouts, etc.) and tempeh. I sauté the tempeh in coconut oil and Bragg Liquid Aminos. Quick and easy – covers all the bases.

I am a creature of habit and can easily eat the same thing day after day. Having awesome recipes at my fingertips helps me to branch out and try new things that I rarely have the time to experiment with on my own. Here are some of my favorite recipe resources:

Thrive Kitchen – http://thriveforward.com/thrive-kitchen/
Vegan Richa – http://www.veganricha.com/
Oh She Glows – http://ohsheglows.com/
Nom Yourself – http://www.nomyourself.com/
Post Punk Kitchen – http://www.theppk.com/

Snacks
Who doesn’t love snacks? The word alone makes me smile. Here are a few of my main squeezes. Curry cashews, apples, humus with veggies, sweet potatoes. I sometimes like to make my own trail mix with seeds, nuts, dried fruit. Okay, and maybe some dark chocolate pieces!
cashewAnd I can’t forget the best of the best – avocado. Mother Earth’s most precious gift to me 🙂 Give me a half of an avocado, a salt shaker, a spoon, and I’m one happy girl! It has so many uses, but another one of my favorites is mixed with chia seeds, cocoa and agave as a pudding. As you can tell, getting those EFA’s is important to me. And important to my body. Don’t skimp on those healthy fats!
avocado

If I’m enduring a tougher training block, or even if I feel like my body just needs some extra fuel, a VegaOne shake is the perfect addition to my day. My favorite flavor is French Vanilla and I add a scoop to some water, a big handful of spinach, and some fruit in the Vitamix and I don’t need to worry about my body not getting what it needs! Check out this profile:VegaOne-All-in-One-GraphicI also have a sweet tooth, but eating processed sweets doesn’t fit into my training. Recently I’ve been addicted to these fudge bars that are raw and you keep in the freezer. The perfect snack at the end of my day with 7 simple ingredients: dates, almonds, walnuts, cocoa powder, bananas, almond butter & agave.
fudgie barIt’s as easy as that. Simple ingredients, simple combinations. I’m never left craving anything because I’m giving my body everything I need using clean, whole foods. In the near future I will write about my training and race nutrition. In the meantime, always feel free to ask me any questions. I love food, I love talking about it, and I love sharing ideas!