If you haven’t noticed I am a big fan of curries. I could eat curry every day. Easy to make, so much flavor, and so many benefits for athletes! I always preach that the best way to recover from a hard workout or race is with a nourishing curry. I cannot tell you the last time I’ve popped a NSAID – it’s been so many years. Why take a pill created in a lab when you can use natural spices to keep inflammation at bay?
As I enjoy curries so often, I find it convenient to mix up a few single-serving jars of my curry mix at a time. Although it doesn’t take that long to throw a mix of spices into a dish on the stove I find it quick and easy to simply open 1 jar and dump the entire contents in the pan when I am in a hurry to get dinner made!
Coconut Quinoa and Sweet Potato Curry is one of my favorite go-to curry dishes. After my evening workout I can throw the quinoa and chickpeas in a saucepan while I hop in the shower and prepare the rest afterwards.
A slight twist on your typical chickpea salad – I use ripe avocado in place of vegan mayonnaise as a healthy, creamy fat alternative. There are many ways to enjoy this dish – I like to load it into romaine lettuce wraps (and then add pickle slices on top for even more dill flavor!). I also enjoy it as a topper to a spinach salad. You can add it in a wrap or pita with other veggies and sprouts. Or simply eat it out of the bowl with a spoon 🙂
Kale salad is one of my favorites! It is my preferred meal base the night before a race. This recipe is taken from my favorite eatery here in New Paltz – Karma Road’s Kalecado. It’s super-easy to make a big batch of salad that can last for a few days.
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?
Place all ingredients in a food processor
Pour into serving dishes & pop in the fridge
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
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! 🙂
This beautiful smoothie packs a ton of nutrition, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories into one glass.
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
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!
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 & 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 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.
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.
CB’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.
Pre-Workout Stuffed 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 🙂
Ants 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!
Feel free to share your favorite vegan recipes that fuel your training with me – I always love to try new things! 🙂
It’s been a great weekend – here are some highlights:
Scott Jurek’s Masterpiece Of course we all know that Scott Jurek completed his thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail yesterday in record time – he now owns the FKT (fastest known time). He completed 2,160 miles in 46 days, 8 hours and 8 minutes. Incredible! The finals days had been described as “a nail biter” and people said they were “at the edge of my seat” as they tracked his journey. I also saw plenty of “I don’t think he’s going to make it” and “there’s no way he can make it.” Psshhh. For those of us who followed Scott Jurek prior to this epic adventure we knew that when the going gets tough, that is when Scott shines. There was no way he was not going to break the record. There is a lot we can learn from him – from his mental toughness and never-give-up attitude to his strong determination to chase his dream. I hope that everyone is inspired to set their own goal and work like crazy to achieve it. He is an amazing athlete with a race resume that cannot be touched. Congrats Scott!
Photo taken from Scott Jurek’s Facebook page
We are the Strongest Hearts
The much-anticipated video has been posted! Strongest Hearts creates a web series highlighting vegan athletes. There are plenty of great videos to check out that are informative and fun 🙂 The Strongest Hearts crew joined Team Strong Hearts Vegan Power at this year’s Cape Cod Ragnar to document our adventure. Here is the result:
Thank you Strongest Hearts for spending time with us and for showing the world what vegan athletes are capable of.
Personal Update Today starts week 2 of my build to Powerman Zofingen in September and I couldn’t feel better – both mentally and physically. Mentally it’s great to be focusing on one race again. Racing American Zofingen long course, Cayuga Trails 50 miler, Eagleman Ironman 70.3, and Vegan Power 50k back-to-back was challenging and exciting, but also tough in more ways than one. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to figure out how to mesh my training for these different events, and I enjoyed the process of trying to recover and switch gears completely in a short amount of time. It was definitely a learning experience and most of all I loved proving to myself that I could handle it. However the result was that I went into each race not in top form as I wasn’t able to train solely for any of them.
My mileage going into the 50 miler was nowhere near what it should have been. While working a full-time job there was no way to hit the mileage needed to be competitive in that field when I had to work on hitting the minimum volume I needed on the bike as well. I relied on my bike training to make up for the lack of running mileage but it cannot replace the time on your feet. The result was that I held 2nd place for 33 miles before barely hanging on to 4th to finish. At Eagleman my swim was horrendous, and while this was nothing new for me I don’t want to even admit how little swim training I did before the race. When swimming was the smallest portion of all of the racing I was doing, it definitely got pushed aside…a lot. By the time I got to the 50 k I knew that I would be fine volume-wise but I think what drained me the most was racing in crazy heat at Eagleman only 6 days prior. I was happy to be finished and onto a 2 week break with minimal training.
And now I am happy to be following a strict plan leading up to Powerman Zofingen. I thrive on regimented training and without having to juggle, second-guess, make changes on the fly I can simply put my head down and do what I do best – train! I have 2 trail races coming up in the next 2 weekends but they will be more for fun. I am 100% working towards Switzerland now – a bucket list race for me and a World Championship. I feel recharged and ready to go!
I hope everyone else is having a great season of training and racing with some goals to look forward to!
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:
“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.
Ragnar Cape Cod – May 8th and 9th 2015. What an experience! You would think that being stuck in a van with 6 other people for so many hours without sleep would feel like a never-ending endeavor. It never is. It always flies by in a flash and once we all part ways to go back to our everyday lives we wonder why it had to come to an end so soon. We wish we could be back in that van – in desperate need of a shower, a wholesome hot meal, our beds… just because the experience is so positive, motivating and downright fun. Some of us show up to this event as absolute strangers but we leave as close friends. We’ve shared a powerful experience and although we may all come from different backgrounds we share 2 common passions – running and promoting ethical veganism to both our supporters and the naysayers. And I’d say we do a damn good job at both!
Let’s start with the obvious reasons why this Ragnar event took our cause to a new level of awesome:
We wanted to take over the Cape and we succeeded! There were plenty of comments about how we were everywhere. “How many of you are there?” Our shirts are bold, our attitudes positive and our message clear – anything you can do we can do vegan!
We did have a goal going into this event. Out of the 3 teams we created Team A to include the fastest runners of our group. We wanted to win. The A Team was the last to start – at 1 pm on Friday. In our ~22 hours on the course we passed a LOT of teams – all getting the view of the back of our shirts: Mission accomplished! Out of 332 Mixed Open (co-ed) teams we were 1st Overall! 3rd overall out of 456 12-person teams, and 4th overall out of 512 total teams (including the ultra teams). As co-captain Scott Spitz pointed out in regards to the team who has the fastest finishing time, “the team consisted of college kids who were not running with the accumulated emotional baggage of divorce, kids, unemployment, employment, etc….so factor in that manner of “life grading”…and we basically won.” 🙂
A Team – Top Row from Left: Scott Gilroy, Suzie Constantin, Jeremy Ritz-Totten, Adrian Centoni, Ian Sherlock, Clifford Dean, Sean Scott, Mike Pease, Chris Cooney. Bottom Row from left: Micah Risk, Scott Spitz, Laura Kline, Aaron Zellhoefer, Christine Tylee
B Team – Top Row from left: Peter Guarino, Jonny Hero, Scott Barras, Jonathan Auyer, Skott Daltonic, Jason Young, Martin Rowe. Middle Row from left: Laura Ryan, Kaitlin Long, Dana Portnoy, Meghann Wilson. Bottom Row from left: Sheila Bailey, Becca Wellner, Stephanie Crumley.
C Team – Top Row from left: Laura Gardner, Michael Harren, Scott Henderson, Julie Henderson, Joel Capolongo, Peter Nussbaum, Kendra Murphy, Kate Paice-Froio. Bottom Row from left: Summer Keown, Carrie Hineline, Alicia Ford, Jasmin Singer, Melissa Centoni, Molly Wason.
What about the running? Well, I barely remember that part 😉 A whole lot of work was put into making this event happen, and I’ve never been so exhausted before the Ragnar even started! Once we all converged at the Whole Foods in Hingham, MA – the chaos began! Organizing 42 people, tons of food, race gear, binders, etc. into 6 assigned vans was quite the task. It basically looked like a party erupted in that parking lot before the store even opened, and it wasn’t long before the manager of Whole Foods came outside to check it out. He was super-cool and supportive of our efforts, and minutes later emerged with a shopping cart full of cases of water to donate to our cause.
Thank you Whole Foods!
We all made it to the start line with just enough time to get C Team ready for the first start, and our awesome team photo (in the sponsor picture above). One by one each of our 3 teams set off to run 192 miles from Hull to Provincetown, MA. We would only see each other again for a brief time at one of the major exchanges when we all caught up to one another.
Coming into the exchange after my first leg
The real fun started as each of our teams reached the finish line. We were finally able to see everyone again and do some relaxing now that our journey was coming to an end. As each team arrived, we all ran through the finish chute together. It was quite a sight when Team C finished – all 42 of us, and even a few of our awesome vegan volunteers – storming the finish line with the announcer saying “Here come the vegans, surrounded by butterflies. Everyone loves the vegans!”
We placed our mark on the Ragnar Wall before heading out to our meet-up spot to celebrate and hand out awards. It’s difficult to sum up how awesome this opportunity is for us. We all see the tide turning as more and more people are not only accepting, but praising and seeking information about veganism. One of the greatest things we do at Ragnar (beyond our awesome running) is talk to people. Runners, volunteers, even residents of the towns we pass through see our shirts, our smiling faces, and the fun that we are having. We are often approached by people who want to know more – they want to learn about our cause, why we choose veganism, what we eat. All of our teammates are happy to share our experiences and that is what this is all about. Other vegan runners are excited to see us – they come up and thank us for doing what we’re doing and ask how they can be a part of it.
We rarely hear negative comments or even the ever-so-popular “I love bacon!” Mainly we hear “Go VEGAN!” and “damn those vegans are fast!” I’ll wrap this up with a bit of humor – here are 2 exchanges I learned about through other teammates:
At C Team’s start line:
Announcer: “And here they are with their healthy diet – Vegan Power!”
Skott Daltonic: “It’s more than just a diet man, it’s a lifestyle. Also have you seen me at a vegan bakery before?”
In the shuttle parking lot on the way to the finish line:
A burly member of Team Taekwondo: “If you want to perform like a bull, you have to eat like a bull!”
Alicia Ford: “Yeah but bulls eat grass.”
Burly dude: “Damn, and you are smarter than me too!”
Oh how I love this team!
One last note – we are currently fielding teams for the Ragnar Adirondacks on September 25th and 26th. If you are a vegan runner who wants to be a part of something amazing, please get in touch! If you are a vegan who doesn’t love running, we’re going to need drivers too! We had 6 awesome drivers who were so inspired by this event – they will all be running the next one! Check out our website and our Facebook fan page to keep up-to-date with what we are doing!
And last…check out this awesome video that Chris Cooney, of The Vegan Zombie fame, made during the last few hours of Team A Van 2’s race.
(that’s right, there’s not just 1, but 2 Runners World cover models in this video!)
I had been looking forward to last weekend’s trip for quite some time. And despite the travel issues we had getting out to the cape on Friday, Plan B went into effect and we left New Paltz for the 2nd time late Saturday morning. Phew – the trip was still on!
I had no doubts that the whale-watching adventure would be amazing. As I got to “know” Skott a little more over the past few months my excitement grew. It is obvious that he has a very deep passion and excitement about what he offers through Provincetown Whales. This isn’t your average whale watching trip, and I will explain why.
Stroll along the beach in P-town
Once we arrived in Provincetown and checked into the hotel we set off on foot to explore downtown and grab a lovely dinner at Tiny’s. During this time I received a message from Skott – he was changing the location of where we were meeting at 8:30 the next morning. Why is this special? Because Captain Mike is extremely knowledgable and knows where the whales are going to be. With only 5 other passengers besides Skott and the Captain it is very easy to make this last-minute change which was only going to make our trip more enjoyable. They explained that because of the smaller boat they have more flexibility in where we can go. Those bigger whale watch trips can only leave from their dock and don’t have the range to explore in the short period of time they offer. We had 5 hours, yes 5 hours, to explore. And because we had the prime starting location and the intel on where the whales where spending their day it meant more to be seen on our trip. Makes me wonder if the other tour boats got to see much at all…
Tiny’s had great vegan options
Once we all met at the dock and exchanged some quick introductions we quickly boarded and set off. The weather was perfect and the scenery was beautiful on our way out to the ocean waters. We passed two big herds of seals on our way out as well – sunning themselves on sandbars. Very cool to see!
Our vessel and crew
Before we knew it we were 3 miles out and already seeing whales! Here are 2 whales that were feeding right in front of us. We learned how to spot when whales were near. First you see the feeder fish along the surface – dark rippled patterns on the water – sometimes right up to the boat. Then you see the birds. Those birds sure are smart – they know that when the whales surface they can swoop in to grab whatever escapes the whales’ mouths. Seeing the circle of life in a natural environment is sweet.
Photo credit: Danny Bent
Yes! First whales of the day with hours left at sea. That’s when it became surreal. I mentioned that the weather was perfect – not only could we see for miles but it was also so calm and quiet that we could hear for miles too. Suddenly we’re looking around and there were spouts everywhere! We were surrounded by whales! (insert child-like squealing here) We could see spouts, we could hear spouts, and then we got to see the highlight of the day – whales breaching! This was by far the coolest thing to see. Unfortunately we were never close enough to get good pictures of this. We would see a whale breach and then head towards their direction hoping to see more of this behavior, only to arrive and see another breach somewhere else. Oh the struggle of having so many whales to see 😉
What was most spectacular about witnessing this behavior is that we were seeing it in the whales’ natural environment. Not at SeaWorld where these beautiful creatures are confined in way-too-small tanks and forced to perform for people. Over the past year SeaWorld has received major backlash and has seen a sharp decline (woo hoo!) thanks to the documentary Blackfish. I’m sure most of you have seen it by now, but if you haven’t I definitely recommend checking it out. It really drives home the point of why Provincetown Whales is so special. When you see the whales in their natural environment just doing what they love to do you have a better understanding of why places like SeaWorld are so bad. Multiple times throughout the day we encountered a mother with her calf. The way it should be!
Let’s take a moment and check out these awesome flukes 😉
Photo credit: Danny Bent
Photo credit: Danny Bent
Photo credit: Danny Bent
What more can I say? We saw a lot, we learned a lot, our faces hurt from smiling – what a day! New friends made and an experience that will last a lifetime. Luckily it doesn’t have to. We will definitely take another trip with Provincetown Whales next year! At $110 per person it may cost a bit more than the larger carriers but the experience is unmatched. An intimate group of people, a longer time on the water, and top-notch expertise. No profit is made on this trip – the money pays for chartering the boat and fuel. The point of this trip is to raise greater awareness of these spectacular mammals.
Thank you Skott!
I’ve posted links to Provincetown Whales, but also feel free to follow on Facebook where you will find more pictures from the trips as well as dates for tours. He still has a few spots open on some of this season’s trips and he may add more if there is demand. If not, stay tuned for next season – I know I’ll be waiting anxiously to book my next excursion! If you’ve always wanted to go on a whale watching adventure, I highly recommend Provincetown Whales. If you’ve taken a whale watching trip in the past and were disappointed, I highly recommend Provincetown Whales. If you’ve never thought about taking a whale watching trip, I urge you to try something new. You will thank me 🙂