What’s on my Plate

If there is one thing I am sure of, it’s that every body is different. While one person might thrive on a vegan diet, it may leave another bloated and lethargic (me me!!). There is more than one way to live and there are numerous ways to eat. Since I know there is no one size fits all solution to health and nutrition, I’ve worked really hard at trying things out and finding my own way. With a pretty extensive history of disordered eating, it’s important to me that no foods are ever categorized as “off-limits”, and while I research and borrow from different *diets, I’m always adjusting and modifying plans to fit my taste, tolerance, and lifestyle.

With all that being said, there are some things I’ll only eat on a cheat day and others that I just won’t touch. I don’t eat fast food–ever. Crappy food makes me feel like crap. When I eat something deep fried or indulgent, I want it to be worth it–I want to enjoy it and feel happy after I eat it. Frankly, I feel only two things after I eat fast food and they both involve a swift run to the loo.

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credit: jon tyson

I think of diet and nutrition the same way I think of running or writing–there’s always room to grow and I’m open to learning from other people’s experiences and sharing ideas. That’s what this post is really all about–sharing and tossing around info and tips.

I wanted to wait to get a few weeks into marathon training before I talked about nutrition because I wasn’t sure how I might tweak certain things. I typically eat a diet almost completely void of grain and I wasn’t sure if that was going to have to change with all the extra mileage. As many of you may have read here before, my Ma is a holistic nutritionist. I feel so fortunate to always be able to powwow with her and figure out what’s working for me and what’s not. She was skeptical about me suddenly adding in grains and extra carbohydrate because she knows that my body has not reacted well to them in the past. Grains and sugar create a lot of inflammation in my body and leave me bloated, sore, and generally uncomfortable–not exactly what I’d call performance enhancing!

Instead of going the normal carb-loading route, I decided to pretty much stick to my normal clean diet–only with even more food added to it–more fat, more protein, and more fruit (I always get plenty of veg but have tended to limit my fruit in the past due to the sugar.) I looked into the bulletproof/ketogenic lifestyle while I was trying to figure out my nutrition and I found that the plans as a whole were a bit too extreme for me. I’m not afraid of fat and I’ve actually successfully incorporated some suggested sources of fat from these plans. Still, the ratios of these diets didn’t seem right to me. Although I do eat meat, my diet is very vegetable heavy and any plan that steers me away from that makes me skeptical. These diets also frown on almost any sugars. Normally I would as well but I am utilizing gels and chews on my long runs. They give me the fuel I need in the form of quick burning sugars; as long as I’m only using these for energy on my long runs they won’t stick around in my body as inflammation or settle around my belly as extra fat.

I don’t count calories or carbs or macros–I eat as much on intuition as I possibly can. Here’s what I’ve been noshing on during a typical day lately:

Wakeup (between 445-545am):

Notes: My early morning routine has probably got a couple of things some people will think are strange, but they really work for me. I am currently LOVING the combo of the MCT oil and banana in the morning–the fat + carb gives me the sustained push I need to get through my strength training at the gym. I bring the bone broth with me and drink it right before I hop on the treadmill for hill interval or speed workouts. Bone broth is kind of my secret weapon–salty liquid + protein is this runner’s dream! I know to some people taking a shot of oil seems crazy and maybe even gross. It’s become just like throwing down a quick supplement to me so it’s really easy. Healthy fats like this one have helped fuel and satiate me in a way that I never knew was possible–I’m a big believer!

Breakfast (after run/gym, 745-815am):

  • Vega One Nutritional Shake (veggies + protein)/ Vega Sport Protein Shake (lift days)
  • Steamed veg (broccoli, spinach blend, or cauliflower) w/ grass-fed butter

Notes: I have been buying these two Vega products for years now and I really love them. They use really clean ingredients and a great plant protein. I really appreciate that I can get a big serving of veggies PLUS protein all in one shake. While I love cold-pressed juices I only treat myself to them once a week after yoga. They are SO expensive and I’m still hungry after since there’s no protein. These shakes get that protein right to my muscles after my workout. When I combine that with my veg/butter combo, I’ve got all the energy I need to tackle my morning commute. I know some of you might be thinking: veggies for breakfast? Gross! I’m telling you though if you’re a person who can build routine, give this a try! Sure the first few times, broccoli in the AM tastes totally foreign and weird. But I swear, after a week or two, you’ll be missing those morning greens if they’re not on hand. I’m kind of of the mindset that I can never get enough veggies so I’ve found having them for breakfast is a great way to start my day on the right track. Also–adding the fat to them makes them super satiating!

Arrive at work (9am):

Notes: Checking work emails/responding to blog comments/listening to the BBC at my desk with this cup of tea is usually the most relaxing part of my day. Tulsi tea has amazing anti-inflammatory properties so I love to visualize it soothing my joints as the collagen lubricates them.

Second brekkie/snack (10-1030am):

  • Half or full can of sardines OR
  • Baked yam w/ grass-fed ghee OR
  • Homemade guacamole w/ crisped grain-free tortilla

Notes: I am pretty lucky to work at a place that has a full kitchen–I’m not sure that’s something everyone has. I take full advantage and regularly bake yams or whip up a quick guacamole. PS- the grain-free tortillas might be one of my favorite products on earth. They are made from only a few ingredients–the main one being almonds. I usually throw a little good fat on the cast iron skillet and crisp them up quickly so they are like tostadas. I throw eggs on them, guacamole, even tuna-they are amazing. This second breakfast is based on feel–sometimes my body is calling for a carb/fat combo, other times it’s telling me I need more protein. That’s where the sardines come in. I rediscovered them on our recent trip to Portugal and it was such a light bulb moment–I LOVE them, and they are kind of my perfect food–sustainable + protein + healthy fat. Not to mention super affordable! Now I’m aware that sardines are not for everyone and even the smell can be a huge turnoff for some. This is why I eat them over the kitchen sink instead of at my desk! My coworkers are really great and put up with all of my “different” eating habits (we all know what steamed broccoli smells like), but this one I spare them, and I believe they are grateful.

Lunch (1230-130pm):

  • Salad w/protein/fat/veg OR
  • Meat plus veg OR
  • Bean dish plus veg

Notes: I work in the TV/Film industry and a part of that gig is getting lunch and other craft service paid for. It’s a great perk. It also means that I order lunch every day. While I know ordering from restaurants is problematic for some–I love it, and find I can usually get a healthy and satisfying meal. I would say I order a salad once a week, sometimes twice-but that’s it. I love a hot meal at lunch. The rest of the days are anything from Thai to sushi (NO RICE!), to Indian or Mexican, and pretty much everything in between. Our production assistants do a great job of offering a good variety from day to day and it really helps me break out of the regimented food plan that encapsulates a good portion of my day. Pro tip: I always steam an extra veggie in the morning and bring it with me to work so I know I have my greens on hand–it makes selecting lunch a little easier when all I have to worry about is the protein.

Snack (3:30-4pm):

  • Kombucha AND/OR
  • Berries or cherries AND/OR
  • Spoonful of almond butter

Notes: Nothing refreshes me like kombucha–it’s my fav afternoon pick me up. I love to throw one in the freezer for 15-20 minutes so it get’s reallly cold–seriously, so delish. (Pro tip: Remember it’s in the freezer or results may be explosive!).  I love berries in the afternoon as well–more refreshment and more anti-inflammatories (you may be noticing my eat-to-reduce inflammation pattern–I find it’s the key to feeling my best and reducing injury!)

Dinner (730-8pm):

  • Organic/free range/grass-fed/ OR wild caught meat or fish
  • Veggie (usually mixed green salad)

Notes: Dinner in our house on a weeknight has to live up to three requirements: Quick, clean, and yummy. Most nights I get dinner on the table within 20-30 minutes. In the winter I’ll take a little more time and roast some veggies in the oven–but in the warmer months, a salad is the easiest way to go and feels more fresh and comfortable. There’s not a ton of variety going on here–I tend to leave that for the weekend. Still, it’s pretty hard for me to get bored of a nicely seared steak or a good roast chicken. My goal is always simple food, done well. I guess you guys will have to ask my hubs to see how I’m doing on that!

Weekend treats:

  • Grains!
  • Dairy!
  • Sweet Stuff!

Notes: So truth be told, I stay away from dairy 98% of the time–but I gotta have pizza, at least once a month. I totally nerd it up and actually mark when we have pizza on the calendar–I would probably order it way too often if I didn’t do this, I love it. That’s another one of those trades. You might ask, why not eat it a little more often if you love it so much? The truth is, my taste buds love it, but my body doesn’t. Pizza is a Friday night stay at home/not going anywhere treat. The gluten in the dough leaves me bloated and sluggish–and the dairy necessitates that I stay close to the facilities for hours after I eat it. So–worth it, but only so often.

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Life is short. I happily eat fries once a week.

There was a time when I went a little crazy on the weekends–I felt like I deserved it after eating right and getting my workouts in all week. Thing is, the older I get, the lousier I feel after too many treats. My body takes too much time to recover and I end up tired and full of regret–that is not at all how I want to feel about eating–my relationship to food is too important, it’s not something I’m willing to take for granted.

Speaking of recovery time, since marathon training has my long runs scheduled for Sundays, I have recently moved my cheat meals to the same day–it works a lot better than mowing down on something on Saturday night that inhibits my efforts the next morning!

 

What about you? Do you have a cheat day or do you allow yourself small treats each day? What kind of foods make you feel best? Does your nutrition change drastically when you are training for something? Do you believe in diets? I’m curious to hear what you think…Please share your thoughts!

 

 

*I use the word “diet” throughout. When I do, I am referring to the types of food that are habitually eaten by someone–not a method of constriction used to lose weight. I don’t believe in these type of diets–I just can’t get behind eating in any manner that I can’t maintain or is set to be temporary. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Header Image: Neha-Deshmukh via Unsplash

Fries: Stephanie Mccabe via Unsplash

21 thoughts on “What’s on my Plate

  1. Pingback: Week 17: “I’m Ready” – cat h. bradley

  2. I love reading what works for others when fueling for workouts!! I do my best to eat ‘well’, but I know I could do better!! With Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism, there are things I’m sure I should eliminate from my diet, but I not not gone sugar free or gluten free. I do try to eat to fuel my workouts/runs and I think I have done okay this year.

    Jodi

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post and this glimpse inside how you eat and why. I’m exploring a more plant-based diet and your veggies in the morning suggestion is something I’m going to try! Sounds totally foreign but I’m game!

    Like

  4. I feel like you’re reading my mind as I’m in the process of proofing my upcoming post. I did count calories this winter to lose weight. I used MyFitnessPal because I’m a total Type A who has had unhealthy habits in the past and I wanted to have a goal to hit every day. Now, I eat good during the week, I just have to get my weekends on schedule. I feel like it’s so much harder to do in the summer because we have so much going on. And I really like beer too. During the week, I try not to drink (unless I’m going to beer yoga which is actually a great workout), but I like my beer on Saturday night and Bloody Mary’s on Sunday morning. I can always feel it during my 5-miler Monday morning if I indulged too much though!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cat, I’m appreciating the complexity you address here: What do I need for fuel and functioning?, what for nutrition, what tastes good, and what has me feeling the best?
    I have similar issues with sugar, although I’m now finding that I do pretty well with fresh fruit in moderation. Granny smith apple with a spoon of almond butter is one of my go to snacks.
    I’m with you on veggies for breakfast. I often use a saute of power greens (spinach, kale and whatever else goes in on a given day), as a base for a one egg plus extra white omelet, stirring in leftover veggies as available. Good fuel. Sweet potatoes are also a great fuel, and a fine source of complex carbs. More to comment on, but I hear my client coming down the hall, so that’s it for now. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Steph–agree about the fruit. I have always been ok with it in moderation, but I am finding I can up my intake of it while training without any problem–I think my body is utilizing the sugars really quickly. I hadn’t really eaten bananas for a few years but recently they’ve felt critical for me in the AM–that potassium!!
      I do a power greens blend as well–I feel so great getting those in, especially in the morning!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ooooh I really enjoyed reading this 🙂 (and the discussions below about ‘running on empty’). For myself, I came to a point where I don’t “cheat” anymore. I know that all the stuff I am craving is healthy and good for my body because I feel healthy and good after eating it- opposite effect with bad foods that make you feel bad (just as you described :]). So I usually just eat what I am craving and then the craving is over 😀 My diet is entirely plant-based and for me, it’s the ideal way to eating 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, so glad you enjoyed this, thanks so much for reading!! That’s pretty amazing that you only crave healthy food-I wish I was like that! It’s funny, I sort of am during the week. My coworkers always think I am crazy because they have pretty much never seen me eat the sweets and junk that are always floating around the office. When the weekend hits though, so does my sweet tooth. I used to try and be perfect and not give into it, but life is just too short for that I think!
      Great that you have found your ideal way of eating–I am sure that feels amazing to be nourished in the right way!
      Thanks so much for stopping by, please do again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you 🙂 🙂 Yes I am indeed very happy about when I imagine to be surrounded by lots of sweets and junk and people who eat it all the time – I would struggle I guess. And then I read you live in NYC where you probably get so so much nice (sweet) food that is absolutely triable 🙂 And yeah I totally agree that life is too short to be worried about how many sweets one eats 🙂 Have a lovely weekend! I will definitely stop by again!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post!
    I don’t know if you have Whole Foods where you live, but they have a really good gluten free pizza. Also, certain Italian restaurants offer gluten free pizzas now!

    My diets pretty boring since I have a ridiculous amount of food allergies. I do eat rice almost daily and my overall carb intake is much higher than yours. Yams are great for long distance runners!
    Have you ever tried running on empty? It teaches the body to be more efficient. (I only do this once or twice a week.)
    Keep it up!

    Like

    1. Hey lady! Yes, I live in NYC, we have tons of Whole Foods, lol. I’ve had plenty of gluten free pizza I’m just not really into it. I’d rather eat the real thing and enjoy it less often, than eat a modified version I enjoy less, more often–if that makes any sense!

      Yes, definitely have run on empty, and still do on occasion. That used to be my norm, but with training and my mileage going up, it doesn’t work so well for me anymore. I always go by feel–I like feeling energetic and strong when I work out and lately, going on nothing does not have me feeling that way! Maybe it will change though when I’m done training. I will say I was definitely leaner running shorter distances on empty–but that’s ok, I’m used to fluctuations and it’s been interesting t see how my body reacts to more mileage than it’s ever taken on before. It’s all sort of am experiment 😍.

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      1. Ok… my brain had not woken up yet! I knew you were in NYC… lol! I totally get that you would rather have the real thing! If I could, I would too on cheat days!
        And you are right, our bodies react differently to different foods and eating habits.
        I will be experimenting soon too with nutrition and marathon training. 😳. I know on my longer runs I will need something in my stomach to keep going…

        Happy Friday!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Fabulous! I loved this! I could totally eat a head of cauliflower for breakfast, but it’s just not something I’ve ever thought of doing before. I’m a believer in healthy fats as well. With that first spoonful, do you think it helps curb your appetite? I’ve never tried it by itself. As for the sardines, I like them, but I can’t get past their appearance, lol. You know… kind of like rattlesnake. I liked it, but for heaven’s sake, it’s a freaking snake. Maybe if they would remove the heads of the sardines, it would help… Maybe.

    A very good read! 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Paula! Eat the cauliflower!! LOL. I always tell people to try veggies in the AM only cause I think they are one of the best breakfast items–talk about setting yourself up for the rest of the day.

      As far as the oil–I’d more say it satiates me than curbs my appetite. When I think of curbing my appetite I think of avoiding eating and that’s not what the oil is-as you know it’s a lot of fat and a decent amount of calories. I combine it with the banana cause I just can’t run on empty anymore–I used to do a lot of fasted exercise but it’s just not working with training. Frankly, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go back to that–going with a little something in my stomach gives me SO much more energy and I definitely perform better. I like the oil because like I said it’s a satisfying feeling but not a full feeling, I still feel light. One warning though–you definitely have to sort of build up a tolerance to the oil–it does have a laxative effect, especially if you do too much too soon!

      Ok also, you having LOL so hard–seriously, snakes?! Come on, they are SO different than sardines!! Also, the ones I buy are headless!!
      Thanks for reading Paula!x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good point to make about the oil! Knowing me, I would take a whole shot and would have found out the hard way, haha!!

        As I’m from Arizona, I think the snake was killed in backyard, or something. Gross, right? But tasty, lol! And I’ll have to look for headless sardines as I know they are a powerhouse food, 😊

        Have a great day!!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. This is a very amazing read and very informative. Great minds think alike as I’m writing something similar to myself, because I’m still searching for what works for me, especially on long runs and getting through a very busy hectic days. I love this entry 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much girl!! Yes, definitely takes time to figure out how to fuel on those long runs, and how to feed ourselves for our busy days–I think I’ve found what works for me generally but I’m still always tweaking and learning and discovering new things. Can’t wait to read your post!! x

      Liked by 1 person

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