Miles have really started to ramp up again. I thought I would divulge a little into what I do for nutrition during higher mileage bouts as well practicing mindfulness and humility in regards to my diet.
A quick back ground. My first introduction with nutrition was through my own healing journey with anorexia nervosa. At my lowest I was 64 lbs and given very little hope for ever having kids let alone seeing my 30th birthday. Both have come into fruition thanks to a lot of love and support from my family and the understanding that food is my medicine and I had to learn how to build from within before I would ever see any results externally…I didn’t realize how invaluable this would be when thinking about nutrition in relation to running.
I went to school for dietetics and graduated with a degree in health and human development. I found myself wanting to dig deeper into the food/nutrition and body connection. I worked for a while with a woman who was a nutritionist with an emphasis in the biochemistry aspect of how we digest and assimilate vitamins/minerals from our food. She taught me so much and helped me see that what we put in our bodies is so so much more than calories. I decided after my internship with her that I wanted to study my masters in holistic nutrition.
A lot of studying later, moving before I could graduate, (something I didn’t have control over unfortunately), a couple of babes later…and here I am…a mom who knows quite a bit about nutrition and trying to apply it to raising a healthy family as well as remain a healthy runner while training for a marathon.
Back to dinner.
Dinner tonight was a complete surprise and success. Some nights I am lucky if I get a quick salmon salad thrown together on top a bed of greens…let alone getting fancy like I did this evening.
Trying to feed two little mouths as well as providing enough nutrient dense foods to satisfy my hunger lately can be quite the chore. Thankfully there are some really easy ways to bump up the nutrition while leaving all palates satisfied.
My boys love spaghetti. I am not a big noodle and sauce fan. What do I do?
I cook up spaghetti squash! I love this stuff. It is high in fiber, vitamin A, and a bunch of nutty flavor and texture that Ryan and I crave. Throw some olive oil on after cooking and I know we are getting all of the vitamin benefits it has to offer, (veggies have a bunch of fat-soluble vitamins that require some sort of fat in order for your body to even utilize those vitamins…low fat diets are not good if you are trying to get most of your vitamins from a food-base form).
I steam my squash. I find that this is the quickest cooking method and it leaves the best texture. I cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and put in a pot with a couple inches of water and steam for 25 minutes or until tender.
It should look like this when it’s done…looks a lot like pasta, right?!
I love marinara sauce, but I find that I am craving more nutrition and since my boys don’t generally eat the squash; I cook up some veggies I have on hand, (which right now is what I get from the farmer’s market) to help them get more veggies from a typical starch-ladened meal.
Tonight I was gifted with two boys who were particularly happy with one another and wanted to play so I had an entire hour to cook! I took advantage and made this meal something to savor.
I did have the occasional crying Trout come into the kitchen letting me know that Bodhi was doing something mean…but, that’s the plight of sibling-hood…we can’t get along 100% of the time.
Tulee was my QC manager tonight. I love that I have two furry critters laying right underneath my feet making sure that my food is up to their standard as well as keeping the mess down to a minimum…I don’t know what I would do without those two!
Tonights dinner is pretty typical for what you would find at our table when I have more than 20 minutes to cook. There is always something colorful, there is always a healthy fat included, and my boys need protein so that is a must.
So how has my diet changed since running more? It really hasn’t. I think the biggest change is needing to eat more of what I’m consuming to make sure that I am not reaching for something less nutrient-dense to satiate my hangry monster.
Just like when I was recovering from anorexia, I look at food now from a point of view of “what is this food providing me?” and is this going to give me the nutrition I need to make sure that my inside is functioning properly so that my muscles and all those other more “external” parts have a chance to perform at their best.
Running or not, my body needs good nutrition….it’s not something I always saw as truth, especially when I was battling disordered eating and saw every bite as failure to “control”…but that is a whole other story that I am not wanting to entertain at this moment.
Having a healthy relationship with food has really helped me with training. Every meal, every snack is a chance for me to fuel my body well; one “bad” choice does not a bad diet make. I look at running the same way. I have “feeling -on- top” of the world days and days where I want to stop half way through my run and climb back into bed. Both are part of the process and both are invaluable to learning more about myself and becoming a healthier me.
*I will note that with more miles as well as my already busy life I have had to rely on outside help to keep me at a nutritional level that doesn’t leave me with imbalanced hormones or feeling of blah. I take a daily “postnatal” vitamin, extra iron (from a plant-based source), vitamin D, B-complex, and an herb that helps my pituitary gland manufacture the right amount of hormones to keep me menstruating and ovulating, (something I am not willing to sacrifice for the sake of running faster). I am not advising you to take what I do…but, if food is just not cutting it for you, I encourage you to consult someone you trust with nutrition to see if there is something you could add with supplements.