Friday, May 29, 2009

"I think you should blog about how to change your diet when tapering"

"Just sayin"

This was in an email that I received from a tri-bud earlier this week. We'll protect his identity by changing his name. Let's call him James Bulloney.

So James, or even Jamie for short, is tapering to race the heck out of Rev 3 HIM in a couple of weeks. I asked him to give me an idea of his diet, as a jumping off point. This is what he sent:

Here is what a typical day probably looked like for me last week. I'll use times, because I have rarely been actually siting down at normal meal times for food.

7:00 - bowl of frosted flakes w/ 1% milk. Multivitamin and fish oil pill
9:00 - teal w/ stevia and half a grapefruit
10:00 - peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread
12:00 - another PBnJ or some sort of chicken sandwich
3:00 - hand full of fig newtons or something else stashed in my desk drawer
6:00 - stuff something fast down my face before PM workout. Usually reheated leftovers or BBQ sandwich w/ pickles.
9:00 - bowl of cereal w/ 1% milk
10:00 - bowl of ice cream

Ummmm... do pickles count as vegetables? This guy needs to sit down and re-listen to that excellent Sugar podcast from Zen and the Art of Triathlon. He must seriously be feeling the effects of being on the energy/sugar rollercoaster.

Moving on.

Tips for tapering:

1. Take some of the time that you would normally use for swimbikerunning and focus on your 4th discipline - nutrition.

If you normally get up early to go to the pool on Mon, Wed, Fri but your coach has you only going twice this week, you can use the extra "free" time to make a healthy breakfast. You can even sleep a bit late and still get up with enough time to prepare a simple and delicious meal.

Try making an omelet or a veggie scramble for a protein breakfast and add avocado because it's crazy good. Or try making steel cut oats or quinoa porridge. You can even make a creative breakfast/protein shake.

OR you can make your lunch ahead of time. You get the idea. Fourth discipline. Yah.

2. Focus on quality and not quantity.

When "carbo-loading" the point is not to eat as much white pasta as you possibly can until you're ready to explode. Instead, you want to increase your awareness of the quality of your carbs. Why are you choosing a certain carb in your meal? Is it to nourish your body and build you up for race day? Do you want to fill your glycolic tank with the Regular fuel (white pasta, bread, etc) or does your body deserve Premuim fuel (quinoa, brown rice, vegetables)?

Try choosing whole grain pasta, brown rice instead of white rice, and sweet potatoes and other root vegetables. And remember to stick to your portion sizes. Thirds and fourths (servings) will not make you faster, it will make you bloated. Bloated does not equal faster.

My favorite pre-race or taper meal is brown rice sushi.

3. Get re-acquainted with your grocery store AND your kitchen.

Find the recipes that you keep saying you want to try and put them in front of you. If they're healthy, awesome. If they aren't healthy, see what you can do to make them healthier. Need suggestions? Email me. For reals.

Then make a shopping list from your chosen recipes.

Then come home and light a candle and play your favorite cooking music. Mine is Sepultura.

Cook the meal.

Then grab your beloved(s). This step is important because even though your reasons for cooking were purely selfish, you can make it seem as though you were creating a meal, full of love, for them. You will increase the balance in your Domestic Points Bank, which is good because if you're a triathlete it's probably already low.

Remove the distractions, chew your food, have a nice conversation, tell the kids to stop fighting, eat with all of your senses, assimilate your nutrients, tell the kids they'll be asked to leave the table if they don't cut it out, eat slowly, BREATHE, tell the kids that this is what's for dinner and if they don't like it then don't eat, be all zen and stuff.

4. Be aware of the work that different foods do. Hire them for the job.

What do carbs do? They provide fuel/energy by filling your glycogen storage tank. We already talked about Premium vs Regular fuel.

What does protein do? It rebuilds and repairs your muscles. This sounds like something that might be valuable while tapering for a race, right? Eat protein with every meal. Try experimenting with a variety of healthy sources like: lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, quinoa and other grains, hemp shake (obviously I'm obsessed with the stuff), nuts, tofu, tempeh, and even bee pollen.

*As you get closer to your race you may want to favor the vegetarian protein sources. You should experiment ahead of time with what might work for you and your digestive system. Everyone is different.

Protein snacks are great because they help you to feel satiated longer and they will provide you with steady energy.

What about healthy fats? Eat them. As part of a healthy diet they will work wonders on your body by decreasing inflammation, and improving: brain, cell, heart, nerves, lungs, eyes, digestion, organs and immune function. Wait... if healthy fats do all that, why were you even considering buying that crazy product that your favorite athlete is endorsing? Just eat healthy foods dude.

Try to incorporate healthy fats like: oils (olive, sesame, coconut, flax, etc), avocado, nuts, fish, and olives.

So, Mr. James Bulloney, I would suggest having your food journal look more like this:

7:00 - Steel cut oats (made ahead of time from HolisticGuru's blog recipe) Multivitamin and fish oil pill.
9:00 - tea with stevia and half a grapefruit
10:00 - apple slices or celery with almond butter or peanut butter and raisins
12:00 - quinoa cooked with veg or chicken broth, cut up veggies and beans (sweet potato and black bean with salsa sounds yummy in my head right now and would only take 25 mins to make... you can make it while you're cooking the steel cut oats)
3:00 - handful of dried fruit with dark chocolate chips and a giant glass of water
6:00 - hummus sandwich with veggies (lettuce, tomato, cucumber)
9:00 - quick omelet and a side of something leafy and green and maybe some potato wedges
10:00 - bowl of fruit sorbet, or a small amount of ice cream isn't terrible

This all sounds totally doable right? If you guys can motivate, dedicate and discipline yourselves to be triathletes, I KNOW you can make healthy food choices. Look how awesome you are!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Days 7, 8, 9: HolisticGuru is no longer dirty (not that I ever was)

The pic is the one I took for the Triathletes Coffee Shop website. Mango requested that listeners send in photos of themselves with their coffee. I took this one yesterday. It's artsy and speaks to the holistic side of my being. The title is "This is my relationship with coffee, what's yours?" :) Please be sure to send your photo to Mango at:

The last few days of my cleanse were uneventful. Actually, my diet of veggies, whole grains and vegetarian protein was pretty close to my usual diet. The only difference was that I wasn't making any exceptions for the "unclean" foods: coffee, alcohol, sugar, milk, meat, chemicalized and artificialized junk foods. Normally some of these things have a place in my diet in moderation.

I did have a tiny "cheat" on the 7th and 8th day. I baked cookies for a friend's birthday and I ate some (a lot) of them. They were my healthy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies though, so they were still pretty clean :)

Now that I'm done, I'm going to get my first coffee in 9 days. I'm going to sit there and drink it and enjoy it. It's gonna taste and feel good. My favorite benefit to cleansing is that it resets your appreciation for your indulgences.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 4: When life gives you lemons, make it all spicy with cayenne pepper


I decided to combine all of my Master Cleanser days into one blog post since they all look pretty much the same. I went into this portion of my cleanse without knowing what to expect as far as training would go. I ended up feeling incredible… but the wrong kind of incredible. The lemonade makes me feel, like, all hippie-softie. On Saturday I was trying to study for a final exam and I thought the timing would be perfect because my focus would be intense. Instead, my intense focus was directed at how much I loved every little detail of everything I could take in with my senses, rather than focusing on the different types of muscle fibers on the note pages in front of me. It was a very focused distraction and it was not going to help me get an A on the final, so I decided to eat a healthy/clean dinner. I’ve used Master Cleanser this way in the past: lemonade all day and a veggie and protein dinner. In trying to maintain my study focus and my training volume, it just made more sense.


I cycled a total of 2.5 hours on Saturday and 2 hrs on Sunday with a fast 30 min brick run. Monday I swam 3300 yards. I did all of this while just drinking lemonade and recovering with an evening meal. Lots of it. And I felt incredible. Please don’t try this though. I wouldn’t suggest anyone train on an all-liquid fast. If you do, its not because I told you to.

So there were a few reasons why I felt awesome:

1. Lemonade makes me feel totally relaxed, de-stressed and euphoric
2. I nailed the timing and was VERY calculated with my intake
3. Maple syrup is a sugar/carb and has tons of electrolytes, calcium and iron (all things I needed to replace)
4. My body is an efficient machine when it comes to burning sugar, carbs and other sources as fuel. I never have a problem with training and racing nutrition and this experiment reconfirmed that I have myself figured out. I keep a record of what works, I listen to my body and I don’t overdo it with too much fuel.


Saturday dinner – hemp shake with maca (while I cooked and after my ride), omelet, sweet potato, raw veggie salad, sauerkraut

Sunday dinner Рhemp shake with maca, sardines, potato wedges, saut̩ed greens; grapes for dessert

Monday dinner – hemp shake with maca, grilled tempeh on brown rice bread with mustard and pickles and an arugula salad


I never weigh myself. I just pay attention to how my clothes fit and how I feel. On April 13th I participated in a scientific study and they took my weight, which was 128 lbs. For the past few weeks I have felt myself getting a bit thinner with my increased training, especially with higher running volume. I weighed myself yesterday and I was down to 122.5 lbs. I’m 5’7. This is getting to the low end of my healthy range and I should not fall below 120 lbs. So for the next 3 days of my cleanse I will be adding more carbs from grain sources and upping the protein a bit. This will be a way for me to ease myself off the cleanse. So the plan through Wednesday is almost exactly the way I would normally eat, except that I will not be taking in any “bad” foods. Normally I allow myself coffee, alcohol and sugar in moderation. Honestly, the only thing I miss is an occasional coffee. I’ll also continue to avoid meat through Wednesday.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 3: Yoga happened

After writing all day I got to go for a run. I ran a loop of the park even though my training plan had me making paper mache racing helmets (my coach has me doing some wacky stuff to make me a faster triathlete). I finished up with a juicy yoga practice on the grass, facing the sun. It was exactly what I needed. The pic is Jhon T, the yoga master who taught me everything I know at Atmananda yoga studio.

As for food, today I decided to add more protein with dinner because my body was asking nicely for it.

breakfast - burdock tea, hemp shake with maca

lunch - leftover spaghetti squash with wilted arugula, garlic tomato and raw basil

snack - apple, orange, grapes

snack (again) - sardines (go ahead and think its gross; you're wrong)

dinner - omelet with basil, roasted sweet potato wedges, arugula salad

Get excited about tomorrow. You get to read about my awesome ride and my new-secret-superhero-power-training-food.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Day 2: These Are the Cries of the Carrots

Yesterday I actually had a detoxing headache! I was a bit surprised because my diet is pretty clean so I don't usually experience difficult cleansing symptoms, just a heightened sense of clarity. I assume that the headache is due to my increased caffeine intake over the past few months, which still isn't more than one coffee per day. And when I drink coffee, I drink coffee. I sit and enjoy it. It is all very zen and hippie crunchy. When drinking coffee, drink coffee; when riding your bike, ride your bike. What is the lesson?

Anyway, I appreciate the headache because it demonstrates to me that my body is doing its job and making me all clean on the insides. I was pleasantly surprised when I had a fresh veggie juice with a wheatgrass shot, which made my headache go away. I felt all wonderful and stuff after that.

I also decided to add a bit more protein, from a source other than hemp. One hemp shake per day is enough for me. So I added some homemade hummus yesterday. As I was eating the hummus (with carrots and celery) I was thinking, this isn't all that different than the way I eat normally. I'm really only removing grains, coffee, condiments, and meat (of which I eat very little). My diet has been pretty stellar over the past few months and I barely realized it. This realization made me fall a little bit more in love with myself :)

One last thing, some of you know I've been taking some classes this semester and I'm finishing finals this week. Because of academia I have been a total slacker triathlete and I'm usually very focused on getting my training in. I've had to take the last three days off! I'll be running and doing core today but I feel like a lazy ass. The yoga hasn't really happened yet during the cleanse. I'd like to make the yoga happen. I might call my friend Karen to help me with that. She's the awesomest yoga teacher. More awesomer than me.


breakfast - apple, burdock tea, hemp shake with maca

lunch - leftover steamed broccoli, carrots, and burdock; a sweet potato

snack - veggie juice, hummus with carrots and celery

snack - a little mix of strawberries, pineapple, mango

dinner - spaghetti squash with sauteed garlic, tomato, fresh basil, wilted arugula

I've been adding flavor with a little sea salt, pepper and olive oil. I usually water saute then add olive oil as a dressing after cooking.

Tonight I'll be going to the store to get some lemons and maple syrup because tomorrow morning starts the lemonade chapter of my cleansity-cleanse. This is my favorite part because it makes me sink way inside my head, like an active meditation vacation.

My ipod, Sydney, played this song for me yesterday while I was eating lunch. It made me giggle:

"The cries of the carrots! ...tomorrow is harvest day and to them it is the holocaust." -Disgustipated by Tool

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 1: Spring Cleaning

First, I have to say I'm super pumped that several people are joining me on this cleansing project. It's so much better to do this kind of thing with a group to stay motivated. Thank you for your support and feel free to post specific questions as comments or email me so I can support you too :)

Today was easy. I enjoyed getting back into the kitchen with the intention to be totally creative with my cooking.

breakfast - burdock tea, hemp shake with maca

snack - pear

lunch - raw veggie salad with romaine lettuce, tomato and jerusalem artichoke; steamed broccoli, carrots, and burdock; and a small baked potato

snack - berries

dinner - sauteed garlicky kale, baked sweet potato with avocado and white onion

dessert - banana

I had more than enough food today and probably should have had another hemp shake or some other type of protein. Will do that tomorrow. I just got a bit overzealous with cooking up my Urban Organic produce!

I did crave one thing... I wanted a coffee this afternoon. Not because I needed energy but because I just like to sit and taste a cup of coffee. I got over that one real quick when I found a sunny spot in the park to sit and enjoy instead.

And I'm thinking spaghetti squash with tomato, basil and garlic for dinner tomorrow night. I'm pretty excited about it.

Oh, and these are the homemade aphrodisiac truffles that are sitting in my fridge, threatening to seduce me into totally losing self control. So far so good. I will conquer and devour (or not).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

So I'm Totally Gonna Do My Seasonal Cleanse

Starting tomorrow morning I will embark on my annual cleansing journey. Last year I nailed it. I created the perfect cleanse that fit safely into my training/ working/ being awesome lifestyle. Over the years I've tried some pretty tough stuff but this one is very simple. Plus, I don't need anything that intense, I'm not that dirty on the inside to begin with ;)

HolisticGuru's Personalized 9-Day Spring Cleanse

Days 1-3: It's about what you CAN have, not what you CAN'T have.

hemp protein shakes - 1-3 per day
any veggies I want, lots of root veggies for carbs - going sweet potato crazy
fruits - limited
olive oil - as seasoning
sea salt - very little
herbs and spices - I get creative here
herbal tea

I'll take it pretty easy with training, keeping volume but nothing too intense.

Days 4-6: Master Cleanser

lemonade with maple syrup and cayenne - getting at least 2000 cals per day
veggie juices
herbal tea

If anyone has ever tried the Master Cleanse you might be aware of the mental clarity and focus you can experience. I'll be studying for a final so it should be perfect for making me feel wicked smart. By this point I will also start to feel like cleansing my space/life. I'll probably clean my apartment and throw things away.

Days 7-9: Same as days 1-3, although if I feel the need I will add:


*I will also practice yoga every day.
*I will try "zazen" sitting because Texafornia will think its cool.
*I will take naps.
*I will take hot baths and maybe even get a massage or platza treatment.
*I will not be cleansing myself from the internets... don't worry.
*I will post something about the experience on my blog every day.

Anyone want to join me? We can even create a personalized detox for you to follow if you want something more or less intense. Email me at: for more info.

Why 9 Days?

During my yoga teacher training at Atmananda, John T said, "in yoga, the number 9 represents completion". This was why we were holding our Chakrasana or "wheel pose" for 9 breaths. Ever since then I have used the number 9 to represent completion in many areas of my life. I'm not even sure why. I just like it. So my cleanse is complete after 9 days.

Why Cleanse?

Throughout the year our bodies accumulate toxins from our diet, environment, stress, etc. In the Spring we detox, whether we choose to or not, the body naturally begins a cleansing process. Usually we experience cold symptoms as this begins to take place. We can choose to support this process by eating healthy foods, or to avoid it by medicating when we start to feel 'under the weather'. The problem with taking over the counter meds in this case is that the cleanse doesn't have a chance to work its natural magic and you can end up with a secondary infection (i.e. a runny nose becomes a sinus infection).

With each season Mother Earth produces a different variety of fruits and vegetables to nourish us. When we eat with the seasons, we are eating the way that nature has intended; the same way that our ancestors ate since the beginning of the human race. Each seasonal harvest grows the perfect combination of vitamins and nutrients to protect us from our environment, prepare our bodies to defend against illness, and remove toxic build up. By doing this, and by allowing ourselves to slow down for a few days, we are supporting a very valuable process.

Can I do a Cleanse and Continue With My Training?

Yes, you can. You just gotta be smart about it. Your cleanse can focus on whatever works for you and your lifestyle.

- it can last for 3 days, or even 21 days
- you can commit to avoiding all "bad" foods or you can choose 1 or 2 to avoid
- you can focus on adding in healthy foods rather than taking away foods
- you can get adequate amounts of calories, protein, carbs, fat, etc
- you can make it whatever you want it to be

So, who's in?