“HELP ME TRAIN FOR A 70.3 ON A VEGAN DIET”
Matt Earp has adopted a plant-based diet and is looking for menu advice to match his training. Renee McGregor is here to help
Matt: I’ve recently adopted a vegan diet and want to know what foods I should be eating to meet the demands of tri training? Renee: The main things to think about are: ensuring you’re getting enough calcium by consuming soya milk and yoghurts; getting all the essential amino acids by including grains and pulses in meals (beans on toast, rice and lentils, and chickpea curry with couscous are all good options); and having a daily serving of walnuts or walnut oil to get ALA, an essential fatty acid that reduces inflammation after training and fatigue. Should I be taking any supplements – iron, for example – or can I get a sufficient amount from my diet? Vitamin B12 is definitely one supplement all vegans need to take as it can’t be obtained from a plant-based diet alone. Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health and most people in this country, whether vegan or not, are low or near deficient in it. I always suggest supplementing this, particularly through the winter months. As for iron, if you eat a well-balanced diet containing beans, pulses, dried fruit and
“It’s critical to ensure your body has sufficient carbohydrate”
fortified cereals you should get all the iron you need. I’m building up to my first 70.3 race next summer. Can you give me some examples of what I could eat during a day’s training? It’s critical to ensure your body has sufficient carbohydrate for the prolonged activity. Making good food choices regarding your recovery is also important so that you can maintain your performance across all your sessions. Here’s an example of such a day’s meals: Breakfast: oats with soya milk, topped with fruit and nuts or seeds. Mid-morning snack: sliced banana topped with 20g of nut butter. Lunch: wholegrain bagel with hummus and salad with a mug of tomato soup; followed by soya yoghurt and fruit.
Mid-afternoon snack: 2-3 oatcakes topped with mashed avocado. Evening meal: quinoa with roasted vegetables and chickpeas, followed by soya and fruit.
Before bed: hot chocolate made with soya milk, two squares of dark chocolate, honey and cinnamon. What tips can you give vegan triathletes to help them plan their diets around their training? I’d suggest you sit down on a Sunday, look at everything you have planned for the week ahead, identify when and where fuelling may be a challenge, and plan your menu around those points. Cooking meals, such as soups, casseroles and couscous, in batches that can be easily portioned up and refrigerated/frozen, is useful when time is tight. Keep good snack options such as oatcakes, dried fruit or nuts in your office and car.