Caught with the proverbial trousers set to a less than desired elevation! That is, Vegan Mofo came a month early. I thought it would be in October like last year, so I had another month to plan the ultimate vegan takeover of the endurance sports world. Instead it will be another year of “panting” it, as we Nanowrimos like to affectionately call writing with little talent, less inspiration, and even lesser still planning. Still, despite being unprepared, I am not unmotivated, and I like the idea of shifting the month throughout the year so we can take advantage of the different seasons, and not have Halloween themes every year. So what do you do for September? Back to school theme? Boo!
So, no catchy themes here, just more of the same, creating whole foods meals and portables for busy plant based athletes. I will revisit some the topics from last year as far as my inspirations with some new recipes. A great Tarahumara posole with heirloom beans is in the works, a Kenyan curry, and a visit to my local Ethiopian market should lend some more East African flavor from the world’s greatest runners. I missed out on Asian traditions last year, and while not as known for great running, there are fantastic athletic traditions through the martial arts. And Japan produces some very fine distance runners along with an ascetic tradition of running monks. Plus, Asian cuisine is so amazingly vegan friendly as soon as you remove the fish seasonings.
I will revisit my contemporary heroes from last year, Rich Roll and Scott Jurek with new recipes. Scott Jurek has been my real inspiration this year to ditch the engineered gels and try his recipe for onigir, Japanese rice balls. What a revelation! They are SO much better than a sticky gel. Rich Roll will be trickier, since his book didn’t have any recipes, so I will have to do some homework. And just as I missed out on Asian traditions, I also never got around to highlighting two more contemporary vegan athlete heroes, Brendan Brazier, and a it of a departure for an endurance geek like me, vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke. Brendan Brazier has loads of interesting recipes, but what does Robert Cheeke like to eat to fuel his legendary deadlift workouts? Clearly, I have homework to do. Football season is starting, and the NFL has some amazing players that have flirted with plant based diets, like Tony Gonzalez and Arian Foster. Pretty amazing when you think about the culture that these athletes resist. And I haven’t even started to look at MMA, where there seem to be a bunch of athletes who have followed in the footsteps of the ancient Roman legions and gladiators who knew that they fought best fueled by plants.
Departing from the inspiration, I’m going to look more at technique. How can a busy athlete streamline the nutrition part of the weekly equation? After all, most people have to punch the clock to pay the bills, buy the gear, and enter the races. And training is mandatory. How to fuel all that activity without hiring a personal chef? I’ve got some ideas. A few handy appliances and a little planning can make a big difference.