An Almost Vegan

When coming back from injury this summer, I decided it was time to put down the margaritas and revamp my diet.  Being injured in a small town in the mountains when you have moved there to be running free and fast on beautiful trails and little oxygen…but can’t… lends itself beautifully for sipping margs at the local Mexican restaurant. In case you were wondering.

As I began running again, I started to wonder about Veganism and began watching a few (horribly sad) movies on Netflix about how the animals and animal products we consume are raised and treated. Yikes. Then I started doing some research. One book that I specifically adore and found super informative and inspiring is Kris Carr’s “Crazy, Sexy, Diet“.

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  This isn’t ‘diet’ in the ‘lose weight to fit into my skinny jeans’ camp, but in the ‘eat for your own health and well-being and for the well being of animals and the environment’ camp. I highly recommend this book. Kris explains many facets of Veganism and how it is better for yourself, the environment, and, of course, for the animals. She also talks a lot about how to take really good care of your body and mind using natural practices. This may sound intense, but her style of writing is humorous and I just devoured the book. (Not from being hungry you jokers, you know what I mean!) More about Kris Here. Her story is amazing.

So around September, Matt and I decided to go cold-turkey (tofu?) Vegan. We never ate a lot of meat anyways, but we did eat lots of eggs, milk, and goat cheese. We began slinging back green drinks instead of margaritas, eating enough cabbage to gas out the cabin, and were having so much fun experimenting with recipes.

Vegan Chile Rellano anyone? Matt made these and they were AMAZING!

Vegan Chile Rellano anyone? Matt made these and they were AMAZING!

We honestly never felt hungry or deprived. Kris has a great cookbook called Crazy Sexy Kitchen that we still cook from every day of the week!

I was feeling SUPER GREAT, starting to ramp up my training again, hitting faster workouts. Until one day in November… I wasn’t. I was dragging. I could feel that my iron was low, I have been there before. In the book, Kris talks about making sure to supplement with Iron/Vit B, especially if you are active. I thought I was doing enough. I was honestly doing everything I could to get enough iron. After a week of feeling pretty awful, I consulted some of my super knowledgeable friends/training partners. They all suggested adding a bit of red meat into my diet to see how I felt. I didn’t want to, that ‘all or nothing’ personality foible of mine came shining through. But, I closed my eyes, tried to ‘unsee’ movie images, and did it.

I began eating red meat 1-2 times per week and I am feeling back to my old self again. It pains me and I don’t like having to do it, but with the amount of running and the goals I have, I am looking at it as part of my training. That probably sounds super selfish, huh? Once running competitively is over, I’ll return to being full Vegan. *sigh* So I guess I am all Vegan except for a bit of red meat 2x a week. I love how in Kris’ book she really advocates “doing the best you can” and not feeling bad about yourself if you are ‘unvegan’ sometimes or you enjoy a special meat or dairy dish on a night out with friends. Each day or switch you can make from eating animal products towards plant based is a win for everyone, even if it’s just “Meatless Mondays”.

MnM's are friends, not food.

MnM’s are friends, not food.

So that is my Vegan experiment! Hope it helps you in your journey. Please let me know if you have any specific questions, I am happy to share more of my experiences with being an “almost Vegan” athlete.

7 Comments

  1. You look great – not an ounce of fat on that body – unlike your Auntie :). You are so dedicated! Love you!

  2. LOVE this post. Was have the same internal conflict. “Almost vegan” I am almost all plant based but due eat some fish and a little cheese once in awhile. I do the best I can. I find when I don’t I am just not as healthy and it’s a performance thing. Plus I do like fish tacos and sushi. Great job to you, and you look amazing and are doing awesome. So happy for you.

    • Thanks Cristin! Yes, I feel you have to do the best you can for you. Sushi has been very hard for me to part with! Thank you for your kind words, hope to see you soon! XO

  3. Dear Ariana
    I am a vegan runner living in Sweden. Your inspiring running career became known to me through Runner Academy. A great interview.
    A have a few thoughts I want to share with you however. I do hope that it will furter improve your running experience and faster times.
    I must stress the importance of vitamin B12 when you are living on a vegan diet. B12 is crucial in the making of hemoglobin. You must take vitamin B12 supplement.
    Another important aspect is a healthy intake of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
    The overall healthy aspects of a vegan lifestyle will improve your recovery.
    If you want more info and inspiration I highly recommend Brendan Brazier book “Thrive”, a vegan based training program.
    All the best
    Hans

    • Thanks Hans!
      I definitely take Vit B12 and Omega 3’s. I have done a ton of research on supplementing my diet. I also own the book “Thrive”, Great minds think alike. 🙂 Take care and happy training!

  4. Ariana,

    If there is one person that can relate. it’s me. During my college years and even post college I remember going vegan and felt horrible. The demands of training were to much without a little read meat. Believe me when I say this. I to love animals and hate what the industry does to them, poor little helpless beings. When I do eat meat I try to go natural or organic, why, because i know they were, well it was done peacefully. I hope things for you and hubby are going well coffee buddy. Hope to see you both at Cow Harbor again.

    Trav

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