Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Do you want to train harder? Better? Faster? Stronger? By the way thanks Daft Punk for the cheezy catch line. Yes, I think we all do. Here I will introduce a healthy alternative and environmentally friendly way to train by consuming a plant based diet. It a misconception that athletes cannot perform on a plant based diet. However, this is a common mistake and I would like to educate you on the importance of a plant-based diet but also how you can perform at your maximum through a plant based diet. Elite athletes have a specific nutrition plan that they need to follow in order to operate in his or her full potential, which does not mean that they cannot do this on a plant based diet. For instance, many of the world’s elite athletes like Iron Man Dave Scott, Gold Medalist Carl Lewis, Body Sculptor Amanda Riester and Cyclist Ted Trends. It is important to remember how our bodies operate and how it fueled. Our bodies our fueled by three macronutrients and the most readily accessible of these is Carbohydrates. According the Colorado State University, “athletes make the most significant performance gains from stored carbohydrates. This macronutrient provides nearly 50 percent of the energy an athlete uses during the early stages of exercise. When carbohydrates, which come from plants, legumes, and whole grains, are consumed, the body breaks it down and stores it in the muscles as glycogen. When exercise begins, the body uses oxygen to convert that glycogen back into glucose, which supplies energy. Stored carbohydrates last approximately 90 minutes before the body needs replenishment, which is why many athletes consume carbohydrates during events of longer duration.” This is only needed when you are performing for over 60 minutes or more and energy should be restored every 30 or so minutes onward. My personal favourite fuel while workouts are either dates or Cliff Shot Blocks that helped me get my personal best recently so I will be trying these again.

Another slow releasing fuel is fat. In fact, fat metabolism accounts for around 50 percent of energy in the early stages of athletic performance, and as much as 75 percent during sustained activity extending beyond 90 minutes.” This fuel can either come from dietary sources such as avocados, chia seeds, flaxseed, coconut oil, and nuts as well as stored body fat. Athletes should be eating at least 15 percent of their calories derived from fat. However, you be careful of healthy fats and bad fats. I am in no way telling you to go out and grab yourself a pie and wash it down with can of cola and cone of hokey pokey but what I am telling you is to make my Ultra Fudgy Chocolate Avocado Vegan Brownies. I will come back to those in a bit…

Most importantly athletes need to consume more protein than the average person however, athletes only need about 10 to 12 percent of their calories from protein to support muscle and recovery. “The body will store extra protein as fat, which is converted to fuel during exercise.” In order to fuel yourself with adequate plant based protein is important to eat sprouted grain, dark greens, legumes, nutritional yeast, raw nuts, and chia seeds. Putting it all together. It important to eat about an hour or so per 200 calories before a serious workout or event in order to absorb and digest the food you eat and make sure you are putting all the right things. Scroll down for one of my Green Monster Smoothies for a great pre workout meal however; you may need to also add in some whole grains if you are doing a longer workout. Be sure to reward yourself with my brownies as well. As promised here is my recipe for my Vegan Avocado Brownies. I promise you cannot taste the avocado but they are packed with added nutrients, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.

Ultra Fudgy Brownies

(Vegan, wheat and gluten free)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small avocado
  • ¾ cup brown sugar (or other sweetener of choice: stevia)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. ground chia seeds (or ground flax)
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. organic dark roasted coffee or instant
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cup whole grain buckwheat flower
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Himalayan sea salt

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8” pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, gently smash the avocado with a fork to break apart. Using a hand mixer, process the avocado until smooth. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, oil, chia, vanilla extract, and coffee and mix until smooth.

In a medium sized bowl, sift together the spelt flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix on low or stir by hand until just mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.

Dump the mixture onto the baking pan. Dip your spatula in cold water and smooth out. The batter will be VERY THICK (see pictures below), so not to worry. It was difficult for me to spread out so I finally just threw my hands in cold water and smoothed it out with my hands. It worked much better this way.

Once smooth, place in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes and no more. You will look at the batter and think that there is no way it will cook in that amount of time, but trust me it does. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes. Pop in the freezer for about 30 minutes to set and firm. Remove from pan and cut with a pizza slicer. Serves 9-12.

Have fun and fuel up.

 Live life. Eat Well. Practice Yoga

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