Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Paleo Triathlete's Day of Food

On my recent post on Paleo and Healing, Beth asked if I could share what a "normal" day of eating looks like for me. That's a great idea, and I love to read through other Paleo blogs to get new ideas about food for the day. So yesterday (a fairly typical day for me, food-wise) I logged everything I ate, and here it is:

That's just the raw ingredients of course, but here's what my day of meals looked like:

Missing from the photo is one Lara Bar, so here that is:

I ate the Lara bar just before heading to the lake for a 2-mile morning swim. Washed down with a steaming mug of Yerba Mate tea.

After the swim, it was breakfast time. Typically my breakfast is some combination of eggs and vegetables. Often it's one of my Seven Paleo Power Breakfasts. This morning it was zucchini, onion, mushrooms, and bell pepper sauteed in a bit of bacon grease and combined with a couple of scrambled eggs from my free-ranging chickens.

Mid-morning snack: 1/2 cantaloupe

Lunch: Stir Fry vegetables with shrimp. I sauteed up some snap peas, broccoli, the rest of the zucchini, pepper, onion, and mushrooms and tossed in a couple of handfuls of frozen jumbo shrimp. I use sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and Bragg's liquid amino acids as my typical sauteeing sauce.

Mid-Afternoon snack just before my bike ride: A smoothie with a banana, some coconut milk (also not pictured), a raw egg, some vanilla and crushed ice.

Post bike ride: One half baked yam with some butter

Dinner: Roasted chicken salad. Lots of romaine lettuce, some local chicken, and a olive oil and balsamic dressing I make up with mustard, garlic, and a bit of maple syrup. Two carrots and a bowl of blueberries on the side.

Evening snack: Raw shredded coconut, a handful of Trader Joe's macadamia/almond/cranberry nut mix, and two squares of 88% ultra dark chocolate, with more hot tea.

According to an online calculator, this day's eating provided me with 2094 calories, 212 grams of carbohydrates, 96 grams of fat, and 105 grams of protein. It's important to note that although I eat Paleo, I am not interested in eating "low carb" since I'm an endurance athlete. The two miles of swimming and 25 miles of biking require a fair amount of carbohydrates to fuel. Recently on a triathlon website, someone questioned whether or not a triathlete could compete without bread, pasta, potatoes, corn, oatmeal, and other traditional "high carb" foods. I'm here to tell you that you can! Think of all those empty (not to mention potentially damaging) grain-based carbs, that have been replaced by incredibly nutrient-dense carbs from fruits, nuts, seeds, and veggies.

Similarly, although I definitely hope to get plenty of protein, I typically do it by feel and not by counting grams. I don't tend to worry about fats at all, since all of the fats in my diet come from extremely healthy sources. As someone who only has half of a thyroid gland, having plenty of my fats come from thyroid-healthy coconut is a big benefit.

I'd also note that most of what I eat (with the exception of the tropical things like banana, coconut, and macadamia nuts) is local and easily accessible here where I live. The tropical stuff for me are treats, and I treat them as such. We're lucky to have access to such luxuries, but I try not to make them a staple of my diet. Compared to a soy, corn, and grain-based diet, what I eat is very local in nature. From meat to eggs, fruit, and veggies, most of what our family consumes is locally available, especially in the summer. In the winter, I tend to eat a lot of frozen berries (which our family is picking right now and storing in our chest freezer), and we buy our meat 1/4 cow or 1/3 pig at a time and again store it in the freezer.

Several people locally have questioned my recently displayed ability to heal so quickly from serious injury. When you look at what's on my plate on a daily basis, should that really be so surprising? Compared to the standard American diet, I'm giving my body what it needs on a cellular basis to thrive and maintain optimal health.


wendiw80 said...

I have a couple of questions:

1. Do you indulge ever? if so, how much? and by indulge, I mean eat ice cream (regular dairy ice cream not soy or any other type of ice cream), cheese (goat cheese, soft/white cheeses) or cookies, etc.

2. Do you measure your food?

3. how do you freeze your berries/fruit?

Robin said...


1) Oh yeah, occasionally. What I've discovered though is I feel like CRAP afterwards. The last time I had ice cream I woke up the next day with a hangover that felt like college, IYKWIM. So I don't do it often. I try not to do grains at all so no cookies, and I never do soy due to my 1/2 thyroid. Cheese I do eat occasionally. I especially like eggs with spinach, smoked salmon, and some sheep's milk feta cheese!

2. Nope, never.

3. I freeze them on cookie sheets, then in big gallon ziploc baggies.

Caratunk Girl said...

I love this - I basically eat whole foods. My issue is that I do not love meat. I think that is what would keep me from being Paleo - I eat animal protein about 3x/week. I just don't like it much...the texture. Well, wait, I do eat eggs, that is animal protein I guess! Anyway, this sounds good!

Beth said...

Thank you so much! This is incredibly helpful to me.
I appreciate it,

Liz said...

What kinds of carbs do you take on long bike rides? I'm curious about portability, especially during Ironman training. Do you plan to use gels or energy bars at all anymore? By the way, I love your blog and your lifestyle!

Robin said...

Currently I'm taking bananas and Lara bars. I've made a chia seed/coconut water gel mixture that I've used as a pre-workout snack, but I need to get a gel flask and see if it works to take it with me.

Right now I don't know WHAT I'll do for Ironman! I did the last one on a very conventional endurance athlete's diet - I can't count the number of gels I downed. Blech! For a long time after the race I never wanted to look at another gel. I think I'll be doing a lot of experimenting over the next few months to see what works over longer and longer distances.

julianne said...

Thanks for posting this - it's incredibly useful. I'm glad you pointed out there is no need to be low carb, too may athletes mistakenly believe paleo = low carb. It's not - as Robb Wolf says paleo is carb agnostic. You eat the amount your body needs.

Warrior said...

happy to see how clean you are eating... I am struggling weaning myself off the bad stuff, living with an Italian and next door to italy you can image the pasta temptation.. the cheese temptation.. but there are tons of good foods around us. Thanks for the feedback

Trail Smitten Mom said...

YUM!Great pictures of your awesome diet. Thanks again for sharing your inspiration and information.