Hi guys! My name is Kim and I write a blog on gluten-free living called Gluten-free is Life. Erin asked if I would do a guest post and I was thrilled and honored to write one. I have been gluten-free for a little over 4 years now.
I am currently training for my first full marathon. I ran my first half marathon last October and learned a lot about nutrition and fueling and some of the unique obstacles that come along with following the gluten-free diet. I believe that every obstacle is only as big as you make it out to be.
Where there is a will to get over an obstacle, there is a way to get over it. There are just as many protein-filled foods out there to fuel a gluten-free athlete as there are to fuel any other athlete – it is all about creativity.
Now that I am really ramping up my training, I have to pay close attention to the foods that I am putting into my body. I have to make every calorie count. For those that know me, I do have a sweet tooth. I have to limit some of those treats now so that I have room for those nutrient dense foods that will carry me through my runs, especially the long ones.
Some of the protein-rich foods that I include in my diet are:
- Egg whites
- Lean chicken
- Lean turkey
- Lean red meat (filet mignon)
- Beans (garbanzo &black beans are my favorites)
- Nut butters (almond butter has a special place in my heart)
- Greek yogurt
- Quinoa (Erin’s note-this is a combo of carbs and protein, but is unique in that for a carb source it is unusually high in protein)
All of the above foods are naturally gluten-free.
For carbohydrates, I include:
- Oatmeal (Bob’s Red Mill or Lara’s by Cream Hill Estates)
- Brown rice
- Breads made from whole grain gluten-free flours
- Brown rice cakes
- Gluten-free cereals
- Dried Fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries, figs, apricots)
- Corn Tortillas
- Squash (acorn, butternut, kabocha, spaghetti)
- Potatoes (baked sweet or regular)
I make up most of my diet from the foods listed above & fill in where necessary. I have been playing around with different foods for my pre-run fuel. Some of my favorites have been:
- Zing Bars (love the protein in these)
- Rice Cakes w/ Almond Butter
- Banana w/ Almond Butter
- Blueberry Muffins from Purely Elizabeth
I don’t like to run with a lot of food in my stomach, so this has been something I have really been experimenting with. While I like bananas, they make my stomach feel the fullest of all the options I listed above, so I have only been using that if I have no other options.
For refueling, I try to grab a re-hydration drink of some sort. I have been experimenting with coconut water & it seems to work well & doesn’t make me feel queasy like Gatorade does. I will be reviewing some coconut water later this month on my blog.
Once I get the drink in, I reach for protein and some carbs, but mainly protein. I usually go with a 1 egg/3 egg white frittata made with spinach & tomatoes. I add in some Frank’s Red Hot to spice it up.
(Erin’s note-LOVE Franks’! Favorite hot sauce by a long run!)
I will also have rice cakes with almond butter & fruit spread on the side. I have been toying with some protein shakes, but haven’t found one that I love yet. The You Bar Shakes were good, but they are dairy based. I don’t do well with a lot of dairy or soy, so that makes it tough. I have yet to try the rice protein shakes. They are next on my list.
One of the biggest challenges I have had to overcome is eating after my long runs to get enough calories in. I know this sounds silly to some, but I have no appetite after my long runs. I have to break all the “rules” with listening to my body’s hunger cues, because they are just not there on days when I run 8+ miles. I literally watch the clock to make sure I am getting some kind of food in every 3 hours or so. I try to eat smaller meals on these days so I don’t feel “stuffed” and then in turn, sick.
These are the days that I really need to make every calorie count by getting the best nutritional bang for my buck. I snack on dried fruit a lot on long run days – calorie dense &can be an excellent source of fiber, nutrients, antioxidants and complex carbohydrates. I love adding dried fruit &walnuts or almonds to my salads. I have found that eating “by-the-clock” on long run days works well for me. It helps me keep my energy up through the day and not feel like I was run over by a bus the following day.
I am entering week 9 of marathon training now. I have a half marathon race coming up on March 21, 2010 that I am using as a training run. I am running this race to help raise money for the March of Dimes and a couple of NICUs in the Atlanta area. Only 10 more weeks until my first marathon! Wish me luck!
Erin’s note: GO KIM!