The following is just a quick, unedited paragraph excerpt from the Run Vegan Nutrition Primer I’m working on. I took a break from it during the holidays, but am back to plugging away towards the end.
“There are also great mental and emotional rewards to indulging that help combat more detrimental ways of looking at food and eating habits. The majority of runners are conscious about what they put into their bodies already, and I’ve found that vegan runners are that much more conscious due to our ethical parameters, but I’ve also noticed that runners have personalities that draw them to extremes, which can result in unhealthy perspectives when it comes to eating and nutrition. As an ethical vegan, my only concern is making sure I’m removing myself from the industrial animal agriculture process of supply and demand, but the wider vegan community often finds itself succumbing to the trend of, if not outdoing one another, then seeking a mythical sense of higher and higher purity through increased food restrictions. Veganism becomes Whole Food Veganism becomes Raw Veganism becomes Fruitarianism becomes….I don’t want to know what comes next. Couple the runner’s mentality of refining eating habits for optimal athletic performance with the purist mentality of the dietary vegan community and you have a potential recipe for compromised athletic performance at best and a full on eating disorder at worst. This type of eating perspective does no one good, not runners and not vegans. And this is where indulgence can have a grounding and positive effect. Indulging has the potential to throw a wrench in the machine of hyper-refined eating. Trust me, when you’ve reached something of a peak with your running and you’re trying to find any edge to push the glass ceiling a little higher, it is very easy to fall prey to purist mentalities of eating while falling into an overly concerned outlook on calorie consumption, fat consumption, etc., but if indulging isn’t just seen as a periodic reward and instead becomes a beneficial component to healthy eating, you’ve done a great service to both your athletic performance, running longevity, and overall eating perspective. When you’re putting in significant training miles, building and breaking your body on a repeated basis, it REALLY is ok to eat that entire bar of chocolate, that 500 calorie cookie, that extra piece of pizza (or entire pizza!), or that sandwich made up more of processed gluten than anything else. Don’t worry about an excessive commitment to whole food eating, baseless perspectives on “origins” diets, or any other dietary fear mongering that mars the landscape of eating culture today. Eat well, run often, follow your intuition and indulge. You have my unsolicited and unnecessary permission.”