Interestingly, while I was on vacation last week I felt like I was having a ton of conversations about food... what I eat, what I don't eat, etc. I don't think I have everything nailed down perfectly but I don't have stomach issues and my weight stays pretty stable, as do my energy levels (I very rarely if ever bonk)... so what I'm doing works for me. Could I do it better? Maybe. But I'm of the mindset If it ain't broke... So, in case you're interested...
First off, daily nutrition... I don't follow any specific diet (Paleo, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, high fat, low fat, low carb, blah blah blah) but I have read about all those different plans and feel like I have at least a little understanding of where each is coming from. I think the thing that pretty much all those plans have in common is vegetables. So my thought is, you can't go wrong with vegetables! I eat as many vegetables as I can, every day. And I don't put a lot of stuff on/with them. Most of the time they are raw or steamed or broiled or blended. Luckily I genuinely enjoy the taste of most vegetables, and I have noted how much better I feel when I eat a lot of them, so my motivation to consume vegetables is high. Fruits are also right there on that list and I eat most of those plain/raw. Pretty simple. Plant Power. I'm a believer.
I eat meat, though maybe not every single day. But chicken, beef, fish, etc... It's all good in my world. I also like to include good fats as much as I can so I'll add Udo's oil to some foods or coconut oil to my smoothies. I'll eat a whole plain avocado every day if they're available. I love nuts. Almonds and pistachios are my favorites.
I may be wrong on this as I know some people eat way fewer carbs than I do, but I'm not completely sold on the low/no carb thing quite yet. I've def reduced my carbohydrate intake over the last year or so but my thought is that for Ironman, well, I just can't see how one could get through week after week of 18-22 hours of training on a low carb diet. Maybe a single sport athlete training like an hour a day could get by- and maybe even thrive! That I believe... I just haven't gotten myself there. So that said, I eat grains, though less than I used to. Quinoa is prob my favorite but I'll eat rice and oatmeal too. Maybe a little granola here and there but I've def cut back cereal as a staple food group and don't really eat a lot of bread anymore either. I don't have celiac or anything and I REALLY wanted to believe that gluten-free thing was just a dumb fad... but I have tried it off/on and I have to begrudgingly agree that I feel better when I cut out wheat and wheat products from my diet. So I'm not like crazy psycho about it or anything- ie when I was traveling and in airports and had fewer options, I ate a sandwich vs starving myself... but if I had an option to go to Whole Foods I would not choose a sandwich- I'd build myself an awesome salad instead. That kind of thing. I don't think I personally have any adverse reactions to dairy though as a whole I don't eat a lot of dairy. I simply don't like milk so I never drink it. I will eat greek yogurt and cottage cheese but those are the only dairy products I have on a fairly regular basis. Oh, I like kefir and ice cream too, though ice cream is a pretty rare treat that I only eat in moderation or when I'm all stressed out and Scott has left some in the freezer.
I drink a fair amount of coffee (2-3 cups/day over the course of a morning)... but no soda/coke unless I'm racing a half or full Ironman.
As far as training and race fueling goes... I am sponsored by Powerbar this year (Oh, you didn't see that bright yellow kit I wear?!? lol) so pretty much all of my nutrition stuff comes from them and I'm loving it. I like the original Powerbars the best- I'm not picky about flavors they all taste pretty good to me. And powergels I've found I really like too. Mostly it's the thinner consistency I like- they are so easy to get down especially while running. And the flavors are good too. I've consumed a lot of powergels this year.
I'm also sponsored by Vespa and have been a fan of that product for the last year and a half or so... it's an all-natural amino acid product that comes from wasps. The idea behind it is that it helps your body burn/access/use stored fat for fuel vs relying primarily on carbs when training and racing so that sounded like a good thing to me. It has not eliminated my need to take in carbs when training/racing but I do think of it as a type of insurance so if I miss 100 cal here or there it's not a huge issue for me. I also think that because it is an amino acid that it helps me keep a calm/clear head. I find that I think more logically and stay more calm when I take it vs when I don't so that in and of itself is reason enough for me to take it! I've noticed that effect from different amino acid products on my brain for several years and I used to use Amino Vital (drink) because of that reason but now I don't bc it tastes too much like gross fake sugar to me. Vespa has taken over for me as my amino acid of choice.
SO... my nutrition plan for Boulder on Sunday looked like this:
Breakfast: cold bowl of quinoa with kefir, cinnnamon, blueberries, banana. Coffee.
While waiting for my late wave start: Pocket Fuel. This was given to me by one of my athletes as a sample and it was so freakin' tasty I could not believe it. Mostly it's just almond butter with chocolate and bits of espresso but it was prob 400 calories with some fat and protein mixed in there too. Very satisfying! I also took 2 e21 tabs and a vespa in the 30' prior to race start. And I drank a whole bottle of water.
Bike: I drank 2 bottles of 200 cal each plus took 3 powergels. So 700 cal total plus e21 twice (4 tabs total). I was planning a 4th gel but with that flat I got flustered and out of my routine so I missed that last one. I didn't worry too much about it b/c I knew I had Vespa on board which again felt like insurance to me. I drank to thirst which meant I prob had another 2 bottles of water in addition to my sports drinks. It didn't feel like a very hot day to me but the dry air up there made me feel like I needed to drink more. I had to pee in T2 for the first/only time so felt like my hydration was spot on.
Run: I drank a bottle of sport drink in T2 before I ran out and then took a total of 3 gels through the run. I also had a few small cups of coke and water as I felt. I took 4 more e21 tabs as well so a total of 10 for the day.
So that nutrition had my energy levels totally stable, my brain working logically, and my muscles working as well as they could. I wouldn't change a thing for 70.3 races... that's pretty much how I do it every time. It's also pretty much what I train with so nothing was really new (except the pocket fuel and even that didn't have any funky ingredients so it was no cause for concern).
For Canada, I'll likely have a similar plan... Maybe 5 bottles of drink (plus water as thirst dictates) on the bike for a total of ~1200 cal plus 5-6 gels and 10 e21 tabs... plus an extra Vespa on the bike after ~3 hours. So 1700-1800 cal on the bike. On the run I'll drink Coke as I feel which will likely be every aid station, plan powergels every 4-5 miles or so, e21 every hour (I'll prob take ~20 e21 tabs through the day), and then whatever else looks/sounds good to me at aid stations.
So there you go! Pretty simple, really.