Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

Butterballin’

On Monday, I ate a turkey sandwich for lunch.

That afternoon, aside from my stomach doing somersaults (an interesting side effect that I didn’t experience during my brief foray into omnivoredom last summer), I felt great.  More pep than I’ve had in weeks.

That night, I took advantage of the motel gym to get in an hour of AR intervals, followed by an hour-long hill ride, capped off with an additional 45 minutes of intervals.

The whole time, I felt fantastic.  I pushed hard and embraced the burn in my quads and my calves.  It was great.  The only reason I stopped when I did was because I realized I was starving (note to self: add sports beans or sharkies to overnight bag).

I had a spring in my step as I ran back to my room (the gym was in a separate building), and took the stairs two at a time.  After reading that caffeine can stave off muscle soreness, I raided the vending machine for pretzels and diet coke, got in a shower and a quick stretching session, and fell asleep quickly and easily.

The next morning, aside from some mild hamstring tightness, my legs felt good, recovered.  Sure, they were a little heavy, but they didn’t have that nagging soreness that I’ve been encountering after each workout the past few weeks.

Was it the Whole Foods turkey-and-roasted-veggie sandwich?  Who knows?

Would a shot of concentrated veggie-based protein have had the same effect?  Could be.

Was it all in my head?  Quite possibly.

But either way, it felt good.

I decided to continue to explore these questions yesterday, this time with a little do-it-yourself action.  Brent’s still on spring break and I had a hard bike ride planned for the afternoon, so we headed down to our neighborhood food co-op to pick some local organic sliced turkey (I figure if I’m going to start eating meat, I’d like to at least try to do it sustainably).

I had no idea how much turkey should go on a sandwich, so I had Brent parcel out a serving (‘a light serving,’ he told me).  I stirfried up some artichokes, broccoli, and mushrooms to put on top, sprinkled on some raw spinach and shaved parmesan for good measure, and had myself a nice little lunch.

The bellyflops returned, but so did the energy, and a couple hours later, I pedaled strong for two hours, powering up the hills and needing little in the way of recovery.

Could it really be that easy?

Am I really ready to embrace life as an omnivore?

It’s time to find out.

For the next week, I’m going to add in a little bit of poultry or fish (sorry, B, I’m not up to cheesesteaks) to my diet on the days that I have a hard workout planned, and I’m going to see its effect.

Since it’s been a million years since I last ate meat on any regular basis (to be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever really eaten meat on any regular basis), though, I need some help!

Does it matter if I eat it before the hard workout, or after?

How much do I really need to eat?

Do chicken-based soups count in terms of protein?

When will the stomach flipflops cease?

Are there any other weird effects of eating meat that I should be aware of?

Do you have any suggestions for relatively tame forms of animal protein?

Please don’t get the wrong idea – I’m not taking this lightly.  As someone who’s been a vegetarian for more than two thirds of her life, this isn’t a spontaneous decision to eat meat.  It’s one I’ve been thinking about for several months, and one I’m ready to consider seriously at this point, as I try to figure out how to get back on track physically.

So, will I be a lean, mean adventure racing machine one week from now?  Let the experiment begin!

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13 responses to “Butterballin’

  1. Laurie April 1, 2011 at 7:38 am

    I am not so much disturbed by the meat eating (stop by my canoe if you need any beef jerky during a race) as I am by the fact that you shop at Weavers Way. Bill and I have an unreasonable disdain of that place 🙂

  2. middleagedrunner April 1, 2011 at 7:56 am

    I’m a carnivore thru and thru and will vouch for the power that a big old strak will give you…
    Or a turkey sandwich!
    I really don’t chow down on a ton of nasty meats- but am a huge fan of chicken, fish and (yes, cheesesteak on occasion!) It’s all about a healthy balance of lean protien and good old veggies.
    I’d say that you found something that works for your bod. Stick with it!
    (candy works for me but there is no way to justify that…)

  3. Kari w/ Jogging with Fiction April 1, 2011 at 8:12 am

    I’ll be really interested to hear what happens! I don’t know that it will make me switch, but it might make me think about it! Then again usually when I “try” a piece of meat, I get sick, so maybe I should do it when I’m not training. Keep me posted!

  4. Johann April 1, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I know for a fact that in long ultras (100km and up) some meat type food really helps to restore the energy for me. Will follow this with interest.

  5. Lara April 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I know it might seem like a leap, but good quality, lean beef can actually be healthier than turkey and packs an amazing punch of iron, etc etc. Maybe in a stir-fry? Not daily. ;o)

    (As for weird side effects… that’s up to your body. For us sometime-meat-eaters, it just feels normal or maybe rejuvenating.)

    TGIF, glad you’re feeling better!

  6. Julie April 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I’m interested to hear your report back on all of this. It seems so many people are going in the other direction these days. I honestly probably eat way too much protein. Eggs for breakfast, turkey for lunch, steak for dinner. Snacks are always high in protein. I got into the bodybuilding world of thinking some time ago and the protein STUCK.

  7. Black Knight April 2, 2011 at 1:01 am

    I don’t eat turkey anymore from the day I had a sandwich in the British Air: my stomach remembers again that food. I prefer steak; usually after a tough workout (pasta before).

  8. Natalie April 3, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    v interesting,cant wait to hear results!

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  10. Mallory April 4, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    That is really interesting!! Definitely keep us posted! I stopped eating red meat about 2 months ago and am wondering if I need to add it back in my diet. That’s the only thing that’s really changed in my diet and I often feel sluggish on my workouts. I don’t know if it’s coincidence or what.

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