Kona Coundtown 7 days: Fueled by plants
In 7 days my body will be racing for 140.6 miles at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. The human body is absolutely amazing in that it can endure a 10+ hour event. As athletes we rely on our mind to stay focused and alert. Our amazing heart muscle beats faster and faster with every hard effort, in order to provide nutrients to the body, clear waste products, provide glucose and oxygen to the brain and to pump blood to keep the body warm or help with cooling. The lungs help with gas exchange, removing carbon dioxide from the blood in exchange for oxygen-rich blood. The muscular system is no less complex. Although we can easily recognize when our heart beats too fast or when we need to slow down to grasp some air, it is the muscular system that we can identify with the most, as it allows us to facilitate movement on a daily basis. Either involuntarily or voluntarily, muscle tissues receive signals from the brain in order to contract or relax..this allows us to move. Because the heart and lungs play a vital role in our athletic performance, I find it extremely important to do everything in our power to take care of the human body on a daily basis.
I am always amazed by the body when we ask it to train for an event. Whether it is a 5K run/walk, a triathlon, a marathon or an Ironman, we put stress on our body in order to gain strength. Over time, if done correctly, we not only gain strength but speed and power. We also gain mental strength, an ability to connect the mind to the body when under pressure, stress or fatigue.
The feeling is always indescribable when I think about the human body when it trains for the Ironman. Every workout builds on one another in order to prepare the body for a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run. We also train our mind to be able to dig deep when the going gets really tough. Despite our previous fitness or athletic resume, we have the ability to get stronger and faster while training for an event, even as we age or overcome the many obstacles (and set-backs) in life.
When I was interning to become a Registered Dietitian, I never knew the impact that my education would have on my personal life. Wanting to learn more about the human body and nutrition, I was nervously excited to become a clinical dietitian in a hospital. Being around sick/ill patients is not the easiest career to look forward to on a daily basis, but I just love being able to have an impact on the healing/recovery process. Although I have only been a clinical dietitian (working PRN - as needed) for the past 3 months (since passing the RD exam in June 2011), I have quickly learned about common symptoms, lab values and complaints in terms of final diagnoses. Although the body is very complex, patients who have similar lifestyle practices/habits appear to have similar outcomes.
Certainly there is always the anomaly, the person who never smokes and gets lung cancer or the morbidly obese individual who does not have diabetes. But for the most part, patients who have get diagnosed with liver disease or get diagnosed with cancer often have similar past histories often demonstrating modifiable lifestyle habits. It is my passion, goal and responsibility to my body to take care of my body for the rest of my life, by prioritizing a plant-based diet. Although we can not prevent disease, we can certainly reduce the risk and I find it very important to do everything I can to improve my chance of living a quality-filled life.
Knowing the impact of nutrition on the human body, I respect food for fuel. Throughout my Ironman journey, my mission was to keep developing a healthy relationship with food but to further my passion of being fueled by plants. Having been meat-free for over 18 years, I find that I feel more alive, with every year I age, due to providing my body with quality food.
My camera is filled with Trimarni creations and I thought I would share (a few) of my favorite meals that have fueled my Ironman Journey...Enjoy!