Friday, 10 October
At Carol's Big Birthday Bash about a month ago, TB was lamenting her upcoming time with her inlaws because they seem to subsist on food comprised solely of "flour, sugar, and butter." Unlike TB, I happen to like FSB, but her comment made me realize I'd been indulging in rather too much of them. I was then 36 hours away from my second 12-hour time trial of the year, and when you know you're going to be pedaling for that long, you figure you can eat anything. And a week later, I did a 104-mile ride, which only reinforced that thinking. All that time on a bike, though, gave me lots of time to think, and I put together my training plan for the autumn and the beginnings of a nutrition regimen.
My goal for October is to eat no refined wheat flour and no refined sugar. (The original plan was to also eliminate caffeine, but for the sake of my husband--who has to live with me--I ditched that element.) Neither of those are things your body needs, and they're hard to digest, so it is an attempt to eat more healthfully for a little while and to maybe strengthen better eating habits. So far, I have made it about one third of the way to my goal. While a few things have been challenging, it's not too bad.
Breakfast cereal is the number one stealth location for sugar. Some form of sweetener is the second ingredient in almost every cereal I checked. I already eat a lot of oatmeal and I need/want something else occasionally, mainly as a vehicle for milk or yogurt.
I forget sometimes that there's a little bit of sugar or flour in things I cook. I had to put maple syrup (the stuff from trees, not high fructose corn syrup disguised as "maple" syrup) in applesauce instead of sugar, and we couldn't tell the difference. I tried using a mixture of soy flour and cornstarch in place of flour in scalloped potatoes, and it didn't work at all (not a bad result, just no effect). One of my favorite things about the off-season is being at home for weekend breakfasts. While my husband could live on cereal and toast, day in, day out, three meals a day, my parents always made something special for weekend breakfasts, and I confess that I love to make (and eat) pancakes, waffles, or muffins when we're not racing (provided there's a big training ride on the agenda). So I've missed those, both making them and eating them.
One thing I hadn't thought through was how much protein I get from the white flour that's in pasta. Wheat has a lot of protein, and we usually eat a lot of pasta. Quinoa has become my new best friend. A neighbor tells me you can cook it and eat it like oatmeal, but I haven't gone that far yet.
For me, it's easier to lay down basic rules like this to guide my eating than to take on a diet where I just intend to eat "less." I know from the get-go that there's absolutely nothing inside a Starbucks that I can eat (on principle, I refuse to pay $2.50 for 25 cents worth of oatmeal). Eating out would be a bit of a challenge, but I am looking forward to yummy Thai curry with rice soon. I'm hoping a side effect of this nutrition plan will be a few pounds lost, but that's not the goal. I am, however, thinking of trying a super low fat diet for November to try to accomplish that. As a vegetarian, though, it would be really tough for me to get by without nuts or cheese. I'll just be sure not to start that until November 2 so that I have one day when I can indulge in Halloween candy!