Today’s guest post is from the beautiful and sweet Carolina! I had the opportunity to meet Carolina a few weekends ago at CFLBlogCon and she was just as genuine and personable in person as she is on her blog. I asked her to write a post on running and vegetarianism because I am intrigued by different lifestyle choices and the path people take to get ther. Hope you enjoy!
Hello there Crazy*Running*Legs readers! My name is Carolina & I co-write Peas in a Blog with my best friend Katie; The Peas focuses on vegetarian fare & fitness. When Katie & I decided to start blogging close to a year ago we had no idea it would introduce us to a wonderful blogging community & incredible bloggers like Michelle. When she asked me to guest blog while she’s away I jumped at the chance, because she’s awesome. I recently got to meet her up close & personal & let me tell you guys, she’s even more awesome in person. Thanks for the opportunity Michelle!
Michelle & I have several things in common but one currently consumes our lives: we are both athletes, runners to be exact. As a no meat athlete I often get asked many questions about the vegetarian lifestyle & how conducive it is to the runner lifestyle – I’m here to tell you all about it. Below the six questions I get asked about most about being a vegetarian runner; I hope they provide some insight into the lifestyle, running and how they both live in harmony.
What made you become a vegetarian?
As a Hispanic woman, meat was a staple all of my life; I would have never guessed I would become a vegetarian. About four years ago I looked at myself in the mirror & didn’t like what I saw: I was not active, eating junk, was overweight & overall unhappy with my life. And so in an attempt to find a healthier lifestyle I read Skinny Bitch. Though I did not become a vegan at the time (Skinny Bitch heavily advocates a vegan lifestyle) I did take away some valuable information: Eat local, organic foods. Avoid processed. You are what you eat. As I began to apply these principles in my life I began to fall in love with whole foods, not only did they taste better but I felt great eating them. I slowly began to eliminate pork, then red meat & so on; the whole process took several years. It wasn’t until a year & a few months ago that I completely cut off meat from my diet, and I’ve never looked back. Being a vegetarian has changed not only my nutrition: it’s changed my body, improved my creativity/skills in the kitchen, it has changed my way of life.
How did you take up running?
I started running due to a broken heart. After my ex boyfriend broke up with me I was very sad but refused to succumb to it; when the going gets tough you get tougher. I decided it was the perfect time to pick up new hobbies & my friend was training for a marathon; she suggested I give running a try. I did a search for upcoming races, discovered theDisney Princess Half Marathon was on my birthday & signed up…here I am now. I’ve ran a few half marathons, two 15Ks, a 10K & several 5Ks. I’m also currently training for the NYC Marathon which will be my first. I guess you can say I replaced my ex with running & have dated running ever since!
Don’t you miss meat? Meat is so delicious.
Before becoming a vegetarian I had the misconception that vegetarians ate like rabbits, aka only salads, that’s so far from the truth. Nowadays there are so many options for us it’s hard to miss meat. I don’t feel deprived by lack of meat in my diet in any way; in fact, I eat much more varied foods now than I did when I was a meat eater. Also, are you ready for this? I don’t remember what meat tastes like, at all. Because you have to like the way something tastes in order to crave it & I don’t remember what meat tastes like I don’t miss or crave it. That said, I do miss the convenience of easy ordering at fast food places like Chick-Fil-A (for example). Thank goodness I can still get their cookies & crème milkshake & sweet tea; these were & are still my favorites there.
How do you get enough protein? Don’t you need protein to recover after long runs?
Yes it’s true – you do need to make sure you get enough protein after long runs to aid in muscle restoration. One of the first things I researched when I became a vegetarian was how to get enough protein as a runner; I was surprised to find it wasn’t that hard. We can get plenty of protein without eating meat from whole, delicious foods like nuts, hearty greens, legumes, nut butters, quinoa & soy products (to name a few). Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, it’s all about eating a balanced diet. In the words of Michael Pollan: Eat whole foods. Not too much. Mostly plants. Follow this rule & you’ll get plenty of protein without even having to think about it.
Why should I become a vegetarian?
Nutrition, in any form, is a very personal choice; you have to do what feels right to you. If that’s eating meat that’s fine, just make sure its grass fed & free of pesticides & steroids. If you’re curious about vegetarianism at all but aren’t ready to take the plunge that’s okay too, I encourage you to eat meat-free meals 2-3 times a week for a month. After the 30 days you may or may not become a vegetarian but I can guarantee you this: you will discover a vast selection of vegetables, learn how to make plant-based foods that are filling/satisfying & will hopefully make vegetables more of a star in your meals. Regardless of your choice (to meat or not to meat) one thing is clear: more vegetables & whole foods will benefit you. Your body will feel better, your grocery bill will be cheaper & you will reduce your carbon footprint. Everyone wins.
Why should I become a runner?
Because you have nothing to lose & so much to gain! This is coming from a girl who once hated running; I never understood why someone would torture themselves voluntarily… Now that I’ve given it a chance, I feel the exact opposite – how could you not want to run? It’s a cheap sport you can do anywhere, keeps you in great shape, gives you a chance to go outside & explore. Sure, it’s hard & your body won’t know what hit it when you first start running consistently. There will be sweat, blood (if you get bloody nipples, which I have not. Google them, they’re not pretty) & tears but it’ll be worth it. Running requires you to put in effort but trust me, it gives so much more back. That being said, running is not for everyone & that’s okay. Just get out there, be active & take care of that wonderful body of yours. Go after those endorphins!
If you have any questions at all about being a vegetarian, a runner &/or both I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment & I’ll do my best to be a resource. And thanks again Michelle for the opportunity to guest post; I feel honored. Have a great day everyone!
Thank you so much Carolina!!! Hope you guys love Carolina as much as I do — go check her out!!