Thursday, June 20, 2013

cleansing for athletes?

After Ironman Cairns, I gave myself a full week of whatever I want. And for me, whatever I wanted included 4 full days of no exercise  and eating without thinking, "should I really eat that?" Now, I don't think I went overboard, I mean, sure, I had some of each of the following in the week post-race: gummy candies (lollies, they call them in Oz), french fries (chips!) , creamy lattes (flat whites!), wine, beer, cheeseburger (or apparently, in Australia- a "burger with cheese"), frozen yogurt, scones, muffins, chocolate...and I'm sure the list goes on. I didn't stuff myself crazy with all that crap, but I didn't say no to a bite (or ten). I kept the exercise super minimal for a week with being sick with a cold and traveling halfway across the world, the best thing was just to sit tight. But, by the end of the week, I was definitely itching to get back to "normal".

By the following Monday, I was ready to hit the "reset" button. I think its important to slack off for at least a week after a huge endurance event like an Ironman because life really is all about balance, and chances are, you sacrificed a lot of time, energy and made a lot of good choices to get yourself to that finish line.

However, I also want my body to bounce back stronger and fresher than ever and I thought a little kick start could be fun. I've been visiting Beaming (Superfood vitality bar) in Del Mar since they opened 6 months ago and have been buying the Kale salad w/ gojiberries, Thai salad, Beaming Protein bites, and superfood smoothies anytime I'm in the neighborhood. I also love their philosophy that centers around balance, moderation, and one size (or cleanse!) does not fit all. The focus is to create a partnership between you and your body- I can get behind that. SO, while my post is about the Beaming cleanse, I think it could be applicable to any cleanse you choose as an athlete and how I adapted my needs to work with the cleanse as much as possible.
Chilling at the B-Bar

Beaming offers 1 to 4 day cleanses (primarily juice/smoothies/raw soups, but also some "real" raw food each day in the form of dinner salad or entree) and I got to talking with Kirsten about how & why a cleanse could work for an athlete (any type of athlete, not just the super crazy type like me). So, we decided to do an experiment. I love that Beaming urges you to make this "your cleanse". That means, you do what you  need to feel good during this cleanse. For some, adding in bits of alkaline foods (they recommend 1/2 an avocado, a handful of sprouted almonds, coconut water) could be the extra boost they need to get through a light hike or pilates class. For me, I added in those things I listed above, but I also knew I needed to supplement the cleanse with foods that could fuel my workouts
one day of goodness...

So, for the past 4 days, coconut water, bananas (and some peaches & strawberries), and Beaming Protein bites (sold at the store) have been my best friends in addition to the food they gave me. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I haven't eaten a grain (or had chocolate) in 4 days. Okay, so doing a 4-day cleanse when you are burning 8,000-10,000 (by my calculations) extra calories through exercise within those 4 days is a lofty goal, but my goal was not to restrict my access to good, raw foods or calories. Rather, add in as much as I needed to train properly and focus on feeling fresh, full of nutrients, and seeing which of my "go-to" foods I missed the most.

Here's how it went.... I picked up 2 days at a time in my neato Beaming cooler bag.
my Day 1 & 2 pickup
Each day includes (the full list is here)
  • 2 organic cold press juices
  • 1 Superfood smoothie
  • 1 Raw soup
  • 1 Superfood Elixir
  • 1 Salad or raw entree
 The juices/soups/smoothies/elixirs are numbered but you are allowed to go out of order if you're a rebel like that. They also include Milk Thistle (to help with digestion), Beaming Cleanse & Balance tea, and some powershot boosters with cool things in them like E3live and algae.
bad photo- but check the smoothie ingredients...tasted SO good after a hard treadmill workout. 
Dinners are something I would absolutely be happy to eat for lunch or dinner on a regular basis. Here's tonights raw veggie lasagna & salad:
Raw, vegan lasagna

Well, oddly enough, I was never really hungry even with my training load. Part of this was because I was SO busy. I was wrapping up the school year at work, I had a solid docket of swim, bike, run, and strength workouts and a bunch of other appointments and errands to run after 10 days in Ausrtralia, so I actually found it convenient to just grab a juice (ok, and usually a handful of almonds) and go.
The juices and salads are well, quite freaking tasty. The green juice (#1 each day) took me a little getting used to b/c I love sweet and they are not sweet, but by day 3 I was into it.
I also strategically planned the each day's smoothie (seemingly the most calorie dense and good for recovery- and the most tasty in my opinion) following a tough workout or between workouts to keep me going. I ended up supplementing A LOT of fruit & coconut water, so I might recommend the cleanse when you have very light training- I would love to do this cleanse during a taper (but not too close to the race) or directly following a race. Also, during a mid-season break, it would be the perfect jumpstart to a nutritional change.

packed my cooler to go from pool to work to Rehab United strength class. 1 juice, 1 raw soup, 1 apple, raw almonds

Moving forward, I'm super motivated to eat clean. I've definitely been feeling more vibrant this week and I swear my eyes are glowing green. I even went to Whole Foods tonight and stocked up on all the good foods I want to keep eating (chia seeds, kale, jicama, watermelon, kombucha, canteloupe, beets, almonds, coconut milk, and other whole raw foods). I didn't really miss muffins and cookies that much (which if you know me, is AMAZING) and I'm thinking they were spiking my insulin so much I just kept eating them to feel "better". I also didn't really miss meat & yogurt & fish (ok I did have a sushi craving or two), but will add these back in in smaller amounts for protein. The only things I REALLY missed were some kind of grains for breakfast (oatmeal or anything to make me feel full before a big workout), my Bonk Breakers on long rides,  and CHOCOLATE. I decided I'm not going to live life without chocolate. That's just silly.

I'm also motivated to do some more research on an Alkaline diet in moderation.....Judging by the way I've been feeling, I think they're on to something over there at Beaming...

Thank you to my friends at Beaming for letting me be your athlete cleanse guinea pig- I think we're on to something! And to my friends near - check em out, and far- check out their recipes until they get a store near you.


David Jewell said...

Might have to try it after this long trip into South China where the food is anything but clean.

JC said...

that looks so great. Hey - "schools out for summa" ahhhh - enjoy the work break Chica!

Jennifer Ward Barber said...

Great read Beth, thanks for the info. The perfect substitute for hearing it from the horse's mouth...when said horse is working too hard on the bike to talk. ;)