"I'm A Runner. I Can Eat Whatever I Want"

I hear it all the time, either on the Runner’s World forums or in real life: “A runner can eat whatever they want”. Let me tear this one to shreds. First of all, are we all really “runners”? at least in this sense? I do think that there’s little difference between anyone who runs a mile for fun or 10 miles for fun. But there’s a BIG difference between people who run for fun and people like Ryan Hall who run for a living. Now those are runners.

OK. Let’s assume we are all runners. The same rules of life still apply. That’s why my first point is to listen to what mom always said and have your 3 balanced meals each and every day.

Black Bean And Potato Salad With Daiya And Salsa

Black Bean And Potato Salad With Daiya And Salsa

Dinner last night was a simple medley of black beans and organic russet potato over spinach and topped with Daiya. Yes, I really was just eating everything else as a way to have Daiya. But I thought this would be better than eating it straight from the bag to get more nutrients, don’t you think?

Moldy Chobani

Moldy Chobani

Some things none of us can eat, like moldy yogurt. Yeah, this wasn’t the most pleasant way to start my day.

Vegan GF Midnight Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan GF Midnight Chocolate Cupcakes

And other things we could eat but probably shouldn’t. Case in point: these cupcakes for breakfast. I know people who would call a cupcake a “muffin” if it’s eaten before 10am. But with no whole grains, and little of–well–anything, these would not have been kind to me during my 14 miler I have planned. That’s when I made a new plan for breakfast:

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Pomegranate Chobani With Dark Chocolate Almonds

Pomegranate Chobani With Dark Chocolate Almonds

Much better. A new yogurt, topped with Tierra Farm‘s organic dark chocolate almonds, and oatmeal topped with vanilla peanut butter made with Madhava vanilla agave. Sure, there was sugar here. But there was also 30+ grams of protein, 20g whole grains, 20g bran, healthy fat and antioxidant from cacao and pomegranate. This was most definitely one of my “balanced meals”.

I don’t want to make the case that a runner always has to eat healthy; that’s a dangerous mindset I hear too much, too. The truth is, balance is the key. At a certain point, a calorie is a calorie and a runner might just need more to do more. That’s where dessert comes in.

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream With Coconut PB And Coconut Oil Chocolate

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream With Coconut PB And Coconut Oil Chocolate

Indulgent? Sugary? Delicious? All of the above. Still, I try to find some nutrition in my desserts, which is why I often reach for coconut products. The saturated fat in coconut is medium chain, making it easier for our bodies to break down to energy than long chain. And it’s plant based so it has no cholesterol. Besides that, it just is easier for me to digest than dairy. What more could I say to get you on the coconut train?

Oatmeal With Chunky PB And Organic Dark Chocolate

Oatmeal With Chunky PB And Organic Dark Chocolate

And if I’m notorious for anything, it’s my nightly bowl of oatmeal with nut butter. Do what you want. But the warm carbs are great for a good night’s sleep. And this is nothing but a healthy dessert. And those squares of Endangered Species organic smooth dark chocolate–all for the antioxidants ;-)

Fudge

Fudge

So I guess I can’t play the runner’s card to attack this pan anymore, huh? Well it will still be there if and when I finish running 14 miles. The sun is shining and things are heating up so if ever that’s happening it will be soon. Tonight’s post will be a recipe-packed post with all of your ice cream suggestions and what’s in the pan above.

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No Responses to “"I'm A Runner. I Can Eat Whatever I Want"”

  1. Mary 13. May, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    Evan, I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog. Your straight to the point matter of fact way you write brightens my day to no end. I agree with you. “runner” or not, we all need to keep watch of what we put in our mouths :)

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  2. Michelle (Snacks and Field) 13. May, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    There were kids on my high school track team that thought exactly like that- they would slack off at practice, but since they “ran” they were free to eat everything in their path! lol
    I also had a chobani last week that was moldy EXACTLY like that one, I was thinking about writing a letter but then decided against it…
    &That ice cream looks so good and all that chocolate is making me crave it!!

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  3. Madeline - Greens and Jeans 13. May, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    I hear that from people all the time! Trust me, even Ryan Hall watches what he eats!

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  4. jenny (green food diaries) 13. May, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    evan, it’s bad i check your blog every morning. i have vegan fudge and coconut milk ice cream on my mind right from the start!

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  5. Jessica 13. May, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

    Excellent point! No one, no matter how active, should be eating junk all day!

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  6. Michelle @ Find Your Balance 13. May, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    I can’t have sugar in the morning, period. Sets me up for a tired day!

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  7. Veronica (lifewithnature) 13. May, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    So many times I’ve heard the comment:”You’re so lucky to be able to eat what you want without gaining weight!” But the thing is, Even though I CAN doesn’t mean I SHOULD.

    While those making a lot of exercises may be able to eat more calories, the source of the calories makes a huge difference. There’s an important balance we should keep as far as calories from fat, carbs and proteins, if we want to have an optimum health.

    The nutrient content of the food where the calories come from also plays an important role. Feasting on “empty” calories too often is not healthy, wheter you exercise of not. As example, you still get insulin peaks when you eat sugary food even if you burn the calories afterward. The same goes with foods that increase the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases or diabetes.

    In fact, we should make exercises to be healthy and fit, not to wave the guilt of eating unhealthy food. For optimum health, a clean, whole food-based varied diet is the key.

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  8. Naomi (onefitfoodie) 13. May, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    bahh that moldy chobani almsot had me gagging!! i had once one before that had gone bad, but NEVER have I seen visible mold on it! its funny because yogurt essentially IS mold, then we freak out when we see it?!?!

    annnyways, i want some of that fudge

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  9. Kelly 13. May, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    Goodluck with the 14 miles…I am sure you will rock it!

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  10. rebekah (clarity in creation.) 13. May, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    gahh it’s so aggrevating when people ask me why i eat salad – i don’t need to because i’m a runner!

    i tell people i eat healthy BECAUSE i am a runner! for goodness sakes, can YOU run on crap? i sure can’t.

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  11. Claire @ College:Raw 13. May, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    Ha, I agree with you about the calling yourself a runner thing. Back in high school I would have called myself a runner but now I wouldn’t. I think the focus should be on what they eat, not just eating crap because they burned off enough calories for it. But the same goes for everyone!

    Bummer about the moldy yogurt. I’m pretty sure I would have been tempted to just scoop it out and eat the rest, haha. Unless it tasted funky. ;-)

    Ooo, I have an ice cream suggestion! Okay, I actually have a couple:

    1. Simple vanilla bean
    2. Chocolate ginger
    3. Cinnamon raisin
    4. Cookie dough (put some of your cashew cookie dough in a vanilla base…yum!)
    5. Chocolate peanut (I’m thinking you could throw in some chocolate covered peanuts..)

    Haha, I think I could come up with flavors forever, but I’ll stop at five…

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  12. Ali @ Redhead Reports 13. May, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    Sometimes I have to remind myself that just because I worked out doesn’t give me a free-card to eat whatever I want all day long.
    Plus, eating healthy is the only way to fuel for a good workout – so I can’t very well eat “anything” I want and still be able to run.

    [Reply]

  13. Anna 13. May, 2010 at 5:07 pm #

    I hate it when people say that! Even runners need to eat healthfully, for good fuel, even if they’re eating in larger quantities.

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  14. caronae 13. May, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    I have definitely heard people who barely run say that before. If anything, runners may need more calories, but need to focus on nutrients and getting lots of them! I love your nutrient filled runner’s meals! I just read an article in the NYT about eating and ultramarathoning. Here’s the link:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/13/sports/13runner.html?emc=eta1

    [Reply]

  15. BroccoliHut 13. May, 2010 at 6:01 pm #

    Great commentary! I remember once being in my local track store, and the cashier was obviously a major runner…but he was feasting on his lunch of nachos and beer. I wanted to school him on nutrition then and there, but decided against it:)

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  16. Ilana 13. May, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    This is a wonderful post, Evan.

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  17. marathonmaiden 13. May, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

    totally agree with you that everyone should watch what they eat. i make sure to eat lots of nutritious foods at each meal but i definitely take advantage of all my miles to have lots of desserts too :)

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  18. Lisa @ Early Morning Run 13. May, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    exceptional post. I am a runner, but I am no Ryan Hall. I only dream of spending my entire day running, and then perhaps having the ability to eat chocolate every day. one thing I learned while training for a marathon is that running does not necessarily help you lose weight, and at the same time, it does not mean you can eat anything you want. Plus, to be a strong runner, you have to eat healthy foods (most of the time)!

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  19. Michelle 13. May, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    People tell me that I’m just so skinny cause I “run.” Uh huh, I can max out at 4 miles and I only do that about every other week. I wish I could change how people think about food.

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  20. Lauren @ Health on the Run 14. May, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    Although I would argue that anyone who runs is a “runner”, you’re right–there is a huge difference between someone who runs for enjoyment/exercise and someone who runs for a living. And I hear that phrase ALL the time (I’ve definitely fallen into the trap myself!). It’s not true. I mean, yes, if you are running a crazy amount of mileage every week and eating a lot of crap along with it, it probably wouldn’t show. But that doesn’t mean you’re giving your body the fuel it needs to perform.

    I’ve heard people getting frustrated when extra weight doesn’t melt off like they think it should when they start running. But that’s because they don’t realize that the calories they are putting in are JUST as important as the ones they’re expending.

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  21. Ashlei 15. May, 2010 at 9:14 am #

    A lot of my Chobani’s have been moldy too :(

    [Reply]

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