To be honest, I was not eating very healthy in my last two cycling trips in New Zealand and Northwestern Europe. Although I have become vegetarian since I started my travel 3 years ago, it is still far from eating healthy in a certain ways. Ron has actually inspired me by his diet after his cancer treatment, he became a vegan which means avoiding all kinds of animal products including cow milk, cheese and eggs. However, to become a strictly vegan is very hard when we are traveling from places to places on our bikes. Sometimes we have no choice but to respect our hosts or local culture to taste their cuisine. When we have the choice to buy or cook, we try our best to stick to our vegetarian diet. Here are some power food that we eat almost everyday during our cycling tour.
- Crunchy Museli
I have no idea what the hack is museli until last year in New Zealand, it is a mixture of oat or wheat flakes, dried fruits (usually raisins, dried apple, coconut or banana) and nuts. We prefer the Crunchy one as it is flavored with honey that you can eat it alone without soya milk. Museli has relatively high amount of protein and carbohydrate that are required in our daily exercise, comparing to just corn flakes. You can also buy oat flakes to make porridge, but we rather just eat museli that does not need to be cooked. Sometimes in the middle of the ride, we stop and eat a few spoon of museli as snacks. Besides, it is quite filling so you will not feel hungry all the time.
Many people know that bananas are a good source of potassium, which is an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. In athletic aspect, maintaining a high level of potassium is good for preventing muscle cramps. Besides, bananas have a high carbohydrate and fiber content which provide our body energy and ease digestion. To conclude, the mix of vitamins, minerals, and low glycemic carbohydrates in bananas has made them a favorite fruit among endurance athletes.
- Lentils or chickpeas
Among all the grains (except quinoa which is quite pricy and harder to find in Europe and Asia), lentils and chickpeas are quite affordable sources of protein, carbohydrates, fiber and minerals. They take longer time to cook but definitely more nutritious than white rice and pasta. A useful tips is soaking them overnight, then it saves half of the time cooking. Actually if you soak lentils for a few days until it germinates, you can just eat the sprout, equally nutritious and healthy! We usually cook lentils or chickpeas in soup or just slightly fried them with chopped vegetables and curry powder. If there is a blender in your host’s home, make some hummus and bring it on the road to eat with bread!
- Palm Dates
I am switching my craving of sugar from unhealthy biscuits to natural sugar, and palm dates is a very good option to provide you enough healthy sugar, together with fiber, vitamins and minerals that you need everyday to maintain good blood circulation and strong bones. Dates also contain tannins which is known as possessing anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic properties. Just eat dates out-of-hand, or mix them in salad. Here you can taste the natural, unprocessed sweetness which stimulates your taste bud!
- Broccoli and Cauliflower
Do not think vegetable has no protein, broccoli and cauliflower actually have higher protein per calories than beef steak, and not to say plant proteins are easier to be absorbed by our bodies than animal proteins. Besides, you could not find any other vegetables which has higher amount of vitamins and minerals than broccoli and cauliflower, them help a lot with our immune system, as well as bone and heart health. It is better to steam them, otherwise cooking them too long would destroy the vitamins.
Apart from broccoli and cauliflower, the whole family of cruciferous vegetables serve the similar functions to strengthen our bodies in a much healthier way.
We usually steam a portion and store them in a food box, so that we can eat whenever we are hungry.
There are plenty of choices of vegetable and fruits that can provide your nutritional need even when you do intense exercise everyday. And surprisingly, after changing my diet in this trip starting from Spain, I gain weight (around 3-5kg) after cycling for 2 months. It proves that our bodies love healthy plant proteins and natural sugar rather than animal proteins and processed sugar. No matter you are a long term cyclists, or just read my post mainly by interest, everyone should be careful of what they put in their mouths!
Share about your diet on the road, or at home. What are your tips of growing healthy muscles?