Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Eating Beef

Anyone who has known me for any of my athletic career knows I have a long-standing love of fueling myself with beef.  For the most part, growing up, while I paid a little more attention to my diet, I know I decided a lot of my food choices by taste.  However, a staple of the Rauschenberg household was beef: roasts, steak, burgers, etc.  Well, that and fake double-surfing with my brother, natch.

When I began to run, run far, and run long my diet didn't change very much. Neither did my desire to basically see food as something I ate because of the way I liked its taste and the ease with which it could be cooked. Today, being home very infrequently and usually quite busy when I am home (and usually cooking for one) I don't make much time in my schedule for four course-meals.  Yet, I still have steak or protein-rich beef nearly every day, when possible.

The duck was merely an appetizer after my 33 mile birthday run.
My trips to steakhouses after marathons are basically how I begin not only the refueling process but the "OH MY GOD that tastes soooo good" process.  I make these trips because I knew it worked for me and I knew I felt good before, during, and after eating beef.  But as I started doing different running feats that obviously required something most people do not have, I knew that the three-headed beast of good exercise, good genes and good nutrition obviously played a part in what I was able to do.  So I did research.  I read books.  I experimented on myself with different food types.  Over and over again, the resounding proof in facts I found and the results on race day were that I performed best when I was making sure I had beef in my diet.

Run 202 miles. First food choice? STEAK!
A few days ago I had the pleasure of spending a great deal of time getting a first-hand look at the nutritional value of beef at the HQ of the National Cattleman's Beef Association.  I could not have been less surprised that the things I have found on my own were echoed by the licensed dietitians, cattle producers and everyone else involved in the beef industry that I spoke to.  Why was I not surprised?  Because I had already been field-testing in 52 Marathons in 52 weekends and 202 miles in 50 hours!

Over the past few months I have worked with various state Beef Councils to spread the word about how beef has helped fueled my healthful and balanced diet.  Most of the athletes we spoke to listened and much more than a few were right in line with me in how the reason they were able to do what they do is because they too eat beef.  The jerky and beef samples we were handing out could not have disappeared any faster.  Meanwhile, I was learning I was not the only one who knew the facts- there are 29 cuts of beef as lean as chicken; more than half of our protein needs in a day are met by one 3 ounce serving of beef; and more than half of the fatty acids found in beef are the same heart-healthy fats found in salmon and olive oil!

And while I have to hear the phrase "I am sure you can eat anything you want!" all the time I try to let people know that once you are eating a healthful diet, you don't necessarily WANT to eat crappy food.  Moreover, sure, I burn tons of calories, but I would rather be able to enjoy the calories I eat.  That 3 ounces of lean beef I mentioned earlier?  Yeah, it has 154 calories.  A White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks?  400 Calories.  I'll take the nearly 8 ounces of beef I would get in 400 calories instead, thank you.

And why would I do that?  Because I have no desire, energy or time to think about filling in the gaps.  Sure you can get protein from others sources.  But when beef is either an excellent or good source of 10 essential nutrients needed in our daily diets, I would rather not try to figure out which nutrients I am missing because I decided to eschew beef and go with tofu, black beans, peanut butter or a plethora of other choices from which many get protein.

My goal is to finish races and get there, for the most part, as quickly as possible feeling the best I can and, more rapidly than most- go do it all over again.  So, how do I do that?

I eat beef.


ilovesteaks said...

I love steaks! :)
Yes, people need to do research and find out what works best for them!

Anonymous said...

Vegetarians are going to have a field day with this one, luv! Jeff and I will probably be moving to BEEF country by the end of the year (will know for sure by 10/25). I am sure the folks in Cody, Wyoming will be happy to hear about your endoresement.

Meat is Murder! Delicious, delicious murder.