This blog/site is a collection of my thoughts, articles and other general excitement tied into cycling, training and competing as a vegan bike racer and athlete.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Story on OrganicAthlete Victoria in the Times Colonist

eya - i've been slow in updates, expect a few over the next few days!

First up, there was an awesome story published in the local paper, that actually got distribution all across Canada, here it is!


Elite Island athletes who are vegetarians
Island group provides information and support for vegetarian, vegan and whole-food jocks
Steve Carey, Times Colonist
Published: Friday, July 04, 2008

A group on Vancouver Island is showing athletes don't need meat to compete.

"Dinner last night was a big yam, about two cups of broccoli, two cups of kale and a little veggie chicken thing," says Dave Shishkoff, 32, a competitive cyclist and a vegan for almost 18 years. "Typically a meal of mine will be just a big plate of vegetables, whatever is in season, preferably."

Shishkoff is president of the Victoria chapter of Organic Athlete, an organization dedicated to providing information and support to vegetarian, vegan and whole-food athletes. With more than 500 members worldwide, the group is made up of body-builders, power-lifters, cyclists and triathletes. The 20 members of the Victoria chapter come from all sports and rankings, including a national-level rower.

Because of his high-carb, low-protein, plant-based diet, Shishkoff's on-track nickname is "Shishkabob." The joke

doesn't affect his performance, though -- Shishkoff places in the top five in most events and took second place overall at the Track B.C. Cup last November.

From 2008-08-23 - ...

There are vegetarian and vegan athletes worldwide, and not just in endurance sports. Mac Danzig, 28, is the current Ultimate Fighting champion. He has been a vegetarian since he was 16 and a vegan since he was 19.

Some of the most successful vegan and vegetarian athletes have been ultramarathon runners. American Scott Jurek is the seven-time winner of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, while Vancouver's Brendan Brazier, a two-time Canadian 50-kilometre race winner, wrote the bestseller The Thrive Diet, and also markets a line of popular vegan athletic supplements, called Vega.

Shishkoff trains four to five days a week for three hours a day, burning more than 1,800 calories per workout. He tries to take in about 3,000 calories per day and less than 30 grams of protein. But he is a cyclist, not a body-builder or football player, athletes who need large amounts of protein to bulk up.

Dietitian Visanto Melina, 66, says that ample amounts of protein, fats and carbohydrates as well as a 3,000-to-6,000-calorie-a-day plant-based diet is possible, provided it's well planned.

Melina, co-author of Becoming Vegetarian and Becoming Vegan, says new vegetarians or vegans might avoid necessary foods for flavour reasons, like tofu.

She says seasoned and packaged alternatives, such as veggie chicken- or beef-flavoured soy jerky, are good for athletes who can't cook.

Susan Boegman, a dietitian at Canadian Sport Centre Pacific, says vegetarians and vegans need to supplement with vitamin B12, must watch their iron, iodine, zinc and vitamin D levels, and ensure they are getting enough oils and fats in their diet.

"It's a lot easier to get adequate iron from eating a steak, or eating fish, or eating dark meat chicken than it is to get it from plant sources," Boegman says. "It's totally doable, but it takes some dedication."

Essential fats can be gleaned from eating avocados, walnuts, and flax and pumpkin seeds, but it's harder for the body to absorb the fat, so the athlete will have to eat more, Boegman says. She says some athletes might do well on a vegetarian or vegan diet, while others might suffer performance loss or iron deficiency.

Organic Athlete member Émile de Rosnay, 34, is working from a whole-food to a full vegetarian diet. The cyclist started a plant-based diet because he was more than 20 pounds over his 180-pound race weight. He says he hasn't been this light since high school.

"My energy levels are the same -- I didn't go through a system crash or anything like that," de Rosnay says. "I eat what I want of the things that I can eat, and the portions I can eat. I used to eat too much before, too much dairy, too much meat."

At the B.C. Track Provincial Championships in June, de Rosnay won gold in the senior men's category. His race performance has improved since he started the diet, but de Rosnay attributes it to training and experience, not just diet.

Kamran Rad, a fitness programmer at Saanich Commonwealth Place, worked with vegetarian, vegan and meat-eating athletes while completing his master's degree in exercise science. Rad says vegan and vegetarian athletes on the right diet and the right supplements will have a level playing field with their omnivore counterparts, but in the end, performance comes down to training, natural ability and psychology.

Shishkoff says people are starting to think about how food affects their performance, and he's seeing more people join Organic Athlete for that reason.

"People sometimes think they can't become a member of Organic Athlete because they aren't vegetarian or vegan, but that's not the case. You just have to be supportive and interested."

- - -


Here's what Dave Shishkoff, 32 and president of Organic Athlete Victoria, eats during a typical day:

Breakfast: Bowl of cereal (Nature's Path Panda Puffs, Puffed Millet, Puffed Rice)

Lunch: Eats toast, then eats a Nature's Path energy bar while he's training

After training snack: Recovery smoothy: Cup of soy milk, 2 bananas, a cup of frozen blueberries, pineapple, maple syrup for carbs.

Dinner: Steamed vegetables, pasta

Junk food: Soy ice cream or organic chocolate

Benefits: "It's the single best decision I've ever made in my life. It's led me towards what I think is a very important and serious position when it comes to ethics and social justice."

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008

Note: should mention the 'toast' is Silver Hills no-flour sprouted-grain bread with Earth Balance margarine and organic fruit jam, and pasta is typically whole wheat. =)

From 2008-08-23 - ...


About Me

Dave Shishkoff
aka Dave Noisy
Victoria, BC

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