Dr. Sharon McDowell, who is an exercise physiologist and dietitian who has worked with Olympic athletes at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado. She has been a vegetarian her entire life and a vegan for about 30 years or so. She concurred with my thoughts and offered her own insight, which i will paraphrase:
"Consider that the most people eat 3-5 lbs of food per day (regardless of activity level). Most people eating the typical US diet eat calorie dense, low nutrient dense foods, so naturally when they eat 3-5 lbs of food, they eat too many calories. The World Cancer Research Fund recommends that the average calorie density should be around 500-600 cal/lb of food in order to be at a good weight. I think for the athlete, it needs to be 600-900 cal/lb food, depending on the athlete (3,000 cal would be 5 lbs of 600 cal/lb food). So given that vegetables are 75-200 cal/lb, fruit 250-300 cal/lb, potatoes 500 cal/lb, legumes 550 cal/lb, pasta 550-650 cal per pound, rice 500-600 and so on, if that is the bulk of what you eat, it stands to reason that you would not be getting enough cal or carbs."
So, after a lot of thought and discussion I have re-vamped my diet, putting a greater emphasis on carbs. I'm still vegan of course, but now am planning meals around carbohydrate sources instead of around what vegetables I have in the refrigerator. Every meal starts off with deciding which grain I am going to cook - quinoa, rice, barley, cous cous, bulger, potato, etc. I am using what I have learned from teaching people with diabetes how to estimate carbohydrate intake of their meals and am applying it to reach my daily estimated carb totals. And I've gotten the juicer out of retirement. It's actually pretty hard b/c I have been eating so much more food than normal and I hate feeling super full after meals. However, I think I am noticing a difference in energy levels. I have certainly had more energy in between workouts and don't feel as smashed in the evenings. I have also noticed faster recovery. What I haven't noticed yet is a whole lot of difference during the workouts, but I hope that it is coming soon. One thing I know for sure is, either I will have a lot more energy or I will start gaining a bunch of weight...hopefully it will be the former!
Here is a delicious recipe for vegan pesto, pictured above on top of whole wheat pasta:
*2 cups packed fresh basil
*3/4 cups nutritional yeast
*1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
*2 large cloves garlic
*2/3 cup olive oil
*pepper to taste
Directions: Blend all ingredients in commercial blender or food processor until smooth. Yum!!!