Once you make the commitment to becoming a triathlete (or pretending to be one, as I do), you find out pretty quickly that some life changes are required. Among a very, very long list, is they way you eat. I personally found out that I can no longer have two bowls of ice cream before I go to sleep (side bar: for those of you that don't actually know me, I quite possibly have the biggest sweet tooth you can imagine. I've been known to destroy the richest, most filling desserts without any hesitation. I'm not proud of it, it's just a gift I have.), or even have a late night glass of wine or beer if I'm planning an early morning workout. There's times when I question this commitment I've made, but that only lasts for a few seconds, because I quickly remember that I thoroughly enjoy this hobby and can't really picture what life would be like without it.
Eating for triathletes can be pretty complicated. Sometimes, people try to play it off as being super easy, but most of the time, it's not. There's many different opinions out there on how to eat to optimize performance. Some people think vegan, some people think vegetarian, others think paleo, and others don't really pay attention and eat whatever the heck they want (I fall into this last category sometimes...). At one point or another, I've thought about trying most "healthy" ways of eating, only to realize that it would be quite tough for me (not that it's not tough for everyone) because I eat at the fire station a few times a week and we all cook and eat together. I know there's ways I could do it, but it would be quite a struggle. So, instead, I just try and be health-conscious with my food.
I rarely eat red meat, but I do eat a crap-ton of chicken. In fact, I probably should buy stock in Foster Farms because I know they'll never go out of business with me eating so much chicken! On the produce side of things, I try and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. I used to HATE veggies, but I've actually grown to really like them (I know my mom is doing a little happy dance or a fist pump right now!). My view of my meals is, when possible, the more veggies, the merrier...although I still like to have that lean protein (chicken) and some cars on my plate. The downfall of trying to eat healthy is that fresh fruits and veggies cost so much money! This is where Walmart comes in to play.
I'm not really a fan of Walmart, but I find myself going there about once a week. The only reason I go is to buy fresh produce. The reason why I choose Walmart over the other nearby stores is that Walmart will match any advertised price, on anything. So, I just jump on the futuristic world wide web, and do some Google searches for my local grocery stores. In Arizona, I use Fry's, Safeway, Albertson's, Food City, Pro's Ranch Market, Basha's, and Sprouts as my comparison stores. I figure out what things I want to buy, write down the price and from which store, head over to Walmart and get my produce for cheap! The only negative to Walmart's produce is that it isn't always the greatest quality. It's the type of produce that you have to use within a day or two. But, with Walmart being only about a mile and a half away, I can take the beach cruiser and not have to waste any gas!
There's a whole underground world of coupon shopping (of which The Wife belongs!), and there's actually a few other ways to save on produce if you're not going to go to Walmart. This blog really has a ton of info and can help you get started on saving money, if you are willing to put in the time (and you live in Arizona). At the very least, if you're going to the store to get a lot of produce, it's worth looking into doing some price-matching at Walmart (unfortunately)!