Eating right is hard enough when you’re not working 60-hour weeks and taking five-hour road trips to basketball doubleheaders nearly every week. As the college athletics season gets into full gear, people like me in the sports information department have a tough time finding nutritious food to eat or time to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Since the summer of 2012, I’ve been trying to eat a diet of completely plant-based foods (vegan, yes, but so much more than that) and this is my story of trying to maintain that in a college athletics environment. I am Jeremy Wangler, the assistant sports information director at Washburn University, an NCAA II school in Topeka, Kansas. I’m 31 years old, married and the father of a son born in January, 2012. In May of 2012, my wife and I watched the food documentary “Forks Over Knives” and decided, pretty much on a whim, to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet. No meat, dairy or eggs. No refined or processed grains, only the whole grain. No added sugar, oil or salt. Nearly everything we buy is a single-ingredient item that we take home and eat whole or cut up and put into a meal. A can of corn is just that. No salt or sugar added. Bread is 100% whole grain. Not multi-grain or seven-grain or “includes whole grains.” Our rice is brown and our fruits and vegetables make up almost every color of the rainbow. If I can’t find it at a store, I make it myself.
My wife and I are doing this to ensure that nearly 100 percent of the food we put into our body is as full of as much micro-nutrients as possible. Nothing fake. Nothing refined or stripped down. This will help fight off the diseases that kill most Americans, including caner, diabetes and heart disease.
The diet may sound very extreme and limiting, but after getting used to reading labels while shopping, eating this way at home is a breeze. I have a few go-to recipes when I need something quick and when I do have time, I love experimenting with new recipes or developing my own.
What I didn’t think about right away when we started this diet was how I would get by once summer was over and the athletics seasons started up again. Think about the environment we’re a part of in college athletics. Salad and whole grain pasta in a press box are about as rare as getting volleyball starters more than three minutes before a match starts. Talking about diet choices in a pressbox is about as taboo as talking about an ongoing no-hitter.
This blog will be about my experiences trying to feed myself before, during and after games and trying to develop and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. I hope to give advice to those who want to try and avoid the temptations of catered meals, pizza and subs, or trips through the drive through before coming in on a Sunday or going back to work on a week night.