Saturday, March 26, 2011

Reflections: Last Days as a Vegetarian and Pan Ams

I haven't been updating this lately, as I flew out to California on Wednesday, and only returned yesterday afternoon. This entry will be in two parts: one about my last couple days as a vegetarian and one about Pan Ams.

Part 1: vegetarianism- last days and thoughts

My diet log is a little off, as I didn't write down everything I ate.

Wednesday: granola with Kefir yogurt for breakfast, vegetarian (soy?) cutlet sandwich with vegan pesto on wheat bread for lunch, and assorted items from the Whole Foods hot bar for dinner. Also had a couple of granola bars throughout the day

Thursday: Luna Bar and Gnu Flavor and Fiber bar for breakfast, vegetarian wrap and juice at lunch, Sun Chips as a snack, and pasta with vegetables at dinner. This was my last day as a vegetarian!

I don't think I could be a vegetarian forever, but it was definitely an interesting experience. I felt a little more energetic and rarely stuffed myself at mealtimes. Not that I normally overeat, but I found it more difficult to do so as a vegetarian. I was aware that I could definitely overdo it with carbohydrates and grains, so I tried to use vegetables and legumes as bases to my meals. I think it's more expensive than being an omnivore. I had to keep buying fresh fruit and vegetables, and I had to eat more vegetables and other produce to feel full as opposed to just eating a smaller portion of meat to obtain the same level of satiety. Being vegetarian also forced me to be more creative with my cooking. I had to find new bases for dishes I made.

It is also just as easy to eat unhealthily as a vegetarian as it is for an omnivore. Pizza, loaded veggie burgers, sugary drinks, and almost any dessert are all vegetarian and are definitely not good for you.

The biggest inconvenience was going out to eat. So many dishes have meat or seafood in them, even if it's a pasta dish and doesn't have a meat base. I typically only had a couple of options when going out to eat, but I was trying to avoid doing that anyway.

I will definitely be eating less meat in the future. I think I will eat meat at one meal each day, probably at lunchtime. I believe meat more difficult for the body to digest, so eating it right after training at night might not be the best idea. I liked eating a vegetarian dish right after training at night, because I don't like heavy meals at night or after training, and the vegetarian dishes were a good balance of sustenance without being too heavy.

Part 2: Pan Ams

I originally signed up for lightweight and switched to middleweight, as I was having a tough time making the cut. I flew out to California on Wednesday, and I competed on Thursday. It was quite an experience to get there and see so many people. I've only done local tournaments in the past, so there's only so many people that show up. It was cool to see the likes of Cole Miller, Saulo and Xande Ribeiro, Bruno Frazatto, and Shawn Williams walking around. I tried not to think about seeing those people though, and tried to focus on the match at hand. I never walk into a tournament thinking I'll walk through everyone or anyone. I just keep in mind that I train very hard and with a great team, and that my hard work should pay off.

Long story short- I lost my first match. I pulled guard, continually got passed so she had full or side mount, and continually reclaimed half guard. I managed to get it standing again, but then I pulled guard and the same thing happened again. My opponent won on points, and ended up winning first place.

Needless to say, I am very disappointed in myself. I gave up my spring break, rearranged my schedule for training, and changed up my diet in preparation for this event only to fly all the way to California to get shut down for five minutes. But of course, my competitors were probably doing similar things and it's not like I am the only person who trains hard. It just wasn't my day, and I fought a weight class above what I normally do. Additionally, I weighed in at only 2 pounds over the minimum for middleweight, making me one of the lightest in the division. Not like that's an excuse for losing, as technique beats size and strength.

However, I am really happy for my teammates. They all performed well, and most of them medaled. It would be silly for me to let my own failures create a cloud over the success of my friends and teammates.

I went to BJJ this morning to get some decent training in. Five minutes of BJJ over a four day period isn't enough! I didn't work on fixing what I did wrong at Pan Ams, but just wanted to get back into the swing of things again. Once the people who watched my match return, I imagine I'll go back and work on what I did wrong.

I'll be posting a review of my Datsusara Battlepack soon, which I used to bring all my gear to Pan Ams. This is bigger than their Light Battlepack, and it was awesome to only have one carry on that also fit my gi!


  1. I saw your match, and I was proud of you and am proud to call you a team mate! You hold your own training every day in a school that got 17 Pan medals. You deserved to be at the Pans, and you did your best.

    The fiercest, best competitors from throughout the world come to the Pans, and you are among their ranks. You put yourself out there in a way that at least 99% of the jiu jitsu world won't do.

    So let's rock on, work on our games, and go do some damage at next year's Pans!

    P.S. You've got a great Dad! He reminded me a lot of my late Father.

  2. Thanks Dolph! Unfortunately I won't be representing Unit 2/Roberto Traven BJJ next year, but I'll be sure to say hey if I make it out there next year.

    And my dad enjoyed meeting everyone. He liked how nice everyone was to me after my loss and now has a greater appreciation for jiu jitsu. My parents aren't really big fans of Muay Thai/BJJ, but I hope this changed their mind a little.