Vegetarians Make Better Runners + Vega Smoothie Giveaway!

So the title isn’t based on anything except my lame attempt to switch “lover” with “runner,” but as an aspiring vegetarian, I’m totally down with believing both claims. Done and done.

In truth, I’m neither a vegetarian nor do I adhere to my no-meat attitude without exceptions. Sometimes, I eat pork buns at small, artisanal restaurants (like, this past weekend) because the chef highly recommended them; sometimes, I scarf down bacon when it comes from an extra special Canadian source. As a foodie, I don’t deny myself the flavors I’ve loved my entire life. As a runner, however, I do try to maintain healthful and mindful dietary habits.

Since I tend to abstain from meat a majority of the time — especially when cooking up my own meals — I am constantly on the hunt for ways to squeeze many of the essential nutrients found in animal products into my diet; protein is obviously the most important. To make sure that I get enough protein (especially after a long, hard run), I rely on eggs (hard boiled, scrambled, or sunny side up), almonds, and lots of legumes, like lentils and chickpeas. Not only are they full of protein, but they’re delicious, thrifty (89 cents for a can of garbanzo beans at my local Duane Reade!) and really easy to turn into a simple, light summer dish.

I recently put together this insanely easy-to-make recipe for Spicy Toasted Chickpeas and Onions that I can’t get enough of lately.

What you need: 1 can of chickpeas (drained), 1/2 red onion, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper

How to make it:

1. Pre-heat your oven (or toaster oven) to 450-degrees on broil.

2. Cover a pan with aluminum foil.

3. After draining your can of chickpeas, blot them with a paper towel and toss them evenly on the pan.

4. Coat your chickpeas with a thin layer of balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper (all of these are to taste). If you like spicy foods, then load on the crushed red pepper. If not, you can leave this ingredient out altogether.

5. Chop half a red onion finely and sprinkle over the mix.

6. Broil for between 10 and 30 minutes depending on your oven. Keep an eye on them, and remove when they begin to get perfectly burnt and crispy.

7. Eat alone as an appetizer, or sprinkle over a salad as a creative and healthy topping with lots of protein.

Because of my job, I am constantly showered with these kinds of facts on health, fitness and nutrition — vegetarians, vegans, Paleos, calories, weight loss, weight gain, the benefits of carbs, the detriments of carbs, cleanses, cleanses, cleanses, the benefits of meat, the detriments of meat — the list goes on and on. Whether or not you’re someone who counts calories or doesn’t, eats like a vegetarian or carnivorously so, snacks on dark chocolate or Greek yogurt (or the entire sleeve of Oreos for that matter), I think one thing we can all agree on is that there is a lot of noise out there in this frenzied nutrition world. What’s healthy to some may ultimately sound heinous to others.

Fortunately, there are also some logical solutions to help quiet the commotion, making our lives easier by reducing the number of decisions we need to make on any given day in order to fill our bodies with delicious, wholesome nutrients.

Like smoothies.

(I look pained here because this is an authentic Indonesian avocado smoothie. Avocado belongs on sandwiches, not in a straw. I’ll try anything once.)

Whenever I speak to nutritionists (which is something that, thanks to my job, I do all the time), I get mixed reactions to the concept of smoothies. While some RD’s seem to question their true nutritional worth, explaining that there are far too many calories for something you suck through a straw, others believe in that serious one-two-punch of fruit and veggie power which, for an athlete on the go, can be more valuable than a good pair of socks.

I find that I fall somewhere in the middle, neither chugging smoothies by the gallon nor shunning them for their high-calorie reputation. Whereas I might not pair my smoothie with an otherwise abundant breakfast of toast, eggs and fruit, it does serve as a viable option on those days that I’m running late or am pressed for time for whatever reason.

That said, I was excited when I was recently given the opportunity to check out these Energizing Smoothies from Vega, and thought you might be interested in getting your paws on this nutrient-packed (you know, fiber, protein, and omega-3 — a must for aspiring vegetarians) shake-and-go elixir too.

The quick and dirty:

Who: Vega was created by an Ironman athlete who was determined to figure out how to maximize his performance potential while sustaining a primarily plan-based diet. (A man after my own heart, obviously.) Today, Vega is all about clean, flora-friendly nutrition, which is very much aligned with my personal approach to health.

What: I’m not the chef, so let’s go straight to the source for this one. As their website acknowledges, “Vega Energizing Smoothie is alkaline-forming, free from dairy, gluten and soy, and contains no added sugar, artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.” (Translation: the gluten and dairy intolerant can get in on the fun too.) The smoothies are available in “bodacious berry,” “choc-a-lot,” “oh natural,” “tropical tango,” and “vanilla almondilla.”

Where: These throw-in-your-gym-bag little packets make it easy to take your smoothies anywhere and everywhere, which is super important when you spend 99 percent of the day trying to maximize your efficiency. I’m simply loving the idea of not waiting on some long New York City line for my morning shake or my afternoon pick-me-up. If you’re interested, you can purchase packets of these mixes on Vega’s website (or enter to win some for free below!).

When: This really isn’t applicable here, now is it?

Why: Let’s talk finances. A smoothie in Manhattan can set you back as much as $7, and that’s before you add a boost of vitamin C and some mystery energy powder that guarantees you’ll qualify for the next Olympic trials. Save yourself a little dough by investing in a package that’ll last you far longer than a 16oz. Jamba.

How: If you’re an efficiency freak too, then you’ll love this part as much as I do. To make, just mix 1 scoop of whatever flavor you choose in 1 cup of ice-cold water, juice or non-dairy beverage. Shake. Go! Badabing, badaboom. Efficiency in a cup! (Note: I had a bit of difficult getting the mix to de-clump, but maybe you’ll have more luck than me.)

Vega Energizing Smoothie Giveaway

So here’s where you come in. As many of you might know, I’ve never actually done any sort of giveaway on Will Run For Glitter, and that’s because I’m very much committed to supporting only those brands that best reflect my own vision of health and wellness. On another note, I also am committed to you — my readers — and plan on only reviewing those products that you can try too!

If you’re interested in checking out Vega’s Energizing Smoothie for yourself, simply leave a comment below telling me your favorite thing about running and your all-time favorite smoothie flavor combo. (Ed. note: there’s really no competition, strawberry banana reigns supreme.)

Prize: The winner will receive 3 Large Vega Energizing Smoothie pouches to try for themselves:

  • Choc-o-lat
  • Bodacious Berry
  • Tropical Tango

I’ll choose a winner at random on Monday when I return from my romantic, run-filled California getaway, giving you plenty of time to enter — and try out my spicy chickpea recipe.

As for now, I’m off to the west coast for the first time ever, where I’ll be sprinting up the hills of San Francisco, enjoying the July 4th fireworks, and drinking the entire supply of wine in Sonoma.

Happy red, white and blue!

***If you’re interested, check out Vega’s sweet Facebook contest too. Vega invites you to snap a photo and show everyone how you #GetEnergized! Whether it’s running on a favorite trail, paddle boarding at sunrise, or getting down dog, we all have activities that invigorate and energize us. Simply upload your photo entry at VegaGetEnergized.com and encourage others to vote for your photo – the more votes you get, the more likely you are to win. There are over 100 prizes worth $30,000 including a Yoga and Surf Retreat to Xinalani Retreat in Puerto, Vallarta and Gaiam Yoga Products.  Prizes are awarded just for voting as well!  Contest runs June 1 through August 31, 2012. #GetEnergized.

I did receive free product from Vega, but this post was not compensated and reflects my honest feelings about the brand. Feel free to enter the giveaway to choose for yourself. 

Contest qualifying questions (1 answer = 1 entry).

  • What’s your favorite part about running?
  • What’s your favorite smoothie flavor combo?
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34 thoughts on “Vegetarians Make Better Runners + Vega Smoothie Giveaway!

    • My favorite thing about running is that I seem to get a big burst of energy after running for awhile and it makes e want to run and run forever!! Favorite smoothie combo would be the Vega Choc-o-lat with a tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter, 1/2-1 banana (frozen) some unsweetened almond milk and some nunaturals vanilla stevia sweetner:) YUM!!!

  1. I have been loving smoothies post-workout this summer so far! My favorite combo has to be the chocolate/banana/almond butter combo…classic and delicious!

    • I just finished a run and can 100 percent relate to the below comment! Almost didn’t go; SO glad I did. Also, your smoothie combo sounds AMAZING. Must try. Time to break out the blender for summer!

    • Rebecca, congratulations! You’ve won my Vega Smoothie giveaway. Please send me your email so I can put you in contact with the company to receive your prize. Thanks!

  2. I won’t bother with the contest as I doubt you’ll want to send anything to the UK (though for just in case: feeling awesome afterwards, obviously, and mango & pineapple, yum!), but I just wanted to say ‘Hi’ as I’ve recently stumbled upon your blog and really enjoy it and also, OMG, my mouth is watering. I absolutely LOVE chickpeas but can never find enough creative recipes to try out that I could bring into work without too much mess and hassle… This one goes on the list and thank goodness it’s already lunchtime over here, cause my stomach’s a-grumbling! Have a great time in San Fran, it’s a wicked place. Happy 4th of July! 🙂

    • Thank you! Well, I’ll have to check with Vega on the UK thing. I can’t imagine they wouldn’t send there! I’ll enter you in the drawing, and if there’s a problem, then I apologize in advance. Mango and pineapple makes me immediately want to be in a tropical place by the way, and thank you for your kind words! Hope you’ll continue to visit the blog; and I’ll keep in mind to add more chickpea recipes. I love them and put them on EVERYTHING.

  3. My favourite bit about running is the fact that I can, despite not ever being any where near the athletic ‘type’ for the whole of my life. I love the way that simple act of putting one foot in front of the other inspires me to feel and act in such new and amazing ways.

    • You’re just so right; it’s not about talent once you’re out there, it’s about you, the pavement (or dirt!) and feeling AMAZING. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Oh, and my favourite flavour smoothie combo is banana, oats and sultanas – I have it for lunch every day!

  5. My favorite thing about running is it stopped me craving coffee in the morning, and a side benefite is feeling fab. As for the smoothie? Anything with citrus. Citrus is better than chocolate in my books. 🙂

    • Wait, that’s not just me? On weekends, I enjoy a nice latte if I’ve run later in the morning, but on week days, I can’t have coffee after…only iced tea!

  6. I would LOVE to enter! My never-fail smoothie combo is peanut butter and banana. I love it as a pre-run snack. And my favorite thing about running? New distance PRs baby! Nothing makes me happier (and it’s sad to think I haven’t had one in a while…time to get on that!)

  7. There isn’t anything I don’t like about running……I love the way it makes me feel, the community it creates, and the people and memories I have met and made along the way. I’m headed out for a run right now, and love that I never regret lacing up and running though the coastal redwoods 🙂

    • Well the redwoods certainly trump NYC garbage trucks. Just saying. I love that though, you’re right! The community is such an important and wonderful aspect.

  8. Oh! And I love to make smoothies using fruit from my own backyard during the summer, like wild blackberries, apples, pears, and strawberries! If I’m feeling extra crazy I may even add some protein powder or oats. I’d love to try Vega, though!!

  9. My favourite thing about running, outside of things like runner’s high and getting all sweaty and seeing how far I’ve gone, is learning more about my community and the roads that are there and what I see when I’m on foot, not in a car.

    And we’ve recently been doing strawberries, bananas, and vanilla Greek yogurt in a smoothie for breakfast. NOM!

    Have a great vacation!

  10. The best part of running is getting lost in a new setting with time to think away from everything. It’s so refreshing.

  11. My favorite part of running is the moment when you forget you are running and your feet are just moving, your breathing is normal, and your thoughts are way somewhere else. Strawberry banana with blueberries wins for me every time.

    love your blog!

    • That is a wonderful feeling! And blueberries is a genius addition to an already brilliant combination. Must try.

  12. Made the chick peas. They were great!! Since I don’t run I’ll have to say that my favorite part about exercising is 1. when it’s over 2. feeling strong and empowered while I’m doing it 3. but knowing it will be over soon and I will feel sooo good.

    I have been enjoying smoothies lately that feature: almond milk, chocolate protein powder and bananas. Simple… but who doesn’t like chocolate and bananas?

  13. Pingback: First CSA share and Dandelion Greens with Garlic and Lemon « Clean. Green. Eat. Repeat.

  14. I’m not a runner, actually, but I do love smoothies! I love trying new combinations, so i guess i don’t really have a ‘favorite.’

  15. Pingback: Short Runs, Summer Streets & Mustache Fiestas « Will Run For Glitter

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