Raw Surfing Food: Taylor Snipe's Response
The following was written by Taylor Snipes in response to Marc's question.
As a surfer for the past 12 years, I can confidently say that my surfing performance has never been better than it has been in the past 5 years on a low fat raw vegan, or, 80/10/10 rv diet. While at first I had some stuff I had to heal from (chronic fatigue, constipation, brain fog, insomnia, achy joints, chronic acne, and more), once I got over that hump my athletic performance (and health) went through the roof.
And once I moved out to California (in Aug 2010) where there are consistently GOOD waves, my surfing has never been better and my energy has never been higher.
I literally surf as much as the waves and my schedule allow, which in the high season is around 20 hours per week, but which can go up to 30+ if the waves warrant such foolish behavior.
I study engineering full-time and pursue all sorts of projects in my free time, so I do have energy! This sort of lasting, sustained vitality is something I have only experienced since adopting this lifestyle.
In other words, it is DIRECTLY because of the way I eat and live that I am able to surf as much as I do—my recovery time is almost instantaneous; my digestion is perfect, allowing me to comfortably eat as much as my activity requires; I'm effortlessly hydrated; my body handles the sun so much better now (ie. I don't get sunburned nearly as easily); my sleep is deeper and more restful than ever before; my mental clarity is razor sharp; and more.
It's hard not to feel continually grateful for it all.
Raw Surfing Food: What Taylor Eats
Regarding my actual eating patterns on surfing days and days leading up to or following periods of high activity, I basically just eat the best in-season fruits and make the first meal or two of my day something that is calorie-dense–bananas, persimmons, dates, cherimoya, figs, etc, with juicier fruit and greens as my evening meal—I find that lighter stuff in the evening helps me sleep and recover better.
Sometimes I eat juicier stuff in the daytime as well, such as citrus, melons, papaya, and what not, but each meal choice just depends on how much water and fuel I need at that given time.
During swells where I'm surfing 2-3 times/day for days on end, I pretty much just eat as much calorie-dense fruit as I can comfortably digest, which usually means feasting in the evening (ideally I stop eating 3-4 hours before bedtime) and during low-activity points, and then just nibbling and drinking water during the activities.
Especially on those amazing days where I surf from sunrise to sunset, I just try to eat a few dates/bananas/etc per hour and rely on the prior day's eating to really keep me fueled.
Raw Surfing Food:
When There's No Time For A Break
If I'm surfing a spot where coming in every hour isn't feasible and I know I'll be out for 5-6 hours, I'll try to eat as much dense fruit and drink as much water in the hours leading up to surfing that I can.
That doesn't always result in the perfect digestion, but it's what works when I know I'm going to be in the ocean at full intensity for a long time (though in general, it's best to eat AFTER activity). Learning what works best for you in regards to eating requires some experimentation, but in general you want to make sure that you:
That's a recipe for high performance.
The massive quantity of food only works when I am VERY active. I dial the calorie count down from about 4-6k calories on super active days to more like 2,500 to 3,000 calories on "normal", less-active days.
I should also note that eating for performance requires knowing when to eat just as much as learning when NOT to eat—digestion takes a significant amount of energy and blood flow, even when you're only digesting fruit.
In general, the more you develop your own self-awareness, the more well-equipped you will be to interpret your own messages from within, including distinguishing thirst from hunger, tiredness from hunger, emotional issues from hunger, etc. We've learned to eat for many different reasons!
Raw Surfing Food And Staying Warm
In regard to staying warm in the cold water, I've never been able to keep so warm in all my life as I have in the past couple of years. Just gotta make sure to eat enough. And I've learned through my own experience that true health and vitality means being able to be cool as a cucumber in the tropics and warm as a bear in the snow.
The longer you live this lifestyle, the more that will become your reality as well.
Oh, and get a good wetsuit! If you can, get two so that you always have a dry one. Without a wetsuit, you’re obviously going to freeze, no matter what diet you’re on. Surfers already know this, but if you’re a newbie, I’d encourage a visit or two to your local surf shop to learn more.
Raw Surfing Food: Living The Raw Lifestyle
Now, I don't want to paint this pretty picture without also adding that there is a learning curve to this lifestyle, and some people have more kinks and health issues to work out than others.
Diet and eating patterns are just one piece of the picture, though they definitely play a huge role. Also to consider are the remaining physical inputs (sleep, pure water, fresh air, sunshine), as well as the non-physical stuff (relationships, community, living a life of purpose, living in service, subconscious beliefs/programming, a connection with and faith in Nature/Divinity/God/the Universe, and more).
And, while a bit outside the scope of this response, many could stand to benefit from one or two well-planned, supervised water fasts. But more on that another time!
All in all, there is much to consider in terms of understanding and identifying all the aspects of health and how they connect with one another.
This is why taking on someone as a coach/mentor in the beginning can be really valuable – it certainly was and still is a huge piece of my own success. I know Andrew does a great job with this, and would like to put it out there that I also offer one-on-one mentoring/coaching, along with educational materials and classes (coming soon!)
I invite those interested to contact me via email TaylorSnipes@pathofhealth.org
Wishing you all the best that life and love have to offer.
Raw Surfing Food: Following Up
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