Tarahumara Diet For Runners

Tarahumara Diet For Runners – UPDATED 2020 – Technique & Recipes

In the high terrains of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Northern Mexico, you will find a tribe called Tarahumara, the famous endurance runners with an athlete physique. They consider themselves as running people with exceptional endurance and long-distance running is a part of their daily life. This tribe has taken running to a whole new level by running up to 500 miles a week. The Tarahumara Diet is what keeps them energetic and athletic in nature. Their diet is mainly based on plants and vegetables and supplemented with a small amount of meat. Read below to see why the tribe and their diet can help you improvise your methods, time, and wellbeing.

Tarahumara Diet For Runners – UPDATED 2020

The Tarahumara runners diet  mainly comprises plants and vegetables that are high in carbohydrates. While they are exceptional runners, they still need the energy to run long distances. This is why their carbohydrate intake is high and why they mainly eat foods rich in carbohydrates.

If you compare them with western society and culture, you will know that they rely less on meat and dairy products in their diet. They also keep processed foods and sugar to a minimum, although they locally produce beer, known as Corn Beer. It has minimal alcohol content though and rich in carbohydrates making the corn beer a commonly consumed drink among the tribe during races and sporting events.

Because of their unique diet, the level of cholesterol in the system is lower than most people. Their energy levels are also more stable because of the lack of high sugar content in their diet. Below is the break down on their intake for a day.

– Protein intake is 87 grams per day
– Fat includes 12% of calories, 2% of saturated fats
– Cholesterol is below 100mg per day
– Fiber – 18-20 grams per day
– Carbohydrates 75-80% of calories
– Salt – 5-8 grams per day
– Vitamin A/B/C is high in their diet, along with calcium and iron.

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The Tarahumara runners diet mainly comprises maize, beans, squash, and other greens. Freshwater fish and chicken are the primary source of meat for the tribe. Although this contributes to less that 5% of their overall diet and the diet of the Tarahumara is what makes these runners unique and different. Because of their diet, very few cases of cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 Diabetes, and cancer are found among this tribe.

Tarahumara Beer Recipe

As mentioned, the tribe produces its own Tarahumara beer recipe using locally grown corn. So, it is referred to as corn beer, and in their language, Tesguino. The Tarahumara beer recipe involves the soaking of the corn kernels for days to allow germination. Once it is adequately germinated, it is grounded up and boiled. Then wild yeast is added for fermentation, and local grass is mixed to the beer to add flavor.

This locally produced corn beer is the rich source of carbohydrates and Vitamin B. Both these nutrients help the runner to gain the strength and energy needed for long-distance running.

Pinole Drink Benefits

Pinole Drink Benefits

Another important staple of the Tarahumara diet is Pinole. The Pinole Drink benefits the tribe by providing the body increased endurance, energy, and recovery. This drink is one of the primary sources of healthy nutrients for the tribe and is widely consumed by the Tarahumara runners. The drink provides healthy nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin B1/B2/B3, and Vitamin C. It is also a rich source of antioxidants and has moderate protein levels while being low in fat.

To make the drink, you need to know the exact process of making Pinole. This includes the drying of the corn kernels by freezing it. Then putting the grain in an oven at a low temperature until the seeds are dehydrated. The kernels are then spread evenly in a non-stick frying pan and dry roasted until they are brownish in color and the kernels are inflated. Once this is done you then put the roasted kernels into the grinder and grind it evenly until you achieve a finer texture.

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For taste, you may also add a few more ingredients into the kernels while grinding. This includes:
– Half teaspoon cinnamon powder
– One tablespoon of brown sugar or honey
– 1 teaspoon of pink salt
– Chia Seeds

Mix all these ingredients together and then mix one tablespoon of Pinole into 3 cups of water and its ready to be consumed. Pinole drink benefits the tribe in not only their health but also their active lifestyle, and now you can reap the benefits too. You may not like the consistency at first, but it gives a nice dose of nutrients and addresses the hydration needs of your body.

Tarahumara Running Technique

The interesting thing about the Tarahumara running technique is that they run barefoot. The tribe has taught us that not all people should run with running shoes. They have proved that our ancestors have evolved in a specific way to allow our feet to respond with the floor ergonomically which has further contributed to a more effective running technique. The Tarahumara tribe has proved this over time and consider themselves as well rounded runners. From the uneven terrain to the high mileage they run, they manage everything when their feet come in contact with the ground.

The shoes today while offering better protection to the feet of runners, can often cause unnecessary injuries. The Tarahumara running technique won’t cause any issues associated with running shoes, and it lowers the impact of the heel. It is the strongest point of which the tribe has developed not only by running long distances, but also running on tricky terrains with minimal problems.

The Tarahumara running technique focuses on the arms, hands, and shoulders of the runner, thus keeping all these areas relaxed while running. This urges the runners to make a consistent effort at first, but it usually improves as they progress. Remember, the tribe doesn’t learn how to run once they are older, they are born into running from a young age. We, on the other hand, are living in ultra-modern life and surrounded by hectic working schedules and find regular running tough to fit in. This means we are not developing a good technique from a young age like them.

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To learn the Tarahumara techniques of running, you first need to keep your upper body straight and begin to learn to run barefoot like them. They run on the balls of their feet which helps in distributing the forces of landing, preventing impact injuries in the process. Running barefoot has very minimal cases of ankle sprain or other orthopedic issues. This is possible due to the active response of your feet when they make contact with the ground.

Barefoot running may seem scary at times, but studies suggest that it may be more beneficial than running in shoes.

Born To Run

Many people consider the Tarahumara runners as superhuman, but in reality, they brought up in a different environment. What makes them different is their way of lifestyle. They focus on keeping themselves fit and active by running long distances and eating a healthy diet.

Today the average person lacks daily exercise and is typically seen eating a diet that is not only unhealthy but can produce health complications in the future. Following the diet of Tarahumara is not complicated and can provide many health benefits. Maybe it is the right time for us to adopt their running techniques and change our diet for the better. While this might not be for everyone, learning their lifestyle, training, and diet may help us improve our running in the future.

So, check out more for their lifestyle and diet online and ensure to read the book (Born to Run) written about them.


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