I cannot begin to tell you what an amazing week we had in Spokane, WA at the 2014 USA Boxing Elite Championships with Cam F. Awesome. Getting to see friends from all over the country that we only see a few times a year is always fun! It is always a challenging week as well. We go non-stop from the time we hit the ground. From coaches meetings, weigh-ins, cooking, media events, work outs, not to mention… all the boxing! I photographed 75 bouts this week, taking over 3000 photos of these athletes in action. We had long days filled to the brim with activity everyday. Making sure we had the fuel to get it all done was important.
We spent the week having big breakfasts like hash browns, tofu scramble, steamed vegetables and whole grain toast with peanut butter. We packed snacks of fresh fruit, mainly bananas and grapes, along with bottles of water. We built burritos for lunch and made stromboli for dinner one night with salad. Cam’s favorite filling is zucchini, spinach, red onions, fresh basil, crushed tomatoes and garlic. We use the recipe for Maple Whole Wheat Bread from My Beef With Meat to make the dough, then stuff it with our favorite toppings. This makes a fun recipe for a crowd, kids especially! Having several options for fillings for stromboli, make it interesting for kids when they can build their own. Even when the kids are super heavyweight boxers!
Cam had 4 boxers in his bracket in this tournament, which meant he had to box twice to win the gold medal and a spot on the USA Boxing Team. When fight day arrived, I asked him what he wanted for breakfast. Last year he chose pancakes. This year, he asked for his favorite stuffed shells. So at 9am on fight day, a bubbling pan of plant-strong stuffed shells emerged from the oven as Cam stood smiling in the kitchen. Making sure he has everything he needs to perform in the ring is crucial this week. Winning this tournament ensures him a spot on Team USA for 2014 and means he is one step closer to his 2016 Olympic dreams. Cam won his bout on Friday and on Saturday in the finals, taking his 4th title at this event and his 11th National title overall. Congrats Cam!
I had the opportunity to talk about plant-based living with several boxers and coaches this week as well. The athletes were eager to learn more about calorie density, reducing inflammation, and making better choices for snacks and meals. The coaches went home with information and links to gain a better understanding of plant-based nutrition and how it can be applied. I also had the pleasure of getting to know the boxers on Team St Louis. Being new to the city this past year, it’s been joyous getting to spend time with the talented boxers here. Team St Louis took home 2 gold medals, a silver and a bronze. So proud of all the competitors this week in Spokane!