I had the pleasure of traveling with the Kansas City Golden Gloves Boxing Team as they attended the 2013 Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions in Salt Lake City, UT this past week. Nine athletes, coaches, members of the KC Golden Gloves organization and me: den mother – food coach – official team photographer.
My husband and I have been traveling with Cam F. Awesome for tournaments this spring. This is the first time we have traveled with the entire team. Ranging in age from 17-29 the boxers had high hopes for bringing home medals. Once on the ground and checked in at our hotel, we made a run to pick up snacks, cases of water and other essentials.
Staying in a hotel instead of our usual pick of a condo or rented house, brought about it’s own set of challenges. We normally cook at ‘home’ for Cam, when we travel to boxing events. We sought out the nearest Whole Foods Market for food options. Helping Cam with his nutrition has peaked the interest of other boxers, including several on the team. Our first trip to Whole Foods brought a couple of boxers coming along to see what it was we were doing there.
Whole Foods Market Trolley Square in Salt Lake City, UT was the site for our adventures while we were in town. We found a plethora of plant-strong options in the prepared foods department for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition to finding a bunch of grab and go snacks to take back to the hotel. Whole Foods sent us home with two big bags full of healthy options for the team as well. We couldn’t be more thankful for the hospitality the Trolley Square store extended to us!
Each morning after weigh-ins for the tournament, we’d head over to Whole Foods Market for breakfast. Each day more and more of the team was choosing to join us instead of heading to the breakfast buffet at the hotel. From Rip’s Big Bowl to breakfast burritos and tofu scramble with a side of fruit salad – the athletes were being adventurous and giving it a try.
Making the switch from choosing typical fast food meals popular with young people to choosing something without animal products is a huge first step. Making the leap from there to plant-strong is pretty amazing. I am proud of Cam F. Awesome for being such a great example for athletes everywhere. Witnessing the KC Golden Gloves Team make better choices, enjoying the foods that they tried and purposely choosing meals without meat at times throughout the week really impressed me.
The three plant-strong members of the bunch fielded many questions throughout the week about why we eat this way. We explained the issues with dairy, meat, oil, and processed foods. How these things affect the body and how an athlete can benefit from a plant-based lifestyle were discussed at length. We even gave a mini grocery store tour to one of the team coaches while we were there. I think that we uncovered a few misconceptions about what we really eat and how good plant-based eating can be. When presented with healthy plant-based options, I really think that most kids and young adults make better choices.
The team reported feeling really good throughout the week. They all worked really hard to get to the tournament and continued to put forth amazing effort that netted the team the 2nd place trophy. Second in the nation, the highest placement in the history of KC Golden Gloves. Every member of the team won at least one bout, several made it to the quarter-finals and a few to the semi-finals. Bringing home a bronze medal and the sportsmanship award at 123 lbs, Misael Reyes shined. At super heavyweight, Cam F. Awesome easily won his 10th national title. Yesterday he headed off to Puerto Rico with a suitcase full of shelf-stable plant-strong food for his three week stay there with the USA Boxing Mens National Team, training and participating in another tournament.
I am so proud of this team and all they accomplished this week! It was a blessing to be able to witness it all. We have enjoyed getting to know the boxers this past year in Kansas City and look forward to following their successes along the way.