Dan Gluck is the cofounder of Health Warrior, which makes chia seeds and nutrition bars.
How did he become covered in mud?
After playing Division 1 tennis in college at Colgate, he recreationally took up running, biking, and swimming in New York. Now he’s an ultra-runner, and has completed Iron Mans, several Half Iron Man, and “more triathlons and race than I can count.”
We asked the Manhattan-based athlete and organizer of the 32-mile Madhattan Run to tell us how working out that hard affects what he eats. (Carbohydrate hall pass?) Here’s what he said:
Okay, where was this photo taken?
During the Spartan Race, the killer obstacle-course race, which a buddy of mine founded. People think it was this was a whole staged photo shoot. But it wasn’t really planned. I just thought it would be funny.
I’m going to have my next headshot taken in the mud. Did your healthy eating habits start with training for all your races?
I grew up in a really healthy household. We ate Frookies, not cookies, and were allowed one sugar cereal a month—that was the household I grew up in. It’s pretty much continued my whole life.
Okay, I’m thinking your fridge is about 50 percent beverages!
I drink a lot of water, so I get really bored with it. And don’t drink Powerade or sports drinks. I drink tons of Zico coconut water. I like that it’s cleaner (and I am an investor in the company). I’ll also drink orange juice to replenish sugar and calories after a really long training run of 20 miles.
What do you drink before a run?
I’ll usually add Health Warrior Chia Seeds to water and juice to make a Chia Fresca. It’s 2–3 tablespoons of chia seeds with ¾ water and ¼ juice—mango is my favorite. It’s slow-digesting, but not at all heavy feeling, and it helps keep you hydrated.
I see the boxes of Health Warrior bars, too. How did you get into the chia business?
Reading Born to Run. The Tarahumara Indians featured in Christopher McDougall’s book have the ability to run incredible distances without rest or injury, and they ate chia seeds. So Nick Morris, my co-founder, and I got curious and experimented with them. He started to lose a bunch of weight, I trained better. We became big believers of chia. But the quality of seeds were horrendous, so we sought out a better source and launched Health Warrior in a big way earlier this year. Now it’s in all the Whole Foods, going into Juice Generation and Fairway.
There are healthy snacks in your fridge, but what are you cooking? Are you?
I don’t really cook much at home. But I do eat three meals a day: I’m a big believer in breakfast. I always have a chia drink and an egg white wrap or hot or cold cereal with fruit, bananas, and berries. I’m all about seasonal fruit. I snack on that. I also eat an obscene amount of hummus. After a late night, when everyone was eating pizza in college, I was eating hummus. I keep cut up carrots and peppers for that. Like most New Yorkers, I’m out for dinner a lot. At home, I’ll grab some sushi or order brown rice and steamed veggies. What you don’t see here is the hot sauce collection on my fridge door.
Do you watch your protein, or adhere to a diet of some kind?
I don’t count protein and carbs, and I’ve never followed any diets, but I guess I have this rule that if it comes from the earth, I’ll eat it. My meat consumption is pretty low. I have a super plant-based, organic diet. But in social situations, I will have a beer and steak. It’s not a “cheat meal.” I just do it. It’s fine with me. A woman I know says she’s a closet vegetarian but a social carnivore. I’m kind of the same.
Have you noticed any changes in your athletic performance as a result of more plant-based eating habits?
Absolutely, when I eat whole foods, fruit, and veggies, I feel great. I have tons of energy. And the less sleep I seem to need, too. I do get six or seven hours. But it’s much easier to get up and workout at 5:00 a.m. when I eat clean foods.
I’d think with doing half-marathons every other weekend you’d need some antioxidant or anti-inflammatory supplements.
No, I’m good. But I also do good stuff for my body like yoga—I do hot vinyasa at Prana Power Yoga in Union Square, and I get ART for treatment injuries and massage pretty much weekly to prevent injuries. Sometimes just on my legs. I’ve had some bad tendonitis.
Do you eat any differently for big races?
I eat simpler, plainer food, like pasta or brown rice or grilled chicken. Nothing too acidic for a long run, and not too much fiber. The morning of a race I’ll have a big glass of chia and water, bring chia bars, a bagel, and a banana. After a marathon or a triathlon, I’ll eat spaghetti and meatballs and have a beer. I know what’s good for my body and what works for me in general, so I don’t obsess. —Melisse Gelula
For more information, visit www.healthwarrior.com