Four top athletes share their winning secrets to healthy eating.

Four Olympic athletes talk about nutrition, calories and exercise tips to live by.

Erik Vendt

At 27, swimmer Erik Vendt is the first American to break 15 minutes in the mile and a two-time Olympic silver medalist in the 400 individual medley (2000, 2004). Recently coming out of retirement and with his sights now set on Beijing, Erik credits his speedy ­return, in part, to an organic diet.

Q: Describe your typical day of training.
A: A normal day consists of two swimming workouts—morning and afternoon, totaling 4 hours—and some sort of dry-land routine, alternating weights one day with running and Pilates on the other. In swimming, speed comes directly from the core so Pilates helps immensely.

Q: Favorite power breakfast?
A: Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day so picking a favorite is difficult, but after a hard morning workout I love cooking up a 4-egg omelet with Cheddar, peppers, onions and tomatoes.

Q: Favorite snack?
A: Definitely fruit! It’s hard to find fresh organic produce in the winter in Michigan, but Ann Arbor has a lot of co-ops.

Q: If you need to grab a quick bite to eat, what do you reach for first?
A: I’ll normally make a tuna sandwich to tide me over. It’s quick, easy and does the job.

Q: Is there anything you try to eat more of?
A: Ever since I was a kid I’ve been extremely low on iron so I try to pack my diet with as much of it as I can—red meat, oatmeal, cereal and beans. I normally add a vitamin C-rich food as well to help with iron ­absorption.

Q: Do you have an eating mantra you try to live by?
A: I think there’s a direct correlation between what you eat and how you feel. As soon as I began eating organic I felt better, more alive and healthier.

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