Topsham resident Sheldon Tepler runs more than 40 miles a week when he’s in training for a marathon, fueled mostly by lean, local proteins, seasonal vegetables and Maine-made carbs.

His wife, Denise, does the running between nearby farms, CSA (community supported agriculture) pickup locations and the Top- sham and Brunswick farmers markets to stock up on local food supplies. Sheldon handles grocery store trips for staples that Maine can’t produce, like bananas, avocados and almond milk.

Denise has shopped for local foods for 30 years. And while she is concerned about the environmental implications of trucking food cross-country and pleased to help local farmers (many of whom she considers friends), “for us, it’s about eating tasty, healthy food.”

Sheldon feels healthier eating local foods, and feeling healthy, he says, helps him run a good race. He has run marathons, including the Maine Marathon, since he was 26 years old, and has never had an injury.

This year, he turns 60. He hopes to celebrate by qualifying for, and running, the Boston Marathon.

The Teplers drew one line in the sand three years ago, though: They pledged to eat only local meat, a decision they made based on fears about industrial meat production and one they could afford to make because their three daughters had left home.

The couple doesn’t eat beef or pork, for health and religious reasons, respectively. But they buy fish from the Port Clyde Fresh Catch Cooperative, chicken from Maine-ly Poultry in Warren and turkey sausage from The Turkey Farm in New Sharon. They also like local lamb.

Denise stocks up on lean, flavorful ground goat meat whenever she sees it, which is not as often as she’d like. (See her recipe for Lamb and Goat Burgers with this story).

“Protein is very important to a runner,” Denise said, “and eating protein from local sources means no additives, no hormones, no antibiotics. It also usually means less fat, and lean protein is key.”

The couple eats fish, meat or poultry six nights per week, with the odd egg or tofu dish filling out their menu.

But to sustain Sheldon’s running habit, she fills out the plate with recipes for complex carbohydrates, corn in the summer, baked sweet potatoes in the fall, beans or lentil stews in the winter (the former from Fairwinds Farm in Topsham and Bowdoinham, the latter from the grocery store), “vast quantities” of squash and Big Sky whole-grain breads.

“And if he’s still hungry after that, there is always peanut butter and jelly,” Denise said.

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