You are what you eat?
As we get into the cooler months for some of us, one thing that remains a constant is less daylight. With this tends to come a bit less movement. Not everyone is looking to lose weight, but winter can be a tough time to do so. Not to mention, it is still 2020 right! Let’s find some tools!
The Pendulum Effect:
Some foods are negative, some are positive, when you make even just 1 choice to change from a negative to a positive food, that pendulum shifts quite a bit. That is the result of how you will feel or perform in your training. When you eat a cookie, you’’re getting refined carbs which turn into sugar, you’re getting sugar, and then you’re likely getting a type of oil that is not optimal. These all have a negative impact on your body, causing unnecessary increases in blood sugar, inflammation and likely fatigue. As good as it feels going in, it’s really only a matter of minutes and its done. This choice has a short pleasure, but will lead you feeling weighed down, not as recovered because now your body also has to balance blood sugar and combat inflammation, so you’ve now lost a bit of an “edge” on your training for the next day.
When eating healthy, you get various phytonutrients which are a version of antioxidants that also have a medicinal value. Phytonutrients are bioactive plant-derived compound (as resveratrol or sulforaphane) associated with positive health effects.
Among the benefits of phytonutrients are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Phytonutrients may also enhance immunity and intercellular communication, repair DNA damage from exposure to toxins, detoxify carcinogens and alter estrogen metabolism.
Allow our cells to behave the way they need. For example, if you eat broccoli, the sulphorophane in the broccoli may be used to detox extra estrogens or it may be used to combat too much mercury. Either way, you’re benefiting. If instead you have sugar, that just charges the current scenario with more fires that need to be put out, not allowing your body the energy to combat necessary functions. MORE BURDEN ON YOUR BODY WHEN NOT EATING WELL
Food is essentially information for our cells, if we feed it good information, it acts accordingly, if we feed it bad information, we get some pitfalls in our day to day goals and performance.
If you choose to avoid the cookies and instead have a larger, healthy dinner you will not have the negative impact and ideally you’ll be eating something rich in nutrients from vegetables and fats that have an anti-inflammatory effect. As you can see, this is a dramatic difference. This choice doesn’t only last a matter of minutes but it will carry forward into the next day, when done on a long term basis, the results are cumulative.
- Not for myself, I got crohn’s age 10, took years to heal each layer of disease after that.
- Some people are dealt a better hand with health, don’t take it for granted, keep feeding it well so you keep thriving.
Our bodies are trained to tell us what to eat and when (if we have bad habits, we need to break them), how about just try 3 days void of whatever vice it is that you have? Take the challenge and see if you benefit. Instead, do something else that you can look forward to, Epsom salt bath, movie On-Demand, a good book, your favorite TV show, talking to a friend, or just relaxing.
Same thing with alcohol – you know if there’s an amount that works better for you and when it’s too much and sleep is hindered, etc. Food does something similar in that it has to put out “fires” in the body which takes energy. If the body is busy putting out fires, then recovery is put on hold. Also inflammation and toxic load make it hard for the body to sleep, if sleep gets off, hormones are likely next. Cortisol is a hormone that our bodies cannot live without. It helps to make the hormones in our body. If we only have enough energy to push out the amount of cortisol needed to remain alive, then our body chooses to bypass making other hormones in the process, that said, DHEA, testosterone, estradiol, etc. At some point adrenals also get hindered and our energy fails. Everyone has a different tipping point, by that I mean that some people can handle a bit more toxic load than others without noticing it, but at some point everyone has their own tipping point or threshold. Let’s stay ahead of the threshold and never get to that point, riding the wave doesn’t always get you to shore, you need to navigate wisely.
Eat to train, or train to eat.
Be honest with yourself, would you like to perform better in life? Do you want to be the best you? If that is a yes, then choosing to make some changes in diet can help get you there.
What does that look like?
Some is about adding things, if you’re eating eggs, add some greens, other veggies, etc., smoothie- add veggies, part of an avocado, frozen cauliflower, chop raw veggies ahead of time for the week and eat those with cheese, hummus, or an olive oil based dressing. Have fruit and nuts/seeds as a snack vs something processed. Choose the healthy takeout vs the fried or greasy takeout. (chipotle salad bowl vs burrito)
Some of it is about taking things out, avoid sugar when not training, eat fresh fruit vs dried fruit, take out the fried foods and add in avocado, nuts, or seeds, get rid of the bread and make rice or quinoa or sweet potatoes instead. Try healthier desserts (baby dark choc chips with berries and pumpkin seeds).
There’s a LOT of buzz going around about fasting, it has its place, but with athletes looking to optimize their performance, it’s not the best of options. Even having something small can help fuel your performance leaving no stone unturned. If you’re going to put in the effort to train, make sure and get your body ready, get hydrated, top off what’s needed for energy stores, and get rest the night before. If you work with a professional you can find ways to increase fat burn and optimize lean body mass, but try not to take pieces of theories and add them to your plan without talking with your coach or another professional about it. Doing a hard workout on an empty tank is not a great ideas as you will likely run out of glycogen stores before the end of your workout and hinder your recovery for your next days’ workout. doing a short easy workout may not be a problem as long as you fuel afterward to negate any lack of recovery.
Plan ahead- plan ahead or plan to fail, it’s a tough saying but it’s somewhat true. Take time to make a crock pot meal, plan a couple meals per week, make extra so you can eat leftovers at lunch or the next night, it’s tough to eat well if you don’t have optimal foods in your home.
- Greens, peppers/tomato, onion, cucumber
- Lemon juice, apples, berries, bananas, oranges
- Beans, lentils, organic chicken breast, free range eggs, grass fed meats, wild fish, vegan protein powder, whey protein
- Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, avocados
- Nuts, seeds (almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews)
- Sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, carrots, beets, celery root
Things to Avoid/Reduce:
- Fried foods
- Refined flour/bread
- SugarHydrogenated oils
- Corn syrup
- For those who are sensitive or want to eat cleaner gluten, dairy, soy
Top 5 Phytonutrients:
- Sulphorphane (broccoli)
- Resveratrol (red grapes)
- Quercitin (skins of apples)
- Stilbenoids (blueberries)
- Astaxanthin (krill oil or wild salmon)
As we plan ahead for the coming months and get ready for the holidays, let’s strive for a better tomorrow, better 2021, and take small steps to reach our goals. The better YOU are, the better you feel, the better you are in the world with your family, co-workers, spouses, and the better parent you are.