I’m looking forward to my upcoming workshops in Atlanta at the end of this week. I will be speaking at a runners’ clinic at Phidippides Running Store on Thursday Dec 2nd, and then on Friday at St. Joseph’s Hospital, I be leading a Nutrition & Exercise Workshop for health professionals who need CEUs. Serious athletes who want to learn more about sports nutrition are also welcome to attend.
I’m always impressed by the folks who come to nutrition workshops. They have good questions and care about what they eat. We all have a good time and I love learning from the participants. I’ve picked up interesting tidbits at clinics …. Like beef jerky tastes really good during ultra-runs, as does nibbling on a boullion cube.
If you live in Atlanta and are able to come to either event, I’ll look forward to meeting you. And if you want to buy a copy of my Sports Nutrition Guidebook for a gift for yourself or your friend, I’ll be glad to personally autograph it!
More than 10,000 members of the American Dietetic Association recently convened in Boston for their annual meeting. A highlight was “The Great Fat Debate.” While most of us left the debate more confused that when we entered, some of the key points were:
• In terms of body weight, we need to pay attention to total calorie intake, and not grams of fat. That is, “eat fat and get fat” is not true. The true statement is, “eat excess calories and get fat.”
• Pay attention to the kind of fat you eat, and choose more fish and plant fats, such as in salmon, nuts, peanut butter (and other nut butters), olive oil, and avocado. These poly- and mono-unsaturated fats are beneficial to our health. Dip your bread in olive oil, instead of spreading it with butter!
• “Low fat” foods (such as fat-free frozen yogurt and lowfat cookies, muffins and other baked goods) can a negative impact on American’s health because they are often high in sugar and refined carbs. People tend to fantasize that lowfat means low calorie, and low calorie means you can eat as much as you want!!!!! Not true. Calories count.
The bottom line:
Limit your intake of fats that are hard at room temperature (butter, beef fat, shortening used in baked goods) and choose more of the fats that are soft or liquid at room temperature: olive and canola oil, fish-fat, avocado.
Have you have ever wondered which is the best energy bar? The answer is the best choice is the product that pleases your taste buds and settles well in your stomach. You simply need to experiment to determine which products (if any) work best for your body.
A multitude of businesses have jumped on the bandwagon to create sports foods that appeal to a variety of athletes, including those with special diets (such as gluten-free or vegan) and athletes who are just plain hungry and want a “healthier” cookie (most energy bars!).
While busy athletes enjoy the ease of using pre-wrapped sports foods, these commercial products tend to be more about convenience than necessity. Certainly, there is a time and place for these products, but “real” food can do the same job at a lower price. Please don’t underestimate the power of peanut butter, bananas, and honey!
Below is an extensive (but incomplete) list of various types of energy bars. Perhaps the information will help you untangle the jungle of choices.
ENERGY BARS(for extra energy, not a meal replacement):
All natural/organic ((have no added vitamins or minerals):
Clif Nectar, Clif Mojo, Lara Bar, Optimum, Honey Bar, Odwalla Bar, PowerBar Nut Naturals, KIND Bars, Zing Bars, NRG-Bar, Honey Stinger Bars, Kashi Bars, Peak Energy, Perfect 10, Gnu Bar, Raw Revolution Bar, Olympic Granola Bar, Pure Bar, Pro bar, Sun Valley Bar, Bonk Breaker Energy Bar
Caffeine-containing bar: Peak Energy Plus
Dairy-free: Clif Nectar, Clif Builder's, Olympic Granola, Pure, Bonk Breaker Energy Bar, Gnu Bar, Fit, Perfect 10, Larabar, AllerEnergy Bar, Soy Rocks Bar
Grocery store options: Nature Valley Granola Bar, Nutri-Grain Bar, Quaker Chewy Bars, Fig Newtons
Gluten-free: Perfect 10, Hammer Bar, EnvirKids Rice Cereal Bar; Omega Smart Bars, Extend Bar Delight, Zing Bar, BoraBora Bar, Wings of Nature Bar, Elev8Me. Wheat-free but may not be gluten free (due to cross-contamination with wheat products in the manufacturing plant): Larabar, Odwalla Bar, Clif Nectar, Clif Builder, Bonk Breaker
Kosher: Pure Fit, Larabar, Extend Bar, Balance Bar, HoneyBar
Meal replacement bar (with 10-15 g protein): Kashi Go Lean Bar, MetRx Mr. Big, MetRx Big 100 Colossal, Balance Satisfaction
Nut-free: AllerEnergy Bars, Metaballs
Peanut-free: Soy Rocks, AllerEnergy bar, Larabar
Protein bars (soy, whey, egg, or blended protein source):
PowerBar ProteinPlus, EAS Myoplex Delux, High 5 Protein Bar, Maximuscle Promax Meal, Tri-O-Plex, Clif Builder's Bar, Detour Bar, Honey Stinger Protein Bar, Pure Protein
Raw food: Raw Revolution, Pure Bar
Recovery bar (4:1 carb:pro ratio): PowerBar Performance
Soy-free: Larabar, Perfect 10, Clif Nectar, KIND Bar, Bumble, Gnu Bar, Raw Bar, Zing
Bar, NRG-Bar, AllerEnergy Bar
Vegan: Pure Fit Bar, Larabar, Hammer Bar, Clif Builder's Bar, Pro Bar, Vega Whole Food Raw Energy Bar, Perfect 10, Soy Rocks Bar
Vitamin+protein-filled candy bar: Marathon Bar, Detour Bar
I ‘m just back from the American Dietetic Association’s Annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. What a state-of the art event!
I attended one session about inflammation and it’s contribution to heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and other so-called diseases of aging. Inflammation is created by the typical American diet (high in saturated fat, refined sugars, excessive calories). Hence, there’s no secret why the nation is plagued with diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Whole foods (especially whole grains, fruits, and veggies) contain powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, such as phenolics and flavinoids. These compounds are not in vitamin supplements, so you are missing the boat if you think a vitamin pill can compensate for sub-optimal eating! Choosing a “closer to the earth” menu with mostly whole foods and less highly refined products is a wiser investment.
Blueberries and strawberries are just two examples of powerfully health-protective fruits. Their protective effect lasts for about six hours, so eating some colorful fruits and/or veggies at every meal invests in long-term health. If you are concerned about pesticides in fruits, such as strawberries, relax. You’d need to eat 1,500 servings of non-organically grown strawberries in one day to even approach a level of concern!
“I don’t keep peanut butter in the house”, reported Sarah, a working mom and fitness exerciser who wanted to lose about 10 pounds. “If peanut butter is there, I eat way too much of it.”
The solution I offered Sarah was scary – eat peanut butter EVERY day for the next week. Eat it three meals a day, if desired, and two snacks a day, as well.
Sarah left my office fearful she would gain several undesired pounds of body fat. When she returned a week later, she was amazed that her weight was the same. She had eaten a lot of peanut butter, but also had eaten less and less of it as the days went by. Peanut butter no longer “called to her” and no longer “invited her” to eat the whole jar. She knew she could eat it whenever she wanted, so it was no longer “forbidden.”
The best way to take the power away from a binge-food is to eat it more often— every meal, every day until you get sick of it. Knowing you can have it as often as you want makes it less appealing. Think about it. Do apples have power over you? Doubtful—because you give yourself permission to eat apples whenever you want. But what would happen if you were to ban apples? You’d likely start to binge on them when given the opportunity.
This week, how about surrounding yourself with a food that has power over you and make peace with that food? … Ice cream anyone?
For more information on how to find peace with food: