I'm often asked, "What do you eat?"
And my answer nowadays is: "Do want me to tell you how I eat or do you just want me to tell you what you want to hear?"
Haha...That's because it started to feel like every single time I gave my pretty simple, concise, no fluff (and ok, probably boring, but its nutrition, not nunchucks) answer, it just would NOT be enough, and the conversation that ensued always seemed to be trying so hard to justify other nutritional habits albeit with a slight grin or knowing tone that says "AH I know, but...!!" Prefacing my answer with the question above has seemed to help. A bit.
Yes there are guidelines, see below, that are not rocket science; they are not trends; and we've all heard them before.
My number one rule of thumb is to first:
EAT LIKE A HEALTHY PERSON SHOULD EAT...then add on nutrition as needed for workouts/races and overall training load.
Too often I've seen people spending too much time worrying about supplementing, yet not giving their body a great springboard with a simple healthy diet. Check out PhenomeNall Nutrition for just this kind of approach from Olympic Swimmer (and someone i adore) Anita Nall Richesson.
I'll discuss my sports nutrition in an upcoming blog that will feed off this one (no pun intended!)
More often what is more important are the SOLUTIONS that help stick to the guidelines. For example here's one that worked for me:
Pick one rule to stick to first. That's what I needed to do when I was getting back on the wagon after my two year hiatus during which, i'll admit, I allowed myself to have no rules (that said, lucky for me, I was raised with some basic principles - thanks to Mom - that I could never fall TOO far off of good nutrition.) For my first rule I decided on this: "Whatever you eat, eat clean." I didn't care how much I put in my body or when or what, as long as it was always clean food (minimally processed, minimal ingredients, local, fresh, raw when possible.) That alone changed my shopping habits to a degree: It made me explore new products and had me frequenting the smaller, local, healthful grocers, all the time, instead of the big chain grocery stores, which I now utilize only in emergencies, though I realize i'm lucky and have a few great options very close to my home. There is just SO little in those bigger stores that is unprocessed or even minimally processed.
__________________THE B - A - S - I - C - S__________________
HYDRATE, THEN EAT...
the fewer steps energy has taken to get from the sun to your body, the better.
colors represent vitamins and minerals in whole foods. Make it multi!
brown rice, quinoa or couscous instead of packaged side dishes.
BALANCED MEALS + SNACKS
good protein, carbohydrate, fats every time.
keep fuel on the fire**
Practically speaking, here are a couple of BREAKFAST FAVS:
1 cup non-fat plain yogurt Mixed_Berries
whole oats OR Ezekiel Sprouted Grains Cereal
banana or berries
honey or agave syrup to taste
2 slices whole grain (local when possible...its SO good!)
1 Tbsp almond butter on the toast
1/4 avocado if i've got it
1/2 cup whole oats (1 cup cooked)
1 Tbsp peanut butter
honey to taste
And one LUNCH FAV for now:
Super Satisfying Sandwich
2 slices local bread...for example...look at these ingredients...SO GOOD!
Julian Bakery's Wonderful Bread: Fresh ground whole grains of golden *wheat, oats, *rye, *corn, brown rice, *millet, seeds of sunflower, flax, sesame, poppy, pumpkin, pinto beans, honey, yeast & sea salt.
Lots of hummus
and anything else you've got like...
roasted red peppers, sprouts, cucumbers, lettuce, tomato, carrots
More to come - but for now - happy eats!!
**I've learned a bit about ayurvedic practices that focus on eating 3 larger meals vs. 6 smaller meals based upon the idea that the body needs the time to fully digest each meal before eating more. Which makes sense. I think as athletes, especially with training sessions throughout a day, eating more often is a necessity. So find a balance or switch it up from time to time and see how your energy level is.