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Nutrition Resolutions for Athletes - Active People
The 2011 calendar will soon be wrapped up. Have you thought about - or made - any nutrition resolutions for your fitness and athletic activities? Maybe they look like these:
-- gearing up for a month-long digestive cleanse and decreasing exercise intensity
-- launching into a vegan diet
-- testing out what eating raw is all about
-- cutting out caffeine for a month
Or maybe your "extreme" resolution is to figure out how to fuel yourself properly while training for your first marathon.
Running happens to be my favourite fitness gig - but whatever the exercise activity, our performance and experience will show whether our eating choices have been left to chance.
Goals are good.
If you've not yet decided, and don't want to be left out of the resolution loop, check out the following list. These all carry a worthwhile nutrition objective - and benefit.
Avoid diet sodas and foods with Aspartame and other synthetic sugars.
-- consuming Aspartame also includes ingesting methanol (wood alcohol) which is a dangerous neurotoxin and a known carcinogen.
-- one of the many negative side effects is the harmful effect on the nervous system
-- synthetic sugars contribute to acidity, a condition which leads to (1) inflammation, and (2) the body creates fat cells to store that extra acid so that, ironically, consistent consumption of Aspartame could add to your weight.
Avoid refined sugar - only a few of the reasons why:
-- refined sugar weakens the immune system by stealing your white blood cells' ability to destroy bacteria
-- can encourage addiction to eating foods devoid of vitamins, minerals and fibre - when our body really needs and wants those nutrient-rich foods
-- upsets mineral relationships in the body, e.g. messes with the absorption of calcium and magnesium
Eat more greens and veggies for antioxidants, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, zinc, omega 3's
-- a hefty daily serving of greens
-- a generous daily serving of coloured veggies and bright-coloured fruits, berries
-- a hearty daily portion of sulfur producing veggies - e.g. cabbage, broccoli, turnips, onions, garlic, etc.
Make your own power bars and gels.
-- the nutritional value of processed energy bars is often the equivalent of candy bars. Home made bars and gels with nutrient-rich calories are less expensive and easy to make. The recipe for the gel is in my post about dates (you'll have to scroll down a ways to find it). I shared some of this power gel recently while running with a friend. She's hooked. So much tastier than the gels you buy - and made with real food ingredients.
Protein Bar Recipe
1 cup protein powder (hemp, soy or whey)
2 cups rice bran
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup hemp seeds
Mix above and add:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 - 3/4 cup brown rice syrup or honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
Mix thoroughly and form into balls or press into a pan to cut into bars.
Store in refrigerator or freeze.
This recipe came from a colleague who makes them for a pro sports team. Convinced?
Eat more fermented foods - e.g. sauerkraut, kimchi
-- the healthy bacteria in these foods speed up digestion and assimilation of nutrients
-- fermented foods help reduce sweet cravings (and when you do indulge, fermented foods help digest the sugars)
-- fermented foods contribute to an alkaline state, as compared to an acidic environment, which is responsible for an increase of free radicals and a decrease in the production of cellular energy
-- bonus - you can easily make it yourself, see how to do it here
Log your food intake - what you eat every day and when you eat it.
-- the timing of your food intake affects how you feel when you exercise
-- tracking food you eat along with your exercise performance can be a helpful fitness nutrition tool - especially if you want to notch up your activity for competition
I challenge you to choose at least one New Year's nutrition resolution.
You never know what rewards could await you in 2012.
I'd love to hear from you - what are your nutrition resolutions?