Think of your body like a car. If you put cheap gas in your vehicle there is a good chance that your automobile will run slow and may even break down. I use this analogy with the athletes I work with because I think it gives them a clear image of what can happen when you put poor fuel into an engine. I look at our body like an engine. If we feed it the essential nutrients and minerals that we need, we give ourselves the best chance to run efficiently as well as reduce the chance of injury. Below are some tips that may help you when it comes to your nutrition.
Water is essential to recovery, performance and life. It’s essential if you want to reach peak performance so drink up! The quality of your water is important as well. A brand that I like to drink is called Gerolsteiner (Mineral water).
When you go food shopping you should spend the majority of your money on products that are located on the perimeter of the store.
Stay away from the middle isles as much as possible. On the outside you will find products like vegetables, meats, fruit, dairy, eggs, etc. On the inside you will find processed foods that your body does not need.
Eat vegetables with every meal. An easy way to do this is to add vegetables such as zucchini, tomatoes, kale and broccoli to your meals. If you eat eggs in the morning mix in some peppers and make an omelet or put kale into a smoothie. Have a salad at lunch time and fill it with the vegetables of your choice. There are so many ways that you can mix in some vegetables to your daily routine.
Choose the highest quality foods that you can afford. I never tell anyone that they need to eat organic food. Eat what you can afford and always look for fresh food when shopping.
When frying certain foods cook mostly with coconut oil and grassfed butter. Avoid cooking at too high of a temperature if possible. High temperatures can cause foods to oxidize which could cause problems for your body.
Eggs are a great way to start the day. The yolk has the majority of the health benefits that our body needs. Don’t make the mistake of just eating egg whites. Eat the whole egg.
Consume foods that improve your digestion. My top three are the following:
- Grassfed yogurt (avoid the high sugar and low/no fat varieties)
Fermented foods are very good for your digestion.
Avoid processed carbohydrates as much as possible. Good carbohydrate choices would be green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, berries, pumpkin, plantains, white rice and fruit in moderation. The ability to control your blood sugar levels is very important when it comes to metabolic function.
Plan your meals and think ahead. Always have a snack with you in case you get hungry at work or before a training session. A good example would be a handful of macademia nuts or a homemade energy bar.
Use sea salt daily. If you have a medical issue please consult with a doctor on how much salt you can add to your meals. Sea salt has several minerals that are often depleted in regular table salt.
Learn how to make healthy smoothies. These are great for breakfast or for a post workout meal. Here is a simple yet effective smoothie for a post workout meal. Most store brand smoothies are filled with sugar and low quality protein powders.
- 1 cup of water
- 1 handful of green leafy spinach (washed)
- ½ cup of frozen raspberries
- A large handful of ice cubes
- 1 tbsp. of melted coconut oil (mix this in when the blender is running)
Mix this up for 30 seconds and pour it into a glass. The key is a lot of ice and mix until smooth and creamy.
Eat red meat, chicken, pork and lamb in moderation along with fish (sardines, wild salmon).
Fats (both saturated and monosaturated) are critical to your overall health. My favorite ways to add fat to my diet are the following:
- Grassfed butter
- Eggs (cage free)
- Raw milk (Note, you need to be very careful where you get your raw milk. Only get it from a trusted source.)
- Macademia nuts as well as other nuts and seeds
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Chia seeds
Avoid fat free foods since most of the time they are filled with sugar as well as other processed foods.
Eliminate or greatly reduce soda intake.
Learn to read food labels. Manufactures have several different names for sugar. Learn how to distinguish what is healthy and what may be a poor choice for your body (i.e. high fructose corn syrup should eliminated from your diet)
Take fish oil daily (Omega 3 fatty acids that have been shown to have benefits for your heart as well as benefits for your joints).
I would recommend that you seek out the advice from experts and get the highest quality fish oil you can find.
If you want to perform like high level athletes it all starts with your nutrition. The key to your success is to plan ahead and keep things simple. Learn the basics and your body will reap the benefits.