Hello hello and it's Tuesday again! Cynthia from You Signed Up For What? and Courtney from The Trigirl Chronicles decided to take on one of the toughest parts of being an athlete - of being a human! - this week. Nutrition. Not Race Day Nutrition (that's next week), but the day to day diet of someone who is trying to train for a triathlon or other athletic event.
Nutrition is said the be the fourth discipline of triathlon. By whom, you ask? People, ok? Just PEOPLE. Everyone agrees that what you put into your body is a critical part of your training, your life, your physical being, and your sanity. Frustratingly, no one seems to agree on just what the right approach is.
Spoiler: I don't have the right answer either.
I actually find the subject of nutrition so very confusing, that I'm actively soliciting comments on this blog post. Please, oh readers, help a Cupcake Tri Girl out at chime in!
This used to be "right" - base of carbs, then fruits & veg, then protein, then fat:
BUT obesity rates have more than doubled in our country since the 1970s. Now 2 out of 3 Americans is overweight or obese. 1 in 3 is obese. What's scarier - these days about a quarter of preschoolers are overweight, and one in three school age children are above a healthy weight.
Just think about what that is going to look like in another 20 years in terms of diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease, and the host of other factors than come with obesity!!!
So the "conventional wisdom" of the food pyramid has now shifted away from a carb-loaded, grain heavy diet, and now looks like this:
Fill your plate halfway with fruits and vegetables, get about 1/4 protein, 1/4 grains, and a little bit of dairy. This is more or less what I strive for (I know... I'm a follower...)
|Fish, avocado, quinoa, broccoli, and 1/4 sweet potato|
|Great big salad over 1/2 the plate, quinoa and beans,|
turkey kielbasa and watermelon
|My favorite diet - "The Rungries"|
|A lunch from my Clean Eating phase: |
apples, homemade coconut granola,
and tuna & avocado on an egg and flaxseed wrap
Every time in my life that I've deviated into new dietary zones I have made myself very sick very quickly. After last week's goal post I told my coach I was trying to cut back on the pounds again. I could here the "No!!!! You need to fuel your training!" echoing all the way from his home in NYC..... He was correct. After a single day of attempting high protein, lower carbs I was a sick puppy.
After all this experimentation, the only single thing that I can say makes a big difference is vastly reduced the amount of refined sugar in my diet.
|These would be onion rings. Which are awesome.|
I'm in workout gear so I assume that I earned them!
All of the above is why I stick to the current wisdom (the plate picture) and try to not get too caught up in popular diets. I also try to not get too hung up on the scale. After all, I'm smack in the middle of the healthy BMI range. Just because I look like a 34 year old who had two kids, but want to look like a 22 year old, is not a reason to jeopardize my training or my health. Since starting my triathlon journey over a year ago, my weight has stayed the same, despite 4-6 workouts a week. The endurance athlete lifestyle does not lend itself well to looking like Jillian Michaels, alas (though if folks have suggestions... go for it!)
I actually am so very deeply confused about my calories in versus calories out that I bought myself a new toy - the Garmin Vivofit. Ok, I actually got it because I wanted it, it looks cool, and I like playing with data. But rationalization is a skill, so.... My thoughts are that I have office days were I sit at a desk, I have big training days, I have crazy-running-around Mommy days, and I'd like to know what the range of those days really looks like, and how much fuel I should be taking in.
|Garmin Vivofit, pristine out of box!|
- Quinoa. The only grain that is also a complete protein (all amino acids). #nutritionalhack
- Almond milk. More calcium than regular milk. And I just feel virtuous drinking it.
- Avocados. I eat them plain, out of their skin, with a spoon. Even other athletes think this is odd.
|My Mother's Day "mad libs" from my 5 year old.|
Mommy likes avocados and to "lots of things" all day...
- Salmon. Which is sad, because my family hates it
- Tons of produce. Frozen in the fridge for emergencies. My family also has organix produce delivered to our door once a week. We never know just quite what we will get, which is part of the fun. We have usually been members of a CSA (community supported agriculture), but are trying to make a go of it with our home garden....
|The first of our carrot crop this year|
- Protein powder - I haven't found one I really like yet. Suggestions welcome
- Greek yogurt. Either plain or vanilla. Much more protein per spoon than regular yogurt. Again, it's all about pairing protein/fat/carbs....
- Energy snack raisin thingies. I don't have a name for them really, but you take equal parts almonds and raisins (and a handful of chocolate chips if you want) and put them in a food processor. (Soaking the raisins in hot water for a few minutes first helps). Then roll them into bite size balls. A training must.
Ok all my nutritionist readers - how am I doing? What tips, beyond the usual athletic advice, would you offer someone with blood sugar issues?