25 September 2013

from super-size to superfoods

after running yesterday with my friend justin (a triathlete and speedy runner) he commented about how far i'd come since 2007 when i was a fairly dedicated fast-food junkie.  in fact, when the church that i was working at wanted to shoot a video mockumentary along the lines of "super size me" i was the clear nominee to star in it.

(sometimes i think that when it came to anything that the rest of the team didn't want to touch with a 10-foot pole, they figured that i would be the 'perfect guy' for it - case in point ...)

my wife remembers me on a regular diet of KFC.  my kids recall daddy's breakfast as consisting of chocolate chip cookies and orange juice (net nutritional value = 0).  the point is, i managed to get away with a lot in terms of eating practices because i was blessed/cursed with an unusually efficient metabolic system.

that all began to change when i started to run.

slowly i came to noticing that i felt horrible when i fueled myself with junk.  whether it was high cholesterol entrĂ©es or the bedtime snack of half a party-size bag of doritos, there was immediate feedback during the next morning's workout.  and it wasn't pleasant at all.  this started to deter me from equating 'fullness' with 'fueled-ness'.

then, as i entered the arena of road racing and set particular performance goals, i started to pay attention to the finer points of training - from supplements (including the composition of my multi-vitamins) to pre- and post-workout intake and eating volume and frequency.  i will readily admit to being nowhere near where i could be - my dorito obsession remains (though diminished), and i am not as savvy about supplementation as my buddy stan (a great blog post from him here) - but the truth is "you've come a long way baby!".

so what are my key dietary tactics?
  1. post-run chocolate milk - feels like you're cheating when you're not!  a great mix of carbs and protein for post-workout replenishment.  those commercials aren't just a marketing gimmick y'all.
  2. multi-vitamins - because i know that i'm not on top of things in terms of properly daily recommended values from the four food groups.
  3. chia seed - yup, another convert as a result of reading chris mcdougall's born to run.  i'll sprinkle it on yogourt, on peanut butter toast, in banana-chocolate smoothies.  it just works with about everything, and is a great way to take it carbs, protein, omega-3s, potassium, calcium.  plus being hydrophilic it's a great way to create a slow-release of energy over distances.
  4. beet juice - nothing conclusive here, but some studies have purported to show that beet juice (rich in anti-oxidants and the right kind of nitrates) aids in decreasing blood pressure and increasing transference of oxygen through the blood stream.  not the most palatable drink in the world, but i've found that adding a single sachet of juice crystals (i use President's Choice brand cool delight raspberry) and it's not bad ... not bad at all.
  5. kale - this is the newest member of the dietary regime for me.  heard lots about it - it's probably the 'in-food' when it comes to the health conscious.  another one of these packed-with foods, it delivers iron, fibre, calcium, vitamins A, C and K, and is super-easy to work with.  i'll chop it up and put it on/in just about anything - "no meat athlete" has a great article on how to eat it.

as i say, i'm still learning how to better treat this biomechanical machine of mine.  what are your fueling choices?  i'd love to hear about them!


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