I'm thrilled to welcome a new nutrition partner. Her name is Liz Stein and she's a Certified Holistic Health Counselor. Please visit her web site www.appetiteforhelthyliving.com for some great nutritional programs for triathletes.
Below is just a short excerpt from her 8-week Endurance Training Nutrition Program.
So many of my clients come to me with a high level of stress. Whether it’s from their jobs, relationships, the environment they are in or the food they are putting into their bodies. Stress plays an enormous role in how our body functions. High levels of stress can lead to weight gain, fatigue, bad sleeping patterns, digestive problems and poor performance just to name a few. It is important to keep our stress levels to a minimum. The good news is that unlike other stresses we don’t have control over, such as our environment, nutritional stress is something we can directly change. With less nutritional stress you will see improved performance, increased energy and faster recovery.
Consuming too many refined foods causes nutritional stress. Refined sugar for example, is the ultimate stressor on our body. Because refined sugar is void of all fiber, minerals and nutrients, it is the definition of an empty calorie. When we consume refined sugar our body actually has to pull from our own reserves in order to metabolize and digest. Rather then providing nutrition the result is actually a deficiency.
In order to maintain a low level of nutritional stress in the body, we must nourish ourselves with the simplest, purest, nutrient rich whole foods. Think of the difference between eating a highly processed McDonald’s Cheeseburger and a banana. The later will be quite easy to digest and use for energy. The cheeseburger on the other hand will require more energy to digest and therefore leave you with less energy to use. When we eat poorly (refined foods) extra blood is needed and drawn to the stomach to aid digestion. Because it is drawn from other parts of the body, those functions slow down and cause stress in the body.
You want to try and think of eating low stress, easily digestible foods that will give your body the most energy and therefore improve your athletic performance. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes. Raw foods can be very beneficial as there is very little energy needed to breakdown in your body as the enzymes are still intact making digestion quick and efficient (This is why smoothies are such a great recovery meal). With less energy spent on breaking down food- more energy can go to training and recovery!