berries“The biggest nutrition mistake endurance athletes make is believing that engineered food is better for performance than real or natural food,” Allen Lim, PhD.

I recently discovered this quote by Dr. Allen Lim, sports physiologist, former Radio Shack team nutritionist, and founder of Skratch Labs. It’s a powerful statement.

Over the years, we’ve been led to believe — taught really — that engineered power bars, protein shakes, and sports drinks loaded with high fructose corn syrup and food coloring are THE way to achieve peak nutrition. There’s definitely a place for some of these items in your routine but we shouldn’t rely solely on them for nutrition and peak performance.

I recently completed REFUEL, a 12-day cleanse led by Crystal Bold at Fuel-21. For me, it was not as much a cleanse as it was a reset. Over the course of 12 days I avoided sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, wheat/simple carbs, and all packaged food items. The focus was on grass-fed meats and eggs along with all the fruits and veggies you could possibly eat. It was an eye opening experience and focused a shiny bright light on habits — both good and bad. The first thing I learned was that preparation, preparation, and preparation are THE keys to success. I quickly grasped the importance of planning ahead and having healthy meals and snacks at the ready. I was reminded of my joy for cooking and how it made me immensely happy to nourish myself and my family with good wholesome food. The clearest message of all was that we’ve overcomplicated food. I also learned:

  • A sweet potato is an amazing source of energy.
  • Eggs fed a grain-free, soy-free diet are delicious.
  • The farmers market is fun!

The highlight of the entire experience? Kale is a wonder food. I made a simple salad of kale, 2 tbs tamari, 2 tbs extra virgin cold pressed olive oil and 2tbs lemon juice. It was a constant in the fridge and is seriously good. The first few days were rocky as I had to revamp my entire routine. But then a funny thing happened.

It got easy. And, I felt great. Really great. Sleep was solid. Tummy felt good. Energy was sustained and even. I had anticipated going easy on the workouts but I was floored to have some of my strongest performances to date.

Dr. Lim discusses how digestion struggles with semi-solid foods (such as power gels, etc), the importance of sodium, and how the body is designed to eat real food. Here’s the link to Dr. Lim’s article.

As my coach Sara-Mai Conway likes to remind us, “you can’t out train a poor diet,” a lesson definitely learned during my REFUEL experience.

If you’re interested in learning more about whole foods nutrition, consider Fuel-21’s upcoming course beginning May 10. I’m already signed up and ready to go. I’d love for you to join me.

Sport Acupuncture Austin: 512 Wellness

 

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