I've recently had the pleasure of speaking at CrossFit Tantrum for my Nutritional Therapy Association Community Outreach Project about the Foundations of Health, and about applying those to each person's bioindividuality to achieve both athletic performance goals and long term health. I wanted to provide the athletes with some supplemental resources to my presentation (available here):
Quick Tips for Athletes:
First of all, I do not believe that strict tracking of macronutrient ratios or minimums/maximums everyday is necessary. It can be frustrating and a source of stress, which can affect performance and health. I prefer people listen to their body and eat intuitively, which will require some effort and communication between your mind and body. The better your diet is, in terms of quality and ingredients (no processed or refined foods), the easier this becomes.
However, if you are choosing to follow a set of macronutrient ratios, I encourage you to choose whole-food, nutrient-dense, properly-prepared sources of food, as opposed to packaged and refined products. This will increase your intake of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals); and contrary to popular opinion in the athletic nutrition world, micronutrients DO matter. Athletes actually need more vitamins and minerals than the average person, not only for performance but because they are co-factors needed to properly utilize your macronutrient ratios. Be sure to check in with your body and take this Dietary Fine Tuning Mini-Quiz to make sure your macronutrient ratios are correct to begin with. Checking a lot of boxes in the "Wrong Fat/Carb Ratio"? Then increase your healthy fats and decrease your carbohydrate intake.
What Can I Have?
For starters, any of my recipes. Be sure to review my slides for a list of foods to eat and avoid at the end of the presentation. I also highly recommend investing in a cookbook that suits your lifestyle. My favorites are Performance Paleo by Stephanie Gaudreau, Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo, and Make It Paleo by Bill Staley and Haley Mason. You can check these out at your local library before purchasing, and all 3 of these authors have great recipes on their websites:Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon is a must get!
Most pre-workouts are full of sugar and caffeine, which is a false sense of energy. Instead, occasionally* try:
Avoid Gatorade and other caffeinated, sugary drinks as those are diuretics that will actually dehydrate you. It's really preferable to drink plain, filtered water. For intense workouts of those lasting longer than 60 minutes, consider adding any combination of these to your water:
Quick pre- and post-workout carbohydrates:
Bars and Snacks:
Real food is always better. Nuts, seeds, dried berries, and fresh fruit and vegetables are all whole foods that also work as quick, on-the-go options. Most bars are full of sugar, artificial sweeteners and other processed ingredients that are nutrient-depleting and dehydrating. These packaged products are also derived from whole foods, minimally processed, and have high quality standards:
What Was In That Coffee?
I love Thrive Market for discounted, healthy foods. This is where we buy our sprouted brown rice. If you do choose to eat grains, do so responsibly and soak them overnight in water and a dash of apple cider vinegar, or buy them already sprouted (ex. Ezekiel bread). This will remove the phytates and other antinutrients that both irritate the gut and prevent the absorption of nutrients.
Follow these athletes/nutritionists for more fantastic advice:
Need a plan/accountability to help you quit sugar and make a healthy lifestyle change? Try one of these programs (some are strictly food based, others have a macronutrient and exercise/strength component as well):
Articles and Books:
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