Why when you eat is as important as what you eat
Most people don’t eat enough and those that do, eat too much — of the wrong food — at the wrong time. And, consuming poor quality food will result in a poorly performing person.
What exactly is “poor quality food?” Food containing artificial ingredients and additives (used to lengthen a food’s shelf life, maybe to enhance food color and or taste or to make preparation of the food easier). Some you may have heard of: Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Saccharin and Aspartame (sweeteners), FD&C Yellow No. 6 (in macaroni and cheese, cotton candy, soda, Doritos… you get the picture).
Symptoms of a poorly performing person include: sluggishness or lack of energy, headaches, allergies and hives, hyperactivity, congestion, inability to focus, irritability — you are what you eat!
Why do we use — and accept — artificial ingredients in our foods?
According to the FDA, “Some additives could be eliminated if we were willing to grow our own food, harvest and grind it, spend many hours cooking and canning, or accept increased risks of food spoilage. But most consumers today rely on the many technological, aesthetic and convenient benefits that additives provide.” So there you go, right from the horse’s mouth!
When you nourish your body is almost as important as what you nourish it with. For people who exercise regularly, our body is in a state of perpetual regeneration mode — cellular tissue is broken down following every workout. And, did you know, exercise will age you? Scary! This is why, it is crucial that those of us who exercise regularly consume a diet consisting of foods that are nutrient-dense, high net-gain and alkaline-forming.
The standard Western diet is plagued by foods that are acid-forming: low in minerals like potassium, magnesium or calcium — associated with poor bone health and high cholesterol. Alkaline-forming foods are nearly exclusively found in the vegetable and fruit groups. According to research from the Nutrition Society, it is possible to efficiently modify the urine pH by diet alone.
Also, according to the American College of Cardiology, a diet with an abundance of nutrients, adequate Omega 3 fatty acids and reduced saturated and trans fats is a powerful strategy to help lower the generation of inflammation.
Inflammation can become the single greatest inhibitor when it comes to regular exercise. Furthermore, the right combination of nutrients — carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals — found through nutrient-dense foods have been shown to support your immune system — an often-overlooked component of exercise regularity.
Nutrient-Rich, Good Foods
- Alkaline-forming foods include: all green vegetables especially spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Also, seaweed, chlorella and spirulina
- Antioxidants can be found in: berries, fruit (prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, plums and cherries) and green tea
- Calcium-rich foods are: spinach, kale, collard greens — most dark, leafy greens (so lettuce is not included. Lettuce is mostly water)
- Electrolytes for hydration can be found in coconut water (Zico is from concentrate, look for fresh coconut water instead), bananas, tomatoes and celery
- Phytonutrients (reduces inflammation): tomatoes, chia, turmeric and veggies
Vega, A Complete Source
Vega makes a Whole Food Optimizer which contains all of the nutrition your body needs. Try mixing a scoop of Vega in with your morning oatmeal. (Disclosure: I am an ambassador for Vega. This article was adapted from Vega Sport, the first, complete, all-natural, plant-based sport performance system).