Eat your way to health and fitness – exercise nut or not!!
Being fit does not just involve pushing the heaviest weight, or scaling the tallest building fastest – it is not all about the cardio- respiratory system and muscles. Being fit involves every cell of your body – having a healthy digestive and endocrine system, being able to expel waste efficiently and properly, and being able to absorb and utilise the nutrients we take in. The foods we eat can have a huge impact on how our body is able to carry out all these processes and can therefore effect how “fit” we really are. What’s more if we are a gym junkie, speed skier, mountain conqueror, or yogi in the making, we will need to be pay even more attention to the foods we eat to make sure our bodies gain every chance to meet the physical demands of heavy exercise.
Basically what all this boils down to is that regardless of whether you are super active or a super couch potato what you eat will have a massive impact on how you feel and how your body functions. By following a few basic eating principles you will set yourself up for peak performance, reduce the impact of ageing, protect yourself from chronic disease, and feel on top of the world. To help you on your way I have put together a guide on how to get the most out of what you eat and make every mouthful count –
1. Always start the day with a nutrient dense breakfast. This can be eggs and bacon on sourdough, homemade vegetable frittata or omelette, a bowl of hot porridge with chia seeds and coconut milk, or a power smoothie (see recipe below).
2. Include a morning glass of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon or a dash of organic apple cider vinegar to kick start your digestive system, detox your liver, aid the immune system and healing, and act as an alkalising agent.
3. Eat as wide a variety of fresh unprocessed foods as possible.
4. Use nuts, seeds, unprocessed meats, avocados, eggs, fresh fruits, and fish for between meal nourishment
5. Only eat slow release complex carbohydrates like brown and wild rice, wholegrain pasta, quinoa, amaranth, millet, and buckwheat. Try sourdough breads made form spelt or rye flour.
6. Include sources of high quality protein in your meals every day. If you find this hard opt for a natural supplement like 180 nutrition’s protein powder added to water, smoothies, bars, or protein balls.
7. Always keep hydrated with fresh filtered water. Post or during activity you can add Himalayan salt, citrus juice and organic honey to your water (see recipe below). Electrolytes are important for cell and muscle function, fluid and pH balance, nerve function, and preventing muscle cramps.
8. When you exercise eat a nutrient dense meal with protein to help rebuild muscle and feed your cells.
9. Include healthy fats in your diet everyday – coconut oil, avocado, nuts, fish, olives – or take a good quality fish oil or fermented cod liver oil supplement. Eating healthy fats will help reduce inflammation, keep cells supple, help you stay positive, reduce any joint pain, and fight post workout oxidative stress.
10. Eat a diet high in antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables as these will help your body’s natural antioxidant glutathione help reduce the oxidative stress caused by exercise. Some examples are green tea, citrus foods, berries, whey protein and leafy green vegies.
Home made electrolyte drink:
½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup fresh lemon/lime juice
3-4 cups of filtered water
1-2 tablespoon of organic raw honey
1/8 teaspoon of Himalayan salt
Mix or shake well
One frozen banana
500ml filtered water or almond/coconut milk
I large handful of fresh English or salad spinach
2 Tblspns of hemp seeds
1 tspn of chia seeds
1 tspn of flax seeds oil
I scoop of 180 nutrition protein powder
1 capsule of high strength probiotic emptied
Chuck it all in the blender and mix until smooth and creamy – this is a base recipe you can add half an avocado, fresh mint, or wheat grass if you like