I am not a nutritionist. I just have a lot of opinions on nutrition. It seemed apropos after Halloween – when we hand out buckets of sugary goodness that in no way qualifies as food – to share a few thoughts on nutrition.
Don’t worry: I am not going to try to nutrition shame you. I am hardly the expert and/or perfect. In any given year I am sure I eat my weight in dark chocolate. Hand me a bucket of M&Ms and I become a human Hoover. Take away my wine at your own risk. Trying to be perfect is, in my opinion, a recipe for failure.
For the athletes reading this, I’d like to clarify the difference between nutrition and fueling. Think of fueling as what you eat immediately before, during and after your training and racing with the goal to maximize performance. Nutrition is what you put in your body the rest of the day. These suggestions are made with nutrition in mind; though I would argue that they can apply to fueling as well.
Much of good nutrition is really just common sense; somehow common sense gets lost with all the latest fads and super-foods. There is no silver bullet. No matter what they tell us.
With all that said, here are two suggestions. Prepare to be amazed.
EAT REAL FOOD.
How do I identify real food, you ask? A few tips:
- It is in identifiable food form. We all know what an apple looks like.
- It doesn’t have an ingredient list. Seems like it would be redundant to put an ingredient list on broccoli.
- If it does have an ingredient list, it has only one ingredient OR relatively few ingredients, all of which you can identify as real food. If you need a magnifying glass and knowledge of chemistry to read the label: NOT REAL FOOD.
EAT WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.
Athletes frequently ask me to look at their diets and help them improve. Should they give up gluten? Grains? Meat? What is the “right” diet? There isn’t one. We are all different and we all respond differently to foods.
In general I don’t eat grains. I don’t eat dairy. I don’t eat soy. I eat a lot of fat and very little sugar. Do I think you should all go give up grains, dairy and soy and eat an avocado a day? No! I spent years experimenting, spurred on by health issues. Did I feel better when I took out x or added in y? It was a long process and one I adjust over time. I don’t think you are wrong because you eat grains. Honestly, I am a tiny bit jealous.
I do encourage you to experiment if you feel your diet isn’t working for you. Who knows what you might learn and how you might feel.
And remember that you don’t have to change everything RIGHT NOW. Change one thing at a time. Baby steps make things possible.
Enough of that!
Franken-dog is doing well. He had surgery to remove the growth on his leg last Tuesday. On Wednesday, we headed to Fruita for a few days of hiking (and mountain biking for Mark!). In the 5 minutes I left Puck without his cone, he removed one of his stitches. So I spent much of Thursday finding a vet to staple his incision back together. We’ve been here before. You would think I would learn.
Back in CB I decided to take Puck, Frank, Edgar AND Bandit out for a hike. Their humans were all traveling. Alexis pointed out that I was brave. This reminded me of my Grandpa’s saying: “there is a fine line between brave and stupid”.
It was great. I didn’t lose anyone (phew!). And we had so much fun.
Puck, Frank and Bandit are like 3 teenagers. Here’s what usually happens:
Bandit decides she wants to be chased and takes off (she is fast).
Puck gives chase (he is not fast, but he IS determined).
Frank, who is usually off exploring somewhere, sees the action and is quickly in on the game (he is just as fast as Bandit).
They race round and round, whoever is in the lead (Bandit or Frank) trying to trick the others. Then one of them stops abruptly, and they all crash into each other. Ineffective snarling and baring of teeth ensues. I have learned to just let them sort it out. Occasionally someone can’t let go (ok, it is usually Puck) and I have to separate the three of them with treats. Then they are all friends again.
Edgar is the wise old man of the bunch. He usually trots close to me just in case I put my hand in the treat pocket.
Having Puck and his buddies has been really wonderful for me. I may have mentioned that I don’t really love to walk for the sake of walking. But with the dogs in tow, it gives me a reason to be out there.
Being surrounded by a bunch of crazy canines makes any day better.