One of the things I get asked surprisingly often as a professional athlete is, "What do you eat? Do you eat a lot? Can't you eat whatever you want?" This is a great question because diet is extremely important to daily performance- whether you are a student, working professional or athlete! I prescribe to the train of thought that "you are what you eat" as simplistic as that sounds. If you nourish the body, the body can fix and heal itself properly and perform at it's best. I don't believe that calories are all that matters- just as important are the nutrients present in the calories you are consuming. Eating processed and sugary foods for the majority of your diet can lead to chronic malnutrition and a whole range of health issues, because they lack the micronutrients that raw, whole foods do- even if both contain the same amount of calories. I also believe you should never starve yourself, especially as an athlete. Eat as much as it takes to feel full and energized, just eat the "right" types of foods (a high percentage of fresh fruits, veggies, and lean meats) and the rest will take care of itself. And most of all, enjoy the process! I try to achieve a 90% healthy, 10% cravings ratio- because sometimes you just have to eat cake...or pancakes.
1) Eat raw foods as much as possible: Processed foods loose nutrients as they are processed, and even heat from cooking can damage live enzymes and proteins. Eat raw fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, super foods, and herbs as much as possible!
2) Mix super foods into your diet: Some foods have an extraordinary amount of vitamins and minerals, cofactors, enzymes and special chemicals that are great for the body (kale, salmon, beets, sweet potatoes, ginger, raw honey, spirulina, Echinacea, wheatgrass, coconut, raw cacao, nori, cinnamon etc...) Find out which ones you like and mix them into your daily routine somehow!
3) Drink lots of water: The body is 60% water, and these fluids help with digestion, absorption and transportation of nutrients. Water flushes toxins out of our bodies so that nutrients can get in. Hydration is also extremely important to athletic performance, if cells don't maintain their fluid balance electrolytes shrivel and this can lead to muscle fatigue.
4) Supplement your diet: Fill in the gaps! One vitamin serves many purposes in the body, and is necessary for the multiple chemical reactions that occur in the body everyday. Large enough doses have even been shown in some cases to combat certain illnesses.
Over the last couple weeks, I've taken pictures of several staples in my daily diet to illustrate what a typical week of eating looks like for me:
Breakfast- some combinations of oatmeal and berries, eggs, or a smoothie (non-fat yogurt, frozen berries, a banana, peanut butter and a scoop of Garden of Life's perfect food super green formula).
Lunch: usually some sort of a salad, I mix it up a lot to fend off boredom, but my favorite is spinach with beets, quinoa, walnuts and a bit of feta. Sometimes I add a meat like grilled chicken or leftovers from dinner on top.
Snacks: I love baking kale chips with different types of seasonings (curry is a favorite), making different types of juices (this one is apple, ginger, beet juice) or making a yogurt parfait.
Dinner: I usually try to incorporate some sort of salad, complex carbohydrate- like rice, quinoa, or sweet potatoes, and lean protein- like fish, grass fed beef/venison or chicken. Probably my favorite thing to make is tacos- because there are a never-ending variety of combinations with salsas and different meats!
The other "10%": Angela Bizzarri and I enjoying a morning treat the day after a race- Snooze delux pancakes!