Top 10 Tips for Athletes
1. Eat real whole food that is nutrient dense. Avoid processed foods and all artificial sweeteners. Avoid "diet" foods and foods that make health claims. Avoid foods with long ingredient lists and words you cannot pronounce. Don't eat anything that eventually will not spoil.
2. Get your carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits and limit grains and sugars. Eat twice as many vegetables as fruits. Juicing vegetables is a great idea, but it is better to eat your fruits than drink them.
3. Add nuts and seeds to your meals and snacks. These foods contain healthy fats (saturated and unsaturated), protein and carbohydrates.
Note: You can get all the carbohydrates you'll need to run any distance just by eating vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. This means you can (and should) eliminate or drastically reduce the amount of grains, breads, pasta and cereals.
4. Limit Grains. Most breads, pastas and cereals are highly processed foods that contain little nutrition.
5. Avoid wheat whenever possible. Wheat contains a high amount of gluten which irritates the lining of the gut causing inflammation. Digestive problems related to gluten include IBS and Leaky Gut Syndrome. For some people even rye, barley, spelt and sprouted grains may have too much gluten.
6. Don't be afraid of fat and cholesterol! Eat healthy unrefined natural fats and oils like butter, coconut oil and palm oil (for cooking) and olive oil and sesame oil (for dressings). Avoid margarine, vegetable shortening, canola oil, refined vegetable oils and any other man-made fats or oils. Your body requires saturated fat and cholesterol are needed to construct strong muscle cells.
7. Eat plenty of protein (animal and/or plant) every day. The body is constantly breaking and rebuilding itself. Eat small amounts of protein often. Eat approximately every three hours or whenever you feel hungry, not necessarily when the clock says it is time.
8. Prepare your body and mind for the day ahead. Think dinner for breakfast. Having enough protein and fat along with vegetables and/ or nuts puts your body on an even keel and goes a long way to maintaining energy levels, improving mood, reducing cravings and improving athletic performance.
9. Avoid unfermented soy products like soy milk and tofu. Instead, eat fermented soy milk and tofu. Consider fermented soy like natto, miso, tamari and tempeh. Also, eat plenty of other raw fermented foods like sauerkraut.
10. Be proactive in your food choices and in creating exceptional health for yourself. Become an avid label reader and accept only the best nutrient dense foods for your body. Your body can only work with what YOU put into it.
11. Use unrefined sea salt that hasn't been bleached white. Unrefined sea salt provides the body with hard to get trace minerals and electrolytes. Recommended brands are Redmond's Sea Salt and Celtic Sea Salt.
12. Replace lost electrolytes using ConcenTrace Mineral Drops, Real Salt or Pedialyte. You can mix these in your water bottles. Eliminate the sports drinks with their artificial additives and high fructose corn syrup. No Gatorade or Powerade.
13. Absolutely no sodas, energy drinks or anything else with sugar (other than raw honey or maple syrup), caffeine or artificial colors/flavors for the good of your adrenal glands and blood sugar levels. To help your adrenals and and blood sugar, stay away from energy drinks such as Red Bull.
14. Give your body some extra energy the natural way before, during or after exercising, use raw honey or even maple syrup. Take one or two tablespoons of raw honey or maple syrup before or after exercising. You can mix it in water and take it with you.