Written by Claudia Schroegel –
You are what you eat
Or maybe you just eat because you love food. Do you run better when you eat better? How do you define better in the first place? It works for you, does it work for me though?
I’m allergic to, intolerant of… I’m vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian. Paleo, juicing, detoxing, full fat, no fat, uff. Let’s stop this madness. You choose how you want to live. Being vegan doesn’t necessarily mean you are weird. Being a meat eater doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person. We shouldn’t judge people’s choices, as we have limited information why. I think we can be busy enough with ourselves to start with. Let’s keep it at: we all need to eat to stay alive.
Food is as much researched and discussed as training. We’d like to save you a long boring, yet another-one-of-these-threads. Instead AR eats is all about inspiration – anything goes, nothing must. We were asked more than once what we eat, when and why. Our arsenal of feel good food is almost infinite, because we strive to combine flavours, textures and colours across the board of macro and micro nutrients. Our creative brains want to live fully. Our bodies are grateful for it.
Where does the energy come from?
At AR towers we believe in food being fuel. Fuel for our dreams. Fuel for the mind, body and soul.
As keen ultra runners you think twice about what you eat and more importantly when. We apply the 80/20 rule to more than just our training schedules. When it comes to food we aim to eat 80% healthy, nutritious food that agrees well with our bodies and serves the nutritious value we need to perform at our best (as person not athlete). This is before, during and after a training session (day); and can be more specifically on race day. The remaining 20% is fun fuel: burger, pizza, cake, chocolate, ice cream, etcetera. Food is fun not a drumming regime. This is about how complicated we make our ‘diet’.
As coaches we are obliged by trade but also driven by passion to figure what this food business is all about. By all means we are not positioning ourselves as nutritional gurus. We learn as we go and we strive to learn by actually doing the things we talk about. We tune in with our bodies. We have good days, we have bad days. Some of the studies we come across are rather controversial and leave us overwhelmed by the sheer amount of opinions out there. It’s too complicated and nutrition doesn’t need to be. Life is not perfect. Let’s have some fun being imperfect.
· Where is my food coming from?
The tree. The local farmer. The supermarket. The other side of the Globe. Out of a plastic bag. I don’t know. Is this still something I want to put in my mouth?
· How ‘worthy’ is it?
Is it in season? How tasty is it? How natural is it? Is it home cooked? Is it raw? Is this the best source to get my daily vitamins and minerals? What balance am I going for: protein vs fat vs carbohydrates? What do I need for today? What serves my (running/ performance) goals best?
· Do I have any intolerances?
Without doing a costly test: keep a food diary for 7 days, write down everything you eat and drink and how this makes you feel during and after. Also if you are training that day and how food and timings might have effected your performance. Doesn’t need to be more complicated than that. Obviously think about what to do with these insights. What can you do better? More of? Less of?
· Do I have any food cravings?
Sweet – bless the sugar spikes. Is there a better way to balance your energy levels without a constant sugar of caffeine hit? (Hint: protein, complex carbs, hydration, sleep, …). Savoury – might be low on salts (minerals). Cheese – might want to look at your calcium, protein and fat intake. Starchy food – do you get enough carbohydrates from primary, unprocessed sources? Are you hungry or are you actually thirsty?
· What do I need to know in order to make better choices?
What are vitamins, minerals? What is protein, fat? Where can I find (complex/ simple) carbohydrates? Is water best? What is sugar? Do I have specific requirements because I am a man, woman, runner, etc? What are antioxidants? What does essential mean? Why do I need this? Read up on the basics (food pyramids, eat the rainbow, …).
One size doesn’t fit all and couldn’t be more appropriate when it comes to food. Hence why we can’t answer your questions: figure what you need to do in order to perform at your best. The more you know the better you can adjust. Ha. And there is the answer to the question from above: How do you define better in the first place? You know the answer hopefully by now.
Eat. Fuel. Refuel. Enjoy!