Well, I am 3 weeks into my training for IMNZ and feel it necessary to discuss the other “sport” within the sport that make triathlon training a challenging and ever-growing demand on my time. I am speaking of the “sport” of self-care: strength training, flexibility training, bodywork and nutrition. My training plan calls for swimming, cycling, and running 3 days/week. On top of that, I strength train 1-2 times/week, work on flexibility with stretching and/or yoga, daily self myofascial release, scheduled body work sessions every 1-2 weeks, dialing in my daily nutrition and workout nutrition. Not forgetting to add one day off each week! Whew! I get tired just thinking about it all! As a physical therapist, I feel I have the self-care sport under control. I know what to do and how to do it! The challenge is fitting it all in around work and everyday life.
Nutrition, however, is an interesting sport. Everybody has an opinion on what the right plan is for an athlete often times assuming all other plans are inherently wrong for some reason or another. You must be vegetarian, no you must be vegan, no no you must be paleo, no no no you must be gluten free and I have researched and tried them all! I was diagnosed with Celiac disease in early 2010 and also have had a long history of dairy intolerance. I am now gluten free and other than that, I have no “must”dietary restrictions. Giving up gluten confirmed that certain some food choices make me feel better overall than other food choices.
I always tell my clients to listen to their bodies; they know themselves better than anyone. Better than even me or their doctor and if they quiet their mind and listen the answers are within each of us. I am finding my nutritional nirvana in much the same way. If you listen to your own body, I find it will tell you what is right for you. A nutrition plan that may be totally wrong for someone else, may work for you! That is most important to remember.
I have settled into a modified paleo diet which is often referred to as the cavemen diet. Paleo allows for organic lean proteins, fruits and vegetables only. No processed foods, sugar, dairy, legumes or gluten are allowed in the paleo tradition. I occasionally partake with goat cheese, gluten free grains and allow myself to eat whatever I want minus gluten once a week. I feel so much better when I refrain from legumes and grains! Which is probably why my body felt miserable on a vegan diet, even though my emotional brain wanted so badly for it to work.
There are some important factors/food choices to consider no matter what dietary plan you choose to follow. It is always best to eat organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible, drink plenty of water and refrain from or limit calorie laden liquids such as: soda, fruit drinks & alcohol. If you choose to have animal protein in your diet, eat lean and clean protein from farms that take care of their animals. Eat plenty of good fats: avocadoes, nuts, coconut oil. Refrain from sugar. It’s not rocket science and it does take some thought and effort to eat healthy, but one thing is certain and that is that it always does a body good!
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