Food: Can’t Live Without It

Food is something we can’t live without.  Go ahead and say it altogether now:  Thanks for the information there Columbo.  Let me be clear about what I mean.  We need food to not only provide us with energy, in the form of calories, but we also need it to prevent illness as well as to aid in recovery.

Yesterday I was at my nutrition club speaking with my mentor when she mentioned how she managed to get over her illness in less than a day.  As we were talking another person asked what medicine she took to get healthy that fast.  With a look of confusion she said:  food.  After that we continued our conversation and I said that I couldn’t recall the last time I took a pill to combat anything.  The only pills I have put into my body in recent memory have been vitamins and specifically vitamin D.  I believe that if we are eating food (not McDonald’s and Taco Bell) then our chances of getting sick are minimal and our ability to recover from that illness is greater than those who don’t eat whole foods.

It wasn’t long before another triathlete walked into the club and conversation turned to all things triathlon.  How far did you swim?  How long are you riding this weekend?  What is your next event?  What do you think of the running off the bike theory?  It was your typical triathlete to triathlete conversation but with an added touch.  I was asked what I was doing for recovery since the training has ramped up in the past few weeks.

IMG 20120412 00486 300x297 Food: Cant Live Without It

How I Recovered After My 3+ Hour Workout This Morning

I explained that I follow the 3:1 Carb:Protein mindset and get it in liquid form so that it can get to my muscles and at a cellular level faster than if I were to eat said ratio.  Wondering what did that I explained that if you use the Herbalife 24 Endurance or Strength product you are getting the 3:1 from that and then 2 hours later eating something with a similar ratio would provide you with adequate recovery.  For me that meal is usually in the form of pancakes, sometimes waffles.  With all the training I am doing my body physically feels pretty good.  That is not to say that it is not hard or that it is not wearing me down, but that is to say that without the proper recovery I would feel much worse.  Being fueled and refueling properly and on time has helped me brave through 4 hour workout days in the middle of the week and 10+ hours of training on the weekends.

These conversations brought to light the quote from Hippocrates that I fully believe in:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” 

In addition these conversations I read an article on Competitor.com titled Eat Your Way To Recovery.  I was hoping that the post would shed some light on what would be the ‘perfect’ recovery meal and one that you could easily transport.  The article provided foods to use but no recipes so I am going to make some suggestions based on their foods.

Prevent Illness:

  • Iron and zinc (seafood, lean meat, beans) to help prevent infections.
  • Vitamin C (citrus, fresh melon, berries, peppers);
  • Vitamin A (peaches, sweet potatoes, carrots, kale);
  • Vitamin E (nuts, seeds, oils)
  • Selenium (seafood, brazil nuts) act as antioxidant protectors from damage caused by training.
A perfect meal would be a kale salad.  Add red kidney beans, green and red bell peppers, carrots, sesame seeds and slivered almonds.  Your dressing should be a squeeze of lemon.
To Recover From Illness:
  • Vitamins A and C, zinc and iron, which are the top anti-infection nutrients.
  • Herbs and spices (ginger, turmeric, cumin, oregano) are known for their gut healing and antioxidant properties.
  • Probiotics (yogurt, aged cheese, tofu, miso, pickled ginger) help establish good bacteria in the stomach.
I would make tofu tacos to recover from being sick.  Make some homemade tortillas and grill carrots and peppers.  Dry out the tofu and cook in a pan while seasoning with cumin and oregano.  Shred some kale and then top with black beans and avocado.  Veggie tacos to help you recover from being sick.
To Prevent Injury:
  • Protein (dairy, chicken, fish, soy beans, red meat) protects muscle and tissues and repairs your cells, bones, etc. Depending on your training phase, protein can range from 80–150 grams per day.
  • Essential fatty acids (fatty fish, avocados, nuts, oils) for anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Healthy carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables, fruits) prevent an increase in stress hormones or overtraining symptoms.
I just had this for lunch today.  I made a sandwich on sprouted rye bread with avocado, peppers, onions, cilantro, asparagus, kale, red and green cabbage and sliced tempeh.
To Recover From Injury:
  • Vitamin C (citrus, melons, berries, fresh herbs) helps collagen building, bone healing and tissue repair.
  • Calcium (milk, yogurt, cheese, beans, kale, spinach, chard) is a bone healer
  • Vitamin D (salmon, tuna,egg yolk, plus sunlight10–15 minutes a day).
In addition to the sandwich above I added an orange to my plate.  This meal is very filling and nutrient dense but not an overload of calories if you are concerned with losing weight.
If you want to read the full article by Sally Berry, RD click [HERE] or read Pip Taylor’s article on Whole Foods For Recovery by clicking [HERE]
What Do You Eat To Recover From A Workout Or Race?


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  • http://www.seejenroerun.blogspot.com Jen

    Couldn’t agree more with the using food to heal sentiment more. It’s incredible…

    and those pancakes look to die for.
    Jen recently posted..California love and stuffMy Profile

  • http://danglethecarrot.blogspot.com Jeff Irvin

    Beer and Cow!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Random Observations and Stuff …My Profile

  • http://www.chasingthekenyans.com lindsay

    i would like to say that in my google reader the advertisement at the top of the post was “test day starts with breakfast” and had photos of reese puffs, cinnamon toast crunch, lucky charms and trix. i just thought to myself, what irony. this is EXACTLY what kind of ad jason wants. haha.

    i don’t think food can heal everything (you know there are people out there who are thinking “oh yeah right you can’t use food to heal ____”) but i DO think it can heal a lot of things and help with many others too. to me a big example of this is IBS – if people find out what food irritates their body and eliminate it, they won’t have symptoms.
    lindsay recently posted..there’s a reason they call him coachMy Profile

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