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The four major pillars of health and longevity are diet, exercise, sleep, and stress. In order to truly elevate the quality and lengthen the quantity of your life all must be addressed and pieced together to solve the puzzle of true wellness.
This holds true for all, but especially athletes. Often times due to the substantial time put in at the gym, pounding the pavement or on the bike, individuals take a more liberal approach with the fuel they put in their bodies. This often leads to the paradoxical presentation of the overweight marathoner or even triathlete. Simply put, as much as some may try or conveniently convince themselves otherwise, you simply CANNOT out exercise a bad diet.
In one way or another, the saying “garbage in, garbage out,” holds true. You may even be able to get by aesthetically or performance wise for awhile, but trust that the internal systemic destruction caused by “garbage in,” will eventually catch up with you on one, two, or all fronts.
When speaking of athletes, it seems logical that you would do all that is possible to optimize performance. The topic of sports nutrition is a loaded one with many different chapters, but today we will again present a physiologically sound explanation for another intelligent dietary modification.
We’ve spoken before on the importance of the pH (acid v base or alkalinity) maintained internally:
For numerous reasons well beyond the realm of fitness, we would be wise to strive to maintain a slightly higher or basic (base = alkaline) pH. This has been cited as a method to controlling inflammation (the underlying factor behind virtually every disease), to preventing cancer.
When you engage in strenuous physical activity, a metabolic consequence of that activity is a drop in pH or a shift towards acidity. Although a small window of wiggle room exists, the body will do all it can to maintain an optimal, slightly basic pH. As the acid level within our body rises (dropping the pH) due to physical activity, the body will combat this increase in acidity by breaking down muscle. This is the same muscle you are working so hard to attain, build and utilize for peak performance.
A way to offset this is by divorcing the outdated and antiquated way of carbohydrate bombardment by way of grains, starches, cheeses, and salt laden processed foods, as these foods yield acidity within the body. Instead, the bulk of your diet and carbs should come from the alkaline producing fruits and vegetables.
According to Loren Cordain, PHD and creator of the Paleo Diet: “All foods, upon digestion, report to the kidney as either acid or alkali (base). The typical American diet is net acid producing because of its high reliance upon acid yielding grains, cheeses, and salty processed foods at the expense of the base producing fruits and veggies. The athlete’s body is even more prone to blood acidosis due to the by-products of exercise. One way the body neutralizes a net acid producing diet is by breaking down muscle tissue. Because the Paleo Diet for Athletes is rich in fruits and veggies, it reverses the metabolic acidosis produced from the typical grain and starch laden diet that many athletes consume, thereby preventing muscle loss.”
So there you have it; another physiologically sound explanation on why you should step up your produce game in place of breads, pastas and foods in a box or wrapper. Obviously this is not a standalone solution, but serves as an intelligent addition to your “eating to live” and “striving to thrive” repertoire.
Eat SMART. Live better. ENJOY LIFE.
Over the past few years I’ve had the privilege of speaking with a large number of diverse souls. Due to my profession and personal interests, many of these conversations have been about health, namely that of the other party.
I will usually hear a laundry list of complaints and presumed reasons for these issues. Many times the individual will even verbally acknowledge the importance and impact that lifestyle changes could play in their life.
However, for whatever reason, the disconnect between talk and action remains and the path towards sickness and breakdown continues. Knowledge without action is useless, and in this case, detrimental to your health. Rather than going off and making this a psychoanalytical piece on why people don’t help themselves, let’s keep it positive and focus on how to get moving in the right direction.
First thing that needs to be done is to keep it real with yourself. Take a good look in the mirror and decide what you really want.
Do you really want better health?
I would imagine so. We all do.
Are you willing to WORK for it?
I mean really work. Not for show. Really work on yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. This requires a discipline that keeps you in line and on track when no one else is looking. These are the times that the real changes occur.
What’s your goal?
Is it to kick the meds, normalize your levels, get rid of pain, drop some weight, do all you can to elongate this one shot at life? Be clear on your goal as this will serve as your motivation to start and stick with it, especially early on in the process.
And be clear, this is a process. A marathon and not a sprint. Living like no one else now so later on you can live; no, thrive like no one else. Although drastic results are experienced by some early on, this is no quick fix. The “quick fix” mentality has got us in this mess to begin with by way of pill-popping per symptom and never really investigating or attempting to remedy why the symptom emerged in the first place.
Once you have your goal, investigate the means to achieving it. What needs to be done and in what fashion in order not only achieve but sustain the achievement?
When it comes to healthcare, 90% of the time we are talking about lifestyle changes. Breaking the routine or the accustomed norms. This is where the “keeping it real” with yourself part comes into play.
Is your goal and the means by which to achieve that goal worth more to you than coming out of your comfort zone and breaking the habit?
Is it worth investing the time to plan and prep meals for the week ahead?
Will you follow through and set the alarm earlier or skip that 60 minutes of TV time in order to get that workout in?
Keep it real now. Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Although objectively speaking they do, ultimately this comes down to subjective perspective.
If you find that you are tired of the current state of affairs in your own life and you’ve decided enough is enough, the next step is to formulate a realistic, practical plan. I find this to be another major stumbling block for people. A sense of overwhelm sets in along with analyzation paralyzation.
The trick here is to get with your trusted healthcare provider and come up with a plan together. Never be afraid to start small, as any change, any momentum in the right direction is better than sitting idle. While sustained sweeping changes across the board would be ideal, studies show longer lasting changes occur more often as a product of smaller changes, cultivation over time.
A perfect example of this is my own personal anatomy of a “cheat meal.” This is that meal that diverges from the norm, an indulgence if you will. (In order to have a cheat meal you need to be sticking to clean eating for 80% of your meals or better.)
Through years of cultivation, the cheat meals have evolved from pizza and ice cream to a meal with gluten free rice, or a smoothie with organic peanut butter and heavy fruit. The latest “cheat” dessert has become a bowl of chia seeds with nuts, fruit, peanut butter and chocolate almond milk.
I say all this not to induce hunger, but to illustrate where you can wind up if you simply get started. Make a change here and a change there. Implement another one as you learn more. Once you get that ball rolling down the hill, it can be a powerful thing.
The other initial hurdle is that it is never a good time. Well, when it comes to core lifestyle changes there really never is an ideal time.
Again, they idea is to simply bite the bullet and get rolling. In most cases it doesn’t have to be all or nothing all the time. Just do it. Constantly talking the talk, while constantly finding excuses will leave you wondering where the time went and how on Earth things got so bad.
Believe in the power of lifestyle changes. Resolution of every issue does not have to be another drug. Every issue should not be blamed on genetics, making us all helpless victims. Embrace the empowerment behind epigenetics and realize that lifestyle choices play a significant role as to whether or not certain genetic traits are expressed. We’re talking about everything here from hair loss to cancer and auto immune diseases.
That’s all we get.
The time is now to respect this opportunity and treat your body right. Pick somewhere and get started today. If you would like assistance on this journey, call us at anytime. As we continue our own journey, we would love to be a part of yours.
As my wife continues to walk around with another human constantly attached to her side, I find myself taking the initiative to step up the culinary skills on the weekend. Essentially the weekend carries the same potential pitfalls as the weekdays as far as failing to plan equalling planning to fail. Next thing you know you’ve stuffed yourself with an overpriced, subpar pizza and are left with that lingering mental and physical food hangover.
While it is nice, almost necessary to indulge at times (and the weekend seems to be as good a time as any), I personally do not enjoy the aftermath of the “cheat meal,” especially after eating clean and feeling great all week. So, the weekend cooking has commenced and below is a cool, light labor day weekend dinner for your enjoyment.
1 lb. of fresh, WILD (not farmed) Tuna
(We prefer Atlantic Seafood in Port Canaveral for our fish, but Publix carries WILD fish as well. MAKE SURE YOU READ THE LABEL or ask.)
Kale or another super green (chard, spinach, etc.) to fill the wrap
2 sweet potatoes
Additional seasoning of your choice
Warm pan (ceramic or cast iron preferred) on stove top (low-med range) and coat with coconut oil.
Preheat oven to 350.
Thinly slice two large sweet potatoes and distribute one layer cozily on a baking sheet. Place in oven and let cook for approx. 20-30min.
(As I’ve noted on previous posts, neither of us use a cookbook or exact ingredients/times, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the chips and when they start to wrinkle/appear drier on top, it’s time to take them out and individually flip each one. That’s right, I said individually. The thinner you slice the quicker they’ll cook so keep an eye on those puppies.)
While chips bake, dice the cucumber, tomato, and onion.
Cook tuna on pan to your liking.
(I prefer a more raw/seared tuna, but for the sake of the salad and my wife, a more even cook may be your best bet.)
Once tuna is done and cooled (don’t forget to check on the sweet potato chips) dice and mix in large bowl with the diced vegetables.
You can season the salad however you want. I scanned the fridge and utilized an organic marinade bought from the Sunseed Co-Op for a past meal.
(The marinade is an easy way out, but delivered a nice cool, citrus taste to the salad. Traditionally when we think tuna, chicken or egg salad we think mayo, but we’re looking for a healthier choice here. Instead of using the mayo, next time try mixing the salad with a healthier marinade (read the label) or some fresh guac.)
Mash up the 4 avocados to use as a spread and adhesive for the wrap.
(If you’re feeling real ambitious go all out and use some fresh homemade guacamole.)
Pull chips out of the oven and season in a large bowl with olive oil, fresh parsley and light garlic salt; or simply cinnamon depending on your mood.
Warm gluten free wrap briefly (again, our local co-op had a nice selection) in oven and fill with a layer of avocado spread, kale and tuna salad.
Serve with your chips and enjoy.