We’ve had some great nutrition questions over the past week! I’ve answered two of them below in paragraph form, but Jamie suggested we also simplify them and put them in an attached document for quick reference, for those of you who don’t geek out on nutrition like I do!We’ve been talking a lot about improving your performance lately and hopefully you have your 3 month performance goals set (if not, make sure to talk to a coach after class!)Regardless of what your specific goal is, nutrition will play a huge role. This is why over the next few weeks I’ll be answering some of your nutrition questions. (Okay, the holidays being right around the corner has something to do with it as well…)
I like to break down carbs into bad, better, best categories. “Bad” carbs would be processed foods with refined grains and sugars. The refined grains are stripped of most of their nutritional value, and the lack of fiber means they won’t fill you up. Sugar is a straight empty calorie, providing no nutritional value other than energy. To make things worse, it will leave you feeling more hungry. “Better” carbs would be whole grains and legumes. They have fiber, which means they won’t spike your blood sugar like refined grains and sugar will, which means you’ll feel more satiated. However, your body has a harder time processing a lot of the nutrients in grains and legumes, so they don’t fall into the best category (you can read more about phytate and other “anti-nutrients” on websites like Mark’s Daily Apple, Robb Wolf, etc.) The “best” category of carbs is fruits, vegetables and tubers. Fruits do have a fair amount of sugar, but they also have fiber and are packed with nutrients. Vegetables are also nutrient rich and super low calorie (however, some of those nutrients still aren’t highly accessible for the body to use). Tubers (like sweet potatoes, yams, etc.) are high in total calories, but they still have a great nutrient profile.Most people tend to have a good balance when they get about 40% of their calories from carbs, and I recommend fruits, vegetables, yams, quinoa, beans and rice. Most people’s issues don’t stem from too much beans and/or rice, especially if you’re using them to replace other carbs that would fall into the “bad” category. Whole grains fall into my “better” category, mostly because they help us maintain balance in our diets-they are easy, and they aren’t in the “bad” category. However, those are the same reasons that can make them difficult to eat in moderation, so for some of us they’re easier to just eliminate altogether.
Does it matter? Don’t be that person on Thanksgiving.Here’s a better approach-eat clean Monday through Wednesday of Thanksgiving week. Plan and prep your meals for the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, to ensure that you’re easily able to get back on track. Try the quality over quantity approach on Thursday-eat a little of everything that you enjoy, but don’t gorge. Staying hydrated also helps to keep you from overeating.We’ll continue answering more each week, but feel free to send more questions for us as you have them!