I love food. Ohhhhh I love food. It’s SUCH a touchy subject in endurance sports. There’s Paleo, there’s Vegan, there’s the “Gluten isn’t the Devil” camp. There’s the “Gluten is the Devil” camp. There’s the “Organic or Die” camp, and then the “Just wash your fruit and veggies” camp. There’s Food, Inc, there’s the movie about the dude who juices. There’s Biggest Loser on every week, and there’s books like Racing Weight on the market. Heck I came across this list on WebMd…of a whole slew of diets!
Ever heard of “Information Overload?”
I love food and I love to cook. I love chips, and I love broccoli. I love margaritas, and I love mangos. I love spices, I love being in the kitchen, I love making things from scratch. I love the Skratch Labs books, I love the Clean Food books, I love my slow cooker. I love chef knifes, and farmers markets, and exotic looking vegetables. I really love fresh pastured eggs.
So there is definitely a lot of dueling camps on these issues surrounding food, health, and athletics. But I would really like to focus on a few topics. From my perspective there are two areas that have to pay consequences when I put something in my mouth.
People in the triathlon camp are usually worried about the purple circle. People in the yoga camp are usually worried about the pink circle. Moms are worried about the pink circle. Doctors are worried about the pink circle. My coach is worried about the purple circle (and the pink circle too honestly). I am worried about both, I’m worried about the middle.
Some examples here, because they always hit it home.
In the Purple circle, but NOT in the Pink one…
–Partying after the race, having fun, tossing back beers and pizza. It’s good for your athletics to celebrate accomplishments, cut lose every once in awhile, and stop being so type A.
–gels and gummies, we need them to compete and we need to train with what we will compete with, and they have been engineered to work. Most people use them successfully for athletic purposes.
In the Pink Circle, but NOT in the Purple one…
–Lots of FIBER! Great for health! Greens, legumes, FIBER….!!! Also great for searching for the portapotty on your long run.
–Eating only 3 meals a day. Doctors and moms like this. 3 healthy meals.
The intersection of the two is what I like to research and explore. I think that the closer you get to the middle of the two circles, the better your performance will be. You can only sacrifice health for so long before performance will slip and you can’t do ONLY what’s in the healthy circle as an endurance athlete unless you like the feeling of bonking (it does have it’s own special kind of fun attached to it, doesn’t it?).
If you have clicked over onto my food blog I’ve been having a bit of an experiment the last 27 days. I’ve extended my experiment to 45 days because I’m still learning so much and wasn’t quite ready to end it. The intersection of health and performance is like being a little salmon swimming up river. It seems to involve eating in a way that most triathletes aren’t, and training in a way that most healthy humans aren’t.
I’m far from done with my experiment, and I know that I will never really “arrive” at that particular finish line. It’s more of a passion, than a journey.
In closing though, I will say this. For most people on the triathlete end, or on the health end, the scale has nothing to do with either circles or the space between. Whether what you just ate makes the scale go up or down is a subject that is completely disjointed from the quality of what you just ate, or the performance benefits. My love/hate affair with the scale has proven that. I’ve had good seasons when the scale is high and good seasons when it’s low. The “good” in those seasons was about the QUALITY of food going in my mouth, not the number on the scale.