All levels of exercise will vary with each person and therefore, nutrient requirements will also vary. However, within this article I will point out some main points to consider to enhance your health and performance. There are many sports gels, protein powders, supplements and the like that contain an array of dubious ingredients that are causing huge amounts of inflammation in our body. It is important to stop focusing on the nutrition panel and the amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats and calories a product contains and instead, focus on the quality of the macronutrients we are consuming and the ingredients list.
Are the macronutrients coming from real, anti-inflammatory foods that are easily digested and assimilated within our body? Since the invention of the food pyramid in 1974, we have gained an obsession about eating huge amounts of carbohydrates and genetically modified, highly processed vegetable oils, and avoiding essential, natural and beyond nourishing fats. It is time to turn this food pyramid upside down for everyone, though particularly for those that want to increase their performance, health, energy and longevity.
Here are some nutrition tips to get you started:
1. Stop relying on carbohydrates as your energy source
Sugar is not a reliable source of energy as your glycogen stores can be used up very quickly, encouraging you to have more carbohydrates in order to keep going. People who are relying on carbohydrates as an energy source need a constant supply of nutrition. They become angry when they’re hungry (hangry), feel nauseous when they exercise if they haven’t eaten, quickly become fatigued, become foggy and very light headed and some actually faint. This isn’t ideal is it? See the next point.
2. Become fat adapted
Instead of using carbohydrates as an energy source, I suggest you consider reducing your carbohydrates, increase your fat consumption from natural sources such as coconut oil, ghee, butter and so on, and continue to have moderate amounts of protein. Once you start burning fat as your fuel source, you enter an area of energy where it is almost limitless. You will be able to go up to 5 hours without requiring a fuel source, you will be more alert, your weight will become stable and so on. Being fat adapted means you are utilising ketones as an energy source which is anti-inflammatory, very reliable, long lasting and therapeutic for many health ailments. It also prevents an athlete becoming catabolic which is protein breakdown and is essential for recovering post exercise. Carbohydrates to consider removing is starchy vegetables, grains, all sugars and all high sugar fruits, and replace these with greens, a variety of other vegetables, fermented fruits and vegetables, plenty of natural good quality fats as mentioned and a variety of proteins, herbs, spices, nuts and seeds.
3. Be careful of protein powders
I still find many of my clients having protein powders that are laden with sugar, preservatives, colours, flavours, fillers, genetically modified soy and not to mention low quality, inflammatory sources of protein. Unfortunately, these will make you inflamed, foggy, fatigued, have hormonal imbalances and possibly gain weight, and most importantly in the wrong areas such as your stomach area. Protein should always come from its most natural state; meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and the list goes on. Inca Inchi protein powder is a perfect, natural bioavailable source of complete protein and is suitable for vegans.
4. A ‘pre-workout’ you could try
If you haven’t heard of a bullet proof coffee, well, your life is about to change. I couldn’t tolerate coffee before discovering a bullet proof. It is a black coffee blended with grass fed butter or ghee and coconut oil or MCT oil (medium chain triglycerides) from coconut oil. This will help you begin the process of using ketones for an energy source and therefore allow you to perform better and recover faster. It will also slow the release of caffeine into your blood stream, so you don’t get energy crashes as you may from other forms of coffee. It is best to start with 1 tsp each of the coconut oil and butter (or ghee), and then gradually work up in the amount to 1-2 tbsp of butter (or ghee) and 1 tbsp coconut oil.
Have you had experience with any of the above? Have you switched from a carbohydrate burner to a fat burner? How did it change your life?
Changing Habits Nutritionist and GAPs Practitioner