The 21st Century Athlete: 5 Ways to Fuel for Performance, Recovery and Immunity – The Kitchen Rag

5-ways-to-fuel-9376781 I am excited to introduce you all to my friend and classmate, Jules’ Fuel, who is also working towards her MS in Holistic Nutrition. Julia and I met online about a year ago after one of our professors mentioned her blog to me. We got in touch right away and struck a friendship.

I really enjoy all of Julia’s first hand knowledge about the world of athletes and sports nutrition. Today she is going to talk about ways to fuel your body  for an excellent physical performance.

I don’t know about you, but I want to hear what she has to say since she has to feed a 6′ 11” professional basketball player on a daily basis! Don’t forget to like Julia’s Facebook page! She has some great resources there!

From Jules’ Fuel

Every night around 11 PM, a large mammal lurks in my kitchen with wide, hazel eyes.

He scans the cupboards hastily looking for his next meal, his fifth or sixth meal at that, to quiet the hunger pangs.When you’re a 6′ 11′,’ 240 lb. professional basketball player, eating – and eating WELL – is a full-time job.

Meet Kyle, current professional basketball player, and my better half of almost two years.

This whole “eating well” thing didn’t happen when I initially met him, though; nor didn’t it happen when he was a collegiate athlete. As I explained in my last post, despite our athletic accolades on paper, we paid for it in poor health, poor recovery, poor immunity, and even possibly lost potential as athletes.

These are the changes that Kyle and I made to successfully turn around this all around.

5 Ways to Fuel for Performance, Recovery, and Immunity

1. Cut Out Toxic Foods and Switch to Real Food.

Our bodies are machines. Like a car that needs to be fueled and oiled properly, what we put into our bodies has an impact both immediately and long-term on performance and health.

A New Zealand study done in 1999 had a group of young males eat a serving of French fries in 1.5 week-old oil ( typical in the food industry). Prior to eating them, their blood vessel dilation – how wide blood vessels open after being constricted – was measured at about 7%. That’s normal.

Just four hours after eating the fries, their blood vessel dilation was measured again. Guess what the outcome was?  Less than 1 percent (Shanahan & Shanhan, 2009). p1070137-225x300-1587237

The ramifications?

  1. Very limited oxygen to the blood, muscles, heart and brain
  2. Fatigue
  3. Sluggishness
  4. Poor athletic performance
  5. And even temporary erectile dysfunction (If that isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is!). Now if only Kyle’s teammates knew what they were doing to their bodies eating doughnuts and fried foods…

The “toxic” foods we cut out to avoid these issues include:

  • Man-made trans fats, hydrogenated oils, and high omega-6 oils: Like canola oil, vegetable oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, sunflower seed oil, etc. These can contribute to further inflammation, especially when cooked. For more information on what and why, read here.
  • Processed foods with Omega-6 oils: Such as commercial salad dressings, chips and snacks, nuts and nut butters with these oils and even conventional meats, seafood and eggs (non-organic has a much higher ratio of Omega-6).
  • Processed sugary foods: Cereals, power bars, yogurts, sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, Vitamin Water, etc), candy, cookies, etc. Most of these contain loads of sugar, food dyes, (which are linked to altered behavior), and chemical additives.

We also got real with our food.

Stuff made or processed in a factory, like Red Vines Licorice is just not recognizable by our body, and ends up disturbing our body’s homeostasis. This can turn off our good genes and express the bad, and end up getting stored in our cells for a log time. Not good.

The real, unprocessed foods we now eat:

  • Food that grows in the ground (plants!)
  • Food that has a mother (animals!)
  • Organic, whenever possible, because of these reasons

It’s simple: the cleaner the fuel, the better the machine. Right?

2. Cut Out Allergenic Foods

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