Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What's Good For Your Body is Good For the Planet

It's funny how we athletes train so hard, look at all of our metrics, try to improve in ways large and small and yet....when it comes to nutrition there we are unwrapping a blob of processed soy protein isolate, fractionated Palm Kernel oil and even the devil incarnate high fructose corn syrup and wolfing it down. No, not even wolfing it down - I'd put a bet that any self-respecting wolf would turn up its nose at such a concoction (just as our family dog once turned up his nose at my offer of a tofu hot dog - HE knew it wasn't a meat substitute!)

So in my ever-ongoing process of synthesizing the various elements of my life into some sort of a meaningful and coherent whole, it struck me that what is good for the planet (there's that tree-hugging side of me) is best for our bodies (there's that triathlete side) and vice-versa. I'm trying to move in a mostly whole-foods direction for nutrition, which has left me strangely deprived of power bars, drink mixes, and gu-like substances for all of my training so far this summer. I'm trying various combinations of dates, sunflower seeds, coconut, and dark chocolate for training fuel and the rest of the time trying to stick to a loosely paleolithic (plus raw milk and eggs) kind of nutrition plan.

Post-workout re-fueling has been supplied by smoothies consisting of raw goat's milk, our own chicken eggs, and various berries that we've picked locally and frozen.

In so many races I just feel sick of eating sweet stuff (especially when downing a drink mix, even one as mild as the Accelerade that I like to use), so for our upcoming Cascade Lakes Relay in a few weeks, I'm going to try out the Slipstream cycling team's Rice/Egg cakes. Here's a great video with their team chef explaining how (and why) he makes these for the team. Don't those sound great in place of yet another sweet gooey energy bar?? I do have to note though that if he was using eggs like the ones we get from our free-ranging chickens, they would look much nicer and yellower in his pan than those pale versions he's got going there. Just for comparison, here's a store-bought egg (and mind you, this is an organic "free range" storebought egg, not just a regular factory-farmed egg) on the left in the pale yellow, and one of our chicken's eggs on the right in the rich deep gold/orange. Notice how the white parts of the storebought egg have run all over the place while our chicken's egg is standing firm. Yep, even when you get down to splitting hairs like buying your organic eggs from the regular grocery or from someone whose chickens you can see running around the pasture, sourcing it locally matters. It may even be the case that to reach your full athletic potential, a few workouts could be swapped with time in the veggie garden.

What's good for our bodies is good for our planet is good for our communities and our farmers.


cherelli said...

hear, hear :)

not sure if you have Lara Bars in the US (they are food bars with just 3 ingredients involving some sort of nut and dried fruit) but I have a good homemade recipe for them if you're interested. Cheers!

TriGirl 40 Something said...

Excellent post - and I am looking forward to hearing more about what you find out.

I've gotten so, so sick of all the sweet junk that now I get the bulk of my calories through carbo-pro - a tasteless powder (and a snickers bar or two :) ) that contains a good mix of nutrients. After Placid, I want to experiment more with real food that I may actually look forward to eating!