I'm that guy everybody has a grudge against for being naturally skinny. Go ahead, hold that grudge! During the summer in high school I would sit at the computer all day and my diet consisted largely of Doritos and Coca Cola; I didn't gain a pound. I'm lucky in that sense. However, this luck left me with little interest in nutrition for most of my life.
I started caring a lot more this year when I really started training seriously, I did the basic things to improve my diet without doing any real research. I cut pop / soda out of my diet, stopped eating a majority of the junk food, went for a lot of carbs to fuel my long runs; things of that nature. Sure, I knew I should be eating more fruits and veggies like Mom always told me, but those rules don't apply to me anymore, right?! (wrong)
This summer I had a friend, Dan W, who was probably the biggest health nut I (or any of you) will ever meet. He was full of information about good and bad foods to eat, and started getting me on the look out for high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils in the ingredient lists of things I eat. I looked a little bit, but ultimately if I wanted to eat something, I would.
Recently SLB put on his apron and threatened to do horrible, horrible things as he pulled out his rolling pin if I didn't shape up in terms of nutrition. I ordered the book he suggested and it came in the mail today, as I mentioned earlier, which immediately gave me reason to procrastinate grading! I read the first little bit and decided I'm going to take this nutrition thing in phases. I can't just turn it around over night, but I'm starting to make changes now!
I learned quite a bit in the first chapter or two. I learned I'm not drinking enough water. Remember that old rule of 8 cups of water a day? Yeah, that doesn't cut it when you're active. Try 16! Thats right, if your pee has color in it, you better get to drinking! I always keep a water bottle with me, but I'm going to drink a lot more now that I got the inside scoop on hydration.
Hmmm! What else did I learn? Oh yes. Fruits and veggies. Eat them! They're very important in those vitamins and minerals and they help prevent injury since they provide what your body needs to rebuild itself. What? Oh, this hip? I guess I should have gotten this book sooner!
Next up, whole grains! When you're not eating whole grains you're eating, well, partial grains. If you're only eating part of it, you're probably missing out on something, don't you think? Yeah. You thought right. The extra goodness in whole grain helps fight disease and offers more vitamins, mineral, and fibers. Sure, most of us probably knew this, I think I had it stored in the back of the vault somewhere, but I'm actually making the switch.
I went to Walmart tonight, since I'm taking my car into the shop tomorrow and don't know when I'll get it back. I made up a list of what I wanted and decided I would cover at least as much as I mentioned above. I switched to whole grain bread and bagels, and bought a whole bunch of fruit including: bananas, apples, frozen mangos, frozen pine apple chunks, frozen black berries, and sliced peaches. I bought a blender too, per a friend of mines recommendation. He makes a ton of smoothies every week to get all his fruits and suggested I do the same; anything tastes good once its a smoothie, right?
And now that I will be without a car for the next few days, I'm locked up in my apartment with only this healthy stuff to eat, so this ought to be good for me!
Its a big change, though, because generally speaking, I'm one picky eater. I usually try new things if they're offered to me, but rarely on my own. I am the one person on this planet who doesn't like lettuce, and that is not going to change unless I get amnesia; or maybe if someone can prove simply by eating lettuce I will knock 20 minutes off my marathon time, not likely!
Theres still other changes I have to make to my diet, but they will come in time. Things to add include: fish, even more fruits and veggies, and whatever else this nutrition bible recommends. For now, I need to work on getting used to this batch of new stuff!