Florida Challenge Triathlon Countdown Clock

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The 3rd Ingredient

The 3rd Ingredient

I've talked about 2 important parts of preparing for my race (rest and the training,) but there's 1 more crucial piece of the puzzle: my diet.

When I was in my teens I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I was working out, but didn't pay too much attention to my diet because I had a fast metabolism and felt invincible.

But in 1987 I had kidney problems, a disease called nephrotic syndrome. My kidneys basically stopped working properly and I started retaining water. Thru the grace of God, I made a full recovery after taking many different meds and going on a VERY restricted diet. I haven't had any kidney problems since.

To this day they don't know what caused it. 

After that ordeal, I started to read more and more how your diet could drastically affect your overall health. It was also at that time I noticed how cancer seems to really like my family: my mother, uncle, grandfather, and several cousins have all died of cancer.

So I started to take my diet seriously because I want to do what I can to keep myself as healthy as possible. They don't have cures for diseases like cancer, diabetes, kidney disease and high blood pressure, but word on the street is your diet can have a major impact on your health. 

A website that I find very helpful is this one:  Worlds Healthiest Foods

Thanks to this site, I have gradually added many foods to my diet.  I also changed how I view food. I eat now for the nutrition, not the taste. Since I'm in my 40's now, I have to be careful and eat healthy. Do I like eating carrots? Honestly, not really. I'd rather eat a slice of devils food cake! Lol But I have to stay focused.

Here's a sample of some of the foods I have in the house right now:

What's not shown are my oatmeal, strawberries, skim milk, oj, spices, etc. 

Thanks to this site, i've learned many interesting facts. For example, I thought eating fish or taking pills was the only way a person could get omega 3's. Omega 3's are believed to help       
 reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. 

Good stuff, but what if a person doesn't eat fish?? Does that mean they are SOL?  That's what I used to think until I did some research. You can get omega 3's from foods like spinach, romaine lettuce, brocolli, cauliflower, walnuts, and even strawberries!

But you don't hear things like this on the news. You gotta go get the info yourself. I also discovered if you don't like 1 food, others have some of the same nutrients. For example, I don't like bananas. Bananas are known for potassium, but since I like oranges and strawberries I get potassium from them instead. 

So, this ties in to my training because I look for foods that give me energy, help me recover after workouts, pre-workout meals, and foods that are just plain good for me.

Through trial and error, I've discovered that eating 6 mini-meals a day works best for me.  This helps me keep my energy levels up, I don't binge eat, cuz I know I'll snack on something in a couple hours...

I eat a lot of fruits & veggies. On any given day I will have 7-8 servings. For example, today I ate the following:

Oatmeal w/glass of skim milk & oj

Mid morning snack
Mixed nuts with raisins

(baked) Chicken fettucini w/California Blend veggies  
Strawberry applesauce

Mid afternoon snack
Salad w/romaine lettuce, tomatoe, baby carrots, diced onions & crimini mushrooms with honey mustard dressing

Post workout snack
Granny Smith apple

Meatloaf sandwich with ground turkey on wheat bun & glass of 100% cran apple-juice

I also drink a glass of green tea with honey when i get to work, and I drink water all day with a slice of lemon in it for taste (and for extra vitamin C.)

Even though I eat healthy, I still have INTENSE cravings for junk foods like chocolate and fried foods. I try to eat fruit to satisfy that craving for sweets, applesauce,or mixed nuts with raisins.

I think if a doctor told me I MUST stop eating fast food I could, but since I haven't gotten that news yet I still treat myself every Saturday night to eat whatever I want. Lol This way, I can satisfy my craving for junk  without feeling guilty or binging.  Also, if I go out with friends or co-workers on the occasional Friday night I'll get a burger and fries w/o a 2nd thought.

Moderation is the key for me. Long as I try to eat "clean" on a daily basis I won't feel guilty if I eat some fast food.  

That's my diet in a nutshell.  The powerbars and other stuff I only eat during workouts, because I prefer to get my daily nutrition from natural sources. 

As time goes on, I look forward to finding new foods I like and learn about new breakthroughs in health and nutrition.  In addition to the website above, this book has been very informative:

I know tomorrow's not guaranteed and a freak accident could prevent me from waking up like my friend Trent Leggs, .who died from a pulmonary embolism.
Trent was in better shape than me, but look what happened to him. Life really isn't fair sometimes...

At any rate, I will continue to try eat healthy and live my life to the fullest!

Tonorrow's a rest day and Saturday I'm going for a run. Thanks for reading! Till next time, peace!

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