Simple and effective ways to provide your body fuel for energy, recovery and renewal
Having been a chiropractor form over 30 years and doing some kind of training for most of my life, I am always on the lookout for ways to improve my performance and to do it naturally, especially now that I am in my sixties.
After many years of training, experimenting and research, I’ve discovered some “ultra foods” that have positive effects on your metabolism, allowing your body to more effectively produce energy, recover from exercise, and renew tissues more rapidly and efficiently.
I’ve written a series of articles that discuss how athletes of all levels can benefit from a better understanding of how to use foods for energy and recovery. While I do not claim to be an expert in nutrition, I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I’ve learned after 40 years of experience pounding the pavement and experimenting on ways that I can use food to help me perform to my peak potential.
When I look at people’s eating habits in general it seems that many view food as simply something to satisfy their taste buds and relieve feelings of hunger. What they don’t realize is that food has metabolic effects almost as powerful as drugs and what they consume on a daily basis will definitely affect how their body performs.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Our body basically needs carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and micronutrients to sustain itself, and it stands to reason that you should get as much as you can of these from your foods, in as natural a state as possible. I do take some forms of supplements and utilize a blend of specific plants, roots and seeds to give me that extra boost for the demands I put on my body in training. Plus, I want to live as long as possible while at the same time feel as young as possible.
In my chiropractic clinic I have seen lots of people complaining of lack of energy, poor sleep, and a host of other complaints, most of which I can attribute to poor nutrition habits. My recommendations are very simple: stay away from refined and fast foods as much as possible; eat in a way that controls your insulin levels, a very important marker for efficient use of energy, fat burning and aging; make sure you get your Omega-3s in the form of ALA, DHA and EPA; and control your pH level, keeping it slightly alkaline. Of course drink lots of water!
According to science journalist Gary Taubes, author of the bestseller Good Calories, Bad Calories, obesity is a disorder of fat accumulation and we should look at the effect of different nutrients on the hormones that regulate our fat tissue—insulin in particular.
Refined carbohydrates and sugars elevate insulin levels, which works to deposit calories as fat and keep them there unavailable for use. The result is a kind of internal starvation that reduces the energy available for physical activity and stimulates hunger even when adequate energy would seem to be available.
Dr. Barry Sears, author of the Zone Diet series of books, also says that eating refined carbohydrates that cause a sudden increase in insulin levels is the cause of obesity as well as many other common diseases such as heart disease, cancer and joint inflammation related to arthritis.
Since sudden elevation of insulin is the culprit there is a way to counter that and still enjoy your tasty treats. Dr. Sears says that when you combine the carbohydrates with protein and essential fatty acids like the Omega-3s you get a slower incline of insulin over a longer period of time, which actually makes the food available for energy use and does not get stuck as fat—unless we eat too much, of course!
I have written many other articles that will elaborate on the topic of nutrition, especially the use of what I call “super foods” that you could use on a daily basis. It has helped me recover from recurring injuries that have prevented me from training to my full potential, and I think everybody, athletes included can benefit from this.
This is by no means the complete story on nutrition. It is what I’ve found to be beneficial as I don’t eat commercial energy bars, power bars or energy drinks; I prefer instead to get my energy source from real foods that I combine in different ways. For those of you who already use some of these strategies, just look at it as a review and reinforcement that you’re on the right track.
Make sure you check out the next article, where you will get information on a seed that provides sustainable energy and is considered by many as a super food by itself.
Dr. Ed Chicoine, Chiropractor
The information provided is for education purposes only. It`s not meant to diagnose or treat any health condition. If you have health problems, please consult with your doctor or other health professional before you make any major changes in your lifestyle.