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Thursday, October 1, 2009

The role of Nutrition

Well, i had a friend ask me if i was ever going to blog about the nutrition side of things, so as i sit down to lunch at my desk today, with 10 minutes to spare, i thought perhaps i would.
This is a rather complicated subject. There seems to be quite a number of competing views about what is best in terms of fueling for athletes. With every research study saying something different, how do you know what is 'right'? WEll, my personal feeling is that you don't. The problem has its foundation in, of all things, research methods. The Omnivore's Dillema discusses this at some length - suggesting that we simply don't know enough about the way everything 'work's together' to accurately be able to make the statements that we seem, nutritionally speaking, to want to make. When a study is done that isolates vitamin X or protien isolate Y to study their effects, those effects are studied, by design - in as controlled a way as possible. The results then can only be interpereted to suggest a benefit or consequence of including said vitamin or protien in the VERY LIMITED scope of the test. This leads to widely differing opinions on what is the best 'diet' to pursue - depending on the studies looked at by the expert in question.  So what do i think?
Well, for starters, i don't much care fore strict nutrition analysis in the way i enjoy strict exercise analysis, so i opt for a sort of 'common sense approach'. I know enough about general nutrition (i.e. eat a wide variety of foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, leaner meats, drink lots of water, etc) and have developed a healthy enough lifestyle that i don't really have to think about it too much. In other words i tend to have a reasonably healthy diet as kind of a default position.
I drink coffee and water almost exclusively (no soda, little juice), with occasional glasses of milk (with sugar added) as a cheap post-exercise recovery drink. I force myself to eat breakfast (although occasionally skip it on accident) - take lunch to school (often leftovers + fruit), and then have a healthy (or reasonably healthy) dinner. Then often i have dessert (ice cream with melted peanut butter is one of my favorites) - probably at least 4 or 5 nights a week.
I've just finished my lunch now (meatballs in gravy brought by my brother in law - a bit less healthy than normal - three slices of whole wheat bread, an apple and an orange) and have to get to class, so that'll do it for now!

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