The only thing I changed was my perspective: As a human being, we only have so much food that our body can take in and digest over the course of a day. I began to look at each meal as an opportunity to build myself for success and health.
The more I have learned, the more I realized what food could do for me. Instead of looking at nutrition as mostly avoiding bad foods (subtraction), I started to see it as an additive process, where I could add the quality of my food up and do perform better than I ever had before, not only in athletics, but in life as well, due to increased energy, focus, etc.
Anyone who’s studied sports coaching or strength knows that efficiency is key. A college basketball coach has a set amount of time that (s)he can spend with the team. While having the time shoot around on their own for a third of an hour-and-a-half practice might have some benefit, there are a million other things that the team could be doing that would be a better use of that limited amount of time. From watching college basketball teams practice, every drill has a specific purpose. Master coaches even manipulate the rest periods between drills, the setup of the locker room, and other seemingly insignificant moments to promote team comradery – they know that every little moment can make the difference between winning and losing, between a pay raise and unemployment. They aren’t always adding things to reap benefits, merely manipulating what is already there. The same concept of efficiency applies to food.
As a human being, we only have so much food that our body can take in and digest over the course of a day. It became a goal for me to pack as much value into that limited amount of food as possible.
If I go to Five Guys (which I love) and get a double burger and fries for lunch, I’m spending a full meal of that day on food that will sustain me, but is far less than optimal – just like the coach wasting all that practice time shooting around:
-Fries don’t have much in the way of vitamins and minerals after frying
-Same for the toppings on the burger (not fried, but the less fresh a veggie is, the less healthy it is for you, so I can only assume)
-The white bread bun is assimilated to your body in the same way a bowl of sugar would be (no nutritional value)
-The patties have good protein and B12 – although I could be getting that protein from a source that provides more (fish) I’ll say that this is the healthiest part of the meal
Let’s compare this to what I made for lunch today:
-Hardboiled eggs: High in protein (build muscle), Good fats, like omega 3 DHA (for healthy skin, hair, growth, helps prevent heart disease), Lutein and Vitamin A (for the health of your eyes), Vitamin D (for the health of your bones) among other benefits
-Tomato: Outstanding source of antioxidants (such as lycopene), strengthens body to lower risk of heart disease and cancer
-Avocado: Has been shown to aid absorption of key antioxidants (such as lycopene^) and has anti-inflammatory effects, due to the particular type of fats that comprise the fruit, and also contains oleic acid, one of the ingredients that makes olive oil so dang good for you. Also has been shown to strengthen the body to reduce symptoms of arthritis
-Kasha (Toasted Buckwheat): Increases blood flow (great for both athletes and anyone who has to deal with cold) due to its rutin content, which strengthens capillaries and acts as an antioxidant, while its magnesium content relaxes those same blood vessels (further promoting increased circulation).
And if my efficiency rant didn’t sway you, let’s take a look at the price: $4.39 burger and $2.49 fries at Five Guys, compared to $0.75 for 3 eggs, $0.50 for 1/2 avocado, ~$0.65 for a few cherry tomatoes, and something like $0.20 for the Kasha. I’m getting way more from my meal that cost between $2-3 than I could have for the exorbitant price of $6.88+tax.