Food for Fitness

Emil Zatopek, the great Czech distance runner in the 1950's, once said, "If you come to think of it, you never see deer, dogs and rabbits worrying about their menus and yet they run much faster than humans." (This is from The Quotable Runner edited by Mark Will-Weber, a great book.)

He could have added neither do bears and elephants that are stronger than humans, nor kangaroos that jump further than humans, nor eagles that can see better than humans, nor whales that swim better than humans.

Yet we do. Right now this TOJ is reading a book entitled Power Eating by Susan Kleiner, which packed with references to studies, recommendations, recipes, do's and don'ts, lists, and eating plans. Wow, there's a lot to worry about -- nutrient timing, food combinations, right mix of carbs, fat and protein, hydrating not too much, not too little. You will not find an exercise magazine that doesn't have promise nutrition secrets inside the cover to make you better.

No doubt there's some truth among all those facts and opinions, but you have to be your own ultimate guide when it comes to deciding what you will eat and drink because we are all the same, but we are also different.
I found I felt weak and spacey on a vegetarian diet although Brendan Brazier has developed the endurance and strength to successively compete as an elite triathlete while eating a 100% vegan diet.

Science is uncovering as many mysteries and contradictions as it is certainties. For instance, check out the article by Gretchen Reynolds about "What Exercise Science Doesn't Know About Women" in which she reports a study that made a surprising discovery. The conventional training wisdom is that you can hasten recovery after a hard workout if you eat a mix of carbs and protein. However, the study discovered that is only true for males. Women, in fact, recover faster with straight carbs.

This TOJ likes to stay abreast of current thinking on these topics, but figures it's best to discover what's true for you. I appreciate all the hard work and time intelligent people put into finding some truths about food. But for most of us, nutrition will have a much bigger impact on our health than it will our performance, no matter what physical activities we prefer.

Another quote I really liked was by Don Kardong, an American marathon Olympian in the 1970's: "Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos." Now that's wisdom.


5 large frozen bananas broken into chunks
1/3 cup cocoa  or carob powder
1/4 C. agave nectar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 to 3 Tbs. water

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend into a thick cream adding water if needed. Serve immediately or place in freezer.

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