On the road to fitness, food becomes as important as exercise. Maybe you want to haul less pounds on your runs, recover faster from resistance training, or just feel better.
Changing eating patterns can be a challenge because the older you are when you start the changes, the harder they can be to make because what you eat is the result of habit, convenience and social pressure. Through the years, you have conditioned taste buds to crave a certain mix of sugar, fat and salt. Your family has traditions like deep fried chicken and fat laden gravy over mashed potatoes. Or your best buddy likes to eat fast food. Maybe (like me) you love the taste of a carb loaded, cold stout.
But once you realize that whatever you put in your mouth affects your exercise and your overall health, you naturally start trying to figure out how to change. A sure way to succeed eating better is to start gradually. Many diets fail because they demand too many changes, too fast.
A much better approach that is guaranteed to work is to start slow and easy and gradually substitute poor food choices with a better ones. You don't do it all at once, but a little at a time. As you do, you learn about food and how it makes you feel and perform. No matter how old or out of shape you may be, you will discover that better food choices steadily improve your strength and endurance, help you think more clearly, and feel more energetic, whether to exercise or work.
The truth is that our bodies are amazingly resilient, and we can live on almost anything that provides enough protein, fats and carbs. Fast food and heavily processed industrial foods (canned, boxed, some frozen) will keep you going, but not over the long haul. But poor food will totally undermine your efforts to get fit. Similarly, good food will get you fit faster.
Over the next couple of weeks this TOJ, speaking from first hand experience, will discuss how to make those food substitutions, starting with how to begin the journey away from heavily processed foods. Here's a warning: once you become a fitness fanatic, you'll become a food fanatic.
Below is a great recipe sent to me by my daughter. She made these, ate a few, then went to her CrossFit and dead lifted 235 lbs., over twice her body weight.
Easy Coconut Pancakes
1/4 c coconut flour
1/4 c coconut milk
1/2 T agave nectar (or to taste)
1/4 t vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients with whisk. Let sit for 5 min. while melting butter or coconut oil in pan on med. heat. Cook until light brown on each side.