Food to Run On

November 7, 2012 § 31 Comments

Every day my news feeds on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, WordPress, Bloglovin’, MyFitnessPal are flooded with advice on what one should and shouldn’t be eating to live a healthy lifestyle. Some days I’ll be told to drink red wine to keep my muscles strong, others it provides me no benefits. Some days grapefruit is great for me, other days it’ll give me breast cancer. Some days red meat should be part of my healthy diet, other days it’ll shorten my lifespan. Most days I just feel like a headless chicken set loose in the supermarket.

So to simplify my decisions in the grocery aisle I created the following rules each item must pass to make it into my basket:

– whole grain flours only
– no refined sugars (chocolate is of course an exception!)
– no artificial sweeteners
– no trans fats

Some may say these rules are pretty restricting, but I can assure you my diet isn’t the least but boring. (Check out my other blog for evidence). Plus, why torture yourself with the “snack on this candy bar or have some greek yogurt and blueberries?” decision at home? Do it in the grocery store and it’s smooth sailing all week!

Whole Foods

Despite the constantly contradicting claims about diet, one thing everyone can agree on, no matter their field of study, is that eating whole, unprocessed foods is the healthiest way of life. You should be filling your belly with lean proteins, complex carbs, good fats, fruit/veggies bursting with vitamins and minerals, and the occasional cup of coffee. Runners specifically, as suggested by theRUNIVERSE, should be paying attention to
 these fab foods.

I’m happy to report that I eat each of those items on a regular basis, with the exception of the red meat and coffee (I’m a green tea-er, coffee gives me the shakes and sweats!).

Well okay, looks like I’m on the right track… but in what quantities?

Diet Ratios

Sources will tell us runners everything from stick to a 50-25-25 or 50-20-30 carb-protein-fat ratio to eat 50%-60%, 60%-65% or up to 70% of our calories from carbs, but which do you follow? And then there’s the weight-loss ratios that vary even more. With such variance in the numbers, diets can look completely different for people doing the same activity. Personally, I tend to agree with the experts that say it’s it’s different for everyone and all depends on your goals, body type and level of aerobic activity. If you’re looking for fat-loss, then up your protein. If you’re light enough and are running longer distances, then carbs are your friend. If your hair is dry and skin is dull, get more healthy fats. It really is just a trial and error game for everyone, but that’s the only way to find what works for you.

I’ve recently been trying to revamp my own diet since I know I won’t be logging as many miles over the winter. Though I’ve put the “it’s too cold outside” excuse behind me now, I at least wait until a day it’s not snowing because ski goggle are for skiing and not for running in weather like this:

Normally my view looks like this:

(It’s a blizzard out there and, yes, I really should take my patio furniture in…)

Instead, I work in some weight training on snowy days like these. So to help my muscles out, I figure I should increase the protein in my diet and since I’m not getting as much cardio in, and thus probably not burning as many calories as during training season, my diet probably doesn’t need as many carbs.
Decision: move my 55-25-20 ratio to 40-40-20.

Are you eating theRUNIVERSE’s recommended foods?
What does your diet look like? 
What do you run (pun intended… I’m a dork) on?



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