Diet and Climbing: The best diet additions.
A spoonful of health?
In a world where 1 out of 4 is buying supplements to keep us healthy, we are forced to take a good look at what supplements actually do. Today's topic is on diet and what you can do to become a better climber through nutrition.
As many of us are told what to eat by advertisers and sales people, often we wonder what we SHOULD be eating and if any of it actually makes a difference. Absolutely the right foods make a difference. If you are not eating healthy, you need to supplement with real foods and nutrients in your cabinet. If you subtract these health foods out? We get injured easier, get sick easier, and our bodies aren't able to heal as well as they could.
A closer look at your vitamin: Man made vs. Plant Based.
Did you know that most vitamins on the market are man made? Your handful of grocery store vitamins are what I am talking about. On a scale of 1 to 10, Costco vitamins are a 5 (Kirkland Brand) and all the ones you get at your local grocery store are likely a 2. Take Emergen-C for example, it is completely chemical in nature. If you don't believe me. Eat a bunch of oranges and look at your urine. Then take two emergen-Cs and look again. The color is absolutely different (more orange than green-yellow like the natural type). If you aren't paying attention to your diet, your added supplements are likely needing a lift. Why would they use chemicals instead of the real deal? Cost. We haven't been able to copy plant based nutrients, not even close. The market is ridden with man-made supplements that you need to recognize, as cheap vitamins are more likely to be toxic than helpful.
My favorite brands that are tested and labeled as REAL vitamins right from their natural source include brands such as: Xymogen, Designs for Health, Pure Encapsulations, and Thorne to name a few.
Dietary changes: What you can do NOW.
For those of you who have junk vitamins. Throw them out. Beef up your diet in green leafy vegetables (I just freeze them and put them in my smoothie, don't taste a thing). If you don't eat well for lunch, and don't like to cook, I recommend substituting a smoothie in with a powdered protein and nutrient combination. You can merely mix with water and boom, high-value diet.
I myself use Xymogen Fit Food Lean. At roughly $2 per pouch, add in a little water (and a banana in my case), you get a nutritious lunch that is probably more healthy than anything you can make for dinner. All plant-based natural nutrition from the source, this stuff gives you a kick that coffee can't touch. Oh, did I mention you heal faster because you have the nutrients to rebuild what you break down? As climbers, we blow through protein, and even though we are trying to keep our weigh down, we need to eat to replace what we break, or we are... Broken?!
Cheaper vitamins are not better, its quite the contrary.
We have been preached at for years that antioxidants are good... but are they?! Studies are showing that patients given low does of just 400IU/day of "antioxidants" such as ascorbic acid and alpha-tocolpherol (man made vitamin E and C) actually have HIGHER stroke and cancer rates...
The researchers were hoping to prove the opposite, but alas, risk rates popped through the roof...could you imagine believing in a vitamin as the researcher and having your work show the opposite, that it's damaging to the body?! It must have been devastating, especially since we have been preaching them for so many years as a cure-all.
Why is This? Ascorbic Acid is NOT vitamin C. It's used as a preservative. With over 90% of ascorbic acid in this country is manufactured at a facility in Nutley, New Jersey. Owned by Hoffman-LaRoche, ascorbic acid is made from a process involving cornstarch and volatile acids. Most U.S. vitamin companies then buy the bulk ascorbic acid here. Occurring naturally, less than 20 mg of ascorbic acid in a potato can prevent scurvy. It can even cure it in its advanced state. Man made doesn't.
Beefing Up the Basics. Iron and Vitamin D
Most of us have the very basic need for Iron and Vitamin D. Let's cover both separately. Iron is needed for or blood, it helps us carry oxygen to our cells and is part of our musculature. If we need oxygen, we need Iron (to help carry that oxygen). This is the highest most likely missing element in our bodies (and diets). My favorite source of iron is Thorne Iron BisGlycinate, a bioavailable form of iron that is absorbable without the stomach pain. This is something we want to keep an eye on. If you are naturally high in iron, you don't want to take it in supplemental form as it may create problems. My husband is genetically high in iron and I am genetically low. I supplement it while he should stay away from excessive amounts in his diet. Ironic.
Secondly, we need vitamin D, which isn't an antioxidant at all but a very important link to your immune system... Without living without these important vitamins, we couldn't have learned what we need in order to live with health. We need vitamin C, in small doses, or we get scurvey.
We have also learned that vitamin D is important, a fat soluble vitamin that isn't a antioxidant, it is needed to fight illness and to battle invaders. Labeling each cell with a location of where it should belong, like a license plate, it's needed to keep invaders at bay and to label where they are from so our bodies can maintain itself at optimal.
So As an Athlete, What Should We Eat?!
Our bodies own natural food sources, fruits, vegetables, meat, proteins that are touched as little by man as possible. Pesticides, pills, foods with fillers in them, they are not food. We need healthy foods so our bodies can build itself with minerals, building blocks, and in the end, have the gift of health.
Healthy ideas for food Include:
-Safe-Catch Tuna or Salmon
-Seaweed, Kale, Arugula (GREENS!)
-Root Vegetables such as sweet potatoes
-Strawberries, Acai, Blueberries (ORGANIC ONLY)
Rotate through foods to give you as much nutrient variety as possible. If you normally pick one vegetable, try to pick a different one every time you go to the store. Not only will you bet a better cook (you can always eat it with butter or coconut oil on it), but you will benefit physically from it too!
The Bottom Line:
Self-care can seem intimidating for those who have never done it before. Often it seems scary to try to heal something as you might fear making your climbing injury worse. However, if you figure out how you want to heal yourself, what will make your injury worse and what will make it better, you will have less fear and more success healing your climbing injury. To speed your learning, For a limited time I am offering my very own self-care injury prevention book, Climbing Injuries Solved with the purchase of a Skype visit. Book a visit now and get this book in your inbox with a few other bits of important information to ensure you heal better than your teammates or your favorite climbing buddy.
Omenn GS, Goodman GE, Thornquist MD, et al. Effects of a combination of beta carotene and vitamin A on lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. N Engl J Med. 1996;334:1150-1155.
Science Now's Article : Antioxidants could spur tumors by acting on cancer genes. Science 31 January 2014: Vol. 343 no. 6170 p. 477