Diet Confusion

 In General, StoneAgeFuel

Why is it that some people can have a couple bites of goat cheese on a salad and find themselves constipated for two days, while others can eat an entire ring of brie cheese guilt-free without even an inkling of a digestion trouble?

When it comes to diet, there is still so much we dont know. Yet, everyone thinks they know exactly what the body needs

Strict paleo is the best way to lose weight!

No way, Zone is more sustainable for the long haul.

I dont care what you say, I stopped eating meat and have never felt better. Long live vegetables.

Red wine is good for you.

Red wine is a carcinogen.

Its all about anti-oxidants and kale. You cant eat too much kale.

Humans dont digest leafy greens very well, so Im off all leafy greens.

I have never met a strong vegetarian. Theyre either skinny or pudgy.

Why do you hate vegans so much? Tom Brady is a vegan!

You get the point: Everyone thinks they have it figured out when it comes to diet, but the truth is even the experts cant seem to agree on much. And their advice keeps changing!

There are dietitians and nutritionists out there who promote high-fat, low-carb diets, while others pump the old-school Food Pyramid. The supposed experts cant even agree on even how many macro-nutrientscarbohydrates, protein, fatswe should be eating. As a good psychologist friend of mine, Dr. Damian Murray said: If you think about it, thats like a psychologist not knowing if thinking happens in the brain or the elbow.

Its safe to say, when it comes to nutrition,You know nothing, John Snow!

That being said, if theres one Registered Dietician I trust to give advice its Jennifer Broxterman, owner of NutritionRx ( Why? Because shes constantly educating herself, is incredibly open-minded, and has worked with a ton of athletes about what works and what doesnt work for them. She knows nutrition isnt a one-size fits all thing, and she caters her advice accordingly.

If youre reading this, theres a good chance you might be an already-fit athlete. This advice is for you:

5. Complex carbs arent so bad, after all

Many times, athletes are under-eating high-quality complex carbs for the amount of high-intensity, high-volume training theyre doing, Broxterman said.

Broxterman believes theres a misconception among many already-fit people that they should avoid carbohydrates. While more sedentary, weight loss, new-to-fitness  lifestylers, should avoid too many carbs, she said athletes need more high-quality forms of complex carbs.

If youre an elite level athlete, youre like a Ferrari, and you wouldnt put cheap gas in a Ferrari. Youd put premium,she said. For athletes, premium carbs include not only fruits and vegetables, but also foods like oats, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, lentils, and bulgar, barley, Broxterman said. 

Dont eat like the overweight person at your gym trying to lose weight,she added. Dont be afraid to eat carbs.

4. Rest is where the gains are made

Often athletes dont focus enough on their recovery and post-workout nutrition, Broxterman explained. She recommends getting both a protein and carb source into the body within 30 minutes after finishing a training session.

She explained the body needs 200 to 400 calories within 30 minutes of training to put itself in recovery mode. This can come in the form of a full-fledged dinner with steak and rice and vegetables, or in the form of a smaller 200-calorie, balanced snack.

She added that you dont necessarily need to eat something that has been marketed specifically as a post-workout product. You just need to get some carbs and protein into your body ASAP.

3. Food shouldnt be a chore

Sometimes Broxterman finds athletes simply dont spend the necessary time in the kitchen.

Theyre lazy in the kitchen, or have an inadequate meal prep and grocery shopping routine,Broxterman explained. You wouldnt go to the gym and not bring your lifting shoes and gear, so why do high performance athletes think they can get away with going to work without packing two or three high-quality snacks and meals in advance?

For those who really struggle with meal prep, she has some creative ways to help:

Her first idea is a food swap.

How it works is each person is responsible for making one meal, and then you come together and exchange your meals. So someone might bring slow-cooker chill, and someone else brings turkey meatball, for example. Then you go home with five or six meals that you can put into your freezer for the week,she said. 

She has done a food swap at her affiliate in London, Ontario a few times; it always receives great reviews from her athletes. 

Another option is to dedicate one day each week to food prep, Broxterman suggested.

Cook lots, and full your freezer with meals for one or two weeks,she said. 

Finally, dont be afraid to outsource cooking, she suggested.

People pay for others to program for them and coach them. If you really suck in the kitchen, find someonea friend, a culinary studentto cook for you,she said. 

2. Fixate your eyes on the forest, not the trees

Contrary to those who find food a chore, Broxterman finds some athletes have the opposite approach: Theyre so detail-oriented they forget the big picture. These athletes are obsessed with being perfect, on finding the absolute magic diet, to launch them to the next level. 

For example, counting macros, tracking every calorie you consume using an online program, and trying to balance carb percentages to fat percentages perfectly. That shit doesnt matter,she said emphatically.

Instead, for Broxterman it comes down to consistency. This means consistent meal-prepping, consistent portions and consistently high-quality foods.

Just like at the gym, do the work and youll get better.

1. Avoid a fitness and figure-style approach to your diet

While the stereotypical fitness and figure athlete tends to eat just three thingschicken, tuna and broccoliover and over again in order to lean out, Broxterman doesnt think a diet without variety is good for most athletes.

She once had a client who ate chicken, broccoli and almonds every damn day for dinner,she said.

When you eat the same thing everyday, youre likely to get bored, and often when youre bored you simply dont eat enough calories for the volume of training youre doing, she said. 

She recommends adding variety to your diet. Try new recipes, and even new foods, to keep your body and mind entertained, she said. 

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