This is my gathering of several interesting facts about food that I observed or read about in the last years:
* Just to mention before you read it, it has never been my goal to convince someone to be a vegetarian but I think that people should consider eating less meat. For that reason the first 2 facts are about vegetarism.
- It is a mistake to think that endurance sport and vegetarianism are mutually exclusive. Today there are a multitude of vegetarian or even vegan athletes – with the most famous probably being Ultra-runner Scott Jurek and pro-triathlete Brendan Brazier-, that show us that a careful meat-free nutrition may even be the key element of a better performance.
- It is not new that it is not healthy to eat more than 3x per week meat. Unfortunately, most people in industrialised countries even consume several times per day meat. Starting with bacon and eggs for breakfast, chicken or steak for lunch, ham on the sandwich, sausage in the evening and so on. It would easy and often even more tasty to change some simple meals with meat for a vegetarian option. Today tortellinis, raviolis or lasagna exist in several yummy variations with cheese, spinach or tomato-mozzarella. Use vegetable stock instead of heavy gravy sauces or meat stock. If it is not for personal health reasons, consider also environmental impacts of the meat industry: 1 kg of potatoes requires only 287 l of water, while 1 kg of beef requires in production a water consumption of more than 15400 l ! Not to mention food’s carbon footprint, where the greenhouse gas emissions produced by meat in general is at least 10 times higher compared to fruits, veggies, beans or nuts. Also remember that if developing countries would consume as much meat than the West, there would not even be enough space on the earth to grow all the food to feed these animals!
- A lot of endurance athletes fail to maintain a healthy relationship with food. Eating should stay pleasurable. Especially athletes have no reason to feel guilty, one of the greatest rewards of running is the license to enjoy sometimes these little sweet temptations. That is the reason why you will find here many highly attractive sins;) Furthermore it is proven that after the low-carb diet craze of the early 2000’s average endurance athletes still only gets 50 percent of their calories from carbs, which is just simply not enough. Cooper J. (“Complete Nutrition guide for Triathletes”) recommends a range of 50 to 75 percent of the daily intake to be covered by carbs.
- Regarding the intake of proteins, it is essential to focus not only on quantity but also quality. Even though foods of animal origin might have a higher biological value thus it can be used more efficiently by the body, the focus should however stay on food of plant origin as it is a carrier of carbs and lots of fibre plus it is low in fat. Meaningful protein sources are dairy products. You can get the highest biological value by combining foods of animal and plant origins or even plant-based foods with each other. Examples include potatoes with fried eggs, muesli with milk, Kniddelen, baked pasta with cheese, rice pudding etc.
- One of the most vital facts about nutrition is to eat a healthy and varied diet. Today with the internationalisation and globalisation, it is quite easy to get recipes and food from other cultures. Integrate food from the Arabic or Indian cuisine for instance by reason of their large range of vegetarian recipes, their use of real, whole foods, lentils, nuts… It allows you to broaden your horizons, to try something new, mix it with the European kitchen, get some motivation to cook and surprise your family.The last 5 food facts will follow very soon.
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