“What does she do?” Matt asked, between breaths, as we climbed Cub Hill.
“She’s a dietitian,” I said quickly, saving oxygen.
“What!?” Matt looked incredulous. “That’s practically cheating man!” He laughed.
It is no secret that what you intake directly impacts what you are able to output athletically. In the most basic and cliché sense, you are what you eat; or said another way, the quality of your performance matches the quality of food you put into your body.
So yes, my wife is a dietitian. What exactly is that, you ask? It can be a lot of things professionally, as dietitians work in all kinds of different realms, but it’s essentially a nutritionist on education steroids. Five years of schooling, a residency, rotations, exams, licenses and a whole lot of knowledge on how the body deals with the calories we put into it. I’m always learning something new from her. Usually about why I shouldn’t eat 1000mg of sodium in one bowl of soup, or how my beloved Silk Almond Milk has added calcium (spoiler: that’s not as good for you as naturally occurring calcium L). She’s far from strict though, but preaches everything in moderation. Well, almost everything!
I guess it is a pretty big advantage for racing. While she doesn’t make every meal I consume, her voice is always in the back of my head before I consume something. Over the past 3 years I’ve slowly moved to eating mainly from the “perimeter” of the grocery store for my meals. Which is the main advice she gives to her patients. When in doubt about how healthy something is, think about where it came from in the store. Sure there are processed and unhealthy things in the perimeter, but think about it, the majority of the items are:
It’s kind of perfect. The more of those you eat, the better off you will be. And really, it’s not rocket science either. Anyone can get about 90% of the benefits of eating healthy knowing to only eat those items above. The other 10% requires a significant education commitment or inheriting one like I did! But at the end of the day, the advantage one can get from eating healthy foods is open and available to all.
So am I cheating, eh, not really. I’m just fortunate to have a built in head start! In reality though, the benefits of eating healthy food is massive, and one that is silly to ignore. Forget the carbon wheels, get more green on your plate!