I received this holiday letter from Carolyn Costin, the founder of Monte Nido Eating Disorders Treatment Centers (Montenido.com). Her thoughtful words captured all that I want to say to my readers who struggle with food, weight, and finding a peaceful balance with exercise. Perhaps this will give you a few tips to enjoy the season and not dread it. Nancy
Carolyn wrote: If you suffer from an eating disorder it is important to take stock of how you can make the holidays meaningful for you. Aside from getting help from others on how you can handle all the food, you can turn this season into a time when you learn more about the seasons and the original reason for celebration during these times. For example, learn about the original reasons for the celebration of the fall harvest and winter solstice.
At this time of year I offer these useful tips in hopes they can make your holidays better:
Tip # 1: Don’t focus on the food. Make a list of all the other things that you can pay attention to at holiday parties or family gatherings such as, seeing old friends, singing together, decorating things, making gifts.
Tip # 2: Put things in perspective.
Tip # 3: Balance is key.
Tip # 4: Plan ahead.
Tip # 5: Be on the offense not the defense.
These tips won’t ensure that there will be no problems or that your holidays will be exactly as you would like, but they can help things be more enjoyable and less stressful. It’s important to figure out what works for you and to remember that you have a part in making your holiday all that it can and is supposed to be.
Carolyn and all of us at Monte Nido
In this day and age of nutrition confusion, I have four wishes for you, my sports-active readers. May these wishes help guide any New Year’s Nutrition Resolutions you are pondering…
Best wishes for a nourishing 2017,
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is the nation’s largest group of registered dietitians (RDs). This year, over 12,000 RDs convened in Boston (Oct 15-18, 2017) to learn the latest food & nutrition news. Here’s a taste of some topics of discussion that might be of interest to hungry athletes. Continue Reading
Athletes are competitive. Unfortunately, too many competitive athletes are also competitive drinkers, not to be outdone by their teammates. Excessive alcohol intake is associated with injuries, poor grades in school, arguments, sexual abuse, loss of memory, driving under the influence, and trouble with the law—to say nothing of vomiting, hangovers and poor athletic performance. Continue Reading
Many athletes and sports-active people shy away from fruit juice, believing it has “too much sugar.” Can 100% fruit juice fit into a sports diet? For certain!
True, almost all of the calories in juice come from sugar, but that sugar
1) fuels the muscles and replaces depleted glycogen stores.
2) is accompanied by a multitude of health-protective vitamins (such as C), minerals (such as potassium) and bioactive compounds. Continue Reading
When I think about eating, I think about the yummy taste of food and the pleasure of feeling satiated. But after attending a Harvard Medical School conference on Gut Health, Microbiota and Probiotics Throughout the Lifespan, I now realize I am not feeding my body but rather the 100 trillion bacteria that live in my gut – my microbiome. We have about 3 to 4.5 pounds of microbes that outnumber human cells by a factor of 10 to 1.
The microbiome is a signaling hub. Gut microbes produce neurotransmitters that talk to the brain. This ultimately impacts our immune system, brain, weight, and mood. Genetics, diet, and environment influence these microbes.
Gut microbes can be our best friends or our worst enemies. Thanks to antibiotics, we no longer suffer from infections and illnesses such as pneumonia. But, the antibiotics that kill the bad bacteria also kill the good guys. Animal studies suggest antibiotics can kill off 80% to 90% of the total microbiome. Does this have a lingering effect? For example, in humans, is the overuse of antibiotics related to the dramatic rise in autism, anxiety, diabetes, asthma, Crohn’s disease , MS, and yes, obesity? (The highest rates of obesity are seen in the states with the highest use of antibiotics.)
We have much to learn about the microbiome. Perhaps these conference highlights will encourage you to eat well to invest in having the healthiest possible gut. That, ultimately, will help you be the healthiest athlete you can be.
What to do
Much more research is needed to determine if the results of microbiome studies with animals hold true for humans. We also need to learn about proper use of probiotic supplements. In the meanwhile, the probiotic industry is booming—and it is unregulated by the FDA. Hence, a note of caution: The quality of a probiotic is not guaranteed.
Your best bet is to feed your gut microbes (and your muscles) generous portions of quality carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts and whole grains. You’ll naturally do this when you eat, for example, fewer cookies and instead snack on dried fruit. Yogurt, kefir, blue cheese and miso are also smart choices.
In the future, dietitians will be able to offer personalized nutrition based on your microbiome. Until then, stay tuned, and know that a high-quality sports diet is the same diet that will support your good health as well as top performance.
Here’s a tasty treat that’s easy to make — and popular with athletes who don’t like to cook. These no-bake peanut butter bites fit nicely into an afternoon snack. They are perfect for hungry kids coming home from school, or hungry athletes after a workout. I’ll bet you can’t eat just one! This recipe is just one of many family favorites in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook.
1/2 cup (130 g) chunky peanut butter
1/3 cup (30 g) powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup granola cereal
1/4 cup (30 g) graham cracker crumbs (1 sheet of graham cracker, crushed
Optional: 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Yield: 15 peanut butter bites
Nutrition information: 1,125 total calories; 75 calories per peanut butter bite; 6 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 5 g fat
Like it or not, every one of us is getting older day by day. Both athletes and fitness exercisers alike commonly wonder how aging impacts performance—and what they can do to retain youthful fitness. Exercise physiologist William Evans PhD offers this information to help you chart a healthy course into your golden years. Continue Reading
I have planned no more workshops for this year. If you are interested in organizing a workshop and having me as the speaker, I’d be glad to continue that conversation. If you want to learn more about sports nutrition, your best bet is to enjoy the online workshop. Please see www.NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com to register.
A little bit of information about why you might want to do the online workshop:
It’s a convenient way to boost your sports nutrition confidence so you can effectively build a winning sports diet for yourself and/or your clients!
Here’s your chance to update your knowledge of sports nutrition and exercise physiology, while enjoying an information-packed 10 hours of education with two internationally respected professionals:
This practical workshop on NUTRITION for SPORTS, EXERCISE & WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: What Really Works and Why
If it’s time to give yourself the gift of education and learn practical tips on how to effectively fuel and train for sports, exercise, and weight management, sign up today!
For more information and to register: www.NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com
10 hours of continuing education credits for ACE, ACSM, AND, NSCA, NASM and 9 hours for CHES.