CLEAN UP YOUR NUTRITION
The Basics of Surfer Nutrition.
The field of nutrition is a MESS. I basically view nutrition on a similar scale as that of politics, and religion. It all seems to be convoluted, filled with mis-information, and particular views vary highly from person to person. Simply look at how many diets are out there, all claiming to be the most relevant, most efficient, and healthiest manner of eating. There are literally several thousand different diet books out there, which just goes to show that we basically don’t really have that great of an understanding of what constitutes a healthy diet. But lucky for you, I can help boil it down to some basic tenets of healthy eating… the foundations of quality surfing nutrition… keep yourself energized in the water man!!
I have a passion for nutrition, and devour books related to the topic. Upon filtering much of what I have read from tons of books, listening to countless people whom are WAY more intelligent than I regarding the topic of food, and worked directly with individuals attempting to improve their eating habits, the following tenets seem to be pretty concrete, and can help to create profound improvements in an individuals’ health.
– EAT REAL WHOLE FOODS –
Oh my god, it is really that simple, and yes you may have to cook. When you delve into specific diet gurus, there may be insistence on certain foods or abstaining from certain foods. Elimination or inclusion of specific foods is very relevant when dealing with specific health issues, but overall, if you just start eating REAL FOOD, you will benefit. No attempt to deal with ratios of food portioning should even be attempted until this first tenet is accomplished.
real food grows and dies, it isn’t created in a factory
real food rots, and wilts… real food cannot sit on a shelf for two years
real food doesn’t have an ingredient label,
real food doesn’t have health endorsements, or AHA ratings, or the heart healthy logo
BASIC TENETS OF SURFER NUTRITION
–Consume Healthy Fats –
People need to get over the fat phobia, and understand that saturated fats are NOT the sole cause of weight gain, heart disease, or the “evil” elevated cholesterol. Saturated fats have been completely demonized due to bad science, and this has unfortunately stuck around in the thought process of the media and old school nutrition/dietician thought. You NEED high quality saturated fat in your diet! In fact, a lack of it is VERY detrimental to your overall health. Coconut Oil, ghee, organic lard, grass-fed butter, olive oil, and avocados are all great sources of healthy fat. I personally NEVER use vegetable oils such as canola, corn, soy, and cottonseed, and while these are often touted as “healthy oils”, there are very large schools of nutritional thought and exceptionally intelligent people that view these fats/oils as being extremely detrimental to our overall health. I would agree with them, very adamantly!
-Avoid Hydrogenated Oils, Partially Hydrogenated, and Trans-saturated Fats/Oils-
these are NASTY. Start reading food labels and watching out for these. I will again reiterate to also abstain from the use of vegetable oils.
-Stay Away From Processed Starches/White Flour Products-
Pasta, white bread, boxed crackers, etc, are garbage, bottom line. Refined and processed starches are completely devoid of nutrients, and throw all sorts of hell at your blood sugar levels, which tears up your hormonal systems. Don’t eat the stuff!
-Commercial Dairy Is Crap-
Commercial milk/yogurt, is terrible, and full of antibiotics, hormones, sugar, and artifical flavoring. It basically has zero nutritional value due to pasteurization and homogenization. If you insist on commercial dairy, make sure it’s organic. If you can, get RAW milk, as long as it is from a reputable source. RAW milk in my opinion, is one of the best “health” foods around. For yogurt, get organic, and stay away from the flavors. Flavored low fat yogurt generally has a ton of artificial ingredients, and usually a lot of sugar. I personally get plain, whole milk yogurt, and just add some fruit and honey. Milk-What You Should Know
-Drink More Water-
Just drink more water, not juice, not sports drinks, just water. If you’ve got the cash, you should invest in a decent water filter also. Standard water laws aren’t too great, and the stuff coming out of your tap very likely has got a bunch of things in it that you don’t really want to be ingesting into your body. Often, the chlorine content alone can wreak havoc upon your digestive system, and once that is out of whack, the entire organism (your body) will suffer….. bye bye immune system. If you need to add some flavor to your water, squeeze in some lime/lemon, maybe some mint leaves, and a pinch of sea salt for some electrolyte replacement. Drink Some Water!!! – Surfer Hydration
-Eat Full Balanced Meals-
Don’t eat a plate of just carbs, or just protein, or just fat. Have balanced meals consisting of the 3 macronutrients. This helps to maintain blood sugar balance and sustain energy levels. Ratios of these particular macronutrients is what gets confusing and convoluted by the diet world. Some people perform better with higher intake of carbs, while others do better with higher intake of protein and fats. The specifics of ratios isn’t important here, and like I said, everyone is very different in regards to what they specifically need in terms of food ratios, but overall, just eat balanced meals. Once you get this dialed in, then you can begin to play with ratios.
-Eat Quality Carbohydrates-
Grains probably aren’t that great for you… (this could be a post all by itself). The 6-11 servings of grains daily, as recommended by the all-knowing USDA, is STUPID. For the majority of individuals living today, grains are just too hard on the digestive systems, and hormonal systems (due to blood sugar issues), and realistically don’t provide much nutrition. The gluten issue alone is one that can be severely problematic for a persons overall health. When I speak of carbs, I’m referring to vegetables, starches (sweet potatoes, yams, plantains, yuca…), and fruit.
If you can afford it, eat organic, or at least make an attempt to buy organic when dealing with certain foods (meat, eggs, dairy, some fruit/vegetables). The EWG, environmental working group, has a “Dirty Dozen” list, which you can download for free, that lists the most contaminated fruit/vegetables, and the least pesticide contaminated fruit/vegetables. It’s a great resource! check out the link below.
When it comes to what to eat, don’t get too bogged down by any one particular diet, or diet guru. While there are specific health conditions that can benefit from wildly exclusive dietary protocols, you can reap huge health benefits from just beginning to implement these guidelines. Once this is accomplished, then you can begin to play with the specifics of food elimination, or food ratios, intermittent fasting, inclusion of superfoods……. the list of what makes the field of nutrition so difficult. START WITH THE BASICS!