Food and Running: A Healthy Affair

Source: mes-idees-recettes.com

I must admit I’m a bit of a foodie. I love to eat, by this I mean full meals that involve the entire 6 food groups and not snacks and desserts. Grains, peas, veggies, starches, meat, some of you may not agree, but I term this “real” food to the extent that I sometimes have it for breakfast though rarely for supper. Now I’m a small person and while I totally support the idea that people like me, more often than not, have huge appetites, there are others that develop unhealthy relationships with food and stay well on the other side of healthy appetites to barely eating at all. The key, I think, is finding the right balance, and running can help.

Exercise is known for its aphrodisiac-like effects on one’s appetite and running is no exception. As a runner, I have a healthy appetite and I’m very thankful that I can eat freely as a result of maintaining a healthy lifestyle which is key to having a healthy relationship with food. My reasoning is based on the fact that exercise can be enjoyable but it can at times be costly and hard work. Because I invest time, effort, and money in exercising and running, it is necessary to maintain a healthy diet so as to maximize the results of my investment. This investment practice is sound and logical for not only business but life in general and thereby running. It follows that my love for food is centered around foods that will benefit my goals and give me the outcome I desire. Bring on the whole grains then — even the carbs we love to hate — which are a necessary diet staple for runners.

Runners gain a lot of calories – a necessary evil some may say –  and nutrients from fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean meat. This is not to say that one can’t get them from the processed version in the form of energy bars, energy  drinks, sports drinks, and processed foods but it comes at a cost with so many unhealthy additives. “Real” food naturally carries a complex mix of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and other essential nutrients and work together with literally thousands of other compounds, such as color components in fruits and vegetables, special starches and fibers in whole grains, and unique fats in seeds, nuts, and dairy. And it’s the whole package that promotes good health and peak athletic performance (runner’s world). 

With so many diet fads and choices out there, there are a lot to choose from which can only be good. Because choices empower us, it means keeping it healthy and clean has never been easier. Healthy options include: foods that come from seeds and nuts which are high in protein, essential fats, and antioxidants; colorful fruits and veggies go beyond the carbs, mineral and vitamins that’s essential for running, they also provide many colorful benefits that vary from helping in the fight against  various illnesses and diseases like cancer and decreases your risk for running-related injuries; lots of milk and milk-related products have the benefits associated with calcium and when protein and strengthen your body to combat various ills such as high blood pressure etc.; plant-based foods and roots which boast a complex mix of starches and fibers act as agents that aid in weight control, decrease the risk of heart disease, and boost the immune system; milk and milk products are known for their great calcium deposits and strong bones and teeth. Additionally they’re another necessity for runners because they work to fortify & strengthen muscles and help with recovery in addition to reducing risks to ailments associated with your bowels and intestines; finally, fish, lean meat, and poultry are high in protein and are so much more effective if organically grown. Fish particularly has omega-3 fatty acids that are a necessity for runners’ diet.

No one will argue that eating healthy doesn’t require a studied effort and sometimes a bit of sacrifice initially but hey… the results are like oh man good. And after a while it requires no effort at all, because by then you will have totally fallen in love with eating right.

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