Saturday, October 27, 2007

Boot Camp: Nutrition - Part I

In the evening of Day 2 in the first week, we had a Sports Nutritional Seminar. I rushed downtown to VATA Brazil for 6:30pm (athletic store for women.....great gear), thinking there were going to be all the ladies there, and I was the first to arrive! And I wasn't even early....I got there right on time, thinking things were going to start away. Another person trickled in within 5 minutes. There were a total of 6 of us who showed up. I guess with many of the bootcampers having gone through it before, they didn't need to come.

T'ai presented some interesting facts to us. Having experience in the fitness and health industry for years, he had lots of information. We interactively participated in creating a chart of "Yucky" and "Yummy" proteins, carbs (both fibrous and starches). An eye-opener, for sure.

(but read on...your health may depend on it!)

He talked about the Insulin Index, a newer, lesser known index comparable to the Glycemic Index. The Index is based on insulin levels in the blood, rather than glucose levels. This measure can be more useful because some foods (like lean meats and proteins) still cause an insulin rise but contain no carbs, and also some carbs have a disproportionate insulin response (foods high in fat, or refined carbs cause a higher insulin spike than the G.I. Index implies). These types of foods aren't mentioned in the Glycemic Index.

Here are 3 P's to follow:

  1. Preserve
  2. Prevent
  3. Protect
  • Preserve...your health. You need to put back what's missing to achieve perfect health.
  • Prevent....fat storage. 'Nuff said.
  • Protect...your muscle. Muscle atrophy is a no-no. Muscle helps in the metabolism of fats. Protect it.

Proteins are composed of amino acids: non-essential aa's are ones the body can produce on its own. Essential aa's you need to provide through your diet. Proteins rich in essential aa's are the ones we need to eat.

And sorry to the vegetarians out there: you have a challenge! The best type of protein is from anything that swims, walks, or flies. Plant-based proteins don't cut it as well as animal-based, apparently. There are not enough quality essential amino acids, particularly branch-chain amino acids, to protect your muscle. Branch-chain aa's get metabolized in the muscle and not the liver, where they can be burned as fuel rather than make protein. T'ai was raised vegetarian but realized that he was not getting the energy necessary for fitness training and made the switch to eating meats. Strength Athletes as opposed to Endurance Athletes need more grams of protein because increased muscle metabolism.

We should be eating 5 meals a day. Not 3, with 2 snacks....but 5 meals.

There are 3 times during the day where we would particularly protein.

  1. post-exercise, since we need muscle-repair to take place. It'll also speed up recovery.
  2. your last meal of the day, eaten 2, preferably 3, hours before bedtime, since the body repairs itself during sleep.
  3. breakast. Your first meal of the day, and your body as been fasting for 8 hours or so.

And the best way to take in protein in quick is in liquid form, by way of a protein drink. More on that later.....

So, let's talk about that "Yummy" and "Yucky" chart I mentioned earlier. "Yummy" are foods that are acceptable sources, foods that don't spike up insulin levels, and is rich and pure, or something like that. Here are some of the things we came up wth as a group.

Protein sources:
Yucky: nuts, soy, yogurt Yummy: chicken (breast), beef (lean), pork loin, cottage cheese (it's only ok), whey protein (better to get whey hydrolysate rather than the whey concentrate because of higher-quality protein percentage...he recommended Iso-Flex as a top brand.

I was helping jot down the protein list while we were shouting out answers, so this isn't an exclusive list, but whatever I can remember.

Starchy carbs:
Yucky: white-inside potatoes, all breads, quick oats, instant rice, pasta
Yummy: sweet potatoes, yams, oatmeal (steel-cut or slow cook kind), brown or white rice, condiments in salad (including avocado, onions, celery, tomatoes), peas, acorn & butternut squash

Fibrous Carbs:
Yucky: fruit, carrots & beets (are ok, but should be consumed at end of meal to slow down absorption)
Yummy: spinach, kale, cabbage (red & green), peppers (all colours), broccoli, cauliflower, snowpeas,zucchini, spaghetti & zucchini squash.

Carbs should make up 30-35% of your meal, 5x/day, each meal

Regarding fats, the best cooking oil is water! Then flavour afterwards. Butter is better than margarine, but use butter or extra virgin olive oil if necessary.


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