Written by Cyndi O’Meara one of Australia’s leading nutritionist, Health and Well Being experts from Changing Habits. This article has designed and created for the children of Mount Hotham Free Ski Programs.
At Changing Habits, we are not only committed to educating and informing about food and nutrition to the athlete, but to also extending this information to the office worker, busy Mum, family and looking at every age group.
We are all human, we all have nutritional needs, those needs have been met by real food, (not packaged) for thousands of generations. It is only in the last 50 years that the diet of humans has changed. Convenience and preservation of food has been the mainstay of the food industry. You may think you are eating food, it may look like food, taste like food, smell like food, but the food industry are masters at making food from chemicals just read the ingredients of any packaged food you have in your pantry. For the most part it will look like chemical notations rather then a list of real foods.
When we first begin our journey into being healthy, having more energy, decreasing injury rates and performing as an athlete at our peak it’s important to look at the food your body is able to assimilate and use to be its very best.
Everyone is talking about organic, while I believe that this is a plus, I believe that the most important step is to first move away from packaged and fast foods and start looking at the real deal.
The athletes who are doing well and have a long career are those that have found the secret formula, surfer Kelly Slater, big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, tennis player Novak Djokovic and so on.
In order to have an edge over your competitors both physically and mentally then it’s important that you apply the principles of having the strongest mind and body. Food begins the journey your coach will continue the training.
Natural balanced nutrients needed for the development of growing young bodies and their ski training requirements.
So what is real food, what is a balanced diet, how much nutrition should we be having? Real foods are what Mother Nature made rather then what a chemical laboratory delivers. The foods you should be eating are meat, fish, chicken, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, cacao, eggs, dairy, legumes, grains and any foods that are made with these foods including all the delights you love.
The key is to eat these foods without the addition of preservatives, flavourings, colourings, modified oils, margarine, artificial sweeteners and the 1000’s off food additives that lace our food supply. Once you start to eat these foods your balanced diet and nutritional needs will be met. It’s when we replace real foods for packaged foods that the energy, balance and nutrition suffer.
The correct preparation for all day on the snow training and keeping the body warm and balanced (to release foods & liquids).
I can’t count how often someone asks me what they should eat the night before a race or what they should eat during a race. And my answer is always the same. Food training is just as important as physical training. What you eat as you train is just as important as what you eat during and just before a race. When you are consistent with your training and consistent with your eating then the night before and race day will just be much the same.
Being organised and prepared about your food choices is what’s important throughout. We will at Changing Habits give you these tools to help you choose what best suits your body. For instance, I like meat and vegetables at night, so before a major event (I do triathlons), I will not deviate from my usual dinner. I will not eat pasta to so call “carb load”, as this is not what my body thrives on. When I go out in the day I always take a soft esky of food, my lunch is the same and is packed the same no matter whether it is race day or school or work day. I have prepared snacks for morning tea and afternoon tea or between races and that includes, nutrient rich snacks that I have made.
To give you an idea of what to eat before, during and after training; a nourishing meal with plenty of organic, seasonal vegetables, quality animal or plant protein from whole ingredients, additional super foods from nature like turmeric, coriander, garlic, ginger with fermented foods on the side.
When you have your protein, make sure the fat is consumed along with it. For example, if you are having a steak, eat the fat off the steak as well. The vitamin A in the fat is very important to metabolise the protein efficiently- and it’s yum! The beautiful balance of protein and fat with occasional carbohydrates will provide sustained energy. If you have too many carbohydrates however, the energy is used up very quickly and can actually prepare your body for sleep. This is why after a bowl of cereal in the morning, you are hungry and tired a couple of hours later.
Look for food as your source. If you eat some spinach, you are not only being exposed to the beautiful, natural form of iron and calcium that our body can utilise, you are also being exposed to potassium, vitamin C, A and K. Alternatively, dried figs are booming with iron and calcium.
For hydration, step away from drinks filled with refined sugar, bright colours, flavourings and preservatives- because they will not hydrate anyone. They will increase your blood sugars to the max, then drop down and cause lethargy, mood swings and irritability (not so great when you’re out skiing!). Instead, sustain your energy levels with the liquid gold; water!
Add in 1/8th of a teaspoon to 500 milliliters of water with a scoop of rapadura sugar, honey or orange juice and you have yourself the perfect, hydrating, uplifting beverage to sustain you on the slopes.
Sleep is of upmost importance. Being out in the cold, you want to ensure your body will be able to regulate your body temperature, to heat you up and cool you down as you need. Without quality sleep, your body struggles with thermoregulation (your body’s ability to keep your inner temperature in a boundary, despite the environment), tissue repair, immune system control and memory processing. So- aim for at least 8 hours!
For some recipe ideas click here
© Mount Hotham Free Ski 2015