Saturday, February 4, 2012

Food Facts Friday: Yooooou bought him candy?

A couple of weeks ago, my son wrestled in a "Quad" meet. This is where four high school teams get together and each boy (or girl) wrestles three matches. Mini-man wrestled his first match and won - but he came off the mat and didn't look good.
Mini-man getting ready for his oponent 
At the time, I was sitting in the bleachers, thanking God that I was able to keep my composure during the match. For once, I didn't yell out something horrible and obnoxious.
Yes, that small-framed, unimposing woman in the bleachers screaming, 
"Just squish that kid,"
is me. 
Yeah - and that's what's coming out of my mouth when mini-man is winning - you should hear what comes out of my mouth when he's losing! It's utterly embarrassing. I have been known to shove a scarf in my mouth to stop the impulse to scream out other horrific things. 

Anyway, mini-man came off the mat and mouthed to me, "I don't feel good. I feel sick ...nauseous, like I am going to puke." Wrestling is a tough sport. Not only is it tough on the parent(s) when they have to watch their kid's face get run into the ground, but it's tough on the wrestlers. It involves a great deal of strength, speed, agility and lots of humility. There is also this "cutting" of weight. I'm glad that mini-man hasn't really had to "cut" weight, but I have seen him go without dinner in fear that he will not "make weight" the next day. The night before that quad meet, he did not eat dinner. He just sat there watching everyone else eat and sipped some Traditional Medicinal's Smooth Move Tea.

So, when he looked up at me and mouthed that he didn't feel good, I thought, 'this kid needs sugar.' I ran over to where they sell all the candy and snack bags - you know that high school fund-raising snack-crap - and I bought him ...brace yourself ....a candy bar! Everyone was in shock ...

"Yooooou bought him candy?"

They all know me to be "Miss Organic'. Last year, when I ran the snack bar for the Rec program - everyone was yelling at me. It took everything in me to go to Costco and buy Dorritos, Chips and Cake.

So, I ran over and gave mini-man the candy bar and said, "Here, eat this." He was so confused, he probably thought I was having some kinda' menopausal moment and just went off the deep end.

And, what do you know, within 15minutes, he was all smiles and feeling better, again. 

Consuming enough carbs is really important, especially for athletes that compete in more than one activity throughout the day. Mini-man's muscles needed energy and if he (and his muscles) didn't get it, his second and third matches would have been disastrous.

As endurance runners, we know what this is like and that's why we eat the protein bars and GU before a run, eat chokbloks during an long run and drink low fat chocolate milk or a recovery drink after a workout. The GU, Shot Bloks, protein bars and low fat chocolate milk act like the candy - they are good, quick, easy sources of energy.

Quick and easy foods for before, during and after a workout are great for providing energy. Like, drinking low fat chocolate milk after a long run - it can supply protein (branch chain amino acids), electrolytes (like sodium and potassium, which are lost in sweat) and it's rehydrating. But these foods can also be a trap. I find this stuff (especially recovery drinks because I can't drink milk) to be really, REALLY filling.

The long runs are hard on my stomach and I am just not hungry afterward. I make it an effort to remind myself that nothing replaces the benefits of eating whole foods. We need nutrient rich foods that are going to help our body's ability to repair tissues, muscles and bones and keep our immune system strong.

So, even though I have lots of Nu-Go bars, I write on the outside of the box, 'Not a snack ...only eat if working out.'

It's easy to grab one of these bars and head out to class, instead of taking the time to make a lunch with whole grain bread that's full of the B vitamins, lean protein and healthy unsaturated fats full of Omega 3 & 6 oils. That writing isn't only for me, I see my son and daughter going for these bars as a snack - or when they are running late for school, they think that they can just grab one of these bars for breakfast. I have to keep reminding them that these "supplemental foods" and they shouldn't be used to replace breakfast. They are better off eating a yogurt, which is full of branch chain amino acids, with some fresh fruit, full phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.

So even though the bars, bagels, candy and sport recovery drinks can be a great source of energy and/or protein before, during and after workouts, once the workout is through, put the emphasis on nutrient dense quality foods for meals and snacks. Only nutrient-dense foods are going to help you build resiliency, strengthen and heal tissues, fuel your immune system and help you to maximize your health and avoid injury!


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