All posts in Conscious Eating

Natural Long-Distance Energy Sources

Though I real­ize not all of my read­ers are Veg­ans, many of you may be inter­ested in keep­ing an organic, nat­ural approach to your marathon nutri­tion.  With train­ing for the Komen Dal­las Race for the Cure, Ulti­mate Hike, 13.1 Dal­las, Fort Worth Marathon, White Rock Marathon, and scads more races on the cal­en­dar of upcom­ing events; it is the opti­mal time to devise your plan of action.  As any endurance ath­lete knows, nutri­tion is a key ele­ment of suc­cess­ful train­ing and enjoy­able par­tic­i­pa­tion.  Here are a few tips for fuel­ing and hydrat­ing à la nat­ural.

Organic elec­trolyte replacement:

Coconut water.  This is a great source of potas­sium, mag­ne­sium, phos­pho­rous, sodium and cal­cium with­out the added sugar or sweet­en­ers (look for unsweet­ened vari­eties).  Pickle juice is a favorite too.

Recipes for nat­ural energy gel/energy on-the-go:

Raw Sport Gel Recipe

  • 4 dates (dried dates, soaked for a few hours or med­jool dates)
  • 2 Tbsp raw agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp lime zest
  • 2 Tbsp goji berries (soaked for a few hours)
  • 1/2 tsp pow­dered Greens
  • 1/2 tsp maca powder
  • Sea salt to taste

Com­bine all the ingre­di­ents in a blender or small food proces­sor.  Add water or more agave if needed until desired con­sis­tency is reached.  Put into plas­tic zip-lock bag or other con­ve­nient container.

On-The-Go Spir­ulina Guacamole

  • 2 avo­ca­dos
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 3 tsp Spir­ulina (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp dulse flakes
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 small onion
  • Cayenne pep­per to taste
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pep­per to taste

Put all ingre­di­ents into a blender and pack­age to-go in a zip-lock bag for convenience.

Post-training refu­el­ing:

Some­thing very alka­liz­ing like fresh or dried figs, Chlorella, Spir­ulina, any type of greens, cucum­ber, dates, mel­ons, fresh squeezed veg­gie or fruit juices with a zing of lemon, plain coconut milk, sprouted grain tor­tillas.  These alka­liz­ing foods will help the body clear out the lac­tic acid and meta­bolic waste by-products that accom­pany this type of phys­i­cal exer­tion. This is an impor­tant part of keep­ing the immune sys­tem strong dur­ing intense train­ing bouts.

Other tips:

Let the body rest the day before the big event.  This includes giv­ing the diges­tive sys­tem a head start.  Con­sider  eat­ing the big­ger meal for lunch the day before, not din­ner.  This allows the body to digest the food prop­erly so that the nutri­ents can be uti­lized more effi­ciently the next day and allows one to wake up feel­ing light and ener­gized the next morning–not heavy and bloated.


Recipe for Strong Bones

Cal­cium is ben­e­fi­cial for more than just strong bones and teeth.  Although bud­ding youths and teenagers do require a higher  per­cent­age than the aver­age adult, cal­cium is an essen­tial min­eral with many lesser known ben­e­fits.  For the seri­ous ath­lete to the per­son just try­ing to lose a lit­tle weight to the lover of life want­ing to enjoy health longer, cal­cium is a vital nutri­ent.  Because of calcium’s role in var­i­ous bod­ily func­tions, it can help mus­cles to con­tract opti­mally, ner­vous mes­sages to reach their des­ti­na­tion, blood pres­sure to nor­mal­ize, and the heart to stay active and healthy.  This among other things, con­tributes to suc­cess in any sport, phys­i­cal activ­ity, or life­long pursuit.

Below is one of my favorite recipes for a calcium-rich beverage.

Green Giant Juice

from The Raw Food Rev­o­lu­tion Diet:  Feast, Lose Weight, Gain Energy, Feel Younger! by Cherie Soria, Brenda Davis, and Vesanto Melina

Yield:  3 cups/750 mL (2 servings)

This pow­er­ful, nutrient-dense juice is espe­cially valu­able as part of a weight-loss pro­gram. It pro­vides 200 mg of cal­cium per serv­ing, which is as much as 2/3 cup (160 mL) of milk, plus it has 9 grams of pro­tein and less than 1 gram of fat. In fact, the cal­cium present in kale is twice as avail­able to the body as that in cow’s milk!

1 bunch (about 8 ounces/220 g) kale, includ­ing stems
1/2 head romaine let­tuce
1 cucum­ber, quar­tered length­wise
1 apple
4 stalks cel­ery
1 lemon, peeled

Juice all of the ingre­di­ents. Serve immediately.

Cleaning up the Channels: Summer Detox

The body has many dif­fer­ent chan­nels: phys­i­cal chan­nels like the chan­nels of diges­tion and elim­i­na­tion and more sub­tle chan­nels like the nadis, or energy lines,  Like any path or pas­sage­way, they need reg­u­lar clean up work to keep an opti­mal flow.  Ama in the Ayurvedic sys­tem of health, is defined as the sticky, toxic sub­stance that causes toxic backup in the body and even­tu­ally leads to dis­ease.  There are many things one can do to clear out and clean up the backup of undi­gested food, emo­tions, or envi­ron­men­tal over­load.  A har­mo­niz­ing diet is one foun­da­tional way to reg­u­late the del­i­cate bal­ance of intrin­sic health.

The body’s own heal­ing poten­tial is acti­vated as a result of mind­ful eat­ing and lifestyle habits. Any­thing from chang­ing pat­terns of destruc­tive eat­ing habits to loos­ing extra weight to man­ag­ing stress to increas­ing immu­nity and resilience to var­i­ous ail­ments can be accom­plished as a result of con­scious choices to align with the nat­ural laws gov­ern­ing and bal­anc­ing the uni­verse.  Many of the answers to life’s more com­pli­cated ques­tions (how to pre­serve the envi­ron­ment, how to pre­vent degen­er­a­tive dis­eases, how to cre­ate opti­mal health and weight, how to respect self and oth­ers) can be answered by look­ing at nature’s uni­ver­sal prin­ci­ples and rhythms.   They are com­plex issues with a straight­for­ward solution–an answer that is intrin­sic to nature, not some­thing new that mankind must devise.  This not only sim­pli­fies life, but it brings one back to a sense of deep awe and grat­i­tude for the wis­dom of God’s cre­ative design.

When bal­anc­ing the body through detox, often times the word detox is used in regards to foods like fruits, veg­eta­bles, whole grains, etc.  And although these items are excel­lent detox­i­fiers and do tend to push tox­ins out of the body–the same per­son could not detox effec­tively on the same diet all year round.  Nature is the best exam­ple of detox.  Win­ter sus­tains, spring clears out for rebirth, and sum­mer thrives.  The foods of the sea­sons sup­port this: root veg­eta­bles, squashes and grains in the win­ter; sprouts, pep­pers, greens in the spring; and mel­ons, salad and cucum­bers in the summer.

Sum­mer is the ideal time to explore the raw food nutri­tional lifestyle.  Raw fruits and veg­eta­bles that might be more dif­fi­cult for some body types to digest, are more eas­ily bro­ken down and assim­i­lated dur­ing the sum­mer sea­son.  The diges­tive fire is enhanced by the heat of sum­mer and can ben­e­fit from the addi­tional nutri­ents and prop­er­ties of more raw fruits and veg­eta­bles.  Much of raw food is cool­ing by nature and reduces the symp­toms of too much heat in the body (e.g. inflam­ma­tion, irri­tabil­ity, rashes, etc.).  Although long-term raw food diets may not work for every­one, most peo­ple can expe­ri­ence the numer­ous ben­e­fits dur­ing the hot­ter months.  Some of the ben­e­fits to raw food eat­ing include:

  • increased energy
  • weight loss
  • radi­ant complexion
  • clearer mind
  • stronger immune system
  • removal of toxic buildup

There are many dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives on what per­cent­age of the diet should be raw vs cooked.  Since every body is dif­fer­ent in com­po­si­tion and strength of diges­tive fire, I do not pre­scribe to one strat­egy.  Gen­er­ally, sum­mer is the ideal time to par­take in the abun­dance of fruits and veg­eta­bles avail­able.  For those with weaker diges­tive fires, who strug­gle with bloat­ing, gas, diges­tive dis­com­fort, etc. blend­ing fruits and veg­eta­bles can assist in their absorp­tion.  Adding spices like gin­ger and black pep­per or pun­gent greens like water­cress and arugula stokes the pow­er­ful fire of diges­tion and is also help­ful.  Adding a lit­tle flax seed oil or other high-quality, organic oil increases the amount and absorp­tion of nutri­ents, in addi­tion to pre­vent­ing the spaci­ness and low metab­o­lism some­times asso­ci­ated with a long-term raw food nutri­tional lifestyle.  Lim­it­ing the amount of acidic/sour fruits like lemons, cit­rus, etc. is help­ful dur­ing the sum­mer months as they can aggra­vate the body by adding addi­tional heat.

Today’s Prac­tice: Go to the local Farmer’s Mar­ket and load up on summer’s best detox foods.