Runner beans

I’m writing this on a very wet and windy Monday evening wondering what happened at the weekend.

When my alarm woke me at 05:30 on Saturday I wondered what on earth was happening. I didn’t want to drag myself out of bed despite a reasonable sleep. Where is the keen runner who used to love running early in the morning? It took me forever to get out of bed. I’d love to say that I enjoyed my morning run, but at present I’m looking at getting past the the struggle stage.

My thoughts take me to the recent insights in Euromonitor International’s 2019 Health and Nutrition Survey, with a specific focus on dietary restrictions, vitamins and supplements as well as sports nutrition.

I, like many who Euromonitor questioned, want a balanced diet and to eat a balanced meal rather than one that is full of restrictions.

When it comes to food for sporting activities, my sweet tooth has to be reined in, but I’m after drinks low in sugar and with a clean ingredients list.

And seeing that I want to make the most of my time I also want an easy and convenient way of getting nutrients and vitamins to help my health and wellness rather than seek treatment.

Top-flight sports performers are giving up meat and adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet. Many claim that plant-based eating helps their recovery, gives them more energy and reduces their injury rate. Should I now switch to a plant-based diet as more athletes notice performance benefits?

It could be that eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds is aiding performance and recovery.

I’m aware the best way to increase the diversity of healthy gut microbes is to eat a wide range of foods rich in fibre, polyphenols, and probiotics. I can get in berries, nuts and cocoa (and even red wine!) as they contain polyphenols that encourage the growth of healthy microbes.

It’s important to eat enough food to meet my energy needs and not fall short of the nutrients which may potentially be low in a diet that excludes animal products.

I don’t at this stage want to risk compromising both my health and my performance. The time has come to pay as much attention to my nutrition as I do to my training, and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t achieve the performance outcomes that I am looking for.

It’s a long-term decision rather than one for short-term gains.

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