Eating Clean

Are You Getting Enough Nutrients?

Athletes, Are You Really Eating Clean?

How about eating varieties of colorful fruits and vegetables? Eating various fruits and vegetables contains the nutrients necessary for training and recovery. Plus, veggies and fruits taste good and provide a lot of energy too.

Clean eating means you eat unprocessed whole foods. Eating clean doesn’t mean that you restrict yourself! Many athletes are under the false impression that diets are supposed to restrict. They refuse to eat anything that isn’t organic, GMO-free, and pasture-raised. Some people who don’t fully understand clean eating are under the impression that entire food groups are “unclean.” 

Eat and enjoy yourself in moderation. Moderation is the keyword. Systematically avoiding specific foods may lead to orthorexia. Orthorexia starts as a genuine desire to eat healthily but turns into an obsession with only eating “pure, clean” foods. The effects of Orthorexia Nervosa mimic those of anorexia and includes osteoporosis, difficulty with cognition, lowered immune function, malnutrition, social isolation, emotional instability, infertility, kidney failure, low self-worth, anxiety, stress, and heart disease.

Eating a 100% whole foods diet could harm your athletic performance. It’s ok to eat energy-dense foods because it has a place and a purpose in an athlete’s diet. Here’s how: 

  1. Simple carbohydrates are perfect when you’re in the middle of racing or competing and in need of quick energy as they digest quickly. Simple sugar consumption following a workout helps create insulin response for muscle repletion and repair, allowing more fuel to reach your muscles promptly. 
  2.  Eating only whole foods, especially veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and fruit, contain many fiber and water. These foods make you feel full. Since you feel full, you may be unintentionally under-fuel, inhibit muscle recovery, and put yourself at risk of fatigue, injury, and illness.
  3. Eating highly palatable, energy-dense foods (i.e., cookies, brownies, ice cream, fattier meat) will help you meet the energy demands of your body. Being under-fueled is far more harmful than eating clean. Remember, fat is an essential nutrient. When low, it is associated with a greater risk of sports injury. 

If you need help renewing the way you eat and think about food, I’d love to work with you. Eating nutrient-rich whole foods is not bad! If you would like to record your clean eating recipes, then click on the link to purchase a mindful eating journal at Amazon.

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