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Mike's Mailbag: The Eat Real Food Diet
By Mike Gustafson//USA Swimming Correspondent
Just 2 years ago, I started swimming competitive at a club. Since then, I've improved vastly. Now, entering my third year, I have one concern: Can you give some advice on ideal eating? What I want to know are good foods and correct size portions. This way, I can cut out unneeded food.
Hey Foodie Swimmer,
Two weeks ago, I “cleansed” myself. I had a strict list of “Do Not Eat” items: white flour, coffee/tea, sugar, alcohol, processed foods, processed oils, red meats, pasta, cereal, white rice, candy, pizza. This was literally my worst nightmare. At Day Four of the No Fun Diet, I was dizzy, light-headed, grumpy, angry, irritable, agitated, spending the majority of my time on the toilet, hungry, and confused. “Why am I doing this?” I asked my Cleanse Comrade. “Because,” she said. “It will make you feel better.”
My sophomore year in college, I ate five pizzas a week. Not all at once – just here and there. Three slices at lunch. Two slices before practice. A slice before bed. When you dine daily at an all-you-can-eat cafeteria, you push yourself.
During this Five-Pizzas-A-Week swim season, I swam slower than I had in high school. Nutritionists call this a “correlation.” Five pizzas a week, at 2500 calories a pizza (pepperoni), equates to 12,500 calories. There are good calories, bad calories, and then there are Pizza Calories. Pizza Calories are like garbage yardage: They do nothing for your body but cause long-term harm. I gained ten pounds. I was thicker, fatter, and slower.
Later, I experimented: What happened if I ate foods that were, you know, foods? It wasn’t extreme, like the No Fun Diet. For breakfast, I ate egg whites, oatmeal, berries, and juice. For lunch, I ate a Veggie-A-Thon salad with turkey. Snacks were cottage cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. For dinner, I ate a burrito with rice, beans, and shredded chicken. I eliminated cheese, sugar, white flour, alcohol, caffeine, and deserts. I dropped fifteen pounds, swam best times, and scored points at the Big Ten Championships.
When you’re a kid, you learn life rules: Share. Be kind. Be patient. Work hard. You also learn nutrition rules: Eat your veggies. Candy rots your teeth. Don’t stuff your face with potato chips, pizza slices, or pop before dinner. Chew slowly.
As we grow up, we forget these rules. Sometimes, purposefully.
Before you eat, question what you’re eating. I don’t mean: “I’m eating a bowl of cereal.” Look at the ingredients. Dissect the nutrition label. Can you pronounce each ingredient? Do you know what these ingredients are? Are any ingredients longer than eight letters long?
I generally stick to ingredients spelled with seven letters or less. Tomato. Corn. Pork. Chicken. Spinach. (It’s a weird rule, but it works for me. It also helps me avoid “broccoli.”) I don’t eat things like, “Hydrochloricatedsulfuricinated acididated sulfate.” (I made that up. But if you didn’t know that I made that up, what does that say about ingredients these days?)
My doctor told me about a science experiment: Mice willingly shocked themselves to eat white flour and sugar. In other words, they put themselves through pain to eat sugar. She told me, after these mice died, scientists analyzed their brains and found similar attributes as drug addicts.
I’ve stopped the No Fun Diet; namely, it was no fun. I enjoy a cup of coffee, or a steak, or a bowl of pasta sometimes. However, I try to follow this basic concept: Can I pronounce the ingredients? Do I know what they are? Could this ingredient be in a backyard garden? Then, I remember what my parents told me when I was a kid: No candy. No junk food. No pop. (I’m from Michigan.) Chew slowly (this will control size portions). And, most importantly, eat your veggies.
This is the “Feel Better Now” cleanse. There’s no dizziness. There are no juice-fad blender recipes. No grumpiness. No anger. No spending all day on the toilet. Instead, you eat foods found in the produce section, lean meats, whole grains, beans, and nuts. Then, you chew these foods slowly. Simple. Basic.
After all, generations of humans consumed vegetables, lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and whole grains for thousands and thousands of years.
Why change now?
10 Foods A Swimmer Should Be Eating
Click for the list from USA Swimming
7 Signs a Young Swimmer is Not Eating Enough Food click here
What to Eat on Race Day? click here to see!!
JCC Boot Camp June 16- 20, 2014..for more information on the camp - click on the Camps Page
Garrett Weber Gale runs a popular blog called “Athletic Foodie” and he will be bringing his wildly popular AthleticFoodie clinic to the Speedo™ BOOT CAMP program on Friday, June 20. In addition to the traditional Olympian-level Swim Clinic, the day will include cooking demonstrations and a presentation by a “Parent of an Olympian” on raising a high-performance athlete. (The day will also include Q&A, an autograph session, pictures, etc. for the clinic participants.)
Chocolate Milk - the Miracle Recovery Drink
Click to read about bit!!!
Feeding Your Child Athlete from Kids Health Magazine
Swimmers Eat Before Early Morning Practice? Click to find out.
15 Healthy Delicious Snacks for Athletes
2. Raw Veggies & Dip
3. Almond Butter on Toast
4. Red or Green Seedless Grapes (try freeing a few!)
5. Air Popped Pop Corn
6. Apple Slices with Peanut Butter
7. Baked Pumpkin Seeds
8. Almonds & Dried Cranberries
9. All Natural Applesauce Cups
10.Frozen All Fruit Bars
11.Greek Yogurt and Fresh Berries
12.Granola (dry or with milk)
13.String Cheese & Crackers
By U.S. Anti Doping Agency
Check out this eye-opening article about the supplement industry:
If you have not had the opportunity to visit USADAs Supplement 411 web site, you are encouraged to do so and share the information with your athletes and their parents.
All of the information we try to convey to you in bits and blurbs is housed in one place.
When you visit please be sure to click through to the High Risk Dietary Supplement List.
The list contains some of the worst offenders in the supplement industry; products that have been tested and contain WADA prohibited substances, and products that list WADA prohibited substances right on the label.
It is worth the visit.
10 Best Breakfasts To Feed Your Child
By: Danielle Angel, ActiveBeat Health and Diet News
2. Hard boiled eggs
3. Oat Bran Muffins made with Applesauce
4. Real Fruit Smoothies (Frozen fruit, yogurt, milk or juice)
5. Yogurt with granola, honey and fresh fruit
6. Fruit with cottage cheese
7. Peanut butter and banana wrap
8. Whole wheat English Muffins with peanut, cashew or almond butter
9. Omelet- peperoni, cheese, salsa
10. Home made egg sandwich ( The Egg McMuffin is actually pretty healthy)
10 Worst Breakfasts To Feed Your Child
1. Chocolate nut spread
2. Sugared cereal (read the label - the sugar may be hidden!)
3. Instant Oatmeal
4. Pre Packaged Breakfast Drinks
5. Toast and Jelly or Jam
6. Packaged Breakfast Sandwiches
8. Fast Food Breakfast Meals (The Egg McMuffin is actually pretty healthy)
9. Toaster Pastries
10. Pre Baked Muffins (make your own)
10 Worst Dinners You Can Feed your Child
By: Danielle Angel, ActiveBeat Health and Diet News
Feeding your children fast and nutritious dinners can be impossible. You’re just back from work and you have to get them ready for sports and clubs with only a short break to eat. It can be easy to just cave and get them fast food on your way to their extracurricular activities.Children can also be extremely picky with what they will eat for dinner. This is a particular issue for young children. Their taste buds are extremely sensitive and many adult flavors are not palatable. Children may also be scared of trying new things because they are different to their normal meals.The fatty, salty flavors of fast food are widely popular in children. Unfortunately some of their favorite meals can be the most unhealthy.
Here are 10 of the worst dinners you can feed your children.
1. Fried Chicken
2. Hot Dogs
3. Delivery Pizza
4. Fast Food (Hamburger, Fries and a Soda)
5. Grilled Cheese (on white bread with processed American Cheese)
6. Fettucine Alfredo
7. Fish Fingers
8. Chicken Nuggets
9. Frozen Meals
10. Tuna Casserole
click to read Why are we so passionate about Fruit Infused Water
click to read " TOP 5 Recovery Snacks for Swimmers"
Generation C: Is caffeine the next kids' health crisis?
Published January 29, 2013 Health.com
Recently my 12-year-old son came home and told us he had an energy drink at a parent-supervised party. We were shocked. Why would parents who would never allow cigarettes or alcohol make caffeine-spiked beverages available to pre-teens? My son said it was no big deal; all of his friends were drinking them after school.
Apparently, so are lots of other kids. Over the last 30 years, caffeine intake among children and adolescents has spiked 70 percent; today two-thirds of children consume caffeine on a daily basis. They get it in soda and energy drinks, of course, but also in a surprising range of stealth products marketed to kids, including candy, chips, gum, lip balm, even sunflower seeds.
How much of this substance are our kids getting? In a recent survey called Caffeine Consumption in Young Children, Dr. William Warzak and colleagues from the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that kids as young as 5 drink the caffeine-equivalent of a can of cola a day, while kids 8 to 12 consumed 109 mg of caffeine a day, the amount in nearly three 12-ounce cans of soda!
As a father of a 7 and 13 year old, I believe caffeine consumption among kids is a looming public health crisis. One of the reasons parents aren't up in arms about this trend is that caffeine has gotten so much good press lately. Studies suggest it boosts weight loss and can enhance memory and focus. Coffee and tea are also rich in antioxidants, with possible anti-cancer and cardio-protective properties.
But that's in adults (though as a doctor, I'm not convinced; I suspect caffeine may contribute to my patients' cardiac problems, addiction, obesity, insomnia, and digestive disorders). For children, the risks and benefits of caffeine look very different. Here's what parents need to know about caffeine and it's effects on kids' health:
Caffeine has no nutritional or other food value. It is a psychoactive stimulant that affects brain chemistry. It can disrupt neural development and may lead to abnormalities in behavior and socialization.
Caffeine can cause physical dependence. If your kid is hooked and tries to kick the habit, he or she may experience full-blown withdrawal symptoms for up to 10 days, including headache, sleepiness or insomnia, irritability, lethargy, constipation, and/or depression.
Caffeine products are often loaded with sugar. Caffeine naturally tastes bitter and sugar is added to make it palatable to your kids. Not only is sugar a source of empty calories that can lead to overweight and obesity, the combination can trigger addiction and/or dependence through different pathways.
Caffeine does not boost energy levels in kids. It impedes the perception of fatigue by stimulating brain arousal and vigilance, which can lead to unruly or even dangerous behaviors.
There is no safe or recommended level of caffeine for kids. In fact, caffeinated energy drinks should eliminated from children's diets, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Caffeine can trigger insomnia. Kids slug caffeinated products like energy drinks thinking they will 'boost energy and performance' at school and on the athletic field. Truth is, caffeine worsens performance due to fatigue! In one study, 90% of middle and high school students sampled reported getting less than 8 hours of sleep on average each night, with caffeine consumption being the number one culprit.
Caffeine consumption can cause hospitalizations or even death. The number of annual hospital visits involving caffeinated sports and energy drinks doubled from 2007 to 2011. The federal Food and Drug Administration is investigating 13 deaths tied to 5-Hour Energy Drink and five deaths linked to Monster Energy Drinks.
Caffeinated products are marketed as "cool." Advertising campaigns use cartoon characters and/or the portrayal of an energized and successful kid to push their products. (This is similar to the way the tobacco industry targeted kids until cigarette ads aimed at kids were banned.)
So how much caffeine is acceptable for our kids? To date there is little or no regulation or official guidelines as to the use of caffeine in drinks and foods. Consumption of less than 100mg a day (the equivalent of three colas) is likely safe, depending on the size and weight of your child. Higher levels could be associated with adverse effects, especially in younger, smaller children. For older, larger adolescents consumption of 150 to 250mg is likely medically safe. (Amounts consumed in cases of cardiac arrhythmia and death approached 1000mg; in these cases the caffeine probably unmasked underlying heart problems, rather than being the cause.)
As parents, my wife and I have sought to educate ourselves and our kids on the risks of using caffeine too early in life. When food shopping, we avoid buying caffeinated products. Flavored seltzer water—no added sugar—has become a favorite in our family. We don't let the boys drink tea or coffee yet.
As a doctor, I strongly suggest you moderate the caffeine consumption of your kids, if not eliminate it from their daily diets completely. Read labels like a hawk (and if "caffeine" is on the ingredient list put it back). Your kids will be better off if they don't belong to Generation C.
Dr. Jonathan Whiteson is an assistant professor and director of cardiopulmonary rehab at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.
The TOP 30 Foods for Swimmers (Research done by New York City Aquatic Club)
Juicing for Swimmers..From USA Swimming
What’s your take on eating "enhanced candies," otherwise known as sports beans?
(by Jill Castle MS, RD, Child Nutritionist and Feeding Expert)
Sports beans (from Jelly Belly or other manufacturers) are composed of carbohydrates and electrolytes, manufactured into a jelly bean. The intention of these is to provide a source of energy and electrolytes during physical activity. The potential drawback for young swimmers is their lack of fluid, which requires swimmers to drink fluids, preferably water, alongside. Using jelly beans also reinforces “candy eating,” which doesn’t really train athletes how to fuel (eat) for performance.
Another product category is the “extreme” sports beans. These contain carbohydrate, electrolytes and caffeine, marketed as providing an extra boost of energy during spots performance. Caffeine isn’t recommended for children or teens, so young swimmers should steer clear of these.
Click Here for: TOP NUTRITION TIPS for 2013
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