I’ve eaten what I consider a healthy diet for a long time now, but as part of my Ironman training this year
I’ve we’ve taken it up a notch. As I described in this post, we (my wife and daughter included) have gone to a more holistic approach to eating over the last three months.
My wife is an awesome cook. There’s no other way to say it. She can take the limited ingredients that I’ve given her to use and come up with some fabulous meals! I’ve been doing our grocery shopping lately and it seems like every week the cart is full of the exact same stuff. Lots of these foods that we stock up on weekly are known as “superfoods”. These are nutrient-dense foods that in their natural form have some superpowers!
So here’s a list of some superfoods that I would recommend be part of your diet on a daily basis:
BLUEBERRIES – This is one of my daughter Kate’s favorite foods. She would literally sit down and eat a whole carton if we let her. I have no problem with her downing these little guys because they contain high levels of antioxidants and have been shown to increase brain activity.
NUTS – I go to Whole Foods and hit up the bins of nuts and seeds. Every Sunday I combine all these into a large back to snack on during the week. I pack this mix full of nuts such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, etc. These nuts are also a good source of antioxidants and are rich in those healthy fats that it’s hard to get enough of. Notice that I didn’t mention peanuts. Peanuts are not a nut. Often mistaken for a nut (probably because it’s in it’s name), peanuts are actually a legume. They do not contain the same nutrients as the nuts I listed.
QUINOA (picture to right) – This is also something that I cook in bulk on the weekends and eat for breakfast post-workout some days. It’s a grain-like seed that’s high in protein, fiber and iron. The protein found in quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids (very hard to find a food that is this complete). It’s also a good source of lots of vitamins. It sprouts when you cook it and it’s kind of weird. You can find it in a box next to the rice at the grocery.
BROCCOLI – Another one of Kate’s favs. Broccoli, along with kale, collard greens, cabbage, cauliflower and some other cruciferous vegetables are a rich source of compounds that help prevent several types of cancer according to recent studies.
SALMON – This superfood contains a large supply of omega-3 fatty acids and essential fats that lower the risk of heart disease.
DARK CHOCOLATE – I’ve actually started to mix some dark chocolate powder (used for baking) into my oatmeal so that I can get it in my diet. It has a very high percentage of cacao and is just as high in antioxidants as many fruits and veggies. Milk chocolate doesn’t offer the same antioxidants. Look for
SWEET POTATOES – Jessica bakes me 3-4 each week that I use as a morning or afternoon snack. One sweet potato provides twice the daily requirement of vitamin A and half of the vitamin C you need in a day. They are a great complex carbohydrate and for this reason I’ve also started using them as a pre-race fuel.
SPINACH (picture to left)- We eat a salad loaded with spinach at least once a week for dinner and I often take leftovers to work to eat for lunch. Pound for pound, spinach provides more nutrients than any other food. Overwhelming research has demonstrated a lowering of cardiovascular disease, cancer, macular degeneration and cataracts from eating spinach. I recommend buying it in plastic containers so that you can take them to work and mix in fruit and nuts for an awesome lunch!
ACTIVE YOGURT (picture below) – It’s key to read the whole name…it has to be active because active bacteria strengthens your digestive process. Look for the word “active” on your yogurt label. I can eat a lot of things, but plain yogurt (no sugar or sweeteners is where I draw the line – it’s nasty). I personally eat Stonyfield OIKOS Organic Greek yogurt, either blueberry or strawberry flavor. They add some organic sugar to it, but it’s a small amount. This yogurt contains six active cultures with twice the protein of regular yogurt. I eat one of these 5.3oz cups most days after my morning workout.
3/15/11: Swim – 4 x 500yd intervals (2592 yd in 52:33)
3/15/11: Weights – Superset Series II Set x 4
3/16/11: Run – Hills in Aerobic HR zone (6.00 miles in 47:44)
3/16/11: Swim – TrainSmart Swim Group – 3150 yd in 1:07:29)
3/17/11: Bike– Big Gear Climbs (17 miles in 1:00:00)
3/17/11: Swim – 3 x circuit with accessories (1806 yd in 35:37)