I’ve been reading Slow Burn by Stu Mittleman. In it he talks about how to think, train and eat for the distance. He suggests you stay away from the usual carb laiden diet and instaed eat a diet based around protien, with healthy fats and low GI carbs to fuel you.
Here’s an excerpt from it (page 223):
‘Get energy quick schemes force you to rely on exogenous sources in the from of carbohydrates and sugary foods and drinks. While offering a quick burst of energy. these carbohydrate – dependant strategies direct you away from your body’s inherent energy and entrap you into a reliance on sugar. In effect, by eating large amounts of carbohydrates, you block the pathway to your body’s energy stores, which prevents you from accessnig your nearly infinite reserves of fat. You may experience an imediate energy ‘high’ from ingesting sugar based foods, but it is short lived and almost always followed by an energy ‘low’, which can only be uplifted by another hit of sugar. This alternation sets in motion a continuous, up and down cycle that is strung together by repeated doses of sugar ingestion and sugar cravings.
The way out of this cycle is to shift your thinking and your diet. Again, you never want to get into an energy needy state in the first place, which happens when you draw energy from the small fuel tank that is filled with sugar. The most powerful and dependable eating strategies steer you to eat to the fat filled fuel tank that can’t be emptied. The way you draw from this abundant ‘big’ tank is to minimise your consumption of insulin-inducing, sugar laden, carbohydrate rich meals deviod of fat, which destabalise your energy level and weaken you in the long run.
Start by eliminating dense,s tarchy, and wheat based carbs, such as muffins, bagels, cakes, breads, potatoes and pasta. Replace them with low glycemic foods such as green vegetables, fish, seeds, nuts, and plenty of water and high quality essential fatty acids such as olive, linseed (flax) and fish oil. You can supllement these foods with hugher glycemic foods such as rice, beans, sweet potatoes, carrots, and turnips as long as you remember to combine them with healthy oils such as olive oil or flaxseed oil and protiens such as fish, seeds, nuts and nut butters.
This strategy will keep your insulin levels low, blood sugar stable, and encourage your body to to access it’s own fat stores. By doing so, you, like the successful endurance athlete, can meet your primary objective, which is to create consistent, long lasting, health promoting energy that comes from fat. In the fat burning mode, you will possess the enduring energy and vitality to get moving and keep moving all hours of the day.
One final way to ensure you stay on this energy rich path is to borrow from the performance strategy of a multiday specialist, who never lets himself get to the point where he’s too tired to go anymore and is forced to break out of necessity. the endurance athlete remains in control by preemptively scheduling regular breaks. Apply this lesson to your eating strategy by organising small eating breaks spread evenly throughout the day, so that you never let yourself become famished and in dire need of food.’
Here’s the type of foods he recommends (to stay away from depending on carbs and sugar, and get your body relying on fat for an energy source):
Meals should be mainly based around protien, with essential fats and low glycemic carbs added. Stay away from starchy veg, high GI carbs, sweets and sugars.
Salad: plateful of cucumbers, brocolli or some steamed vegetables with pre cooked salmon and olive oil dressing or
Green Drink: Spinach, Kale, Cucumber, Fresh Parsley, Celery, Fresh Ginger or
Eggs on rye bread with salad or veg.
Large salad sprinkled with any of the following:
water soaked pumpkin / sunflower seeds and almonds, tofu, tuna, sardines or sliced eggs.
Add a fat burning dressing: olive oil and lemon juice (3 parts to 1) and crushed garlic.
Almonds, nuts, seeds, celery and nut butter, vegetables.
Fish and steamed veg, Chicken and veg, occasional red meat and veg,
Soups: chicken and rice, vegetable, sweet potato, lentil, split pea.
(vegetables instead of potato / bread).
Drink: Plenty of water and green tea, green vegeatable drink, avoid caffeine.
There we go… now I just need to find out what’s best to fuel me ON my runs (instead of the sugary power gels I used to use!). 🙂