The stereotypical snow-bum lifestyle — at least that which is broadcasted or otherwise publicized — leads people to believe that all skiers and snowboarders need to continuously shred two-feet of fresh is a diet of ramen noodles, beer, and pizza. While some might be able to pull this off, or say they’re able to, I call bullshit. It’s a challenge that is better left un-explored, unless you’re into tapping out half way through the day. For those of you who actually dream of the white room, bask in the glory of waist-deep tree runs, long for snowy pillow fights, and ultimately give a damn about showing up to choke on powder, then your diet needs to be a whole lot more than fast food and booze.
Snowboarding is a sport and the body requires energy to follow through with the motions. It is reliant on three energy systems: anaerobic metabolism, or short explosive energy; anaerobic glycolysis, or powerful activities at peak levels; and aerobic metabolism, or prolonged endurance activities. Collectively, these energy masterminds require carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to allow for muscular stamina, power, mental alertness, balance, and everything else in between.
But that doesn’t mean any combinations of those “requirements” is good. The delivering agents of the above nutrients are definitely important here! A slice of $2 pizza has carbs and protein and fats, correct. However, these are chauffeurs of empty calories. Would you fill your truck with tainted mystery fuel to save a buck or two? If you answered yes, then you are probably somewhere on the side of the road — cold, frustrated, and hungry. Our bodies are our engines, and they need 94-octane to perform at optimal levels.
94 octane’s key components consist of two 2-word combos: eat clean and whole foods. The list of options is endless, and if you have the internet to read this, then you likely close to a grocery store where you ought to be able to cruise over and stock up on the myriad of nutrient dense in deliverables. What do I stock up on? Here are my favorite six foods to help you rip and recover.
Rolled oats are low on the glycemic index and good source of protein. This means that the rate at which carbohydrates are present in the oats, they raise blood sugar while consequent insulin is low — this results in a longer sense of satiety and keeps energy levels neutral. They are also a solid source of B-vitamins, which are contributors to stress management and energy production. Additionally, they are a good source of zinc, which plays a role in immune function. They are easy on the wallet, too! Start your day off with a classic bowl of oatmeal and add in some nuts, shredded coconut, cinnamon, and a banana. Dessert for breakfast? Heck yeah!
Little blue badass fiber rich gems. They come in at the top on the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) score of fresh fruits. They literally drop-kick free radicals and oxidative stress that generate within the body during strenuous physical activity or from other external environmental factors. Another fun fact: the “dye” that makes them the color blue has been shown to improve memory, balance, and coordination. Effortlessly fit them into your plate-to-mouth regime in a smoothie, in with the above oats, or mix them up with some yogurt, fresh or frozen.
Potatoes get a bad rap among the fad diet creators. The word “sweet” has an even worse reputation among the relentless gossip of the wannabe skinny bitches. But combined, sweet and potato are a nutrient provider that may be an optimal nutrient resource for athletes. They are low on the glycemic index (see above for GI explanation) and a good source of iron. Contrarily, they are high in vitamins C and E, vitamins which prevent cell damage in athletes competing in extreme environments such as altitude, heat, cold, and pollution. And here’s one more reason to put them in your mouth: they enhance muscle recovery after intense training. Relish in the sweetness of the twice removed distant cousin that is the sweet potato by shredding some in with your scrambled eggs, making a sweet potato pancake, baking some in with your oatmeal, or roasting up some wedges in the oven.
Happiness should be sprinkled on everything first; chia seeds, second. Introducing chia seeds into your diet won’t stop the wars overseas, but they will fight the war raging on inside your body, protecting your health. These nutrient-dense little seeds are rich in antioxidants, high in calcium, iron, and protein. They contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and have hydrophilic (water-loving) properties. They have been show to absorb more than 12 times their weight in water, therefore increasing hydration. This ability to hold in moisture helps the body regulate and facilitate absorption of other nutrients. Sprinkle them on your salads, soak them with your over-night oats, add them to smoothies, and add a tablespoon to your oatmeal.
Fish are our friends and good for your heart. It’s important that you opt for the fresh sort, not farmed — these fish are packed with Omega 3 fatty acids, fats that have been shown to increase heart stroke volume (amount of blood that heart pumps with each contraction) and cardiac output (total amount of blood pumped by the heart). Treat your heart and taste buds and toss it on the BBQ, add to your eggs, or nosh on some salmon jerky on the go.
These fine fruits are more than just a nacho dip add-on at your local sports bar. They are packed with fat, the good kinds: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. These fats promote lean muscle growth and keep you satiated longer. They contain 20 different vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, including beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B6. They win the potassium war against bananas with more than 60% and a butt-load of magnesium which an important contributor for proper cell and muscle function. Their versatility makes them a no-brainer for inviting to the food party. Add them in with smoothies for a creamy texture, sub the mayo out for a sandwich spread, or just eat them straight up with little salsa or S&P.
Remember always eat fresh and organic. If you want to stay in the powder fields all day, add these whole foods to your diet.