By: Bec Robertson
“Food, as it turns out, is not just calories, but information that radically influences our genes, hormones, immune system, brain chemistry, and event gut flora with a single bite.” Dr Mark Hyman MD, Eat Fat Get Thin
The body has eleven systems. They all work together in a complex network to create a unified whole. All of these systems rely on input from the external environment to function properly. Food is one of these environmental inputs that can have a huge impact on the whole system.
When we put our body under ‘load’, we need to support each system by providing the best possible input. An example of this is exercise, where we intentionally put the body systems under stress to improve fitness and strength. When we exercise, we need to eat well for optimum performance and recovery. This concept applies equally to adrenaline sports such as downhill mountain biking and snowboarding.
In the past, athletic and sports nutrition have over focused on high carbohydrate, low fat diets. However, this one size fits all approach may not work for all athletes or people with high exercise levels. If you are training at an elite level, working with an accredited Sports Dietitian is an essential tool for your performance and wellbeing. If you aren’t training at an elite level but still want to optimise your performance and wellbeing, experiment with good fats that support your body systems.
A perfect example of good fats is NUTS. Sports Dietitians Australia says “Nuts contain a range of nutrients important for daily health. Many of these same nutrients also enhance sporting performance and recovery”.
Finding ways to include nuts in your diet is a good way of boosting health fats and nutrients. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Olive Pesto (see recipe below)
- Vegan nut bars – my personal favourites are by Good Roots Feasting (pictured)
- Put a tablespoon of unsalted nut butter in your smoothie – my go to is cashew butter by VVMylk
- Add extra virgin olive oil to steamed or roasted vegetables, sprinkle raw almond pieces on top
- Add raw nuts (e.g almond, pecan, cashew) to chia seed porridge with fruit
Above all, don’t be afraid of good fats. For a long time, fats were shunned. But, they are important for proper functioning of our body systems. They also assist in having a harmonious relationship with food, which involves eating a variety of satisfying and nutritious wholefoods.
Olive Pesto Recipe
Here is the recipe for the herb olive pesto. This recipe makes a lot. It can be used as a dip, pasta sauce, pizza topping, over roast veggies etc. Anywhere that you want a herby olive flavour.
1 x bunch of fresh basil or parsley – washed
200mls of virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
2 cloves of fresh peeled garlic or half teaspoon of organic garlic powder (try Ceres Organics)
1 dessert spoon of apple cider vinegar
1 x 150gm of olives – pitted and chopped (I use Kiwi Artisan)
Juice of 1 large lemon
A few shavings of fresh lemon rind
Handful of raw nuts – either cashew or almond
Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until nearly smooth (a good texture to aim for is small crunch from the nuts).
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