First, let’s talk more about Pizza. Who doesn’t love pizza? Impossible, right. After my Friday night pizza session, I had another one on Sunday night as we had some friends over and ordered some pizza from Firezza nearby. Those guys make amazing pizza and you can buy them buy a metre. Literally. “Half a metre of margherita and half a metre of porcini, please.”
I had a large slice of one of those half a metre ones and as great as it was, on Monday morning I struggled at Crossfit with not much energy.
I find it so annoying when I have no energy to exercise because of something I ate. It’s because all the changes in my nutrition that I’ve made over the years have been because of fitness. Certain things just mess with my digestion and energy levels. At first (about 5 years ago when I first started running) I was really, really strict – no gluten whatsoever for a year or two because of my diagnosis of “IBS symptoms” (which turned out to be actually PND/anxiety symptoms), then no sugar whatsoever because I needed to get my hypoglycemic episodes under control also in order to be able to run properly, then no dairy whatsoever because my face was breaking out all the time.
For the past year I’ve been eating a little bit of everything again. I do feel though that if it’s more than a little bit of any of the items mentioned above, I feel it. Dairy, for example, no longer bothers my face as I got it under control with a course of topical antibiotics but it messes with my digestion very fast, one latte or a bit of plain yoghurt and I’m cramping. Hard cheese doesn’t do that, too bad I’m not really into cheese that much. It would be nice to have some milk in my coffee once a day or eat greek yoghurt daily, it’s delicious and has loads of protein.
Now sugar – sugar makes me sleepy in the afternoons, brings on these cold sweat/dizziness hypoglycemic episodes during running like it used to before I went sugar-free the first time and I swear it weakens my immune system because when I have even a bit of refined sugar daily, I get cold sores. For the few years I had no sugar (I still ate/eat honey, maple syrup, dates, etc.) I had no cold sores.
Gluten is a funny thing because not all of it upsets my stomach. Cheap baked goods definitely do, but it might be more the sugar than the gluten in it that affects me. Regular pizza definitely doesn’t agree with me but most pizza bases and sauce have sugar in it so it might be more the sugar again than gluten that my digestion doesn’t like. Gluten definitely zaps my energy though – I feel it in my running and in Crossfit.
In general I don’t believe in cutting out entire food groups from your diet unless you have a diagnosed allergy. However, I do believe in listening to your own body and not sabotaging it – if something you eat makes you feel less than amazing, I think it makes sense not to eat it.
I will therefore definitely have to give up most dairy again, with the exception of hard cheese. And cane sugar I will just try to consume from dark chocolate :) Gluten I can live without, especially since I’ve tried out Muscle Foods gluten free protein pizzas.
For carbs I’ll just start eating lots of sweet potatoes again and rice. That kind of a diet – high fat and protein with carbs from sweet potatoes and rice and lots of veg – makes me feel the best.
And a word about protein – I’m a bit over red meat for some reason and am loving Quorn products. I’m not sure I understand what exactly they’re made from, some kind of fungus? – but the ‘mince’, ‘roast chicken’ and ‘chicken nuggets’ taste really nice. So nice that even my kids who have great food-detective skills cannot figure out that the nuggets are not actually chicken.
In the same file called “Weird Things I Eat” – I’m a bit over chia and hemp seeds by now (so last season, don’t you think? ;), in fact I don’t really buy any superfoods anymore. I’m liking chicory/barley/dandelion “coffee”, nutritional yeast and seaweed flakes (those two you can chuck into spag bol, etc.). I’m taking fish oil and probiotics and have also started taking BCAAs before and after exercise.
In general I think my strategy from now on will be to eat mostly veg, protein and fat most of the time but the first meal after I work out will include carbs from potatoes or rice or quinoa or even spelt pasta and most definitely Battle Oats bars now and again.
Tweaking your nutrition to feel the best and to get stronger can be very complicated if you have the time and energy to focus on it. I don’t like weighing or measuring my food so I’ll just keep observing what works for me and keep updating my game plan as needed.