Energize your body with real food

Every day there is a magazine, article, blog or book talking about the good, bad and ugly when it comes to food. In today's society, I worry that athletes are spending way too much energy worrying about what not to eat and consequently removing healthy foods from the diet, rather than focusing on what they can, should and need to eat in a real food diet.

To spend your energy focusing on what real food option you should not eat is not how you should be spending your time, money and energy. I'm so over athletes dissecting every food in the diet in terms of how bad the food is for the body.
Can we just make peace with real food?
So I ask....if you are currently overwhelming yourself with good vs bad food, how passionate are you for fueling your body in motion?
Are you currently sabotaging your health and performance because you are refusing to give yourself permission to eat certain foods that will energize your body?

I promise, unless you have an allergy or intolerance, nothing bad will happen if you eat a plain baked potato, eat a bean salad for lunch or enjoy a banana before a workout. 

It is within the food that we eat, that we fuel metabolic reactions. For us athletes, this is critical to using your body to perform at high levels.

When you restrict food, you restrict yourself from energy.
If you have a healthy relationship with food, you will understand that with every bite, you have the wonderful opportunity to provide energy for a chemical reaction to take place to move your body, to sustain activity, to help you recover and so much more!

Healthy eating is not limited to eating lots of fruits and veggies nor is it entirely focused on how much/little carbs, protein or fat you consume on a daily basis.

Healthy eating is fueling your body, protecting your body and nourishing your body.

Healthy eating is not just important for your overall well-being but as an athlete, it is vital for your performance and health.
If you do not spend energy appreciating, planning and consuming real food, rich in vitamins and minerals, do not expect your body to reach it's full athletic potential.

Restricting food increases your risk for nutrient deficiencies and poor energy to help you keep good form and energy during workouts. Additionally, an unhealthy diet (too much/too little) leads to injury, sickness and chronic conditions. If your body does not receive the nutrients that it needs, your body becomes weak and your risk for serious health issues increases. 

It is within your daily diet that you can maintain the energy that you need to follow your training plan. When your training volume and intensity increases, your diet should compliment this added training load. A nutrient rich diet not only helps you keep high energy levels during workouts and throughout the day but when your body is nourished, you will find yourself with better sleep, more focus/clarity and a better overall mood (less depression, moodiness, anxiety).

Fruits and veggies should be part of your daily "athlete" diet. I recommend to aim for 3 handfuls of dark leafy greens a day + at least 2 cups mixed veggies. For fruits, at least 3 handfuls of fruit per day.
As for your macronutrients, keep it simple by focusing on 3 meals and a few planned snacks throughout the day to meet your daily needs:
Carbohydrates - 3-8g/kg/day
Protein - 1.3-1.8g/kg/day
Fat - ~25-30% total calories

It does not matter what type of athlete you are to appreciate the goodness found in real food, knowing that you are meeting your metabolic needs.

Free yourself of food fears and make peace with food.
Enjoy your carbs, protein and fats and don't forget to eat your fruits and veggies.