I'm on a mission to help athletes learn how to have a better relationship with food. Far too many athletes have a dysfunctional relationship with food and this can create resistance to eat enough of the right foods, at the right times to meet training demands.
Labeling, worrying or feeling guilty about food makes it quite difficult to eat according to your personal dietary needs. Combine that with issues with your body image and you will constantly struggle to meet your health and energy needs.
Of course, I find great value when a recipe is labeled gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian or vegan, as I work with many athletes who need to follow a restricted diet (ex. personal, ethical, religious, medical, etc.) and this makes ingredient deciphering much easier. And let's be honest, 99.9% of the recipes on this blog are vegetarian because I am a vegetarian, so maybe you come to this blog to see vegetarian recipes (even if I don't label them as vegetarian).
It's unfortunate, but true, that many people need permission to eat something by a diet name.
Don't believe me......
How considerate. ✓ - Paleo approved foods
Whole Foods gives you permission to eat anything on this salad bar if you follow a Paleo diet. Since I don't follow a Paleo diet, am I allowed to eat from this salad bar? Is this salad bar healthier than the other salad bar? I see carrots but am I allowed to eat paleo carrots?
What makes carrot paleo?
Outside of the context of eating a restrictive diet, for the reasons I mentioned above, giving yourself permission to eat something simply because it doesn't fit into your "bad food" or "off limit" category is no way to foster a healthy relationship with food.
Take this quinoa pasta as an example.
If I titled my recipe "Gluten free pasta with sauteed veggies and tomato sauce" would you suddenly assume that I am endorsing this pasta as a more healthy option than the regular alternative?
What's makes it healthier if the calories, carbohydrates and protein content is relatively similar?
Because it's made from quinoa?
What about this pancake mix? Is it healthier because it's gluten free?
If Quinoa is on your good food list and gluten is on your bad food list, and you have no allergies or intolerance's to gluten, you are have created a list of bad foods, which limits your ability to eat a varied diet.
So does this strategy of eating according to a good food vs. bad food list work when it comes to improving your health or performance as an athletes?
In your quest to improving your relationship with food, unfortunately no, it doesn't help.
When you select foods simply based on a diet trend, you are learning to eat per food rules and not according to your own needs. A diet doesn't understand your physical needs and many times, a diet leaves a void in your life as it pertains to eating for pleasure. And with constant restriction comes the risk for overindulging.
With rules comes guilt if you break those rules.
With a diet, you create a style of eating that can not be broken, or else it causes frustration, anxiety, fear and failure.
It's time to stop the diet mentality.
I give your permission to eat without food rules.
So why did I select this quinoa pasta over regular pasta?
Well, why not? Isn't it fun to try new foods, made with different ingredients, to excite the taste buds and to make your tummy happy?
Quinoa pasta with sauteed veggies and tomato sauce
1 box quinoa pasta (or pasta of your choice)
Water, salt, oil for cooking pasta
1 small can tomato paste w/ garlic, oregano and basil (or add your own herbs)
1 medium yellow bell pepper (chopped)
1 small white onion (sliced)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
3. When veggies soften after a few minutes (toss frequently to evenly coat), add 1 can tomato pasta + 1 can water. Cover the veggies in the tomato paste.
You can also use tomato/marinara sauce.
.4. When pasta is finished cooking, drain and rinse under cold water. Reheat in microwave if necessary to bring pasta to your preferred temperature.
5. Dress your plate with pasta along with veggie filled sauce and top with shredded cheese.
Enjoy and don't forget to yum!