Our eating habits have evolved over the years into what they are today due to two different things:
Knowledge we’ve gained from sports science people we work with and our own personal research.
Paying attention to our bodies and what they tell us about the food we’re eating.
The years of gathering information have allowed us to settle on 6 main things that we know work for us and try to stick to. Here they are:
We need protein to help build and repair our muscles, which we’re constantly using and tearing up as speed/power athletes. Plus, muscle helps to burn fat. Protein also helps keep us full for longer, and sustains us throughout our workouts. Some of our favorite protein sources are: chicken, beef, turkey, pork, fish, beans, quinoa, lentils, nuts & seeds, chia & hemp, and Greek yogurt.
The low-fat craze is total crap and it’s one of our biggest pet peeves when people say that full fat stuff makes them gain weight. I can guarantee that if we’ve gained weight, it’s not from drinking a glass of whole milk instead of skim milk or eating Greek yogurt instead of low-fat yogurt, it’s probably because we’ve been to ‘Burger and a Brew’ one too many weeks in a row, or ordered the free refill sized popcorn at the movie theater. Full fat foods leave us feeling more satisfied as they still contain all of their nutrients, whereas low-fat foods have most of their nutrients taken out and leave you with the sugar (which turns to fat). We always buy full fat, plain Greek yogurt, whole milk, butter (we love the grass-fed Irish kind), and if we’re going to have bacon, we have bacon!
We only buy unprocessed, natural grains because they contain more protein, vitamins, healthy oils and fats, and fiber to keep us full for longer. Ashton LOVES pasta and used to eat platefuls of white noodles but would always get a bad stomach ache after. We switched to whole grain or brown rice pasta and that seemed to do the trick. We prefer quinoa and ezekiel bread because they are both complete proteins (contain all 9 essential amino acids), and switched to an oatmeal mixture that includes quinoa, amaranth, and millet. We’ll also regularly substitute sweet potatoes for regular potatoes (who doesn’t love sweet potato fries?!).
Let’s be honest, there aren’t many people who’s absolute favorite food are veggies and eat way too many of them. Most of the time we’re trying to figure out how to get more veggies into our diet. Our rule is: always have a serving of vegetables at lunch and dinner, and always substitute french fries or baked potatoes for side salads or steamed veggies when we’re eating out… Unless it’s the off-season.
It’s really hard to eliminate all sugar from a diet, so we try to limit it to natural sugar from fruit, honey, and maple syrup. Store bought sauces and dressings have a lot of added sugar, so we home make spaghetti sauces and oil/vinegar salad dressings as much as we can while monitoring how much BBQ sauce and ketchup we use. We try to treat fruit as a dessert but sometimes, a DQ Blizzard just sounds a lot better.
This one isn’t too hard for us as we’d both give up drinking a Frappuccino for a piece of cake any day. One exception is Ashton and orange juice. We only buy a bottle of OJ every second week so that he doesn’t drink so much of it. Other than that we like drinking fizzy water, which we squeeze fresh lemon juice into when we get sick of plain water. We have the occasional celebratory post-competition soda, rarely drink alcohol (maybe one glass of wine a week), and drink our coffee black.
We don’t maintain this diet all the time (we just like to think we do) but to help us stay on track, when we’re at home we usually cook our own food. We rarely eat out unless it’s a special occasion, and we NEVER eat at fast food restaurants. If we’re really in a pinch, we’d seek out a grocery store that has a salad bar or makes fresh sandwiches before ever stopping at a McDonalds.
We also try to keep bad food out of the house because, let’s be real, there are definitely days when we want to binge eat Sour Patch watermelon candies and delicious French pastries. And although sometimes we’re hankering for something so bad that getting off our butt and driving to the store to get it doesn’t stop us, a lot of the time it’s enough to make us forget about the craving.
We understand that our way of eating may be more expensive and time consuming. But we don’t view nutrition as an expense, we view it as an investment in our future and in our health.