Whats the best plan for surfing nutrition? The FDA food pyramid, the Atkins and South Beach diets, the RAVE food plan...so many choices. And there's a lot more to consider than just nutrition when it comes to food. There’s also cost, preparation, and, not to be forgotten, TASTE!
I just try to stick to a balanced diet and stay away from the grill. If you’re like me and most people, you’re not eating enough fruits and vegetables. The best way I’ve increased my intake is with a smoothie at least once a day. I used to use a juicer, but all the fiber was just going to waste. When I wake up, the first thing I do is drink two cups of coffee (I do have three kids). Then I have a breakfast smoothie.
Your surfing nutrition plan won’t matter if you don’t stick to it. I’ve tried the RAVE diet — no sugar, no caffeine, no animal products, no refined starches, and no oils. This plan is hardcore. Unfortunately, I snapped after a couple weeks and ran to the cafeteria for a Philly cheesesteak and other food not conducive to good surfing nutrition. The Atkins diet is a heart-attack waiting to happen and, like most diets, too restrictive and impossible to sustain for any length of time.
I invested in a kick-ass high-powered blender that pulverizes everything from carrots to nuts, so I get all sorts of strange things in there. I’ve included anything from spinach to watermelon in my smoothies, but a typical one contains the following: orange juice, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, frozen berries, ground flax seeds (for the Omega 3 fatty acids), and any other fresh fruits or veggies I have around that need to be used up. As long as you use orange juice as the base, you can put almost anything in there and it still tastes pretty good. Sometimes for a little boost of surfing nutrition before a surf I put some protein powder in there as well.
I used to just have the coffee, skip breakfast, and paddle out or get on with my activities of the day. I definitely feel better after the smoothie and have one every morning, regardless of the day’s activity. It has especially increased my fruit intake, as I usually don’t eat any.
I also try to eat more vegetables with every meal. An easy way is to always have vegetable snack trays on hand with some low-fat dip. The dip may not be the healthiest, but I definitely eat more vegetables this way. I still think it’s better than not eating any veggies.
I do eat a little meat but not as much as I used to and definitely fewer hamburgers and fries. But I must confess that if I am REALLY pressed for time, nothing beats the convenience of the unhealthy drive-thru. I wish there were more Subway drive thus because they have better options, but they’re never close to me. Avoiding take-out not only helps your health, but also your pocketbook. We save money by trying to cook at home as often as possible. We avoid the stress of cooking by keeping meals simple: whole wheat pasta with a side of broccoli, broiled salmon with asparagus, veggie burritos with a salad. For more tips about what to eat I recommend Total Surfing Fitness. It has some surprising information on fats and nutrition as well as a full exercise plan.
Since it’s hard to get everything we’re supposed to through our diet, I take some vitamins. I don’t go crazy and fill the shelves with them, I just stick to a few basics. I start with a good multivitamin every day. I also occasionally take some other nutrition supplements like 7-Keto and DHEA. At least one double blinded study (double blind studies are the scientific ones that usually mean it's legit) by The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Medicine show positive results. Subjects showed decreased steady sate plasma glucose levels and improved vascular and endothelial functions. Bottom line, it seems to help.
DHEA should be taken at night and 7-Keto should be taken at in the morning or at lunch because it could cause sleeplessness if taken close to bedtime. I emphasize SMALL (5 mg) doses of these nutrition supplements because I’m not that old (just over 35), and I’m still waiting for more research to come in on this stuff. For a little more surfing nutrition I take plant-based DHA, eat walnuts, and toss ground flax seeds in my smoothies.
Download this free smoothie ebook from my website-lots of good recipes for athletes
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