Welcome to the Fuel for Fall Performance Nutrition Challenge Blog. This week is about macro-nutrients. There are three macro-nutrients: protein, fat and carbohydrates. We will try to understand better how you can get the results you want by adjusting the quality, quantity, ratios and timing of your macro-nutrients.
Your daily bonus challenge for Wednesday, November 26th has to do with carbohydrate, it’s quality, quantity and timing. The challenge is to read this guide to carbohydrate dense paleo foods. It gives you an idea of where you can get more carbs to fuel your performance in a paleo type diet. Leafy green vegetables are very high in nutrients and low in carbohydrates, so you do not need to restrict their intake, even if you are trying to lean out, whereas the sources indicated in the document can be considered healthy paleo dietary carb sources. Fruit is nutritious paleo source of carbohydrate, though not as useful from a workout recovery perspective and there are people who don’t do so well on a lot of fructose. Grains, sugar and alcohol are other sources of carbohydrate that we are looking to minimize for this challenge due to a variety of issues such as quality and digestion. To earn your bonus point today, you will need to make at least one of the following strategic adjustments to your carbohydrate intake :
* If you chose fat loss or weight loss as one of your goals and if you are an endomorph body type, switch all your carbohydrate portions to leafy green or colourful vegetables, except for your post workout meal, which can be one of the denser sources of carbs indicated in the guide above.
* If you chose adding muscle mass or if your body type was ectomorph, add at least one, ideally several more carbohydrate portions to your day, and make several of those portions carb sources indicated in the guide above. If you fit this category, you may also add a portion of white rice or gluten free oats if you know that you are not sensitive to those foods.
* If you chose general health and performance as your goal, try adding extra carb dense foods in your post workout or at your evening meal or both. Make sure your morning meals have plenty of healthy fats.
Note that the type and quantity of carbohydrates can also have significant impact on general health:
* If you chose digestion/allergies/food sensitivities OR inflammation/chronic pain/injury management as your main health concern, the carb recommendations will be similar. You will want to make sure that all your fruits and vegetables are peeled and cooked. In addition avoid raw fruits and veggies as well as nightshades such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.
* If you chose sleep/stress/mood/cognition as your main health concern, you will need to work on the timing of your carb intake. Find the time of day when you feel the most stressed out or the least sharp, then go back to the previous meal and adjust to a lower carb intake for that meal. This might mean switching from a denser source to leafy greens for that meal and making up the difference in protein and healthy fats. You may then take that portion of carb dense veggies and add it instead to your evening meal or bedtime snack to see if it will help your sleep and recovery.
Carefully note how these adjustments affects your appetite, mood and recovery, as you may choose to keep this up for the rest of the week if it feels good.