Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nutrition For Adventurers… Pt. 1 – Pre-Adventure Nutrition…

Copyright 2012 - Human Spirit of Adventure

Proper nutrition is essential for any adventurer. Spending hours, days, or even weeks on the trail can take a major toll on the body. Hiking, backpacking, skiing, climbing, and many other adventure sports require the body to spend its reserves to keep pushing through the tough times.

In this series, we will be discussing various ways to keep the body nourished both prior to your adventure and during.

Proper nutrition and body preparation starts at home long before your adventure begins. We all know that exercise and keeping the body conditioned is essential, but most of us lack on the proper diet. Eating right, if not your everyday thing, should become a priority during the months leading up to your adventure.

To gear your body, you should take in the proper amounts of protein, carbs, and fats… yes, fats. Fat is what you want your body to feed from when it goes into the reserves. If your fat content is too low, the body will begin to burn its lean muscle (after all, muscle is nutritious).

One area where people have a common failing is getting the proper amounts of fruits and vegetables in their diets. The old adage of “5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day” is no longer adequate says the medical guru’s. According to the CDC, Adults need anywhere from 7-13 cups of produce daily to get all the health benefits of fruits and vegetables -- including possible protection against obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

I know what you’re saying… “How am I going to fit 7 to 13 cups of fruit or vegetables into my diet?”

The best way that I have found to do this is to drink my fruits and eat my vegetables. That’s right… I eat my vegetables like cucumbers, squash, carrots, etc. as their regular chunky and crunchy selves, but I drink my fruits. No, I’m not talking about buying expensive fruit juices, loaded with extra sugars either… I make non-dairy smoothies.

Smoothies are an easy way to get the servings down because it is far easier to drink than to eat. Now I’m not talking about buying those wallet-draining, calorie-loaded, sugar-filled, smoothies from Whole Foods or somewhere like that. I make mine right at home using whole fruits bought from the local market, tossing them into the blender, adding a little water, and viola… a perfect non-dairy smoothie.

Copyright 2012 - Human Spirit of Adventure
Here is one of my favorite recipes:
½ cup of blueberries
½ cup of raspberries
½ cup of blackberries
1 cup of grapes
1 large banana
1 large orange
3 cups water

Blend or puree to desired consistency. Leave in the pulp for needed fiber

It's important to eat a rainbow of colored fruits and vegetables every day. The pigments act as antioxidants -- helping to rid your body of "free radicals," that can damage cells.

This blended smoothie yields about eight servings of fruit… if you drink half today, along with the hard veggies at your regular meals, then you have it made and didn’t have to overstuff your gut to do it.
So in your preparations for your next adventure, remember to eat right, get all of your fruits and veggies, and get strong. So go make yourself a smoothie and enjoy!

Next: Fruit on the trail