Diver­si­fy­ing the Run­ner’s Diet RECIPE Tomato Sar­dine Toasts

Canadian Running - - FEATURES - By Matthew Kadey

As a health-savvy run­ner, you prob­a­bly al­ready know that swap­ping out re­fined grains for whole ver­sions, eat­ing more crunchy sal­ads and spend­ing less time in the drive-thru lane are all im­por­tant di­etary steps you can take for bet­ter over­all health and run­ning per­for­mance, not to men­tion keep­ing the num­bers on the scale from creep­ing up­wards. But there are plenty of other less cel­e­brated ways that you can make this the year when you eat bet­ter than ever. And, mer­ci­fully, they don’t re­quire set­tling for caulif lower pizza crust or the need to drink gal­lons of bone broth. Im­ple­ment these no-fuss, science-backed eat­ing strate­gies and you can ex­pect to en­joy new f lavours, feel more en­er­gized and say say­onara to those pesky few ex­tra pounds.

Em­brace the New

If your typ­i­cal diet is as ex­cit­ing as pasta with red sauce, it’s time to ex­pand your culi­nary hori­zons. A re­cent study in the Jour­nal of Nu­tri­tion dis­cov­ered that peo­ple who ate a greater va­ri­ety of healthy foods tended to be slim­mer. Sim­i­larly, a Cor­nell Univer­sity study found that in­di­vid­u­als who were more ad­ven­tur­ous eaters (yum, pick­led her­ring!) tended to fo­cus more on healthy eat­ing habits and stay­ing phys­i­cally ac­tive. Eat­ing a greater range of nu­tri­tious ed­i­bles makes it less likely you’ll be­come bored with a healthy diet and, in turn, more likely you’ll stick to it. So make your next trip to the gro­cery store (or farmer’s mar­ket) more of an ad­ven­ture by pick­ing up one or two un­fa­mil­iar items to make your diet a taste bud party. Beef heart and ama­ranth, any­one?

Walk It Off

Even if you’re run­ning your butt off, it’s still a good idea to take reg­u­lar walks, es­pe­cially af­ter meals. A 2016 study from New Zealand dis­cov­ered that the sim­ple task of walk­ing 10 min­utes af­ter meals can sig­nif­i­cantly lower post-nosh blood sugar lev­els. An­other study shows that walk­ing up and down stairs for a mere three min­utes af­ter a meal can re­duce blood sugar num­bers. Any sort of mus­cu­lar con­trac­tion can help draw sugar (glu­cose) from the blood into work­ing mus­cle. Be­yond slash­ing the risk for di­a­betes, im­proved blood sugar con­trol can make it eas­ier to shed any ex­tra fat stores and also im­prove en­ergy lev­els. And if you’re prone to crav­ings for sug­ary foods, take heed of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the jour­nal PloS One which found that a 15-minute brisk walk af­ter a meal can be enough to quell urges for sug­ary snacks.

Ditch the Fat-Free Dairy

It ’s off ic ial, the ex­per­i­ment with watery skim milk, rub­bery low-fat cheese and zero per cent yo­gurt is a f lop. The most cur­rent re­search shows that eat­ing full-fat dairy is not guar­an­teed to have waist­line reper­cus­sions. In fact, an Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Nu­tri­tion study re­ported a greater in­take of high-fat dairy prod­ucts, but not the in­take of low-fat dairy foods, was as­so­ci­ated with an eight per cent less risk of weight gain over an 11-year pe­riod among more than 18,000 sub­jects. You see, fat­free dairy is miss­ing a key fac­tor in the bat­tle of the bulge: hunger-fight­ing fat. So by keep­ing you feel­ing sat­is­fied for longer, a bowl of two per cent yo­gurt or ce­real doused in whole milk may re­duce over­all calo­rie in­take.

Front Load Your Calo­ries

It might be time to fol­low the sage ad­vice: “eat break­fast like a king, lunch like a prince, and din­ner like a pau­per.” Many peo­ple eat their big­gest meal of the day at din­ner, but re­search sug­gests it might be a bet­ter idea to swing the calo­rie bal­ance to ear­lier on. A study in the jour­nal Obe­sity dis­cov­ered that sub­jects who con­sumed more of their calo­ries at break­fast ( 700 calo­rie break­fast, 500 lunch, 200 din­ner) ex­pe­ri­enced greater fat loss around their waist­lines than those who skewed their calo­rie in­take to­wards din­ner (200 calo­rie break­fast, 500 calo­rie lunch, 700 calo­rie din­ner). It could be that we burn off

more of the calo­ries con­sumed ear­lier in the day when our me­tab­o­lism is higher. In­sulin sen­si­tiv­ity may also fall as the day progress, so there is a greater chance car­bo­hy­drates con­sumed later in the day will get stocked away in fat stores.

Spill the Beans

The United Na­tions hailed 2016 as the In­ter­na­tional Year of Pulses. So make 2017 the year you fi­nally eat more nu­tri­tion­ally over­achiev­ing pulses like beans. Data shows that in­di­vid­u­als who in­fuse their di­ets with more beans have an eas­ier time achiev­ing and main­tain­ing health­ier body weights. That’s be­cause beans are an ex­cel­lent source of plant-based pro­tein and di­etary fi­bre, both of which can fill peo­ple up on fewer calo­ries. What’s more, a 2016 study in JAMA In­ter­nal Medicine de­ter­mined that a higher in­take of plant-based pro­tein is as­so­ci­ated with a lower mor­tal­ity rate from dis­ease com­pared to eat­ing more pro­tein gleaned from an­i­mals.

Take Counter Mea­sures

The type of foods you have out in the open in your kitchen can play a huge big role in how healthy you eat and any weight loss ef­forts. A Cor­nell Univer­sity study showed that peo­ple who left snack-style foods like boxed ce­real and soda out on their coun­ter­tops were up to 26 lb. heav­ier than those who stashed these items out of sight, or didn’t have them in the house at all. On the f lip­side, sub­jects who kept a bowl of fruit vis­i­ble in the kitchen weighed on av­er­age 13 lb. less than those who didn’t. It comes down to eat­ing what is eas­i­est to get at when the hunger mon­ster strikes, and if that hap­pens to be nu­tri­tious grub like fruit or cut-up veg­eta­bles placed in a bowl on the coun­ter­top or a vis­i­ble place in the fridge you’ll net more nu­tri­ents and keep your in­take of higher calo­rie pro­cessed foods to a min­i­mum.

Stop Cheat­ing in Mod­er­a­tion

A much vo­cal­ized piece of di­et­ing ad­vice is to eat “ev­ery­thing in mod­er­a­tion.” But re­search now shows that many of us have a skewed sense of what “mod­er­a­tion” ac­tu­ally means. It turns out that what most peo­ple de­fine as a “mod­er­ate” serv­ing is larger than what they be­lieve they “should” eat. So in other words, if you eat cho­co­late chip cook­ies in mod­er­a­tion you may end up eat­ing more than what’s ac­tu­ally a rea­son­able serv­ing size. It all comes down to peo­ple em­brac­ing the ad­vice to eat cheat foods in mod­er­a­tion as a li­cense to stuff more in. Be­cause mod­er­a­tion is such a vague con­cept, you’ll be bet­ter served fol­low­ing more con­crete eat­ing guide­lines such as rel­e­gat­ing only 10 per cent of your daily calo­ries to guilty plea­sures.

Reel-in Stinky Fish

It’s time to toss farmed salmon and chem­i­cal-laced Asian shrimp over­board and cast your line for more nu­tri­tious and ocean-friendly swim­mers – even if they’re a bit odor­ous. An­chovies, sar­dines, mack­erel, and her­ring – oth­er­wise known as “stinky” fish – are some of the most nu­tri­ent-packed and sus­tain­able op­tions avail­able from the fish­mon­ger. For starters, you’ll net plenty of heart-healthy omega-3 fats as well as hard-to-get vi­ta­min D to help build bones of steel. They’re also loaded with mus­cle-build­ing pro­tein and for the most part are har­vested us­ing less de­struc­tive meth­ods that main­tain healthy wild pop­u­la­tions. Plus, drop­ping smoked mack­erel or a tin of sar­dines into your gro­cery cart in­stead of more ex­pen­sive pro­tein op­tions like salmon, chicken breast or steak can help keep your food bud­get un­der con­trol. Matthew Kadey is a James Beard Award-win­ning food writer and reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to Cana­dian Run­ning.

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