Written by guest blogger, Kim Mueller, MS, RD, CSSD.
Considering trying a cleanse diet, aka “detox diet”? You may think twice about it after results from a clinical review of data conducted at Georgetown University School of Medicine failed to demonstrate ANY of the purported benefits including weight loss and enhanced energy. Furthermore, in many cases, the client experienced symptoms detrimental to their well-being and performance such as abdominal pain, muscle cramping, nausea, and in more severe cases electrolyte imbalances, kidney failure, and liver problems.
So, instead of trying something so drastic and short-term, why not adopt a healthy lifestyle change that incorporates clean eating? Registered Dietitian, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, elite athlete and owner of Fuel Factor Nutrition Coaching (www.Fuel-Factor.com), Kim Mueller, recommends the following 5 tips for clean eating:
1. Stick to foods that contain shorter and recognizable ingredient lists. If you can’t carry the ingredient in your own kitchen, you probably don’t want to be eating it. Processed foods, which sadly make up the bulk of most inner aisle grocery shelves, contain chemicals and preservatives that are designed to enhance the shelf life of the food, not the human body.
2. Boost the color (aka, fruits and vegetables) in your diet by aiming for at least 1, preferably 2, servings from each color of the rainbow each day. Frozen and canned products are ok, just stick to the unsweetened versions. Consider choosing organic for the following pesticide-ridden foods: apples, celery, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, spinach, kale, lettuce, nectarines, grapes, bell peppers, and potatoes. The pigments found in fruits and vegetables carry strong anti-inflammatory properties that can help ward of disease and enhance recovery.
3. Stay hydrated by sipping on fluids so that urine runs a pale or straw-like yellow. The body just doesn’t function at peak when deprived of water. Not a fan of water? Try adding a splash of 100% juice to your water for a bit of flavor.
4. Focus more on plant proteins such as edamame (green soybeans), lentils, beans (all varieties), quinoa, nuts, and seeds. The American diet, as a whole, is focused way too much on animal
proteins and not surprisingly, our rates of heart disease, obesity, metabolic disorder, and so on seem to surpass the majority of the world’s population year in and year out. Even on heavy training days, most athletes need not exceed ½-3/4 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Aim to make at least half of these grams plant-based.
5. Add more probiotics to your diet. Probiotics are live micro-organisms found naturally within the digestive tract that, when maintained at adequate levels, help support intestinal health and enhance immune function. Most probiotics are of bacterial nature, thus the nickname “friendly bacteria”, and originate from the Lactobacillus (lactic acid bacteria, LAB, L.) or Bifidobacterium (B.) family, and can be found in such foods as yogurt, kefir, and cultured milk products and beverages.
Want more tips to help improve your health and performance? Kim Mueller, MS, RD, CSSD, owner of Fuel Factor Nutrition Coaching (www.Fuel-Factor.com), is a Registered Dietitian, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Nutrition, & Exercise Physiologist who provides nutrition coaching, race nutrition guidance, and customized meal and planning to active individuals worldwide. She is also an accomplished runner with a 2:52 marathon PR.
Contact Kim at [email protected] to schedule your complimentary initial 30 minute consultation.