What I Learned from a Sports Nutritionist
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
I just spent the past hour typing up a new blog to tell you what I learned from my session with a sports nutritionist. Somehow I hit a wrong key and lost everything. So, here I go again . . .
Reason for appointment: Increase protein intake; reduce or eliminate leg cramps; increase lean muscle mass.
Resources: 2-week nutrition report generated from the nutrition tracker and a 2-week activity report generated from fitness tracker. These are an invaluable resource.
What I learned:
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Sources: flax seed or oil, fish oil, cod liver oil (yeah, I made a face at this one, but it now comes in flavors like strawberry, lemon, orange). In my pre-school years my mother forced us to take a spoonful every day (Mommy Dearest??). I used to cry and fuss and throw a fit, but she always won this battle. Omega-3 is good for reducing inflammation, maintaining proper blood clotting, keeping cells fluid, reducing other dangerous fat in your bloodstream, prevents cancer cell growth. Don’t go without it. I’m adding 2 T of flax seed to cereal, yogurt, salad, etc. You can bake with it—use as substitute for some of the flour. The oil is good too, but without the benefit of fiber. Use it in salad dressings; it loses its benefits if it’s heated so you can’t cook or bake with it.
2. Protein. Increase to 69-90 g a day. I am waaayy under that. Eat at least 20 g per meal each day. It builds healthy tissue, transports substances in body fluids, has antibodies, aids in digestion, regulates hormones. Post heavy exercise—eat 10-20 g with 50-100 g carbs within 15 minutes. Continue every 2 hours until next meal. She also recommended protein powder as an easy way to get enough protein. But reports are coming out that there are unhealthy amounts of heavy metals in almost all of the brands that were tested if taken as recommended on the package. I’ll use powder only on occasion and only if it’s organic. Greek yogurt is an excellent source (yum!!).
3. Calories. Eat more – possibly as many as 1700 a day. More importantly, don’t focus on calories. Focus on getting the right balance of proteins/carbs/fats. The calories will take care of themselves. (I will do this with caution and a close eye on the scale.)
4. Vitamin D. Supplement diet with 2,000 IU daily now. Next dr. visit; get levels tested (specifically, D3). Many, many people are deficient or borderline. Vitamin D regulates calcium and is necessary for bone mineralization. Researchers are investigating the links between deficiency and diseases like lupus, diabetes, MS, depression and many more.
5. Magnesium. Consider taking a max. of 250 mg per day. Magnesium relaxes muscles, but that’s not the only thing it relaxes. In higher doses, it’s a laxative.
6. Calcium. Begin taking 1500 units of calcium citrate. Calcium citrate doesn’t require stomach acid to break it down for absorption so it can be taken any time of day. Take at least 2 hours before or after taking iron as they interfere with one another’s absorption.
7. Strength training. Continue. This, with more protein, will help grow a leaner physique.
8. Sweeteners. There are lots of substitutes—stevia, agave nectar, Whey Low, etc. She didn’t have a strong opinion about these since I eat very little processed food. She recommended I continue whatever I’m using now (mix of half stevia, half sugar or honey).
9. General diet. Continue eating fresh fruits and vegetables and lean sources of protein.
10. Iron. Continue with supplements.
I’ve already added the flax seed to my diet (yum--it has a slightly nutty flavor) and today I ate 77 g of protein. In fact, I’m going to have some dessert later tonight because I’m still a couple of hundred calories under goal. I may like these diet changes!
A lot of what I learned yesterday confirmed my confidence in the SparkBlogs and Articles. The nutritionist backed up a lot of the information I've gathered from SparkPeople.
And now I am headed out to take Daisy for a stroll around the neighborhood. She loves to strut her stuff after a day at the spa getting groomed.