Plants Fuel Olympic Champions! Eating for Fitness
Carl Lewis, a vegan athlete, won 10 Olympic medals, including 9 golds competing for the US in a career that spanned from 1979 to 1996. Carl is one of many in the list of top athletes who consume a primarily plant based diet; this helps to dispel the myth that muscles, strength and endurance require the consumption of large quantities of animal-based foods.
You don’t have to become a vegetarian to enjoy the taste and benefits of food without meat. Our consumption of meat and animal produce has increased dramatically over the last 50 years due the availability of cheap meat. Unfortunately, this comes with a hidden cost; the poor quality of the meat we consume. Intensive farming methods necessitate injecting animals with anti-biotics and other medications to keep them alive in unnaturally overcrowded conditions. These drugs are often still present in the meat when consumed by the public. Organic and high welfare meats do not carry these residues.
A healthy guide is to eat 2-3 portions of meat and 2-3 portions of fish per week, making a total of about 5 meals. By reducing the quantity of the meat we consume we can afford to buy better quality, organic and free range.
- Start the day with hot water and something fresh, for example fresh fruit, sprouted seeds or fresh vegetable juices. These cleanse wastes from the body and provide vitality packed nutrients and antioxidant vitamins (preventing cell damage and death).
- Make breakfast a substantial meal to ensure energy is better sustained. Try porridge made with soya milk and honey, homemade muesli with natural yoghurt and maple syrup or get out your hand blender and whiz up a fresh fruit smoothie and eat with a handful of nuts and seeds.
- Don’t drink with your meals as this dilutes the digestive fluids, thus reducing the efficiency of the digestive process.
- Avoid over eating which can make you feel lethargic and bloated. Eat enough to feel satisfied but not full, allowing the digestion to work at its optimum. The signals for hunger and thirst in the brain’s hypothalamus are very close and are often confused. Try drinking a glass of water half an hour before eating a meal, thereby ensuring that your thirst is quenched and you do not feel compelled to eat more than necessary.
The digestive system must be working effectively to reap the benefits of energising foods. At The Herbal Clinic we have great success treating digestive complaints by establishing the underlying cause for each individual and preparing herbal medicines unique to each case.
An example of a herb that has beneficial effects on the digestion is Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel), which gently stimulates the digestive secretions and reduces bloating. This herb can also be used to curb the appetite as part of a weight loss program. Centaurium erythraea (Centaury) is a herb with bitter qualities, useful for stomach and liver weakness.
Examination of the iris may reveal a ring close to the pupil, indicating a weakness of the stomach zone, including the stomach enzymes and hydrochloric acid. The colour white in this area corresponds to over activity and brown is the result of under activity.
Extracted from a weekly radio broadcast 2010 ©
Meilyr James BSc (Hons) DBTh DAcu AcuC DIr MGNI.
Registered Medical Herbalist, Iridologist and Acupuncturist
The Herbal Clinic in Swansea provides natural healthcare with the use of organic herbs, acupuncture and iridology.