“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” 
~Buddha
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The most accurate barometer of a food’s nutritional value is its micronutrient density. SM -Meditation - 11.16-1

Our fixation with macronutrients – carbohydrate, fat and protein – and calories is excessive.

Consumption of a plant-based, whole foods diet eliminates the need to track grams, calories, portions or macronutrient percentages.

The World Health Organization [WHO] labels micronutrients as the “magic wands” that enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances essential for proper growth and development.

All vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants and carotenoids are classified as micronutrients.

Find below the minimum components vital to optimal endurance sports performance and wellness. Consume organic versions as often as possible.

~Alkaline-Forming Foods

These foods help balance the pH [potential hydrogen] level of your body. Maintaining a balanced pH [7.35] is an important part of peak health.

An acidic environment adversely affects health at the cellular level. Elevated acidity means elevated cortisol  – which impairs sleep quality, prolongs fatigue and promotes disease.

Consume chlorophyll-rich foods soon after snowshoeing to lower your cortisol level and assist in muscle recovery. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in vegetables that ensures cellular regeneration and red blood cell proliferation to maximize oxygen transport.

SM - leafy greens - 11.16Benefits:

  • Improves bone density/strength;
  • Improves muscle efficiency;
  • Reduces risk of disease;
  • Reduces inflammation

Sources:

  • All green vegetables;
  • Sea vegetables;
  • Algae

~Antioxidants

Snowshoeing requires energy, which requires oxygen, which causes oxidation and oxidation creates free radicals. Free radicals cause cellular degeneration and have been linked to cancer and other serious diseases.

Plants are the conduit transporting minerals in the soil to our bodies. It is vital to understand the connection between environmental health and the nutrient density of our food.

Antioxidants thwart the oxidation process. Consumption of vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium escort free radicals out of your body.SM - traffic light peppers

Benefits:

  • Enhances physical recovery;
  • Reduces risk of disease;
  • Protects cellular health;
  • Enhances elasticity of skin

Sources:

  • Colorful vegetables [think rainbow];
  • Dark-colored fruit; 
  • Berries;
  • Green tea

~Calcium

This mineral is important to the snowshoer’s rhythmic heartbeats and muscle contractions in addition to building, strengthening and repairing your bones. Calcium in your bloodstream is lost in sweat while you pulverize your quads in fresh powder.

Vitamin D maximizes calcium absorption. Snowshoe as often as possible because sunlight is your best vitamin D source.

Plants convert inorganic calcium in the soil to an organic useable form for your efficient body. Consuming acid-forming foods will weaken and deplete calcium reserves in your body.

Benefits:SM - kale

  • Improves muscle function and efficiency; 
  • Reduces risk of osteoporosis;
  • Improves bone strength

Sources:

  • Dark, leafy greens – spinach, kale, collard greens;
  • Unhulled sesame seeds;
  • Tahini

~Electrolytes

These essential mineral salts drawn from the soil regulate heartbeats, muscle contractions, nerve functions and fluid levels in your cells plus detoxification.

Like enzymes, electrolytes are often taken for granted until you suffer from muscle cramps, heart palpitations, light-headedness and lack of concentration.

Commercial brands of sports drinks contain unnecessary refined sugar, artificial flavors and colors among other additives. Commit to consuming foods as close to nature as possible.

Benefits:SM - Synergy2

  • Maintains hydration;
  • Ensures smooth muscle contractions;
  • Lowers heart rate;
  • Improves endurance;
  • Boosts mental clarity

Sources:

  • Coconut water;
  • Molasses;
  • Dulse and kelp;
  • Bananas;
  • Celery;
  • Tomatoes

~Essential Fats

Adequate intake of essential fatty acids [EFAs] will improve your endurance and overall health. Omega-3 and omega-6 represent the fatty acids which must be obtained from food.

EFAs primarily support cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems function, and can benefit sufferers from an array of ailments such as those listed below.

  • Diabetes;
  • Depression;
  • Breast, colon and prostate cancers;
  • Asthma;
  • Bipolar disorder;
  • Hypertension;
  • Heart disease;
  • High cholesterol;
  • Inflammatory bowel disease;
  • And more.

EFAs reduce inflammation, fight infection, repair and regenerate cells. The ideal ratio is 4:1 – four parts omega-6 to one part omega-3.SM - hemp seeds

Benefits:

  • Improves endurance;
  • Improves hydration;
  • Improves joint function;
  • Increases fat-burning capability 

Sources:

  • Sacha Inchi;
  • Chia;
  • Flaxseed;
  • Hemp

~Iron

Iron helps maintain cellular health so your heart can pump oxygen-rich blood to maximize efficacy and your snowshoeing. Iron plays an essential role in digestion, metabolism and circulation by constructing necessary blood proteins.

Iron is lost in sweat and muscle contractions. Incessant pounding of our feet during trail running or snowshoeing causes red blood cells to break down.

This depletes your iron reserves but proper recovery and the abundance of plant-based iron sources will replenish your iron level. Supplementation is dangerous and jam-packed with side effects.

Benefits:SM - kale2

  • Improves oxygen flow;
  • Increases stamina; 
  • Enhances energy

Sources:

  • Pumpkin seeds;
  • Leafy greens – especially kale

~Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients [phytochemicals] are plant compounds that produce health benefits independent of its nutritional value. Phytonutrients are a specific form of antioxidant that improves vitality and quality of life.

Phytonutrients act as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents in your body. Phytonutrients bolster cardiovascular health by mitigating blood vessel wall damage, reducing clot and platelet formation and decreases blood cholesterol level among other functions.

Enhanced blood vessel elasticity improves blood flow through your heart; ultimately, oxygen-rich blood cells improve your snowshoeing.

Fruits and vegetables are best eaten raw because phytonutrient effectiveness is reduced during processing. Every type of fruit and vegetable has phytochemicals – consume plentiful amounts daily.SM - organic berries

Benefits:

  • Improves heart health;
  • Reduces cardiovascular disease;
  • Improves circulation

Sources:

  • Colorful and green vegetables;
  • Dark, leafy greens;
  • Cruciferous vegetables;
  • Blue/purple berries;

~Raw Food

Cooking food at high temperatures and processing food destroys enzymes and nutrients required for efficient digestion. The popularity of sugar and fat cooked at high temperatures provoke inflammation and other immune system responses.

The energy draw your body imparts to produce enzymes to aid digestion is counterproductive and stressful. SM - Synergy

Benefits:

  • Improves digestibility;
  • Increased vitamin content and absorption;
  • High net-gain energy food sources 

Sources:

  • Fruits;
  • Vegetables;
  • Nuts;
  • Seeds;

A raw-based diet [75-80%] supplemented by low-temperature cooked foods [amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa…] will provide nourishment [not stimulation[ via alkaline-forming foods.

Think of your food choices as small investments expected to yield large [high net-gain] returns with the micronutrient value to energize your body…and keep your mind strong and clear.

SM - 11.16-2

 

 

 

 

 

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Sources:

~“The Thrive Diet” by Brendan Brazier http://www.thethrivediet.com;

~“On Nutrition and Physical Performance” by Dr. Douglas N. Graham http://www.foodnsport.com;

~“Guide to Sports Nutrition” by OrganicAthlete / Bradley Saul – President http://www.organicathlete.org;

~The Plant-Based Dietitian / Julieanna Hever MS, RD, CPT http://www.plantbaseddietitian.com;

~Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine http://www.pcrm.org

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Jeff Kildahl

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Jeff Kildahl is an author, consultant, endurance athlete, and philanthropist advancing preventive health care by synthesizing primary source nutrition and fitness as the principal components of the practice of medicine.

Kildahl is a sponsored vegan ultra-endurance athlete credentialed in bioenergetics, biomechanics, metabolic efficiency™ testing, sport nutrition, and natural medicine. He is a dynamic member of CUBE™ ~ a professional speakers group ~ empowering others to harmonize the "Keys to Living in the Song of Life."

He is the wellness editor at Snowshoe Magazine, United States Snowshoe Association columnist, and contributor to health, fitness and wellness sites, blogs and publications.

Kildahl is the creator and president of The Wholistic Edge® ~ a visionary firm providing synergistic solutions to transcend health, performance, and potential in life and sport from the inside out via the principles of Performance Medicine™ ~ http://thewholisticedge.com.