Most runners eventually conclude that good nutrition is a vital part of their quest to improve performance. In the spirit of full disclosure I must admit to eating poorly at times, having a glass of Champagne on occasion, too much cheese. I love bread, and I shudder at the thought of eating many of the most nutritious vegetables. Eating a healthy diet is a chore for me and always has been.
Because of this struggle with my diet, I have been reluctant to tell you what I do know. This an article about what is true, not how I actually live. It is an ideal scene, which I aspire to.
In my youth, a most inspiring lecture about eating healthy came from a man who knew nothing of science. He was a practically illiterate logger, a brawny Native American with whom I had shared quiet moments eating out of a workman’s lunchbox. One day after he watched me wolf down my baloney and cheese on white bread sandwich, the silence broke and this is what he had to say:
It is best to eat food that comes from mother earth, earth that has been given water from the sky of wonder, and the power of the sun. And there must be seeds that have within them the secret forces of life that cause plants to spring forth and offer their fruit. When you eat that fruit your body knows how to take it apart in tiny pieces. Those are the parts you need to nourish your strength. Your body also knows how to find the life forces of the seeds and absorb it into you. When you eat this kind of food, that life force becomes part of you. I want to eat a Salmon. It is a fish that is born of the rivers and swim to the sea on a great adventure. It can swim thousands of miles and at the end of it’s life, spends all of its energy to return to the very spot from where it was born. I want to have within me the great spirit of that fish.
What this man had to say is a simple guidepost from which you can gauge the quality of your nutrition. How do you measure up to this standard?
Dr. Steve Smith