Thursday, May 1, 2008

Nutrition

When it comes to food, I am a southern Louisiana boy through and through.

I like crawfish. I like fried crawfish. I like fried crawfish mopped through buttery etouffee sauce. After fried hush puppies. And a cup of gumbo. With a side of cheesy seafood fettucini. With a big draft beer. Before a rich dessert like bananas foster. And a nightcap. And fried beignets the next morning. With creamy cafe-au-lait. And lots of sugar.

I make no excuses for liking these foods. In fact, I love them. It's what I grew up on - it's ingrained into me. I have no desire to ever remove these foods from my diet. To do so would be nearly impossible, as it's so much a part of our Cajun culture. Call it denial. Call it self-destructive behavior. Call it what you want - they stay.

In moderation, of course, and countered with exercise, but they stay.

As a physician, I see what poor nutrition habits can do to a body. The obesity epidemic is real, and the prevalence of obesity-related illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc., is staggering. A poor diet, coupled with physical inactivity, can be devastating. And we're not just talking about morbid obesity, either. We know that carrying around as little as 15-20 extra pounds in visceral fat long-term can be very damaging, also.

I've decided to study nutrition, especially as it relates to my full distance Ironman. As a physician, I feel I have a lot to learn and a lot of opportunities to share what I learn. Weight management is an important part of nutrition and a big motivator of people monitoring their eating patterns. But I'm more interested in how my diet affects so many other things in my life other than my weight - cancer prevention, energy levels during the day/during tri events, moods, arthritis, life longevity, mentation, etc.

I would also like to focus on triathlon/endurance sports nutrition so that I can try to optimize my performance in November at Ironman Florida. It seems like nutrition is so important to get right for good performance at an endurance event, yet so many get it wrong and tank. Why is that? I'd like to study the mistakes people make so that I don't make them, too.

I'm really not looking for major changes in my diet. We all know that major changes in behavior don't usually stick anyway. What I am looking for is easy, small changes I can make that will possibly help me live a longer, healthier, happier life. Why not?

I am a physician, but I am no expert in nutrition. I will study nutrition and share what I learn in my future posts, or as my future posts. If you have any burning questions about general nutrition or nutrition in endurance sports, let me know - I'll look it up for you.

Right after I eat my big bowl of Blue Bell ice cream. With chocolate syrup. And crushed Oreos.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

i wasn't hungry til i read this - yummy entry! Thanks Cha!
xo Ca

Jade Lady said...

I don't think I've ever tried crawfish! Guess, I've been missing out!

This country is getting worse in terms of obesity. When I went on a cruise a few weeks back, I couldn't believe the number of obese people I saw. Seemed like more than 1/2 of the people onboard! Good luck in your nutrition studies! And, good luck on the big Gulf Coast race!

Ryan said...

I'll be racing with you at Gulf Coast. If you want a idiot's guide to nutrition, check out my IMFL race report.

Did you know it was possible to vomit over 30 times with diahrrea and still finish?

I do now.

Looking forward to maybe running into at PCB.

Ryan

TriCajun said...

Hey, Coolio.

Jade Lady, crawfish is like lobster, only much better - you should give it a try.

I'll be looking for you in PCB, Ryan - I'll be sure to check the port-o-let areas in case you're afflicted again.

Sweet said...

Charlie-

We're going to get along great!

I bought some spicy sausage to make jambalaya fromt the Cajun care package this week!

Rural Girl said...

Motivating nutritional change...that is the tough part.

TJ said...

I hear ya! I've never had crawfish, but I live in the land of deep fried everything. It's tough to get away from it.

As far as poor race performance as it relates to nutrition, I think it's usually a case of doing something new on race day. Be it trying to take in more calories than normal, a different type of nutrition, higher than normal race pace, whatever. I think sticking to what worked in training, with nutrition and intensity, is the best way to avoid stomach issues.

Good luck at GCT!!!