Q and A – Cutting Out Grains

I just had a question relating to a previous post about Grains versus Seeds. Kirsty was asking what my daily diet included and that she was worried about losing too much weight and losing the energy needed to train for a half marathon, look after 2 kids and a new puppy!

Thanks for the question Kirsty. Many runners are concerned about too much weight loss if they give up the grains and let’s face it, most of us runners don’t have much to lose. But the great thing is, when you eat a diet, full of nutrient dense foods without excess grains, your weight tends to optimize itself. Meaning, if you need to lose some, it will come off (provided you follow a good diet). If you don’t need to lose any, people tend to maintain their healthy weight. The body has a great mechanism for controlling this.

A typical day for me is a smoothie for breakfast, a chicken or egg salad for lunch with nuts, seeds and olive oil drizzled over it. For dinner, it’s usually a meat with a salad again if it’s warmer weather or steamed vegetables for the cooler months. I snack on nuts through the day when needed and maybe 1-2 pieces of fruit. All I drink is water and take magnesium and MSM supplements.

I have mentioned this in earlier blogs before, but as far as high carb foods go, they have a place in the diet of a runner, but purely as a recovery food. We have a 30 minute window after a training session where we can tolerate the higher carb foods better than at other times of the day. Like after Two Bays race, I had some water, my leftover amazeballs, an organic oat slice, some amino acids and a banana. I also had a smoothie with raw eggs once I got home.

There is no way I would normally eat these high carb foods in everyday life, but directly after a hard race, just try to stop me. We process these foods with no problem after a hard effort, but the rest of the day, eating like this would be like cramming 100 liters into your fuel tank when you can only hold 50. Eating foods like quinoa, amaranth (which happen to be closer to seeds than a grain) or vegetables like sweet potato, parsnips and turnips as part of your recovery meal will see your energy stores returned back to normal quickly and easily.

Avoiding foods like breads and pastas as a staple of your diet is a great idea. These foods cause far too much inflammation in the body and are a leading cause of clogged arteries and many other nutrition related diseases. Sprouted grains are different as they are more like an infant plant with far more available nutrients than the grain itself. I have used this stuff on many occasions just after a big run and it works really well.

As far as energy through the day goes, people who change to this style of eating, quite often find that their energy levels increase through the day, rather than decrease. The reason for this is that there is less strain on the body, less sugar fluctuations with a more steady and consistent energy supply through the day. Plenty of energy for the two kids and the new puppy you have Kirsty!

So to sum it all up, avoid grains and other high carb foods throughout the day. Eat high carb foods after long or hard training sessions/races, especially fruits and vegetables, sprouted grains or quinoa and amaranth. Last but not least, if you do notice excess weight loss, or more than desired, try eating more after your training sessions or have a similar recovery meal an hour or two later when your appetite returns.

Hope this helps Kirsty. Say hi to Kris for me and tell him I look forward to racing along side him again in the future.

Run Well

Chris O’Driscoll


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