Sunday, January 16, 2011

Food,Diet and the Distance Runner,pt.1

Probably third on the list behind religion and politics of ways of starting an argument would be to bring up issues relating to food and diet.To help illustrate this point I'll tell you about something that happened to me recently. I posted on a vegetarian forum facts that pertained to veganism,facts that stated that a diet comprised of no fish or animal products was not condusive to living a long,healthy, vigorous life.One of the many things I brought up was the fact that we see no evidence of people, past or present,who followed a vegan diet living long, healthy lives. I added that I was referring to "regular",everyday people like us,not supposed groups of people who lived thousands of feet above sea level and whose air and water were pristine.Well,the response I got was remarkable,or better put,hateful. You'd have thought that I had criticized them personally.What I would like to briefly address is, what about food,diet and the distance runner?Is there a special diet we need to adhere to or does it even matter what we eat since we are so active?
Let me start by saying that I just read that 63% of Americans are either overweight or obese. That's shocking. It's shocking when you also consider that billions of dollars are made yearly on weight loss books,programs,equipment and related materials.The answer to this problem,as well as advice for the runner as to how they should regard food and diet comes in the form of a quote and a word. There is a quote that says: "there's nothing new under the sun." The word is, simplicity.I will add that many of the things that were once viewed as food faddism have now been accepted as the way to go. I point to things like the recognition of the value of whole grains,minimizing fat intake,eating more fruits and vegetables and cutting back on processed foods as proof of that statement.Here is a quote by Percy Cerutty from his book, Middle-Distance Running written in 1964:" Make it a rule--eat to live,not live to eat.Nature cannot be fooled.Nature never excuses ignorance,gluttony or drunkenness.For the many,food is something we place in our mouths,mostly without thought as to its effects upon us. The principle that should govern our eating is merely this: eat all foods as close to the state they are found in nature as possible." Percy studied diet and nutrition for decades and came to realize that there were basic principles in this area just as there are basic principles that must be adhered to in other ones.He also taught that being an athlete was not an excuse to eat whatever you want.
The advice he gave is the essence of simplicity, with no complicated schedules or gimmicks.
The only thing it lacks is the resolve a person must have to recognize and see the truth that is contained in what he and others came to understand about food,diet and nutrition.This resolve must also include the desire to act on what is learned. Sadly,it appears as though most of society now lacks that desire.

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