Eat raw and get better results with recovery?
Trainers and Athletes ask me all the time how to get an edge on training. The majority of current clinical research is mainly geared towards recovery. They are all are millions of ways to exercise, but fewer and fewer ways to correctly recover. There is only so much time in a day and only so many meals to allow your body to recover from the physical stress of training. Millions of supplements are marketed (most incorrectly) with their single directive being geared at producing a quicker recovery. There is something that you can do that is much more productive and simple. Learn to eat foods and are most raw and natural state.
Taking many supplements offers an unbalanced nutrient load on your metabolic system. In other words, many things will have too much or too little of any particular nutrient, and your body will not absorb the supplement properly. That means that your toilet water is very expensive, simply because your body is sending a majority of it down the drain. Eating foods in a raw state allows for balance nutrition that occurs naturally in nature. Trace minerals exist in many of the foods that we eat and allow for improved absorption into our bodies.
Zinc is very easy to take as a supplement. The mineral zinc plays a central role in the regulation of cellular growth and tissue repair and it is also involved with a healthy immune system. Magnesium is specifically involved in the maintenance of the electrolytic balance and is directly involved with energy production and normal neuromuscular communication. The problem is with the balance and absorption of the nutrient, if you take in too much of one it can directly affect the other.
Many individuals eat poorly and then attempt to only make up poor eating habits with supplements. Consider that the Olympics just held in Canada had a 31-mile cross-country ski race, the difference between first and second place was only a few hundreds of a second, and first to third place was only one second. Top athletes learn very quickly that there is very little room for mistakes. Optimizing training with raw food intake is absolutely essential to provide maximum recovery.
Many supplement manufacturers have recognized the benefits of the raw nutrition and specialized in production of vitamins and minerals obtained from organic and natural forms. The regulation overseeing their production is limited by natural restrictions of the governmental agencies both within the US and abroad. Special concern should be applied when attempting to purchase any supplement and specifically with hopes that they are processed as raw food.
The body is quite specific and our genetic traits have a specific tune for all raw substances. The more any food is processed, the harder it is for us to absorb completely. Raw eggs are about the only exception to this rule and they must be cooked slightly to prevent a biotin deficiency. Meats, chicken, fish, pork, are quite specific to their correct cooking temperature to prevent specific health problems.
Many raw “foodist” often feel that any food that is heated to any temperature higher than 104 F degrees isn’t raw. Apparently, none of them live near my house in Miami, Florida, which blows the thermometer over 104 F on a weekly basis. It is a fine line to decide the benefits of raw food versus the potential harmful effects of undercooked meat, poultry, and fish. To avoid this conflict several individuals choose to eat diets that are free of this controversy. Others choose to smoke meats and fish or prepare them with other options.
Various foods that are not included in the flesh/protein category are also producing concerns for producing various unhealthy conditions. Buckwheat, alafalfa, apricots, parsinips, apple seeds, peas, yucca plants, and others are all linked to causing health related illnesses. Raw milk is directly linked to tuberculosis and just about any bacterial infection that you can think of. All vegetables and fruits can be directly contaminated by in improper handling. Still with proper control and cross-contamination procedures, many of these adverse conditions can be avoided.
Several food allergies and hypersensitivities can also exist and are propagated with raw foods. Passion tea is becoming a registered favorite with many raw food enthusiast. The problem is the hibiscus plant is also very commonly grown in areas that have a high white fly population. As the plant grows a white fly often secretes a mucous onto the plant which then results in large amounts of fungus and other bacterial growth. Individuals have noted symptomatology similar to those commonly seen with encephalitis and meningitis.
So after reading the previous concerns, you might wonder why I would still suggest raw foods. The truth is many of the best trainers and coaches will often suggest that a diet free of processed foods. Overall health and fitness is obtained and not forced by way of supplementation. True common sense is a strong rule of thumb to have. The benefits of a raw cuisine, is based on the natural digestive enzymes located in the raw foods. Those enzymes are proteins and they denature too quickly with any amount of heat. There is no doubt that overcooking food is often just as bad and can lead to its own plethora of health problems.
Again the rule of common sense goes a long way with a raw food diet. Just maintain a healthy outlook on food and I propose that many of the options for eating raw foods still outweigh the problems associated with the other options. Consider that unprocessed foods are widely held by the Amish. Their diet isn’t perfect either since a study done in 2005 showed that Amish had the same frequency of type II diabetes and were just as obese as the rest of the general US population, likely due to their high grain and high fat intake. Don’t just eat raw, eat less food! Eat less fatty food! This is where the specific art of supplementation is so absolutely necessary.
It is a simple fact that over cooking, over processing, over doing anything is not going to allow us to best obtain our fastest recovery. Sleep and nutrition are the primary key factors in recovery and we all need to optimize both of them. “You don’t grow, in the gym” is a common saying among bodybuilders and other athletes. You improve by optimizing growth from good sleep and quality nutrition. Take the test and for thirty days, try eating more raw foods, and see if your sleep is better, your mood, your color, your athletic ability. It all adds up and if you are an athlete, this might just be that edge that gives you the 1.1000th of a second or that one extra point you need to win.
Dr. David Ryan