Advancements in medicine and technology have brought an unpredictable side effect: these days, people generally eat all sorts of crap, due to haste and the confidence that chemical drugs will cure any problem. The result is the increase in obesity worldwide—among children, it doubled in the last 30 years, and it quadrupled among teenagers.
If health is a daily fight, what do you say you face your nutrition the way you face your challenges in BJJ? Some tips:
1. Step one consists of not bringing to the table, or storing in the pantry, processed foods, full of salt, sugar and fat.
2. Reflect. On weekends, try to write down or just remember what you ate in the previous seven days. Check whether you ate fruits and vegetables, and strive for more balance.
3. Treat the villains of your diet as enemies to defeat: it may even be that one of them will beat you today, but it's always necessary to try to overcome them, one by one. And you know what the classic villains are: margarine, oils, sweets, refined sugar, breaded chicken, soda, hot dogs, cookies, ready-made sauce, processed foods.
4. If you eat flavorful dishes that also make your brain happy, you've already made it halfway to nutritional reeducation. Invest in foods that help produce serotonin, known as the happiness hormone, and leave the table satisfied. Look for foods rich in folic acid (green leaves, legumes, avocados, oranges, asparagus), sources of vitamin B6 (bananas, beans, oats, lentils, avocados), sources of magnesium (legumes, oysters, brown rice, salmon, nuts) and foods with tryptophan (eggs, nuts, oats, peanuts, almonds, cheese, fish and chicken).
5. Are you missing dessert? Stay strong and get around the temptation with naturally sweet foods, such as the dates, coconut water and other sweet fruits.
6. Gather the family around the table whenever possible. This habit helps slow down the meal and prevent bad habits, like eating fast food.
7. Have less red meat in your weekly menu. The writer Michael Pollan, an expert in nutrition, points out that the more meat there is in your diet, the more likely you are to have heart attacks and cancer. Why? Maybe it's the saturated fat, or the specific type of protein. Or maybe it's just the fact that, with all that meat, there's not enough room for vegetables on the plate.
8. Study nutrition. Understand what is good for you, choose the best options, and follow your routine like a samurai.
9. Eat when you're hungry, not when you're bored or anxious. Often, a glass of coconut water will satiate your anxiety without messing up your digestion or your next meal.
10. Constant physical activity and a healthy menu are inseparable siblings that really help each other. Don't put either one aside. And enjoy your training.