Nutritional Clarity

“Thou shalt not poison thyself.” –T.C. Fry

Nobody should have to recover from a meal. The food you eat should nourish your body not deplete it. This principle is inherent to both your snowshoeing and your wellness.

The subject of nutrition is in a paralyzing state of analytical mayhem. This is unfortunate and unnecessary.

Sports performance and wellness have long been viewed as a symbiotic relationship.  Scientists have studied to exhaustion the role of almost every nutritive substance related to health and sport.  Rarely has the wellness, longevity, or quality of life for the athlete or citizen been the primary consideration. Nutritional research is primarily funded by the manufacturers of supplements, prepared foods, pharmaceuticals, and the rest of it. Attempts to advance our foods via chemistry and science are geared toward proving the value of a given nutrient. This approach is backward.

We erroneously examine individual nutrients to attain wellness and boost sport performance when we should simply look to whole foods. Optimum snowshoeing performance and wellness will result when negative effects have been eliminated from the diet versus simply adding more nutrients individually.

Enhancements galore have been made to improve your snowshoeing gear, apparel, and accessories. These breakthroughs represent merely part of the formula. Does it not stand to reason that you must consume the best fuel to truly thrive in our “silent sport” and your life?

The paths to wellness and sport performance need not be muddled or complicated. Theoretical understanding of nutrition as a science is only a precursor to practical application. The latter requires fierce discipline.

Mindful daily food choices will make the difference between mere snowshoeing participation and snowshoeing excellence; between life and premature death due to poor dietary practices. Said choices will define your snowshoeing experiences (and your life) as either effort or struggle.

Nutrition plays a profound role in every aspect of your life – including your snowshoeing endeavors. The impact of your nutritional choices begins at the cellular level. Regular consumption of nutrient-dense whole foods facilitates cellular regeneration. Every aspect of health and vitality is reliant upon the process. This process is challenging yet necessary.

“Let us have the truth, though the heavens may fall.” –Herbert. M. Shelton D.C.

Technology has infiltrated both health and sport to the point where analysis and dissection of the laws of nature and physics have comprised awareness. The gap between an individual’s desire to achieve a goal and the willingness to make the necessary personal changes to reach the goal has become wider and deeper. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes.

Animal foods have long been associated with strength and power. The truth is that these foods are unnecessary to achieve your desired level of snowshoeing success and enjoyment. Optimum wellness can be achieved absent these foods. Look no further than the “gorilla” as an example of strength, power, speed, and kinesthetic proficiency – attained solely on a plant-based diet.

Technology, science, and government subsidies are not evil. The outcome of each innocuous element lies in direct accordance to its useful or harmful application. We have paid the price for our curiosity in realms yet to be appreciated. The fragmentation of nutritional research by companies and scientists with vested interests results in supplements, refined energy bars, sports drinks, and foods of marginal value to either sport performance or wellness. The multi-million dollar food industry makes its wealth at the expense of personal and planetary well-being. This is deplorable.

Nearly three-quarters of the U.S. government agricultural aid is pumped into the meat and dairy industries. A paltry .037 percent filters to the fruit and vegetable sectors. This profound disconnect between health and environmental policies and agricultural mandates exists throughout the western world. Governments are supporting the production of foods that are responsible for the most potent health and ecological issues in history.

“Sports serve society by providing vivid examples of excellence.” –George F. Will

What does this have to do with snowshoeing? Everything.

The plethora of issues we face today are directly linked to animal production and conventional agriculture, hence, the Standard American Diet (SAD). Government subsidies promote foods strongly associated with chronic diseases, global warming, deforestation, soil depletion, limited water resources, and the rest of it.

The failure of modern medicine to address chronic diseases through nutritive prevention is scandalous. We must as snowshoers remain mindful of the ramifications of what we choose to eat. The line dividing mind and body is as invisible as ii is with optimum nutrition and environmental stewardship. Let us become vivid examples of mindful living for society.

Food corporations continue to spend millions of dollars touting the alleged benefits of meat, dairy, pork, and refined sugar. Our society has become prisoners of mass produced, processed, refrigerated, frozen, quick and easy food options…and it shows. The result is an obese, undernourished, unhealthy populace fraught with out-of-control healthcare costs, needless suffering, and premature death. Our respect and honor of the sanctity of food has been superseded by our hunger for convenience.

“Think from the inside out.” –Steve Ilg

The human body was designed to consume whole foods not their individual nutrients. Healthful eating teaches us to eat only until satiated – a monumental task for most people these days.

Fruits and vegetables have superior nutritional value compared with any other food group or processed food; yet, education about whole plant food nutrition lags far behind the marketing of meat, dairy, and processed foods. Fruits and vegetables are easily absorbed by the body while supplying optimal nutrients. Animal foods require inordinate energy to digest and assimilate for minimal net gain at best.

Fruits provide the highest percentage of vitamins per calorie consumed with vegetables coming in second. Vegetables provide the highest percentage of minerals per calorie consumed with fruits coming in second. Nearly every vegetable that can be eaten whole, fresh and raw contains all eight of the essential amino acids, thereby providing complete protein. A random mix of fruits and vegetables will provide about five times the RDA of protein per calorie consumed. Plant foods contain no cholesterol.

Integration of more plant-based whole foods in your diet will lower body fat and increase muscle tone, diminish visible signs of aging, increase energy and mental clarity, enhance your immune system, improve your sleep and moods, eliminate junk-food cravings, and more.

A nutrient-dense, alkaline-forming, plant-based diet will reduce nutritional stress, provide optimal health and vitality, and help Mother Nature provide clean air, pristine landscapes, and plenty of snow to enjoy our “silent sport.”

Imagine our society if the government subsidized fruits and vegetables instead of meat, dairy, and sugar.

You have the choice to fuel your body with foods that accelerate disease and hasten ecological damage or power yourself with nutrient-dense whole plant foods that promote cellular regeneration and environmental restoration.

Forthcoming columns will explore several other factors affecting nutritional clarity respective to snowshoeing and wellness. I encourage you to take action beyond this cursory look at the profound impact your food choices have on your snowshoeing, your wellness, and your planet.

About the author

Jeff Kildahl, Wellness Editor

Jeff Kildahl is a writer, author, wellness consultant and philanthropist advancing preventive health care by synthesizing primary source nutrition and fitness as the principal components of the practice of medicine.

Kildahl is a sponsored vegan ultra-endurance athlete credentialed in bioenergetics, biomechanics, metabolic efficiency™ testing, sport nutrition, and natural medicine. He is a dynamic member of CUBE™ ~ a professional speakers group ~ empowering others to harmonize the "Keys to Living in the Song of Life."

He is the wellness editor at Snowshoe Magazine, United States Snowshoe Association columnist, and contributor to health, fitness and wellness sites, blogs and publications. He is a US-based ultra-endurance athlete and philanthropist for the 100 FOR 100 Movement ~

Kildahl is the creator and president of The Wholistic Edge® ~ a visionary firm providing synergistic solutions to transcend health, performance, and potential in life and sport from the inside out via the principles of Performance Medicine™ ~