You are what you eat

October 21, 2011

I am fascinated with nutrition. I wish I had done a double degree in Nursing and Nutrition. There is so much nutrition involved in being a nurse but it’s general and broad and dependant on what type of medicine you practice. In pediatric emergency medicine nutrition wasn’t something we dealt much with except the continuous fight we had with food and nutrition. The snacks they had for children, cookiees. That’s the way to treat a kid with abdominal pain, when they can eat load em up with sugar.

But that’s another story for another day.

My fascination with nutrition began a while ago but was consolidated when I began my work with QT2 and The Core Diet. It was really the first time that anyone had taught me how to properly fuel myself and improve my health while training for an Ironman. Those who train 15+ hours a week know all too well that the feed bag can open as soon as we finish that 6 hour ride.

I have been eating in this … style…. you could call it for about 2 years. I am not 100% all of the time. This season I am aiming to be. What I can tell you is that I have enjoyed a very slow and steady progressive improvement in my body composition. I have experienced energy stabilization throughout the day. I have solved my in race nutritional issues (and I have to admit I did that in a not so traditional way but that’s another story for another day).

Being someone who has experienced some serious health concerns…. what interests me is the role that nutrition has in our health. Particularly chemicals.

The other day I posted a picture of an Egg McMuffin to Charlie’s wall and tagged our amazing guru at the Core Diet, Jaime Windrow. The question (albeit a joke) was…… does this fit into The Core?

Tecnically when you are speaking of carbohydrates, fats, and protein…. and Egg McMuffin would fit into the Core Diet. Sweet, right?

Jaime posted the ingredients for us……

Here is what is in the egg.  One, would think, just an egg right?  Nope.  McEgg: USDA Grade A eggs, soy lecithin (release agent). Prepared with Liquid Margarine: Liquid soybean oil and hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oils, water, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, soy lecithin, mono-and diglycerides, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), artificial flavor, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, beta carotene (color).”

Good lord…. that’s the egg? What happened to just being an egg. Wait, there’s more…..

And if you are curious about the rest. Mc English Muffin: Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, yeast, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, wheat gluten, soybean oil and/or canola oil, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, citric acid, calcium citrate, yellow corn flour, corn meal, rice flour, barley malt, artificial flavors, natural flavors (botanical source), dough conditioners (ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, datem, tricalcium phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, calcium peroxide), calcium propionate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), soy lecithin.”

I am not even sure of what half this stuff IS.

And lastly….Pasteurized Process American Cheese: Milk, water, milkfat, cheese culture, sodium citrate, salt, citric acid, sorbic acid (preservative), sodium phosphate, artificial color, lactic acid, acetic acid, enzymes, soy lecithin (added for slice separation).

Canadian Style Bacon
 Pork, water, sugar, salt, sodium lactate, sodium phosphate, natural flavor (vegetable), sodium diacetate and sodium nitrite (preservatives).

Liquid Margarine
Liquid soybean oil and hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oils, water, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, soy lecithin, mono-and diglycerides, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), artificial flavor, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, beta carotene (color)”

Whoa. I never thought about it that way. I could make this same food at home, have it fit in the Core and involve about 5 ingredients. For the first time in my life I really looked at the chemicals instead of the fat, calorie and protein content. Now I am not one to grab an Egg McMuffin 7 days a week, but when traveling….. sure. It’s easy  and fast and everywhere.

It doesn’t mean that when I am traveling I wont’ grab one….. but it made me look at what else I am eating. And how does all this stuff add up in the long run. Am I as healthy as I believe myself to be?

Nutrition is an emotional subject for many. Through my work in the Core, I have to say it’s less emotional for me. How many times in the past 2 years has someone made the remark….. I just need some comfort food….. or don’t tell Mary Eggers I had a cookie.

Have those things. By all means. I believe in cookies and comfort food….. sure. Eat the good kinds though. The real ones. The ones made with real butter and not hydroginizated sulfa pasteurized space dirt…. but has vitamin c! In my opinion everything has a place on our plates. Everything in moderation fits.

The thing about eating in the Core is that we can still have those kinds of foods….  if we place them at the right time they can help our fitness and recovery. A cookie can help our fitness and recovery? heck yeah….. maybe even 4! It’s not about denial, it’s about living. And to me living the best possible life I can live means putting the best possible fuel into my body that I can.

I have lost my health in a  big way before, so my appreciation of what I have right now….. today is much greater than before. This is where my passion stems from. Once you lose something like that you feel more grateful to have it again. When it’s handed back to you…. you care more about it. You love it even more.

So exactly what is this whole Core Diet thing?

It’s a system of eating I guess you could say. It’s placing food at the right time to give you the most optimal benefit for sport and life.

It’s all right here. Check it out. We have lots of great webinars and just pure nutrition services. It’s worth the price, trust me on that one.

I am okay with the teasing. It doesn’t bother me a bit. It usually is born from a place of insecurity within someone when they feel the need to do that, just like when we were kids and were teased about being swimmers. But why….. why is nutrition a source of insecurity for you? Does it have to be?

And when you think in terms of your health…… your health at a micro level…… all of the chemicals that we put in to this body…… over decades what does it do? Is it reversible?

So here is to even cleaner eating. What will you do this season to help yourself become the strongest athlete you can be? Is it as simple as what does or doesn’t go into your mouth? Perhaps. Is it as simple as making your Egg McMuffin at home? could be. You just never know what kid of healing, or rebuilding happens….. as that micro level.

I know one thing…… I want to be the strongest I can be from the inside out.



  1. I like your thoughts! We try to eat clean “most” of the time – but there are always times for treats. I find after a certain amount of time the craving for the treats some what diminishes as well. great post!

  2. Excellent point! This is totally why I read ingredients on everything I read/buy these days and eschew a lot of foods that most think are “healthy.” It must be working because I’ve never felt better!

  3. oh fine… thanks for ruining it for me Eggers… oh wait, I don’t eat English McMuffins. never mind…

  4. Funny, you just listed the ingredients in my usual pre-race (speedskating) breakfast! I did a nutritional consult with Jamie and the Core Diet folks this summer,and they gave me some great advice…but I still can’t get away from the McD pre-race breakfast! I’m often on the road when I race, so making my own is not an option…and, due to the nature/timing of speedskating meets, I need to eat something that will last me until 1:00 or so, which (not surprisingly), McD breakfast sandwiches do. So, I whole-heartedly recommend the Core Diet to athletes…even if I dont’ always do so well at following it myself!

  5. This is an awesome post. Just thought you should know. And btw, I live in Philadelphia. Glad you’re enjoying it. Although I’m fairly certain a philly cheesesteak doesn’t fit into The Core, do yourself a favor and grab one. They’re delicious!

    • Thank you! I was thinking I should do that!

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