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Supplements vs food. Really?!

Firstly, let me put this out there, I am a self-confessed foodie physio. I will happily scrimp and save on most things in life except for food. I love to eat out and I love to cook. I love cooking really healthy tasty food rich in vitamins and protein and things that make me feel good. (Unfortunately I ruin this flawless physio image because I also love unhealthy food and, erm, wine.)

So what has this got to with being a physiotherapist? Well, I often have patients asking me what I think of protein shakes and other supplements. When they ask me I recoil at the thought of wasting the opportunity to eat delicious healthy foods and instead replacing them with less than appetizing supplements (yes I know some of them are OK but you can’t honestly tell me they taste better than food?)

Having said that I know they have a place elite sports and performance and also for people who really do have metabolisms or lifestyles were getting enough of the right nutrients through food is impossible. For most people, including those running a marathon for example, they are unnecessary.

That goes for carb loading too. I know someone who couldn’t understand why he kept on putting on weight when training for a  marathon. Turns out he was eating a vat of pasta the night before a training run, which is completely unnecessary. Likewise I had a patient who was basically living on protein shakes and beer. Not surprisingly he was overweight and unfit. He genuinely thought that just by drinking the protein shakes he would get stronger. If only.

If you are struggling to keep your protein and energy levels up the following foods are excellent: nuts and seeds and all manner of yummy things made out of them or their derivatives like snacks made from ground nut or nut butters, oatcakes and all their wonderful varieties, low fat cheese, eggs, low fat meat like free range chicken and fish, fruit, full fat yogurts, brown rice, brown pasta, quinoa, beans and pulses like lentil soup and baked chickpeas or humus (homemade is SOOO much better.) Oh I am getting too hungry I am going to have to stop.

Finally, make sure you absolutely stuff yourself with a variety of vegetables for all the healing goodness that the vitamins and minerals they contain will give you. That is how to recover. Vitamins, minerals, good fats, complex carbs and protein all wrapped up in delicious food.

Oh, and if you are serious about your training don’t ruin it with wine. Do as I say, not as I do…

In eager anticipation of your thoughts as ever.

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