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Eat like an athlete - Barrel Racing Advice

Ahhh, the smell of Mexican food after a barrel race! Fewer things are more satisfying. You order with enthusiasm, “Yes please, waiter – I’ll have the steak carnitas and a corona light porfavor!”

Then you pause and think to yourself, “$#!^% my flour tortillas are full of gluten, the beef probably wasn’t grass fed, and the sugar content in the alcohol is sure to be a deadly mix with all the GMO corn ingredients!!!”

You choke back the tears and instead order, “an ice water with lemon, please”. At least you will be able to squeeze the lemon’s stinging juice in your eyes to numb the pain of a hungry stomach and aching shin from that 3rd barrel.

Eating on the rodeo road or even during a laid back weekend of competition can be tricky, keeping to a certain diet with your own standards in mind can be nearly impossible.

What’s a gal to do?

Well, please don’t be ignorant and don’t squeeze a lemon in your eye either. I have a few ideas for you which will also compliment my fitness Friday posts here. Eating healthy meals is only half the battle! You have to stay fit to function on a high level!

Here are a few facts to help get you started and a few recipes to keep you going.

To gluten or not to gluten… that is the question.

It seems there are two types of people in this world. The “gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free” type and the “I want to swat-those-dairy-fairies-with-my-box-of-cheese-puffs” type. The point is there can be a happy medium in health (in most cases) and we can all be informed and get along.

The quick and dirty about being gluten free and what gluten even is can be summarized in this awesome video. There are two components in gluten that can a). eat away the lining of your guts, and b). triggers an auto immune reaction. Mmmmm! Gluten culprits aren’t always obvious either. “Enriched flour” is a common ingredient (wheat gluten, corn gluten, maltodextrin, hydrolyzed proteins annnnnd about 42 other things that qualify as having gluten in them) in most of our processed foods, bread, and pasta.

For me: I started to put together two and two when I was suffering from migraines, nausea, and aching joints and muscles. Through eliminating gluten for a specific period of time and then re-introducing it again I found that “I’m gluten sensitive,” meaning, as soon as I ate my organic whole wheat pasta I was literally in bed the next day with a debilitating migraine. So it was easy for me to tell what to eat and what to avoid.

What wasn’t easy was actually avoiding it. EVERYTHING and it’s brother has gluten in it. So I had to find some balance. It just wasn’t practical in life or traveling on the road to eat “gluten-free” 100% of the time. The balance that works for me is 80% gluten free 20% gluten. IE: gluten free pizza with a gmo-free beer. Or chili and corn bread. Or gluten free pasta and high quality artisan bakery bread. See where I’m going with this?

A big ‘NO NO’ is: a bread appetizer, pasta entrée, plus a beer. Or carnitas, tamales, and a corona… Cough cough. BUT in the same regard a gluten free cookie isn’t always a better choice than banana bread. Be informed!

I’ve whipped up two downloadable, printable recipes for you: “Turn n Burn Burgers” and “No Dust Cookies

Sugar Free Misery

Here are some fun fast facts about the “sugar free” advantage: High fructose corn syrup can contain mercury, artificial sweeteners can be more addictive than crack, sucralose leads way to migraines and diarrhea, saccharin has been correlated with tumors and cancer. The bottom line is that the calories that you ‘cut’ by going “sugar–free” with many artificial sweeteners can literally ‘cut’ into your overall health.

An article by Harvard lists these five FDA approved fake sugars to avoid: saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. There are a multitude of studies clearly outlining reasons of why these synthetic “sugar free” options are FULL of misery instead of benefits.

If you haven’t already guessed, all of these things can contribute to brain fog instead of mental clarity. And when you play a sport that is 90% mental game, you don’t have a lot of brain power to sacrifice!

For me: I had to give up flavored Coffee Mate creamers in the morning, a Diet Coke at lunch, and sugar free ice cream for dessert. It was tragic but at least I won’t die of a brain tumor to cut 200 calories. Oh and did I mention the headaches are gone too?

Two more recipes for you: “Heather’s Hustle Home Mocha” and the “1D Smoothie

Informed Eating

To sum it all up for you, I’m not a scientist, nutritionist, foodie or personal trainer. I am an “informed, gluten-avoiding, organic” type person here to share with you what’s worked for me.

A healthy lifestyle is paramount to having success in the arena and on the road. If you want to win, part of your winning attitude come from within.

You need to take responsibility for what you are fueling your body with.

When it comes to eating you have an informed choice. I would be a liar if I said Heather didn’t take this pic of me below during a stop at In and Out Burger in Las Vegas. But you better believe we were taking our vitamins during our NFR escapades and did a cleanse when we got come.

Try to eat foods without harmful chemicals or fake ingredients. Avoid prepackaged and processed foods whenever possible. Take fresh fruits and veggies on the road with you. Consume protein that will sustain you through the day versus the quick buzz you can get from refined sugars. And if all that is too much… for the love of your liver just invest in a quality multi-vitamin.

Eating organic as often as possible will pay off by resulting in landing you in the pay window more often and the doctor’s office less often.

Eating a balanced diet of more slowly metabolizing carbohydrates and sugars versus quicker ones (like bad gluten will tend to do) will keep your blood sugar even keel.

There are plenty of resources via internet, books and counseling available for having informed eating habits instead of dieting fails. So don’t just take my word for it.

We all know the less than “breakfast of champions” worthy choices we’ve made in the past.

And we all know the level we want to be at – drink that 1D Smoothie for breakfast and go be awesome!

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