Okay, I’ll admit it: in the old days, I didn’t care what I was eating, as long as I didn’t gain weight! But when I started to make the connection between what I ate and how I felt, I began an intense study of nutrition which ultimately led me to becoming certified as a nutritionist and weight and lifestyle management coach — which turned out to be a perfect complement to my yoga training.
These days, I still eat what I like — but what I like is usually what makes me feel energized, healthy and satisfied!
The bottom line when it comes to choosing food that nourishes and sustains you is to figure out how that food personally affects you.
For example, I learned that — as much as I love it — whole wheat toast gives me indigestion. These days, I enjoy rice bread instead, and my digestive system — and my taste buds — are happy.
When it comes to a pre-surf meal, you want to make sure that you’ve got something that’s easily digestible and gives you sustained energy. This will take a little trial and error on your part. I learned (very quickly!) that surfing after eating Mexican food is not a good idea. Ditto for donuts. Think about it: you want something that will give you high quality nourishment so you can surf with sustained energy!
Here’s what I usually have before my morning surf.
Peg’s Power Green Smoothie
· 2 scoops rice protein powder (that’s my personal preference — it’s free of artificial ingredients and sweeteners) or 1 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
· 1 cup fruit (try frozen berries for a thicker smoothie) or 2 pieces of fruit like a banana and an apple
· 2-3 leaves of romaine lettuce (for more fiber, minerals and vitamins)
· 1-2 stalks celery or 1/2 cucumber (good for your blood pressure)
· 1 cup water (or less if using yogurt)
· 2 or 3 ice cubes if desired
Blend it all up enjoy! This usually tides me over for a good one-two hour surf session.
On colder mornings, I love a bowl of hot cream of rice cereal. I can digest it better than oatmeal, but oatmeal is a great choice, too! Then I toss in some almond butter for healthy fat and some yogurt for my protein. Nice and simple and very filling.
I recently interviewed Dr. David L. Katz, MD of Yale University for an article I wrote for Clean Eating magazine. He says that it’s okay to work out on an empty stomach, but how well your body performs in the morning depends a lot on how well you ate the day before.
Some surfers (like Tom Carroll) prefer not eating at all before dawn patrol. This is actually a fine choice, if you’re someone who can just get up and go without eating. But, please keep in mind that this approach requires that you be very well-nourished on a regular basis. If you just had pizza and a beer the night before and then get up to surf the next morning, you won’t have any high-octane fuel in your tank. Instead, enjoy a satisfying meal like roasted chicken, baked potatoes and vegetables.
So fill up on natural, wholesome healthy food that you enjoy and make the connection between what you eat and how you feel. In time, you’ll begin to intuitively select those foods that truly nourish you mind, body and spirit!