Carb Queen

Wow so last week’s email got a lot of replies from you guys all agreeing that shake diets are not the way forward for us active equestrians. It’s awesome to know we are on the same page.

I also got many requests to talk about nutrition some more. So here goes!

Whether you’re an avid foodie or not the reality is that food is fuel for our bodies. The more good stuff we put in the more good stuff we will get out of it.

I imagine you thought long and hard about your horse’s diet, did lots of research perhaps even spoke to a nutritionist. You then monitor how he looks, feels and performs on that diet and if something isn’t quite right you tweak it to make it right.

For yourself I imagine nowhere near as much thought goes into your diet! Obviously for us it’s slightly different in that we don’t want or need to eat the same thing day in day out to stay healthy. What we do need though is a well-balanced diet, containing all the right macro and micro nutrients that are vital to rebuild and repair our bodies on a daily basis.

I’m going to keep this simple and break it down over the next few weeks. So, let’s start with Macro Nutrients. These are the basic 3 food groups that we need to provide us with energy in some way.

They are broken down as Carbohydrates, Fats and Protein.

Let’s start with Carbohydrates this week.

Carbohydrates are Sugars, Starches and Fibre which are broken down by our digestive system and released into the blood stream as Glucose to be used as energy for our activity levels, brain and nervous system.

So think about what systems you are using in your body when you ride. You want to be alert-so that’s your brain, you want to be able to react quickly so that’s your nervous system and you of course want to have the overall energy in your body to ride!

Good sources of Carbs include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Grains-Wheat, Oats, Rice, Quinoa etc.
  • Beans/Legumes-Chickpeas, Black Beans, Cannellini Beans, Lentils

Most people picture bread, potatoes and pasta when they think of Carbs. And there is nothing wrong with these as carb sources we just get a little stuck and end up over eating them. *Tip. Weigh out the suggested portion size of pasta next time you cook and you may be very surprised!

This is why low carb diets seem to be a holy grail-it is not the reduction of carbs that has made you lose weight it is the reduction in calories when you take out these things and replace them with lower calorie alternatives. However along with that reduction in carbs comes lethargy, a reduced immune system and potential muscle loss as your body uses muscle building protein for energy.

So, I want to challenge you this week to try and mix up your carbs a bit.

  • Have Oats instead of toast at breakfast
  • Eat coloured fruit and/or vegetables at every meal. So berries in those oats, broccoli, carrots, peppers etc. in your lunch and dinner.
  • Try a grain and/or bean you have never eaten before. Maybe try Teff or Freekah (you can get them in the supermarket I promise) with a lunch salad or make a Chilli with some different kinds of beans added.

I’d love to hear how you get on with your experiments!

Next week we will look at Protein.


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