We’ve heard it our whole lives, whether it was from our mothers or in adult lives as we strive to eat perfectly. That line has always stuck with me. In fact anyone who knows me will tell you that you can catch me with a green smoothie every morning and a “trough” of a salad every night. Healthy food is my job though, so maybe it’s easier for me to keep up on my nutrition… Nope, it takes work! I totally understand that it’s not easy to eat like a rabbit all day every day. Our lives are busy, plain and simple, so we turn to supplements to help us get all of the essential nutrients.
As a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), when making recommendations for supplement use, I want to be sure to emphasize that we should get as much nutrition from real food as we can. More specifically, endurance athlete’s bodies demand more vitamins and minerals than the average person in order to keep up with the massive hours of training. Therefore we turn to supplements to maintain performance and also recover properly. Note that by definition supplements are meant to make up for what may lack in our regular diet.
Choosing nutrient dense foods will help you perform better, feel stronger, and lend to your long-term health. The simplest tip I can give is to eat in COLOR. If your plate is full of a variety of colors, you are more likely to be getting most your necessary nutrients. But again, you may still need supplements to get essential nutrients that you just can’t get enough of from your dinner salad. You may be asking yourself, “how do I know if I need supplements?” or “how do I apply this idea to my everyday life choices?”
I’ve personally been using a product called SP2 Life that bridges the gap between green supplements and real food. Spirulina is an ultimate superfood, and it’s the ONLY ingredient packed into an easy to use pod, delivered to you in a box of ice cubes. A single serving of SP2, provides a complete plant-based protein, A B C D E vitamins, and high concentrations of vital minerals such as potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, zinc and bio-available iron. All of these are essential for athletes, so why not get them from a real food source rather than always having to take pills. I’m not saying that your multi-vitamin is obsolete, or that you shouldn’t use supplements, but this is a really cool option. I know I appreciate any time I can find a supplement that has the right food science, especially when it adds to the quality of my everyday food.
The take-away message today is that a body well-fueled with spirulina will undoubtedly perform better. Supplement use is a complex web on information, so talk with a dietitian before changing your diet or buying a bunch of bottles of pills/powders/potions. Instead, use real food (in this case a supplement comprised solely of real food) to fuel your machine of a body and help reach your ultimate potential.
Note: Want to try SP2 Life??!! It’s almost too easy to pack this superfood into your normal routine. I add a cube to my recovery smoothie every day and absolutely love it. Learn more and order yours at sp2life.com and use promo code “PLAN7” to get 10% off!
Breanne Nalder, MS, RDN has a Master’s degree in nutrition with an emphasis in sports dietetics from the University of Utah. A recently retired professional road cyclist, she still competes in road racing and gravel grinding as a coach at PLAN7 Endurance Coaching. For customized coaching, contact [email protected].