One of the ultimate joys as an athlete is to experience flow: a full immersion and focus in the presence of our movement. This is achieved when we perfectly combine skill with action and awareness, and everything from the training we’ve done to the food we’ve fueled with clicks. As we've all likely experienced at some point in our athletic careers, we tap into the "zone" and feel like we can ride or run or move through the mountains forever. We've become one with movement.
I believe there's a very important connection between the quality of our movement and the quality of our food, enhancing this flow state and thus the experience of our athletic performance.
I'm here to help you fuel your performance while sustaining long term health, and eat in a way that reflects our connection to the natural environment through personalized sports nutrition coaching support and education. Beyond this, though, my true goal is to help facilitate and fuel the flow of meaningful movement. The field of performance nutrition (which I define as the study of how food can most optimally fuel the activity of human beings, athletically or otherwise) is a burgeoning one, and one that is incredibly exciting.
As athletes we invest a tremendous amount of time, energy, and money into our sport from hiring coaches to buying the latest gear and sacrificing so much to squeeze the most out of training. Yet we tend to neglect learning how to fuel that training properly. We love to focus on the icing before baking the cake. Quality nutrition is an absolutely critical piece in the toolkit, and can make the difference between just getting through our season and truly feeling our best. Spending more time in that flow state.
So what does quality nutrition and meaningful movement look like? The short answer: it’s complicated. The long answer is what I hope to unpack over the lifespan of my podcast. But the gist is that from a macro level perspective, the dietary patterns associated with the greatest health outcomes (such as healthspan and lower risk of chronic disease), minimal impact on the environment, and even athletic performance are diets centered around whole foods, mostly plants. Eating the majority of our calories from fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts & seeds, and small amounts of sustainably raised animal products, with minimal reliance on heavily processed or refined foods. This is nothing new. There’s no silver bullet, no diet hacks or quick fixes despite what your gym buddy or Facebook post might tell you. I’m not here to sell you the latest overpriced supplement regime or have the secret hack for instant weight loss.
At the micro level, things are nuanced and a little more individualized, particularly for athletic performance. It’s about learning to achieve proper energy balance to fuel our movement, while simultaneously meeting our nutrient needs for key nutrients like iron or calcium, vitamin D and omega-3 fats. It’s about translating the breadth of quality research from the pillars of lifestyle medicine, sports science and general nutrition into real-world practice so we can live better, move faster, and feel stronger.
My personal philosophy towards diet is a completely plant-based approach. This stems primarily from a deep connection to the natural environment and the animals we share it with. The data on the environmental impacts of animal agriculture are quite convincing. The health implications of eating a plant-based diet are also beneficial for long term health promotion and disease prevention, and even professional athletes across all disciplines are adopting more plant centered diets to improve overall health status, weight control, and performance. After 5+ years on a completely vegan diet, I can confirm that I’m still alive and thriving as an athlete.
While there is still a need for more data in the realm of plant-based nutrition, particularly for athletes, there are certainly many right and wrong ways to eat and fuel ourselves. I apply what we do know from the decades of sports science and nutrition to the plant-based way. Unfortunately, vegan and vegetarian diets often get demonized or marked as restrictive, suboptimal, or downright unhealthy due to too many “carbs” or lacking in key nutrients, and of course impossible for athletes. I’ll be the first to admit that a vegan diet can potentially be incredibly restrictive and insufficient to meet the needs of hard-training athletes. There’s more than one way to eat badly. That’s where In The Flow comes in. To provide education and nutritional support for active humans and athletes to develop clarity and confidence in our diets, whether we’re vegan or omnivorous.
Let’s get in the flow.