The enormity of the plant world’s contribution to human health can never be overstated.
Plants convert sunlight into chemical energy and stores that energy in the bonds of the carbohydrates, proteins and fats that it makes.
When those nutrients are digested, the energy from those bonds are released, recaptured and put into the bonds of phosphates.
Phosphate bonds are the currency of biological exchanges.
All biological energy is derived from plants.
Plants like soybeans and lentils contain the ideal proportion among the three nutrients.
The best diet to promote good health reflects a predominance of plants in its meals.
Pasta, rice, bread, legumes, fruits, olives and vegetables are healthy foods, despite what what many diet gurus assert.
They are the best source of clean fuel and the only foods that provide fiber and phytonutrients.
This program is a no-nonsense guide to weight management and a non-pharmaceutical method to manage the pain that accompanies exercise.
It'a prgram based on SelfCare, a method to stimulates the body’s self healing forces and keep it in balance.
Self-care is very simple.
Foods are medicine.
Exercise is therapy.
It is that simple. Exercise, a part of daily life, like breathing.
The science supporting the concept of food as medicine is well accepted. It provides a rational explanation for the beneficial effects of plants but falls short of explaining its contradictory effects.
I believe botanical medicine, is not only far easier to understand than say, string theory or the space-time continuums, but is more relevant to our life.
While it may not unlock the secrets of existence, it will help lead a more meaningful and healthier one.
We should all be interested in better understanding our own health.
Health is achieved by maintaining and restoring balance. Each fluctuation, monitored and corrected by the internal guardians of molecular balance.
Balance between exercise and eating is often manifested in one's physical appearance but it is the balance between the body’s inner or molecular balance that determines good health.
Maintaining balance between receptors and the ligands they bind to is essential for proper function.
Inflammation, growth and repair depend on molecular reactions between receptors and multiple ligands. Their ability to bind correctly determines health. Dysfunction results in disease.
For example, inflammation is controlled through the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, this ratio influences the body’s inflammation response. Growth on the other hand, is regulated by an interplay between releasing factors, hormones and glands that influence the activity of the DNA in genes while mood is the result of an interplay among neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
Exercise is the one tool that really improves biological balance. It improves the uptake of glucose by cells by increasing the membranes’s sensitivity to insulin. This lowers blood sugar levels and helps prevent diabetes. Exercise also increases production of healthy HDL cholesterol while lowering the lousy LDL faction. Improving this ratio, improves cardiovascular health.
These inner balances reflect the balance or lack thereof between the nutrients in food. Health therefore is a reflection of exercise, calories consumed and phytonutrients gained.
Movement and good food are essential to good health. Together they help athletes discover the long-sought fountain of youth. They allow them to remain younger and healthier, longer. This preventive approach to health that helps them avoid, delay or minimize disease.
Its goal is to help athletes die young, as late in life as possible.
The foods of The Athlete’s Solution span the rainbow of colors. Each plant, reflecting the library of phytonutrients in the food, not the solitary pigments that re visible. These libraries are unique to the species of plant and the part of the plant they are produced in.
Roots produce small nitrogen containing alkaloids while the leaves and other above ground parts, produce the colorful complex carbohydrates described in this chapter.
White or colorless foods are not the demons that diet gurus are making them out to be. Healthy oils, mushrooms, beans, seeds, nuts and grains are highly recommended by this program.
The alternative pathway is one paved with molecular imbalance, unhealthy food and inactivity. High protein, high fat and refined sugar contribute to an unhealthy diet. Combined with an absence of exercise, these foods causes an increase in the chronic diseases of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
The question is, are unhealthy meals chosen by unhealthy people or do unhealthy meals produce their illnesses?. I argue the latter.
Well balanced meals and regular exercise are the mantra and soul of The Athletes Solution. It takes advantage of the beneficial effects of plants by not only using its energy to fuel exercise, but to also depends on the plant’s library of phytonutrients to stimulate the body’s self-healing forces once exercise is terminated.
Exercise, fueled by complex, colorful carbohydrates is the long sought but rarely found, fountain of youth.
The power of this program lies in replenishing the reserves of tired muscles and neutralizing the army of free radicals formed in the process. Protecting cell structures adds years to ones life.
The macronutrients and phytohormones of colorful carbohydrates are the perfect antidote for tired and sore muscles.
Plants are the enablers of good health. They allow the body to function on its highest level for the longest period of time. Vegetarians have long known the value of plants and built their meals around fruits, vegetables and grains.
The meals in this program are likewise all built on colorful plants. Not only because they best fuel exercise but also because they cause less distress when digested. And despite the numbers of fad diets attesting otherwise, meals built on protein are inherently, unhealthy.
Meals that are high in colorful, complex carbohydrates combined with healthy oils and aromatic spices best meet the need of exercising and recovering muscles. Building meals with them automatically limits the amount of refined, processed, unhealthy and addictive food eaten.
Colorful foods are not only more efficient in terms of energy exchanges but are also our only source of the important antioxidants that our bodies’ need to properly function.
Antioxidants are needed in higher amounts in this program because exercise causes such an increase in demand for energy that the formation of harmful free radicals overwhelms the body’s ability to neutralize them. The foods I have chosen are based on the aforementioned demands and needs of metabolically active cells.
All of the foods recommended are whole plants or fermented ones. They all fuel exercise and help the body heal. Some are botanicals that are added to flavor food (garlic and ginger), while others are staples from other cultures (lentils and soybeans). Some need to be fermented (wine and yogurt) products in order to be effective.
The foods were chosen based on their proclivity for being useful to the body during times of physical stress. These food, spices and beverages provide wonderful flavor to meals and are precisely the foods needed by athletes to fuel and aid recovery from exercise. Aren’t we fortunate!
Exercise is the most stressful situation known to humans.
During exercise, the body is exposed to a level of stress that has no equal in life. To illustrate this extreme internal condition, consider a high fever of 105 degrees, core temperature that is considered to be near death. These conditions increase the body’s metabolism by 100 per cent above normal. By comparison, during a marathon, an athlete’s metabolic rate climbs to an astounding 2000 percent of normal.
In addition to nutrients, some plants contain compounds that have medicinal activity.
These effects are often attributed to the plant's antioxidants or anti-inflammatory compounds.
Plants promote good health.
Some compounds neutralize harmful free radicals while others add visual and gustatory appeal to food.
The medicinal effects of botanicals are attributed to the array of compounds the plant manufactures.
Those that are created naturally by the cell and those that become active due to the processes of fermentation and heating.
Free radicals cause disease.
Free radicals attack cell membrane receptors causing cell dysfunction.
When the dysfunction occurs in blood vessels, it leads to an accumulation of damaged lipoproteins and clogged arteries.
Accumulations in joints leads to arthritis, insulin receptor dysfunction results in diabetes and attack on nerve cells in the brain causes Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's’ diseases.
The colorful pigments and other compounds in plants protect cell membranes by binding with free radicals before they can initiate their attack.
Some plant compounds exist with the same chemical formula but are orientated differently in space.
Biological activity is usually based on the spatial relationship of lock and key or the chemical marriage between a receptor and a ligand.
These bindings are the 0’s and 1’s of Nature, the on/off switches of life. The Yin and Yang of the universe.
Plants plant contains multiple keys for different locks. The locks being the membrane receptors that stud a cell’s membrane. Especially those in muscle and nerves.
Plants are a natural combinatorial library. The term is used to differentiate it from the synthetic creation of all possible combination or what is normally called a combinatorial library.
Combinatorial chemistry is the digital analogue to conventional drug design. Its an invention that reproduces Nature’s limited diversity to clone receptors and ligands.
The effects of plants are best explained by recognizing that the active agent in a plant is in reality a group of agents or library of compounds. Nature provided plants with these chemical libraries, which are multiple forms of the active compounds.
The profile of compounds found in any given plant is unique to the botanical species. When grown in the wild, plants produce a more diverse spectrum of compounds than when they are farmed or genetically modified. This may account for the absence of taste in great looking fruit.
The effects of plants are often attributed to its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that promote human health.