You just bought your dream car. You know the gas station you are about to drive past has dirty gas, but it’s that tiny bit cheaper and less effort than doing a U-turn to use the gas station across the street that you know has good quality gas. Standard choice is the dirty option, right? Cheap and easy is the way to go? Obviously not.
Our body is the primary vehicle that we have in life, and it’s a heck of a lot more valuable than a car, so why would we fill that with dirty fuel?
The typical poker player’s diet on any given “game day” is usually atrocious considering the five-minute-per-hour limitation to grab the quickest, easiest snack possible. Add a trip to the bathroom, and you’ve got three minutes, at most, to spare. I’m sure after a few months, all of those chips, cookies, slices of cheese or spoonful’s of ice-cream started to catch up, whether it be on the waistline, or on your general health, focus and vitality overall.
Weight gain is the most commonly discussed and, perhaps, obvious affect a bad diet has, but it’s not all just about the fat and skinny. There is so much more to what we put in our mouths. It’s the fuel that keeps us energized, alert and functioning properly.
The concentration and thought processes required in a poker session means you need some serious brain food to stay stimulated and focused. Here are some of my personal favorite suggestions on what to fill up your shopping cart with, in place of the cookies and potato chips.
Remember, if you don’t have “junk food” available in the kitchen, then you simply have no choice but to eat healthier options.
My absolute favorite snack is yogurt with fruit, which is the perfect cure for whenever I have a craving for something sweet. The yogurt provides a rich source of calcium and protein, while the fruit provides all sorts of benefits, particularly blueberries and bananas. You could even sprinkle on some granola for a little crunch and extra benefits (see whole grain cereal below).
Blueberries have been labeled a “brain food” because they are high in fiber and packed with antioxidants that help protect the brain and skin. Studies have shown that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved the learning capacity of aging rats. (Source: Blueberries and Brain Health) On top of that, they taste great! So add them to your fruit and yogurt mix above, or simply snack on a cup of blueberries while you grind.
Pick up a banana for a quick hunger fix and energy boost thanks to its high dose of potassium, "an essential mineral present in large concentrations inside every cell in the body. In the brain, potassium builds the electrical potential inside brain cells required for electrical signaling between cells. Depletion of potassium from the body decreases the amount of electrical signaling in the brain, resulting in lethargy." (Source: LiveStrong.com)
I always seem to appreciate a bowl of cereal later in the day more than I do in the mornings. For some energy-boosting complex carbohydrates, pour out a bowl of whole grain cereal or oatmeal, with yogurt or milk, or even have it dry. The complex-carbohydrates provide a steady rise in blood-sugar levels rather than an instant high that comes from the "simple" kind, such as sugar, that sends energy levels crashing down shortly thereafter. The fiber in the whole-grains will maintain the blood sugar on an even level, and of course, the milk or yogurt provides you with protein to help further sustain energy levels.
A bag of trail mix is handy to keep in the cupboard, and offers a tasty selection of dried fruits, nuts and seeds, which are great sources of vitamin E (particularly sunflower seeds). These help cognitive function, with no preparation time required. Just try to limit yourself to the one handful!
There are many more options available that are just as quick and easy to grab on the go, and of course, that are just as tasty, and I will share more of them in future editions of Stay Stacked. With a little self-control when making your purchases at the supermarket, you could turn your game around in no time.
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*Lead image courtesy of Foodspeople.com