In 1948, the World Health Organization stated that “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Eating right is important to feeling good during work and during play.
To feel good during work, your body requires energy. That energy is measured in calories and the more energetic you are, the more calories you burn. But eating for long-term energy isn’t just about replacing calories. Your body can burn both carbohydrate and fat to provide calories, but the energy released from these fuels is very different.
Carbohydrate = climber’s fuel
Think of carbohydrate as easy-to-burn fuel. Your body uses mainly carbohydrate to fuel tree climbing. Unfortunately, you only have a small reserve of carbohydrates, enough to fuel about two hours of hard exercise. Once those reserves are depleted, fatigue sets in. Eating for long-term energy means that you have to top off your fuel reserves on a regular basis and the only way to do this is to eat quality carbohydrate foods. Eating for long-term energy
Before you begin work, make sure your carbohydrate stores are full. Eat large portions of foods rich in carbs; such as pasta, rice, or potato for dinner. Keep sauces, gravies, and toppings on the lighter side, such as plain tomato sauce instead of tomato and meat sauce on pasta. Top up your stores with more carbohydrate foods in the morning before work. There are plenty of high carbohydrate breakfast foods. For the sake of your arteries, choose the ones lowest in saturated fats and cholesterol, such as:
- Whole grain toast (wheat, rye, etc.) with honey, jam or marmalade
- Bagels with honey, jam or marmalade
- Hot cereals such as cream of wheat, oatmeal, etc. Try cooking with raisins or banana to sweeten.
- Whole grain, cold cereals with no added sugar - choose the kind with raisins and dates for sweetness or add honey to sweeten
Avoid the “donut” trap
Donuts contain carbohydrate, but they contain a high percentage of saturated fat, too. This is not an efficient way to fill up your fuel tank. Avoid them if you are looking for short-term energy boosts. However, if you are trying to jump into a higher weight class for wrestling, donuts might help!
Eating on the move
Take some high carbohydrate foods for lunch such as banana and honey sandwiches (peanut butter contains fat), pasta, or potato salad to provide a mixture of simple and complex carbohydrates. It may not always be possible to stop to eat when you start to run out of energy, so carry some foods you can use as a quick snack. Try bagels, dried fruits (apricots, bananas, figs, dates, etc.) and granola bars.
These are just a few healthy eating suggestions – what do you snack on to stay fit and efficient for tree climbing? Let us know in the comments below!
*The original version of this article first ran in the Treeworker in November 2006. Learn more about TCIA’s TreeWorker here.