Having an interest in horses, fitness and nutrition for almost 40 years, I have noticed one thing does not change. Fad diets come and go in both human and horse nutrition. If you were a child of the 80’s, you have to remember when Tiz Whiz and Manna Pro were all the fashion in equine nutrition. If you are a bit longer in the tooth, your childhood horses were probably raised on “straights” (whole servings of barley, oats or corn). In the last few years, low sugar products are flooding the feed stores.
There is a similar pattern in human nutrition. The trend has flowed from the nutritious whole foods eaten by our grand parents, to the growing development of bagged processed foods, while also spending some time with packages promising better healthy through low sugar or sugar free guilt free treats.
The other disturbing commonality between the equine and human nutrition trend is the increasing number of horses and humans who are fighting some kind of metabolic issue. Whether it is Insulin Resistance or Chronic Laminitis in horses or Type 2 Diabetes in humans, the end result appears to be the same-girths are getting bigger and saddles are looking smaller.
It was only a few short years ago that I spent a lot of time in the tack room to the beat of scoop scoop scoop as I meticulously measured supplement after supplement for each of my horses only to go home and calculate my daily intake to make sure I had consumed every last grams of protein that some diet craze had determined that I required.
Now I am not saying that certain established principles of nutrition are not sound or should be abandoned. I am not suggesting that a well researched whole food supplement is not a great form of ‘nutrition insurance’ in days of over-farmed soils that are constantly being depleted of the very minerals and vitamins that we need. What I am suggesting is that it is time get our nutrition back to basics-if only to experience how powerful real food is as real fuel.
There is no question that our bodies (and our horses) require sufficient amounts of the macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats). Both of us depend on adequate minerals and vitamins to ensure health and sports performance. So if the human (or horse) body is basically the same today as they were 50 years ago, what in the world changed?
The introduction of the bag.
Well the bag and the television remote control (but that is another blog for another day). Now, I am not talking about the re-useable bag that transports your groceries from the store to your home or barn. I am talking about the frequently brightly colored bag that comes with inviting tag lines and colors that tempt you to eat just one more of whatever is inside.
What is the solution? It is really very simple-but not always easy until you get the hang of it. Choose from a variety of colorful whole foods-not colorful packages. If you must choose a bagged or bottled food, learn how to be a label reader so you know the food you are selecting has at least been prepared from a variety of colorful whole foods-not colorful chemicals.
Would you like to learn more about how to read labels, make healthier food choices and then prepare those choices? Check out the Athletic Rider Clean and Lean in 14 “Challenge”-but don’t sweat it…the only real challenge is to challenge your mind to think differently about how you fuel your body.
Spaces are limited so if you miss out on the current challenge, sign up for our NEWSLETTER so you can be the first to know when the next Clean and Lean will be offered.