We recently had an opportunity to discuss nutrition, especially the importance of eating natural foods, with Michael Symon. A former wrestler who now owns several restaurants, Symon appears on TV programs on the Food Network, including Iron Chef America, Cook Like an Iron Chef and Food Feuds.
Symon advocates a natural diet, one in which the foods contain no chemicals, hormones, pesticides or other additives. Examples include organic fruits and vegetables and free-range chicken. As a strategy for following a natural diet, Symon recommends avoiding foods with more than one ingredient that you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce. Using this simple method, you can eliminate the vast majority of unnatural ingredients, without significantly limiting your food selection.
By eating natural or organic foods, you avoid taking in calories laden with chemicals and other additives that have no nutritional value. Most processed foods contain a slew of unnatural, chemically-synthesized ingredients, which are difficult for your body to break down and can actually hinder both your short-term sports performance and your long-term health.
Natural foods nourish your body with nutrient-dense calories from protein, carbs and healthy fats, which improve your strength and endurance and increase your energy level.
Even if some foods you consume are not completely natural, Symon says that eating everything in moderation is the key to a balanced diet that can meet your needs as an athlete and improve your performance.
Check back soon for more nutritional and cooking advice from the Iron Chef.