The Carb Flu

The following is a blog post I wrote on my old blog, and I think it is worth posting it here as well.

Carb Flu

I’m reading a book called Run Like A Mother, written by Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell. I bought the book in April when I picked up my packet for the Race for the Roses Half Marathon. I shook hands with Sarah, who lives right here in Portland. She is as tall as I am, which I loved of course.

The book is a pretty good read, although I’ll say that there is not a whole lot of new information for me. It’s more entertaining than educational if you will. However, when they get to talking about nutrition, I couldn’t help being a little turned off. I believe it is Sarah who wrote about doing a 14 day trial of the South Beach Diet. She is a carb junkie, loves all bagels, pasta, and other grains, and was hesitant about trying low carbing. But well, as a contributor for Runner’s World Magazine, she agreed to experiment with the South Beach Diet.

Obviously it could only go wrong. She felt miserable for the entire 14 days, but instead of going a little deeper, she quickly dismissed the low carb diet as no good and happily went back to her old ways of eating lots and lots of carbs. I don’t claim to hold the truth for everyone and everything. But I was turned off by how quickly she was to argue that runners should not eat a low carb diet. Why?

1.) The South Beach Diet is not the way to go. Yeah, sorry, that’s my opinion, and I’m sticking with it. With this diet you still rely too heavily on grains. Those need to go. Period!

2.) Fourteen days are not enough! She quit right at the point when her body was getting used to this different kind of fuel. I’m arguing that, being a carb junkie, she should have stuck with it for at least 30 days.

3.) A little more research into the subject of low carbing would have led her to the paleo/primal way of life, and with that to forums where nutrition for runners is discussed in great detail.

Her experience could have been an entirely different one had she known about the carb flu, adjusted her running accordingly, and stuck it out for at least one month. I remember all too well, how miserable I felt for a couple of weeks. Getting the sugar and grains out of my body completely took some time. But once I got past it, I felt better than ever before. Before long runs I do eat more carbs to keep my body fueled, but I do not need pasta or bagels in order to run better.

As a matter of fact, I ran a much better Half Marathon this year than I did last year, when I still ate according to conventional wisdom. Last year I ran an average 12minute/mile. This morning, during my Team in Training run of 9 miles, I ran an average of 9.5minute/mile. Granted I’m working out differently, but honestly, I think that eating like this has made a huge difference in my overall performance. (It’s made me about 30lbs lighter, too!)

Read all about the carb flu at Mark’s Daily Apple.

BTW: Current weight: 154lbs. At a height of almost 6feet this is better than I ever expected!!

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