[Photo by Dean Hockman]
People often think they need to take a supplement or do something alternative in order to create mental clarity. Achieving mental clarity is actually so simple and it dates back to the beginning of time.
I gave up all sugar and set myself the goal of eating only vegetables and meat, chicken and fish for 1 week. I wouldn’t even eat fruit and the only things I drank were water and herbal tea.
My road to eating and drinking for performance
In the middle of 2014, when my mind and body broke down due to stress and the load I was placing on myself, I began getting a bloated feeling in my stomach. After seeing a few doctors, I thought I’d go see a naturopath too. The naturopath I saw suggested I had a build up of yeast in my stomach as a result of the prolonged stress. I asked if it was a food intolerance and while I never had any tests to confirm either way, he suggested eliminating gluten from my diet. I began looking into gluten free diets and came across a guy by the name of Pete Evans.
Pete Evans is a chef who became known for his role on the TV series, My Kitchen Rules. While the mainstream media and majority of large health organisations seemed to not agree with his support of the Paleo lifestyle, there were a lot of positive case studies that intrigued me. The final case study that convinced me to give this lifestyle a go was that of Ironman athlete, Ali Day. Having been so heavily impacted myself by Surf Life Saving Australia, I felt like I had something in common with Ali.
My one week personal challenge
Knowing a bit about brewing beer, I knew that yeast like to survive on sugar and their byproduct is carbon dioxide. So, with the apparent yeast in my stomach, I gave up all sugar and set myself the goal of eating only vegetables and meat, chicken and fish for 1 week. I wouldn’t even eat fruit and the only things I drank were water and herbal tea.
The results were surprising
After just 3 days, the bloating had gone away. What happened that really surprised me however, was just how much more happy, energetic and clear-minded I was. I seriously couldn’t believe the way I felt. All I wanted was to lose the bloated, hardening feeling in stomach, but what I got was an abundance of happiness, energy and clarity. Even my ability to work harder and get more out of myself in physical exercise dramatically increased.
Bringing everything back
My plan after 1 week was to reintroduce fruit and have a coffee, that I liked with soy milk. Then over the next few weeks I would reintroduce everything else and see how I felt. End the end of the first week however, I didn’t want to reintroduce anything. I found that I didn’t miss any of it. I did have a piece of fruit and I have to tell you, it was the most amazingly sweet thing I have ever tasted. Without eating refined sugar on a regular basis actually makes you realise how sweet fruit really is. I didn’t want to reintroduce coffee but I wanted to reward myself for having achieved what I set out to. The taste was ok, but I didn’t really enjoy it the same way I used to. I thought it might make me feel sick, which luckily it didn’t, but it did give me such a hit that I felt like my mind was spinning. My mind was so active I couldn’t even concentrate.
Long term implications
After a couple of weeks reintroducing everything else, my bloating came back, as did my lethargy and I lost my mental clarity. I haven’t had any tests and I don’t know if I have some sort of intolerance, but the change in my mental and physical performance from my eating habits was so drastic. I truly believe this is a great way to achieve mental clarity, gain physical energy and reach peak performance.
My top tips on how to eat and drink for performance
- Eat lots of small meals throughout the day, every couple of hours.
- Eat vegetables with every meal.
- Buy organic foods from local suppliers.
- Don’t eat anything that comes from a packet.
- Start the day by drinking 1 litre of water and continue to drink throughout the day.
- Enjoy a herbal tea if you want something different to drink.
- Don’t be a robot. Allow yourself to enjoy the less healthy option that tastes nice, every now and again. When your diet is made up of predominately vegetables, fruit and meats, your body will remind you how bad the other stuff is after you eat it.
Nature provides us with all the nutrients we require to function and thrive. It has done since humans came to be. Vegetables provide us with vitamins, minerals and carbohydrate for survival. Meat, chicken and fish provide us with protein, fat and other essential nutrients. Fruit is a great snack for a burst of energy and something sweet. Try it and experience the difference for yourself.
How do you feel after you eat a fresh, healthy meal or snack compared to a highly processed one? Share your story with me in the comments below.
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