First of all I want to tell you the truth, windsurfer diet is exactly the same than the diet of any other human being. I just thought this title sounded good :) It is very common seeing any article related with nutrition starting with the famous Hipocrates phrase…

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food

… the funny thing is that some time ago I saw it written at a bakery wall….

80% of being healthy is food and since I am not a nutritionist (nor do I think I know much about the subject) I will not give advice to anyone except to inform yourself, question and later draw logical conclusions. This article is the second of a series of 3. If you missed the first one I recommend to have a look at it:

The nutritional pyramid

I am going to give you an example of this to see if I awaken the curiosity of who can be interested. I will tell you the story of the famous nutritional pyramid, on which all the official recommendations on food are based.
While the pyramid is an invention of the Swedes to guide the population as to which foods were more “economically accessible” (than not the most nutritionally adequate ones).

The ones that made it famous were the Americans (evidently). The USDA (American Department of Agriculture) developed and made official the pyramid that “casually” says that cereals, bread and pasta should be the basis of our diet.
As I said in the first post on this topic, informing us and applying common sense, we can discover that maybe reality is not how they tell us it. The best thing we can do for our health is to question what we read. Even if it comes from an official source, contrast that information and draw our own conclusions.

The evolutionary approach

According to the evolutionary approach, the basis of a human being’s diet must be that one that is more closely related to its history (and I mean hundreds of thousands of years). These are all the foods that are found in nature without Intervention of industry (or with the least possible). Basically, vegetables, fruits, meat and fish. While I am not a follower of the Paleo philosophy, and generally to anything overly inflexible. I think it’s a good starting point for those who want to know something more about the subject. Also Banting philosophy is a good start.

Quick Tip: Remove refined flours, sugars and try to eat foods that you could hunt or collect for yourself if circumstances were to occur. Try it for a month and let me know ….

If we want to get a bit in shape to ride those waves (yes, we all say that board has very few liters for my weight …. mmmm …), the first is the feeding. In order of importance we must control:

  • What food do we eat
  • How much we eat (yes, after the what)
  • How we organize the macro nutrients (we will explain briefly how)
  • When we eat

What food do we eat

Of the four points we will address, this is the most important. Perhaps it’s the one that brings the most confusion and the one that has the most differences, in my opinion, between reality and what receive. The simplest explanation I can give to why it’s so important, I’ll take from a book called “The Real Meal Revolution” from professor Tim Noakes, Jonno Proudfoot and Sally-Ann Creed:

All of the earth’s creatures must eat the food they where designed to eat. This “design” depends on the nature of their creation or evolution (irrespective of which you believe). Human beings aren’t different. As omnivores, we are certainly more complex than the average mammal, but our diet is unique and “designed” for our species.

Common sense, again…

Applying common sense. We find that ultra-processed foods (which have a brutal excess of sugar and are totally far away from the way you find them in nature) do not fit into this evolutionary concept of which we have spoken. In order not to get too deep, I’ll borrow a concept from Marcos Vázquez very well explained in his web site about how to show the real food pyramid. It would be something like this (translation by myself):

Piramide evolutiva - TheWindsurfingBlog

And basically this is the concept. Apply these percentages in your daily life and your diet will improve drastically. Why?

Mainly because having a diet closer to what your genetics expects will cause your hormones to regulate themselves and work as they should, rather than being overexcited or overdepressed.

This is the key point to understand, then comes the rest.

Obviously you can go much deeper. Talk about what types of vegetables, fruits or meats are better and why, the origins of each food, how to grow them, etc. The subject is huge but here we are to talk about windsurfing :-)

Anyway, if you like this post and want me to continue talking about this, I will do it with pleasure.

How much we eat

This is the easy part, more or less everyone knows how many calories are and on the internet you can find a thousand ways to calculate them, to know our requirement depending on our weight, the physical activity we do, our age, etc. Either way I leave here a link for those who wants to calculate your daily calorie requirement.

Ok, how important is it to eat the right amount of calories? It is quite important, but less than the type of food and therefore I think it should be controlled, but should not be taken to a level of obsession (with a little practice the calculation by eye is accurate enough).

Caloric restriction

Once the required calories are calculated (in another post I can go into the different types of caloric expenditure). If the goal is to lose fat, we must apply a calorie restriction of the order of 20%. But be very careful with this, it shouldn’t be done for long periods, or without taking into account the metabolic adaptation.

Restricción calorica - TheWindsurfingBlogThis post is simply introductory, if someone following what you read here decides to take the reins of your food, first I am glad to hear about it and I encourage you to do so, but secondly I ask you to inform yourself very well and to see specialists before doing anything.

If we control the type of food that improves our hormonal environment and we manage reasonably well the amount of food we eat, we will improve our energy balance. Then, we’ll have a large part of the way traveled.

Obviously the stricter you are with this the better results you will have, that depends on your goals, your discipline and how well you want to be able to sail ;-)

How we organize the macro nutrients

Before organizing the “macro nutrients”  I should explain what they are, isn’t it? Well, the nutrients that our body needs are basically divided into two types, macro and micro nutrients. This division is done according to the quantity of them that our organism requires to survive. With macro-nutrients we speak in grams and with micro-nutrients we speak generally in milligrams.

Essential macro-nutrients

Macronutrientes escenciales - TheWindsurfingBlogThe macro nutrients are 3, the proteins, the fats and the carbohydrates. At this point we must make another division. Between essential and non-essential nutrients. In the first group, we’ll include those nutrients that aren’t capable of being synthesized (created) by the organism. They must be ingested through food. Here we find the essential amino acids, for example Leucine, so important for muscle reconstruction after long sessions at sea.

Non essential macro-nutrients

In the second group we obviously have those nutrients that can be synthesized by our organism from others. Carbohydrates are in this group and this is the reason why I put them in a second step of importance. However, I’m not saying that they aren’t necessary. For example, we need to fill our glycogen reserves before (performance) or after (recovery) exercise, nothing better than carbohydrates.

When we distribute the daily calories we eat between the 3 macro nutrients, we must analyze what we want to achieve. Here we start to specify. Depending on whether we want to lose fat, gain muscle, have sports performance or simply have a balanced diet, the % of each macro should vary.

As you see, we are gradually building a global concept. The type of food applies to everyone equally. Calories as a concept apply to everyone, but we already differentiate by age, physical activity, sex and goals. With macros we go to a greater level of detail and distribute them according to short and medium term objectives.

How do we fix this distribution?

– First the proteins. From 1.8g to 2.2g per kg of body weight. Multiplying by 4 we get the calories it brings.

– Then the carbohydrates. Between 2g and 5g per kg of body weight. The range is quite high because it depends on whether we are in caloric restriction or not, whether or not we train, etc. With carbos is what we should experience and see which combination suits us better. Again multiplying by 4 we get the calories it brings.

– Finally the fats. To calculate them, we take the calories that we must consume and we subtract the ones contributed by the proteins and the carbohydrates. Then, we divide it by 9 and we will have the grams of fat to consume.

We must keep in mind that if we want to split hairs, we have to go deep in knowledge. It happens with all things. The distribution of macros is something that you can experiment with. Try different combinations depending on our goals and what make us feel good. In any case, I strongly recommend reading and learning from those who know (which is not me).

When we eat

Although the post gets a little long. I don’t want to skip talking about when to eat, especially to take away the inferred importance. Phrases like “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, “you have to eat 6 times a day because otherwise your body gets into crisis mode” and many others similar have no scientific basis. Please forget this since it generates a dependence on food that does not do anything right to us. As long as we eat the right foods, the necessary calories and distribute the macros correctly, our body gives it almost the same (see the quotation marks, bold and underscore) if we eat once a day, twice or six.

Why “almost”? Because it really is not the same for our body. We don’t metabolize the same way the food after an intense workout, that within 2 hours of having eaten and not having exercised. But what I want to point out is that this is much, much less important than the previous. We shouldn’t depend on the number of meals a day, nor the hours. There are many eating strategies that work, including fasting (I personally do 16/8 fasting on weekdays) that have other extraordinary benefits for the organism (maybe this is the subject of another post).

Well, here I come with this feed post. I promise not to bore people with these issues. However, I consider it important for anyone who wants to learn. Any comments or suggestions are welcome and I encourage you to comment or share the post if you liked.

The windsurfer diet
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