Ever heard the phrase, “There’s no bad food, only bad times to eat certain foods”? Well, as it turns out there is a great deal of truth behind it. Most of the time I try to eat clean— meaning lean protein, fruits and vegetables, non-processed starches, and so forth.
However, I found that there are times when I do eat foods that would otherwise be “BAD.” Here are some examples:
Training for a marathon: During those long training runs it became apparent that a healthy bowl of oatmeal and some egg whites just wasn’t enough to keep my motor going. I needed sodium, I needed sugar, and I needed caffeine. I took along gel packs loaded with electrolytes and sugar, which often gave me a huge boost while running. During these longer, higher-intense runs, is the only time I would consider a high-calorie/sugar sports drink.
Backpacking: While hiking through Yosemite, I was burning thousands of calories every day. Many of the healthy foods that I would make at home were just not practical to cram in my pack. I needed foods that were small and loaded with calories. Hence, I relied on dehydrated meals and calorie-packed bars.
High-intensity circuits: Foods with a higher glycemic index are best for recovery after these workouts. If I didn’t eat them right after HIT training, I’d usually feel my blood sugar drop for hours. Having a little piece of dark chocolate not only helps me recover, it also improved my progress.
Typically, normal clean meals consisting of complex carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats are the way to go, but as you can see there are times to consume foods that some may consider “bad” or not your everyday foods. On those relatively sedentary days, it’s a good idea to reduce the amount of calories and carbohydrates. On more active days, a few extra calories may not be a bad idea.
The overall lesson here is that we have to recognize the demands that we are putting on our bodies and feed them accordingly. I’m not advocating the regular consumption of these “BAD” foods, but rather highlighting that simple fact that there are no “BAD” foods, only bad times to eat to them.