Bored with your diet? Maybe it’s time to change it up. But instead of trying to get your head around the rules and calorie-maths of the latest fad, why not create a bespoke meal plan?
After all, the best diet is one you can stick to, as nutritionist Fiona Hunter explains in Curry’s Extraordinary Careers, Extraordinary Diets series. The series looks at the eating habits of people in extraordinary careers – from marathon runners to SAS recruits – and explores how our careers and our lifestyle choices can affect what we eat – and the way we eat it.
We’ve rounded upthe very best tips to help spark ideas for your own diet plan: one that’s tailored to your career, lifestyle and food moods.
A marathon runner’s top tips
According to ultramarathon runner Professor Tim Noakes, the common practice of carb-loadingbefore a race might not be the best for your body. For insulin-resistant runners who can’t process the sugar in bread, pasta and rice, Noakes recommends a low-carb, high-fat diet.
2014 Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi agrees. He’s reduced his carbohydrate percentage over the years and replaced it with more protein and healthy fats. Some examples of his training-day meals include wheat toast with almond butter for breakfast, scrambled eggs with fresh meats and veggies for lunch, and whole-wheat spaghetti with meatballs for dinner.
An astronaut’stop tips
Okay, so you might not be about to jet off beyond the atmosphere anytime soon. But, the diets and routines of astronauts can tell us a lot about life and lifestyles down on Earth.
Astronauts exercise regularly – at least twice a day – to prevent their bodies from wasting away in zero gravity. As Fiona explains, exercise – at least 150 minutes of walking per week – providesmyriad benefits including guarding against heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers.
To replenish their energy levels, astronautseat an incredible 3,000 kilocalories a day (the NHS recommends 2,500kcal for men and 2,000kcal for women on goodol’ Earth).What can you expect on their menus? Shrimp cocktail is a firm favourite with its spicy-zingy taste waking up astronauts’ taste buds, which tend to go to sleep in space. Other food favourites include space-ready burritos.
A Sherpa Everest guide’s top tips
Nepal’s Sherpas have an intimate knowledge of Mount Everest. They often act as guides and helpers for the many hopefuls wanting to climb the famous mountain.
How do Sherpas stay healthy in the heady heights of the world’s highest mountain? A lot of potato gives them the starch they need to keep going, while chilli, ginger and stews all provide the warmth needed for the cold Everest climate. And, just before bed, Sherpas give themselves a warming shot of Raski, an alcohol made from rice or grains.
For Sherpas, the most important meal of the day begins at sunrise. As Fiona explains, “a healthy balanced breakfast should provide between 20-25% of your daily energy requirements.” Aim for slow-release foods that can keep you going without feeling the need to reach for a snack before lunch. She recommends wholegrain carbs, some protein and at least one portion of fruit.
Still stuck for ideas? Perhaps a food critic has the diet you’re looking for – or maybe a mixed martial artist? Read the full story to get more tips on eating and exercise from people in extraordinary careers.