Does the perfect diet exist?

No matter the daily routine, whether you are a new mama, a super busy career woman or a student trying to make ends meet, as cyclists and active women, we all strive towards the same goal : a healthy lifestyle.

But with all the different diets and products out there, it’s easy to get lost in this sea of supposedly healthy options. What to buy? What to eat? What’s the difference between this and that? There are more than a hundred dietary theories circulating today,  whether it’s the Gluten-free, Paleo, Whole30, Keto or Vegan diet, but there isn’t one that beats all others, in terms of health.

So to answer the question, no, the perfect diet doesn’t exist.

A Healthy Diet

To keep up with your oftentimes crazy work / life schedule, there are a few guidelines you can follow to ensure you’re getting proper nutrition to fuel your rides and have sustained energy throughout the day.

In my opinion, mixing elements from the Mediterranean, Paleo, Ketogenic and Ayurvedic diets would be the best, because the most healthful diet is one that is balanced, incorporates a variety of nutrient-dense foods and high quality ingredients.

Here are some important guidelines to follow:


1 - Stick to whole, unprocessed foods.

The majority of what you eat should be in its natural state; whole foods are at their peak in nutrient density. Once their state is altered (made in to soups, bars, cereals, crackers, powders) they become far less nutritious, therefore you would need to consume more in quantity to have the necessary nutrients to fulfill your bodily functions.

The same goes for grains – whole grains such as wild rice, buckwheat and steel cut oats are full of B vitamins, fibre and protein. On the other hand, refined grains such as white rice and flour have been stripped of their important nutrients, resulting in a grain that’s mostly sugar and starch. Lastly, given their ingredients are good, powders and supplements can be a great addition to your diet if you’re already getting all you need from food. That being said, you shouldn’t rely on them for adequate nutrition.

2 - Always opt for quality over quantity.

If your locality and budget allows it, buy organic and local. This eliminates antibiotics, hormones and synthetic insecticides / herbicides from your diet. It also means you’re eating produce at its peak in freshness, since it hasn’t traveled the globe to get to you!


3 - Add healthy fats.

Olive oil, coconut oil, butter & ghee, lard & duck fat, salmon, nuts & seeds are great additions to your diet. These are all great sources of fatty acids that are needed for absorbing vitamins and supporting the brain, as well as synthesising many hormones in the body, such as leptin (the hunger regulating hormone). Fats are also the highest energy source per gram of all 3 macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats). This means more energy for your workouts!


4 - Ditch the sugar.

This is probably the hardest for many people, but it is so important. Consuming refined sugar once in a while won’t do any harm but if you look at the amount you’re actually eating on a daily basis, you might be surprised. Do you add it to your coffee? Is there any in your morning yogurt (if it’s vanilla flavoured, there is!)? Did you eat a chicken stir-fry for lunch or some store-bought tomato sauce at dinner? Odds are, if you’re eating out at restaurants a lot or having processed foods, your diet is high in sugar. The cumulative effects of sugar can wreak havoc on the body. Insulin resistance, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity are all diseases that have higher chances to occur when consuming sugar.

All that being said, it’s also important to remember that indulging during your Saturday night dinner won’t do you any harm. Anything in moderation is fine.

I like to eat on a 90 / 10 basis; meaning 90% of what I eat is healthy and clean, whereas 10% of my intake is left for indulging. That 10% won’t necessarily feed your body, but it’ll feed your soul!


Sophie Sicotte Teasdale

PEPPERMINT ambassador and Nutrition Student

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