A friend recently asked me if I have a sweet tooth. The answer is unequivocally yes!
What I’ve found, however, is when we change our lifestyle to remove nearly all the added, refined sugar from our diets, real food begins to taste sweet. We can satisfy our desire for decadence in a manner consistent with our fitness goals.
Low carb eating plans are a popular fad, but I am not a fan, particularly for athletes. We are not solely dependent on our bodies for high-level athletic achievement. A sharp, strong mind is instrumental to our ability to compete successfully between the lines. “Low blood sugar deprives your brain of glucose, leaving you fluffy-headed and weak,” says Glenys Jones, nutritionist at the Medical Research Council. Glucose is found in fruits and starchy veggies like sweet potatoes and yams. These soil grown delicacies provide our brains with the fuel it needs, with the added benefit of being filled with nutrients and vitamins.
A starchy carbohydrate fix after a training session helps stimulate the release of insulin, putting you into an anabolic, muscle-building state, suggests the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. To maximize this benefit, one must take in carbs, protein and fat. I pair my carb of choice with a chunk of red meat or some organic chicken thighs after a workout.
One of my favorites is the Japanese sweet potato. It’s like candy to me, is ridiculously easy to prepare, and it’s a staple in staying in tune with my personal training mission of maintaining muscle mass. Here’s how I prepare mine:
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- Pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork or slice the skin with a knife. Place the sweet potatoes directly on your oven’s rack with foil or something at the oven base to catch the sugar drippings.
- Bake until tender, roughly 50-55 minutes.
I enjoy the potatoes with hot sauce and love eating them cold. I bake 6 at a time and keep them in the fridge. Feel free to smear some grass fed butter on these bad boys!