25 September 2013

Nutrition Class Outline (In Progress)

Nutrition Class Outline
Allie Maloney 9/25/13

Food plays important roles in:
Staying healthy: Keeping well-nourished plays an instrumental role in fighting illness and disease. Building and repairing body tissue
Attitude: Without good nutrition, disposition and attitude deteriorate rapidly.
Energy: Food provides the energy that allows us to take part in physical activities.
Mental alertness: Thought processes and decision-making ability deteriorate without good nutrition.

Fun quote

Three goals:
1: Stay full/energized all day. No bonking.
2: Burn fat, retain muscle mass.
3: Combat sore muscles.

Whiteboard: Carbohydrate 60% Fat 30% Protein 10%  
NOLS Diet: 3000 calories a day or about 1.5 pounds per person per day
Maybe have some rations and what category each falls into? Like maltballs having a lot of fat?

Stored in three places in the body: liver glycogen, muscle glycogen, blood sugar.

Muscle weighs more than fat. This is because muscle contains glycogen, the storage form of carbohydrates that your body uses for fuel, and muscle glycogen is stored with water. In fact, every gram of glycogen has roughly 3 grams of water along with it. As you burn through your glycogen stores to fuel your activity, you release this water for your body to use. So the more muscle you have, the more water you can store.

Folks with less muscle mass (generally women) need to drink water more frequently and eat frequent small snacks in order to keep up energy levels.

You can store roughly 1,400 to 1,800 calories of glycogen in your body at any given time. This is enough stored carbohydrate to fuel roughly one to three hours of continuous moderate-to-high intensity exercise.

“Hitting the wall” The depletion of muscle glycogen stores means muscle fibers lack the fuel necessary to contract properly. Muscle fatigue and weakness.

“Bonking” The depletion of liver glycogen stores feed the brain, and the central nervous system will react. Irritability, dizziness, and loss of focus.

“Fat burns in a carbohydrate flame” Carbohydrates are your brain’s preferred fuel source, because they convert to blood glucose (blood sugar) faster than fat or protein. In fact, you need some carbohydrate to effectively burn fat for fuel.

Excess protein is either burned for energy (as a carb) or stored as fat. Excess protein does not equal increased muscle mass. The only way to build muscle is to combine adequate protein with exercise that stresses your muscles.

No more than .9 grams per pound of body weight for protein. .5 grams per pound of body weight is recommended for recreational athletes.

Protein: combination of 20 amino acids. Our bodies can make all but 9 amino acids. Those 9 must come from our diet. Animal products, soy, quinoa, are the most complete (ie have all 9), but a combination of nuts, seeds, dairy, grains, and legumes when eaten within 24 hours together will create a total 9 combination.

Complementary protein foods do not have to be eaten at the same meal, as long as they are consumed within the same day.

Many athletes are aware of the “magic window” for refueling; this refers to the 15-to-30 minute time period immediately following exercise when glycogen can be stored more easily. Combining some protein along with the carbohydrate helps repair injured muscle tissue along with filling the glycogen stores.

Fat yields 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram for protein and carbohydrates.

Fat: good for immune system, hair and skin, temp regulation, energy

When you are kicking back at camp, or travelling at a pace that allows comfortable conversation, you are most likely burning mostly fat. As the intensity of your exercise increases (setting a faster pace, climbing uphill, or carrying a heavier load) or you enter a more extreme environment, you will use more carbohydrates (glycogen) than fat. As your fitness increases, you will be able to use fat at higher intensity levels than when you are less fit.

Lots of fatty foods can = GI distress.

Hydration and the small things (Antioxidants, Vitamins, Minerals, Electrolytes)
Helps with altitude sickness, temperature control, muscle soreness, digestion, sleep, sustained energy…

Cold environments/high altitude demand more hydration, by up to 2 liters.

Women (young women in particular) are 25 times more liked to suffer from hyponatremia: estrogen affects the enzymes that move potassium (key electrolyte) out of the brain. This potassium shift is an important response to the brain swelling that occurs with the abnormal loss of sodium.

Why does my poop change color?
Getting “NOLS Gold” is a shared experience for most NOLS graduates. The change in color is mostly due to the consistency of the color of foods we eat in the field (pasta, oats, hashbrowns, rice etc). A small effect comes from food moving through our digestive system more quickly as well. The change in texture is actually a healthy sign of the body stripping the foods of all their nutrients. The only causes to worry are if you are not pooping or if it is more along the lines of diarrhea.

NOLS students are prone to experience weight loss if they do not understand some basic nutritional principles. Unfortunately, this type of weight loss on course is generally muscle wastage that occurs when the body begins to break down muscle mass to create more carbohydrates for the brain. It is important to stress during this class the dangers of this type of weight loss and what can be done to combat it. I’ve seen both male and female students try to restrict their diet while hiking, without a full understanding of the caloric demands backpacking, cold nights, and altitude put on their body.
An emphasis of “food is fuel” as well as encouragement and time in the schedule for “magic window” and encouraging slower and steadier hiking paces (can you carry on a conversation while travelling uphill?) can leave students feeling energized and fit after a month in the field, rather than worked.

Figure out your basic caloric needs
Factors: Body, Activity, Cold, Hot, Altitude
In summer, below 9000ft:
Less active day: Body weight x 14 calories per pound = calories used per day
Very active day: Body weight x 24 calories per pound = calories used per day
For cold environments/high altitude environments, the military sets a base of 4500 calories per day.

Revisit three goals and offer tips/ answer questions
1. Frequent small snacks on trail. Start with a substantial breakfast, like kitchen-sink scones. Perkys will make you bonk.
2. Eat the entire ration (nature burger, lentils and all). Have a “magic window” snack, like quesadillas and super cocoa.
3. Drink water consistently throughout the day, and don’t be afraid of salt. Salt your oatmeal (two pinches), and all your dinners.

Have students break up into small groups and create different sample menus for short trips
Frontloading: don’t get stuck with NOLS-style-only mindset, can have some freshies, frozen meat can defrost for the first night. Think about cost, weight, simplicity of cooking. Breakfast, hot drinks, snacks, lunch, dinner, dessert.

3 day trip (do not include breakfast the first night or dinner the last)
Group 1: with younger students (picky)
Group 2: with a lightweight bent
Group 3: with shoulder season temps (cold)
Group 4: canoe or kayak specific

Students present and explain choices. Lots of fun! Especially when students have been in the field long enough to start having food cravings.

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