When I was much much younger, it was the Freshman 15 to watch out for. Now I could call it the threat of the quarantine 15. Pounds, that is. Those few extra pounds that creep up if many of us get out of our daily movement or diet routine. The change in daily routine has been upon us for over a month. Time indoors with the pantry or refrigerator calling. For those of us who are high energy, it’s likely eating something crunchy, sweet or salty that calls our taste buds.
Over Christmas I baked bread for neighbors and friends. I’ve seen people posting their baked bread on Facebook. COVID-19 seems to have rekindled an interest in the homespun comfort for fresh bread, and the symbolism that it lends.
While staying in during the pandemic, I have served up more carbs in the form of rice, pasta, bread and potatoes. I made a meal with sides of rice and pasta the other night. Carb sides instead of veggie sides. As I finished cooking I looked at the prepared dishes and the bowl of bananas next to the stove. The view made a nice composition of carbs. It looked like a carb-loading buffet. I thought, can we bring carb loading back? I remember the "60 Minutes" episode on carb loading and marathon runners back in the 1980s. Remember when in general weight management and healthy living, you were supposed to eat carbs? Then Atkins came back around from the '70s to resurface again in the '90s. I won’t even go into the births of nutritional variations based on Atkins — you know them well. Now there is a version of carb loading called carb backloading. Sounds scary. I have enough trouble sleeping anyway, a belly of carbs at night might not help the sleep factor.
The premise of carbohydrate loading is to store the optimal amount of glycogen in the muscles and liver before long endurance events. This is to prevent break through fatigue.
Carbohydrates are introduced days before a physical endurance event lasting 90 minutes or more. Any event under 90 minutes does not require carb loading. Can COVID-19 count as an endurance event?
Here are some carb-loading tips:
1. Eat a high-carb meal before your longest run of the week. I’ve got this.
2. Make sure 85% of your meal intake comes from carbs. Done.
3. Start carb loading 2-3 days before the endurance event. No problem.
4. Include drinks that contain electrolytes. Does Coca-Cola count?
When my head spins with all of the things one is supposed to do in order to stay healthy, my practical roots kick in. Yes, I have kept fruits and vegetables in my diet. But the indoor snacking has been a temptation. The dog even wants more snacks.
Many of us aren’t in the excess shopping mentality currently. More in the line of thinking, “Get what we need and go home.” Many items are still in low stock or out of stock. It used to be you got white flour and grits, cause that’s all you could get. But now those staples are off the shelf. If your great grandmother wouldn’t have used it in her kitchen and you can’t pronounce it, maybe you shouldn’t eat it? These have been extreme times. Still, moderation is key to healthy living.
But these days when the hours seem to blend together and you’ve completed the homeschooling interval, or the “work from home” and Zoom meeting sprints, you might just want a snack without having to think about it. Knowing that trends always circle back around, I say with a joke and a smile, can we bring back carbs? I promise to run a marathon!