Loving the BITE: Junk Food Anti-Venom
What’s the opposite of candy overload? In a word, celery. It’s the anti-junk food. In fact, spend a day eating celery (in addition to other whole healthy foods), and you’ll tend to feel less bloated, lighter, and healthier. With its gentle diuretic effects, celery can get the bloat off that’s often caused by too much sodium and too much sugar. You can feel lighter and stronger on your bike. If you’ve eaten a bit too much candy this week, try our delicious Junk Food Anti-Venom Celery Smoothie, and get back on track.
Recipe of the Week: Celery Vegetable Smoothie
- 1 cup Spinach or Greens
- 1 small apple, cored
- 1 stalk celery, including leaves
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1/2 cup frozen or fresh berries
- 1/2 cup water
Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Add water and ice as needed for desired consistency. Serve at once and enjoy.
Feeling stuffed? If you’ve eaten too much junk food over the past day or week, you may be feeling the compounding effects of added weight and water retention. In fact, both sugar and sodium can cause you to retain extra fluids. These effects are well-known with sodium. With sugar, it’s more indirect, but every bit as potent.
When you eat sugar, it’s quickly digested. It is broken down in the mouth, stomach, and intestines, absorbed and delivered to the liver, and sent out to the body as blood sugar. Sugar in your blood is harmful (it hardens arteries). So, your body must get it out of your bloodstream and into your cells for storage, where it’s less destructive in the short-term. To accomplish this, your pancreas sends out insulin, a hormone that acts like a “key” and open up the cells so sugar can enter.
Unfortunately, insulin has a lot of negative effects as well, but it’s the lesser of the two evils when your body has to deal with rising blood sugars in the vessels. Insulin promotes fat storage. It also promotes water retention.
For cyclists, hydration’s important. However, water retention from an everyday diet too high sodium or sugar off the bike causes bloating and swelling of the tissues (remember, our bodies act differently and can use sodium and fast carbs when actively training and sweating). This fluid is not readily available or beneficial to fend off dehydration, and should not be confused with adequate hydration. In fact, rather than being energizing to an athlete, bloated tissues only weigh you down and slow your ride.
Celery, our anti-junk food can help remove the extra water. It has a gentle diuretic effect which quickly normalizes fluids without leaving your dehydrated. If you feel overloaded, eating extra “clean” for a day and including foods like celery can help you break the sugar cycle and get you back on track for healthy eating. Additionally, celery:
- Is rich in Vitamin C, which promote good immune function and works as an antioxidant to reduce oxidative stress
- Reduces blood pressure by reducing stress hormones and relaxing arteries to make them more elastic
- Lowers cholesterol by increasing bile production which binds cholesterol in the gut and promotes excretion out of the body
Of course, it’s better to avoid overloading on sodium or sugar in the first place. But, it happens. And it was Halloween after all. Before you let the cycle of Holiday over-indulgence get you, stop it in its tracks. Dedicate a day to clean eating with refreshing vegetables like celery, get out on the bike, and you’ll feel good as new.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.