Power Eating // Forks Over Knives

Sunday, February 24, 2013

There is currently a billion dollar “diet” industry. As a professional athlete, what we put into our bodies becomes even more important. You can’t fill up the Ferrari with water… let alone with cupcakes! With all the gimmicks and myths, I thought I’d do a little research into the nutritional needs of an endurance-power athlete. With a little help from Amazon.com, I acquired some literature on two of the diets out there, and set to trying them out.

I started keeping a Diet Journal, not just for calorie counting, but to investigate the other nutritional properties of what I am eating. I also started stepping on a scale that measures weight, body fat, muscle mass, bone density, and water retention. After reading the book Power Eating over winter break, I tried to adopt the recommended diet that fit my nutritional needs. Here are the key principles of a Power Eating diet:

-Eat enough calories (liking this!)
-Eat the carbohydrate you need (loving this!)
-Vary your diet
-Time and combine your food and nutrients (small meals and snacks every three hours, timed around workout schedule)
-Use a food plan (perfect for a schedule freak like me!)

Through the process of testing out these principles I learned that raising self-nutritional-awareness is half the battle. The biggest benefit I felt from adjusting my eating habits manifested in my recovery. Of course, I was not magically faster, stronger, or more fit. But since I maintained a similar training regimen through the culinary change, the results felt clear. The same workouts felt easier, so I was able to put in more work and be a wee bit more pleasant when I wasn’t working out. Tired Christen is cranky.

While it’s a bit more challenging to figure out everything in Sweden, I have done my best to maintain my eating habits in this foreign land. And now, with the beginning of Lent, I am a 40-day pescatarian! (Loosely) Following the guide of my new book: Forks Over Knives, I hope to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet. The goal is to improve my personal health while reducing my carbon footprint and respecting mankind’s relationship with animals. Here is the gist of the Forks Over Knives diet:

-Avoid anything that came from a source that ever had a face or a mother. Sorry to the fishies, I’m still going to eat you!
-Eat plants! The more intact, the better.
-Avoid overly processed foods.
-Avoid preservatives and additives.
-Eliminate dairy. Goodbye cappuccinos :,(!
-Don’t worry about carbohydrates (as long as they are the right type of carbs.)
-Don’t worry about protein (plenty of protein to be had outside of steaks.)

I will keep you posted on how it goes!
“One quarter of what you eat keeps you alive. The other three quarters keep your doctor alive.”

3. Fast Forward.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

[THE PITCH] I have found through writing this blog that my mood and my thoughts move about as quickly as the airplanes that carry me from country to country. Before I left for USWNT camp, I was working on a blog about how player movements on the field operate like magnets, and how the force of the connections between players makes each of us greater than ourselves alone. Of course, the whirlwind of camp swept me away from my writing, leaving all thoughts on kinetics in the dust. So, I rushed back to Sweden (landed Friday morning and then left Saturday morning for a same-day-game in Finland) trying to find the right words to describe the last week of my life.

For most of us who continue to play football after college, we dream to represent our country. This dream, however, is a wild and blurry ride that requires a seat belt, but provides none. Even though this dream carried me 7,000 miles away, it also transported me back home. While this dream demanded that I take very big risks, it simultaneously provided a safe haven for my heart and soul. And although this dream often morphed into a nightmare in which I was not good enough, it remains the ultimate motivator. A dream, however, is intangible—so how can we hold on to it?

In reality, this dream has been disheartening at times because it is very difficult for an American to sustain a career as a professional women’s footballer today if you do not play for the national team. It has been discouraging and, honestly, exhausting fighting for the endorsement of one coach. Fortunately for me, my time in Sweden, somehow, steered me away from this narrow road that always seemed to come to a dead end. Playing with a sense of freedom is like driving with the wind in your hair, and that is the major difference between my game two years ago and today. I really think that if I had made the national team before I went abroad, I might still be grinding my gears in search of fifth. Tack sÃ¥ mycket Sverige!

This week, under our new coach Tom Sermanni, I earned my first two caps and scored my first three USWNT goals. The team buzzed with a fresh energy of a new era. In 2013, Tom will mix the old with the new—the combination of veteran experience with renewed purpose and fresh perspective will push the women’s game to new heights. And to my surprise, despite feeling the heat of this finely tuned engine, I was taken aback by the welcoming nature of my teammates.

Playing in front of the two largest crowds of my career, I have never experienced such a tremendous rush of fan support.  I felt a sense of relief, accomplishment, and belonging when I put on my red and white striped jersey, but this isn’t the happily ever after to my story. You see, this isn’t a blog about dreams coming true. This is about a journey and it is far from over. In fact, it is just beginning. Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and no, it is not an oncoming train. It is the sun and it was there yesterday… and it will be there tomorrow. You only have to keep moving forward to see it. No doubt I will encounter another tunnel or two, but today I have a full tank of gas and I’m running full speed ahead! (Zoom Zoom!)

Back… at the House Of Happiness… I take a deep breath and remind myself to continue to work hard. Now, more than ever, it is important to remember the tools that helped me define myself as a player in the first place. So I put the top down and the music up… Pitbull’s on the radio: “I see a future… but live for the moment. Make sense don’t it?”

Rookie For Life,

[Stoppage Time]

 Full games, interviews, and more available here.

[Off the Post!I think the fact that I have a little bit of the dirty south running through my veins made me appreciate that good ole southern charm that much more.

Case in point: (2/11/13. Nashville, Tennessee)
You know you are in the south when….

…You find yourself at a restaurant called: The Southern *South of Somewhere* and a man at a nearby table accidently drops one of his BBQ ribs in his friend’s glass of Bourbon. The friend then pulls the rib out, licks it off, hands it back, and they both continue eating and drinking without missing a beat. Now that’s what I call southern hospitality!