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Old 18-01-2016, 10:50   #1
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Meal planning for improved performance in Singlehanded races

I have completed my paper on "Considerations in meal and nutrition planning for improved performance in trans-oceanic singlehanded sailing races" I think it should help to reduce fatigue/lethargy and improve racing performance. Comments and questions are always welcome.

You can find the paper here:
http://sfbaysss.org/forum/showthread...ce-improvement

Andy
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Old 19-01-2016, 13:22   #2
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Re: Meal planning for improved performance in Singlehanded races

Thanks for sharing this info. Your paper will need some analysis.

Alain
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Old 24-01-2016, 06:59   #3
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Re: Meal planning for improved performance in Singlehanded races

Some very good food for thought there Andy.

Like your observation with fibre (use time prior to leaving to adjust), I do think something similar needs to be done with fats (and perhaps proteins as well).

There are major issues with oils, and with treating them as fats. I say this as someone that has made my own bread for years (well, the breadmaker has).

When making bread, I noticed that it was a fast indicator of whether an oil was bad for me. I rapidly switched to a locally obtainable Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which I had no problem with. But when I tried other Olive Oils, most of them gave me as bad a reaction as Rapeseed Oil. I have only recently found out (thanks to a study in California), that somewhere around 70% to 80% of all Extra Virgin Olive Oils, are fake, so that probably explains it.

So I have switched to Butter, Lard, and Beef Dripping, with no problems at all.

I do think there are serious addictive properties with carbohydrates (whether slower or faster). There's the rapid carb 'high' and following carb 'crash'. The 'crash' accompanied by hunger, and a need to eat (the body is constantly craving real food).

I noticed this at work in a recent video of someone's journey from Germany in a Bavaria yacht, down the coast of Europe and across to the Caribbean.

With easily prepared high carb meals he was eating very frequently, but commented that he was 'always hungry'. I think he posted a link to his videos here, and I watched the rest on YouTube.

It is this sort of thing (along with having been an unwitting lab rat in a fruit and veg experiment, that ended up being the nonsense called "5 a Day" - mine was an absolute minimum of 9 a day, with a heavy emphasis on fruit, and it wrecked me) that has persuaded me to look more into the High Fat (animal fat), Medium Protein (fish and meat), Low Carb Diet (even zero carb, nobody has died from having no carbs in their diet, though I think a bit of roughage would do more good than harm).

Given today we are encouraged to be brought up on a very unsatisfactory, life long High Carb, Low Fat diet (try even getting a yoghurt today that isn't low fat - yet such a consumption of yoghurt itself, is a recent phenomenon - I ll not buy low fat anything, so it means I don't buy any yoghurts any more), I think the withdrawal symptoms from such an unnatural and damaging diet (no wonder diabetes is becoming an extremely serious issue, not helped by such poisons as Statins), could stretch for a very considerable period, before the body becomes adjusted to having proper food supplied to it (maybe even for the first time in its life).

eta: Plus of course there is the extra issue of artificial sweeteners (and what foods and drinks they end up in). The body reacts to them as if it is receiving genuine sugar, but then it doesn't have any actual sugar to deal with. Now I can imagine that reality leading to all sorts of problems, and you may not even have to wait too long, for those reactions to start appearing.

So yes, I won't touch things like 'Diet' soda, even with somebody else's bargepole.

eta2: People don't realise that to make most veg digestible, you have to boil it hard to break it down enough so the body can handle it. We are not built to handle raw veg. If we had the digestive systems of a Mountain Gorilla. the minimum 9 a Day diet I was put on, wouldn't have trashed my insides so badly.
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Old 24-01-2016, 07:27   #4
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Re: Meal planning for improved performance in Singlehanded races

You will probably find this interesting Andy. Though some important information concerning what happens to people on a diet like a Mountain Gorilla, was edited out. They were pulled off the test after less than 2 weeks, because it proved so dangerous to their health.

I was on it for almost 18 months . . . . .





I really hope this helps you come up with a satisfactory diet (and especially menus) for single handed sailors.

I volunteer to test the menus (having been an unwitting lab rat, I don't mind volunteering for something that should actually work).
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Old 25-01-2016, 10:49   #5
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Re: Meal planning for improved performance in Singlehanded races

Thanks for the comments and the video Ribbit.

Keep in mind that my paper was not concerned with nutrition for its own sake. I am just assuming that skippers can come up with nutritional meals within the ideas I've presented. The paper is only about reducing fatigue. And I was not attempting to prescribe a diet. That is why the paper is titled with the word "considerations". I was giving ideas such as: high fat content (like nuts or the freeze dried meals that have 50% of their calories from fat) is bad for fatigue, so perhaps meals of 20% fat would be better. Simple carbs are pretty well always bad, but complex carbs and fibre are much better. Etc.

Singlehanders are racing with 4-6 hours of sleep per day over 2-3 weeks, so fatigue is a huge problem. In part because of that fatigue we sail our boat at significantly less than full potential speed. My study a few years ago showed that we were racing in the range of 0.2 knots - 2 knots less than the speed we would have if we were just out for an afternoon sail. When I looked at finishing times for the Mini Transat, I found that an increase in speed of 0.2 knots would move the average boat up by 10 placements. This is huge. Anything we can do to reduce fatigue, even slightly, will have a significant impact on our final result.
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Old 25-01-2016, 12:19   #6
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Re: Meal planning for improved performance in Singlehanded races

Excellent paper Andy!!

That doesn't mean I agree with it all

I haven't read the other comments yet as I like to give you mine first.

(I am on my phone so can't easily pull up the research on my points)

I agree with new science saying coffee is fine.
The research with high fat was vegetable oil not animal fat.
Carbohydrates were not low enough for the study groups to be in, or close, to Ketosis.
The study groups were not "fat adapted" as in there were not on a high fat diet for long enough. It takes up to a month to get over ketosis flu etc.

I think most freeze dried food is highly processed.

I note that weight, electrical considerations on a sailing boat may negate the ability to use a large enough freezer for a trans oceanic race.

My last passage, in November, was interesting in that I was fat adapted prior to it; I had freezer/fridge space for a huge rib etc fatty steak each day as well as cream, butter, coconut oil etc.

I had pretty well zero carbs for 12 day passage.
I only drank water or coffee.

I had no lethargy at all. (But mine was a normal single handed passage not a race )

My ratios are fat 65%, protein 30%, carbs 5% aprox.

There was an.interesting paper the other day about athletes doing marathons being either fat adapted or carbo loading. Half marathons fin for fat adapted and the full marathon need some carbs. So the paper was arguing fat adaption till the night before a full marathon and then carb loading. Cycling was still fat adapted for any long race. If I can find the research I will post it.

Have you had your paper peer reviewed yet? It would be an interesting one to get seen by a range of people, including Professor To Noakes from South Africa (he is quite on the low carb side so his comments would be interesting). Also is there some scientists advising the military with freeze dry food? That type of person would be great to have a read.

Anyway, well done. Excellent paper!


Mark
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Old 25-01-2016, 12:26   #7
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Re: Meal planning for improved performance in Singlehanded races

One other point. Do you think its important for racers to be on their preferred race diet for several weeks prior to the race so Day 1 is not a diet change?

Mark
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Old 25-01-2016, 12:33   #8
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Re: Meal planning for improved performance in Singlehanded races

On the stuff about gorillas. Their stomach ferments carbs into short chain fatty acids so they actually have a high fat diet.

I dunno if I can upload 3 slides but I will try!

Sent from a stupid phone that replaces words with weird stuff.
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Old 25-01-2016, 17:38   #9
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Re: Meal planning for improved performance in Singlehanded races

MarkJ, thanks for the comments.

Yes, I do believe that skippers should try out the meals several months in advance, just to make sure that they are not allergic or anything, and that their body can handle any change in particular. The open ocean is not a place to get bunged up, or to get the runs. However it's not like I'm recommending anything particularly radical. Switching from simple carbs (like white bread) to complex carbs (like whole wheat bread) and fibre, is not likely to cause any major problems. Likewise we all eat too much fat anyway, so cutting down a bit and eating more protein is unlikely to cause issues.

Regarding fat, the research spoke of lipids. That includes both animal and vegetable fats.

Regarding freeze dried meals, I do believe that the skipper should make their own, particularly in light of the research. So, for example, he can dehydrate his own whole wheat pasta or brown rice rather than the simple carb white pasta or white rice that comes in purchased camping meals. He can dehydrate his own low fat meats or legumes for protein, and included the veggies that he wants. All of these can be dehydrated and vacuum packed by the skipper himself to get the best combination for his own needs. Then all he needs is a big wide mouth thermos. He can dump his meal in, add boiling water, and wait 10 minutes. Voila! delicious home cooked meal!

As I said in the paper, we will spend hours polishing our hull to a glassy shine, but how much effort will we put into making sure that the singlehander himself, the most important part of the race, is operating at peak performance. This is doubly true after we have learned what I've written about energy/lethargy in SH racing.

I also looked at multi vitamins with iron, and at Niacin. Both of these are pretty standard stuff that is unlikely to cause concern.

What surprised me most about researching the paper was the difficulty in finding sources of good information. I did most of the work on Google Scholar. I spoke to several nutritionists, including Olympic level nutritionists, about it and it seems that no one has ever done this type of research before. There is no other sport that has the same fatigue element as long distance singlehanded sailing, so it has not been looked at.

I was doubly surprised at this given the size of the long haul trucking industry. You would think that with the literally billions of dollars spent on trucking, this research would be invaluable. The only thing I could find was the research on caffeine from Australia. But imagine if truck stops actually served meals that helped truckers stay awake. Think of the reduced accidents and increased efficiency. It would be worthwhile for trucking companies to subsidize meals like this.

I did not get the paper peer reviewed. But every paper quoted inside was a properly conceived and performed, peer reviewed, scholarly paper. So in effect all I did was collect a bunch of different papers into one place.
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Old 25-01-2016, 19:47   #10
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Re: Meal planning for improved performance in Singlehanded races

Andy, this is really good stuff. Thank you. I've only skimmed it so far (typo on page 10: "Tanspac"), but I will certainly dig into it.
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Old 31-01-2016, 15:35   #11
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Re: Meal planning for improved performance in Singlehanded races

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Also is there some scientists advising the military with freeze dry food?
The Army has many of those scientific minds on the payroll at the Soldier Systems Center in Natick. As for the OP, for singlehanded distance racers I would think something akin to the First Strike Ration would work well. Zapplesauce for the masses!
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Old 24-02-2016, 23:21   #12
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Re: Meal planning for improved performance in Singlehanded races

Hi Andy,

I have a veg/lean protein recipe suggestion.
I used to race in the SF bay area (beer can and a little yra/oyra, on big boats). Im a big cook onboard and have to manage blood sugar issues. It is so easy to eat crap food while underway. Example, a delivery friend lived on hot dogs rolled in tortillas - yuck! Ive been putting together a cookbook for sailors, that includes underway meals (other than a messy wrap) for one free hand that includes veggies and lean protein in one hand - fresh spring rolls. Like most veg meals it takes a good chunk of prep time, however they stay okay in the fridge for a few days. This is a no mess, it can be windy and the ingredients stay stuck to the rice paper, its a great singlehanded meal that will give you much needed nutrients, hydration, fiber and clean protein. Look up how to make them, its easy, and you can make all sorts of fillings outside the norm, as long as they arent too saucey they will stay in one piece.

Also, liquid vitamins would be another rec. My highly picky holistic/fit sisters favorite is: intramax by drucker labs. $$$ but it truly is the best Ive had too.

Good luck out there,
Cherise

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