Stu: Make no mistake, Rebecca Creedy is an amazing athlete. Picking up gold, silver and bronze medals in the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth games in swimming, along with winning the Australian IronWoman Championship and the World IronWoman Championship. I’m sure you would agree these are serious achievements!
As you can imagine, Rebecca’s training regime is pretty intense, and of course, what comes with this is a hefty appetite! But with food intolerances starting to appear along with a few energy issues, Rebecca started to look into the world of nutrition more and ‘clean up’ her diet a little. Naturally, this is where 180 Nutrition came into the picture and we met Rebecca and got involved. There are some real gems of information within this post and many lessons to take on board whether you are an elite athlete or not. Over to Rebecca…
My Clean Eating Journey
Rebecca Creedy: I’m sure most of you have heard the phrase “Clean Eating” and have your own general idea of what it means. For me as an athlete, I am always looking for ways to keep ahead of the pack and to speed up my recovery between sessions. As I’m getting older, this process was getting more and more difficult.
My clean eating journey started with me wanting to find a natural product that I could use to fuel my body and also help it recover after intense sessions. As you can imagine, I eat so much food that you have to look at simple ways of keeping your calories up. This is where supplementation can help. Sure, I was like most athletes and had a range of chemically formulated recovery powders and supplements to help me power on, but to be totally honest with myself, I felt they weren’t getting the job done as they may have in the past. I wanted something that my body could easily digest and absorb the nutrients as quickly as possible.
After reviewing an array of products, I came across 180 Nutrition. After trialling and loving the product I decided to delve into their website a bit more. I tried out those protein balls they have in their recipe section and I read the blog posts that are regularly updated on their website. I then approached them about being an ambassador and this was when I started to think a little bit more about my general diet.
Since a young age I have always had problems with my energy levels. Nothing too serious, but occasionally when I was training I would have to stop because I would start feeling completely depleted and I would feel shaky. As I have gotten older, these episodes have become more frequent and I have been diagnosed as hypoglycaemic. This was another push that has lead me down the cleaner eating pathway.
Where to Start
But where do I start? One thing that is very clear about “Clean Eating” is that it is NOT A DIET. I didn’t have a problem with my weight and I train 11 months of the year, so if fuelling my body was my goal, this had to be a consistent lifestyle change for me to reap the rewards. So I began by reducing my intake of certain products and swapping others. This included a massive reduction in the amount of pasta I was consuming.
Another was opting for gluten free cereals and reducing the frequency I was eating these cereals. I also moved away from the sugary processed flavoured yoghurts to the more natural pot-set ones. The skim milk in my fridge has been replaced with almond milk for my protein shakes and I have full cream milk in my morning latte. A big thing is always being prepared and thinking ahead. The above picture is one of my lunch boxes. I tend to make double at dinner so I have enough for lunch.
Make Small Changes For Success
By making these small changes, I found I didn’t even miss the old alternatives. More recently, I’ve decided to work on my usage of processed packaged items that we all use without thinking. Things like stir-fry sauces, tomato sauce and anything else that comes out of a jar or package at the supermarket. This change is happening a little more slowly. As something runs out in my cupboard, I do my research, read the labels and find a cleaner better version to replace it with.
One thing I have become obsessed with since decided to clean up my eating is reading food labels. It’s amazing how different the content of a product can be between brands. A good one is coconut milk. Next time you’re at the supermarket, check out the difference between the brands.
There are so many alternatives to most products that are pre packaged on our shelves that are actually cheaper and tastier that the ones we so readily consume from the supermarket shelves. Given, they may require you to prepare them yourself with whole ingredients, but once you get the hang of how to make your own sauces and have the ingredients ready to go in the pantry, it will be super-simple. There are so many websites out there with a million recipes; new ideas are never far away.
The best way I have found to deal with a busy schedule is to make excess food in advance and always have snacks in the fridge and something frozen in the freezer. It does require a bit of pre planning but it makes eating on the go super quick and easy, which is essential for my busy lifestyle running between work and training!
Well for all those that are umming and ahhhing about there ability to make the switch, I urge you to have a go. It doesn’t have to happen overnight and overtime you can make decisions on weather you want to fully give up wheat and dairy further down the road, but start small, substitute here and there and see how you feel. Try reducing your sugar and processed foods intake and get rid of those artificial, chemically enhanced flavours and preservatives and see the difference that it can make for you.