Athletic Performance - Book Review
This article is courtesy of Vegetarians in Paradise
By Zel and Reuben Allen Nutrition and Athletic Performance
By Douglas N. Graham, D.C.
Graham has been coaching and training athletes for 35 years. An important component in
this process is nutrition instruction in how to stay healthy and prevent many diseases
caused by poor nutrition. He has worked with amateur and professional athletes from around
the world. Their testimonials to his work are presented in the inside covers of his book
Nutrition and Athletic Performance.
In his book Graham, a chiropractor, discusses the ideas he has
utilized for the last quarter century to assist athletes in maximizing their performances.
Even though all of his readers are not athletes, they will still be able to benefit from
his dietary program.
Graham stresses the need for simple sugar and water after vigorous
exercise. The water, of course, is for rehydration. The simple sugar is provided by an
orange, raisins, or bananas. Throughout the book he extols the virtues of bananas which he
calls the "perfect food" for recovery after exercise. "Eat as many as you
care for, " he says. He continues by pointing out that "serious athletes"
eat as many as 10 to 15 bananas in their meals after vigorous exercise.
The author recommends a daily regimen which includes fruit for
breakfast and lunch and before dinner. "If you ever crave sweets, before or after a
meal, you have not consumed enough fruit," he writes.
A strong advocate of sufficient rest and sleep, he advises people to
avoid exercise when they are tired and to sleep until they feel they need no more. Above
all, it is important to listen to one's body. He cautions against using stimulants like
caffeine. Sufficient sleep makes stimulants unnecessary.
Protein is important to the body, but he believes that overdosing on
protein has led to health problems like cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and obesity.
Protein needs can be met easily by eating nuts, seeds, and protein-rich vegetables such as
asparagus and broccoli.
Graham distinguishes between "good fats" and "bad
fats." Any fat that is heated is bad while any fat that is derived from avocados,
nuts and seeds is beneficial.
The author expresses a number of negative reasons for including
starch in the diet. If starch were a necessity in the human diet, it could be eaten raw,
but starch must be heated so that it can be digested. Heating destroys vitamins and
enzymes and leads to a situation where the body must supply its own enzymes and vitamins
to utilize the starches. This draining of the body's enzyme and vitamin reserves results
in what he refers to as "nutritional bankruptcy."
Graham makes the case against heating any food because the heat
destroys both enzymes and vitamins. Vitamins are nullified when food is heated to over 130
degrees Fahrenheit. Enzymes are lost at temperatures over 116 degrees. This diet of all
cooked foods can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
"Vegetables, nuts, and seeds certainly play a role in the
athlete's diet, but fruit, not starches, should predominate if the athlete wishes to
attain maximum levels of performance," says Graham.
If people feel it necessary to eat starches, they should heed six
basic food combining guidelines.
- Eat starches with vegetables, and at a separate meal from
- Eat starches at a separate meal from sweet foods.
- Do not eat starches with vinegar or acid fruits.
- Proteins combine best with vegetables and/or acid fruits, worst with
starches, melons and sweet fruits.
- High water content fruits do not combine well with low water content
- Lettuce and/or celery combine well with everything.
The book includes a listing of "Vegetarian Athletes of
Note," a nutritional comparison of fruit to mother's milk, a nutrient chart, a
bibliography, and information about the author's books, tapes, and pamphlets.
and Athletic Performance packs much information into a small, spiral-bound volume.
It is not a glitzy publication with photos and fancy layouts. The message dominates the
medium. The message essentially says that raw is good, fruit is best, and the banana is
king. One prominent feature of the book is a quotation set in large type which appears on
each page. Anyone proceeding through the book and just reading the quotations could gain
much valuable information.
Since reading the book, we are eating more raw seeds, nuts, and
fruits and have made a concerted effort to increase our consumption of bananas.
Nutrition and Athletic Performance may be obtained
from the author
Douglas N. Graham, D.C.
8095 Overseas Highway
Marathon, Florida 33050