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The Zen Of Competitive Running And Complex Carbohydrates

Mar 7, 2008
I was not a very athletic kid growing up. So when I reached adulthood, I discovered the gym and running to make up for it. Then I went to the extreme and ran several marathons. I thought I was "really something special".

Marathon running is an educational experience. There is a lot more to it than putting on the Nikes and "Just Doing It". I learned that carbohydrate loading, as they used to call it, was the key to not getting fatigued. And complex carbohydrates were the type to consume.

These healthy edibles are found in vegetables, nuts, seeds and grain. Some examples of foods high in starchy complex carbohydrates include bread, cereal, rice, pasta, potatoes, dry beans, carrots and corn. All grains contain complex carbohydrates, but whole grains -- such as whole wheat pasta -- are better for you as they are higher in fiber. One of the best sources of complex carbohydrates is dried beans. They don't need to be combined with anything to give you complex carbohydrates. Dry beans do need to be combined with grains in order to provide vegetarians and vegans with all of the forms of protein needed for good health, and there is no need to combine these carbohydrates when dieting.

Sometimes more than three, but usually three single sugar molecules linked together to make up complex carbohydrates. Long chains of sugar molecules are called starches and they serve as the storage form of energy in plants. Branched complex carbohydrates called cellulose form the structural components that give plants their shape. Starches digest very easily, but your body doesn't digest cellulose, which is an important dietary fiber element.

Cereal products and grains all contain complex carbohydrates. Whole grain products also contain fiber, while processed flours have had the bran and husks (thus most of the fiber) removed. Fiber is important for digestive health and can keep the tummy full for hours. Complex carbohydrates should be a major component of your diet; about half of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates - mostly from grains, cereals, fruits and vegetables. Simple carbohydrates should be used much less often.

"Zen" is the experience that many runners have described after a marathon, that is, when the body, mind and soul all meld. A few have described it as an "out of body experience". An out of breath experience was more of what I experienced.

Whether its eating healthy, running, or a combination of them, there is zen involved.
About the Author
Rick London is a writer, cartoonist, and e-entrepreneur. He founded Londons Times Cartoons and numerous online gift shops including The Rick London Collection. Click on the site and scroll down to "Food, Coffee & Wine" to see the funny products. Hilarious Complex Carbohydrates Cartoon Gifts Click Here
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