We athletes blow a lot of cash on supplements and energy products. That generally seems OK; we're doing our part to sustain the economy, all the while investing in our training efforts with the fanciest nutrition money can buy. Sometimes, though, the costs of bike racing can get overwhelming. In my recent efforts to cut costs, I went to Chinatown, the nexus of thrift and deliciousness, and came back with some recipe ideas for sports nutrition. The East Coast is peppered with these nutritional oases, generally connected by a magic bus. So if you need to save cash or just want to stick it to the supplement-peddling man, check out these inexpensive alternatives to popular nutritional supplements. It’ll be like Occupy Wall Street in your mouth.
Antioxidants: The Key To Reducing Stress
Mark Verstegen, author of Core Performance Endurance, recommends antioxidant-rich foods to reduce the oxidative stress caused by exercise and promote immune function. These yummy molecules are available in lots of sources, from the abbey ale you enjoyed at happy hour, to the leafy green stuff that you're going to force yourself to eat for dinner tonight. For those who don't subscribe to the whole "balanced diet" thing, there are more concentrated means of reducing oxidative stress, some of which won't even stress your wallet:
Popular Product/Nutritional Value per serving/Cost per serving
Pomegranate juice/ORAC 2770 per 8oz serving/$1.99 at local supermarket
Tasting notes: just like a fine wine, all the way down to the grainy sludge and the aftertaste of
Chinatown Alternative/Nutritional Value per serving/Cost per serving
Dried goji berries/ORAC 3718 per 1/4lb bag/$0.75 in Chinatown
Tasting notes: leathery and chewy, followed by the thrifty satisfaction of sticking it to the man.