When I returned home following my first high school sports practice I rushed to the kitchen in search of wholesome food that my worn-down body was craving. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but I told myself that I would know it when I saw it. Sure enough, I looked into the refrigerator and spotted the peanut putter and jelly, both sitting side-by-side. I proceeded to make myself a sandwich on whole grain bread.
At that time, nothing had ever been so satisfying to me post-workout, so I made it a ritual to eat a PB&J after each practice that year. I didn’t know exactly why I was doing this, however, until my sophomore year in biology when we learned about macromolecules, that I realized it was no coincidence that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were my go-to snack. I realized that three simple ingredients provided the sandwich with adequate amounts of simple sugars for quick energy (jelly), complex carbs for long-term energy (bread) and protein and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium for muscle recovery (peanut butter).
These sandwiched soon became an obsession; I was eating them every day for lunch and an afternoon snack, and even more on days that I had a competition. It turns out that eating them before running a race wasn’t my best idea, because the protein in the peanut butter is taxing on the liver and blood stream while exercising, but through two weeks of this course, I am happy looking back and knowing that peanut butter and jelly was my post-workout food of choice rather than a more unhealthy food.
Athletes tend to be creatures of habit, and some will keep a constant routine for years. When it comes to decisions on what to eat, some choices are made based on nutrition (such as a marathon runner eating pasta the night before a race), while others are made based on superstition (Hall of Fame baseball player Wade Boggs famously ate fried chicken before every game). What are some of your eating habits? Do you have any unusual superstitions when it comes to the foods you eat?