By Paul Vander Straaten.
Health & Fitness Consultant.
I recently attended The Australian Dance Festival. My focus there was to help the dancers I met learn more about nutrition and the important role it plays in their health and ability to perform. I was impressed by the commitment and dedication they had for their passion of dance. I learnt that many dancers invest anywhere between 15-30 hours per week dancing.
I was also amazed by the number of dancers who told me they don’t eat breakfast, don’t have time for lunch and are too exhausted to cook themselves dinner. My question to them was ‘what do you eat?’ With a shrug of guilt and a giggle of embarrassment when they realised what they were saying, I was told ‘I don’t know? Red bull, coke, Maccas, anything easy’.
As the weekend progressed I learnt that a large percentage of the dancers I met are constantly falling sick and missing classes. They explained their frustration and disappointment from hours and hours of hard work and sacrifice, only to find they were too sick to dance in the performance they had been rehearsing for. Many dancers told me they were just sick of being sick.
My dance career is limited to nightclub dance floors in the 80’s, dance parties in the 90’s and these days the lounge room floor with my kids when we are watching So You Think You Can Dance. However, I can appreciate the pain dancers experiences when their hard work turns to nothing.
So I would like to share with you some insights into human physiology and help you understand what a powerful dance tool food is. Food is our fuel for movement and performance. It also gives our bodies all the goodies it needs to be healthy and free from illness.
We have an immune system that fights the common cold and flu. In fact it does much more than that. Our immune system helps us fight lifestyle related diseases like heart disease, cancer and stroke.
Our immune system is built on food and totally depends on it to survive and function. Food provides our immune system with thousands and thousands of plant chemicals. So it is very important that we consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts every day. These are loaded with antioxidants which arm our immune system and give it a fighting chance.
Fast foods, soft drinks, lollies, cakes, shakes, pies and fries break down our immune system. They are loaded with empty calories. They are full of dirty refined sugars which tear down our immune system and have absolutely no nutritional value. So keeping these foods to a minimum and not relying on them as a source of fuel is important if you are trying to become a powerful dancer with longevity.
If you are sick of being a sick dancer then at a nutritional level you simply have to step up. Every time we eat we have the opportunity of becoming stronger and healthier or weaker and sicker. Why not team up with some dancing buddies and help motivate each other into becoming healthier dancers by getting your nutrition right?
It’s quite normal if you struggle to find the time to shop, prepare and cook. And organising healthy snacks to recharge between meals can be tricky. However, if you’re dancing your butt off and know that you’re not backing it up with the right nutrition, then you need to make a change. You will reap the benefits. Get to the fresh food aisle in your grocery store and stock up your fridge. You can also consider some nutritional support. I recommend a whole food based supplement such as Juice Plus because it has the nutrition from 17 different fruits and vegetables. If you need to boost your immune system check out www.fruitandvegwithjuiceplus.com
Give your body what it needs to keep on dancing!
Paul Vander Straaten
Health & Fitness Consultant
Director of Healthaddiction Personal Fitness Training
Certificate IV Personal Trainer
Paul has been working in the fitness industry for 9 years. His focus for the last 6 years has been on nutrition and how important it is in achieving optimal health. He believes that nutrition is vitally important when it comes to good health and that a plant based diet must rule our daily nutritional plan if we are to live long and strong. Good health is easy and Juice Plus just makes it even easier.