Emmie Mears
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ZAP Nutrition: Eating Your Way To Zombie Prep

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ZAP Nutrition: Eating Your Way To Zombie Prep

Part of any fitness programme (especially one that could save your life) is proper nutrition. Training for the zombie apocalypse is no exception, and as nice as it’d be if McDonald’s stayed open to give us Big Macs after the hordes of zeds destroyed the populace, I rather doubt it’ll happen.

Since we still have a wee bit of time remaining before the undead start chomping at our heels, we need to make sure we eat well and prepare our bodies for the day when we might have to gnaw on some bark for a few extra calories.

Birch Bark

Mmmm, bark. Flaky and delicious. Birch Bark (Photo credit: Odalaigh)

For those of you who have already been pushing the limits with your ZAP Warrioring, you might have noticed the same thing I have. Let me backtrack.

A few weeks ago, I came home from work hungry. We didn’t have anything besides cereal and tinned tomatoes at home (not a good combination), so I stopped by McD’s for a Big Mac. And then I tried to go running.

24818BP~The-Simpsons-Nelson-Haha-Posters

(My body’s response.) 24818BP~The-Simpsons-Nelson-Haha-Posters (Photo credit: Poohneat)

I can usually run 5K without too much trouble. But I could barely get through the first mile, and by the second, I was dead. D-E-D, dead.

Which brings us to ZAP Nutrition, Lesson the First.

Food is Fuel

You get out of your body what you put into it. And getting Big Macs out apparently comes in the realm of running nausea. This was the first time I’d ever felt the possibility of barfing during and after a run. I didn’t (bully for me), but I learned something valuable.

I do my best running on a semi-empty stomach. Yesterday I ate a handful of dry roasted almonds before running, and I got through four miles for the first time in my life. Easy? No. Exhilarating? Yes. Did I die? Nope, still here.

For years I’ve battled what I call the Grumbly Stumbly Metabolism From Hell. Which is to say, it’s really tough for me to lose weight. It took me years to figure out that I couldn’t eat the “recommended” number of daily calories without gaining significant poundage and comments from strangers about my booty.

Learn what your basal metabolic rate is. You can use online calculators to get an idea, but ultimately you have to research yourself as well. Listen to your body. Chart your calories and your energy level — and what the scale tells you. If you’ve always struggled losing weight, you might have the same “problem” I have.

My metabolism is “efficient.” Which means it can turn less calories into more energy. It also means that there are a lot of extra calories that get turned into fat if I’m not very, very careful. I like “efficient” as opposed to “Grumbly Stumbly Slow,” but it means the same thing. Even with high levels of exercise happening, my body can’t handle over a certain calorie threshold. Food goes from fuel to fat very quickly with me. Learn your own body and give it what it needs.

We’ve been accustomed to treating food as a reward, as something to be celebrated — which to an extent it is. But those of us with efficient metabolisms have to think of the consequences.

Impact of water in a water-surface

Impact of water in a water-surface (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Which brings us to ZAP Nutrition Lesson the Second.

Water

Not only does water make your metabolism work and keep your cells running, it can save your life.

We all heard when we were wee children that without water we die quickly. It’s true — without water, you’ve got a matter of days before you go belly up without any help from the zoms. With it, you can last longer. A lot longer.

Even if you’re starving, if your body is well hydrated, you can last weeks. Maybe months, depending on how much energy you’re expending. I knew a bloke at university who did a 40 day fast for religious reasons. He drank only clear liquids — granted some of them had caloric value, like broth and Powerade — and he did it in some semblance of health. It was interesting to watch. At the end he resembled a skeleton (not eating for 40 days will do that to a person), but he drank heaps of water and lived for almost six weeks without food.

I am in no way saying to give that a shot, but keep in mind that your body needs water — and that water has many, many benefits. I usually drink about 12 glasses per day. I have an active profession and exercise a lot, so I need more.

MRE Chicken Tetrizzini

Delicious and nutritious? MRE Chicken Tetrizzini (Photo credit: Infrogmation)

Balance

I’d love to think that by the time the zeds arrive I’ll be set up in my anti-zombie palace with a stockpile of enough MREs to last me the remaining decades of my life. I’d also love to think that when the zombies come, I’ll be somewhere convenient instead of stuck in DC traffic in a wheeled lunchbox.

Chances are, I’ll have to adapt. Quickly.

The best hope for survival is to treat your body well now before you have to resort to gnawing bark and filtering rainwater. Stock your body up on those things that it desperately needs by eating food that will be much less available in an apocalypse.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, anything with vitamins and anything with calcium. You want to make sure your body doesn’t suffer from any deficiencies now so that later your bones and muscles are as efficient as humanly possible. The last thing you need is shin splints when zombies are chasing you.

This concludes our introductory post on ZAP Nutrition.

How do you fuel up? What have you noticed since you started preparing for the zombie apocalypse? What has your body taught you?

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Author | Emmie Comments | 9 Date | September 23, 2012

comments

Tim Miller

My trainer made it simple for me. I made a fist with one hand and opened the other. The open hand is how much protein per meal. By the size and thickness of your palm. Fist is the amnt of carbs per meal. So if i eat a bic mac with the bun…I skip fries and drink water with it. Decent trade off, but i dont do that often. Over all the rule has worked well for me.

September 23, 2012 | 9:38 am

alienredqueen

Great article! My problem is that my metabolism still works reasonably well (according to a personal trainer who once basically told me if it wasn’t already high, I’d be a blob the way I eat!) but not as well as my stomach seems to remember. My stomach is still huge, apparently, saying it wants to eat even if I don’t really need the calories. LOL I don’t deny myself stuff, but I have started keeping my calorie diary again, and just by dint of keeping track of what I eat, I tend to eat less… Like, now, I always measure my beverages out in servings (8oz) or half servings so I am aware how many calories in beverages I am consuming. It really makes you more aware of what is going into your body.

September 23, 2012 | 10:32 am

    Emmie Mears

    I can hardly tell people my calorie limits without being accused of starving myself. But it’s how my body works. I have an absurdly low basal metabolic rate and very little wiggle room above it before I start packing on the pounds. Which is really a shame, because I love food.

    September 23, 2012 | 4:38 pm

      alienredqueen

      I know…I love to eat too!

      September 23, 2012 | 8:31 pm

Patricia Caviglia

You are so focused. Good for you!

September 23, 2012 | 10:22 pm

tollykit

Brilliant post. It’s time I started to get ready for the zombie apocalypse.

September 24, 2012 | 5:24 am

    Emmie Mears

    Cheers!

    It’s a good past time for all of us, I reckon. 🙂

    September 24, 2012 | 9:39 am

lisashambrook

I need to drink more water…food-wise I’m good, but I never drink enough and dehydration leads to tiredness, then you don’t want to exercise. Must drink more!

September 24, 2012 | 9:51 am

    Emmie Mears

    I have a tendency to retain water, so I REALLY need to drink a lot of it to head that off!

    September 24, 2012 | 10:19 am

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