Friday, May 25, 2012

Runner Confession: Bananas

Bananas. Every runner's best friend. Jam packed with cramp-fighting potassium, easy to grab, easy to eat. Staple of the post-race recovery food tent. No matter what size the race is, you can bet there will be bananas. And sometimes, there will ONLY be bananas.

Here's my problem.

I hate them.

Bananas and I just do not get along. I can't stand even the slightest hint of banana in any of my food. If there is even the chance  that banana may be in a dessert, I generally won't touch it.

No thanks. I can smell the banana.
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Yeah nice try hiding that banana under the ice cream. Still not eating it.
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Just watching people eat bananas makes me feel gaggy. It's not just that I don't like the taste - for some strange reason, eating bananas results in stabbing pains in my lower back. Perhaps I'm not good at digesting potassium? I don't know. But I can tell you that laying on a couch whimpering in pain is a good enough deterrent to eating bananas.

So what is a runner who hates bananas supposed to do? Based on the 5834582 mentions of bananas as the perfect post-workout food in just about every running or fitness magazine or blog I read, this is akin to a fish hating water.

Never fear - Runner's World to the rescue! According to this great article with a funny title (Mmm, Potassium), there are many excellent alternative sources of potassium including:

Lima beans
Meats, poultry, fish

I can get down with avocados (guacamole!), kiwi, milk, spinach, and tomatoes.

BUT being the Scotch-Irish girl that I am, my vote for best alternative source of potassium goes to:

Yes, the lowly potato!

Further digging (punny!) into the Runner's World archive led me to the "One Potato, Two Potatoes" article which raises the potato's status to nutritional powerhouse. And I quote:

"The potato is a nutritional powerhouse," said sports dietitian Jennifer Hutchinson of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. "In addition to being an excellent source of carbohydrate, a potato contains 45 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin C, and more potassium than a banana. If you eat it with the skin on, it's a terrific source of dietary fiber. A fresh potato contains no fat or cholesterol, and has only 100 calories."

Sadly, french fries and potato chips don't count as potatoes. The best route is to eat a baked potato with the skin.

Nice to know that my customary night-before-a-race baked potato has been a smart move all this time.  

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