By Vee Benard
Summertime: swimsuits, a jog on the beach, perhaps even a race or marathon. The summer season stirs up different fitness-related goals for different people, but according to Adam Kelinson, a local authority on nutrition and well-being, healthy eating should always be on our minds.
Kelinson founded his company, Organic Performance, in order to provide people with opportunities to create healthy lifestyles through their relationship with food. He developed his enthusiasm for nutrition at a young age – he describes food as a “lifelong passion,” having always held an interest in food and cooking. Kelinson studied agriculture in college, and later became a professional athlete. It was then that he realized just how closely physical activity and proper eating are tied.
“I have been an athlete all my life,” explained Kelinson. “As I got older and more finite in my athletic pursuits, I realized that I needed to be more specific in my nutrition. I realized the benefits of nutrition and that the physical end of things is only as good as the nutritional support, so it was a natural progression into food for athletics.”
“Activity is a key element to a sustainable lifestyle,” added Kelinson, who believes that eating healthfully is essential to leading an active lifestyle. “But being physical is not part of our society any longer. Therefore we have many health problems.”
But Kelinson notes that it does not matter whether or not one is an athlete—conscious eating is always key.
“The recommended menu does not change significantly between a person with an active lifestyle and someone who is just trying to eat healthfully,” he said.
Instead, the timing of meals is the key factor.
“You want to make sure you have the proper food going into an activity and food for recovery when you’re finished,” Kelinson added.
Among athletes, however, there can be differences in recommended food groups, a power lifter versus a long distance runner, for example.
For the former, getting enough protein can make a great difference in achieving the necessary strength and power, Kelinson explains, whereas carbohydrates and whole grains are essential for the needs of the runner.
And for Kelinson, good food in means good results out. His methodology seeks to “bridge the gap between food and nutrition,” creating sustainable options for both his clients and the environment.
That means Kelinson believes in creating a reciprocal relationship between individuals and their diets, so that “lifestyle supports nutrition and nutrition supports lifestyle,” he said.
Fusing the concepts of healthy eating with the principles and practices of athleticism, many of Kelinson’s food programs are founded on the philosophy that real food should serve as the nutritional basis for every athlete’s diet. This, he explains, begins with a focus on seasonal, local, and organic products. In addition, he suggests mixing a raw food component with every cooked meal.
“Raw foods contain more digestive enzymes and more nutrients than cooked foods,” he explained. “Having a raw food component such as a raw salad or a raw or lightly cooked vegetable helps with digestion and nutrient uptake.”
Kelinson’s attitude towards cooking is one that is rarely employed in our culture’s current obsession with fast foods and processed, inexpensive ingredients. He holds that we should place great emphasis on our relationship with food, explaining that it is this relationship, formed and cultivated through thoughtful preparation and cooking, that ultimately affects our nutrition and well-being.
For that reason, Kelinson strongly recommends eating as “locally, seasonally, and organically” as possible.
He had just one tip for eating healthfully in the summer season: “Shop at the farmers markets and farmstands. Take advantage of fresh produce while it is available.”