If I took a survey of all the people I’ve worked with, the definition of “Junk Food” would be rather varied, and generally misunderstood.

Unfortunately, Junk Food is not simply limited to every fast food outlet you can think of; it actually exists as most foods available to us today. In saying this, in my opinion, I am even watering down the true definition of “Food” itself.

A classic question– which sums up the confusion filling the brains of the average consumer and golfer– came from a friend of mine a few years ago while walking down the first fairway at Mona Vale Golf Club (a great course if you’re ever in the area!). He was holding a can of a very well-known ‘diet cola drink’, and he asked me “are avocados are good for you?”

I may not be able to share my wholehearted response, but I can say it clearly told me how dysfunctional our teaching systems are in the arena of food. Whether by chance or design, the true essence of food and its role in the body has been lost by most consumers.

So, how does this affect you? I know how it affects me: years ago living in Colorado I used to buy a chocolate bar and a can of cola at halfway. Without fail, my last five holes were unbearable. I had no energy to complete the round properly and hence my scores would reflect this. The energy slump was remarkable (perhaps you can relate to this). I see it happen all the time on the course.

Start by being more mindful of how your golf is after eating your normal food at halfway or wherever. You will see a pattern if food is adversely affecting you and your game. Food should be nourishing to the body. It should supply lasting energy and not lead you on an energetic roller coaster to battle through. Ask any type 1 Diabetic what effect insulin changes have on their body; it’s a similar dilemma, and it’s very real.

Food is not something to fill the stomach regardless of its quality. Food needs to replenish nutrients into the cells. Most so-called food is devoid of nutrients and full of sugar and often lots of chemicals. Anyone who did basic chemistry can attest to the fact that chemical compounds are completely different to the elements that created them. Imagine what the average body has to deal with daily?

So, given that each one of us has individual needs in balance of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, start by being mindful of what you’re eating, and eat a 50/50 ratio of carbohydrates to fats & proteins. Yes, I am saying to eat fat. Fat is satiating to the body and the brain. Sugar is a short-term energy burst that has tragic consequences on the course. On one tee you will swing too fast, and in two or three holes you will feel lethargic and powerless. So, to answer my friend’s question, I would eat avocados all day long over diet cola or any other soft drink. One is a natural food, the other is a chemical concoction.

For me, eating meat and potatoes feels great (but if I eat too much, I lose energy). Apple and nuts feels great. Chicken and brown rice feels great. Bread not so satisfying (especially if the sandwich has lots of sauce and/or margarine). Soft drinks: for me, never during a game. Water? Always.

We all want to play well each time we step up to the tee. I don’t know a single golfer who doesn’t care when they don’t play at or near their ability. It’s very important to understand the true effect food choices have on our scores. The idea is to play fewer shots. We need to look at all the factors that affect our swings and decisions on the course, then we are giving ourselves the very best chance to have the fewest shots possible. Food is a major player in this equation.

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