Olympic Gymnast Nastia Liukin on Using Organic Food as Fuel
Lifestyle At 18, Nastia Liukin won the all-around gold medal for gymnastics in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Now, she opens up about the benefits of living organically.
Mediaplanet: What has been your biggest influence to live an organic lifestyle?
Nastia Liukin: I remember when I was very young, my mom told me to treat my body like an expensive car. In an expensive car, you have to use the best fuel to get the best result. My parents have been my biggest influence. They were both Olympic champion gymnasts, so living a healthy and organic lifestyle has always been very important.
MP: How has eating organically impacted your career as a gymnast?
NL: I always feel like I have more energy eating organic, which is extremely important when you’re training 7 hours a day, 6 day a week.
MP: What snacks do you prepare while you are on the go?
"There are so many foods and drinks out there with so many chemicals. If there’s something on a label you can’t pronounce, you should probably avoid it."
NL: An organic honey crisp apple with almond butter is one of my favorite snacks to take with me. Another is a handful of almonds — both are easy to pack in your bag.
MP: Why is living an organic lifestyle important to you?
NL: What you put into your body is what you get out of it. Living an organic lifestyle has always given me more energy, not only in gymnastics, but also now as a full time student at New York University. It’s obviously much healthier — the fewer ingredients, the better. There are so many foods and drinks out there with so many chemicals. If there’s something on a label you can’t pronounce, you should probably avoid it. All in all, living an organic lifestyle just makes me feel better and be happier.
MP: What challenges have you faced when it comes to your diet?
NL: The hardest part for me is constantly traveling and not always having the best choices available. But I do believe over the last few years, the healthy choices while on the go have definitely grown. It’s not the same as cooking in your own kitchen, but no matter what city I’m in, I always find a Whole Foods as soon as I arrive to pick up some snacks for my hotel room.