Years ago, my sister-in-law started competing in triathlons. She’s always been athletically inclined, and the addition of swimming and biking was a change in pace from just being a runner. After a couple events, the bug had bit her. She started training in earnest and competed in events at least once every few months.
Although she lives in Chicago, one of the events she found to compete in was only a couple hours drive from us. We drove down to cheer her on for that first event and have made it a weekend event ever since.
About the time of that first event, the peanut industry’s efforts to invest in health and nutrition research on peanut butter were starting to reap some small benefits. I tried to convince her that peanut butter was good for athletes, but she could not see it. Her view of peanut butter was that it would be too heavy and dense for keeping her fit and trim and ready for a race.
Fast forward to now, she has completed multiple Ironman races – that’s a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile run, raced in that order and without a break. She has coaches for each segment and trains with other Ironman athletes. Her knowledge and ability have expanded tremendously. In all of the race gear and equipment that goes with her to a race, what else does she pack? Peanut butter.
Her increase in peanut butter consumption mirrors the industry’s increase in nutrition research. Peanut butter is full of vitamins, fiber and protein, and endurance athletes who are training need up to 3,000 calories or more a day or they risk losing muscle density. It is a low-cost protein source that sticks with you and doesn’t race through your digestive system.
Investing in nutrition and health research should be a source of pride for every producer. It has been well worth it.