Surf god Kelly Slater was recently interviewed for a popular magazine. The article examined the perpetual youth and singular talent of its subject. And what a subject! At age 42, Slater is perennially atop the elite list of world's greatest wave riders, despite being the oldest competitor on many tours by several years. Recently he became the first surfer to pull a 720, rotating in the air not once but twice before coming to rest on his board amidst the foam off the coast of peniche in Portugal.
The undisputed king of professional surfing just keeps getting better. Having caught his first wave when he was five years old and winning his first world title at the age of 20, he shows no signs of slowing down. And the magazine wanted to know, "Mr. Slater, what is your secret?"
Most aging athletes remain competitive by following a "Formula One" approach, keeping as many trainers, dieticians, doctors, massage therapists and coaches as a race car driver has in his pit stop. Not Slater. He has eclectic interests that include jujits, CrossFit and freedinving, but he mainly just surfs a lot. So what did he swear by to keep himself a head above competition?
"I pay close attention to my poop," he said. I paraphrase. He didn't say poop but did refer to the texture of one's stools as being a very accurate indicator of overall health. "If you're going to the bathroom regularly, and it's a healthy stool, your body is probably doing good."
To maintain stool integrity, Kelly follows a "yogi-style diet," consuming chia seeds, goji berries, raw foods and avoiding almost all caffeine.
So how should you make like Kelly and maintain stool health? What guidelines can we offer. Simple, focus on mostly raw and unprocessed fiber-rich foods. The USDA recommends 21 g of daily fiber if you're a gal, and 38 g if you're a guy. But this is far too conservative a target. To ensure bowel regularity it is best to consume at least three times the amount the USDA recommends, or roughly 75 g of daily fiber for women and over 100 g for men.
How to do this? Simple. Focus on fruits and vegetables. Per 100 calories the average plant food (fruit, veggie, bean, seed) offers 4 g of fiber. A 2000-calorie diet featuring these foods would therefore provide 80 g of fiber, more than enough for the average gal. Guys often consume closer to 3000 calories to meet daily energy needs, which would provide 120 g of fiber. Eat like a herbivore and have the stool integrity and bowel health of a champion. And maybe even "hang ten" like Slater. But that's up to you.