Perfection is a tantalising word that eludes almost all who pursue it, perfection is considered by many to be little more than an intangible idea that arguably no one ever truly achieves. Not only does the pursuit of perfection cause many to be bitterly disappointed and frustrated, it can actually hinder performance so that the outcome is worse than ever. Vince Lombardi, the American Football player, coach and executive famously said:
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence”
Now this is a philosophy I can live with, excellence is achievable, we see examples of this everywhere. With this is mind, the ex- Olympian Mr Agyepong is selling a meal in his West-end restaurant that experts claim (and I quote) is “the perfect meal for an athlete”. Now I appreciate he may not have been saying that his meal is absolute perfection in the ostentatious sense, but he is asserting that one meal in isolation may be the ‘perfect’ meal for an athlete. So this poses the question…is any meal THE perfect meal for an athlete, or are there too many variables to ever make such a statement?
What’s on the menu?
The meal in question includes an 8oz New York sirloin strip steak served with sweet potato mash, kale, samphire, mange tout and broccoli. On the face of things this is pretty darn nourishing (albeit a little sparse in colourful veg such as carrots and peppers), but senior nutritionists have agreed that the nutritional composition of this meal is pretty much on the money.
Athletes needs vary…
Although there are a set of fundamental food groups that meet the demanding routine of an athlete, there remains that inherent individuality. Could you feed the average person a balanced diet that consists of a protein, starchy carb and veg source and they’ll thrive…probably, so I do get Mr Agyepong’s point…it is possible that his food is as close to perfect as you can get… for the masses. However, the more elite an athlete becomes the more their requirements chop and change. What suits one athlete may not sit well with the next athlete, however if Mr Agyepong is suggesting that the nutritional composition of the meal is about perfect, then this is a little more understandable.
He does seem to get it right…
There is no doubting the nutritional value of this meal, the red meat in the form of the steak delivers 30g+ of highly biologically available haem protein and iron, whilst the sweet potato provides slow releasing, low glycaemic index starchy carbohydrates as well as various vitamins and minerals. Add to this the vitamins, minerals and fibre and you do have a contender. The problem with using the term the ‘perfect meal’ is that many consumers take this literally and may look to eat the ‘perfect meal’ everyday…I mean why not, if it’s perfect then it can’t be bad for you right? Wrong! Consuming more than 2 portions of red meat a week can be detrimental to health if abused, the myoglobin and saturated fat in there isn’t something that should be overconsumed. So therein lies the problem I have with dubbing this meal the ‘perfect meal’, if taken literally it could be nutrient limiting, and worse still bad for your health!
MailOnline, (2015). An 8oz sirloin steak, mashed sweet potato, kale, samphire, mange tout and broccoli: The perfect meal for athletes revealed. Retrieved 19th February, 2015, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/food/article-2958575/The-perfect-meal-athletes-revealed.html