7/22/11

Eggplant, Garlic and Basil Marinara

Because I am a firm believer in balance when it comes to life and the diet, I strongly emphasize building off a plant-based diet. This way, we cover our basic (yet sometimes essential) micronutritional needs and then complement our colorful plate of vitamins and minerals with healthy fats, quality protein and complex carbs.
In order to support my training needs, I always start my day with a filling carbohydrate and protein-rich breakfast. This happens after I have my pre-training snack, which is followed by my training nutrition (which varies depending on the volume and intensity of my am workout) which is then followed by my recovery snack. Even though I do not personally count calories in my diet, I find it helpful to focus on my "daily" meals and snacks as foods which help keep me healthy and strong. As for pre, during and post training fuels, I never skimp on necessary nutrition which helps me gain from my quality training. I find that so many athletes struggle in the area of "training-specific" nutrition for the fear of weight gain or the opposite, not having enough energy. However, by focusing on nutrient timing, specifically what you eat around a workout, you should find it easier to plan the rest of your day.
As an active individual, I don't believe that it is necessary to stick to rules as to how you want to eat. What's important is that you find what works for you but recognizing that if you are an athlete (seeking performance gains) you must properly fuel before, during and after workouts. By eating every few hours and focusing on balance, you should find yourself ending your day (more often than not) that you did your best in consuming a variety of foods to help meet your individual performance and body composition goals.

The below recipe was dinner on Monday evening. My weekends are now filled with quality Kona training which means specific workouts which help to improve my speed and endurance. I avoid using the word "long" in my description of my IM workouts because I find that many IM athletes feel pressure to do "long" workouts such as 6+ hour bike rides and 2+ hour runs, every weekend, on the months leading up to an IM. Similar to my daily diet, I believe that every workout builds off one another and while the workout may seem "long" to some, I am focusing on my personal goals for Kona and it is necessary that I do not progress too quickly with my training.

By properly re-fueling after my workouts, I am finding it really easy to recover and gain strength. My body feels strong and healthy and I am never at a loss of energy for my weekly training. On Monday morning (after another quality weekend of training), I had a wonderful oatmeal breakfast with a glass of whey protein and milk, followed by a mid morning snack. Lunch was a PB&J w/ yogurt and fruit and another snack followed in the afternoon. Typically my snacks are fruits and veggies, with some type of protein like yogurt, nuts or cheese. When it came time for dinner, I was a little carbed-out, but that's ok..because I have no rules in my diet.

Because my whole grain needs were covered by mid afternoon, I enjoyed a colorful selection of carbs with beautiful fruits and veggies. As for Karel, his diet was the opposite of mine for the day...he started his day with oatmeal (as always) and included mostly protein for his 2nd breakfast and lunch. So, I made sure that he had a nice portion of carbs for his dinner so that by the end of the day we both enjoyed similar foods, but in different quantities (since Karel has different energy needs than me).....all by meeting our personal needs and still having a healthy relationship with food. When you think about it, it's not as complicated and difficult as some make it out to be. Hope you enjoy!

Eggplant, Garlic and Basil Marinara
2 large purple eggplants (washed and chopped)
Basil
2 large cloves garlic
Shredded cheese
Marinara
Olive oil

1. Preheat a skillet to medium heat.
2. Add eggplant and drizzle olive oil (about 2 tbsp). Cook until lightly brown.
3. Add chopped garlic and basil and cook for 2 more minutes.
4. Turn off heat and add a few spoonfuls marinara and shredded cheese. Stir gently.

To create a balanced meal:
Vegetarians: veggies, beans and chopped egg (2 egg whites, 1 whole egg
Meat eaters: veggies, beans and turkey burger.
Optional: 1/2 cup pasta.





My plate (vegetarian friendly)





Karel's plate