Essential Sports Nutrition


Weekend recap: FOOD! (recipes from Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook)

Oh the things I do for performance gains. Good sleep, proper recovery, mobility work and eating!! Seeing that food is fuel, it should be no added extra to your day to make sure that good food gets inside your body in order to give you energy and to nourish your many working systems. Cooking should not be seen as a chore, like cleaning your bathroom or taking out the trash. Sure, it's something on your to-do list but it is a skill that should be learned and appreciated through all the years of life.

For me, I love to eat the food that I cook and I love eating the food that Karel cooks but I also love being inspired by food that is prepared by others. I really enjoying trying new creations but more than anything, I love real food. I really value where food comes from, the effort that goes into preparing a meal, the presentation of a meal and knowing the purpose of the meal (nourishment, fuel or pleasure). Cooking is a process and although it does involve time, patience and effort, there's absolutely no reason why any athlete should not enjoy cooking.

My hope is that you will make the effort to spend a bit more time in your day to cook your food. Seeing that you are so busy, try to utilize your weekend and be creative with your time during the week. Considering that you are overburdened with work, squeezing in time for training early morning or late at night (or on your lunch break) and still making time for your family, spouse/significant other and friends, it's no wonder that you feel "too busy to cook." But the truth is that you can't expect "cooking more" to just happen. It's a lifestyle habit that you have to work at and make time for. It has to be part of your day, with no excuses getting in your way.

Remember why it is important to cook. Because it's a skill that keeps your body well, it's a responsibility to your body as an athlete and when YOU are in charge of the ingredients, you are more likely to eat better and feel better. 

Adapted from pg. 54

Not only do you save money by making your own granola but your house will smell AHHmazing when this delicious crunchiness is ready. I love adding granola to my pre-workout snack or to my yogurt. Plus, it's great for those high volume workout days when you need to pack in some nutrients with energy dense foods but you don't want to lose the nutritional value of those extra calories. Blackstrap molasses is a great source of iron for vegetarians and a great addition to the diet for athletes due to its nutritional value.

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup finely shredded unsweetened dried coconut
1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses (provides your body with a dose of iron, B6 and magnesium)

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F with the rack in the center of the oven.
2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, coconut, seeds, raisins, ginger, cinnamon and salt.
4. In a small microwavable bowl, stir together the coconut oil, honey and molasses and microwave on low until slightly melted.
4. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and stir until evenly combined. 
5. Spread out in a smooth thick layer on the baking sheet. Bake and stir every 15 minutes (I set the timer to remind me to stir every 15 minutes). Bake for 45 minutes. Granola will be moist at the end of baking but will turn crunchy. (After 45 minutes, I removed from the oven and covered with a towel and kept it out overnight and it turned nice and crunchy). 

Cranberry Orange and Chocolate Pomegranate Scones

In case you were wondering, scones will not make themselves. Karel provided me with this ground breaking information as my hint to refill our scone container as it was empty after a few days from my first batch. No surprise, Karel loved the lemon blueberry scones that I made so I decided to change things up a bit with the add-ins. I used the same Lemon Blueberry scone recipe from pg 59 of the book but instead of using lemons and blueberries I added dried cranberries (about a handful) and a splash of orange juice. For the chocolate pomegranate scones I used a handful of frozen pomegranate seeds and a handful of chocolate chips. YUM!

Pg. 99

The picture of this salad in the cookbook looked oh-so-good so I could not wait to make this dish. Karel and I were invited over to my friend's/athlete's house, Meredith for a pizza party with the Greenville Trimarnis on Saturday evening and I was told to bring something healthy. I figured this had all the ingredients for something healthy to go along with a yummy slice (or two) of pizza and a cookie from our neighbor Joey for dessert. Although this is named a recovery salad, I won't be eating this too close before or after a workout due to all the roughage in the salad but it's a filling, crisp and flavorful meal option to bump up the nutrients in your diet, perfect for lunch time. Plus, how colorful is this salad? It will definitely be a show-stopper at a party/event or when you bring your lunch to work.

Ingredients1 cup quinoa
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups loosely packed, finely chopped kale, stems removed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Jalapeno chili pepper, finely chopped, wear plastic gloves when handling (I removed this since I was bringing this to a party)
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup lime juice (I used 1/4 cup lime juice and the rest fresh squeezed lemon juice)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used 1/4 cup olive oil)
1 avocado, sliced (I didn't have a ripe avocado :(
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (it called for toasted and I used sunflower seeds)
1/2 cup grated Cotija, crumbled feta or chopped olives (I omitted the cheese since we were having lots of cheese on our pizza)

Directions1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring to a boil the quinoa, 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 tsp of the salt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the quinoa is tender and all the water has been absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a large salad bowl, fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool. 
2. Once cool, add the kale, red bell pepper, chile pepper, onion, cilantro, black beans, lime juice, oil and the remaining 1/4 tsp salt to the quinoa and toss to combine. Taste and add additional salt, if needed. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
3. Just before serving, top with the avocado slices, pumpkin seeds and the cheese or olives.