I recently tried a cook book called Run Fast. East Slow. Nourishing Recipes for Athletes, written by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. Shalane is an Olympic medalist, four-time Olympian, American record holder and world class marathoner. Elyse is a chef, food writer, nutrition educator, runner and “proud mother.”
This January I turned forty and decided that this was a good time to make some goals for myself. I had already committed to running a half marathon with my brother in May in Toronto and was well on my way towards building my mileage. However, I also wanted to make some improvements to my diet. I never was a terrible eater, but I was a convenience eater in that I was no stranger to frozen or packaged meals. In the past I had always struggled with obtaining the right nutrition to sustain me on my long runs. I always equated eating healthy with cutting calories and fat. I believe that this inhibited me from meeting my maximum running potential and made me more prone to injury.
This cookbook is perfect for the beginner cook who is looking for nourishing, healthy meals to fuel their runs. Everything I have made from this book has been easy and delicious. I have a small child at home and work full time while training for a half marathon, so I need my cooking to be easy and hassle free.
The flu-fighter chicken soup was a crowd pleaser. Making something that my husband and daughter will both eat is almost impossible, but they were both delighted by this simple crock-pot meal and asked for seconds. This meal is loaded with natural, whole ingredients that include ginger, lemon, spinach and brown rice. There are reminders in the book to always consider where your ingredients are sourced and buying local and organic is always favored.
The “Superhero” muffins are an excellent grab-and-go breakfast before or after a long run. I wake up at 5am to get my long runs in and grabbing a muffin has been the perfect solution to getting enough nutrition, calories and carbohydrates to maximize my strength and sustain my energy. A bonus is that my husband and daughter will eat these too (my five year old has no idea that there are carrots and zucchini in them!).
Another family favourite is the Beet Smoothie. Beets are filled with antioxidants that are great for your cardiovascular health. I personally have never been a fan of smoothies. I like to chew my food rather than drink it, but the smoothie recipes in this book are so delicious that I finally have found smoothies that I actually like. The Kale smoothie is also excellent.
I am still exploring this cookbook, but so far it has been really helpful as I adapt to, incorporate and enhance my clean eating diet. This cookbook shows that you can eat clean and eat well while maximizing your strength for whatever your running goals might be.