• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into chunks
• 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
• 5 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1Tbs ginger, chopped
• ½ onion, diced
• Spices: Garam masala, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, granulated garlic, ground coriander: to taste
• Salt & pepper to taste
• Cayenne to taste
• 1 14.5 oz. can ground tomatoes (any plain tomato product would work really)
• .25 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used non-fat)
• 1 scallion, chopped
• ¼ cup chopped cilantro
• Cauliflower rice, Basmati Rice, Brown Rice or just more veggies for serving
1) Heat oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat
2) Add onions, garlic, ginger, and spices—just add a bunch and taste it later to adjust it
3) Sauté this mixture for a few minutes to soften without browning
4) Pour mix into a blender and add the canned tomato product
5) Puree until smooth
6) Return pan to heat and add the chicken pieces
7) Sauté for a couple minutes and add the sauce
8) Turn heat to medium low and allow to simmer for approx. 10 minutes and chicken is cooked through
9) Stir in the yogurt and cilantro
10) Taste and now is the time to add more spice is you like. Have fun with it!
11) Serve it over your choice of carbs and garnish with the chopped green onions and any left over cilantro
Change it up—try shrimp, scallops, chicken of fish
MACROS: 236 cal; 29.5g protein; 14.25g carbs; 6.5g fat
(you may want to add some avocado or more coconut oil for some more healthy fat)
There’s something about fresh fish that screams nutritious to me! This recipe sounds delicious, cannot wait to try, thanks Chef Tim Recher.
Pan Seared Trout with Lemon -Garlic Mashed Cauliflower, Asparagus & Heirloom Carrots
• 1 trout filet-skin on
• Salt & pepper to taste
• 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Juice form half a lemon
• Zest for half lemon
• 1 cup cauliflower florets
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• Asparagus spears & baby heirloom carrots (You are a member of your local CSA aren’t you?!)
1. Steam the cauliflower with the chopped garlic until soft (you can even use the microwave for this)
2. Mash the cauliflower in a food processor until it is at the texture you prefer
3. Scrap into a bowl and season with salt, pepper, and lemon zest
4. Taste the seasoning, adjust and keep warm
5. In a hot pan (feel free to use non-stick here if fish makes you nervous) heat us the oil
6. Season the fish on both sides and add to the pan skin side down
7. DON’T touch it! Let the fish cook and sear. When the skin becomes unstuck, it will be ready to flip. If you try to move it and it is sticking, STOP and give it a minute. It will be free when it is ready
8. Flip the fish and add the asparagus & carrots to the empty space in the pan. Season the veggies and toss it in the oil left in the pan.
9. You can finish this whole pan in a 350 degree oven or just turn down the heat to medium and let it finish on the fire. This will not take long, say 3-4 minutes max
10. Squeeze the lemon over the fish and veggies and serve!
Chef Tim Recher puts a healthy twist on a favourite, Pad Thai. This is already gluten free and can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the chicken and eggs possibly adding some tofu. Want to make it vegan? Swap out the fish sauce for some rice wine vinegar!
Chef Tim Recher shares a training lunch on his Road to Roth
BACON WRAPPED SEARED SCALLOPS WITH MAPLE DIJON DRIZZLES, & CHIPOTLE MASHED PARSNIPS
• 3 U-10 dry sea scallops, approx. 6 oz.
• 1.5 pieces bacon (use the good stuff! It’s not a lot so make it count!)
• 1 tsp coconut oil or ghee
• 1 cup parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
• Up to 3 Tbs light coconut milk
• 1 chipotle pepper in adobo
• 1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
• 1.5 tsp real maple syrup
• Salt & pepper to taste
Add any additional vegetables of your choice if you prefer. I had some baby bok choy to use up so I just added that in
1. Wrap the scallops in a half piece of bacon each and skewer together. The bacon won’t wrap all the way around. DON’T panic, you’re just cooking. Just wrap what you can, stick them together and secure it with a skewer
2. Meanwhile, place the parsnips in a pot with some water and a pinch of salt
3. Bring to a boil and cook until they are tender and soft
4. Drain really well and place them in a blender. A food processor will work too but it won’t get as smooth. Really you could just mash them like potatoes and leave them chunky. They will be just as good
5. Add the chipotle pepper (use more if you want more heat), a pinch of salt & pepper, and half the coconut milk and turn it on.
6. Add the rest of the coconut milk if needed to get it to spin and puree until you are happy with the consistency. You may not need all of it or you may need a touch more. What can I say, nature isn’t consistent
7. Set aside and heat up the coconut oil in a non-stick sauté pan
8. Pat the wrapper scallops dry with a paper towel and season with salt & pepper on both sides
9. When the pan is just about to start smoking, add the scallops, turn it down to medium high and let them sear—don’t touch them for at least a minute so they develop a great sear. That’s important for the flavor
10. When they are nice and brown, turn them over and turn the heat down to medium. Cook until you reach the desired doneness. It is okay if the center is a little underdone or translucent. They will be delicious and continue to cook on the plate
11. While the scallops are finishing, stir together the maple syrup and the dijon mustard. This works great on salmon, pork, and chicken as well. Really good with hot smoked salmon filets!
12. Plate the mashed parsnips with the scallops and use a spoon (or get really fancy with a squirt bottle) and drizzle the maple mustard on the hot scallops
374 Calories; 38 g carbs (from the parsnips); 9 g fat (the good kind!); 33 g protein
This recipe is paleo as well as zone for 4 blocks if you add some more fat like 3 of crushed toasted macadamia nuts or even just switch to the full fat coconut milk
This is a paleo recipe that I am trying out. I’m originally form Chicago (the home of the Chicago Blackhawks for our Canadian members!) and have pretty strong opinions about what Pizza really is.
So while this is a frittata in reality, I think it has the same flavors of a Deep Dish Pizza (real pizza of course!)
DEEP DISH BREAKFAST “PIZZA” FRITATTA
• 1 lb. raw Italian turkey sausage, I used hot (taken out of casing)
• 10 whole eggs, beaten
• 3 cups sliced mushrooms
• 3 each sweet potatoes, baked, cooled, diced
• 1 large onion, diced
• 3 each poblano peppers, diced
• 3 large roma tomatoes, diced
• 2 cups sliced black olives
• Salt & pepper to taste
1. Using a large cast iron skillet over high heat add the sausage and flatten it out to render and brown
2. When the one side is nice and brown, using a wooden spoon to break it up and stir. I like to leave it in some good sizes pieces, not to small so when you take a bite you get a big chunk of pizza sausage flavor
3. Add the onions and peppers, stir and sauté for a good 2-3 minutes until the vegetables start to caramelize and soften
4. Add the potatoes & yams, stirring again for a couple minutes
5. Add the olives & tomatoes, stir for a minute and season with salt & pepper
6. Pour in the eggs, stir once to combine it all and put the entire thing into a 350 degree oven
7. Bake for 10-20 minutes depending on your oven until the eggs are cooked through and the whole thing gets nice and brown
8. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes
9. Flip it out—the best way is to place a cutting board over the top and just flip the whole pan over onto the board carefully
10. Let it cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting
11. I cut it into 8 portions, wrapped them up and stick them in the freezer. They re-heat beautifully for a quick breakfast or even lunch
The entire recipe: 2527 calories; 182 g carbs; 160 g protein
I cut it into 8 portions: 316 calories; 22.8 g carbs; 20 g protein
Chef Tim Recher has been a very busy man with his role and family, not to mention training for Challenge Roth! He shares an update plus a great recipe below.
“My job is Executive chef of the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington/Washington, DC. So we just entered the busiest time of the year for me, no days off for the past 30 days and none until next Sunday when I am running a half Ironman in training for Roth. So that’s my excuse for not getting any recipes up the past month or so. So with work, a 18 month old baby, 2 teenagers, and an amazing wife (not sure if she will see this!), it’s been hectic.
I try to spend a day or two prepping up food for the week so I can eat healthy and fuel right for training. I have been basically following a more paleo/clean meal plan and it has been great. Lots more energy and have lost 25 pounds and just over 5% body fat. Long way to go but at least I am still moving forward.
Trying to focus on the training I have done and not what I missed. So on that note I had a 15 mile run this morning in the rain (uphill both ways I swear!). In my office fridge I had my recovery breakfast ready to go into the microwave so I don’t eat everything in the kitchen.
This is a batch recipe that I break into 5 meals.”
2 Tbs coconut oil
1lb ground Bison (buffalo)
seasonings to taste:
salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, granulated garlic, dry oregano
6 each eggs, beaten (whole-try to find a farm, it is absolutely worth it)
12 cups baby spinach
3 cups chopped onion (I used Vidalia but use whatever you want)
3 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 sweet potato, baked, cooled, and cut into medium chunks
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1) heat the coconut oil in a non stick skillet over medium high until the oil flows like water
2) add the bison and flatten it out to allow it to brown (brown equals flavor)
3) while it is browning, season the top
4) when it is good and brown, flip it and break the meat up into medium-small pieces
5) add the onions and mushrooms, stir and sauté for a couple minutes until they start to soften
6) add the potato & the tomatoes, stir and cook an additional 3 minutes
7) pour in the eggs and turn down the heat to medium low
8) allow to set for a minute and then scramble
9) when the eggs are almost done, add all the spinach (don’t worry, it will all cook down) and turn off the heat
10) stir until the spinach has wilted into the mixture
11) taste and re-season to your preference
Either eat now or cool and portion into your meals. Like I said, I made 5 breakfasts with this. When it was time to eat, I added a small tossed salad dressed with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped with “hash/scramble” with 2 tsp of guacamole and a lot of sriracha. I could eat this almost every morning!
Numbers for the entire recipe:
carbs: 80 g
protein: 159 g
Okay, a post for the geeks (and for the non geeks – you’ll get the drift from what I’ve written here).
A good article on hydration, shared by a friend of mine. Yes, Hydration is a complicated matter… does it affect performance? It’s all about blood volume– you start low, your cognition suffers, your reaction time suffers, your ability to acclimate to training and/or heat can suffer.. and there is a distinct difference between acute and chronic hypohydration.
In terms of hydration guidelines, things have definitely changed and it’s a question I get asked a LOT about. I encourage my athletes to weigh themselves before and after sessions so they get an idea of fluid loss (and this will obviously vary depending on session intensity, duration, climate etc, so it needs to happen more than once!) This will tell them how much they need to replace AFTER a session to ensure they start the session in a hydrated state (i.e. so blood volume is not low). Aim for 1.5 x the amount lost.
Yes, we all have performance goals, be it to compete or complete, but the added benefit of the training is obviously to keep in shape. Having an event to focus on can free your mind from the decision of whether you’re going out in the rain at 5.30am to do a 45 min easy run before work – the program has decided that for you, you’re going out regardless.*
Along with a plan for training, people often also focus on their food intake. Sometimes the threat of lugging around additional dead-weight when training is the impetus to be mindful of food choices. Or perhaps the increase in activity naturally makes you gravitate towards healthier food choices because they make you feel better both physically and mentally. Both of these can help people lean up prior to their scheduled event. On the other hand, sometimes the increase in training can almost open the floodgates on the food. Whilst this can in part be related to the oft-heard ‘it doesn’t matter what you eat, as you’ll burn it off in training anyway’ mentality, for others it’s almost a subconscious process they aren’t even aware is happening. Where once they more often than not said ‘no’ to a scone with your coffee, now you will more often than not say ‘yes.’ While we all know people who seem to eat this way and successfully maintain a good body composition, others struggle to maintain their weight or lose body fat despite the increase in miles. I see many people in my clinic who have signed up for an event, started the training and are frustrated that they’re not seeing the results they thought were inevitable once they’ve started putting in the miles. A lot of people can end up gaining weight while training for a half or full ironman – or any endurance event. I know I did when I trained for my first half marathon.
Why do I gain weight even though I do all of this training?
For some people, despite the good choices they make throughout the day, unwanted fat gain could well be the additional food consumed to support the training. Two pieces of honey on toast, a couple of sports gels throughout, then a sports drink, protein shake or a handful of jelly lollies to finish up adds a significant amount of refined sugar and calories you would otherwise not be consuming. And whilst you have just completed a 2h run, the amount of energy that you’ve burned might be a lot less than what you have estimated. Further, your ability to continue to burn fat afterwards is compromised with the influx of sugar that is readily burned instead of your own fuel stores. Finally, there is a potential for your energy levels to be lower later in the day from the food choices made specifically to fuel your next training session. This can lead to making food decisions that are geared towards instantly increasing energy levels (an increase in caffeine, sugar….) to combat a crash due to a sugar-fuelled fest.
The other thing to consider is that your body is under stress. Don’t underestimate the role that stress – be it physical, emotional, work-related, environmental, has on the body’s response to food. The body’s stress response is an appropriate and necessary pathway in order to adapt and grow. In the training arena it’s important to be exposed to stress in order to get fitter. However, too much stress, again – dietary, physical, emotional – can cause elevated adrenaline and cortisol which works to drive up blood sugar and insulin levels as stress. This was a necessary evolutionary response to ensure survival tens of thousands of years ago. However, while the stressors have changed (unless you are fighting with a sabre-tooth tiger), our response hasn’t. Thus this stress response has the same impact as too much sugar. The combination of the high sugar load and high training load – the reality for most endurance athletes – is the perfect storm for weight gain and long-term metabolic health complications.
How do I combat the weight gain?
Avoiding a sugar crash (or unwanted weight gain) is easier when you can rely less on sugar for energy and more on your own body fat stores. Your ability to use fat as a fuel source is compromised when you dump sugar into your system. The more you can move away from this, the better you’re able to tap into your fat stores and utilise these more for your training. Regardless of your goal (compete, complete, improve or maintain body composition goals) most endurance athletes would benefit from trying something different with their pre and post training nutrition if they are currently struggling with energy levels, with maintaining weight, or with trying to shift towards a leaner body composition. Despite what you read in magazines geared towards endurance events such as an ironman, it’s possible (and preferable) to train effectively for an event with minimal additions such as sports drink, gels, energy bars or other highly refined products to your everyday diet.
Okay, so what are some practical things I can do?
Training fasted is one way to encourage your body to utilise fat stores instead of carbohydrate for training. If you haven’t got a session that requires a lot of top-end power, (say, an easy 45 minutes) then this is a good opportunity to do so. Further, choosing to do your long, easy session in a fasted state is an extension of this concept. If you’re new to fasted training, then try going out fasted for your easy sessions during the week and one long sessions every other weekend as you adapt to using fat as fuel. This should start in the base training phase. Depending on the length of the long session, take on board fuel after 75-90 minutes. You will feel sluggish at first, and maybe experience dead legs afterwards, but you will adapt. For body composition goals, this will help reduce the amount of dietary energy going in on a day-to-day basis if you’re currently eating before every session.
If you train in the afternoon then having a snack before training (or your lunch meal) that doesn’t promote an insulin spike (and thus a reliance of carbohydrate for fuel) is ideal. I encourage clients to choose a snack incorporating fat and/or protein along with some carbohydrate – particularly if they are eating just before heading out the door. Some of these foods might be
• Small handful raw nuts
• Piece of fruit and nut butter
• Full fat greek yoghurt with seeds and a few berries
• Cottage cheese with a sprinkling of cranberries and pumpkin seeds
• Hardboiled egg and piece of fruit
Whether or not you require a snack is individual – some might feel fine going out after work if they feel adequately fuelled from lunch. If this is you, training four hours after lunch could also be considered a fasted session.
Is becoming fat-adapted just for people wanting to lose weight? No!
Becoming fat-adapted has real benefits for all athletes. Now it’s not necessarily about being low LOW carb (and I will discuss this in future posts), but by default this will be a lower carb approach. However, relying less on carbohydrate will help reduce incidence of gastro-intestinal distress that so many athletes suffer due to fatigue, over-fuelling or just merely the nature of the event.
For those who struggle to maintain their weight and feel that they have to eat constantly to maintain a feeling a fullness then becoming more fat adapted will, also be of benefit. If you train in the morning, then instead of going out in a fasted state or trying to get down a snack such as those above, a number of clients have found that having a black coffee with coconut oil in it before heading out (1-2 tablespoons) does the trick in terms of energy for the session and overall calorie intake. Another option could be a couple of tablespoons of coconut butter. Both of these will provide calories without the associated insulin spike that occurs with carbohydrate (and some dairy). If neither of these options appeal, then a smoothie made with coconut milk, unsweetened almond milk and perhaps some berries is another idea.
There are many ways in which to tap into fat stores, and nutrition before training is the first place to start. Ideally over the course of the day your food intake will gravitate towards changing the proportion of energy coming from refined carbohydrate to a more even balance of protein, fat and good sources of carbohydrate. I know that training and being the best athlete you can be is the driving force behind a lot of your food choices now, however this approach is also helping your long term health too. Perfect for those who want to make endurance sport a lifestyle. Isn’t that all of us?
*yes I know there are some slackers amongst us who always hit the snooze button. But that’s not you, right?
Firstly welcome to the team to nutritionist Micalla Williden. She shared this article – good read.
ICYMI: Great article explaining why engineering your diet can have significant performance and health benefits. In a nutshell:
1. If you load up on high carb foods before a workout, your body will use those carbs for fuel EVERY SINGLE TIME. This will suppress fat burning.
2. To teach your body to burn fat as a fuel source, provide fats and proteins before a workout, to encourage the fat-burning process.
3. This is not just the domain of athletes wanting to lose body fat! For any endurance athlete, utilising more fat as a fuel source is beneficial. Lessen the reliance on carbs = longer lasting energy, less glycogen depletion (save your carb stores for when you really need them), less chance of stomach upset from overfuelling during training and an event.
4. If you would like to lean up, train fasted to tap into own fat stores. If you don’t, then nut butter, coconut oil/butter, handful of nuts, coconut milk smoothie all good pre-training options.
5. If you’re new to this: start with a couple of shorter sessions per week.
Chef Tim Recher puts a healthy twist on a favourite, Pad Thai.
This is already gluten free and can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the chicken and eggs possibly adding some tofu. Want to make it vegan? Swap out the fish sauce for some rice wine vinegar!
PAD THAI–Serves 4
-8 oz rice noodles (brown rice noodles work really well too)
-1 tsp dark toasted sesame oil
-8 oz chicken breast sliced very thin (or shrimp, or tofu, etc–great for lefovers)
-1/3 cup chopped green onions
-1/4 cup sl;iced onion
-1/3 cup cilantro/coriander
-1/3 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
-1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
-1/2 cup shredded carrots
-1 cup bean sprouts
-1 oz chopped roasted peanut
-lime wedges for service
-sriracha to taste
-1/4 cup reduced sugar ketchup
-2 Tbs fish Sauce–I love the Red Boat brand. a little more money but worth it. You can buy it from Amazon
-2 Tbs splends brown sugar
-1 Tbs crushed garlic
-1 tsp natural creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
-juice of one lime
1) combine all the sauce ingredients into a shaker and blend until mixed. I used a pint mason jar but in a pinch I have used a shaker bottle–I know we all have those around!
2) in a very hot wok, spray with with pan release
3) add sesame oil and imediately add chicken
4) let it sit for about 1 minute to brown and then stir fry briefly to finish cooking. Should only take a few moments if you cut it small enough
5) remove and set aside returning wok to fire
6) re spray and add the beaten eggs
7) allow to set and then scramble
8) add in all the vegetables and save the nuts, coriander, limes wedges for serving
10) stir fry until everything is hot but still slightly crisp
11) soak the rice noodles in very hot water for about 5 minutes, drain and add to the wok
12) mix everything together and pour in the sauce
13) turn off the heat and toss until everything comes together
14) garnish with the chopped peanuts, coriander leaves, lime wedges and sriracha