Recipe: Simple, cheap, healthy, oil free Gallo Pinto

Ingredients/equipment:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup uncooked wholegrain brown rice
  • 1 tin Black beans
  • 1 medium to large pot
  • 1 nonstick pan (may work with the normal variety, I haven’t tried)
  • optional: 1/4 teaspoon of iodised table salt

prep time:30-50 minutes depending on the kind of rice

  1. Prepare rice according to instructions on package.
  2. When rice has roughly 10 minutes left before it’s ready cut up the onion and place in pan with no oil under medium heat, stir often.
  3. Once onion is soft drain and rinse black beans and add to onions in pan along with roughly half the bean tin of fresh water, stir and mix with onion.
  4. Once rice is ready add to pan, you want to keep the meal nice and moist so consider adding more water and stir regularly. Once the rice, onion, and beans have been well mixed this dish is ready to serve!

Makes: 6 servings

This is a modified version of a dish my granny taught me a while ago which she learned in Costa Rica, this has to be one of the best student meals in existence because it is extremely cheap, very simple, and delicious once you get the hang of it. Also because you can make this without any oil this is a very low fat meal, full of complex carbohydrates and the bean/rice combination makes it a complete protein!

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Monday August 11th, 2014

Am: Easy stretch out run, injury prevention exercises, hanging exercises and stretching.

morning

PM: Harder interval workout over hills and trails.

afternoon

Got to follow the run with a huge, juicy, wonderful panful of oil free gallo pinto!

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Training: Sunday August 10th

Had a nice active recovery workout for my rest day: a light run around town followed by some hanging stretches at a local playground and in the gym as well as duck walks, backwards duck walks, and ballerina walks for the shins, my conventional stretching, and some foam rolling all over my legs and back to get out the soreness from yesterday!

Aug 10th

 

*My MapMyRun always appears to be a day late for some reason!

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Training: Saturday August 9th, 2014

Aug 9th

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Race report: Cross Border Challenge 2014

So the second race of the early preseason turned out to quite differently from how I had imagined, you can read an article in the local paper about it here: http://www.cumberlandnewsnow.com/Sports/2014-06-21/article-3771948/Evers,-VanVulpen-claim-half-marathons-at-Cross-Border-Challenge/1  In essence what happened was that due to miscommunication by the time I got outside to wait for the person picking me up they were already gone and I was in an interesting situation. After waiting a good half hour to be sure I ran into my house, dropped off any unnecessary gear, grabbed a helmet, and ran to the place where I keep my bike. Turns out the tires on my road bike weren’t full enough to risk biking hard in so I grabbed the mountain bike a friend lent me for the summer and hammered 17k down the highway towards Amherst for the race start. I actually made it into Amherst before the race began but in the rush I had forgotten the instructions to the start point and so ended up biking around like a mad man trying to stop people and ask for directions. Eventually, about ten minutes past the race start I found myself biking full speed towards one of the barriers indicating the race course and saw the big red Running Room starting line. I will never forget the looks of bewilderment on the faces of the two volunteers who saw me biking like a madman on a mountain bike in a runners tank top and short running shorts towards to start line after everyone had already left it. I dropped my bike with the first pair of volunteers I saw, ran to the start, asked the organisers if I could still run, thankfully they gave me a bib and number and sent me off roughly 17 minutes after the race start (the article I linked says something else but my watch and the the clock when I started said 17). Fortunately I had been planning on just using this race as my long run and so hadn’t really been planning on racing which meant rather than a huge annoyance this turned into what I think is a pretty great story!

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Fruits, fats, long runs, crazy days, and 80/10/10

Runners have many quirky rituals ranging from pre-race carbohydrate binges to rolling out muscles, traveling hours for the chance to race a particular race, getting up with or before the sun just for the chance to run a brutal hill session, or making finding time to check out the latest in running gear. For me today was one of the staples of the modern running diet: my long run. I’ve been exploring a group of nordic ski trails a fair distance from town on my longer runs and today I decided to check out an area I hadn’t before. Serendipitously I ended up coming out into a grassy field at the top of a hill looking over the vast expanse of the marsh and farm lands that border the main town of Sackville and decided to try and make my run into a loop…about an hour later I reached my apartment, threw on a shirt, grabbed my wallet, jogged to the closest grocery store, bought ten gluten free coconut cookies and ate all of them over about as many minutes.

While gorging on junk right after a long run might seem to defeat the point it is a pretty common practice of long distance runners to try and consume enough calories and enough nutrition after a long run to return glycogen stores to normal, this is more or less the same case for short workouts as well: there is a much discussed “refuelling” window for about 30 minutes after the end of your workout and you want to get stuff into you body during that window. My question is: is it the right stuff? The oatmeal has a wonderful comic on the feeling of impunity running give people about their food choices (read it here: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running2 ) and from a more serious perspective I recently read an interesting article in runners world about a scientist in Montana named Dr. Brent Ruby who has been comparing the effectiveness of highly formulated sports foods to that of a greasy McDonalds meal in helping athletes recover from training. I don’t doubt that you can draw benefits from just about any food you put into your body after a long hard session, but I don’t feel it’s optimal, and that’s how I’m starting to feel about a lot of modern food choices.

For one let’s look at the math on the cookies I ate: The label says they clock in at 170 calories each with 10 grams of fat one gram of protein and 20 grams of carbohydrate of which one gram is fibre. Based on that I’m going to estimate I got 90 calories of fat, 76 calories of carbohydrate, and  4 grams of protein per cookie, which means 900 fat calories (including more than 3 times to daily recommended maximum of saturated fats),  760 carbohydrate calories, and 40 protein calories, which totals 1700 total calories. Now according to MapMyRun I used about 1748 calories on my run so the cookies match my overall energy output pretty well, for the sake of simplicity we will just say I burned 1700. Considering I was running aerobically I was probably burning a mixture of fat and carbs with a small amount of protein, in the book “Running with Lydiard” Lydiard writes that during aerobic training energy comes in a ratio of 48% carbs, 48% fats, and 4%protein, based on that I should have needed 816 calories of carbs to restock my glycogen supplies and be fresh for the next day, as well as 68 calories (about 17 grams) of protein. In theory if I was trying to lose weight it would have been fine not to try and restock the fat supplies so I didn’t “need” 816 calories of fat…and I got 900. Even though the cookies pretty much hit the nail on the head for total calories they were about 56 calories short in terms of carbohydrates, now just imagine if my workout had been partially anaerobic and was using 60% carbs and 15% fats, it’s seems like the cookies just carry too much of their calories in fat. Now obviously I recognise that fat can be converted to glycogen under the right conditions, and both protein and carbohydrates can find themselves turned into fats (and protein can also become glycogen) so it’s a fair bit more complex than I make it out to sound above. What I figure however is that if there is an ideal fuelling period, and you want to be ready to train again as soon as possible, then why would you give you body things that will take it longer to convert to what it needs? Also what about maintaining electrolyte balance and providing my body with all the nutrients it needs to thrive? Enter the fruit based diet.

I should mention and this point that I don’t make a habit of consuming large amounts of cookies post run, I just have a day every second week which I call a crazy day where nothing is denied (within reason) that day was supposed to be tomorrow but I choose to take the food end of it today. I do this because I feel you should never feel deprived by your diet or lifestyle and I think it’s hard to do too much damage in one day of less than ideal preparation  when you’ve had 13 clean ones to compensate. The other 13 days are what I’d like to talk about now. A little over a month ago I decided to test out a frutarian diet (or  80/10/10 raw vegan diet as it is also known) after watching you tuber Michael Arnstein and deciding to see whether his claims about the impact of the diet were true. In all honesty I was very skeptical but felt I couldn’t really comment on the claims until I had at least tried the diet, plus if even half the claims about frutarianism were true I felt it would be something too great to be missing out on.

The story is pretty simple from there on: I got a copy of Dr.Douglas Graham’s book “The 80/10/10 Diet” and just started eating raw fruits and vegetables as my every snack and meal (as well as some seeds and in my case some occasional eggs) as I read through the book I came across more and more things I hadn’t even thought of as important and promptly making changes to my diet. For example the diet calls for one to two pounds of greens a day, a lot of people seem to forget this part which is unfortunate because if you look at it a lot of the things vegans and particularly these kind of vegans could theoretically be deficient in, they usually show up in green vegetables. Dr.Graham also recommends eating your greens with acid fruit which makes sense to me because with Oranges as an example I’ve heard that the vitamin C and citric acid help with the absorption of the kind of non-heme iron found in greens (keep in mind while I’ve seen this on the internet I haven’t found a source I am fully confident in so as always be your own research folks!). Anyways I could go on for a while about the various elements of balancing this kind of diet but the thing I want to highlight is how I felt eating this way. As context before hand I had been eating a high fat, mostly whole food diet based on things I was cooking myself that included fish, poultry, and eggs.

Pretty quickly things started to happen, for one I found I had to eat a lot more volume to meet my calorie requirements (another mistake people can make is just not getting enough calories, for people trying this I recommend having bananas, dates, or other high calories foods on standby so you always get enough). I also found I was sleeping much better than I had been before, I was also sleeping a lot more but I attributed that to being on vacation. There were times when I found I had to miss a workout and just focus on getting in the calories and hadn’t focused on getting in beforehand so I would be fresh for the next day. I adapted pretty quickly to the higher volume needed though and within two weeks I was not only at the energy level I had before, I was far above it! I started putting in triples which I’ve never done before just because I found as long as I was getting in enough fruit calories after workouts I could train, eat, and feel ready to go an hour later. Digestion was much more efficient and I didn’t experience much of that down time after meals where you don’t want to exercise because your stomach feels full. I also found that I was able to train in summer midday heat (something that’s traditionally been hard for me) because there wasn’t really anything in my stomach and I was so well hydrated from the water in my food. I spent two weeks without gym access while visiting my family and oddly enough found that I had the best away from gym muscle retention I have ever had (usually after about a week I find I have to scale back my training a bit because I can’t keep the muscle tension right). I also noticed I had lost about 4 kilos of weight from a pretty lean frame without any noticeable muscle loss when I stepped on the gym scale for fun recently. I found my skin was clearer and that I could train, recover, and sleep much better than before. Further, assuming someone on this diet is getting plenty of sun, taking some kind of B12 supplement and maybe something for long chain Omega-3s I haven’t actually been able to identify anything they would be deficient in, assuming they followed what’s outlined in the book. That’s not to say there isn’t anything I haven’t done a comprehensive search and I am by no means a medical professional, but I do find it interesting, especially considering someone eating this way I probably getting tons of phytonutrients that haven’t even been discovered or characterised yet.

To summarize I tried out the 80/10/10 diet and thought it was pretty great, it’s changed the way I approach my food. Now I am careful about my fat intake, I eat plant based, I eat pretty much only whole foods, or things I have made myself from individual ingredients (rather than a pre made product with things I can’t pronounce in the ingredients section), and I’m eating predominantly fresh, raw fruits and vegetables local and organic wherever possible. I have reintroduced a lot of different plant foods into my diet (like yams, sweet potatoes, kidney bean, chickpeas, black beans, lentils, etc…) because in our society living off fruit and green veg if relatively expensive and while I’m living as a student without access to a wholesaler it makes more sense to me to have a bit more dietary diversity. This experience has however changed the way I eat and the way I feel, and I believe it will also help me run fast but that remains to be seen. I don’t feel qualified to tell people exactly what they should or shouldn’t eat but I would most surely recommend trying out a few weeks of living frutarian. Just make sure to get a copy of the book, make sure you eat your one to two pounds of daily greens, consider a B12 supplement, and be sure to get enough calories, you never know, it could change your life!

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Nut cereal

The past few days I’ve been beginning my days with a simple homemade nut cereal. I came up with the idea after eating an almond I had been soaking for almond milk and realising just how soft it was. I’ve recently experimented and managed to come up with a mixture that gives me plenty of energy to get through my mornings!

Nut Cereal

*prepare 10 hours in advance

Ingredients:

1/4 cup almonds

1/3 cup walnuts

1 brazil nut

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 dired cranberries

6 pieces dried mango

2 tablespoons dried coconut

2 cups almond/chocolate almond milk

optional: 2 tablespoons wheat germ

optional: cinnamon to taste

Briefly chop all whole nuts in blender or if you would like a chunkier cereal blend only the brazil nut and the break up the walnuts by hand. Mix all dry ingredients except wheat germ and coconut and place in a medium to large container. Pour almond milk into blender. If you desire chocolate almond milk add a banana and cocoa to your preference. Blend briefly to mix any nut dust left over with almond milk. Pour almond milk in with cereal, cover and leave in the fridge for at least 8 hours. Before consuming mix in coconut, wheat germ and cinnamon. Enjoy!

Nutritional points

I have read articles describing walnuts and almonds as some of the healthiest nuts and this recipe takes advantage of that! Between the almonds and the almond milk your getting plenty of calcium and vitamin E and a fair bit of protein. The walnuts provide a source of omega-3 fats. The single brazil nut is all you need in a day for selenium. Finally soaking the nuts helps get rid of toxic substances and nutritional inhibitors. As a final note you substitute any dried fruit for the dried fruits in the recipe, those are just what I had around, feel free to change things up to fit your tastes!

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