Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Triathlete's Coffee Shop: Follow Up Recipes

Last night I was honored to make a guest appearance on The Triathletes Coffee Shop podcast, hosted by @mangorunner. I had a fantastic time chatting with this inspiring group of triathletes. I was happy to share my knowledge about triathlete specific nutrition, low carb diets, glycemic index, natural sweeteners, and much more. Thank you for listening in and participating in the chatroom if you were there. If you weren't able to make it, don't fret! You can listen to the recording here.

As promised, here are some triathlon training specific recipes. Enjoy!

Base Phase...

Your base training period requires long hours at an easier pace. This is when it's important to place the focus on healthy, low to moderate glycemic index, complex carbs. These foods will support your body to lose extra weight, improve your physical endurance, and maintain stable blood sugar levels. Examples of these healthy carbs are whole grains, vegetables, beans and most types of fruit.


1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 and 1/3 cups water
1 to 2 tsp sesame oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and pressed
2 tsp curry (optional)
1 cup chopped celery
1 bunch broccoli, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
2 tbsp brown rice vinegar

1. Roast rinsed quinoa in a skillet until it makes a popping sound. Place quinoa in a casserole dish and add water.
2. Heat oil, sauté onions, garlic and curry in a skillet until onions are translucent. Add celery, broccoli and tomato, sauté briefly and add to quinoa. Add tamari, and brown rice vinegar.
3. Cover casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Build Phase...

When it becomes time to incorporate more speed and strength workouts it's important to shift the focus toward healthy protein. You aren't stepping away from the healthy carbs, you 're simply increasing your awareness of your protein intake. Protein assists your body in the process of building and repairing your muscles.

Red Lentil Burgers

2 cups red lentils, washed and drained
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cups water
1/4 tbsp dried basil
1/4 tbsp cumin
1/8 tbsp turmeric
1/8 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp umeboshi vinegar (or rice vinegar)

1. In a pot, sauté the onion, garlic and cilantro. Add lentils and water and bring to a boil. Add basil, cumin, turmeric, thyme, tamari soy sauce and umeboshi vinegar. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Uncover, stir and cover again for 10 mins. Stir and simmer vigorously uncovered for 3 more minutes. It will look mushy because red lentils lose their shape when cooking.
3. Place lentils in a bowl in the fridge to cool.
4. When cool form burgers. Broil, or pan fry to serve.


It's important to eat low glycemic index, complex carbs 3-4 hours before a long race or training session.

Steel Cut Oats with Brown Rice Syrup and Raisins

1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups water (cold for creamy/ hot for chewy)
1/2 cup raisins or another dried fruit (I like to mix 2 types)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown rice syrup

1. If you can, think ahead and soak the oats all day or overnight. Rinse oats in a strainer.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine oats, vanilla, raisins, and cinnamon.
3. Add water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
4. Turn off heat and drizzle in brown rice syrup.

If you have a slow cooker, use it! I put all of the ingredients in at once (except brown rice syrup) and set the cooker to medium/low before I go to bed. When I wake up my oatmeal is hot, ready, and smells delicious!

Post-race Recovery...

After your race, or hard training effort, you need to refill your glycolic stores while your blood is still pumping quickly and carbs are carried and stored into the muscles faster and more efficiently. This is a great time to incorporate some protein as well. The focus here is on moderate to high glycemic index or more simple carbs.

Brown Rice Crispy Treat

2 cups brown rice crispy cereal
1/2 cup nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, etc)
2/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Put the brown rice crispy cereal in a large bowl.
2. Heat the nut butter with the brown rice syrup on a low flame and stir until smooth and creamy.
3. Pour liquid ingredients over brown rice crispy cereal and combine thoroughly. Press ingredients into a baking dish and sprinkle (and press) chocolate chips on top.
4. Let cool for 1/2 hour in the refrigerator. Cut into squares. Be careful! These things are too good!

This recipe travels very well and can be individually wrapped for a convenient post-race recovery treat.


Taper periods and rest/recovery days are an excellent opportunity to work on your 4th triathlon discipline- nutrition. If you are the type of triathlete that becomes antsy on your days off you can redirect your energy into experimenting with food prep and diet improvements. Trust me, your body will thank you!

*All of the above recipes are healthy and can be eaten at any time. They are simply organized as examples for various training periods.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mastering the Art of Multi-Tasking (so you can get your zen on later)

Just a quick post to share a funny moment. Yesterday my roommate came out into our livingroom at 7am and this picture is the vision that she beheld. She thought it was hysterical that I was still in my bathrobe and drinking tea while pedaling away. The laptop on my aerobars (only for an easy base ride) is a common occurence, so she is used to seeing that. I was very focused on getting some website work done with Molly from mollybean.com during my 90-minute ride, and at one point also was on the phone catching up with my sister.

I do have lots of quiet time in my life. However, I prefer to be crazy-busy when I can work on several things with a portion of my attention, so that later I can focus all of my attention on more inportant projects or maybe just relaxing.

So... my lovely readers, how do you find ways to balance work and relaxation time?
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Healthy Fried Rice - Do It Up

Fried rice is seriously, like, one of the easiest meals ever. Especially if you have leftover cooked brown rice. If you're smart like me, you probably made a huge batch a couple of days ago to use in various meals throughout the week. Even breakfast. If you are as smart as people who learn from me, you're going to start doing this now that you realize how simple life can be when you have cooked brown rice ready to go. You know I'm not kidding about this stuff. I would never do that to you.

*Healthy Tip: Soak your grains for 1-8 hours before cooking to reduce phytic acid which can interfere with the absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. If you didn't soak your rice or you really don't have time, chill out... at least you're eating brown rice. That still counts for a lot. Just soak your grains whenever you are able to think ahead.

I made this dish last night for 3 kids that all wanted something different. I swear kids do this on purpose to make adult's lives more difficult. With Fried rice I win, always. Everyone can "invent" their own combination of a protein and at least 2 veggies. I started by taking their orders. They think its fun and feel like they're in charge which is a great way to get kids to eat healthy food. Meanwhile, you know that with your devious health tricks, you're the one who is actually in charge. So, the Picky Eater wanted his with rice, peas, corn and leftover steak on the side, no sauce. The Vegetarian chose scrambled egg and edamame for protein and added peas, corn, carrots, broccoli, and tamari for flavor. Lastly, the Good Eater chose leftover steak, scrambled egg, peas, corn, carrots, broccoli, and tamari with balsamic vinegar for flavor. Perfect. I made it in stages. First, I combined the ingredients for the Picky Eater, then plated his. Then, I added the Vegetarian's ingredients, mixed it up, then served him. And finally, I added the steak and balsamic vinegar for the Good Eater. Ha! I win!

*Healthy Tip: Kids have fun cooking with you! Fried rice is a great dish to make with them.

Healthy Fried Rice

1 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
1 onion, diced
1 (or more) garlic clove, minced
3-4 mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup green peas (I use frozen)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup leftover cooked brown rice
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
3 Tbsp soy sauce, tamari or shoyu
1/2 cup water
salt to taste

1) In a large pot, saute the onion, garlic, mushrooms, and green peas for 3-4 minutes. Remove veggies from pan.
2) Add a little oil to the pan and scramble 2 beaten eggs, break up into small pieces.
3) Add cooked vegetables and 1 cup of leftover brown rice. Season with sesame or olive oil, tamari or soy sauce and water. Cook for another 3 minutes.
4) Think to yourself, "This can't be it! That was way too easy... I must have missed something."
5) Enjoy it because you rocked it. It was incredibly easy and tastes amazing!

You can adjust the ingredients as much as you want based on your tastes and what you might have in your refrigerator. This is a great way to use leftovers.