Tag Archives: marathon

My coral lentil and sweet potato soup

When I am in need of energy, comfort or just recovering, I usually turn to soups! So I devised this one last week in order to get extra protein in after running the London Marathon – and it was a real success with my last born…

The day after the race, my thigh muscles felt so weak – as if they had been shredded to bits! I am not a big fan of sports protein drinks but I felt I needed to rebuild the muscular tissue with some healthy plant protein and so I imagined to mix coral red lentils with sweet potatoes, carrots and indian spices for a restorative orange dish. Orange is such a powerful colour anyhow! Just the colour is enough to replenish depleted energies…

Artful food

Artful food

Ingredients list:

  • Shallots, 2
  • Sweet potato, 1 diced and baked
  • Carrots, 2
  • Red split lentils, 1 cup or 150g
  • Smoked paprika, chilli powder, turmeric , to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water, 1 litre
  • Small tin of coconut cream or 100ml coconut milk

Bake the sweet potato peeled and chunked until soft: about 15 minutes in a hot oven.

Put all the other ingredients, save the spices, into a pan and cook covered until the carrots are soft. Add the diced cooked sweet potato. Blend or not according to what you prefer, put the spices in, mix the coconut cream and serve with a sprinkling of coriander. Easy! And bright orange to lift you out of yourself…

Chunky!

Chunky!

Nutrition notes:

This is full of healthy plant based protein and good carotene and minerals. With the add zing of the spices, it is a properly restorative and energising soup, ideal for shaking off any lethargic feel and opening to Spring.

Creamy!

Creamy!

 

Gluten free banana cake for recovery days

This light and moist banana loaf is adapted from a BBC recipe and it is the nicest banana recipe I have tried so far. It is also gluten-free which is sometimes useful – my guests these days seem to be more gluten intolerant than before, I have noticed.

I am eating quite a few bananas during training and especially post-runs for recovery so this is recipe makes a nice change from the habitual recovery smoothie. I suggest a cup of tea with it and a good long run before! I actually had a deliciously hot chocolate with it myself – as my pictures show…  But I had the excuse of recovering from my first EVER half-marathon…  Yeah!!! Legs felt as hard as concrete but it was real good when the rain and the run stopped… Great feeling of fear (and boredom) conquered! Anyway, that was last week and I had a few days worth of banana cake to recover so all good.

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Getting to the finish line!

Getting to the finish line!

Ingredients list:

This quantity will fill a 1kg/2lb loaf tin, lined with parchment paper, or 24 small paper muffin cases

  • Last time I did this I use the self-raising gluten free flour mix from Doves Farm but you can also use 225g of plain flour.

    As for the bananas, nobody here likes them brownish so I freeze the overripe ones (peeled is better) to squash as smoothies and I used some of those for this recipe.

Put the flours and butter and sugar together in a food processor and mix until light and fluffy.

Add the beaten eggs  and mix. By hand, fold in the sultanas and citrus peel.

Pour the batter into a long cake tin. Decorate the top with mixed nuts if you wish – and if you don’t have allergies to cater for.

Put in the oven for 45min at 170°. Take out when raised and when the knife comes out clean but try not to over bake so it stays moist.

This reminds me of some moist caribbean cakes and I always love the banana and vanilla pairing- simple but so comforting! In fact, I felt I had not brought back enough recipes from my recent jaunt to La Martinique so this English cake actually nicely fills the gap. But as Spring starts everywhere, I promise myself there will be more exotic recipes finding their way into this page!

Banana cake with vanilla

Banana cake with hot choc’

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Healthy eating – the imperative read on the matter!

Whether you are training for the London Marathon, putting an end to Dec/Jan excesses or just keen to stay in shape, Healthy Eating is for you!

Here I have compiled a list of the important tips and food lists to keep in mind and of the sort of meals you should be eating to feel great throughout winter and look even better when summer arrives! I get quite evangelical about all this, as my long suffering kids and husband know only too well…

The best place to start is with the Harvard Healthy eating plate:

The Harvard eating plate

The Harvard eating plate

Basically, half of your plate should be covered in vegetable, fruit and plant -based food and the other half divided between whole grains (carbs, cereals, wholewheat flours) and lean, healthy protein – some of which can again come from plant, and some from animal sources. If you stick to these ratios, you can pretty much add anything to your plate and eat a variety of food – so long as you respect the general ratios on this mock plate you will be fine!

Food is generally what makes us ill as research shows all cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and even most cancers have their roots in unbalanced eating habits; so by the same token, food can become our medicine and should be treated as such.

Make sure you eat plenty of raw and cooked vegetable and that your intake of fibre is at least 15 to 30g per day: This means eating two slices of wholegrain bread, a helping of cooked sweet potato and a handful of nuts every day as a minimum.

Smoothies are great for vitamins but juicing and blending breaks up the fibre so it is important to have enough of the whole plant as well as the juice! Meat and animal based food contain no fibre so make sure you eat fibre with it in order to help digestion and to clean the fat deposits off.

Protein should come in the shape of fish and especially fatty fish because you need the good omegas and the real thing is always better absorbed than the supplement. Try sardines, salmon, haddock and more. You can also find essential oils in nuts  and olive oil. Lean protein include tofu, chicken, fish, eggs. Liver is a good source of amino acids and some important vitamins and minerals.

Avoid white flour and white bread for the “fibre” reason again: wholegrain and brown grains contain more! So use brown rice, bulgur, oats, brown couscous.

Choose fibrous vegetable such as kale, chard, cabbage, parsnip, celery, sweet potato, spinach and green beans. There are plenty of recipes on this blog!

Try to avoid eating animal protein and carbohydrates at the same meal and rather combine veg with meat or carbs with veg. It is also one way to make sure you will be eating enough plant based food at every meal. There is only so much greens you can add to a plate full of steak and fries!

Try and limit cheese and dairy, reserve red meat to special occasions, limit alcohol and sugar.

To give you plenty of energy, make your own healthy flapjacks and nut balls, bake cakes rather than buy them, try using honey or agave in yogurt or no sugar at all and drink pure and filtered water. Swap black tea for green or white and use herbal tea in the evening. I love an infusion of rosemary or lavender…

The advice seems to be that unless you are exercising a lot, 6 glasses of water is enough – beyond that you might just use it for water retention!

Embrace good fats such as olive oil, ghee, goose fat, rapeseed oil, linseed and avoid low-fat products which tend to be full of sugar and/or preservatives and seem to encourage an enlarged waistline, according to some recent studies.

If you exercise, drink as soon as you are thirsty, eat bananas to recover and make sure you eat enough carbs (in the form of pasta, rice, quinoa etc…) on the days that you train. Remember also that the rest days are as important for your overall fitness as the exercise days and do not overdo it,  that is the best way to avoid injury.

Also, give your pancreas a proper eight to nine hours rest by eating early in the evening and nothing until the morning. Something I am definitely working on…

At the moment I am gearing up for a big personal challenge and training for the London Marathon so as I learn more I might be able to let this new found wisdom trickle into this blog! I will keep you up to speed with what I will be gleaning on this journey: I still have 10 weeks before the big day…

So that my efforts might benefit a good cause, I am raising funds to fight abuse and child cruelty so if you want to help, please donate on this page to the NSPCC or click the link below. Anything you can give will go towards helping a vulnerable child and there is no better cause, I think. Thanks for visiting.

I hope you enjoyed this post. And if you have, please sponsor me!

 

By the serpentine, at the week end - love this bird!

By the serpentine, at the week end – love this bird!