Published:

 

Unfortunately despite the title this isn’t an article about fast cars and food. However, if anyone wishes to send me on a Top Gear style mission based on the discovery of healthy culinary delights, I am completely willing to comply. 

As we approach this dark & cold time of year we lack motivation, hibernation mode naturally kicks in, but the draw of the duvet doesn’t have to take over. Energy boosting foods can help & perhaps the odd shot of caffeine. Whilst asleep your body is busy repairing & digesting yesterday’s evening meal. When you wake up the brain & body will be demanding food. The right breakfast can be key to “powering up” and consequently the benefits can last all day. If you miss the first meal, you begin with an energy deficit, this can mean tapping into reserves. This can be used to your advantage if you are a fan of fasted HIIT. However, a breakfast that delivers protein, fruit or vegetables, & essential fats is vital for fuel whether you are going to the gym, or just trying to get through the day.

Good protein sources are eggs, fish i.e. salmon, nuts, maybe some unsmoked bacon. If pushed for time, pre prepare energy boosting breakfast bars, or blend up a smoothie to take with you. Home prepped food means ingredient control, take away, grab & go foods can be high in sodium, low in fibre which can mean mid-morning energy crash & you may be tempted to grab something you regret. 

Smoothie with beetroot. (Adding a shot of beetroot increases performance due to oxygen uptake. (Research by Leeds Met Uni))

1 large (unpickled) beetroot, 1 handful of kale, spinach or both, ½ avocado peeled.

Blend until smooth in a food processor. Add ice cubes or coconut water if you wish.

Energy homemade breakfast bar.

4 tbsp coconut oil, 3 tbsp organic almond nut butter, 3 tbsp flaxseeds, 1tbsp pumpkin seeds, 1tbsp goji berries, 2 tbsp chopped dates, 1 tbsp figs.

Line a baking tray with grease proof paper, pre heat the oven to 180C/350F, melt the coconut oil and almond butter in a pan. Add the seeds, the chopped dates and figs, stir in to make a sticky mixture. Press into the tin & sprinkle with the remaining seeds. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool before portioning. They will survive a week if you store them in an air tight container and sustain your will power. (Drizzle with honey as it is cooling, makes it a little sweeter but adds calories.)

Hot “cereal” (sometimes you need warming up on a cold day).

½ cup almonds, ½ cup pecans, ½ banana, ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ cup of almond milk. 

Pulse the ingredients in a food processor. Depending on how you like it this can be chunky or smooth. Warm in the microwave or on the stove until hot. Add berries if you wish.

Rev Down

If you have decided on a fasted HIIT or you have “smashed” a work out in the gym, what do you eat post work out? There is the traditional protein shake, & you may have heard athletes talk about carb back loading, but which foods have which benefit to the average Joe? 

Post activity, protein is used to replace & maintain the muscle protein fibre. Post work out carbs such as sweet potato provide a healthy dose & include Vit B6 C D magnesium & potassium. Eggs are pretty perfect for protein & carb, although you don’t have to eat them raw as some hard core shake drinkers will advocate. In fact cooking the eggs means the body can absorb twice as much protein. Foods that promote an anti-inflammatory action within the body, or provide natural pain relief assist with recovery. Kiwi & Blueberries contain a high dose of Vit C & anti-oxidants, they can consequently triple your rate of recovery & combat muscle soreness. Pineapple contains bromelain which is also anti-inflammatory. Try to eat fruit as a standalone as the acid can inhibit the breakdown of other food substances. Dried fruit & nuts contain 34g protein in ½ a cup full, also almonds, walnuts & brazils are packed with essential fats. Water seems obvious, but is very important to re hydrate & 2-3 glasses should be taken during the work out per 1lb fat energy utilised. 

Basically rehydrate & remember to eat “something”, the body has used energy & without replenishment muscles will not recover properly. 

So here are a few recovery food ideas. 

Spinach or Kale, eggs and salmon (or feta)

Kale or Spinach enough to cover the bottom of a skillet, Salmon or feta, free range organic eggs, coconut oil. 

Melt 2 tbsp coconut oil in the skillet. Tear kale or spinach and lay them to cover the bottom of the skillet. Allow them to wilt. Once wilted remove them from the pan. Add a little more coconut oil cook your eggs as you desire. Add the salmon and a little more coconut oil if necessary. Once cooked place on top of the eggs and kale. If I haven’t added 1 tsp of cinnamon to the eggs if I whisked them, at this point I sprinkle a tsp of cinnamon over the meal. 

No Bake Recovery Cake

8 tbsp mixed seeds (flax, pumpkin, sunflower etc.), 3 handfuls goji berries, 1 handful pitted dates, 4 tbsp cocoa powder (organic, unsweetened), 1 tsp desiccated coconut, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 4 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tbsp nuts (pecans, walnuts, brazils etc.), 1 tbsp dried fruits (apricots, cranberries etc.). 

Place all the ingredients except the coconut oil into a food processor. Save some fruit and seeds. Pulse the ingredients together. Melt the coconut oil in a pan on the hob. Add to the food processor mix. Line a baking tin with grease proof paper. Press the mix firmly down and sprinkle with remaining fruit & seeds. Pop into the fridge for 3 hrs. Slice & enjoy. 

Sweet Potato Hummus

1 large sweet potato, baked until very tender, 400g of chickpeas, 2 garlic cloves, 6 tbsp of organic tahini, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp coriander seeds toasted, grated zest and juice of ½ lemon, extra virgin olive oil. 1 tbsp chopped parsley if you wish. 

Scoop out the potato flesh, add this the chickpeas, garlic and tahini to a food processor and blitz. Grind the coriander seeds, add with the cumin, lemon zest and juice. Add the olive oil and blitz until smooth. Perfect post workout food.

 

 

Unfortunately despite the title this isn’t an article about fast cars and food. However, if anyone wishes to send me on a Top Gear style mission based on the discovery of healthy culinary delights, I am completely willing to comply. 

As we approach this dark & cold time of year we lack motivation, hibernation mode naturally kicks in, but the draw of the duvet doesn’t have to take over. Energy boosting foods can help & perhaps the odd shot of caffeine. Whilst asleep your body is busy repairing & digesting yesterday’s evening meal. When you wake up the brain & body will be demanding food. The right breakfast can be key to “powering up” and consequently the benefits can last all day. If you miss the first meal, you begin with an energy deficit, this can mean tapping into reserves. This can be used to your advantage if you are a fan of fasted HIIT. However, a breakfast that delivers protein, fruit or vegetables, & essential fats is vital for fuel whether you are going to the gym, or just trying to get through the day.

Good protein sources are eggs, fish i.e. salmon, nuts, maybe some unsmoked bacon. If pushed for time, pre prepare energy boosting breakfast bars, or blend up a smoothie to take with you. Home prepped food means ingredient control, take away, grab & go foods can be high in sodium, low in fibre which can mean mid-morning energy crash & you may be tempted to grab something you regret. 

Smoothie with beetroot. (Adding a shot of beetroot increases performance due to oxygen uptake. (Research by Leeds Met Uni))

1 large (unpickled) beetroot, 1 handful of kale, spinach or both, ½ avocado peeled.

Blend until smooth in a food processor. Add ice cubes or coconut water if you wish.

Energy homemade breakfast bar.

4 tbsp coconut oil, 3 tbsp organic almond nut butter, 3 tbsp flaxseeds, 1tbsp pumpkin seeds, 1tbsp goji berries, 2 tbsp chopped dates, 1 tbsp figs.

Line a baking tray with grease proof paper, pre heat the oven to 180C/350F, melt the coconut oil and almond butter in a pan. Add the seeds, the chopped dates and figs, stir in to make a sticky mixture. Press into the tin & sprinkle with the remaining seeds. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool before portioning. They will survive a week if you store them in an air tight container and sustain your will power. (Drizzle with honey as it is cooling, makes it a little sweeter but adds calories.)

Hot “cereal” (sometimes you need warming up on a cold day).

½ cup almonds, ½ cup pecans, ½ banana, ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ cup of almond milk. 

Pulse the ingredients in a food processor. Depending on how you like it this can be chunky or smooth. Warm in the microwave or on the stove until hot. Add berries if you wish.

Rev Down

If you have decided on a fasted HIIT or you have “smashed” a work out in the gym, what do you eat post work out? There is the traditional protein shake, & you may have heard athletes talk about carb back loading, but which foods have which benefit to the average Joe? 

Post activity, protein is used to replace & maintain the muscle protein fibre. Post work out carbs such as sweet potato provide a healthy dose & include Vit B6 C D magnesium & potassium. Eggs are pretty perfect for protein & carb, although you don’t have to eat them raw as some hard core shake drinkers will advocate. In fact cooking the eggs means the body can absorb twice as much protein. Foods that promote an anti-inflammatory action within the body, or provide natural pain relief assist with recovery. Kiwi & Blueberries contain a high dose of Vit C & anti-oxidants, they can consequently triple your rate of recovery & combat muscle soreness. Pineapple contains bromelain which is also anti-inflammatory. Try to eat fruit as a standalone as the acid can inhibit the breakdown of other food substances. Dried fruit & nuts contain 34g protein in ½ a cup full, also almonds, walnuts & brazils are packed with essential fats. Water seems obvious, but is very important to re hydrate & 2-3 glasses should be taken during the work out per 1lb fat energy utilised. 

Basically rehydrate & remember to eat “something”, the body has used energy & without replenishment muscles will not recover properly. 

So here are a few recovery food ideas. 

Spinach or Kale, eggs and salmon (or feta)

Kale or Spinach enough to cover the bottom of a skillet, Salmon or feta, free range organic eggs, coconut oil. 

Melt 2 tbsp coconut oil in the skillet. Tear kale or spinach and lay them to cover the bottom of the skillet. Allow them to wilt. Once wilted remove them from the pan. Add a little more coconut oil cook your eggs as you desire. Add the salmon and a little more coconut oil if necessary. Once cooked place on top of the eggs and kale. If I haven’t added 1 tsp of cinnamon to the eggs if I whisked them, at this point I sprinkle a tsp of cinnamon over the meal. 

No Bake Recovery Cake

8 tbsp mixed seeds (flax, pumpkin, sunflower etc.), 3 handfuls goji berries, 1 handful pitted dates, 4 tbsp cocoa powder (organic, unsweetened), 1 tsp desiccated coconut, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 4 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tbsp nuts (pecans, walnuts, brazils etc.), 1 tbsp dried fruits (apricots, cranberries etc.). 

Place all the ingredients except the coconut oil into a food processor. Save some fruit and seeds. Pulse the ingredients together. Melt the coconut oil in a pan on the hob. Add to the food processor mix. Line a baking tin with grease proof paper. Press the mix firmly down and sprinkle with remaining fruit & seeds. Pop into the fridge for 3 hrs. Slice & enjoy. 

Sweet Potato Hummus

1 large sweet potato, baked until very tender, 400g of chickpeas, 2 garlic cloves, 6 tbsp of organic tahini, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp coriander seeds toasted, grated zest and juice of ½ lemon, extra virgin olive oil. 1 tbsp chopped parsley if you wish. 

Scoop out the potato flesh, add this the chickpeas, garlic and tahini to a food processor and blitz. Grind the coriander seeds, add with the cumin, lemon zest and juice. Add the olive oil and blitz until smooth. Perfect post workout food.