I follow and respect Laird Hamilton, not only because he is a stand-up paddling pioneer, but also because he’s a guy around my age who looks great, is at the top of his game, and clearly puts his family first.
I like his recent post about nutrition – it’s less than one page long, summarizes the key points of change that will make the biggest difference for most people, and, importantly, is realistic in terms of “less” and “more", rather than being absolutist and hiding behind pseudo-science, as so many nutrition experts do in the CrossFit world.
As you know I am not a Paleo fanatic, but I am happy when something I like anyway just happens to be Paleo and tasty at the same time. I also know that if you read books by Tim Ferriss, Rich Roll, and Loren Cordain, they advocate eating some of the same things every day as a strategy for good nutrition.
I’ve had great experience eating lunch based on the same basic recipe almost every day, but with local, seasonally differing ingredients that introduce constant variation every week. I call it “dog food.” I never measure the ingredients – I just throw a bunch of stuff in the pot and it comes out great, but a little different, every time. The basic formula is:
- Some type of leafy greens (chard, kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, bok choy…)
- Some type of oniony thing (onions, shallots, leeks…)
- A few mushrooms (optional – any type)
- Something chunky other than potatoes (turnips, rutabagas, carrots, celery root, kohlrabi…)
- A ground/shredded protein (ground turkey, chicken, etc)
- Coconut oil or butter
- Water, sea salt, and spices
- Use lentils or quinoa to thicken, if desired
One of the best ways to embrace this constant variation is to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I belong to the Purple Dragon CSA in New Jersey, and this means I get a big box of local, seasonal produce every two weeks. There are usually a bunch of things that only Dad will eat – mutant leafy greens, strange vegetables such as celery root and rutabagas, and this time of year tons of oniony, cabbagy winter vegetables that it’s tough to eat in quantity. The other key to this approach is to be fortunate enough to live near Trader Joes! TJ’s frozen section is a gold mine of organic produce, and the selection changes all the time.
So Dad becomes the human composter. For example, today’s batch consisted of:
- 3 huge bunches of chard
- 2 onions
- A big, ugly, hairy mystery thing that turned out to be celery root
- A leftover handful of raw cranberries from Thanksgiving
- Organic ground turkey and chicken
- Sea salt (Trader Joe’s is from NorCal, I also like Celtic and La Baleine)
- Organic raw coconut oil from TJ’s (maybe 3 Tbsp? I just wing it).
- A little garlic
- A few shakes of Cayenne pepper and Turmeric
- Some water or chicken broth
I threw it in the big pot and let it all cook for 30 minutes. It came out great and will last for 3-4 days. It’s Paleo (some may debate the lentils and quinoa) packed with protein and leafy greens, and tastes fabulous.
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I came across this blog post recently on the IF Life blog. First of all, I am not an intermittent faster by any means. But I would probably classify myself as a boring eater for many of my mid-week meals, especially for lunch. The Trader Joe’s 5-minute shopping approach described in this post perfectly describes my shopping approach. I am the guy microwaving canned salmon over frozen broccoli in the office lunch lounge. My favorite lunch when working from home is to simply grill a piece of fish with sea salt and pepper and have it with a sweet potato. It is not boring to me, it is perfect. Interestingly, Tim Ferriss gives some of the same advice in The Four Hour Body…one of the secrets to staying lean and strong is to eat the same meals often as long as they involve protein and vegetables and you never get sick of them. Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. But when time is limited I fall back on the old Kelly Johnson adage, “Keep it Simple, Stupid!”
Some of my favorite simple lunches:
- Trader Joe’s grilled chicken strips over organic frozen broccoli florets, with a few cooked tomatoes and tabasco sauce.
- Simple grilled fish (coconut oil, lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper) with a sweet potato.
- Two hard-boiled eggs with a grapefruit.
- Canned sardines or mackerels with a bag of pre-washed cauliflower florets or carrots.
- Ground turkey hash with chopped onions and kale or collards (prep in advance for the week).
- Turkey meatballs with pretty much any vegetable and some hot pepper flakes – sometimes I throw in some pre-cooked wild rice if I’m doing heavy interval training.
All of these are cheap, easy, and healthy, and some might even be paleo
Trader Joe’s is the mecca for all of these, and I can usually stock up for the week for under 50 bucks.
So I tried something new before my race last Friday, and it worked in spades. Usually I try to balance hyrdation, caffeine, and food so that I am fueled, right on the cusp of an empty stomach at the starting line, don’t have excess water weight in my body, don’t have to run to the porta-john at the starting line, and don’t have heartburn when the race gets intense.
Conventional wisdom in rowing mandates high-carb pre-race intake an hour before, and taking water with you in the boat. When I am going to be on the water less than 40 minutes end-to-end for a 3-4 minute race, I’m not sure this computes, so I tried a more balanced glycemic approach:
Race was at 5:12 PM, launching off the dock 30 mins prior.
1PM: Cucumber/Tomato salad with a little feta and wild rice, some sardines, drizzled with a lemon fish oil vinaigrette.
1:30PM: 32 oz. water with 1 scoop Trader Joe’s “Super Red” supplement drink powder and 1tbsp. Chia seed. No sweeteners.
2PM: 16 oz. strong unsweetened iced coffee
3PM: Turkey jerky
4PM: 8 oz. more coffee plus 16 oz. more of the water/”Red”/chia stuff.
Post-race: The rest of the water/chia and a nice messy grapefruit.
It was perfect.
Please note: No Clif bars, no pasta, no on-water last-minute hydration that would have no short-term effect.
Technorati Tags: rowing
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