Friday, March 14, 2008

non-intuitive energy for runners

Having just registered for the NYC marathon and struggling to get myself past 5 miles at any one training run, I've started to re-examine my own nutrition. As a triathlete I was trained to eat clif bars and suck down gels 1 hour into a race and then every 20 minutes thereafter. This just doesn't seem to make sense that I would be eating synthetic chemicalized excuses for nutrition when there are real superfoods out there that would maximize my running performance. So I have discovered two new sources of runner's joy. Greens and quinoa.

After teaching a cooking class last Monday night where I taught a greens stir fry (swiss chard and collard greens) and an orange walnut quinoa dish and waking up the next morning to eggs and the left over greens, I ran eight miles. I first lapped to lower portion of central park - at which point I'd usually just go home...but then I thought I'd just try to make it up cat hill for a challenge. Passing the Met, I thought I'd just cool down with a lap around the reservoir. One lap became two and I did not cool down. I left the reservoir feeling energized and fabulous. A high nearly unmatched.

So a little bit about this quinoa, which I assume most of you are saying - quin-what? Here is something I read on quinoa, written by a friend of mine at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition: quinoa? ancient Incan superfood, right? The Incan empire that stretched for 2500 or more miles...and didn't the Incan chasquis--the long distance messengers--consume quinoa to improve their agility and endurance? (These are just those little factoids I remember from HS!)

The fact that it grows in the high-altitudes of the Andes kinda makes you think it might be good for improving V02 max.

Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids necessary for life. It is rich in iron manganese, magnesium, carbohydrates, fats,protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. What more could a runner ask for?!

Pretty cool stuff...and those greens not only contain some of the essential amino acids, they also contain all those lovely essential fatty acids - the omega 3's that are the new super nutrient. So pretty much if you ate nothing but greens and quinoa you would be nourished with everything you needed to survive and you'd be running marathons. Think about that before unwrapping another clif bar!

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