One trick in triathlon is to figure out how to eat the thousands of calories necessary for fueling your body, without doing all the health, teeth and gut damage caused by sugary sports drinks, overconsumption of gels, huge portions of starches.
So here are four of my favorite high energy recipes for triathlon: meals I can I eat that are calorie-dense, nutrient-dense, and won't subtract years off my life from eating crappy food.
Soak, rinse and cook 1 cup quinoa, and then mix in a large bowl with 1 bunch of green or red kale, chopped into very small pieces, 2 grated carrots and 1/2 cup flax or chia seeds. For dressing, whisk together a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil and a teaspoon of tamari. Add salt and pepper to taste. This will make about 2-4 servings, depending on your hunger status.
I call it "pudding" because that's the texture, although my wife refers to it as sludge. Take 2-3 scoops of protein powder, put into a bowl, and then add 4-6oz of whole fat coconut milk, 1 heaping tablespoon of almond butter and for texture, a handful of raisins, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, chia seeds, flax seeds or almonds. Stir it all together and consume.
-Ginger and Dark Chocolate Mix
Get fresh candied ginger. Wash it under water to get rid of of the excess sugar, and let it dry. Mix in a baggie or cup with several chunks of 75%+ dark chocolate. This mix is a big dose of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and calories.
Get the following ingredients:
1 T. olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 medium-sized leek, chopped
1 cup chopped apple or pear
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. salt, plus more to taste
1 15-ounce can vegetable broth or 1.5 cups homemade broth
2 cups water
2 15-ounce cans pumpkin puree
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup almond milk
Pepper, to taste
Cayenne, for garnishing
Fresh herbs, such as dill or parsley, for garnishing
In a medium-large stock pot (3-5 quarts), heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the leek, apple, spices and salt, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the leek is softened. Add the vegetable broth and water. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the apple pieces are very tender.
Stir in the pumpkin puree. Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender until smooth, adding a bit of the coconut milk and almond milk to each batch until all has been added. Return the soup to the pot and heat over low heat, stirring constantly, to desired temperature. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and fresh herbs or your choice.
You can eat this pumpkin soup stuff hot or cold and it will stick to your ribs. Just resist the urge to dip a gut and blood sugar destroying bagel in it, please.
Finally, if you want more information about why you need to be careful to eat the right foods when you're fueling your body with the thousands of calories necessary for triathlon, visit: http://pacificfit.net/items/holistic-fueling-for-endurance-athletes/
Ben Greenfield is a triathlon coach and sports nutritionist at www.pacificfit.net.