All the miles . . .

. . . all the food

Oh, how I wish that was true: that I could just eat whatever I wanted to because I run. I found out quickly, training for my first half marathon, that that is just not the case. Nor for me, anyway.

But I do love the fact that I do have more wiggle room with eating when I’m running more miles. And these days, I’m often turning to Real Fit Kitchen recipes to fuel and recover from my runs with real foods.

brealfitkitchen

Real Fit Kitchen: a review
I wanted to delve into nutrition in February. Nutrition absolutely fascinates me, and I’m always tinkering with what I eat, how I fuel my runs, and how I recover.

Real Fit Kitchen is written by Tara Mardigan, who has many credentials, including nutritionist and runner, and Kate Weiler, a sports nutritionist and triathlete. You pretty much know that you’re in good hands.

I had never heard of this book, but I am so glad that I picked it up. The following quote sums up the aim of the book (which I think they fulfill nicely):

The mission of this book is to help you eat real, delicious food. We want to introduce you to some wonderful ingredients, ones that you may not know about or may not know how to incorporate into your diet. We want to help you move awy from products concocted by food scientists in a lab and empower you to create your own food: food that will give you more vitality and strength than you can imagine.

The authors lay out what they call real fit values:

  • Plant Based
  • Sustainable
  • Strong
  • Pure & Simple
  • Colorful
  • Consistent
  • Balanced
  • Intuitive
  • Yours, Not Theirs
  • Real

Real food requires no health claims

They introduce you to the Five Fingers approach to eating a balanced diet, which is to include these five ingredients in every meal:

  1. Fruits/Vegetables
  2. Carbohydrates
  3. Proteins
  4. Healthy Fats
  5. Fluids

They also introduce the Powerful Plates concept, which is how your plate should look, loosely by percentages, if you’re an endurance athlete, working on strength + endurance, at a healthy weight, or less active (and give guidelines on how to adjust if you’re trying to lose or gain weight).

Finally, they talk about the healthy ingredients you should have in your kitchen.

The Recipes
The Recipes are broken down into categories:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch & Dinner
  • Snacks & Portables
  • Vegetables & Salads
  • Dressings, Marinages, Dips, & Spreads
  • Desserts
  • Sports Drinks, Energy Drinks, & Juices
  • Smoothies & Milks
  • Anti-Inflammatory Solutions

The recipes don’t have nutrition informaton, but they do have nutrition tags: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Low FODMAP. They also includes tags on the best times to consume the recipe:

  • Preworkout
  • Postworkout
  • Nutrient-Packed Mainstays
  • Nutrient-Packed Treats

Some of the recipes call for ingredients you may not have heard of — or don’t normally stock in your kitchen (hello, mochi — except now I’m obsessed). Some are extremely simple (banana with salt and chia seeds for post workout) — most are a bit more complicated than that, but none of them are super time consuming.

But how do they taste?
Really, really good. Even the odd combinations like the salty bananas, although I did find myself having to decrease the amount of salt in those simple postwork recipes — and I like salt!.

bmochi
My beloved PR Mochi Bites

Some of the recipes have already been made multiple times in my kitchen, and will become a staple in my recipe repitoire:

  • Maple mustard glazed tempeh
  • PR Mochi Bites (my favorite recipe!)
  • Not Your Mama’s Cookies
  • Maple Chia Sweet Potato Chunks
  • Biked Apples (my second favorite recipe!)
  • BQ Bars
  • Chocolate Recovery Pudding (I made it a smoothie)
  • Mint Chip Smoothie
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Cherry Recovery Smoothie

I think there was only recipe I made that I felt was just okay — that would be the Marathon Muffins. It’s not that the muffins were bad, just that I don’t feel moved to make them again — which is too bad; they sounded really good! Actually, the Madzoon soup, which sounded so good, was too soupy for me. Go figure. It’s a yogurt based soup — I actually like the simplicity of it, but I think I might enjoy it more with less broth in it.

There are still many, many recipes i haven’t yet tried, and I’m excited to experiment with more recipes from this book.

Who is this book for?
Anyone that is interested in fueling their workouts with real foods — and for people with an open mind and a somewhat adventurous palate, as some of the recipes may be quite different from what you’re used to eating — but not all.

There are quite a few recipes that will appeal to vegetarians, and quite a few that will appeal to Paleo eaters.

If you need nutrition information and macronutrient information, you’ll be disappointed: there isn’t any.

My only real complaint about Real Fit Kitchen? That there aren’t more recipes! I am so glad I picked up the kindle version of this cookbook. Disclaimer: This post includes Amazon Affiliate links, and when you buy the book via my link, I make a small amount of money — thanks! I bought this cookbook with my own money, though, and the opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Other cookbook book reviews you might enjoy:

Tell me in the comments:

Real food or packaged gels and bars?

What’s the weirdest thing you’eat/drink for recovery?

Is there a cookbook you’d like to see a review of?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tuesdays on the Run

Eating in the Middle Book Review

eatmiddlelarge
Eating in the Middle

If you’re into eating healthy, but you don’t like all those recipes with weird ingredients (me, I’ll try anything and have all sorts of weird ingredients in my kitchen), this might just be the cookbook for you.

You’ll find healthified recipes for the foods you love — something for most everyone — and a few decadent treats, too. You’ll also learn a little about Andie Mitchell’s food and eating philosophy.

Who is “Eating in the Middle” For?
The short answer is anyone who loves good food.

This cookbook was written by Andie Mitchell, who you may remember from my review of It Was Me All Along  (affiliate link) or maybe you know Andie from her blog.

Andie grew up in a dysfunctional family and overcame a disoredered relationship with food to lose over 100 pounds — and keep that weight off. You can read my book review to learn a bit more about her story.

This book has many healthy recipes, and some not-so-healthy recipes, hence the title “Eating in the Middle” (affiliate link). It’s for anyone who truly loves good food that tastes good and is good to you.

But What’s in the Book?
The recipes in the book are organized by meal:

  1. Introduction
  2. Starting Fresh (breakfast)
  3. Lunchtime
  4. Vegetables & Sides
  5. Dinnertime
  6. For Sharing
  7. All Things Sweet

Each chapter also includes some thoughts from Andie on healthy eating or how she deals with that particular meal, or how she used to eat that particular meal and the steps she took to change to more healthy eating.

What I Tried

Granola was yummy on chia pudding!

Peanut Butter Granola
I love that this recipe makes a small amount of granola — most granola recipes use at least 2 cups of oatmeal, and since I typically only use a couple of tablespoons of the stuff at a time, it last forever.

This recipe only calls for 3/4 cups oats. The ingredient list is short and you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already (I substituted walnuts for peanuts and almond butter for peanut butter).

It is also everything granola should be: lightly sweetened and nice clusters of granola. I found it to be a bit on the salty side, but I like it that way.

Stuffed potatoes are always so surprisingly filling (and they taste better than they look)

Twice Baked Breakfast Potatoes
Which I enjoyed for lunch today. Because I can eat breakfast all day long.

It always amazes me that you bake a potato, take out most of the middle, add a few ingredients, and suddenly you have a mound of food so big you can’t even stuff it back into its original potato.

I swapped greek yogurt for the sour cream and devoured it all for a super satisfying lunch.

Loaded Black Bean Burgers
Don’t be scared by the long ingredient list. Again you probably already have most of this in your home. Yes, it requires a bit of slicing and dicing. But the end result is worth it.

I could have sworn I took photos — this was the first recipe I tried — but they seemed to have vanished. You know what a black bean burger looks like!

My tofu stir fry

Spicy Tofu Stir Fry with Bok Choy
Another long ingredient list, and this one turned out just okay for me — most likely because I changed things up a bit and took some shortcuts.

No doubt if you actually stick to the recipe it’s much better!

A healthier bagel & lox

Bagel & Lox Salad
Another recipe I took shortcuts with, but this one was a success despite my alterations.

I left out the capers, because even though I enjoy them, you use so few I’m always stuck with a bottle of capers in my refrigerator forever. I also skipped the pumpernickel croutons, which I’m sure are a wonderful addition, but I don’t eat a lot of bread.

I tried the salad with both smoked salmon from a can (well, actually, I’d bought smoked salmon when we were in Seattle, so it wasn’t actually in  can) and also Nova Lox like you’d put on a bagel.

I really enjoyed this salad and it got me out of my salad rut.

The Ones That Got Away
I did not try any of the desserts. They all looked so tempting, and I’ve no doubt that they’re delicious. They are also not the least bit healthy or lightened. Andie’s take on that is that she wants the real thing when it comes to dessert; that she tried to lighten her favorite recipes and failed, although she was also trying by sugar substitutes and fake fats.

It’s pretty rare these days that I make a decadent dessert. I eat them occasionally — when I go out to eat, when I can share them with my husband and I’m not licking bowls or being tempted by a very decadent dessert in my home.

We all have our limits, and we have to know them. I do still eat desserts, but most of my desserts are much healthier — a small bit of dark chocolate or sugar free dark chocolate (I like Lily’s — affiliate link), greek yogurt with some of that peanut butter granola, protein balls, and so on.

Would I Buy This Book?
A qualified no. I already have enough cookbooks, but there are a ton of recipes in here I still want to try. If you don’t have a ton of healthy cookbooks or are just starting to build your cookbook library, this is a good cookbook to invest in.

So while I wouldn’t have spent my own money on this cookbook, I thouroughly enjoyed it and I know some of these recipes will become staples in my kitchen (yes, PB Granola!).

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

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I’m also linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup. Because we all need to fuel our runs.

Tuesdays on the Run

My New Roots Book Review

My New Roots

The very first thing you notice about My New Roots (Amazon Affiliate link) is the beautiful photography, right from the cover photo. The drool-worthy photos come straight from the blog (same name as the cookbook)/cookbook author, Sarah Britton.

Although My New Roots isn’t a blog I’ve been following, I’ve heard of it & after testing recipe from the cookbook, I will be adding it to my reader.

Who is My New Roots For?
Anyone with an interest in healthy cooking/baking and/or interested in adding more plant based meals to their diet, or going plant based period.

I, for the record, am not a vegetarian or a vegan. I eat everything. I like to say that I lean vegetarian, though, which may sound strange from someone who also dabbles in Paleo but it’s true. I enjoy vegetarian food, often eat it, but still do eat meat, dairy, & fish. I just try to limit my consumption of meat, dairy, & fish and am very choosy about where it comes from.

But What’s in the Book?
The recipes in the book are organized by season, which I like. I try to eat seasonally — somewhat. Bananas, for instance, are a staple in my home and they don’t even grow in upstate New York.

I tend to eat more salads in the summer & more soups in the winter; it’s just what I crave.

However, the cookbook is actually broken into five seasons:

  1. Spring
  2. Early Summer
  3. Late Summer
  4. Autumn
  5. Winter

Sarah explains that she chose five seasons based on TCM (traditional Chinese medicine).

In addition to the recipes, there is a section on Essential Techniques (making ghee, nut milks, nut butter, etc.) and another on Stocking the Pantry.

My only complaint is that most (but not all) of the recipes have a long ingredient list and are time consuming. I’m sure many people will also balk at ingredients that are not in their pantry: coconut oil, buckwheat flour, brown rice syrup, etc. Because I enjoy experimenting with healthy cooking/baking, I really didn’t have to go out and buy any ingredients; I had them on hand, but YEMV (your experience may vary).

While the recipes may take time, they are well worth the effort. I don’t think there was a single recipe I made I didn’t enjoy or wouldn’t make again, and I tested quite a few – and still have a long list of recipes I’d like to try.

What I Tried

Multigrain Carrot Cake Porridge with Pecan Crunch
I just did not have time to make the pecan crunch and I must admit this particular recipe, while very healthy and I liked that I got some veggie in my breakfast, was disappointing. I’m sure if I had had the time to make the pecan crunch, I’d be singing a different tune.

Breakfast Cookies
Breakfast Cookies

Fully Loaded Breakfast Bars
These are the breakfast cookies I’ve been teasing you with a while. They are tasty, not too sweet, and I love that they get their protein from beans — a fact that my husband was unaware of, until now.

I would have liked them a little better even sweeter, but I’m better off with less of the sweet stuff. Next time I make them I will leave out the corn flakes; I didn’t feel they added anything to the cookies. The fact that I can give them to my husband for breakfast is a major plus. And they fueled my shorter runs well.

Lentil Avocado Tzatziki Salad
Lentil Avocado Tzatziki Salad

Black Lentil Salad with Tzatziki, Avocado, and Pea Shoots
I used lentils from Trader Joes, didn’t have pea shoots, and the salad was still very yummy and very filling. I also used cilantro from my garden instead of parsley.

Blueberry Cardamom Chia Pudding
Blueberry Cardamom Chia Pudding

Blueberry Cardamom Chia Pudding
I like to say if it doesn’t have chocolate in it, it’s not dessert. Or breakfast, frankly. But I absolutely loved this chia pudding and it had the bonus of being quick with just a handful of ingredients.

In fact, I have some chia seeds chilling in coconut milk right now just waiting to be made into this yummy pudding.

Rawkin’ Funky Monkey Ice Cream
I had 4 very ripe bananas, so I gave this recipe a whirl, too: only I left out the walnuts and subbed chocolate chips for the cacao nibs (although I wonder how it would taste with dark chocolate covered cacao nibs — probably awesome).

Another easy recipe with minimal ingredients, but there you do have to soak the cashews (the base of the “ice cream”) for hours — I had planned to make this several times and just kept forgetting that fact, so it took me a while to get around to this recipe. You probably could make it without soaking the cashews.

I haven’t actually had a bowl yet; I’m waiting until next week when we’re supposed to get back up into the 90s. But of course I’ve tasted it. No one will mistake it for real ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t some cold, creamy delicisiousness – which is is.

The One That Got Away
One recipe I didn’t get to, although I was dying to, was the life changing loaf of bread. I even bought pysllium powder to make it & up until now I’ve tried to avoid anything using psyllium powder — but it sounded good enough to give it a whirl.

Would I Buy This Book?
A resounding yes! Even though I primarily buy ebooks now, this is such a beautiful book. The recipes are healthy and delicious. The one downside, as I mentioned, is that most, but not all, of the recipes are time consuming and ingredient intensive.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

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