Lottie Bildirici has learned the hard way that it’s not enough to train and have goals to become a better runner. What you eat before and after workouts also has a huge impact on your body’s health and endurance.
After starting running in her senior year of high school, following a battle with cancer, the Brooklyn native took part in a series of races. She took the sport seriously almost immediately and, in an effort to improve her performance, became obsessed with eating only “healthy” foods.
Rather than propelling her to new heights, the restrictive diet ended up backfiring on her. The purer his diet became, the more his young body crumbled with multiple stress fractures.
Realizing she was on the wrong track, Bildirici – a baker and vegetarian since she was 17 – decided to take a more mindful approach to her “so-called obsession with health” when she entered the university. She viewed food not as good or bad, but as fuel.
As she notes in her new cookbook “Running on Veggies” (Rodale, $25.99), the turnaround took considerable effort, but a restrictive diet eventually became an intuitive diet, focusing on whole foods rich in nutrients and lots of vegetables.
“I was determined to cross to the other side, to come out of it with a healthy body and mind,” she wrote.
The book features over 100 (mostly) vegetarian recipes aimed at helping you leverage your diet as a training tool – everything from fruit and vegetable smoothies and nutritious breakfasts to portable snacks, tasty sides, plates and bowls that incorporate whole grains with spices. , nuts and sauces.
A pantry guide for those new to plant-based eating, as well as sample meal guides to get started, add to its appeal.
Years in the making, the book grew out of the Instagram account and blog of the same name she started in 2013 to connect with other like-minded runners. A communications student at the Fashion Institute of Technology at the time, she had fallen down the rabbit hole of sports nutrition books and wanted to share.
“I wanted to understand the ‘why’ behind everything I ate,” she says.
Endurance athletes, especially women, had little advice on diet and nutrition back then. To help other runners reach their nutrition and fitness goals, she logged what she ate before and after training, as well as simple recipes her followers could make at home.
What she didn’t expect was that professional runners like Kara Goucher would soon be among her biggest fans.
“She told me she liked the way I made healthy eating accessible,” Bildirici said.
While nutrient-dense vegetables play a starring role in her cookbook, Bildirici says “Running with Veggies” doesn’t focus so much on what’s healthy or unhealthy, but on the importance of whole foods in addition. lots of vegetables.
She’s also a big fan of simplicity, with recipes that can be whipped up quickly using very basic ingredients.
Because all work and no play is no fun, the cookbook also includes portable “adventure snacks” you can stick in your backpack to fuel all sorts of activities – think bars, mixes mountain dwellers and bite-size no-cook dates. Its plant-based desserts are made with natural sweeteners like maple syrup and dates, which can help runners replace their glycemic stores after a workout.
What if you’re not particularly athletic? The book is for you too, because good nutrition isn’t just for runners and other athletes. It plays an important role in everyone’s life.
“It’s for anyone who wants to get into the kitchen and eat a little healthier,” she says, even if you don’t follow the recipes exactly.
People are still looking for this magical superfood, Bildirici says, but it’s really about holistic living. Part of it changes the way you think about food and your relationship to it.
“You have to look for the right foods and have them ready in your refrigerator to take away.”
OVERNIGHT OATS WITH ALMOND AND BERRY
Once you’ve made the berry jam, this carb-heavy recipe takes a minute to prepare for the next morning. Soaking oats overnight makes them easier to digest, as it helps break down their natural enzymes.
For the oats
1 cup unsweetened nut milk
½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon of chia seeds
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon natural unsweetened almond butter, for garnish
Raspberries and blueberries, for garnish
Chopped toasted almonds, for garnish
For the jam
2 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries
½ lemon, zested
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 navel orange, zested and squeezed
¼ cup chia seeds
½ cup of water
Prepare the jam: In a small saucepan, combine the berries, lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, and chia seeds. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from the heat and mash the fruit with a potato masher or wooden spoon. Let cool for 20 minutes or until mixture thickens. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Prepare the rolled oats: In a small saucepan, heat the nut milk until simmering. Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons of jam in a pint-sized mason jar.
Top with oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Pour hot milk over top and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and place in the fridge overnight.
Before serving, stir the oat mixture again, then top with almond butter, fresh berries and toasted almonds.
SUPER GREEN PASTA
Pasta is a favorite with runners because it’s a good source of carbohydrates. This recipe replaces traditional wheat pasta with penne made with brown rice. Instead of tomato sauce, it is topped with a fresh-tasting chimichurri-like green sauce.
To make Almond Parmesan, combine ½ cup raw almonds, ½ tsp salt, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, and ½ tsp garlic powder in a mini food processor until smooth. they are finely ground.
For the sauce
1 cup packed spinach
3 cloves of garlic
½ cup raw walnuts
3 tablespoons of fresh parsley, cilantro and mint
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of water
½ tsp sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
For the pasta
8-ounce package brown rice penne, lentil penne, or any plant-based pasta
1½ pounds broccoli head, cut into florets
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 to 2 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons each coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, cilantro and mint, for garnish
½ cup almond parmesan, optional
Prepare the sauce: In the carafe of a high-speed blender, blend the spinach, garlic, walnuts, herbs, olive oil, vinegar and water until smooth. well mixed. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook 2 minutes less than package directions.
Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. On the prepared baking sheet, toss the broccoli with the avocado oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, tossing halfway through, until golden brown and crispy. When finished cooking, remove the broccoli from the oven and let cool slightly.
Drain pasta, rinse lightly and transfer to a large bowl. Add the green sauce, roasted broccoli and baby spinach to the pasta and mix. Garnish with chopped mint, parsley and cilantro, and sprinkle with almond Parmesan, if using.
CHILI SALMON WITH MANGO SALSA
For the salsa
1 mango, pitted, peeled and diced
½ medium red onion
½ red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Sea salt to taste
For the salmon
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ tsp sea salt
4 salmon fillets, 4 to 6 ounces, skin on
Coconut rice, for serving
Prepare the salsa: In a medium bowl, combine the mango, onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, cilantro and lime juice. Salt and marinate while you prepare the fish.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, cumin and salt.
Place the fillets on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle each with the spice rub. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes on the middle rack or until the fish is opaque, cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
Place fillets on a serving platter and top with mango salsa. Serve with coconut rice.