In all seriousness, if my house ever burned down, I’m carrying the Run Fast. Eat Slow. cookbook with me. My husband would grab our dog, Lyla, and family photos are on the Cloud. The kids already have a fire safety plan, and Gilbert the cat is all for self-preservation. I feel confident that we will need the cookbook for survival. I know such an adamant statement places a lot of value on one book, but I want to convey just how strongly I endorse the Run Fast. Eat Slow. cookbook being part of everyone’s kitchen library. You only need one book, and this is it, at least until August 2018 and the sequel is released (go ahead and pre-order it now).
Shalene Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky co authored the book and it was released in 2016. I finally picked up the book after meeting them at a race expo in March 2017. The crux of the book is to highlight whole foods and recipes that indulge in real food. The result? Runners “will not only train and perform better, but also improve their overall health, all while enjoying what they eat than ever before.” Sold. I’m in.
What does this way of eating mean? It means you don’t count carbs vs protein, calories, fat, etc. You learn to eat good food and food that is good for you. The meals are wholesome. You’ll eat whole milk yogurt that is rich and creamy and isn’t stripped of the natural fats and replaced with artificial substitutes. You eat fish with a mango and cilantro topping or energy balls that have chocolate and coffee in the them. Salad dressings are filled with lemon, olive oil, miso, and provide flavors your body didn’t know it craved. You can eat full fat–think butter, whole milk, avacados, olive oil, nuts, etc. Because the recipes are so well-rounded you end up satiated. The book helps restore a healthy relationship with food and a freedom to enjoy food without restrictions. Another benefit is running injury free because you’ll finally be eating foods that heal from the inside out. Inflammation is relieved with foods like the recover quinoa salad or mineral broth.
The book intro includes Shalene’s marathon ready favorites and a rough weekly meal plan –this is a GUIDE, but it illustrates the variety in her diet. The intro also covers staples you’ll need to cook the recipes, and if you’re a healthy eater already, you probably already have most of these stocked. The rest of the book is broken down into the following categories: Thirst Quenchers, Morning Fuel, Snacks and Appetizers, Salads, Soups, Nourishing Mains, Sides, Sauces and Dressings, Wholesome Treats, and Runner’s Remedies.
I recently went through the book and determined I’ve cooked close to 80% of the recipes. Here are my top favorites from each section:
- Thirst Quenchers: Can’t Beet Me Smoothie. Don’t cut corners with this one. You actually DO need to add the ginger and almond butter. Trust me on this. Also, while you may cook more than one beet at a time, you only need ONE beet in the smoothie. Not 3. Trust me on this, too.
- Morning Fuel: Super hero muffins and Race Day Oatmeal. These two sustained me through fall training. As an added bonus, Blueberry-Lemon Cornmeal Scones are perfect for a post run snack. I’ve actually eaten everything in the Morning Fuel section. It’s all delicious.
- Snacks: Chipotle Hummus (I add more chipotle than the recipe) – make this and you’ll never buy Sabre Hummus again. The Tumeric Pepitas are so worth the effort. Also, making the Arulula Cashew Pesto means you’ll never have store bought again.
- Salads: All of them. Well, there is a recipe for sardine salad that I haven’t tried. I’ll let someone else experiment. The Kale-Radicchio Salad with Farro is a crowd pleaser.
- Soups: Long Run Mineral Broth. This should be a staple you make all through the fall and winter. It’s super easy, requires little prep. Be mindful of who is helping you in the kitchen. My husband once thought I was finished with it (I was only letting it cool) and dumped an entire batch down the sink. Fartlek chili made a lot, freezes well, and a perfect winter meal.
- Nourishing Mains – The roasted chicken is now a weekly staple at our house. You’ll never need to purchase a store-made rotisserie chicken again. Our kids love the Bison burgers and you can easily sub in turkey for the bison. (While this is a list of favorites, I’ll say the Millet pizza pies are just so-so and a lot of effort for not as much reward). Marathon Lasagna lives up to its name –it’s a marathon to make and it’s great pre-race fuel. Don’t skimp on the fennel–it’s the perfect spice needed for the lasagna.
- Sides: Sweet Potato fries and Charred Cauliflower were instant hits –super quick and easy.
- Sauces: Hands down the lemon miso dressing will be one you’ll want to keep handy. When you go to Whole Foods for the miso, buy the bigger container.
- Wholesome Treats: I’ll admit I don’t have as much of a sweet tooth (unless it’s peppermint ice cream), but I did really like the Baked Apples, Sauteed Pears, and the Oregon Berry Crumble. Giddy Up Energy Bites are listed in the Morning Fuel section, but I would have categorized them here. They’re delicious post dinner with just the right amount of sweetness. I used extra dates because I don’t like dried cherries.
The best part of the cookbook is that it’s balanced. No corners are cut and the recipes are staples we all need in our diet. As a bonus, if a recipe is categorized as vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free, it’s listed at the top of the page. Since I’ve been cooking out of this book the better part of a year, I can say I have never felt better.
By: Kimberly Wood