For all of us who consider ourselves long distance runners, one of the staples of pretty much every weekend is the quintessential long run. As the spring racing season edges nearer and the long runs get longer, nutrition increasingly plays a bigger and bigger role for both fuelling and recovering from these endurance workouts. Especially carb intake.
I’m finding more and more people are getting interested in gluten-free options. But every once in a while I still hear someone say “I can’t stop eating bread, I need my carbs.” Why does this misconception persist, that gluten-free means no carbs? Somehow we’ve been (incorrectly) convinced that the best and only carb choices consist of pasta, bagels and pizza.
Looking for a gluten-free option? Well, this past weekend was pretty darn chilly here in Toronto and in these temps I’m looking for warm foods. On Saturday afternoon I decided to whip up a delicious and hearty soup for lunch, the emphasis on yummy and warm. As I began chopping a few veggies, it struck me that this Lentil Vegetable Soup would also be the perfect day-before-long-run meal – all those veggies and lentils add up to a heck of a lot of carbs.
A 1/2 cup serving of lentils alone will provide you with 18 gms of complex carbs, 8 gms of muscle-building protein and 7 gms of heart-healthy fibre. If that isn’t the perfect food then I don’t know what is. Add in all those veggies and some spices and you now have the added boost of powerful anti-oxidants. These are so key for athletes, as intense exercise can create free radicals which can lead to cell damage and oxidative stress. Result: sore muscles and slow recovery times. The solution, of course, is increase your intake of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods, foods like Lentil Vegetable Soup.
If you’re not sure what to make for dinner tonight, here’s the super simple recipe for a perfect “Meatless Monday” carb-rich dinner.
Lentil Vegetable Soup
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 red potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled and diced
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups green lentils
- 1 tbsp red wine or red wine vinegar
- 2 cups chopped baby spinach
1. In a large stock pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over low heat. Saute the onions for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, cumin and sea salt. Cover and continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are soft and translucent.
2. Add the chicken broth, water and lentils to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Add the red wine or vinegar and spinach; continue to cook another 5 minutes or until the lentils are cooked through.
Doesn’t that look good? This soup tastes even better the next day…..guess how I re-fuelled and warmed up after that freezing cold long run?