Book Report - The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes, by Biju Thomas & Allen Lim

7:29 AM

Like many athletes, I find that coordinating my nutrition to match my training schedule is pretty much the unexplored final frontier.  When I ran marathons I was only interested in finding a pre-run breakfast that agreed with my angry tummy – I didn’t even care about any performance benefit, just that it didn’t give me immediate gut rot. 

Now that I am cycling, nutrition has slipped even further to the back of my mind.  The long hours demanded by cycling results in a double whammy for me: limited time for preparation of well-planned, nutritious food, and a metabolism that is so crazy fast I can pretty much eat anything with impunity.  Regardless, I’ve always known that focusing on what goes into my body was an easy way to improve my performance, so when The Feed Zone Cookbook came out I jumped on the interwebs and ordered up a copy.

Preparing the Chimichurri Sauce
I’ve had the cookbook for about a month now, and the Spouse and I have attempted several of the recipes with great success.  I’m not going to get into the nutrition science here – when nutritionists begin to speak about forms of protein and the glycemic index my brain flat lines.  A few things that I appreciate about the cookbook and their methods:

Though I am not all that interested in the scientific details, I do appreciate that the authors have worked to create recipes that are based on current nutrition and exercise science.  The recipes are presented in sections that makes sense for athletes: Breakfasts, Portables, Après, Dinner, Desserts, and Basics (an introduction to cooking staples for those who didn’t have to take Home Economics in high school).  The two sections that I find myself referring to repeatedly are the Portables (handy foods you can bring with you on a workout) and Après (food for the important post-workout period) because they present numerous ways to tie nutrition directly to your workout.
Jalapeno & Potato Empanadas w/ Chimichurri Sauce

The recipes themselves are straightforward and utilize basic ingredients that any well-stocked kitchen would have.  There is nothing more annoying to me than a collection of recipes that requires the aspiring cook to trek to niche food stores for expensive items that will never be needed again.  Additionally, while I appreciate the labors of others in preparing extraordinary food, when it comes to cooking I am all about a meal that comes together quickly and with a minimum of fuss.  Thomas and Lim present create great tasting unique combinations of simple items (rice, yogurt, honey, and fruit…mmm!) that do more for the athlete than just sate your appetite. 

Finally, I am a vegetarian, and there is a definite effort on the part of the authors to focus on recipes that are either designed to be meat-free or can easily be adjusted to the needs of vegetarians.  The proteins are varied (not all soy based…) and taste is definitely an equal priority with nutrition. 

The best post-ride meal: Sweet Rice & Fruit
Overall, I’m pleased with The Feed Zone Cookbook, and look forward to exploring more of the recipes (and I’m not the only one, check out the Spring Pea and Herb Bruschetta that Kim over at Hardtales made).  One day I hope to eat with intention and thought 100% of the time, but until then I know I can grab this book to keep myself generally on track.   

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