Food For Thought

by NAA

As you can tell by my recent posts, I’ve got food on the brain. Here’s why.

1. Base Training

It’s time to put k’s in the legs. Since this is low-intensity training, it’s also when I reign in the diet to improve my body composition in preparation for the upcoming race season. Generally this equates to eating healthfully and making sure the calories do what they should: build, repair and sustain lean muscle. I’m therefore more mindful these days about meal-planning and creating nutritionally dense dishes.

2. Base Training

Even at low intensity, the increase in training volume sends my appetite through the roof;  so not only am I picky about meal-planning (see #1), but I’m also thinking with my stomach more than usual.

3. It’s Cold

Cold weather gives me the munchies, and this isn’t just a hibernation instinct: it’s physiology. Your hypothalamus helps regulate body temperature and your appetite, which means a high body temperature suppresses appetite, while a cooler core temp stimulates appetite. As you can see, #3 enhances #2.

4. I’m in Austria

Since moving overseas, I’ve had to change how I approach cooking. Austrian markets don’t carry the same items as American ones, so instead of buying ingredients to fit a recipe, I build a menu based on what’s fresh and available at the market that day. Around these parts, if it ain’t in season, it ain’t at the market. That said, this new lifestyle encourages a healthfully diverse and seasonal diet, which I love. I just have to be a little more thoughtful and creative.

Good and Fresh

So that’s it. Cultural assimilation and hunger are to blame for turning my love of food into an obsessive condition.

My hope is to offer up some tasty and healthful meal ideas for those of you getting started with your own winter training programs. Some recipes are concoctions I’ve whipped up from a run to the farmer’s market, and others are real traditional down-home Austrian dishes. I hope you find them all enjoyable.

Please send me your feedback. I’d love to read about any tweaks to the recipes that worked for you, or if you have other suggestions. Mahlzeit!

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