July 17, 2012

NYCM Nutrition & Socca for Breakfast

As of yesterday, I am officially in NYC Marathon Training. Feels good and although I thought I'd lost my mojo a few weeks ago, it's back and I'm ready to take it on. I've spent the past few weeks getting into training shape: adding spin to my schedule, stretching & foam rolling every day, strengthening my core with plankaday & other workouts, and focusing on my nutrition.

The nutrition part is the hardest because I LOVE FOOD. When I trained for the Philly Half a few years ago, I was vegan and mostly raw and in the best shape of my life. But I was always hungry and couldn't keep on weight. By the time I was training for the Philly Marathon two years ago, I was no longer raw and was a vegetarian, no longer vegan. I ended up gaining a lot more weight than I'd anticipated because I was always rungry and would lay in bed with an entire pot of mac n cheese after my long runs. I didn't even bother to spoon it into a bowl. By the time I got to training for last year's NYCM, I was still vegetarian but was eating a much healthier diet. And then injury struck and I could barely run let alone workout. My diet went to sh*t. (Side note: I despise the word "diet" since it's come to mean restrictions and I'm not into that. If you can think of a better word, would love to hear it). I started eating a whole lot of meat, tons of cheese, and drinking a whole lot of wine & cocktails. I stopped juicing as much, stopped eating my giant delicious salads every day, and relied on convenience food. I'm pretty sure that eating that way for almost 10 months has taken it's toll on me and could be in part to blame for my recent crappy race performances.

Now that NYCM training is under way, I'm taking on my nutrition as well. I want to kick some major tush in November and am planning on putting my all into my workouts. But I've learned that I'm wasting my all if I don't eat right and get the fuel I need to energize and to recover. So this morning, I woke up at my usual 6 am and instead of hanging in bed and being lazy, I threw on a tank and skirt, my handy fedora, and headed to the water with a cup of coffee, a pen & a notebook in hand.  I sat here and wrote my nutrition challenges and possible solutions, my "nutrition training plan".
My view this morning as I wrote my nutrition training plan for NYCM

I identified time & energy as my biggest challenge. I love what I do but running my own business takes a lot out of me and when I find myself still working at 9pm, sometimes it's just easier to order sushi than to make myself a salad or a piece of fish. So I've decided to tackle this problem first. I've made a list of some basic ideas that should be easy enough to follow.
  • Flavor themes for each week: buy a bunch of fresh ingredients that all go together and then make a list of recipes that use the ingredients. This should cut down on shopping time and if I take a half hour to prep all the ingredients at once, I will also save prep time later. For example, this morning I picked up eggs, black beans, avocados, cilantro, salsa, green peppers and some other veggies. I've cut up the veggies and placed them in individual containers so I can have on hand. Breakfasts this week will include the Socca breakfast I'll chat about in a bit that uses some of these ingredients. For lunch, I'll saute some of the veggies with garlic and toss them with pasta to fuel for tonight's speed work. And for dinner, gazpacho using the veggies again with a piece of steamed fish. Tomorrow, I'll be out most of the day so I'll make the same breakfast before I leave, will combine the beans with salsa & cilantro & avocado to toss over greens for lunch on the go, and will eat out with friends for dinner. See? Same ingredients in different ways saves money, time & brain cells!
  • Prep ahead: I've already touched on this above but it's worth saying again. I find it easier to eat a home prepared meal when my ingredients are ready to be tossed together. I used to spend an hour every Sunday evening prepping all of my veggies for the first half of the week so I could toss different salads or pasta dishes together pretty quickly. I'm going to try to start doing this again. I'm also prepping some other foods like socca batter, or batches of quinoa that can be used to tie meals together. Having cold quinoa in my fridge is perfect to use for breakfast (think quinoa, almond milk, some fresh fruit & a dash of cinnamon), lunch or dinner (think quinoa tossed with fresh or sauteed veggies & fresh herbs).
This brings me to today's recipe: Socca for breakfast with beans, avocado, eggs, cilantro & salsa. YUM. I've written about socca in the past but haven't made it in a while since it seemed like too much work. All of the heating the pan and baking each piece individually took too many steps and it didn't seem worth the time. But the other day I had a moment of genius and thought "why can't I just make it like a regular pancake". I tried it a week or so ago and it totally work. Genius! This opens up a whole new world of recipes!

Now in case this is the first time you're hearing of socca, a little explanation:
It's a thin crepe made from naturally gluten free chickpea flour and it's what I consider a perfect food- easy to make, yummy, versatile and naturally gluten free and nutritious. A basic socca recipe involves making a batter of chickpea flour, water and oil and then letting it rest for a bit before pouring it into a hot skillet and broiling each crepe one at a time. You can add different herbs to the batter to season, and can serve cut into wedges ala pita triangle, as a wrap, or as a base for individual pizzas. 
Socca pizza I made a few weeks ago. Sauteed some spinach & mushrooms with garlic, threw on the socca & added a bit of goat cheese & freshly cracked pepper. Delicious!


And in keeping with my NYCM Nutrition Plan, I can make a batch of the batter ahead, keep it in my fridge, and use a scoop at a time to cook like a pancake as needed. AWESOME. Last night I made a batch of batter and this morning it was ready for me to use.

Socca Recipe
1 cup of Chickpea Flour
1 cup + 2 tbsp of Water
1 tbsp of Olive Oil (I used Art of Oil Tuscan Herb oil this time but you can use plain or your favorite flavor)
1/2 tsp salt

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Add any additional seasonings you'd like (chopped herbs, etc...) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Like I said, I stick in the fridge and use as needed.

 When you're ready to make your socca, heat up a frying pan and spray with just a bit of oil to make non stick. Add 1/4 cup to the pan and spread to form a pancake shape. Cook until the edges start looking dry and bubbles form on the surface. Flip, cook another minute or 2.. and it's ready to eat!
Socca with Eggs, Black Beans, Avocado, Salsa & Cilantro
 I'm going to keep identifying my nutrition challenges and create solutions as training progresses. I'll do my best to share them with you but could use any ideas you might have as well. What are your training nutrition challenges & solutions?
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