NEW YORK, October 3, 2013 — Runner’s World magazine this week released “The Runner’s World Cookbook,” a collection of 150 recipes from the monthly’s pages. “No Meat Athlete: Run on Plants and Discover Your Fittest, Fastest, Happiest Self” by popular running blogger Matt Frazier with Matt Ruscigno launched the same day with 55 recipes and a guide to running on a meat-free diet.
With so many choices, what is a runner to eat? Here is the rundown on both books.
The Runner’s World Cookbook
Edited by Runner’s World nutrition editor, Joanna Golub, “The Runner’s World Cookbook” takes a comprehensive approach to fuel for running. The book includes recipes for every meal including quick snacks and desserts culled from the hundreds of recipes the magazine has published over the years. Every recipe was vetted at the publisher’s test kitchen, includes nutritional details, and many include full-page color photos to whet the appetite.
Chapters are broken down by type of meal or dish: breakfast, snack and smoothies, salads and dressings, soups and stews, meat and poultry, fish and seafood, vegetables and so on. The book also includes a guide to choosing the right ingredients. Brown rice or bulgur? Olive oil or canola oil? The “How to Eat Like a Runner” section introduces at-home chefs to the best ingredients to fuel their training.
Perhaps the handiest part of the book is color-coding at the top of each recipe that categorizes dishes by diet and use.
Tabs denote vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free meals for runners following those diets. Prerun, recovery, fast (30 minutes or less) and low-calorie (400 calories or less) tabs help runners find recipes for different stages of training. The spicy sausage and mushroom soup is gluten free and good for recovery, while the chickpea spread for bruschetta is vegan, vegetarian, low-calorie and good for a prerun snack. It is all right there at the top of each recipe.
An index at the back of the book lists every recipe in each of those categories too, making it easy for runners to find all 89 gluten-free or 43 prerun dishes in one place.
With recipes from 33 authors ranging from chefs like Nate Appleman, food journalists like Mark Bittman, and elite runners like Scott Jurek and Deena Kastor, there’s a wide variety among meals. But unlike a cookbook written by one author, runners may have to do a bit more hunting and pecking to find recipes they like. Just because the double vanilla French toast by Liz Applegate suits you, doesn’t mean the Portobello and asparagus pasta by Philippe Forcioli will too.
But that is the beauty of cookbook compilations. With more than one author contributing, runners will find a wider array of ingredients to play with. Ever heard of farro? Try the caprese farro salad with the barley-like whole grain. Looking to explore different fish in the sea? Try sablefish with pomegranate syrup.
Certainly, runners can find all of the recipes in “The Runner’s World Cookbook” at RunnersWorld.com or in back-issues of the magazine. But having a compendium of options labeled “prerun” or “recovery” in one place is nice to have for the kitchen-challenged or time-short runner.
No Meat Athlete: Run on Plants and Discover Your Fittest, Fastest, Happiest Self
NoMeatAthlete.com blogger Matt Frazier has been running on vegetables for five years. To help him write this guide for runners who want to follow in his no-meat footsteps, Frazier turned to registered vegan dietician and ultra-endurance athlete Matt Ruscigno, M.P.H., R.D.
“No Meat Athlete” doesn’t imply you’re a bad person for eating animals. It simply lays out the case for fueling your runs with plants. There’s a not-too-heavy-handed message about sustainability. But it manages to get its message across with minimal preaching.
After all, the book is really a “how-to” not a “why-to.” It dispenses with the case for plant-based eating quickly and focuses on the nitty-gritty of running on veggies. It’s really a primer for athletes interested in changing their diets to be more or wholly plant-based.
Unlike Frazier’s blog, the book isn’t aimed at runners who already eschew animal products. It’s meant to entice curious carnivores to the meatless lifestyle. The book also aims to lure vegetarians and vegans who might be interested in starting a new fitness routine or upping their run training.
The book’s first section delves into the nutritional aspects of a plant-based diet with chapters on the transition from eating meat, advice on how to make life-changing habits that stick, tips on how to meet the demanding nutritional needs of a hungry runner, and kitchen skills that runners will need for their new diet. (Hint: Time to buy a food processor.)
But it also includes 55 plant-based recipes written with athletes in mind. Options include soups and salads, smoothies, main meals, sides, snacks and desserts. One of the best sections includes 10 recipes for homemade energy bars, gels, and sports drinks. Recipes come from a variety of chefs and vegetarian runners beyond Frazier’s own kitchen. None have photos, but all include an introductory description and nutritional information.
The second section of the book is geared toward promoting running as a healthy activity. It details how to start a running routine or pump up your existing workouts with training plans for distances from the 5K to the marathon.
Frazier leans heavily on his own experience as meat-free runner. But he also enlists a handful of other athletes to share their stories, and, wisely, brings in a team of experts to lend nutrition and training advice.
But, most importantly, Frazier advocates many levels of conversion to plant-based eating from vegetarian or pescatarian diets to simply committing to a few meatless days each week. In fact, he encourages runners to start small, forgoing four-legged animals before eliminating poultry and seafood.
Runners who pale with psychosomatic anemia at the thought of giving up beef might not be the book’s best audience. But meat eaters and dairy devotees, present company included, can certainly gain something from “No Meat Athlete.” It’s a worthwhile and compelling read for anyone interested in incorporating more plants into their training, what Frazier calls “veg-curious,” whether or not they want to go completely meat-free.
Karla Bruning is host of On The Run, New York Road Runners’ show about running. Her work has been seen in Newsweek, RunnersWorld.com, Active.com, ABC-TV in New York and over two dozen other outlets. She has finished six marathons and four triathlons. Follow Karla at RunKarlaRun.com.
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