- 1) get enough carbs (~380g per day for my weight & activity level)
- 2) always eat when I'm hungry
- 3) eat the right amounts of the right food groups
- 4) limit fatty meats, refined grains, sweets, & fried things
- 5) time my nutrients (carbs in the a.m., carbs pre-exercise, carbs & a bit of protein post-exercise, & protein in the evening; stick to about the same amounts at about the same time every day).
(I refer you to the books if you want to know more about the research supporting these recommendations for endurance athletes--he explains things much more clearly & thoroughly than I possibly could here.)
In terms of #1 & #3, I spent a few weeks at first tracking everything in order to help me develop a sense of what "enough" of the different food groups & 380g of CHO (!) felt like, but at this point it's become so completely routine that I barely think about it. Obviously I can't definitively prove that it's all because of working on how I eat, but I can say that since the beginning of the year I have more energy (in spite of pulling doubles most days & sometimes even triples) & have reduced my body fat percentage by 5%.
One small change I've been trying to make is cooking & eating at home more. In general, I really do love fresh, nutritious foods & even enjoy cooking, but if I'm going to eat less healthy stuff, it's generally going to be on a day when we're busy & tired & haven't planned ahead around dinner (read: most days). So we end up with pizza, or burgers, or Indian food, etc etc etc. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE eating those foods & have no plans to give them up--but I'd rather plan to have them as a special treat than default to them because they're easy & convenient & we're both too brain dead to come up with anything else.
For now, my goals are modest. If I plan one meal per week ahead of time, I put it in the win column, because PROGRESS! Two meals? I am a god damned wizard.
The result of this has been researching & collecting tasty dishes that are high in lean protein, complex carbs, and/or beans & veggies, and also don't take a ton of time or effort to prepare. I was completely prepared for this to be a deeply tedious, boring, all-around disagreeable task, but it hasn't. Instead, it's been oddly gratifying & made the whole quick-delicious-Fitzgerald-approved-dinner thing seem weirdly doable.
Last night's dinner was particularly satisfying. Ahem:
- Arrange catfish fillets in a casserole dish & season liberally with lemon pepper. (I did one large one but I think the recipe mentions 4 smaller ones; whatever.)
- Melt 2 Tb butter in a small saucepan, then add 4 oz dry white wine (I used chenin blanc), chopped cilantro, several cloves of chopped or pressed garlic, & juice of half a lemon. Simmer for ~2-3 minutes & pour over catfish filets. (I re-seasoned with lemon pepper at this point because some of it got rinsed off by the wine sauce.)
- Season with paprika & bake at 375F for ~12 minutes. (I check it every few minutes with a meat thermometer & just pull it when it gets to ~125 all the way through; 12 minutes actually ended up perfect.)
Cilantro-Lime Lentil Salad, inspired by these two recipes (but adapted liberally). Prep time: Boiling the lentils takes about half an hour, but you can use that time to prep everything else (less than 10 minutes). I preheated the oven & started the lentils cooking at the same time, then did all the rest of the prep for all 3 dishes during that time.
- Boil 1 cup of lentils.
- In a separate bowl, mix a bit of EVOO, juice from 1 lime, black pepper, garlic salt, cumin, a cup of chopped cilantro, & 2 cans of diced tomatoes (drained). (If you're concerned about seasoning measurements, boy are you in the wrong place. Do it til it tastes good.)
- Toss lentils with tomato mixture & reheat if desired.
Now this totally is my picture. (You can tell from
the horrible light balance.) Still, delicious!
Sauteed Avocado-Lime Spinach, which I totally just made up. Prep time: 5 minutes maybe? Less if you don't have to chop spinach. Cook time: Less than 10 minutes. I chopped the spinach & garlic while the lentils were cooking, then did the sautee-ing while the fish was in the oven.
- Heat some EVOO in a skillet/wok/frying pan/whatever; once it's shiny, add a few cloves of chopped / pressed garlic & let simmer til fragrant. (Don't let the garlic burn! Burnt garlic is just the worst.)
- Add a LOT of spinach, tossing gently to coat with EVOO/garlic.
- Once the spinach has cooked down a bit, add the juice of half a lime & toss to coat.
- When suitably cooked down, toss with garlic salt to taste & garnish with fresh avocado.
Look, it's a plate of sauteed leaves-of-something!
Because all sauteed leaves-of-something look the same.
(source, which, btw, features a bitchin' recipe for
"Sauteed Leaves-of-Something." You are welcome.)
In case it isn't obvious, all of this should be paired with the rest of the wine from the catfish.
Seriously. 20 minutes of shopping, & probably 40 minutes in the kitchen, grocery bag to table, and it was all mouth-wateringly delicious. I just cannot argue that we don't have time to cook (excepting karate nights), particularly if we do all the shopping for the week ahead of time. The hard part is doing the advance planning, which is what I'm working on right now. (I also suspect this will become easier as I build up a database of tried-and-true recipes.) If, by the end of the year, I can reliably plan & cook two delicious, Fitzgerald-approved dinners per week, I'll be extraordinarily pleased with myself.