Ben Brown | Surrey, Great Britain - As an athlete, the only thing more satisfying than a solid week of training, is a solid week of training reinforced with great nutrition. The actual act of training is important, but your body’s response and adaptation to that training is where the gains are made, this can be maximised through your nutrition.
Think of all the hard work and energy you put into your training, now think of the repair and building process your body goes through in the recovery phase, you literally are what you eat/drink, your food is the building blocks of your recovery. I’d rather not be made of crisps and Dr Pepper.
This is a fairly quick, very simple, very tasty recipe for a good all round recovery feast.
Feeds 2 hungry athletes, prep time 20-30 mins, cooking time 60mins.
★ 4-5 sweet potatoes
★ 1 pumpkin
★ Mixed salad (I like watercress, rocket & spinach)
★ 2 Avocados
★ Maple syrup
★ 500g Chicken (I’ve used thighs, they are tasty and cheaper)
★ 1 Lemon
★ Big sharp knife (if you’re the ‘stabby’ type, get someone sensible to chop for you)
★ 3 Baking trays
★ Tin Foil
★ Oven (also oven gloves you muppet)
Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF or Gas Mark 6)
Chop all the sweet potato into roughly 2-3cm cubes, until you fill the baking tray leave the skin on mate. Chop the pumpkin, you’ll only need enough to fill a baking tray with the cubes (keep the rest for another recipe) cut it in half, scoop out the mush, then quarter, then peel the skin off then chop into rough cubes as well.
Lay out the sweet potato & pumpkin cubes in two separate trays and season.
Mix about 1/2 a generous cup of maple syrup with the juice of half a squeezed lemon, pour the mixed up awesomeness over the sweet potato, not the pumpkin. Chuck 3-4 nobs of butter into each tray and scruffle them around a bit to spread the awesomeness kinda evenly.
Cover both trays of veg in tin foil and put in the oven. Start the timer on your Timex ironman sports watch (yes I know you have one). They will cook for about 60 mins total, but you must take the foil off them after 20 minutes to make them all nice, you’ll see.
Whack the chicken into the other baking tray, add a splash of good quality olive oil, season and cover with tin foil. Check how long the chicken will need, the thighs took about 40-45 mins so put them in the oven after 15 mins so everything comes out at the same time… pretty wise eh?
Arrange the salad and the chopped avocado on the plates. Chop the almonds. Then chill for a bit, go watch one of my videos.
Don’t forget! Take the foil off the veg and the chicken after 20mins and scruffle the cubes around in the juices so they all get their fair share.
Keep an eye on it, my timing instructions are not to the minute, judge for yourself.
When it’s done, carefully take it all out the oven without burning yourself, strip the chicken from the bones and layer it all on the pre-arranged salad, sprinkle the chopped almonds. Lovely.
Immediately soak the baking trays in hot water else the maple syrup is a bitch to clean off.
Enjoy the food. Don’t inhale it, chew nicely, we’re not rowers. Chill & bask in the satisfaction of maximal adaptation.
Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain.
Vitamin B6 - Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases.
Vitamin C - immune system (obviously) but also plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation.
Vitamin D - Important this time of year, both a vitamin & hormone usually sourced from sunlight. Plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth.
Iron - red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper immune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.
Magnesium - the anti-stress mineral, necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function.
Potassium - one of the important electrolytes that help regulate heartbeat and nerve signals.
Vitamin A – Pumpkin is a rich source of Vitamin A. Regular consumption of pumpkin (both seeds and flesh) can promote the health of your eyes and boost your immune system.
Magnesium (see above)
Potassium & Zink (see above)
Anti-Inflammatory Effect – The Beta carotene present in pumpkin seeds and flesh has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Regular consumption of pumpkin can protect against joint inflammation and arthritis. Pumpkins have been known to provide relief from inflammation, without the harmful side-effects of anti-inflammatory medicines.
Diuretics – Pumpkins are natural diuretics. These help in flushing out the toxins and unwanted waste material from the body, great for recovery from training, leaving you refreshed and healthy.
Your vital source of protein in this meal, essential for rebuilding and recovery.
Protein - Avocados provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, avocado protein is more readily absorbed by the body because avocadoes also contain fiber.
Multi-vitamin - Avos are jam packed with heaps of vitamins and minerals, more than I can be bothered to list, they are just amazing. Read more about it here.
Hope that’s of some interest to you guys!
PS Make more than you need, it’s awesome for lunch the next day.