Do you remember when the original PowerBar came out?
Aside from struggling with the Mylar wrapper in the late stages of a mountain bike race, I recall my first experience with so called “Sports Nutrition” as a pretty unpleasant experience. They were hard to get at, hard to chew and tasted horrible. But they did work. To a point.
Sports Nutrition has come a long way sice those early days. Bars and gels are easier to digest and deliver performance. The problem is, “Sports Nutrition” has very little to do with actual food. A quick glimpse at a wrapper will confirm my claim.
Biju Thomas and Alan Lim started a food revolution in the professional peloton when they began fueling up pro cyclists like the Garmin team with real food recipes that allowed cyclists to fuel their bodies with food and not food based products.
Thomas and Lim took their recipes to the masses with the Feed Zone Cookbook, a hugely popular collection of recipes for atheletes that focused on fueling up with a delicious and healthy menu.
Their new book Feed Zone Portables available from VeloPress takes that concept on the go with a collection of recipes meant to boost performance while on the bike.
A few years ago I had fallen into the same trap that millions of North Americans have found themselves in: I was eating more food based products that actual food. I was riding and racing but had gained weight and never really felt all that well.
After reading books such as Gina Mallet’s brilliant “Last Chance to Eat” and Michael Pollan’s “In Defence of Food” I had made a concious decision to change how I fueled my body. Since then I not only lost 20lbs, I feel better. At work, at rest and of course on the bike.
It was once explained to me that “performance is 20% training and 80% nutrition”. Feed Zone Portables gives you the opportunity to make the best of that 80%.
I love three things: riding my bike, cooking and eating. Feed Zone Portables offered an opportunity for all three so I was pretty stoked when my copy was delivered.
Before we get to the 75 excellent portable recipes, the book explains it’s philosophy and how nutrition affects performance and why their recipes work. It’s detailed but not so much that you’d have to be a doctor to understand the concepts.
I got a lot from the chapters on nutrition and performance but what I really wanted was to get to the recipes!
Having a wife with a cookbook fetish, I’ve read more than my fair share of recipes and the recipes in Feed Zone Portables are easy to understand and the results are delicious and worth an extra couple watts at the pedals I’m sure. Each recipe also comes with detailed nutritional information for those who pay attention to that.
A week before getting my copy of Feed Zone Portables a friend gifted me a rice cooker. Good timing, if you’re cooking with Feed Zone Portables you’ll be using that bad boy a lot!
Rice balls are one of my favourite recipes in the book and there are lots of options. Two Bite Pies also offer some savoury nutrition that is easy to bring along on a ride. (My daughters bake so I get them to help with the crusts.)
I’ve been using the recipes from Feed Zone Portables for a couple of weeks now and find them very easy to make, absolutely delicious and love the fact that I’m being fueled by real food.
Here’s the best thing: my kids have been robbing my stash of pre-cooked goodies and I’ve found myself bringing rice balls, baked eggs and two bite pies for lunch at my Glamorous Day Job.
The best way to improve cycling performance is to improve what you put into your body. Feed Zone Portables is your guidebook to easy to prepare high performance fuel.
Feed Zone Portables is available from http://www.velopress.com and at better bookstores everywhere.