Today marks exactly 1 week since I began an overhaul of my eating habits. For several months I’ve experienced low energy during my runs and struggled to recover adequately; often feeling fatigued and sore for the rest of the day. I’ve never thought my diet terrible, but a powerful sweet-tooth, combined with an active lifestyle and an appetite for grazing, frequently results in snacking on candy and ‘simple’ carbs all day long. Despite eating balanced meals, I’ve been officially riding the sugar rollarcoaster; propping myself up with sweet snacks in-between meals, which of course need constantly topping-up when the sugar-low kicks in. As well as taking on many unnecessary calories, I was aware this kind of eating wasn’t doing my body any favours when it came to repairing my hard-working muscles and keeping my energy levels balanced and topped-up, so I had to bite the bullet and make a change.
So, I’ve ditched the candy, cookies and processed carbs, upped my fruit and veg intake and introduced some ‘superfoods’ into my daily diet. I’ve also been making post-run recovery smoothies, loaded with ingredients to help my muscle tissues repair, prevent soreness and keep me feeling full so I don’t reach for the candy! Here’s one of my own smoothie recipes. I’ve been taking this as a meal-replacement straight after exercise, it satisfies my sweet-tooth, contains protein for muscle repair and healthy carbs to re-fuel my energy levels.
Post-run fruity recovery smoothie
Use chilled ingredients and add water or ice if required:
- 1 small banana
- 1/2 cup papaya (or 4 chunks if using tinned)
- 1/2 cup tart cherry juice
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1 teaspoon walnut or flax oil
- 1/2 scoop (12.5g) whey protein isolate in preferred flavour
Smoothie provides approx 400kcals and 13g protein (my whey protein powder provides 50kcal and 10g protein per half scoop).
Why these ingredients?
- Banana, papaya and apples replace glucose used in exercise, they are good sources of fibre. Bananas are rich in potassium and vitamin B6 – vital for protein metabolism and papaya is full of anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and the digestive enzyme Papain – used in sports medicine for it’s anti-inflammatory effects. Apple juice is a natural energy drink, providing immediate energy and is packed with with vitamins and anti-oxidants.
- Tart cherry juice has been proven to reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and provides antioxidants which encourage healthy circulation.
- Almond milk is lower in calories than cow’s milk, contains no cholesterol, it’s also a good source of calcium.
- Both almond milk and walnut/flax oil provide omega fatty acids. These have anti-inflammatory properties and reduce joint-pain.
- Whey protein isolate is probably the closest thing to a perfect protein source and is rich in the hunger-killing protein fraction, GMP. Numerous studies have found that whey protein supplementation accelerates post-workout recovery, enhances muscle performance, and even promotes weight loss by reducing appetite.