Let me start off by telling you I’m no cook. In fact, my ventures into the kitchen are often accompanied by a bit of smoke, some cursing (ok, a lot…), an enormous mess, and the occasional beeping from the fire alarm.
When it comes to cooking, simplicity is a priority. First, because multi-tasking in the kitchen often turns into absolute mayhem and stress, and second, because with kids, and work, and yoga, and climbing, I just don’t have the time (nor do I want?) to create elaborate meals. With an active and busy lifestyle, it’s important to me that my meals are simple and easy to throw together.
Of course nutrition is also a priority. In order for a meal to serve a purpose, like aiding in recovery, then the proper nutrients need to be present in order to facilitate that.
Recovery is important. Period. If you want to experience gains from your training then making sure to rest and nourish your body properly are important pieces.
This recovery meal is quite filling and easy to tweak according to your liking. Feel free to add extra seasoning on the veggies. I just put the absolute basics in this recipe, but I’ve also done it adding garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, and dried oregano and it was delicious. Just make sure to keep the turmeric in there! It’s also a super easy way to take in a good serving of veggies, if that’s something you struggle with.
So, before getting into the details of the meal, let me first tell to you why I selected the main ingredients by briefly explaining their effects on recovery.
- Sweet potatoes: This starch, which has a high glycemic index when baked, replenishes glycogen fast to your energy depleted muscles. This is particularly crucial if you plan on exercising again within 24 hours of your last training session.
- Broccoli: A powerful anti-inflammatory cruciferous veggie that helps lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that is at increased levels after training.
- Egg: To reduce inflammation and speed up tissue repair. If possible, try and use pastured eggs which are significantly higher in nutrients.
- Turmeric: A potent anti-inflammatory yellow spice that helps protect against oxidative stress in the body and helps to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
- Spinach: A nutrition packed dark leafy green containing minerals that help restore hormones that deplete after exercise, improve oxygen uptake by cells, and assist with energy production.
- Walnuts: One of the most nutritious nuts out there with a host of benefits including speeding up the repair of damaged tissues.
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 large head of broccoli
- 1 egg
- olive oil
- 2 tsp turmeric
- optional: vinegar
For the Pesto
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1½ cups spinach
- ½ to ¾ cups of basil
- handful of walnuts
- 2 big cloves of garlic
- juice from ½ a lemon
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ¾ teaspoon pink salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Chop broccoli into florets and sweet potatoes into small cubes and place into a large mixing bowl.
- Drizzle in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle in turmeric and toss the sweet potatoes and broccoli around until evenly coated.
- Spread veggies evenly onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
- While veggies are baking, bring the pesto together by putting all the ingredients, but only about ⅓ of the olive oil, into a food processor and process until relatively smooth. Add the remaining olive oil and process until smooth.
- When there’s about 10 minutes left on your veggies, bring a small pot with a couple inches of water to a steady simmer. Feel free to add a small dash of vinegar here if you like. The vinegar helps the egg whites set faster, but it’s not absolutely necessary. I personally just use water.
- Crack your egg into a ramekin or small bowl and begin to stir your simmering water with a spoon to create a bit of a whirlpool in the center. This will help the egg white wrap around the yolk.
- Gently tip your egg into the whirlpool and leave it to cook for 3 minutes. Then remove your poached egg using a slotted spoon.
- Once your veggies are done, toss them in the pesto and serve in a bowl topped with your poached egg and some salt and pepper.