Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fuelling the Engine...

Yes, I did 6.4 some odd kilometres yesterday and it was around the local neighbourhood. At this time of year in particular, the weather can pack it in and render any outdoor activity impossible. So, I went because it was nice, warm and not too windy.

That's not the subject of this blog posting. Instead, I'm going to touch on fuelling the engine which, in this case, means me, or whomever is riding any kind of trike or other human powered vehicle.

We've all heard the adage of eating a balanced diet. Who would argue against that? However, it isn't always so simple a matter of following a balanced diet. There are some times when riders have to focus on certain nutrients for high output activity.

As much as I enjoy a hot bowl of cream of brown rice cereal for breakfast, a good sized serving just doesn't have the necessary calories I need if I'm also about to churn out a good 45 kilometre trek. It also doesn't really have the good proteins I need to help build and strengthen muscle tissue. On those occasions, it's okay to have an omelette for breakfast...but do yourself a favour by adding some fresh vegetables, too, like some chopped green pepper (YUMMY!). I tend to eschew adding cheese as I find it makes the omelette too heavy for my tastes. But, that's just me.

I've taken to adding fresh fruit to my breakfast, rather than have it as a snack later in the day. At this time of year, apples are de riguere and, for me, the crispier the better. What I sometimes do is pack a couple of royal gala apples and munch on them during a water break along the way, too.

Protein, as I said, is an important macronutrient. As about 2/3 of my diet is plant based, the protein I consume is small and not always meat in nature. No, I am not a vegetarian...anymore...but I do make it a point to eat a small amount of meat about once or twice a week.

I have a chicken vegetable soup that I just made earlier today and it turned out wonderfully. It's so easy to make, too, and like almost all soups, stores well in the fridge.

To make chicken vegetable soup, I took two stalks of celery, scrubbed of any dirt there (there's always some dirt), and one medium sized carrot (peeled of course). I chopped them up finely and added about 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion (any kind will do). I then added this collection of vegetables, known as mirepoix, to my large stockpot and put in some vegetable oil and a bit of margarine. On low-medium heat, I "sweated" and softened the mirepoix which took about 4 minutes. Then, I added a little under 2 cups (400g) of frozen corn niblets, 1/2 tsp thyme powder and stirred that around until it was all well incorporated.

After that, I added about 1 litre (about 4 cups) of hot water into which a few teaspoons of powdered vegetable stock had been added. I stirred that in, turned the heat up a bit and then added two tins of "chunks of chicken", juice and all. It was only a matter of simmering the soup for about another 5-10 minutes.

I had originally intended on making a chicken corn chowder but, after tasting the soup to ensure it was properly seasoned, decided it was good as it was.

In fact, it was really good as it was.

So, I now have some really great chicken vegetable soup that is rich in nutrients, like beta carotene, some fibre from the corn and celery, some salt from the stock powder and some protein from the chicken.

Yum!

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