food, running

Brain food


I’ve got the Powah

“I’m not talking about the kind of clothes she wears / Look at that stupid girl
I’m not talking about the way she combs her hair / Look at that stupid girl…”
-The Rolling Stones

Oh, I miss that Aftermath album. I may need to get it on digital soon; on vinyl, it’s languishing in my mom’s garage.

Let this post serve two purposes:

One, as a suggestion to anyone who likes to run in the early morning, especially if the run may last an hour or longer: Please eat something before you go. Any type of carbohydrate. A Fig Newton, even. Maybe half of a Larabar or one Nature Valley crunchy granola bar.

I thought I’d learned that lesson but it appears that I needed to learn it again, today. The prior day’s meals may provide sufficient energy stores to fuel the morning’s physical effort, but the brain needs a little sugar (i.e. mostly-carbohydrate food, but maybe not just granulated sugar) after sleep, in order to help a runner focus and make good decisions. This focus allows such things as the following: the motivation to keep rolling on a tough workout, the focused attention to avoid getting hurt by various obstacles, and the good mood, to help you make it through the experience (i.e. to be able to laugh about hitting your head on a stop sign, and to not freak out about nearly falling off the back stoop).

I’ve learned about this pre-tough-exercise “bite of something” concept from experience, though it was also included in some of my group fitness certification course work. A large amount of related information on carbohydrates, muscle and brain function is available here, too. Do it. It’s a perfect excuse to enjoy a few Honey Stinger chews as you get your music selected and prepare to start your run.

The second purpose of this post: my search for new breakfasts has uncovered the miracle of crock-pot hot cereal. We ate up this morning’s grub so quick that I didn’t get a photo, but pictured above is a similar power porridge meal that required a little more A.M. attention than did the Cranberry-Vanilla Quinoa that was ready for me when I got back from the aforementioned run. It was almost as good as arriving back from the run to fresh, hot bacon cooked by Awesome Husband. The recipe is adapted from a great one in The Vegan Slow Cooker, a new and terrific addition to our cookbook library.

Cranberry-Hempy Vanilla Quinoa Porridge

Cooking spray, or 1/2 tsp coconut or other oil
1/2 cup quinoa (we used tri-color quinoa), rinsed
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla hemp milk (or almond milk)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, divided
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup slivered almonds

  1. Spray or smear the inside of the crockpot with oil.
  2. Put rinsed quinoa, applesauce, milk, 1/4 cup cranberries, and vanilla into the crock pot.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Divide into 4 bowls (or 2 big bowls, depending on how much food you need/how many mouths are hungry) and serve with remainder of cranberries, and the almonds.