Friday, July 2, 2010

30 minute meals

Various and sundry cookbook authors have made their fortunes writing books on how to, in 30 minutes or less, assemble assorted canned foods and pre-prepared ingredients into a meal that you can claim as “homemade.” Evidently, even though it takes at least 90 minutes to decide what take out to order, place the order, drive to the take-out destination of choice, park in the designated 10-minute take-out-customers-only parking, pick up the food, pay the bill, drive home, take it out of the packages, eat the food, and figure out what to do with all that take out packaging since it won’t fit in your kitchen wastebasket and it can’t be recycled because there’s food all over it, people are still unwilling to dedicate more than 30 minutes to actually cooking a meal.

But whether it’s take out, a 30 minute meal, a gourmet tour-de-force Rachel has reserved for a special occasion, or even a bag of cheap popcorn from 7-eleven or a bucket full of easter eggs, I typically look forward to eating. With one exception.

To optimize recovery after a workout, one should eat within 30 minutes of exercising in order to replenish glycogen stores and minimize recovery time. This meal should include carbohydrates and protein, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

This meal could include wild caught salmon, crème brulee, heirloom organic vegetables picked at the height of ripeness just hours before serving, and the most delicate on the inside, crusty on the outside artisanal breads with hand-churned butter, and it wouldn’t matter because I would still not want to eat it.

I can ride intervals until I can barely walk. I can ride so hard in a crit that I have tunnel vision and can taste bile coming up. I can burn the insides of my lungs in the thin air while climbing a mountain pass. All of these seem more pleasant than trying to choke down some food within 30 minutes of the workout ending.

The one thing I can reliably consume at the end of a workout without feeling like I’ll throw it back up? Diet Coke. Zero carbs. Zero protein. Bubbly water laced with chemicals. Yeah, like that’s going to help.


  1. Regular Coke won't go/stay down? At least it's got some sugar carbs.

    I know this will sound gross to many, but I can put down a chocolate milk after a hard ride. Yes the throat gets a bit gunky, but I rinse with CarboRocket or plain water and it's gone. If chocolate milk is good enough for Kenny, it's good enough for me.

  2. Kris: I can often tolerate chocolate milk, but not usually in the first 30 minutes. But after diet coke, it's the next best thing.

  3. I think you should make that meal for me. It sounds good. I'll go hiking for a few hours first to give you plenty of time.