I’m going to be perfectly frank: I am not a superfan of the requirements of the post-workout meal.
In case you’re unfamiliar, my food mentors, the giant brains behind the Whole30, recommend that within 15-30 minutes of finishing a workout, we should eat some high-density carbs (like sweet potatoes or butternut squash), protein with very little fat (egg whites, chicken breast), and – this is the zero fun part – no added fat.
Sweet potato home fries cooked in coconut oil with a little chicken or egg whites? Delicious!
Sweet potatoes and egg whites steam-sauteed-oh-god-won’t-you-please-get-brown without any fat? Not so much.
I’ve wrestled with my post-workout meal for months.
First, I microwaved the sweet potatoes, cut them into cubes, and scrambled them with egg whites. FAIL! Too mushy. Plus, I don’t like my eggs scrambled.
Then I tried making “muffins.” Microwaved the potatoes, cut them into chunks, piled them into giant muffin tins, topped them with egg whites, baked them ’til they seemed dry enough to satisfy my food texture issues. FAIL! Too thick. Too soggy.
Finally, I microwaved the sweet potatoes, cut them into cubes, threw them in a searingly hot pan so they’d get some nice brown marks on them, sprinkled them with garlic powder and salt, then added the egg whites and spread it out like a pancake. SUCCESS! The whole thing got a nice dry texture and lovely brown carmelization on both sides.
But then the timing issue raised its ugly head.
I could pre-cook my post-workout meal and take it to the gym for immediate consumption after my workout, but then I was eating it cold. Even my now perfected sweet-potato-and-egg-white-pancake didn’t hold up when it suffered the indignity of being chilled, warmed to room temperature, and eaten in the car. It was soggy and rubbery and in a terrible no-man’s-land that wasn’t hot but wasn’t cold.
I actually forced that down my throat for a few weeks, but then I got sick of eating something I found repugnant. So I decided to cook it at night and re-heat it as soon as I got home from my workout… which was a great idea, except that meant I was often eating almost an hour after my workout. Not optimal.
Inspiration arrived in the form of a little book called Manifold Destiny. It’s a wackadoodle cookbook packed with recipes designed to be cooked on a car engine (Safe-at-any-Speed Stuffed Eggplant anyone?). The cooking times are given in mileage.
I’m not kidding!
As an experiment, I wrapped my post-workout pancake in foil…
… and when I got to the gym, I popped the hood, put the foil packet on the engine, and crossed my fingers. An hour later, I was eating a warm sweet-potato-and-egg-white breakfast with perfect texture – just five minutes after finishing my stretching.
I’ve been trying to be surreptitious about it at the gym. I mean, it just seems like kind of weird behavior. But this morning, one of my workout buddies caught me in the act of retrieving the foil packet.
“Keeping your breakfast warm on the engine?” he asked.
I said yes.
And ya know, I think he was kinda jealous.
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