-Carbs are not a concern
-You're looking for some new material for the recipe repertoire
-You like quick, simple, tasty meals
-You are looking to lose weight.
-You are on a low carb/low fat diet
-You are a couch potato
A little change of pace from our typical review, but since nutrition is known as the fourth discipline of triathlon it's a fitting change. No, we aren't trying to get in touch with our inner Betty Crocker but we all have to eat right? When a review can combine some of our favorite things like grilling, eating, and few beers, it's pretty easy to get on board.
Trust us, we've tried just about every potion and powder out there that claims to boost performance (of the legal variety at least) and at the end of the day the nothing compares to a good meal made from fresh, whole foods cooked at home. And while a cookbook doesn't really address race or on course nutrition, it's just as, if not more important in the grand scheme of things. Most of us realize the importance of practicing good nutritional habits. Some of us, of course, do a much better job with our nutrition than others. As athletes, especially endurance athletes, we are probably some of the most hypersensitive and anal people when it comes to just about everything we do. Yet it seems that many times that doesn't carry over to our diets. The Feed Zone makes it easy to stay on track.
Allen Lim, Ph.D is what you might call the science behind the book and chef Biju Thomas adds the flavor. Both have worked with many of the top cycling teams and the elite cyclists of the sport. What we truly appreciate about their approach to nutrition is the fact that it has been tested in the real world with real athletes. Whether you agree with their overall philosophy or not, you have to respect someone who has actually used these recipes in training and racing with endurance athletes.
-Fish Tacos from the Feed Zone
The overall philosophy of the book is centered around simple recipes that are comprised of mainly whole foods as ingredients. This "recipe" is used to produce meals and snacks that are not only healthy but also pretty pain free from a preparation standpoint. In fact, many of these recipes were born out of a "kitchen" that was really just a camper parked at a bike race supporting cyclists all over the world.
-Grilled Chicken with Summer Orzo from the Feed Zone
That's really the beauty of this cookbook in our opinion, recipes that are not only nutritious but easy to prepare. Like most people these days our schedules are time crunched at best, so when it comes time to cook, a healthy meal that doesn't take all day to prepare is what we need. The Feed Zone Cookbook is full of just such recipes.
Let's face it, when it comes to meal planning it's nice to have a new playbook from time to time. Plus, if you're like us and find yourself falling into the routine of having the same meals over and over, a new set of recipes can be pretty refreshing. We haven't managed to try all 150 recipes yet, but the ones we have tried have been excellent. We've already made several of the recipes a recurring theme of our weekly meal planning.
One example is the Buffalo (or beef) and Sweet Potato Tacos. Super simple, quick to prep and very tasty. Kind of reminds us of some type of "street food" style tacos.
The book covers all the bases from breakfast to dinner to dessert, and includes great ideas for snacks, many of which are designed with portability in mind. The recipes are also quite flexible and substitutions are easy for many of the recipes. For example brown rice or quinoa for gluten free folks or different proteins for what you may have readily available . Speaking of which, several recipes in the book are gluten free from the get go.
If you are looking for a cookbook that focuses on weight loss or some type of paleo low carb diet, this is not your book. Don't get us wrong there's something for almost any palate in the Feed Zone but for certain types of diets (especially low carb) there won't be many options in the Feed Zone for you. Many of the recipes are loaded with carbs, (good) fat, and higher than normal levels of salt, many recipes include ingredients like rice, eggs, and yes, even red meat. This is a cookbook for athletes, we burn tons of calories and deplete our bodies of nutrients so get over it and eat.
"There is an overwhelming amount of scientific and real world evidence that demonstrates that a diet rich in carbohydrates is critical to success in endurance sports."
I think it's safe to say that Lim is from the school of thought that athletes, especially endurance athletes perform better with this approach. More importantly the athletes he has worked with were able to train and race at a higher level eating a diet that is generous with the carbs. As with many things in life nutrition is highly individual. So if it ain't broke don't fix it. What works for you may not work for others. Regardless, the whole approach of fresh, whole foods as ingredients makes sense no matter what you eat in terms of protein, carbs or fat as it pertains to percentages that make up your diet. Obviously your diet is highly individualized, so if something in your diet doesn't agree with your system...stop eating it, regardless of how many athletes swear by it.
TriBomb Bottom Line
Definitely a worthy addition to the kitchen of the endurance athlete. If nothing else, you will get some new material for your meal planning that you can use for years to come.