Recipe Day 1: Chewy Oatmeal Cookies and why you can eat cake

So, recipes. First, I have to confess a pet peeve of mine. Lately when I look up a recipe on a blog, I first have to scroll through 8 paragraphs of text and then 75 pictures showing in precious detail how to break an eggshell or boil water, or other steps that any non-amateur chef should really know how to do. And this just feels like recipe porn. AND I WON’T STAND FOR IT.

I chose this recipe today because I was up *all* night with The Littlest Beet and my plans for demonstrating a whole wheat loaf of bread went out the window at around 3am. These very happily take about 5 minutes to whip together, ten minutes to bake, and I always have the ingredients on hand. I can also shove them in the pocket of my running shorts. And my children eat them. Wins all around.

So, without any further delay, here is a recipe that I will talk about AFTER I give you the good stuff.

Runner’s Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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Ingredients:
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
Roughly 2 cups Whole Oats
About 1/2 cup of dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, or dates

Optionals:
For more protein, add protein powder and/or nuts
For a sweet treat, add dark chocolate chips (preferably 80% plus cacao to maximize antioxidant benefits) or cocoa powder. OR BOTH.

  1. Combine all ingredients but the oats. Add in the oats 1/2 cup at a time until you have a sticky dough (pictured below). Bananas are not a universal measure, so you will sometimes have more, sometimes less oats. Let stand 5 minutes to let the moisture soak into the oats a little bit, which will keep them sticky.
  2. Spoon out cookies (will make 9-12) onto a baking sheet. Use parchment or silicon to prevent sticking.
  3. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until tops of cookies are slightly crunchy.
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Dough!

Nutrition Discussion

These are a personal staple for pre-runs. I will go over this in a later post, but having a small snack before a workout boosts performance. A better workout not only makes that 30-90 mins of your day more enjoyable, it makes the time better spent. Here is a recent and oft-cited research study about this: Effects of timing of pre-exercise ingestion of carbohydrate on subsequent metabolism and cycling performance.

Back to the cookies. Not only are they easy to make and easy to carry, they have lots of carbohydrates, including simpler sugars in the fruit to give you immediate energy and then whole grains combined with healthy fats to provide for more long term energy needs. The fruit and whole grains also means you are getting lots of good micronutrients and fiber.

Nutrition Tip

I hear a lot of runners, SUCH AS SOMETIMES MYSELF, say things like, “It’s ok for me to eat this cake, I am going for a six mile run later.” I would like to do my part to banish this mindset. beetlibrariancheerleaderexpecto(1) The first thing to understand is that the cake does not *help* you run (or at least not very much). Your runs, from easy 3 milers to race pace half marathons and everything in between and beyond, is about performance. Empty calories do not help you on that run, so peel apart the cake from the running. Go ahead. Seeepppaaarratttte. Have you done that? Ok. Cake and running have not one thing to do with each other. If you are going to go for a run (or bike, yoga, hike, dance…), feel free to choose a snack with lot of whole grains, some fat, some protein, and lots of micronutrients. Choose what will help you succeed at your workout.(More on all of that in future posts, but if you want a good kickstart, check out Matt Fitzgerald’s Racing Weight.)

(2) You are allowed to eat cake! Yes. I said it. Cake is ok. You can have it. Go, have a bite. Delicious. Good. Eating is not an action for which you should be punished, and running is not the punishment through which to exorcise your guilt for eating something you have every right to eat.

beetbruncakeIn my experience, cake is a problem when you lock yourself in the bathroom and polish off a bundt while sobbing and looking at pictures of cats or ex boyfriends. (I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS.) Or, it is a problem when you eat a cake every day for breakfast in place of something that actually supports your body by giving it the micro and macro nutrients that you need.

image4 (1)There. Ok. So go have cake, but leave the guilt and shame at home. And add in a delicious Runner Cookie to get to through your next run. The Littlest Beet recommends it. I don’t know from where she got the measuring spoon. Toddlers are magical.

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The run beet: Eat happy, run happy

Welcome to The Run Beet! To start, here is a little Q & A:

Q: Why The Run Beet?
A: Because beets are freaking delicious. And they are super high in potassium, fiber, and protein. And magnesium. And they are funny shaped and look pretty amazing with little running legs. AND BEET GREENS SAUTÉED ARE DELICIOUS (and high in iron).
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Q: Your drawings are really terrible.
A: THEY ARE GORGEOUS HUSH.

Q: What will you be posting about?
A: Anything and everything about happy eating and happy running: Recipes, workouts and running tips, interviews with inspirational runners, thoughts about starting and continuing running, new nutrition and exercise science that comes out and is helpful, upcoming major races, gear I love, fangirling moments.

Q: Um. That’s a lot. Don’t you have anything better to do with your time?
A: Probably. Yet, here I am.

Q: And what are you qualifications anyway?
A: I have an MLIS (librarian) and I’ve been running for twenty years (…feel… old…). My half marathon times are pretty solidly middle of the pack (2:05 is fastest), and I run about 25 miles per week. In 2016that will be more like 30-35 miles as I train for my first marathon. The fastest I’ve run a mile is 5:45 and the fastest I have run 5k is 19:20, but I was 16 and I don’t think I can gloat about that anymore. I am not here to tell you how to be the fastest, most elite runner. But I can point you in the direction of those who can. CLASSIC LIBRARIAN LINE, THERE.

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Q: Why “eat happy, run happy”?
A: Food and our relationship with food, as runners or potential runners, can make or break our efforts. And how we approach running and exercise can make it an enjoyable hobby, or a punishment with standards to which we may feel we can never live up. I see many people decide they don’t deserve to devote themselves to running or exercise, or decide they don’t deserve to have good nutrition, whether that means that they over train or don’t train, overeat or don’t eat enough. I am here to be a positive force, a librarian-cheerleader perhaps, in favor of healthy habits and happy thoughts.

Q: Do you do this all by yourself?
A: Ha! Hardly. The Little Beet, aged 3, is *currently* making me play a game with him called “Throw the Flying Block and Whack it with a Pillow While Screaming.” If you are reading this and thinking that it sounds like whomever wrote was simultaneously also playing a wild game with a 3 year old that involved multiple props and sound effects, then you would be actually quite perceptive. As I was typing this, he put a bunch of bananas on my head and yelled, “BANANA HEAD, MAMA! BANANA HEAD!” Now, The Littlest Beet, 1 year old, is gnawing on my leg while holding a copy of “Are you a Cow?” I have a TON of assistance.

Q: Are you, like, built like a runner?
A: Yes, I am! I have a body and I run. And those are the two main requisites for being a runner. More on that later. Or, you can read it now: How to Have a Runner’s Body by Cassie Watt aka The Run Beet

Well, I am now being fully attacked by both the Littlest and the Little Beets, and that is my cue to call it quits for the day. See you tomorrow, when I will be posting… RECIPES and a little bit of advice.

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-Cassie aka The Run Beet