Fast food: Sharing a Runner’s Diet

Our WOGOR Blogger (Wife or Girlfriend of a Runner) Amelia Hanslow talks about keeping up with the dietary habits of her runner husband, Ben Moreau.

Marathon runners are a meticulous bunch. Get their splits wrong and they end up in a world of pain. So they’re well aware of the necessity of paying attention to details. Arguably, diet is more than a detail!

I have been a food writer, a chef and worked several vintages in wineries. I consider eating out a necessity and eschew the recommended daily guidelines for alcohol consumption with the same pleasure that I eschew the guidelines for healthy eating. Occasionally I refer to lots of books I’ve actually read about why salt isn’t that bad for you, and why eating the fat on lamb cutlets is not just pleasurable, but sweetly healthy – or at least benign. Needless to say my relationships don’t last long with picky eaters, or those who eat for fuel and not for pleasure.

556424_583626588384846_1276662084_nHappily, now-husband Runner is a capital eater. In fact, it was one of the first things that impressed me about him and my inner grandmother is enormously happy to feed. I am constantly both impressed and gratified to see him pile away gargantuan portions of whatever I put in front of him, and I know my mother feels the same way. In an era when we look after our families by feeding them less to make up for sedentary desk-days, it feels so much more natural feeding them up. It’s also, frankly, amusing watching the Vesuvius of butter-dotted mash get neatly tucked away by someone lighter in weight than the average Great Dane – sometimes resulting in the kind of pot-belly associated with snakes post whole-rabbit dinner.

604093_10151271994185753_235598103_nBut it would seem that the honeymoon is over – and before we’ve actually had ours. In the interests of trying a different tack, and on the back of more and more evidence stacking up against high-carb diets for endurance athletes, we’re going on a high-fat, low-carb diet. Obviously, this includes me because if I continue to eat carbs alongside the high-fat meals we will share then the forecast is hippo.

It’s easy to react with: ‘Great! Bacon!’ But think again: no crusty roll to slot that bacon into – and what’s béarnaise without chips to dunk in it? There’s also the minefield that is navigating adding that fat into the daily diet without it being in the form of a load of processed foods, to consider. One ultra-endurance athlete I listened to on a podcast recently seriously suggested snacking on extra virgin coconut oil. Yes, he really did. He probably doesn’t own a dinner set, let alone have friends over for dinner – I guess superfluous when you spend all your time running up mountains, but still.

So, after two days, we’ve stocked up on nuts (and no, you can’t convince me regarding activated almonds – I mean, really), greens, butter, cream, good meat and coconut. Thanks to some handy sponsorship we already have a fridge full of chia oil, seed and ground seed. And I’m a little excited, to be honest. If I can cook anything but ugali in a hut in Kenya for a month then I can make this régime palatable. I foresee a lot of midweek meals of laksa without noodles, fish with burnt butter caper sauce, steak with creamed spinach, and cheese omelettes. I also foresee miserably smelling vegemite toast everywhere in the office, every morning.