This past Monday was definitely the kind that explains why Mondays have such a terrible reputation. While many Superbowl fans likely woke up with very sore heads, I woke up right on schedule for my morning workout. Normally if it’s been snowing hard, I’ll wake up to the sounds of snow plows (or ploughs, depending on where you’re from) doing their thing outside my bedroom window. I knew there was a snow storm brewing, but strangely I heard silence.
On the training plan from my coach was a 20 minute recovery run and a quick 1600yd speed swim – a short workout but nevertheless one that I was counting on doing. I suited up in my swimsuit, running clothes, sweatpants, winter jacket, boots and mitts, grabbed my bag (also known as my triathlon trunk because it’s so heavy) and headed down to the car.
Getting out of my neighbourhood was a challenge because the roads still weren’t clear, but once I got to the main stretch to the gym, it was fairly smooth sailing. The car thermometer read -16C (3F), but with the windchill it was more like -25C/-13F. I pulled into the gym parking lot to find a few others waiting in their cars and the lights for the entire building switched off. For any other avid early-morning gym goer, you’ll know that this is a terrible, terrible sign.
Waiting for a while seemed like the logical thing to do. Perhaps the person opening the doors was just running late. I entertained myself on Instagram and Facebook (thank goodness…. what on earth did people do before phones? #firstworldproblems.) 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes….. 35 minutes passed and still no signs of life. Waaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh was what the 2 year old inside me wanted to do. I’m a morning person, but when this girl 1) hasn’t had her endorphins for breakfast and 2) has been prescribed a workout that she is determined to do, WATCH OUT!
I didn’t have time to stick around any longer and was feeling rather enraged about the extra hour of sleep I could have had instead. Getting back home involved getting stuck in a snow drift… twice. Once my car was safely tucked away in the parking garage, the executive decision was made to work from my kitchen table in Lulus and a cozy hoodie for the remainder of the day. And to comfort my traumatized and deeply agitated soul, soup was required for lunch.
This Thai Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup is full of amazingly nutrient-dense ingredients, but it’s one I would have never wanted to eat back in the years when I had “food issues”. I lost weight really successfully in my late teens, but at the time I didn’t go near fats – well, aside from salmon, which has always been near and dear to my heart. Looking back, this was a really stupid decision.
This soup has a delightfully creamy texture thanks to natural peanut butter (delish) and coconut oil (one of the most lovely, multi-purpose foods EVER). Obviously these are both high-fat ingredients. You see, what the low-fat obsessed, naive me didn’t understand back then was that our bodies – our brains in particular – NEED fat to function. With that said, it’s all about making sure it’s the right kind.
Nuts in general are high in vitamin E which is wonderful for both brain and skin health, and I don’t think anyone would argue with the statement that nut butters have a way of making even the most basic of foods taste absolutely glorious. But the fat source that’s been rocking my socks the most these days is coconut oil. Not only is it fabulous for masking the scent of chlorine on swim days (both as a moisturizer and a DIY body scrub), but it’s also full of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which actually support weight loss, provide a quick source of energy, and promote healthy building of new muscle tissue. While losing weight isn’t a goal of mine any more, maximizing athletic performance certainly is.
Allow me to geek out on the science for just a moment. You may be wondering, “what makes these medium chain triglyceride fats different from all the others?” The quick answer is that they’re made up of 8-12 carbon molecules, rather than the 12-22 that make up long-chain fatty acids. This matters because it means our bodies metabolize them differently, using them as fuel in a more efficient way than other harder-to-digest sources of fat. Pretty nifty, hey?
So in summary, all those years of thinking fat was going to make me fat were…. just really silly. Nutrition geekery aside, this soup is exceptionally delicious and soothing, especially when you’re having a temper tantrum about your gym not being open on time (which I look back now and realize was also really silly).
I’ll stop babbling now so you can give it a try and see for yourself. 🙂
So tell me…
- Were you fat-phobic back in the days when low-fat diets were trendy? Do you still have reservations about consuming fats today?
- What’s your favourite way to use coconut oil?