In my first box of produce from Full Circle I found eight teeny, tiny turnips—the smallest ones I’d ever seen! There weren’t enough of them to star in their own main or side dish, so I decided to get a little creative.
I trimmed the stalks, tossed the roots in a marinade of fresh-squeezed blood orange juice, olive oil, cilantro, and pepper, and then popped them in the oven for about 40 minutes (covered, 375 degrees). After baking, I sliced up the baby turnips and added them (marinade and all) to a salad of green leaf lettuce, roasted chicken (remnants from dinner a couple nights earlier—yum!), apples, peas, avocado, almonds, and more cilantro. The result was muy delicioso, and I discovered that salads are great for stretching a small amount of veggies and using up leftovers.
Need some convincing to go to all this trouble for a couple of midget turnips? Consider this: Turnips are chock full of vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights free radical cell damage and aids in the absorption of iron. Many runners are deficient of this important mineral, and pairing turnips with protein (like chicken) can improve your body’s uptake of iron.
Have you ever tasted a baby turnip? Think you’ll try one now?
I can get pretty lazy when it comes to making dinner. My go-to meal is a goulash of ground beef (pasture-raised, organic when possible), tomato sauce (Newman’s Own is nice), kale (chop and toss into the sauce to cook), and brown rice pasta. It only takes 20 minutes to throw it together, and there are always leftovers for lunch, so I make it at least once a week if not more often. As nutritious as this dish is (kale is Mother’s Nature’s multi-vitamin!), dining on it daily could be a big no-no. According to a recent study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, eating the same meal day in and day out can have a negative effect on your sleep.
In a nutshell, researchers discovered variety is the spice and the sleeping pill of life. They noted that people who eat the widest assortment of foods have the healthiest sleep patterns, logging between seven and eight hours of rest each night. And those who are nutritionally deficient—lacking in iron, zinc, and selenium, for example, get the least amount of sleep. Getting enough snooze time is extremely important for runners. Muscle tissue repairs itself when the body is at rest, allowing your legs to push harder and respond more quickly during your next workout.
In an effort to add more excitement to my meals, I’ve signed up for Full Circle, a farm-to-table food delivery service in the Bay Area. Every Tuesday morning a box of locally grown, organic fruits and veggies magically appears on my doorstep. I have no idea what will be inside each week, forcing me to roll with the punches. Now, I can create meals that are not only nutritious, but offer a bigger variety of vitamins and minerals to keep me sleeping (and running!) more soundly.
Do you eat a wide variety of healthy foods? How do you sneak more nutrients into your diet?