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Nutrition tips when training for a marathon – part 3

After our follow-up nutrition and marathon training blog by Kyla Williams last month, we’re now ending with the final installment.

ASD & Si - 100km to Brighton
We’re keen to encourage people to discover new foods, places and also things they didn’t know about themselves. One such duo are ASD & Si (left), who took up a running challenge, but decided that doing a multi-terrain challenge wasn’t enough. Instead they upgraded themselves to an Ultramarathon. For those not in the know, that’s 2.3 marathons (62 miles, argh). So we’re sponsoring them to do this amazing, crazy challenge. Read more about them on their 100km to Brighton blog via Tumblr

In the meantime they’d heard we knew people that knew stuff about food, by that we mean the ins and outs of nutrition, Nutritional Therapists. With such a tough challenge on their hands they want to make sure that they are eating properly, fuelling their bodies whilst training and also leaving them enough energy to do their day jobs.Catherine Jeans - Nutritional Therapist

This month Catherine Jeans is in the hot seat with lots of great advice….

Q. As our training increases should we increase our calorie intake? And by how much?

Yes, your calorie intake should certainly increase, as insufficient calorie intake can cause poor recovery between sessions, contribute to poor quality training sessions, low motivation for training, fatigue, increased risk of immune suppression and even increased risk of injury. The best way to tell whether you’re getting enough calories is to monitor your weight – if you are losing weight, then it’s likely you’re not getting enough calories.

The amount of extra calories you need really depends on your training schedule and the type of exercise you’re doing, but running burns on average 115 calories per mile, irrespective of speed.  For example:

  • Training 30 miles per week, you’ll need around an extra 490 calories per day.
  • If it’s a 50 mile week, you’ll need around an extra 820 calories per day.

Your total calorie requirement depends on your height, weight, and energy output outside of training. The average 35 year old male, 70kg, 1.8 metres tall who has a sedentary job requires around 2,190 calories per day, so with the additional 490 calories per day in a 30 mile training week, that’s a total of 2,680 calories per day required.

Q. We’ve heard taking on treatments such as Dioralyte for reducing dehydration and replacing electrolytes lost when you have diarrhoea is an option when running?

Hydration is very important when running, and this can be supported by electrolyte balance, however it’s most important to work on keeping yourself hydrated with water first. The overriding principle here is to drink to your thirst, rather than trying to work out exactly how much water you need. You can then add an electrolyte sports recovery liquid into your water to help support your electrolyte balance. Or you may choose to use coconut water to help rehydrate you – a recent research study showed that it’s just as effective as sports rehydration drinks. (Journal of International Study of Sports Nutrition, 2012).

Q. We’ve read that we should be taking on 350 calories per hour whilst on the 100km. We’re trying all sorts to find what works best for us, but have you got any suggestions?

While actually running, you don’t want a lot of residue or undigested food in your stomach and digestive tract. That’s because when you’re running, all your blood and oxygen will be diverted to your muscles, and away from your digestive tract, which is why protein and high fibre foods during running/before running can cause digestive problems. It’s better to avoid these foods also before the race (up to 3 hours before), instead you’ll want to give your body instead energy and carbohydrate.

Therefore traditional healthy eating strategies are less important here, than the instant energy your body needs for example: white rice, white (gluten free) bread, a little bit of fruit.

Good pre-race meals, a couple of hours before, are porridge with honey and a banana, boiled rice with stewed fruit and honey.
About 30 minutes before the race you’ll want to take on some extra carbohydrate – some people use the sports gels as they are quick and easy.
During the race, you could consider using these gels as well, as eating while running can be difficult, but much easier if you’re cycling. However if you are going to eat, you’ll want instant energy again.

Experiment with different foods during training to see what suits you, and do try the sports gels before race day to check they agree with you. Foods to try are scrunched up white gluten free bread with jam or honey – this is easy to roll into a ball and stuff into your pocket. You can also scrunch up white rice into balls with jam, pureed dried fruit, honey and take these with you.

So there you have it, some top tips from Catherine. Catherine Jeans - Nutritional TherapistTo find out more about her visit the Orange Grove Clinic website or follow her on Twitter @orangegroveinfo

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Mum’s best meal

Hurrah for Mother’s everywhere.

It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday and the perfect opportunity to pay homage to, or remember, the one who gave birth to you.Chorizo de Leon stuffing - starters & light bites

For a lot of us Mums are the ones who teach us to fend for ourselves in the kitchen. From easy eggs to cakes, pastry and more besides they often shape what we learn. They cook with us as youngsters and encourage us to try new things. Then when we’re older provide us with advice over the phone as we struggle to master something never cooked before, or aim to recreate a favourite from their repertoire.

So if they encourage us to cook, what do we all like best about their meals? What is Mum’s best meal? Back in February we posed that question to our Facebook community. We got some great responses and a couple of recipes.

It may be no surprise to learn that the over-riding #mumsbestmeal was…….(drum roll) …the roast dinner, with all the trimmings! Lots of you told us that you aspire to make a roast that is as good as your Mum’s version. The perfect potatoes, stuffing balls, a crispy crackling, tasty fresh veg and the Yorkshire puddings (stop now, we’re salivating).

Aside from that we had lots of people painting a traditional picture with pies in all forms: steak and kidney, fish, shepherds and cottage. It also seems that Mums are Queens of the leftover, using the Sunday roast vegetables to make a bubble and squeak or the Christmas turkey for a curry. But we also had some other lovely dishes inspired from further afield – lamb & apricot tagine, meatballs with tomato and basil sauce and slow cooked lamb kebab (see the recipe here).

We wondered if there was any way we could better Mum’s roast dinner? Our conclusion was that we probably couldn’t, but we could complement it. Chorizo de Leon stuffing - starters & light bitesSo we’ve created a chorizo stuffing (left) which would go beautifully with roast chicken. You can get our recipe here:

On sampling (hot and cold) we also decided that it would also make a perfect light supper topped with eggs and spinach.

Anyway no time to linger, the shops shut soon and there’ll be hell to pay if she doesn’t get a card or some flowers!

Happy Mother’s Day, to all the mothers out there.


Mum image courtesy of Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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Nutrition tips when training for a marathon – part 2

After our initial nutrition and marathon training blog by Jane Bains last month, we’re now following on with part 2 with our next foodie specialist.

ASD & Si - 100km to Brighton
We’re keen to encourage people to discover new foods, places and also things they didn’t know about themselves. One such duo are ASD & Si (left), who took up a running challenge, but decided that doing a multi-terrain challenge wasn’t enough. Instead they upgraded themselves to an Ultramarathon. For those not in the know, that’s 2.3 marathons (62 miles, argh). So we’re sponsoring them to do this amazing, crazy challenge. Read more about them on their 100km to Brighton blog via Tumblr

In the meantime they’d heard we knew people that knew stuff about food, by that we mean the ins and outs of nutrition, Nutritional Therapists. With such a tough challenge on their hands they want to make sure that they are eating properly, fuelling their bodies whilst training and also leaving them enough energy to do their day jobs.Kyla Williams - Nutritional Therapist

This month Kyla Williams is in the hot seat with lots of great advice….

Q. We’re 4 months away from our (back to back marathon) run, what should we be eating and drinking now?

In the few months before a marathon, you’re preparing your body to perform at its best while pushing hard through lots of training, so you need foods which provide your muscles with energy, repair damaged tissues and keep your immune system healthy.

Carbohydrates are your best friends when it comes to endurance exercise, as they’re the most important fuel for your muscles. When training for a race, you should aim to get 60-65% of your calories from carbohydrates from foods such as pasta, oats, rice, potatoes and fruits.
A low carbohydrate diet may leave you feeling low in energy if you’re training hard. It may be tempting to reach for the cookie jar when you feel that you need more energy, but it will do you more good in the long run if you can choose slow release carbohydrates (such as whole grains). These types of carbs will give you longer lasting energy and contain higher amounts of B vitamins, which are needed for your body to efficiently make energy. Brightly coloured vegetables are also a good source of carbohydrates as they have the added bonus of containing lots of antioxidants which are needed in much higher levels during training as exercising produces free radicals which can damage cells.

Don’t forget the importance of protein and fats in your diet too. Protein is needed for repairing damaged muscle tissue, so a protein snack after a training session can work wonders for those tired out muscles.
Protein requirements are not actually significantly increased during endurance exercise, so as long as you are getting around 1.2 – 1.4 g per kg body weight i.e. 90g of protein per day for a 75kg individual, you should be fine.
A good protein snack could be some smoked mackerel, natural yoghurt, or a handful of mixed nuts. Foods such as fish and nuts also contain good amounts of omega 3 fatty acids which help to keep the cell membrane structure nice and flexible, allowing for nutrients and oxygen to be delivered to muscles. The omega 3 fatty acid EPA found in fish is particularly beneficial to protect the joints, keep the immune system strong, and speed up recovery.

Hydration is an important one to consider, not only during a race, but also for the months before when you are training. Fluids keep up blood flow and therefore performance. If you sweat excessively, you may be losing electrolytes such as sodium, so when exercising for longer than an hour, try a homemade sports drink containing diluted fruit juice (50:50) with a pinch of salt.

Q. Should any of that change before a race?

Weeks before….most of what you eat in the few months leading up to a marathon remains the same until the few days before the run. In the couple of days before a race, this is the prime time to load your muscles and liver with glycogen, which means eating large amounts of carbohydrates such as oats and potatoes. High glycogen stores will give your muscles the preferred energy source for a longer period of time throughout the run. Glycogen stores generally start to diminish after 2-3 hours of endurance exercise, at which point your body has to switch burning fat stores as its main source of fuel, which can feel very draining.
In the 2 days before a run, also hydrate well with plenty of water (or diluted juice). This means absolutely no alcohol and ideally no other diuretic drinks such as tea and coffee containing caffeine.

Evening before….a race, have as much carbohydrate-rich food as you can. A baked potato with salad or a pasta dish with tomato sauce would be ideal. You could finish with a rice pudding. Only eat foods you are familiar with, and don’t eat anything too heavy such as meat.

Morning of the run….eat a carbohydrate-rich breakfast, but slightly different to before, high glcaemic index (GI) carbohydrates are often more suitable to prevent any bowel upsets during a run. Avoid foods that are very high in fibre or high in fat and protein which take a long time to digest. Bacon, eggs and beans for breakfast could cause an issue, as they stay in your stomach full for a long time, and therefore also prevent proper hydration during a race. Have foods such as a ripe banana and rice cakes for breakfast on the day of a marathon.

Q. Is there anything we should be avoiding?

If I had to choose one thing to avoid when training for a marathon, it would have to be alcohol, and sorry but that includes beer. Alcohol really effects your recovery rate, and also after a night out you may also not be too keen on training the next day.

Kyla Williams nutrition Biscuits and other foods high in sugar are also not ideal, however as your body needs so much carbohydrate when training, foods containing sugar may not significantly affect your performance. But sugar is however inflammatory, so if you want to protect your joints and keep your immune health going strong, it may be a good idea to choose healthier lower GI options such as 100% fruit jam on whole grain ryvita crackers.

So there you have it, some top tips from Kyla.Food Therapy Practice To find out more about her, visit her Kyla Williams Nutrition website or follow her @kwnutrition on Twitter

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World Book Day – our best cookery books

Today is World Book Day and to celebrate we thought we’d shine a light on a selection of our favourite Cookery books, as chosen by some of the lovely team here.

Simple to Sensational – Jun Tanaka

“The ethos is simple, aimed at giving the home cook confidence to learn and develop up to good dinner party standard… in my experience, this is the ONE BIG THING that stops the everyday cook striving = CONFIDENCE.
One side of page is a simple every day Bistro type recipe i.e. chilled tomato & Pepper soup & then transform it to sensational… on the other side of the page is a Michelin star quality meal – Tomato & Pepper consommé with olive oil.”
Emma Laws



Complete Cookery Course – Delia Smith
“The reason I like this book is because there is such a large range of recipes and they’re easy to follow and usually turn out ok! Sometimes people even have seconds.
I’ve cooked so many different things in the book ranging from Beef Bourguignon to Rich Chocolate Mousse. But my favourite so far is the Traditional Sherry Trifle and the Chicken Basque.”
Liz Rae



The River Café Cook Book – Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers
“I like this book because of the simple but effective recipes – a real taste of Italy. It’s not too heavy on pasta recipes – more regional and specialised dishes using Italian ingredients. I love the pictures – the food is the star which is right up my strada. Nothing too fancy, just great tasty food.
I hear the restaurant is pretty fab too!”
Leah Everton



1001 Foods: You must try before you Die – Frances Case
“This one is less of a cookery and more of a reference book. With a vast range of food from every corner of the globe it’s brilliant and explains how they’re all used and even what they taste like. Despite working for a food company there are lots of tastes that are new to us. And of course at unearthed, we’re all about foodie discoveries. When we were planning our 193 course meal (a course from every country n the world) this book was a really useful resource as it gave us the heads-up on some of the more unusual items on the list! Just like the Durian fruit – innocent-enough looking, but foul tasting! This book is a must for foodies everywhere.”
Susie White

Let us know your favourite cookery books and why.

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Nutrition tips when training for a marathon – part 1

ASD & Si - 100km to Brighton
We’re keen to encourage people to discover new foods, places and also things they didn’t know about themselves. One such duo are ASD & Si (left), who took up a running challenge, but decided that doing a multi-terrain challenge wasn’t enough. Instead they upgraded themselves to an Ultramarathon. For those not in the know, that’s 2.3 marathons (62 miles, argh). So we’re sponsoring them to do this amazing, crazy challenge. Read more about them on their 100km to Brighton blog via Tumblr

In the meantime they’d heard we knew people that knew stuff about food, by that we mean the ins and outs of nutrition, Nutritional Therapists. With such a tough challenge on their hands they want to make sure that they are eating properly, fuelling their bodies whilst training and also leaving them enough energy to do their day jobs.Jane Bains - Nutritional Therapist

So in a series of three, we’re asking our specialists to answer some questions from the boys about nutrition and running. And to be honest, there’s some pretty interesting stuff here.

This month Jane Bains, from the Food Therapy Practice, is in the hot seat with lots of great advice….

Q. As we increase our training does it make a difference if we start eating more meals a day i.e. smaller portions more often?

Eating little and often is a very good idea and will help to meet your increasing training demands. By eating small regular meals and snacks, that include some protein, unrefined complex carbohydrates (basically, unprocessed grains such as brown rice instead of white rice and vegetables) and a little fat you’ll be helping to stabilise your blood sugar levels thereby ensuring a constant supply of energy over the course of the day.

  • For example a small cooked chicken breast, a sliced avocado and grated beetroot or try a salmon fillet with a small portion of steamed broccoli and fist-sized portion of brown basmati rice.
  • Whilst out and about a small tub of Greek yogurt with a small punnet of blueberries (approx. 150g) and a few almonds (approx. 30g) is a convenient option.

Q. When’s the best time to eat before a run and what should we have?

  • If running in the morning, a breakfast of ‘simple’ carbohydrates and a small amount of protein, eaten 2 hours before running would be ideal. So scrambled eggs with some low GL (glycaemic load) fruit such as a banana or melon is a good option (eat the fruit first followed by the eggs).
  • In the hour before a run, food should be avoided to prevent a sugar-insulin reaction during the early stages of the run. Water is best during this time.
  • Ten minutes before the run a high GL snack can be eaten (if tolerated) e.g. sports gel.

Here’s the sciencey part about the breakfast choices – Simple carbohydrates that are low in fibre are quickly digested and absorbed to restock glycogen stores depleted overnight. Including a source of protein can also help to lower the glycaemic load (GL) of the carbohydrate eaten thereby prolonging the release of glucose into the bloodstream helping to provide a steady supply of energy during your run. Protein will also help to stimulate muscle synthesis post-run.

Q. What should we be eating as a recovery meal after runs?

  • After cooling down and up to 45 minutes post-run it’s a good idea to consume a carbohydrate and protein-rich liquid meal that can be absorbed quickly whilst increasing hydration. A homemade smoothie is a good option (see recipe below).


  • Take 250 ml of grape juice
    Add 40-60g glucose and 20g whey protein powder
    Whizz in the blender
    Optional extras include vitamin C powder , L-glutamine powder and Himalayan salt

  • Post-run a ‘proper’ meal should be eaten. Oily fish such as salmon or mackerel, or chicken and turkey with lots of steamed non-starchy vegetables, such as greens (e.g. broccoli, cabbage, spring greens) with a small serving of unrefined complex carbohydrates (e.g. brown rice, quinoa, wholemeal pasta or sweet potato) is a good option.

Here’s the sciencey part – In the 45 minutes, post-run, muscle cells are very sensitive to insulin thereby promoting muscle glycogen repletion and muscle tissue repair. The protein-rich dinner can help to repair damaged muscle fibres and support detoxification via the liver; glycogen repletion also continues. The essential fatty acids in fish will also help to calm any inflammation in the muscles and joint tissue.


We also fancied just being nosy and asking Jane some general foodie questions too:

  • What’s your guilty food pleasure? – That’s easy! It has to be Green & Black’s Milk Chocolate.
  • What are the popular myths you just don’t believe when it comes to food and drink? – The misguided ‘eat low fat to lose fat’ myth is a bug-bare of mine. Low sugar, absolutely, but not low fat. Fat, especially essential fats such as omega 3 (think oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and pilchards), are a fundamental component of optimum health.
  • We keep hearing runners talk about “real food”. What is it? - ‘Real food’ refers to whole food that can be consumed before, during and after exercise to help restock, replenish and repair. One example of a ‘real food’ is beetroot. It’s high in nitrates that can help increase oxygenation round the body. Beetroot juice would be good to drink in the days leading up to a race.


  • So there it is, some top tips from Jane. Food Therapy PracticeTo find out more about her, visit her Food Therapy Practice website or follow her @foodtherapy on Twitter

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