Edible Reads: Run Fast, Eat Slow

It’s all about the muffins.

By Adrienne Martini

I’ve been asked to share the recipe enough times that I keep it as a picture on my phone for easy texting.

I picked up Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky’s Run Fast, Eat Slow because Shalane is one of my heroes. As a runner, I will never, ever win Olympic medals nor the New York City marathon. But as an eater, I stand a chance of besting her.

Which is saying a lot because Shalane doesn’t fit the elite athlete stereotype of existing on leaves and sports drinks. When she and Elyse, a nutritionist who was a teammate of Shalane’s on their college track team, teamed up to develop meals that are big on flavor and nutrients and light on empty calories, the result was a cookbook full of dishes for anyone who cares about what they eat. The follow-up—Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. — provides even more yummy goodness but realizes that not everyone has hours to spend in the kitchen.

Their thesis for both books is pretty simple: “…the majority of Americans are overfed, undernourished, and running on empty. Refined foods provide mass without substance. For an athlete, running on empty can lead to immediate negative consequences and long-term health concerns.”

I would make an edit: Delete “for an athlete” in the last sentence. While an athlete might see the effects first, anyone can benefit from eating whole foods in tasty combinations.

Like the Thai Quinoa Salad, which is a staple in my fridge during the summer months and is stuffed full of veggies, herbs, and nuts. Or Root Lovers’ Winter Salad, which is pretty much what the name suggests and topped with a creamy apple cider vinaigrette that I could drink from the jar. Many of the recipes are gluten, dairy and/ or meat-free.

But not all of them are solely veggies and grains. There is bacon-wrapped stuffed chicken that deploys its calorie-dense ingredients for maximum impact. The same is true for the marathon lasagna. It’s full of whole-milk ricotta and mozzarella but also adds another layer with sweet potatoes and spinach. No, you shouldn’t eat it every day for lunch unless you are a distance runner, but it is perfect for a cold winter’s dinner. The leftovers freeze well and future-you will thank present-you for the foresight.

Now about the muffins.

In the first book, the pair invented Superhero Muffins. The base is almond flour with some eggs, maple syrup, carrots and zucchini thrown in. They were an instant hit with runners and those who know them. In the second book, they spun three new superhero mods: apple carrot, beet blueberry and, the all-time gold medalist, pumpkin spice.

Those muffins are my go-to breakfast. I nearly always have some in the freezer. I bring them to brunches and group getaways where I don’t know the diets of all the guests. I’ve been asked to share the recipe enough times that I keep it as a picture on my phone for easy texting.

The muffins alone are worth the hardback price, mind, but there’s so much more that you’ll want to shove into your mouth even if you don’t plan to run at all.

Adrienne Martini writes about running, eating and local politics at martinimade.com.

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