Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Winning Nutrition Wednesday - Vegan Pumpkin Bread

Vegan Pumpkin Bread
I alluded in my last post  that I would be adding a weekly Nutrition/Food focused feature to my usual musings during the next 8 weeks. Obviously nutrition is a huge part of proper training so I want to ensure I am fueling my body to prepare for all these extra miles I am expecting it to run. And let's be honest this defective body of mine can use all the help it can get! So proper nutrition is probably the least I can do!

I have been doing lots of research, reading lot of articles, taking in lots of advice...And the facts in a nutshell are these...

  • Food is Your Friend
  • Eat to Fuel Your Body
  • And Fuel Your Body with Real Unprocessed Foods/Dishes
Simple, concise, and makes sense! I like it! So that is it really, besides also cutting out alcohol for the next 8 weeks and hydrating like crazy - all in the name of half marathon glory. But generally that sums up my grand nutrition plan.

It all sounds easy-peasy, right? And in theory it is. But cutting out processed foods means a lot more prep work and planning is required from my end. I can't just grab something easy when I am out. A lot more thought and foresight is needed. And cooking meals entirely from scratch means a greater time commitment. There will be no more "instant" ingredients or prepared meals for this gal. I firmly believe these sacrifices will pay off in dividends, however, which is why I am willing to make this such a focus. And while making these healthy choices will be important for my run. It will also ensure I am healthy and strong for my upcoming surgery - a MUST for a speedy recovery.

Assembled Ingredients
So let's get started shall we? I am kicking off Winning Nutrition Wednesday with the most important meal of the day...Breakfast! I have been experimenting with vegan-fare lately, and I found a delicious Pumpkin Bread recipe from Alicia Silverstone's cookbook The Kind Diet. I am officially obsessed! I have been eating this everyday for breakfast for the last 2 weeks. It is so yummy!

Not to mention the benefits of adding an extra dose of pumpkin to my diet during this rigorous training period. I stumbled upon an old Runner's World article trumpeting the effects of a half-cup serving of canned pumpkin saying, it  

"supplies a staggering 300 percent of the DV for vitamin A from beta-carotene. Carotenoids such as beta-carotene act as antioxidants that protect you from cancer, heart disease, and other age-related conditions."

All of which sound good to me, so let's bring on the pumpkin!

MMM Fresh Baking!
5 cups cooked pumpkin
2 cups of brown sugar
"eggs" aka 2 tbsp of flaxseed pureed w 6 tbsp of water
1 cup almond milk
3/4 cup safflower oil
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups spelt flour
3 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking power
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F, and oil two 9x5 inch glass loaf pans
  2. Combine pumpkin puree, sugar, "eggs", milk, oil, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  4. Slowly stir dry ingredients into the wet, until all combined
  5. Fill pans with batter and bake for 45 min to 1 hour. You know it is ready when the bread takes on a spongy consistency. 
Okay so this bread is not like your typical baked goods, and this is the one spot I got stumped. The fork test doesn't work, because the bread remains moist in the middle especially when warm. So press on the top and see if it will spring back to test (aka the spongy consistency I referenced). The bread will continue to take shape as it cools so you don't want to overcook it. 

And Viola! Vegan Pumpkin Bread! 
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,