Friday, 12 October 2012

Fast Food Fatigue

On 18th October, fingers crossed, we will be moving into a studio apartment, situated roughly in between Pacific Beach and La Jolla. And instead of the endless beach bodies, the bars, clubs and shops, the thing I’m most looking forward to is…having a kitchen again.

Bar a guilty penchant for red wine, chocolate and a biscuit or six, back home our diet is reasonably sound.

This book is our bible, and largely champions the idea of cooking from scratch, using fresh ingredients and a vat full of spices.

Even on a lazy day, we can fall back on the staples of poached eggs, leafy veg and rye bread (that last one’s just for me, I might as well feed Andy glued-together sawdust).

The provision of such delights, however, does depend on a fully stocked cuisine, and an endless supply of cutting, dicing and mixing implements. Here at the California Suites, we are limited to just a chopping board and a microwave. No bowls, knives, flames, fans or towering chefs’ hats in these parts.

Which means we have to eat out, every single meal. Well, apart from breakfast, but that holds its own dietary ideosyncracies.

Here we are on our first day out of the hotel, getting ready to gorge ourselves on shrimp tacos.

Cue much post-meal waddling. But whilst being bloated and content goes well with a laid back stroll and a windy beach, there are hiccups when you introduce a training regime.

As most active sports-folk know, nutrition is vital to recovery. If you don’t eat right, you don’t recover, and if you don’t recover, you can’t train again.

It's Food 101 - a good balance of protein and carbohydrate, along with plenty of fibrous vegetables, washed down with several litres of H20.

It's worth mentioning at this point that Andy has the kind of metabolism where he needs to chow down every couple of hours in order to maintain muscle, whilst conversely, I have to eat very carefully to avoid getting, let’s say, over-curvaceous.

Our budget for food is stringent, coming in at $40 a day for the both of us.

After a couple of novel sushi, frozen yoghurt (the place in the photo confusingly doesn’t do berries or beans, but it does rock out peanut butter and cinnamon roll flavoured fro-yo) and Subway filled days, we see a pattern emerging:

Cheap food is abundant, but it generally sucks when it comes to nutrition (both in terms of fuel, and avoiding excess booty).

Healthy food generally comes at a premium price.

A week in and Andy’s looking leaner than a 'Men's Fitness' model, whilst my digestive system has ground to a complete halt.

I’m eying up the entire aisle (yup, you read that right) of digestive aids in Walmart with more desire than any of the food on offer.

Anyone see a link here?

So, as of next Thursday we will have an oven, kettle and the like, and we can get back to domesticated bliss. Oddly we’re both craving the aforementioned poached eggs, along with toast and honey and a side of asparagus.

In the meantime, we have stocked up our mini-fridge with granola, papaya, banana, porridge oats and microwavable brown rice to bypass the packet bagels at the breakfast buffet, and stave off starvation in Andy.

We’ve raided the contingency fund to buy some recovery based protein powder.

And we’ve found a couple of staple restaurants that we eat at on almost a daily (sometimes twice daily) basis:

Alladin’s do Arabic fare, and tasty Arabic fare at that. The only downside is that most of the menu is outside our budget, which means that I eat this chicken kebab with tabbouleh about eight times a week. I keep hinting heavily that they need some kind of loyalty card scheme (or perhaps just to sponsor our training) - no takers so far, though we did score some extra pitta this evening.

Pho "T" Cali is a recent discovery (last night in fact) and its relatively clean-tasting broth, laden with chicken, shrimp and the like, works well post-training, when you don’t mind a bit of sloshing on the cycle ride home.

Roll on Thursday. All microwave-friendly suggestions, or actual food parcels, gratefully received till then…

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