The Spectacular Plant Based Runner

I am living proof that a plant based diet is orders of magnitude better than one that includes meat or dairy.

I took up running when I was 43 years old. It was a not too terrible transition from cycling.

I excelled at distance running. Increasing my mileage up to about 10 miles for long runs.

The thing is, I drink 4 beers most every night. Yet, still, I'm able to achieve this higher level of fitness.

I"m not fast. But I have endurance.

I've been running a couple years now. There's been some decline as I surpassed age 45, but overall, I'm still doing okay.

I've never been a stellar athlete. Even when I was young and sober. But I'm stronger now, even as I age, even as I drink. It says a lot about how our choice of diet affects our overall health.

I should stop drinking. If I did, I'd probably be superhuman.

So what could a plant based diet do for those who are already young and sober? It would probably be spectacular.

Hungarian Lentils Risotto and Barley

Something different is always nice. To break from my mostly Italian influenced low fat recipes I give you this vegetarian delight.

Ingredients

3/4 cup arborrio rice
1/2 pearl barley
1/2 lentils
3 cups vegetable broth (room temp or warmed)
1 cup water
1 medium red onion diced
1/3 cup frozen red and green peppers diced
1/3 cup frozen broccoli cauliflower mix
1/2 cup frozen spinach
2 tsps butter (smart balance or the like)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder and basil to season

Begin by heating a large skillet with the olive oil on medium high heat. When pan is hot add diced onions. Stir. Cook for 2 minutes then add butter and a few sprinkles of black pepper.

Saute onion for 3 minutes and then add barley, lentils and arborrio. Toast grains and bean for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup broth.

Stir. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Add broccoli/cauliflower mix. 1 cup more of broth. Stir. Cover and let simmer 3 minutes more.

Add peppers and spinach and last cup of broth. Stir. Cover and let simmer 3 minutes more.

Add water. Stir. Let simmer uncovered for 5 minutes more.

Taste each grain. Barley, lentils and risotto to determine how done they are. Continue simmering, tasting and adding water as needed until each is al dente. They will soften slightly more upon sitting before serving. If not eating now, cook less. All will soften even more with an overnight stay in the fridge.

When grains are nearly done add all spices. Add lots of paprika and black pepper. A little bit of garlic powder and chili powder. Just a hint of basil. There's no need to add salt. Broth has lots of salt already in it. Taste often to determine preferable flavors.

Cook 1 minute more. Remove to cool burner. Let sit 3 minutes. Taste. Add a few more of the spices according to your preference. Stir. Let sit 1 minute. Serve as is or store for later.

Alternatively you can also add a can of petite cut unseasoned tomatoes when you add your water. Cut back your water to compensate for the added tomato juice.