This week’s recipe, curried parsnip soup, is a bit of a special one.
Not just because it’s tasty and nutritious – and it is – but because it was personally recommended to us by Lorraine Shaw, two-time Olympian – and winner of the Commonwealth Games.
We always want to learn more about all aspects of food, nutrition and physiology – so who better to listen to than an incredibly strong Olympian?
Lorraine made her Commonwealth Games debut back in 1994, finishing 10th in the discus event. She quickly changed disciplines to the hammer throw – with astonishing success.
Finishing second in the 1998 Commonwealth Games she went on to represent Great Britain in the European and World Championships, becoming an Olympian in Sydney 2000.
Two years on and she became a champion in her own right – and won the Commonwealth Games! An incredible achievement – but Lorraine still wasn’t done.
A year later she went on to smash the British hammer throw record with a staggering 68.93 metres.
Even now Lorraine is still active and we often cross paths on Strava, the running app. She’s still a very sporty person and is out for a run most days, as well as heading up the Physical Education department of her local college.
I managed to get a few minutes of her time to ask her some questions – and for some advice.
Here’s what we spoke about.
Dave: So, first of all, why did you change from discus to hammer?
Lorraine: I went to a hammer workshop in Cheltenham and the coach there said I was talented – he then became my coach. So my hammer career started there.
Dave: What tips would you give to young athletes who are just starting out?
Lorraine: Learn the technique first, that’s the most important part.
Dave: And what would you say to a younger version of yourself?
Lorraine: I’d say to take all the opportunities I can in the sport and have a support network around me earlier in my career.
Dave: You represented England and Great Britain at many competitions throughout the world. Which was your favourite event and why?
Lorraine: Sydney Olympics, as the Olympics is the greatest sporting event. Also I was the first one (female hammer thrower) to represent Great Britain, too. So I made history.
Dave: You really did make history! Quite incredible. Was that your fondest sporting achievement or memory?
Lorraine: Yes, that and winning the Commonwealth Games.
Dave: There must have been the occasional setback, too. What was the most frustrating point in your career and how did you deal with it?
Lorraine: Two years out of the sport with a slipped disc – I had an operation to remove the disc and pins put in to my back. I started to get more involved in coaching at that point.
Dave: That must have been tough. Do you think you dealt with it well?
Lorraine: Yes, okay I think. I came back as a stronger athlete and a better understanding of my event.
Dave: Do you have any tips for strength training?
Lorraine: Lots of core exercises! And again, get someone to teach you the correct technique in lifting.
Dave: Awesome. I know you run a lot these days – what is it you enjoy so much about running?
Lorraine: I love socialising with friends, getting PB’s and doing parkruns (the free 5k run that started in the UK and is slowly spreading across the world).
Dave: Sounds good. I have a couple of questions about food, too! Do you have any favourite veggie foods or meals?
Lorraine: Haha, well, I just tried your red lentil soup! It was very nice and quick and easy to do.
Dave: Ah, that’s great! Do you have a favourite go-to healthy snack?
Lorraine: Yep, bananas.
Dave: Always good, agreed. And finally – what tips can you give for a healthy lifestyle?
Lorraine: Everything in moderation.
That brought our conversation to a close, and it was a joy to hear Lorraine’s answers. The advice is pretty sage, too. I found that it fits many aspects of life as well, not just to sports.
Curried Parsnip Soup – and a summary
Here is the summary I took from this on how to be successful at something – from learning a new skill or losing weight, to succeeding in a hobby or passion or simply some healthy pointers to help you through life.
- Have a support network around you as early as possible.
- Learn the technique and understand whatever it is you’re trying to do.
- Grab healthy snacks instead of processed rubbish – fruit is great.
- Socialising with friends who do the same thing is an awesome route to motivation.
- Everything in moderation – excess can be detrimental.
- Learn how to lift things properly – it’ll save your back in the long run.
- Work on your core – strength is built from there.
Sound advice, and a big thank you to Lorraine for her time and passion. And not but not least – her curried parsnip soup recipe!
Curried Parsnip Soup
- serve with some tasty whole grain bread to make it a full meal
- Heat the olive oil to a medium heat in a deep saucepan.
- Peel and dice the onion. Fry the cumin and coriander for about a minute and then add the onion.
- Fry for about five minutes, until soft.
- While that’s cooking, roughly chop the parsnips. Peel them if the skin looks manky, otherwise just give them a good scrub first.
- Add the garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, chili powder and a tbsp or two of water.
- After a minute or so, add the parsnips.
- Add the vegetable broth, stir well, stick a lid on the pan and bring to a boil.
- Bring it back down to a gentle simmer and cook for about twenty minutes.
- Finally, using a hand blender give the soup a quick blitz. It should be thick but not lumpy.
- If you don’t have a hand blender you can also use a food processor, nutribullet or even smoothie machine.