When I run, I get hungry. When I get hungry, I think of food. I assume that’s my body telling me to fuel up. And I’ve found the ultimate Runner’s Sandwich. It’s fucking amazing. Sometimes I run just to eat this sandwich after.
The first time I ate one was a day I’ll never forget. The sandwich sang to me. After delving into the science a little more I know exactly why I enjoyed it so much.
After a good run or heavy workout your body typically needs many things to refuel. Some of the most important are the following:
- Carbs – for replacing glycogen stores
- Proteins – to aid muscle repair and growth
- Electrolytes – including sodium, chloride, potassium and magnesium
- Fats – used in so many essential body and brain functions
- Rehydration – don’t argue, just do it
It’s a whole, confusing nutritional jungle out there, with a billion different websites, experts and scientists offering their own opinions on the body’s exact dietary requirements. Some will tell you carbohydrates are the devil, others will tell you you’ll keel over immediately without them. For years we were told fat was the enemy, now we know that we must have good quality fats for our bodies to function properly.
There are over eight billion humans on this planet, and nearly as many reasons as to why we’re so successful. But one of the biggest is that we’re adaptable. Supremely adaptable. From the beginning humans have thrived and survived in some of the harshest conditions imaginable, and lived on diets that would send the nearest nutritionist running for the hills. But through our years of trial and error, several things have become clear, and notably, moderation is key.
- Exercise is great! But don’t over do it.
- Our body runs off energy – but too much processed sugar (the most ‘hardcore’ form) is lethal.
- Protein builds muscle – but you’ve got to put the work in to get it.
- Healthy fats are needed to properly ingest essential vitamins and nutrients.
- Finding the right sodium/potassium (think salt) balance is critical. Too far either way isn’t good.
- We need liquids.
Believe it or not, your body tells you all this. Sure, we develop weaknesses and habits over time, but on a purely physical level, your body has your back.
Listen to your body, and hear what it’s asking for. For me and my body, this Runner’s Sandwich with it’s whole grain bread, high protein cheese, salty olives and tasty fats covers all my immediate needs when I’ve burnt off a load of energy. See if it does for yours.
Oh, and if that wasn’t enough then it has one more thing going for it. It tastes better than the proverbial dog’s bollocks 😉
- 4 slices whole grain bread
- ½ ball mozzarella or equivalent (cottage cheese also goes great!)
- ¼ cup sundried tomato
- 2 tbsp olives
- 2 tsp capers (can be made without if unavailable)
- ¼ cup fresh or 1 tsp dried basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp red pepper or chili flakes
- A few leaves chopped fresh oregano or ½ tsp dried
- Roughly chop the cheese, tomatoes, olives and capers and throw into a mixing bowl.
- Add the herbs, salt and pepper.
- Use a fork to mix up and mash the ingredients a little - not too much, we just want to get those flavours circulating.
- If you’re using very soft bread then pop it in the toaster/pan without oil for a minute or so - not to toast it, just to harden the outside. If the bread is already a hard type, we’re good to go.
- Spread the mix on two slices, add the other two slices on top. Squish down.
- Now comes the oil part - if you’re exercising a lot you’re gonna need all that extra fatty olive oil. If you’re not, that’s your call. Either way, it tastes great.
- Heat the pan (with or without the oil) and put the sandwich in. Put a lid on the pan if you have one, don’t stress too much if you don’t. Cook for 3 or 4 mins, squishing down with a spatula occasionally, then flip and cook the other side the same way. Both outsides should be nice and crispy, the insides melting together.
- Awesome. What a sandwich.