EDWARDS — Food is fuel; we get that, and fuel doesn’t have to taste like petroleum products.
Physiologist Allen Lim and chef Biju Thomas put together their Feed Zone cookbook, which is good. Then they put together “Feed Zone Portables,” which is better. It’s a cookbook for athletes who believe “go” is an action verb.
“I’ve worked with very few athletes who could eat pre-packaged foods all day when training or competing. They would often complain that they just couldn’t stomach the bars, blocks and gels given to them,” Lim said.
Lim earned his Ph.D. as a sports physiologist and has spent the past decade working with elite cyclists. Pro cyclists must eat up to 10,000 calories a day during races, and that’s a big problem, he said.
He found that many of these athletes were quietly turning away from the pre-packaged foods they were paid to promote. Instead they packed real-food snacks to take with them on long days of training — little sandwiches, fresh pastries and even leftover pizza.
“Their experiences and feedback inspired me to take the extra time to start cooking for athletes from scratch,” Lim said. “When the menu changed, no one could argue with the race results.”
Ditch prepackaged food
Lim and Thomas have been together since 2009.
Their athletes consume foods such as rice cakes, baked eggs, cookies and waffles.
They pack in the nutrition they need without the taste fatigue and queasy stomach that follow a fistful of sports bars and gels, Lim said.
Lim was director of sport science for Garmin and RadioShack cycling teams and is the only American scientist to have worked and cooked for teams at the Tour de France.
He makes the case for real food as a more easily digestible, higher-performance source of energy than pre-packaged fuel products. He shows how much athletes really need to eat and drink at different exercise intensities and in cold or hot weather.
Because the body burns solid and liquid foods differently, Lim defines a new approach for athletes to drink for hydration and eat real food for energy.
“The Feed Zone Cookbook” has 225 recipes for cyclists, triathletes and runners.
“Feed Zone Portables” debuts 75 portable food recipes for cyclists, runners, triathletes, mountain bikers, climbers, hikers and backpackers.
Each real-food recipe is simple and can go on any ride, run, climb, hike, road trip or sporting event.
For the 2013 race season, Biju is the chef for the BMC pro cycling team and its riders Taylor Phinney, Tejay Van Garderen and Cadel Evans. Between races, Thomas is the chef for Dempsey/Del Piero Racing, a Grand-Am and Le Mans team.
Thomas has designed menus for restaurants in Denver and Boulder.