We are all aware that a healthy lifestyle is a combination of both exercise and healthy eating and so when I heard that James Haskell and Omar Meziane were launching a book to help with eating smarter and training better, I was keen to know more. There are many different variations with regards to the figures on the balance of diet and exercise but not surprisingly diet is always the higher factor in the equation.
James Haskell is an England Rugby Union player and Omar Meziane is a professional chef with experience including cooking for the England football team and Great Britain rowing team. What a combo! You can understand why I was intrigued to read more. The book includes recipes, as you’d expect, but also advice on what you should be eating to achieve certain goals, so is really geared around fuelling for optimal performance with whatever you are doing and whatever your goals are.
When I first got into fitness, I had no knowledge of what I needed to fuel my body properly and instead had it drummed into my head that I should be working on the old burn off more calories than you take in to lose fat. No surprise that it didn’t take long for my energy to plummet! I am lucky to have a friend who is a fab personal trainer who would tell me that I was not eating enough and so I began to get some education and understand that fuelling better would give me better results with my training.
This book goes one step further explaining how to combine protein, fat and carbs to get the best results and explains how each work together for strength and fat loss. The book is structured so you can pick the recipes depending on what day you are on in your training plan for example high and low carb days. Every recipe also has full breakdowns to show calories, fat etc. I really liked the no nonsense approach and the fact that it is relatable with easily accessible ingredients. There is nothing worse than a cook book with ingredients that you have either never heard of or that are over complicated. I once used a book from a well-known chef (whom I will not name) that had a dish with scallops, but not just any scallops – it actually called for hand caught scallops. So off I set in my fishing boat to catch some scallops and by that I of course mean I headed to Sainsburys and bought some from the fish counter! Hand caught – pah!
Having the book over the Christmas and New Year period when I had some time off was great as it meant that I was getting in extra miles on my bike and also had some time to actually try out some of the recipes for myself. First up was a favourite of mine – bircher muesli. Such a simple breakfast that can be made in advance and also in batches. I like the simplicity of it, that I can put in a container and take with me wherever I am going and that you can add any fruits, nuts and flavours that you want. I halved the recipe and swapped orange for clementine (it was Christmas after all and I had plenty of these in supply) and added some pumpkin spice too and it was delicious!
Next up was Banana bread – a firm favourite in our household. Again, I had a little swap of ingredients and instead of using two meridian nut butters (pumpkin and sunflower) I had one that included several (peanut, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds) and so used that instead. I wasn’t sure how this would turn out as it was a thicker consistency than the recipe I normally use, and I was worried about the rise, but I needn’t have been as it was perfect and actually really light too! There is something very satisfying about taking a loaf tin out of the oven and seeing that perfect rise and crack on the top.
I look forward to making more from the book! If you are interested the book is available to purchase from Amazon from £12.24 here.