Eathlete’s Feed

Fashionably late to reading Outside‘s March 2013 issue, which is devoted to food, but fascistically devouring every fantastic morsel. I love this magazine, one of 12 I receive a print subscription to, and I absolutely adored this edition with all my appetite, because it embraced these very important ingredients that energizes a life in motion – yes, a moveable feast.

Outside's March 2013 issue - the sport of eating.

Outside’s March 2013 issue – the sport of eating. © Desiree Koh

Premium Fuel Contrary to popular belief, athletes eat the best and most enjoyable meals on earth. No, bird seed does not enhance speed and pittance does not support endurance. Olympic swimmer Garrett Weber-Gale, who also runs AthleticFoodie.com, espouses this best: simply put, if you’re revving your body into prime shape, why would you compromise all that hard work with anything less than euphoric eating? (The by-effect is similar to runner’s high.) If you’re training for a marathon or a half-Ironman, a consistently insatiable appetite is a constant, and you want to make sure everything is a quality calorie – it’s not about counting calories, but making them count. This means fresh produce, clean ingredients, real food cooked slow (but can be prepared fast, and can enable you to go faster) whether at home or out. Double bonus: this chow philosophy serves up the best tasting food. Brownie points abound all around (oh lord, post-long workout brownies).

What's not to love about this Bircher muesli at Prahan Mission Cafe (they can tell you exactly where each local component comes from) after a 14K run in gusty 25mph winds? With all proceeds going to the neighborhood's disadvantaged residents? Fill me up! © Desiree Koh

What’s not to love about this Bircher muesli at Prahan Mission Cafe (they can tell you exactly where each local component comes from) after a 14K run in gusty 25mph Melbourne winds? With all proceeds going to the neighborhood’s disadvantaged residents? Fill me up! © Desiree Koh

Eating Is Part Of Adventure – In the Nepali Himalayas’ Jhinu Danda, our first stop en route to Annapurna Base Camp, expedition leader Bob Bowness paid US$100 for a goat to be slaughtered for dinner. I’m Buddhist, and I never ask for a life to be taken on my account, but it was an annual practice for Bob – that money would sustain the entire village  all winter, and then some. They would also share the dinner with us and our crew, have lots of of leftovers, and use uneaten parts of the goat for other purposes. Eating goat curry by a campfire under the clearest sky and the brightest stars remain a once-in-a-lifetime deal. I don’t expect that to change.

Goat to the slaughter in Jhinu Danda, Nepal. © Desiree Koh

Goat to the slaughter in Jhinu Danda, Nepal. © Desiree Koh

Adventure En Route To Eating – Me and Caroline in a local bus trundling through rural fjord country in western Norway, getting off at a farmhouse in a setting that can only be justifiably described by Jo Nesbø. The killing equipment proudly displayed all over the barn Smalahovetunet proprietor/rancher/cook Ivar Løne and his wife showed us into further confirmed my fears that we were soon to be the stars of the next Scandinavian murder mystery bestseller. Of course, the Lønes turned out to be the sweetest Nordic grandparents two silly kiddos could have wished for, if only for one sommar evening of digging into a traditional smalahove multi-course feast, literally trying to make conversation out of English transpositions. Ivar drove us back to our hotel in his pick-up – Cat Stevens was on the radio singing “Wild World”.

Smalahove, a traditional Western Norwegian sheep's head dish. © Desiree Koh

Smalahove, a traditional western Norwegian sheep’s head dish. © Desiree Koh

Eating A Peace Of Earth – I was in an altitude-induced haze at the peak of Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding mountain on earth at almost 20,000 feet (6,000 meters). But nothing in the universe could mediate the awe, appreciation and adulation of the majesty and beauty of my surroundings. If you watch superhero or James Cameron movies (I don’t, but I get the idea), you’ll see these fictional (maybe) visions are pretty much reality at the top of Kili, the “Roof of Africa”. Soaring glaciers make you feel like a domitable and insignificant speck of humanity (we are), and is thoroughly other-worldly. Then you realize all these massifs, cliffs, plateaus and ice fields that nature has sculpted with insurmountable effort – with all due respect, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel work has nothing on this – is slated to disappear by 2060. We’ve fucked the planet enough for a giant hole to rift through the peak’s northern face, and shafts of snow have already melted enough for pictures of the summit from 20 years ago and now to look like a weight loss center’s before and after poster. This understanding was a come-down worse than the sinking feeling associated with the end of an adventure at descent. That was July 2010 and since then, I’ve been committed to doing my best to keep it clean and green, which includes eating consciously, and supporting producers who take care of our land, as far as possible.

The glaciers at the Roof of Africa, 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) above ground. This shit has unapologetically not been Instagrammed. © Desiree Koh

The glaciers at the Roof of Africa, 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) above ground. This shit has unapologetically not been Instagrammed. © Desiree Koh

What’s good for the earth is good for the body which is good for… well, that just brings us back to my first point in this post. Which is how a perfect food cycle should function, right?