I had the pleasure of reviewing the “The Athlete’s Cookbook” by Corey Irwin and Brett Stewart. Corey Irwin is a healthy gourmet chef promoting balanced nutrition and body fitness. She has teamed up with Brett Stewart, an athlete and personal trainer. Together, they have created great recipes that taste great and help to make the most of your workouts. Having been an athlete in both high school and college I was excited to try it out. Since I have graduated college, I would not consider myself an athlete but I do remain active through various gym classes and conditioning.
The purpose of The Athlete’s Cookbook is to help you perform better in your fitness by fueling your body with the right foods to recover after workouts and to see results. There are three plans to help build endurance, muscle, or help in weight loss to choose from. Even if you don’t choose one of these plans, the recipes will help you recover and eat right when training for sports or for that smaller waistline. While there are plans set up with breakfast, snacks, and dinners to have throughout a five day period, it is not necessary. For me, I was not able to go by a plan in which I had a morning workout because I work a 8am-4pm job. I don’t have enough time in the morning to make a complete breakfast. My workouts are in the afternoon after work and therefore I took advantage of the dinner recipes to help with my recovery post workout. Whatever works for your schedule and fitness goals can be achieved with this cookbook. It is merely a guideline and the recipes provided are delicious and teach you more about what you are putting in your body that you work hard to maintain.
One thing I love about this cookbook is that every recipe has an explanation as to why it is helpful as a pre or post workout dish. Select ingredients in recipes are explained as to how it will assist you in your fitness goals. I found this really interesting because rather than being a cookbook that says it will work, you get to learn why. Additionally, you can look for these ingredients in other meals you eat outside of the cookbook to create a variety.
On a regular basis I eat some amazing home cooked meals from my mother which are always delicious and satisfying. Yet I was still interested in trying out these recipes to see if I felt any different post workout. Usually after I work out I drink plenty of water to help with recovery. Sometimes I will have some yogurt and granola before dinner to help curb my hunger. More often than not, I would find myself eating too much at dinner because of my workout. I was interested to try out this cookbook and see if the recipes could help with my recovery and eating the right foods to help prepare for the next workout.
After a Body Combat workout at my gym, I had the Walnut and Parmesan-Crusted Chicken. There are many spices and flavors incorporated in the dish making it satisfying and delicious. I paired this with Parmesan Crusted Asparagus with White Truffle Oil and Oven Baked Rosemary-Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries. Now I know this sounds heavy on the parmesan but it was delicious. According to the cookbook, Parmesan is one of the highest protein and naturally low-fat cheeses there is. The servings are good sizes; not something you feel isn’t enough and with the ingredients you are full after. I had one piece of chicken and some of each side (as seen in the photo) and was full at the end of it. The meal itself was delicious and it was not short on flavor. The kick of spices combined with the citrus and different textures made for a very satisfying meal. My mother felt surprisingly full after eating a normal serving size of everything. Overall it was a full and satisfying dish after a rough workout.
I still live with my parents and my wonderful mother was the one who cooked this delicious meal. She makes dinner practically every night. That being said, she felt that the spices and ingredients included in the dishes were things that she already had in the pantry and really just had to purchase the fresh ingredients and the meat. There was a good amount of prep involved but not more than a usual meal, it is something to keep in mind though.
The next recipe I tried out was the Tequila-Lime Steak Fajitas. I am a big fan of margaritas, why not have one in some meat? This recipe took some preparation, the steak does need to marinate in the sauce for at least 6-8 hours. Make sure the night before you are going to eat this that the marinade is made and the steak is in it overnight. Once the next day comes, cooking the rest is not too complicated or time consuming.
The marinade is made with some great spices as well as some lime juice and of course tequila. The great thing about fajitas is that you can make them with many different ingredients. In this recipe, the accompaniments listed are tortillas, pico de gallo, Monterey Jack cheese, Greek yogurt, guacamole or some avocado slices, and cilantro. Additionally, there was the inclusion of some peppers and onions cooked in a similar marinade to the steak. You can choose to put all of these in your fajita or only some of these and it will still help with your recovery. The power tip for this recipe is the inclusion of the avocados because they have great health benefits such as being a great source of antioxidants.
Once again I ate this after a workout and found yet another filling and delicious meal. Personally, I had the pico de gallo and avocado along with the suggestion of rice to be included. In the end this was a delicious combination. You can really taste the tequila and lime and all of the fresh ingredients in a pico de gallo and crunch of the onions and peppers made for a delicious meal.
A lot of times with tacos or fajitas you end up eating too many of them and soon after the meal you get that bloated feeling. As with the previous recipe, I found myself not eating as much as I would have and got full faster. After two portions of what you see in the photos that was more than enough for me.
Another meal that I tried was the Balsamic Chicken with Caramelized Onions. The chicken had very pronounced flavor expected from the balsamic but also came out juicy and tender. The key here is the protein which is boneless and skinless chicken. While the recipe calls for cutlets, we did use some thighs because they have the most flavor and cook the best. Once again I found myself having only a couple small pieces and felt full. While it suggests to have steamed vegetables and/or a baked sweet potato, we instead had a pappardelle pasta with some fresh vegetables such as snow peas, corn, and tomatoes. This meal was fairly simple to make and came out quite delicious. There were plenty of leftovers to provide a great portion for lunch the next day. I did eat these meals before and after workouts because I would have them for dinner after my workout and lunch before my workout in the afternoon. Though the dinner meals are meant for recovery, to have the right portion and proteins before a workout is just as important as after.
The last meal that I tried was a Pan Seared Scallops in Champagne Sauce recipe. This one I actually tried on a day in which I did not work out. The great thing about these recipes is that you can have them any day of the week, not just when you work out. Additionally, this recipe is a quick one that does not require a lot of preparation or time spent cooking. Scallops are great to use because they don’t have a long cooking time. Instead of champagne we used some Prosecco and used that in my favorite drink, a St. Germain Cocktail which paired very well with the meal! The shallots and garlic combined with the Prosecco and fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme was a great combination. This recipe felt light and one serving is 4 to 5 scallops which is more than enough for a meal with some asparagus and a spinach salad. Just like the other recipes I tried, I was satisfied and didn’t feel like I ate too much.
Overall these recipes were delicious and filling after a hard workout or even a long day at work. An added bonus was that there was always something leftover which was perfect for lunch the next day. I really did feel a difference in these meals from what I would usually eat for dinner. At night I would not feel too stuffed and find myself eating more after dinner. The next day I always felt re-energized and ready for the day. I definitely recommend this cookbook whether you are an athlete, a gym rat, or just looking for some new recipe ideas!