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Goat Cheese, Quinoa and Roasted Golden Beets + Exercising on an Empty Stomach

Posted Jul 05 2011 11:12am


My CSA boxes have been overflowing with goodies recently.  This week amongst the peaches, apricots, greens, onions, asparagus we also received beautiful golden beets. 




If the earthy taste of beets does not appeal to you, try roasting golden beets.  They are a bit milder and have a wonderfully sweet taste.  I roasted these beauties in the oven (after removing the tops) for 45 minutes at 400 degrees and allowed them to cool.  After cooling a bit, the peel easily comes off and I chopped them into cubes.


Meanwhile while they were roasting I cooked 1 cup of quinoa (1/2 red and 1/2 regular), sautéed 2 squash and 2 zucchinis (also from the CSA box) in olive oil, chopped a nectarine (also from the CSA) and two spring onions.




After the squash and zucchini had softened, I added garbanzo beans and heated them through while also sprinkling in the spring onions.


The cooled, chopped beets were added to the quinoa along with the nectarine, a few sprigs of mint, and a sprinkle of goat cheese.  The quinoa salad was dressed in an easy-to-make vinaigrette (olive oil, balsamic, and dijon mustard).


The end product was a veggie packed, protein rich, satisfying array of flavors:


plated 2


The picture does not do the dish justice (bad lighting) but it was absolutely delicious and served as an amazing left over lunch the following day.


Nutrition News


Last week the nutrition social media channels were buzzing with an article published in the New York Times Health section (“Well”).  The article: “ Really?  The Claim: Exercising on an Empty Stomach Burns More Fat” reported on a review published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal this year. 


  • The Background: There has been conflicting research and anecdotal advice as to whether or not an individual can burn more fat when exercising on an empty stomach.  The claim is that if you do not ingest any carbohydrates before exercise (your main source of fuel for energy) that your body will instead rely on fats for fuel. 


  • The Conclusion: The review concluded that the body burns about the same amount of fat regardless of the food injested before the workout.  Further, without eating a pre-workout snack you may actually burn less calories as you may feel more tired and therefore exercise at a lower intensity.  And if in enough of a fasted state the body may end up breaking down muscle for fuel so muscle mass will be lost.


  • My Thoughts: I have not had a chance to look at the review and examine the methodologies but my instinct is to agree with the conclusions.  Your body works most efficiently when using carbohydrates for fuel.  Have you ever tried to complete a difficult workout hungry?  It’s not an easy task and you may end up feeling weak or dizzy.  Some people are able to wake up first thing in the morning and exercise but I always suggest trying to eat something – even if it’s just a quick piece of fruit – prior to working out to ensure adequate energy and to lower the chances of using your own muscles for fuel.  Does that mean when you are exercising that you are not burning fat?  No.  It means your body is working efficiently, you have the energy necessary to work at a higher intensity without sacrificing muscle mass. 


What is your favorite pre-workout snack?

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