Build a Better Carb

As runners are very well aware, carbohydrates are our main source of fuel; however, there are “bad carbs” (white flour and sugar) that digest quickly, make energy levels spike then crash, leaving one hungry more often, and “good carbs” (fruits, veggies, whole grains) that work to build muscle, increase endurance, and boost physical activity.  As runners, we love to carb load and always reach for those whole grain carbs in order to propel our efforts, especially prior to our long runs.  Consuming those “good” carbohydrates before, during and after exercise will also provide that glycogen boost/replacement when needed most, enabling one to work out longer and recover quicker.

When the good people at California Lavash contacted me and offered up a variety of their delicious, whole grain, vegan, non-GMO flatbreads to try, I happily accepted, tried a bunch of different pre- and post-run recipes, and gobbled them right on up! Lavash flatbreads are a terrific source of very balanced, low fat, “good” carbohydrates with added nutrients like fiber and protein that the body absorbs slowly, filling you up faster, and keeping you fuller longer.

 

Here I am meeting the California Lavash team in person and sampling their scrumptious post-race flatbread recipes!

Here I am meeting the California Lavash team in person and sampling their scrumptious post-race flat bread recipes!

As we’re just 2 months into the beginning of the new year, I’m still working on my resolution to run more while taking better control of my eating, making better meal choices in order to stay fueled for training and focused towards my goals- California Lavash has become a key part of that plan. During my year of injury, I admit I indulged in way too many refined carbs (a.k.a. evil “comfort foods”) so, as of the new year, I have been working to add a “good” carb into every meal- starting with a balanced breakfast, smarter snacks, healthier lunches, a wholesome dinner, and more fruits and veggies in general.

Laura’s Lavash Breakfast Burrito

  • 1 tablespoon roasted pepitas (or sunflower seeds or pine nuts)
  • 1 piece of California Lavash flat bread (in the case, I chose the Traditional)
  • 1 scrambled egg (or 2 egg whites)
  • 1 slice turkey bacon
  • chopped onions
  • chopped bell peppers
  • handful of baby spinach

Place the pepitas in a small frying pan and roast over medium-low heat until done. While pepitas are cooking, scramble the egg, cook the turkey bacon, and chop the onions and peppers. Lay out your piece of flat bread and on one end, layer the bacon, egg, and veggies then top with the spinach. Roll into a burrito, cut half, add a side of fruit and enjoy!

Balanced, nutritious, and delicious! Perfect way to start the day!

The California Lavash website is a great resource for recipes too- the possibilities are endless and incredibly easy to make.  I tried a lot of their different snack recipes but found that my kids and I really enjoy their Apple Cinnamon Chips (made with the Whole Grain Lavash) so much so that we now make huge batches and keep them in air tight containers just to have these chips on hand at all times!

Lavash Apple Cinnamon Chips

  • 1 Fuji apple, as needed
  • ⅛ cup raw sugar, to taste
  • ⅝ tsp combined cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and star anise mix, freshly grated

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the apples in half and thinly slice with skins on. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and spice mix. Place a sheet of lavash on a flat surface. Cover with the thinly sliced apples. Using a medium-mesh strainer, sprinkle with spiced sugar. Using kitchen shears or pizza wheel, cut into 3½” squares. Transfer to several baking pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for 5-8 minutes until the apples have dried and the bread is slightly golden and hard like a cracker. Remove from the oven and let cool until firm.

I like to pair my apple chips with a side of nuts and cheese, in this case walnuts and blue cheese and have also paired them with almonds and brie, or dried apricots and a hard cheddar- all incredibly scrumptious along with that sweet, crunchy, tartness of the apples. YUM!!!

It is really helpful- as a busy mom, runner and blogger- to have a few packages of California Lavash in the fridge at all times in order to throw something together, for any meal, at a moments notice. Not only is it super easy to take your meal to go, but just as easy to cut and bake the flat breads (like with the above recipe) to make chips for dipping whatever you want- hummus, nutella, salsa, guacamole.  Plus a side of fresh veggies and fruit and your snack is reformed- versatile, balanced, light, and oh so healthy!

For lunch and dinner, I always shoot for something simple to make and simple to digest that the whole family can enjoy and doesn’t weight me down for the following morning’s run. Pizza was always a post-run treat but now, by replacing the heavy “bad” carb crust with the much lighter flat bread crust, the result is a perfectly tasty and satisfying meal with just enough “good” carbs to fuel my miles.  While the kids opt for extra cheese and pepperoni, here’s my favorite version:

Arugula Flat Bread Pizza

  • 1 sheet of Olive Oil & Garlic California Lavash
  • 3 tbsp tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded*
  • 2½ tbsp mushrooms, fresh and sliced (½ oz)
  • 1¾ tbsp black olives, sliced (1/9 cup)
  • ½ cup arugula

Preheat oven to 425⁰ F.  Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the lavash sheet then sprinkle on light layer of cheese (*vegan or optional). Add the mushrooms and black olives. Bake for 5-6 minutes then add a layer of arugula and serve.

Californa Lavash prides itself in a 100% natural product: zero artificial preservatives, chemicals, dough conditioners, or gums. They are Non-GMO Project Verified and completely vegan.  It’s a really good product coming from a very green company- their packaging (bag and box) is recyclable and they work to shrink waste whenever possible at their plant.

Visit their website to find a place that sells these tasty flat breads near you, give them a try for any and every meal of the day, and let me know your favorite recipes, I would love to try some new ones!  Thank you again to California Lavash for this opportunity and for fueling many happy miles the “good” carbs way.

What do you think?