Friday, October 10, 2014

Pumpkin Infusion

Happy Pumpkin Mania!

I may seem late to this trend—apparently pumpkin season started back in August before pumpkins were actually in season—but I held out until Official Fall. (Each season deserves its proper time!)

As seemingly everyone knows at this time of year, pumpkins are awesome. A lot of the flavors we associate with pumpkins are actually just the spices used in pumpkin pie: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Adding these spices to nearly everything isn’t a bad idea: cinnamon may help control blood sugar, while ginger has anti-inflammatory properties.

But adding actual pumpkin—along with the spices, if you so choose—is a better idea. Pumpkin is full of fiber and vitamin A, a vitamin important for your eyesight and your immune system. You can also use it as a replacement for oil and eggs in brownie and cookie recipes, although you lose the pumpkin flavor that way. Pumpkin seeds have lots of protein (8 grams in a half-cup), healthy fats, and minerals like manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous.

Pumpkins all around: oatmeal & tea, muffins, and Mr. RunnerTeal Homebrew.

But pumpkins aren’t just delicious and nutritious. How else can you embrace this trend as a runner, besides doing your next run through a pumpkin patch? Here are a few RunnerTeal ideas*:
*Not guaranteed or even at all likely to work. Please do not sue for pumpkin-related injuries, arguments with farmers, or fueling mishaps.
  • As weights: Hauling all those cans of pumpkin back from the grocery store (city dwellers) or pumpkins back from the patch (country folks) is a good arm workout.
  • As balance balls: Find a great, big, very round one and lay it on its side. Do your core work, stretching, etc. while balancing. Ignore strange looks from puzzled farmers.
  • As foam rollers: Using the smaller, bumpier pumpkins you discarded for the balance ball exercise, roll out those tight hamstrings, quads, and butt. (And seriously, extra bumpy is a plus.) For the city dwellers, a can might also work, particularly the larger sizes.
  • As energy gels: Here you’ll need the fake, candy-corn ones. They are full of carbs: six candy-corn pumpkins have 37 grams of carbohydrates, compared to 25 grams in GU. But... the pumpkins also have five times the sugar, close to twice the sodium (good for salty sweaters?), and no potassium, which is probably why Brach's does not appear at running expos... yet. 

If those ideas aren’t your flavor, below are some of my favorite pumpkin recipes*.
*Much more likely to work, or at least be delicious. Guaranteed to cause fewer strange looks than those above.

Dream big and pumpkin spice it up,

1 comment :

  1. A friend posted this pumpkin, white bean, turkey chili on Facebook the other day. I made it yesterday. Delicious! Disclaimer: you can't taste the pumpkin--not at all. But you still get the nutritional benefit.