A lot of climbers want a high carb meal following a strenuous day of climbing.
Why? Carbohydrates fuel your muscles and brain and are used to provide energy during exercise. Excess carbohydrate in the system is stored in the liver as glycogen for use when fuel for exercise is needed later on. So, after a long, hard day of exercise with little food or carbohydrate intake, the body will need to replenish its stores of carbohydrate. Nothing like a big old bowl of pasta to take care of that!
Glycogen storage can be maximized by consuming smaller amounts of complex carbohydrates before, during, and after workouts, providing a steady amount of carbohydrate rather than relying on liver stores. Sipping on a carbohydrate containing beverage or nibbling on fruit, grains, bread, and vegetables during the day can help keep your energy levels up during the day. This strategy can also aid in post-climbing recovery. But, like your mother always said, make sure you eat! Not eating will cause you to use up your glycogen stores and you’ll start to feel tired and not at your peak performance level.
For those of you who want a carbohydrate boost at the end of the day, I’ve found this easy recipe for tortellini soup. Try to eat it within an hour after your climbing day ends so that you can maximize the recovery of your glycogen/energy stores. It’s really good cold too, so bring a Tupperware of leftovers (if there are any) to the crag!
The recipe suggests that you make the recipe ahead of time so that the flavors have a chance to meld. I thought that was nonsense, so I made it and ate it right away. It was OK, but not great. By the next day it was totally yummy, especially topped off with hot sauce or Sriracha.
Tortellini Soup – feeds at least 2-3 hungry climbers
3T olive Oil
1 Clove garlic, minced
3 stalks, celery, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion diced
10 oz box frozen spinach (unthawed)
2 cans cream of chicken soup (make it veg with cream of mushroom or cream of celery)
2 cans water
32 oz chicken broth
Family size package of cheese or chicken tortellini, half cooked
Add sliced smoked sausage of your choice for a meaty version
1) Put olive oil in the bottom of a large soup/stock pan
2) Saute’ garlic, celery, carrots and onions until tender
3) Add frozen spinach. Break up blocks of spinach as you cook
4) Continue to saute’ until spinach thaws, then heats up
5) Add cream of chicken soup and water
6) Add chicken broth and then add tortellini
7) Heat and Serve
Note: It’s better to eat it a few hours after it’s made so the broth soaks up into the noodles. Better yet, make it the night before.