Meet the Triathlete-Chef: Jess Gumkowski
Since finishing her first sprint tri in Fort Collins, Colo., in 2005, this plant-based athlete and author of YogiTriathlete Cookbook: High Vibe Recipes for the Athlete Appetite has gone on to complete countless (as in too many to count) races including multiple Ironmans, sprints, and everything in between.
“Race day comes down to nutrition and mental strength, two things that are most often neglected in training,” she says. Luckily, it’s hard to mess up plant-based nutrition, Gumkowski says. “Keep it simple, eat a colorful array of mother nature’s abundance, and you will get everything you need to thrive.”
How she fuels: “My go-to pre-race breakfast is applesauce mixed with a scoop of plant-based protein and a banana. I get this in my body three hours before my race start which leaves plenty of time for my pre-race meditation. It’s very filling at first, but by the time the gun goes off my belly is happy and my body is fueled.
“During the race, my go-to bars are Amrita, gels are Gu, and electrolyte drink is Skratch. These are all plant-based fuel sources that are easy on my belly and allow me to race to my potential.
“Sparkling water and vegan nachos are my post-race main squeeze: organic tortilla chips, black beans, fresh avocado or guacamole, salsa, and plant-based cheese. It’s the perfect combo of protein, salt, crunch, fat, nutrients, and taste.”
Chef’s choice: “This Buddha Bowl is ridiculously healthy, tasty, and super simple to create, especially if the potatoes and quinoa are prepped beforehand,” Gumkowski says. “This meal is a once-a-week staple. It keeps well for leftovers and makes for the perfect main course for a plant-based dinner party. Start with plant-based cheeses and flatbread, throw in some Kombucha, and call it a night because you nailed it!”
Recipe: Buddha Bowl with Avocado Tahini Sauce
2-4 sweet potatoes (roughly half to one full sweet potato per person)
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed 1 15-ounce can of black beans 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 2 T hemp seed
2 T pumpkin seeds
Avocado Tahini Sauce
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted 1⁄2 cup filtered water
1⁄4 cup tahini
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 clove garlic
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cumin
1⁄8 tsp cayenne
Pinch of sea salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all tahini sauce ingredients in a blend- er or food processor until silky smooth. If you prefer a more liquid consistency slowly add more water, one tablespoon at a time.
Wash and poke sweet potatoes several times with a fork. Bake potatoes for 30-40 minutes, depending on size, until fork tender. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the quinoa, stir to combine, cover, and let cook for 13-15 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork, and set aside. Heat beans on stove in their liquid over medium heat until they start to bubble. Reduce heat to low while the sweet potatoes finish cooking. Prepare your cilantro. Once potatoes are cooked and cool enough to handle, chop them into small cubes. Assemble your bowl: Layer items any way you like.