I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but nearly six months ago I hurt my leg pretty badly. I had recently started running and found it a really enjoyable workout: I was outside in the summer sun (ahem, whenever it deigned shine on us puny Londoners), getting fresh air, slowly but surely getting stronger… and then this pain in my leg came. And it wouldn’t go away.
I went to the physio, thinking I had shin splints. This was easily fixable, right? In a couple of weeks’ time I’d be running again.
Stress fracture, he told me. You need to go the hospital and get a scan done. You have to stop running immediately, for at least 6 weeks. Rest your leg as much as possible.
Out the window flew my plan of getting fit before Christmas.
It was hormone imbalance that caused me to lack essential nutrients for bone strength, not a poor diet (with 5-8 portions of vegetables and fruit a day I knew I was healthy). You learn something new every day — I just hoped I wouldn’t have to learn it the hardcore way.
So I rested and ate. Lots. Christmas was coming up, y’know, and well, let’s just say cookies and cakes were everywhere. I tried running after 4 weeks and hurt myself even worse. Back to square one. This time, I knew I had to back off. Seriously.
I’ve only just recently started jogging again, using the Couch to 5K free podcast to pace myself. I’m terrified of hurting myself again. Aside from yoga, running is my go-to stress relief — and right now, I desperately need stress-relief, what with my dissertation, presentations and work experience to deal with pretty much every day. So far so good: no pain whatsoever in my leg. I guess 4 months of resting my leg did the trick, but I’m not taking any chances. We’re doing this one step at a time.
Hence a calcium-rich diet. I’ve been chomping broccoli and dark leafy greens like a boss. I’m taking vegan supplements, just in case — those damn hormones take a mighty long time to sort themselves out. And I’ve discovered dried figs: apparently those weird looking treats are chock-full of calcium. Who knew? Pair them with almonds and you have a beautiful, nutrient-rich, scrumptious breakfast. Or snack. Or dinner.
Prep time: 5 mins
Baking time: 25 minutes
300g jumbo porridge oats
6-8 dried figs, roughly chopped
3 tbsp apple sauce (unsweetened)
2-3 tbsp date/agave/maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
60g raw almonds
Preheat the oven to 160ºC.
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Spread thinly over 2 baking sheets. Bake for 25 minutes.
Let the granola cool. Serve with almond milk (or dairy-free milk of choice) or dairy-free yogurt and fruit. Bananas make a great fuel for runners.