At LtW we have been fans of Lucy Batholomew for many years, since meeting her in Chamonix where she was taking on one of the UTMB races. She was there with her Dad and seemed to be very happy to chat, sitting in the shade near to the start / finish line.
Since then Lucy’s career has blossomed. And we were delighted to have the chance to interview Lucy live at an event we hosted with our friends at Strava in Chamonix for the 2019 UTMB. During that interview, in front of a live audience packed into the theatre we were using, Lucy talked about her motivation for running, the highs and lows of being a professional athlete, her ambitions for the future and her love of preparing and eating great food.
So we were really really happy to see that Lucy has produced an e-book about running, life and what she eats and drinks. The book – called Sustain-Your-Ability – is far more than a collection of recipes. Instead it is part travel journal, part running inspiration and part food guide. You can buy and download a copy here.
In her book, Lucy talks about how the book came to life – this section from the introduction really explains it perfectly:
Straight up: I don’t do this perfectly – this thing called life. It’s a rollercoaster and like all of you I am riding the waves but I’m doing it with my hands in the air, a smile on my face, wind in my hair and a full focus on trying my best. This ‘cookbook’ or whatever you want to call it is here to highlight where nutrition, mindset, exercise and attitude all collide. I couldn’t just make a recipe book filled with titles, ingredients, methods and pictures, when here lies an opportunity to share more then just the food itself but what I, Lucy Bartholomew use this fuel for, what I think about and how I’ve changed.
We were really happy to be able to talk to Lucy about the book and her running in general in this exclusive interview …
Like the Wind: You describe yourself as a foodie as well as an athlete – how important are the two aspects of your life relative to one another?
Lucy Bartholomew: SO important! I can’t be the best version of an athlete or human without the right fuelling; like a car we can only go so far without fuel. And the best quality fuel keeps the engine clean and the motor strong. That’s where my passion came from; wanting to find my potential, doing my best in every area that I can and making choices that not only help me as an individual but also have a flowing impact on the environment that I call my office and the animals that cheer me on along the way. The ability to create a meal that will sustain me, nourish me and allow me to thrive is something that I am immensely grateful for. To share that with other is the ultimate gift.
LtW: Many athletes talk about food as fuel. How important is enjoyment of food in your opinion?
LB: For me, to enjoy a meal and to absorb all you can from it means loving the food, loving the process, loving the company and loving yourself for this moment. Yes, food is fuel but it shouldn’t be just a math equation of calories in vs. calories out. The gratitude for having the opportunity to create an art work on a plate, to eat and nourish yourself and to share this with someone else is far more important than any number you will see on a nutrition label. This is when the food feeds your soul not just your stomach.
LtW: What is your favourite recipe from the book and why?
LB: Oh that’s tough! I certainly love the turmeric granola recipe. I make it nearly weekly and it is different every time. I just love that you can jazz it up and make something completely new every time. I usually make some extra jars to share with others. And I love the golden glow the turmeric adds – to me it Is a jar of sunshine I can sprinkle on anything or eat by the handful!
LtW: What were the biggest challenges around writing the book?
LB: This book was 3 years in the making and my biggest excuse was lack of time. I was always travelling and not always with a kitchen or the time and energy to create food. I am someone who only works well when I am inspired. When COVID-19 hit and we went into lockdown I wasn’t able to train hard or as much as I would have liked. But I had time and I had energy to spare (plus a Dad who loves to eat). So I made finishing the book my goal. I really struggled with writing the recipes down and measuring all the ingredients. I cook very intuitively and so it really took some of the wind out my sails for making the food. It was a longer process than usual but when I look at the book now I see so many good memories of making the food – taking the time to make it right, chop everything and slowing down to enjoy that process. The only other thing that challenged me was sitting down and dealing with technology – formatting, writing, editing…. these are not my forte. But again I learnt more about the art of patience and just taking it one step at a time.
LtW: How did food and running play a part in your young life, growing up as a child?
LB: Food and running ebbed and flowed in my life. In the beginning of the book I talk personally about my relationship with both; how they have co-existed in positive and negative ways. My mum taught me the fundamentals of cooking when I was young and that is something really special. My dad taught me the fundamentals of running which was also super special. However there were times where I struggled to put the two together and understand that you can’t just lean on one without the other. These hard times have taught me so much, gave me so much inspiration to want to share more than just the recipes in this book and motivated me to give this understanding to anyone who reads the book.
LtW: Your recipes are all plant based – why is that?
LB: I have been plant based for nearly 7 years now. I chose this lifestyle as I began to learn more about the effects of farming on the environment and on the animals. Also I appreciate the positive effects I saw a plant-based lifestyle having on my mind and body. I want to share this way of living, and show that it doesn’t have to be hard, expensive and just salad. I love this challenge of recreating my brother’s and Dad’s favourite dishes with plant based ingredients and with the same flavour and joy it brings us all.
LtW: Who do you look to for inspiration when it comes to cooking and creating new recipes?
LB: I get a lot of my inspiration from my traveling and seeing different cultures, ingredients and cooking styles. It gives me a lot of motivation to recreate these dishes for others that don’t get to travel so much so they can enjoy the flavours. Plus simplifying these recipes and making them plant based is a fun challenge that keeps me entertained for hours.
Also other athletes like the Elkott twins – Lina and Sanna – who make beautiful rainbow plates in Sweden or Emelie Forsberg who forages in her garden in Norway for meals give me so much motivation to experiment and be sustainable.
And finally social media is an endless source of ideas and recipes. It’s fun to spend some time looking for something new and dare to be a little different.
Our thanks to Lucy for answering our questions. If you want to read her book and try some of the recipes (many of them are delicious – we can testify to that) then buy the book and download it here.