One thing I really dig about Europe is its appreciation for breakfast food. In the US, no matter how many Special K commercials tell us to do otherwise, it’s fairly normal the people skip breakfast on a regular basis. “I’m not hungry when I wake up” they say, or, “I’m always in such a hurry that I forget to eat.” To which, Europe replies, “Saugen zu saugen, breakfast is the best.”
Those of you who know me will not be surprised by my sentiments. I am and always have been firm believer in the sanctity of the day’s first meal. Aside from it’s undeniable health benefits (kickstarting your metabolism, providing a foundation for focus, better access to absorbing nutrients, and, um, coffee), breakfast for me is just a happy time. A good breakfast can set the tone for the rest of your day which is why, when I can, I choose to start with the BEST breakfast.
Again, those of you who know me will not be surprised. My bio on this website refers to me (read: I refer to myself) as a waffle connoisseur of sorts. Waffle Wednesdays have been a key part of my life since high school, searching for the perfect iron that of every online shopping trip, while the thought of warm syrup on a fresh waffle has me cross-eyed crazy over here.
Because, while Europe has an astounding appreciation for breakfast, with huge spreads containing muesli, fruits, breads, eggs, cheeses and jams, I have yet to have one waffle. Not a single one. The dreadful fact has kept waffle on the brain for the past few weeks, and as I go from race to race, country to country, I can’t kick the daydream of a tasty waffle breakfast upon my return home.
These thoughts have been surprisingly helpful with racing, actually. Thus, I simply cannot help myself: Ways waffles are a philosophically valid way to organize one’s life (as a nordic skier):
1. It’s breakfast (duh).
If you think you’re going to be training 20+ hours a week without having carbs, protein and a little processed sugar before hand, think again! According to a nutrition talk I went to six years ago (not the best source, but I’m sticking to it), it takes you two days to process and access your carbo-loading glycogen stores. That means you need to take in those important carbs not the night before but days out from a big race. 48 hours before a morning race will be a morning (if my math is correct). Therefore, breakfast is where you’re going to take in those carbs. Therefore, waffles.
2. Waffles are a process.
Not to get too meta here, but I’m still in search of the perfect waffle. Unlike your regular bowl of cereal, waffle breakfasts take planning, time, lots of ingredients, a little bit a patience and a little bit of luck. Sometimes you burn the waffle, sometimes it’s undercooked, you miss an ingredient or don’t have enough time. Other times, you get something so perfect, so delicious and so unlike anything you’ve ever made and you have no idea how you got there (to my teammates reading this, remember those savory waffles with the mystery ingredient?! How did that happen?!) Either way, you have to rely on a process to get you to your end result. Therefore, waffles are goal pyramids.
3. You can race like a waffle.
Here I will give away the greatest secret in ski racing. Last year, I was having trouble nailing down how to approach high pressure races when my teammate Sophie gave me the best advice I’ve ever received: race like a waffle. When batter goes into the iron, it’s fluid, loose and relaxed. As it heats up, it becomes more elastic, getting stronger and stronger so that by the end you have a gorgeous, tasty masterpiece. Thanks, Doph.
This might have fit into the first category, but I’m an athlete, so carbs get their own section. In the early stages of exercise, carbohydrates fulfill nearly 50% of our energy requirements. If you’re not taking in carbs, your halving your ability to perform. Paired with a little bit of peanut butter, waffles have all you need to make it through workouts big and small. They’re also awfully portable, so long as you bring syrup to add on the go (UnTapped syrup feeds, amiright?!)
5. The happiness advantage.
Erika Flowers just blogged about this aspect of sport (also, shout out her because she called me out on not blogging the last two weeks). When you’re happier, you race better. It’s kind of a chicken and the egg situation, because it’s hard to say whether your racing is happiness induced, or happiness is racing induced. However, win or lose, if you’re happy you’re happy. And you know what? Waffles make me happy. If you start your day with something good, and have the worst workout/race/day of your life, at least you had waffles for breakfast.
6. Bonus reason! Waffles are Scandinavian. Nordic skiing originated in Scandinavia. Eating waffles makes you more Nordic-y. (Mic drop).
So, there’s that.