Image: Scott Jones / MothershipUK
I have to admit, I have a thing about the letter B. I doodle it in margins, and swoop it in sparklers. Luckily, my passion is not un-founded. Not only are there two in my name, and my blood type B+ – it turns out that B vitamins are incredibly, vitally important for our athletic performance.
A 2006 study showed that even a slight deficiency in vitamin B6 ‘decreased ability to perform exercise at high intensities’. Pretty much, running without adequate B6 is the equivalent of slipping some rocks in your pocket pre-run. I don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get after I put on my trainers.
As luck would have it, there is a fantastic source of B vitamins for vegetarians and vegans – powdered nutritional yeast. Looks terrible and sounds strange, but it’s actually really tasty. It’s bursting with the ‘fifth flavour’. Umami – a deeply savoury, almost cheesy, totally tasty essence. (Some people have a sweet tooth – I’ve got a full jaw of umami teeth.)
It’s not super widely available in the UK – ask in your local health food shop or you can buy it online. Once you find it, be sure to use the rest to make some of our Non-Dairy Pesto too. Make sure you don’t buy brewer’s yeast as this doesn’t have much vitamin B and tastes awful. Double no thanks.
I’ve been eating variations on the salad below, with a fantastic nutritional yeast dressing for my lunch all week. I also ran a PB 5K on Thursday. Coincidence? Try it for yourself and find out.
Nutritional Yeast Salad Dressing
Quantities per person
1 heaped teaspoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar (or apple cider, something non-invasive)
2 tablespoon light-tasting oil (such as olive, groundnut, even vegetable)
Splash of sesame oil
Salt & pepper
Optional – any combo of crushed garlic, grated ginger, red pepper flakes if you like.
Whatever you have! Below are some suggestions. Ingredients with an asterisk next to them are a good additional source of B vitamins, so cram ’em in.
– any kind of leaves
– * veggie cheese such as feta
– * chunks of cooked sweet potato with the skin on
– * cooked quinoa or brown rice, which will transform this into a dinner salad all by itself.
– * chopped up boiled egg
– grated carrot or sprouts, which really soak up the dressing.
– * avocado
– coriander leaves and stalks.
The dressing is also great on hot cooked grains and any veggies you have lying about, steamed or microwaved.
Give it a go, and see if it gives your running a turbo boost this week!