The XTERRA World Championship is truly a time to celebrate – and what better way than with nutrition-packed, delicious, and beautiful local Hawaiian produce.
The advantage in the islands – with the temperate climate, the richness of the volcanic soils and the late afternoon rains – is that fruits and veggies thrive here. In fact, it can be hard to choose what to eat first. Coconuts, avocados, and macadamia nuts literally grow on Maui’s trees.
Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm family (Cocos nucifera). To find one, all you have to do is lift your head while lounging on the beach. This heavy fruit can be consumed dried, in pieces, grated, powdered and even in flour. The water inside can be drunk as is, refreshing and full of vitamins. The more concentrated milk can be used in both savory curries and sweet desserts, while coconut oil can be used for pan frying or replacing butter in pasta or cakes because it is more heat resistant than most fats.
During the Maui heat, a truly wonderful delight is to drink cold coconut water as is or mixed in a cocktail or mocktail. Additionally, dried coconut is wonderful in granola with a dollop of coconut milk yogurt.
The Avocado is the fruit of the avocado tree (Persea americana), found a little further inland from the beach. Once you discover an avocado tree, you will then realize the advantage of having pockets in your bike jersey!
Like the coconut, the avocado is a fruit rich in omega 3, which is essential to diminish the inflammations caused by hard physical efforts and off-road triathlons.
Enjoy avocados in guacamole, on sandwiches, sliced with breakfast, and in vegan desserts.
The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a plant that you will have the chance to see along the mountain bike route during the XTERRA World Championship. For those of us in Europe, we often expect to see a tree. In reality, the pineapple grows on the ground in the middle of a crown of slender leaves.
The fruit, under its fibrous skin, is extremely sweet and delicious. It also contains remarkable enzymes with anti-inflammatory properties that aid in recovery. So after the race, treat yourself to a chilly juice or smoothie chocked full of icy chunks of pineapple.
Of course the banana (Musa balbisiana), is the athlete’s sacred food. On top of oatmeal, with a scoop of nut butter, or in smoothies, the banana is very popular with athletes because it is high in calories. Additionally, it’s a fruit rich in slow sugars if it is still green and fast sugars if it is very ripe. In addition to providing loads of energy, the banana is also rich in potassium, calcium and phosphorus, which are essential nutrients for the athlete.
We don’t need to tell you how to eat a banana. But it’s pretty amazing on top of macadamia nut pancakes with lilikoi syrup.
Hawaii is chock full of macadamia nut trees and farms. The macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia) is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, which are good fats. Nuts are eaten naturally between meals or roasted and salted, but also coated with chocolate or caramelized in ice cream – which makes it a perfect post-race treat.
Its oil is too fragile to use for cooking, but it makes a luxurious massage oil as it quickly penetrates the skin barrier and provides the perfect amount of hydration.
We have just given you a tiny sample of the abundance of healthy fruits you can find on Maui. Mangos, papaya, pitaya (dragon fruit), passion fruit, and guavas, also boast an arsenal of vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
For coffee lovers, do not miss the excellent coffee grown on the islands. You will discover why it is considered the best in the world. If you can, buy whole beans and grind just before you make a pot.
Enjoy yourself on these beautiful islands, indulge in their gifts, and always choose to consume high-quality, delicious, and nourishing food.
Photos courtesy of T S Restaurants, the title sponsor of the XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs. T S Restaurants has four amazing restaurants on Maui to choose from. Each restaurant has fresh, delicious, locally-inspired food, and as an XTERRA athlete, you will receive a 15 % discount in your virtual race bag. Kimos is in old Lahaina town, Leilani’s on the Beach and Hula Grill are on Ka’anapali Beach, and Duke’s is nearby on North Beach in Ka’anapali.