Skimping on Fat and Running on Empty (Recipe: Pasta with Brown Butter, Cinnamon, Almonds and Feta)

Feeling good about your dry toast, naked salads and splash of watery skim milk in your coffee?  Not so fast.  Your body needs fat to absorb vitamins like A, D, E and K, and to regulate hunger.  Yes, fat.  While we don’t want to overload on fat, fats are digested more slowly than carbs and protein which helps keep hunger at bay longer. Studies have also shown that fat helps your body sense the appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin. A no-fat or very low-fat diet leaves those hormones out of whack.

So, fat should make up 20% to 30% of your daily calories. However, AVOID trans fats, from processed foods, and LIMIT saturated fats found in meat and dairy. Rely on mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which are found in olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados and fish. These fats protect your heart and promote satiety. A recent study found that even the aroma of some fats, particularly olive oil, may prompt the release of satiety-inducing hormones.

Don’t skimp on fat.

Furthermore, don’t run on empty.

You may have heard that if you run first thing in the morning without breakfast your body will burn more fat. However, rather than seeking out fat immediately, your muscles first use carbs that have been stored in your muscles as glycogen. When those stored carbs run out and your body starts to burn fat, your energy plummets, forcing you to slow down and burn fewer calories than if you had fueled up properly.  If you’re heading out for 30 minutes or less on an easy run, you can skip a pre-run snack, since you probably have enough glycogen to power you. But if you run longer or harder, you should have a 100- to 200-calorie snack about an hour before your run. Choose carbs and a bit of protein, such as a banana with peanut butter, and drink water to hydrate.

So, that’s what I have to say about that.

This weekend was an absolute blast but went by in the blink of an eye!  I did a hill workout on Saturday–Observatory Hill 3 times to be exact.  It was supposed to be a 7-mile run in total, but I kind of got lost trying to find my way there.  Well, I didn’t really get lost but I thought I missed the turnoff from Lakeshore Path to Observatory so I backtracked, but I really hadn’t gone far enough yet…so I ended up doing over 7.5 miles.  But it was completely fine because Saturday morning was gorgeous and I dressed appropriately.

And I had a delicious brunch afterward! I have been suggesting and suggesting that we go to the Farmer’s Market brunch all winter (because it’s so cold, they have a much smaller Farmer’s Market in the Senior Center, and they have somebody do a brunch every week–they send out the menu beforehand and they always look sooo tasty!).  So, we finally went!  Totally worth it!

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What else did I do?  I got TONS of spring cleaning done with two bags for Goodwill.  I took the pups outside to play Chuck-It a lot because the snow finally melted.

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I had a long run on Sunday that didn’t go so well–the wind was CRAZY again!  I’m so tired of it!!  I ran a total of 33.75 miles in Week 8 of San Diego training!  Nine weeks until marathon time!  I spent 4 hours 56 minutes pounding the pavement.  Next week should be fairly similar!

I had a delicious dinner at Graze Saturday night.  And a couple of us went to a Camp Bingo event on Sunday to benefit the AIDS Network.  The theme was “Pink” so some people went all out!  Some bingo people are INTENSE.  Holy moly!  But it was soooo much fun!  I would totally do another bingo event especially now that I know all the rules and how it works!

Camp Bingo

Yeah–so busy weekend.  Almost 20 miles of running plus lots of other things to keep me busy!  I can’t wait until the weather is warmer, although I will admit that this weekend was an improvement.

Quote of the Day:

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” -Dolly Parton

Last week A and I made this pasta dish.  It was good.  I enjoyed it.  But it wasn’t very memorable.  It’s a make-it-one-time-and-I’m-satisfied type of dish.

DSC_4690 Pasta with Brown Butter, Cinnamon, Almonds and Feta

Pasta with Brown Butter, Cinnamon, Almonds and Feta


  • 1/2 pound maccheroncelli or bucatini
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup almonds, slivered
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • Grated parmesan (for serving)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packaging. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of cooking liquid.

  2. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat. Stir often with a wooden spoon until butter turns light brown and becomes fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add almonds and garlic, stir well, and cook until almonds are light brown and toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Set aside until pasta is cooked.
  3. Increase heat on skillet to high, add pasta, pasta water, and lemon juice. Toss well. Continue cooking until sauce reduces and coats the noodles. Season to taste with salt. Serve noodles with feta cheese and grated parmesan.

Adapted from Serious Eats

This entry was posted in Callie!, Envy, Food Picture (No Recipe), Individual Workouts, Nutrition, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Skimping on Fat and Running on Empty (Recipe: Pasta with Brown Butter, Cinnamon, Almonds and Feta)

  1. Pingback: 7 Things Runners Can’t Stand (Recipe: Sun-dried Tomato Sauce) | Oven Lovin' Runnin'

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