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In the Kitchen With Jenny LaBaw

Jenny LaBaw is a CrossFit athlete who ran 500 miles last year for epilepsy awareness. She lives in Northern California where she has her own garden. We talked to Jenny about her philosophy on food and what you can find in her kitchen.

Interview With Jenny LaBaw

How do you start your mornings?

It depends on the morning. The weekday mornings that I coach early, I start my morning off with about 20oz of water followed by sipping a cup of cold brew coffee with organic, heavy whipping cream while I coach all morning. If I get my butt out of bed in time I will take the dogs for an early morning two-mile walk before.

The weekday mornings that I don’t coach, I typically wake up around seven-ish and head downstairs to my gym and get a workout in. I follow that with a good breakfast usually of three eggs scrambled with veggies and ½ avocado.

Our weekends all summer have consisted of traveling. We’ve either been camping, driving or visiting family and friends. So that hasn’t been too consistent. But usually weekends I will sleep in until 8 or so and then start with a run and then breakfast. I am working at trying to be more consistent with morning meditation.

What’s your food philosophy?

Eat real food. Simple as that. I think that the food world can make people neurotic. You can find “scientific evidence” that pretty much everything is good for you or that it’s bad for you. If we stick to real, whole food that isn’t processed or full of additives, chances are you’re doing pretty dang good.

From there you have to play around with what works for you. Listen to your body…record how your body feels, how you perform and how you sleep. I would argue that gluten is something everyone should stay away from because of systemic inflammation. For sure sugar should be out of your diet except on occasion…Even then, it’s not good for you, but it is enjoying life. Food is fuel, it is what powers our body, but it’s so much more than that. It’s entertainment, it’s social, it’s pleasurable and it shouldn’t be something to be afraid of or to feel deprived of.

What are your pantry and fridge staples?

Pantry: Not a lot happening in my pantry…plantain chips, whole coconut milk, stewed canned tomatoes.

Fridge:

  • Veggies of all varieties (kale salad from Costco is always there…good for easy salads, sautéed with eggs or just by themselves), avocado, fresh veggies from my garden
  • Meat usually consists of organic free range chicken thighs, grass fed ground beef and salmon
  • Sun tea in a big jar has been a staple this summer

How do you like to grocery shop? Are you a fan of meal prepping?

I always buy the same things so I typically don’t have a list…I like to go in and browse the produce and meat sections and buy what looks good and is a good deal. I’m lucky to live in an area that has amazing farmers markets year round so I typically get my produce from there. I am a big fan of meal prepping for people that don’t have time or are watching their macros/intake. But I love to cook so at this time in my life I am not meal prepping because I usually have time to cook throughout the day or (my partner)Marcus does.

We know you have your own vegetable garden (not jealous at all!). What do you grow there and do you often prepare your meals with produce from there?

I do have my own garden and LOVE it. I grew up in the mountains of Colorado so a garden was never a part of my life until the last 5 years of living in Northern California where the weather is a bit more temperate.

Right now in my summer garden I have cucumbers, zucchini, yellow crooked neck squash, tomatoes, spaghetti squash and watermelon. My winter garden usually consists of kale, carrots, broccoli, onions, garlic, cauliflower and Swiss chard. We also have apple, plum, apricot, lemon, grapefruit and orange trees on our property. I cook using all these fresh ingredients all the time. It’s a great way to make sure you’re eating seasonal vegetables and I know exactly where my produce came from and how it was grown. Plus it’s incredibly therapeutic for me to tend to the garden.

Sweet or salty?

Yes! I just love food!

Coffee or tea? Drink of choice?

I like both. I never was a coffee drinker until about 6 years ago and have gone on and off of this. I am now making my own cold brew (decaf) coffee at home. I don’t do well with caffeinated (my heart feels like it will jump out of my chest) and cold brew is supposedly less acidic. I drink iced tea in the summer and love a warm cup of Good Earth Sweet and Spicy tea in the winter. My drink of choice  — well if it was good for you I would get a vanilla latte every day. But really water is my drink of choice!

Go-to meal?

Stir fry…any meat I have sautéed in coconut or avocado oil with veggies that happen to be laying around and seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic. Easy, yummy and good for you!

Proudest chef meal?

I make things up all the time. I have so many cookbooks and never use them. I just use ingredients I have on hand to whip things up. When reading this question I just asked Marcus and he said the one I made two nights ago. No name for it, but here it is.

Ingredients

12 organic free range chicken legs

8 mini portobello mushrooms sliced

1 cup chopped green onions

4 garlic cloves minced

2 medium carrots thinly sliced

1 c beef broth

Pepper

Himalayan sea salt

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients in a Dutch oven.
  2. Season to taste.
  3. Cover and cook on stove top on medium heat for 20 minutes (or until fully cooked).

I served it with a green salad with my homemade dressing (olive oil, balsalmic vinegar, spicy brown mustard) and grilled peaches with gorgonzola sprinkled on top.

Most underrated ingredient

Lemons!

What food trend are you loving?

Cold brew coffee

 

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