Portland-based Olympian, nutritionist team up to create cookbook - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland-based Olympian, nutritionist team up to create cookbook

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Shalane Flanagan preparing a recipe from her cookbook, "Run Fast. Eat Slow." (KPTV) Shalane Flanagan preparing a recipe from her cookbook, "Run Fast. Eat Slow." (KPTV)
Shalane Flanagan (KPTV) Shalane Flanagan (KPTV)
"Run Fast. Eat Slow." by Olympian Shalane Flanagan and culinary nutritionist Elyse Kopecky. (KPTV) "Run Fast. Eat Slow." by Olympian Shalane Flanagan and culinary nutritionist Elyse Kopecky. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Known for running long distances, Shalane Flanagan does not skimp on her meals. The Portland-based Olympian won a bronze medal in the 10,000 meter race in Beijing in 2008, and more recently, placed sixth in the women's marathon in Rio.

Flanagan enjoys cooking too.

"Yeah, I mean who doesn't like baked fries?" She said from her Portland home, where she welcomed FOX 12 into her kitchen while prepping a recipe for sweet potato fries that's in the new cookbook she co-authored.

"Run Fast. Eat Slow." is a collaboration between Flanagan and her longtime friend, Elyse Kopecky, who is a chef and nutrition coach.

"So this book is unique because it doesn't push diet trends or any calorie counting. So it's very different," Flanagan said.

Flanagan remembers how the friends came up with the idea for a book while eating in her home.

"Elyse is a mom and I'm an Olympian, and so together, I think we're really this kind of dream team because we both have come from different backgrounds, but yet want the same thing," she said.

The idea, she added, was to share their eating habits, while helping others make healthier food choices.

"It's all about indulging in real, whole foods. And we categorize our food as 'indulgent nourishment' because it's not just about sucking down kale juice, it's also enjoying a good, juicy burger," she said.

When it comes to food, the women believe fat doesn't have to be forbidden, and recipes like "bacon-wrapped stuffed chicken" or "high-altitude bison meatballs" are expected to be nourishing, with ingredients that each play a tasty, yet nutritious role.

Flanagan gives Kopecky credit for influencing her current eating habits, saying she "taught me that actually fat is good for you. It helps you nourish your body. It carries the nutrients to your body. Without fat, your body's malnourished. So there's been a huge misconception within our country pushing low fat and packaged foods for convenience."      

Beyond being a cookbook, Flanagan said "Run Fast. Eat Slow." is also meant to serve up inspiration for others to eat healthy while feeling full, no matter their level of athleticism.

Just weeks after being released, the book made it on the New York Times Best Sellers List. Then, to the authors' surprise and delight, social media posts have shown how it's also a big hit for people of all ages.

"Specifically, I think it's the younger women that have been the most touching, sometimes the most inspiring," Flanagan said. "For Elyse and I to hear there's been some kind of distorted eating around food, and now they feel a relief and a burden has been lifted because they feel they now know how to eat well."

No matter a person's goals, Flanagan and Kopecky aim to improve lives, with eating habits that they say have already improved theirs.

"I hope Elyse and I can be good role models. If you look at us, we're just like everyone else to a degree, and we're just looking to be healthy and happy," Flanagan said.

Flanagan said her favorite recipe in the book is the one for the wild salmon sweet potato cakes.

"Yeah. Love them," she said.

Flanagan and Kopecky will be at Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing at 7 p.m. Sept. 6 for a discussion and book signing. For more information, go to www.runfasteatslow.com/events.

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