England international James Haskell explains to why we should keep things simple with our nutritional targets
Preheat the grill to high. Place the bacon on a tray and cook under the grill for seven to eight minutes, or until cooked through.
Allow it to cool before slicing into strips, half a centimetre thick, and set aside. Stir in the jalapeno chilli.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Whisk the eggs well. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter. Pour the eggs into the pan and cook the omelette for two minutes or until it has started to set on the bottom.
Now sprinkle the bacon and jalapeno over the omelette and top with the butter beans. Pop under the grill for 30 seconds.
Turn out onto a plate and serve immediately.
An England flanker and all round rugby union tough guy, James Haskell is not one to keep his cards close to his monstrously large chest. “I think the media talk a load of c*** about diets and doctors don’t know a lot about nutrition,” he declares.
We’re discussing his new book, Cooking For Fitness, which he co-wrote with chef Omar Meziane. In a market saturated with so-called superfoods and fad diets, Haskell aims to cut through the noise with a refreshingly straightforward message: healthy eating is simple, and, yes, of course everyone can do it. ‘IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE’ Listening to 33-year-old Haskell speak, it’s hard not to be swayed by his conviction. “Every time you go online and ask about diet, suddenly there’s 17 different ways to skin a cat. It’s just not the case. You just have to understand a few rules — calories in, calories out, and to look at your plate as a pie chart,” he says.
Alongside sleep and hydration, it is this ‘pie chart’ that sustains Haskell’s punishing gym routine and his famously big hits on the rugby field. So what does a pie chart contain?
First, there’s the protein. Second is an energy source. And thirdly, “decent fats and vegetables”. Three meals, three basic food groups: in the gospel of Haskell, it needn’t be much more complicated than that.
Haskell has practised eating by numbers for most of his career (3,800 calories a day, to be exact), but he resists the temptation to see food purely as fuel. “To get results, there is going to be a bit of sacrifice, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself sometimes,” he says. FLAVOURFUL FITNESS Cooking For Fitness contains not a speck of the austere asceticism so common in diets. It is filled with recipes that tickle the tastebuds just as much as the tendons.
“I’m an absolute foodie,” Haskell insists. “I love going out to nice restaurants, having nice wine and having nice food.”
Of his own recipes, Haskell’s favourites are his take on the full English breakfast — “People think they can’t eat it and they miss it, but changing it round makes it really good” — and his spicy snack chilli nut trail mix.