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Champ Fuel: Valentin’s Nutrition and Favourite Recipe

For runners, food is more than simple nutrition, food is fuel. Here VTM champ Valentin Orange shares a bit about what he eats everyday and introduces a favorite recipe for pre and post workout – the Nourish Bowl.

Valentin making hummus

It’s no secret, if you want to perform in ultra trail like in any endurance sport, you have to pay attention to what you eat every day. It is necessary to have good eating habits from the beginning otherwise it may become a burden. 

In my case, I started to care more about nutrition when I wanted to improve my running skills and especially when I signed up for long distance races. I wanted to maximize my chances of success, so I started to research what my body needs. 

I never struggled eating clean and green as I am a veggie, tofu and grains lover. I am not vegetarian, but I eat very little meat (mainly chicken, 2 or 3 times a week). I drink only water or squeezed fruits with no sugar added and I eat a massive quantity of fruits everyday (mostly bananas, mangos and pineapples).

It is therefore great to live in Vietnam where we have plenty of local fruits and amazing tropical ingredients right on the doorstep! 

I do not calculate the amount of nutrients/calories in my daily food, but I know what my body needs and I try to be careful to avoid deficiencies. 

I am lucky enough to live with a wonderful chef and we recently opened up a restaurant called DEN Healthy Eatery. It is our little green paradise situated in the heart of Hanoi. All dishes are homemade – a fusion of Asian, Mediterranean and Western cuisine. 

My ‘secret’ food is hummus! Hummus is a truly healthful snack and an excellent dip, combining protein, fiber, and healthy fats. The base of hummus is made of chickpeas, rich in plant protein, high in dietary fiber. Chickpeas give stronger bones and they could boost mental health However, if you eat hummus without being mindful of your portions, the calories can start to add up! 

My favourite dish is the Nourish Bowl with Tofu (or chicken) from DEN Healthy Eatery. This is the perfect pre or post workout dish as it contains all the nutrients an endurance athlete needs. Here I’ll let you into a secret – how we make it!



  • Forbidden rice: low carb, high vitamins, rich in antioxidants and reduces inflammation.
  • Homemade hummus: low in fat, high in protein and fiber.
  • Roasted chickpeas: rich in calcium, magnesium, fiber for strong bones.
  • Baked tofu: high in protein / roasted chicken: rich in protein and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
  • Olive: a good source of a few micronutrients including vitamin E, iron, copper and calcium.
  • Grilled eggplant: rich in antioxidants.
  • Quinoa: rich in antioxidants, helps with cholesterol and blood sugar levels, lowering risk of diabetes.
  • Tahini sauce: low in calories but high in fiber and protein.
  • Cucumber, tomatoes and lettuce.


  1. Cook the forbidden rice/wild rice. 
  2. Combine the quinoa and water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. 
  3. Preheat oven to 200C. Slice eggplant into 1cm rounds, then place on the baking sheet and spray with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Flipping halfway through, until golden brown and a little bit crispy on the outside. If you dont have an oven, simply use a pan instead. 
  4. In a pan on a low heat, stir the chickpeas until they turn golden brown and crispy. Turn off the heat then add 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon powder, 1 tsp smoked paprika and 1 tsp onion powder. 
  5. For the tofu or chicken: pre-fry your choice in a pan for about 10min. Add the soy sauce, teriyaki, oil, cornstarch, and pepper. Toss to coat. Arrange the pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet. Cook for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until brown and crispy.
  6. Tahini sauce: blend together 1/4 garlic, 1 pressed lime, 1 tablespoon tahini, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1 tablespoon cumin, 4 tablespoons water, or more as needed. 

Bowl prep

  • 120gr cooked forbidden rice on the bottom
  • 60g tofu / 80g chicken
  • 1 cup chopped lettuce and kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup roasted eggplant
  • 1/4 cup roasted chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup hummus
  • 1 diced olives

Drizzle with tahini sauce.


Nutrition facts

860 cal

Carb: 125; Protein: 28; Fat: 36 


Follow DEN Healthy Eatery on Instagram and Facebook.

Want to read more about Valentin? Read our Q and A with him here.

To read more on nutritious recipes, see our Nutrition archive here.