Leg 3, Day 20 – Foodies!

Laura Penhaul By

I thought it about time, that considering everyone has mentioned my love for food, that I share with you my passion. I love food! Always have, always will. I’m not a vegetarian, nor vegan or pescatarian etc. I love to eat anything and everything, with the exception of, Marmite. I’m definitely in the ‘hate it’ category, but it annoys me that Marmite is the only thing I don’t like, so every few months I will re attempt having some on toast, which usually ends up in me getting half way through the piece of toast before I nearly gag and have to give it to my housemate or throw it away! One day I’ll crack it and turn to a lover of Marmite!

I have grown up with my mums amazing home cooking (roast dinner definitely tops anyone’s!), so have always eaten fresh, home cooked foods and enjoy the process of cooking myself. So when it came to doing the row and Alex (our S&C coach) and I sat down to see how much weight I needed to gain, it was looking to be 12kg’s over the coming year. A target of 30g of protein every 3-4hrs and approximately 4,000 calories per day when at home. Easy I thought, I couldn’t have chosen a better expedition, normally working on marathons or triathlon I’ve kept a healthy diet but always had a healthy appetite, but this time I’d need to include some more calorific foods and lots of it – Happy days! It started off well, but then to be honest, it suddenly became a chore. What was once an enjoyable process had become a need, a counting game of calories for the most in a meal rather than the least and alarms on my watch to remind me to eat rather than wait to feel hungry. I started off with fresh home cooking, adding extra coconut oil or olive oil to foods, drinking glasses of full fat milk, making shakes with cashews and cream in, but still it was difficult to consume the volume of calories healthily, so more chocolate, cakes, pastries crept their way in, choosing burgers on the menu instead of grilled chicken, and chips instead of vegetables. The row had been postponed for a year and then another, so I ended up eating like this for over 2years, alongside the training which meant more calories when doing endurance work and more protein with weights. I reached my 70 kg’s mark just a month before departure – yey! Although with all the stress and anxiety leading into the start line, I’d lost about 3kgs before we even left!

So the girls will tell you how much of a bossy boots I was about eating and how imperative it was for everyone to gain weight and overlook the appearance of added fat gain and the lethargy you feel with eating so much food, because no doubt we’d loose it on the row, and that we have! Typically, as being the one that eats the most in the team and the one most anal about not wanting to loose weight, I’ve lost the most! I haven’t weighed in yet, but the fact that I can see my shin bones and ribs is pretty much a sure sign of weight loss. I may have always been someone of a slim frame, but I’m not a fan of skinny, I much prefer strong over skinny, so seeing so much muscle waste away is slightly distressing.
Anyhow, it’s not for want of trying to still load up whilst out here, so to prove my eating habits, I thought I’d give you an insight into my daily diet at sea:

09:30 – BeWell Exped breakfast of ‘healthy fruit muesli’ (800cal) mixed with Maximuscle Progain protein shake (600cal).
11:30 – on the oars x 2 granola bars (190cal each)
13:30- BeWell Exped Meal of Chicken Tikka Massala (800cal) followed by Exped Dessert Chocolate Pudding (500cal)
15:30- on the oars handful of sweets (250cal total)
17:30- noodles (300cal) and foil packet of tuna added (200cal) followed by a Mars bar (240cal)
19:30 – twix bar (200cal)
23:30 – biscuits (160cal)

Obviously regain is high on the agenda for us when we return home. During the second leg it became a daily conversation topic between Lizanne and myself about ‘if you could eat any 3 course meal right now, what would it be?’. So keeping up the trend, today I have been dreaming of my dream day of food when I get home, so here it is;

Breakfast – granola and yoghurt to start with, followed by eggs benedict then some fresh fruit
Lunch – one of my Aunty Marie’s extra large, homemade Cornish pasty
Mid afternoon snack – A Chapel Porth hedgehog ice cream (2 scoops of Cornish clotted cream ice cream, with a dollop of clotted cream on top, covered in honey roasted nuts)
Mid afternoon drink – Stop off at the Blue Bar in Porthtowan for a white chocolate hot chocolate
Evening meal – mums roast beef dinner with Yorkshire puddings, dessert- mums profiteroles!
Evening snack – glass of full fat milk and some 80%+ dark chocolate
Think that should cover it! The only problem will be when I’m still eating this volume a year down the line and have stopped all exercise, you may not even recognise me!

Simon TY – thank you for your riddles, although you’re right, with the accumulation of sleep deprivation I feel that currently our intellect is that of a 5 year old, so maybe riddles for kids would be better suited, so we have a better chance of figuring them out!
Life aboard continues to be salty and sweaty, the winds are due to pick up again tonight and the swell continues to be rather large. Meggy Moo has taken to the waves like a fish to water! The tunes are playing on the radio daily and we are nearing our half way mark already. So taking the rough wit the smooth, all is dandy aboard Doris.



  1. Liz Gavey says:

    Lovely to read your blogs girls and just to tell you Laura we cannot wait to give you a feast to remember when you get home to Cornwall. Well done on passing the halfway mark you are doing brilliantly you are now on the homeward run fantastic! Everyone sends you their love and prayers. Xxxx

  2. Peter Walker says:

    A very interesting article on food. I love food too. My Pacific has always been coping with he winter blues, or seasonally affected disorder. I manage it by completing the Devizes to Westminster Race, which is 125 mile kayak, from Devizes in Wiltshire to teh London Eye, Westminster. As a senior two man crew, or K2, it is done non-stop. I had my first warm up raace with my next crewmate, Alex, by daughter’s 21 year old boyfriend. At 65kg he needs a little more muscle bulk, at 95kg I need less fatty bulk. We’ll be doing at bit of supersize versus super skinny in the coming months. The race is at Easter every year. This will be my 7th.

  3. Michelle says:

    I’m loving that you are dreaming of food where the majority has to be consumed in the land of Kernow. Looking forward to joining you, eating the tasty treats very soon xx

  4. Simon TY says:

    Laura, I could make a joke about Australians and mental age of a 5 yr old …..but that would be a cheap shot at such fine cricketers.

    All the Strine is easy. One of you must be able to do a rubbish Australian accent, then will all be clear….

    Egg Nishner…..air conditioner
    Eye Level Arch…..”I’ll have a large……..”
    Inner Narkup Luddaze……in a couple of days

    Just try yr worst Australian accent. Lizanne might have been good at this, assuming she had a SA accent ?

    Food, yes, am sure you have drooled over yr imaginary meals most days

    Amazing progress still. Be safe


  5. Jim Andrews says:

    That is some serious feasting. you ladies must each have the constitution of a horse. Your self discipline is amazing. How many calories do you burn off each two hour shift? Did you weigh in, in Hawaii and Apia? If so, what was your weight loss? You have, only just over 1500 miles to go! which means you have rowed 7000 ish miles! Incredible! Can’t wait to read the book? See the Movie? Most of all I look forward to your arrival and global recognition of your achievement. Stay safe. XX

  6. JG says:

    I suppose the occasional joke might be in order.

    Butler: “you rang m’lord?”

    M’lord: “No you fool the bell did!”

    Doing well the Crew – just over a week to half way and then into the Coral Sea. Wonderful. The bulk of it is over and on the home straight. I noticed in your pictures at Samoa that you were all shadows of your former selves – not surpring considering what you are putting yourselves through and that’s despite 3630 calories per day! Keep safe.

  7. Teresa says:

    Love following your journey & loved reading this post…hugely insightful into the role of calories, nutrition & the dedication to keep going! You’re all doing an amazing job, keep rowing & keep safe x

  8. Don’t worry Laura – there is a great treat waiting for you in Australia, it’s called Vegemite ! I’ve never tried it but maybe it will taste a bit better than Marmite. I’ll get a jar in Sydney and bring it up to Cairns for you, it’s the least I can do – probably literally !

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