Thursday, 12 July 2012

Sports Nutrition

Though very recreational, I exercise enough that electrolyte drinks and sports gels are a part of my weekly routine. I always cringe when I think of the sugar content, preservatives, artificial dyes, and artificial flavours associated with many of these products. It just seems counterintuitive to go for a long run while fueling your body with things that are arguably not really food. But, I haven't really found a practical and economical way around the issue.

Recently, I rediscovered my copy of The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier. I bought it at a race expo a few years ago, likely during one of my numerous failed attempts at becoming vegetarian. I quite enjoy Brendan's line of  Vega products (all-natural vegan sports nutrition, among other things), but the associated price tag is not especially compatible with my new grad budget. The recipes in the book, I hoped, would be just as good as the commercially available Vega but at a fraction of the cost.

For my little experiment, I prepared the lemon-lime sport drink and the lemon-lime sport gel.

Lemon-Lime Sport Drink (from The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Juice 1/4 lime
3 dates
2 cups water
1 tbsp agave
1 tsp coconut oil
Sea salt to taste

Filter out lemon and lime pulp from the juice if so desired. In a blender, combine all ingredients; process until smooth.

Lemon-Lime Gel (from The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier) [pictured below]
4 dates
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 tbsp lime zest
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp dulse
Sea salt to taste

In a blender, combine all ingredients. Process until blend reaches a gel-like consistency.

Lemon-lime sport gel
Lessons learned from the process:
1. Soak the dates first.
2. If you forget to add salt to the gel, don't add a little extra to the electrolyte drink. Baaaaaad move.
3. Making your own sports gel/drink means it'll take you an extra 20 minutes to get out the door for your run. Bonus, you have a kitchen mess to clean when you get home.
4. Strain the pulp from the citrus if you use a fuel belt with those little bottles. The pulp jams up in the red caps.
5. By the time you buy all the ingredients, I'm not sure how ahead of the game you really are. I like to use organic citrus for zesting. Worth doing the math.
6. In terms of taste and texture, the commercial Vega is better. I found this stuff awfully sweet.

All in all, I'll likely give this project another whirl. It would be nice to be able to make big batches. The book says the sports drink can be kept up to 2 weeks, but the gels only a few days.

Anyone else out there make their own sports nutrition products? Any recommended recipes?

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