Plant-Based Food to Fuel Endurance Challenges!

bowl of pre-workout cereal with blackberries and yoghurt
Pre-Workout Performance Cereal from The Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier

As the countdown begins for my goal to cycle 100km by the end of the summer, all the necessary training is behind me. Now it is simply down to selecting the nutrition I will use to fuel the journey. Even as little as 10 years ago, the notion of fueling sport on plant-based nutrition alone was largely unheard of and certainly not taken seriously.  A lot has changed since then and now it is much more of an accepted practice and some believe it can even be beneficial to performance. 

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Chocolate Chargers Energy Bars

stack of chocolate chargers energy bars

As with energy gels, energy bars are a convenient and easily portable food manufactured to fuel endurance sports. One of the main distinctions between energy gels and energy bars is that the gels tend to be primarily carbohydrates and, although energy bars are mainly carbohydrates, they can also contain smaller amounts of protein and fat. As mentioned in my earlier article, Mango and Date Energy Bites, the main purpose of gels and bars is to serve as a sugar that digests quickly to provide energy for extended activities.

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Chocolate Cranberry Muffins

plate of chocolate cranberry muffins

Recently my computer suffered a sudden unexplained and extremely inconvenient demise.  As the computer was long past its prime, it was not worth making any attempt to restore the machine and the important piece was the loss of data. With most of my data on a back-up drive, I decided to cut my losses and retrieve what I could from there.  This exercise turned into a bit of a trip down memory lane as I sifted through old documents.

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Chia Jams

row of jars of kiwi, peach, strawberry, blueberry chia jam

When I moved into my first house, in the garden there were a couple of vines bursting with green and red grapes.  Wanting to make use of these abundant crops, I entered the world of jam and jelly making. One of my first creations was a grape and sherry jelly and I remember it as a wonderful way to preserve summer fruits and enjoy them through the year.

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Tropical Vacation Granola

jar of tropical vacation granola

As we move through August, I can’t help but notice that the evenings are getting darker just a little earlier and there is no doubt that summer is slipping inevitably into fall. The older I get, it feels as though time is moving faster and faster. Apparently this may be no illusion and there are various interesting theories and scientific research which suggest this might actually be the case!

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Mango and Date Energy Bites

green cutting board with selection of mange and date energy bites, shredded coconut and dried mango

When I first got involved in triathlon training, I was introduced to the world of energy gels and bars. These are items made up of mostly simple sugar and they serve to replenish depleted carbohydrate stores during extended exercise. At that time I was more interested in performance so, as they did their intended job, I did not give a second thought to what was actually in them.

As I am now trying to follow a more whole foods-based diet, when I began training for a 100km cycle ride I started to experiment with different foods for fuel. My staple had become a couple of Medjool dates which sustained me for shorter rides of under 50km. However, as my distances increased, I found I needed a little more of a boost.

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The Lemons of Italy

blue and white bowl full of lemos and cut up lemon in front
Bowl of Lemons

Since following plant-based recipes, lemons are an ingredient I now use more frequently. They are extremely versatile for many dishes and can provide a light, fresh tangy flavor to savoury dishes, baked goods or drinks or be used simply as a garnish. In Canada, our lemons primarily come from Mexico and like many of us, I buy them in the grocery store and have never given much thought to their origins.

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