Vegan Fig Rolls as Healthy Snacks or “Fuel Food”

Image of three fig rolls or fig newtons stacked

I have always considered Fig Rolls (UK) and Fig Newtons (North America) as a relatively healthy choice in the world of commercial cookies and biscuits. As easily digestible carbohydrates, they have also been a tasty favourite as “fuel food” for sports. However, they still fall into the category of processed food and so I was pleased to come across a naturally sweetened, gluten free, no-bake alternative to these popular commercial treats.

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Meeting the Challenge – Cycling 100KM

Image by B. Johnston

At one time, I imagined cycling the Paris-Brest-Paris.  For anyone unfamiliar with this event, it is a 1,200km ride in France completed within a time limit of 90 hours.  You may be forgiven for wondering why anyone would voluntarily take on such a feat. However, it seems ultra events like this have gained huge popularity over the years. Despite this, these days my goals are somewhat less ambitious and, although my fitness is far from the conditioning required for the Paris-Brest-Paris, my mind can’t resist contemplating this unrealized goal every time I get on a bike.

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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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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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Is it harder to lose weight today than it was 30 years ago?

image of slim female
Losing weight in 2020 [Photo Credit: Tumisu from Pixabay]

I recently found myself watching an episode of Highway to Heaven, a series originally released in the 1980’s. There were several things that stood out. The first was the fashions of the day, which I recall only too well, including “big hair”, leg warmers and over-sized tops with shoulder pads. Cellular phones were not commonplace and some of the “political correctness” was lagging behind today’s standards. However, what struck me most of all was just how thin everyone was.

Around the same time, I came across an article in The Atlantic by Olga Khasan referring to a study published in 2016 in the journal, Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, that asserted that “it’s harder for adults today to maintain the same weight as those 20 to 30 years ago did, even at the same levels of food intake and exercise”.

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