#FridayFuel – Ultra Bites

This recipe features Unived Ultra Butter which has become a staple for me before races and big training days. Ultra Butter contains peanuts, cashews, virgin coconut oil, dried coconut, pea protein, dates, himalayan pink salt, cocoa powder, and vanilla flavor. It tastes great on its own and comes in handy packaging so that you can eat it on the run. I’ve also been enjoying it in my oatmeal, as a waffle topping, and with my apples 🙂

Ultra Bites

  • Servings: ~15 balls
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted dates, soaked for 10 minutes & drained
  • 1 packet of Unived Ultra Butter
  • ¼ cup vegan chocolate chips (or sub any add-ins like dried fruit)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds (or sub flax or hemp seeds)
  • 2/3 cup gluten free rolled oats

Directions

  1. After dates have been soaked and drained, pulse in a food processor until combined in a dough-like consistency.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients & pulse until combined. You want them to be chunky, so don’t overprocess.
  3. Scoop mix and roll into balls of desired size. Should yield ~ 15.
  4. Allow to chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Store them there as well.

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#FridayFuel – Muir Energy Gels Product Review


During my spring training trip I decided to test a new gel on the market. Muir Energy caught my eye when I saw they are using simple, clean ingredients. I also love that the products are hand-made in small batches in Southern California. SoCal is where I got my start in running – a place close to my heart! Here is what stood out to me on their site:

  • Muir Energy uses only 4-6 ingredients for all of its products. That’s it!
  • Muir Energy is 100% Organic, Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-free and non-GMO.
  • Muir Energy is loaded with nutrition. For example, each serving contains 290-350mg of Potassium. Comparable to eating a small banana!
  • Muir Energy’s taste. You will have to decide for yourself, but everybody who’s tried it says it is unbelievably good, unlike any other gel you’ve ever tasted.
  • Muir Energy contains 115-150 calories per 30g serving – 15%-50% more than other energy gels.

I also like what founder Ian Muir McNally had to say:

“Like many endurance athletes, I struggled to find the right nutrition to keep me going while pushing my body to its limits. Most food bars are dry, heavy and not very healthy. Most energy gels are sweet and synthetic tasting, and contain ominous sounding ingredients. I wanted something simple. And quick. Something that tasted really good and was made with real organic ingredients – derived from nature, not in a lab. Something clean, reliable and good. Clean Nutrition. Pure Energy.”

Let’s start with the ingredients. On their site they do an excellent job going into detail about some of their key ingredients and how they will help you not only during activity but with overall health. Check it out here.

Now to move on to the taste… Gel haters rejoice because Muir Energy gels are not like your typical gel! The gels are known to be thick which made me apprehensive – I’ve always steered away from the thicker gels. There is even mention on their site that you actually “eat” the gels. There’s no liquid to them at all. The reason?

Bacteria and pathogens proliferate in an aqueous environment. To keep their products food safe, thinner or watery gels must use synthetic preservatives. We use exclusively real food ingredients with no synthetic preservatives. We have accomplished this by reducing water activity in our products. This results in a thicker, more viscous – as well as more flavorful, nutritionally and calorically dense – product.

Back to the taste…I started out with the Passion Fruit Pineapple Banana gel and my first reaction was “this is unlike anything I’ve ever put in my mouth!” I don’t always like to be a follower, but they can add me to the list of people who say it’s unlike any other gel I’ve tasted. Yes, it is that different from other gels on the market. I immediately understood the comment about “eating” the gels – you can actually chew on them. Unreal! The best way to describe it is an airy taffy – but without the stickiness and sugariness. Like a light and fluffy whipped taffy. I was sold after the first one. Throughout my week I tried many other flavors (see list below). I noticed that on colder days they are a little tougher to squeeze out of the packet. Their suggestion for that is to pre-cut the gel pack a little further down from the neck so that you can rip it open there and get more out easily. Having them against my body seemed to do the trick for me.

The only one I wasn’t too fond of was Blackberry Thyme. That’s really a personal preference as I’m not a big fan of thyme. I would totally eat it again – just not one of my favorites. My hands-down favorites are the Passion Fruit Pineapple Banana and Pineapple Kale. I’m a fruity kind of girl (keep your comments to yourself) and they really nailed it with these flavors! I also really enjoyed the Cashew flavors I tried (especially Cashew Vanilla because…vanilla!) In the past I have used nut butter packets for fuel but Muir Energy makes ingesting nut butters on the run even better by adding ingredients like blackstrap molasses & pink himalayan salt. Be still my heart!

My favorites ❤

FLAVORS

Fast Burning
*Blackberry Thyme
*Red Raspberry
Red Raspberry Matè
*Passion Fruit Pineapple Banana
*Pineapple Kale

Slow Burning
Cacao Almond
Cacao Almond Matè
Cacao Almond Peppermint
*Cashew Lemon
Cashew Lemon Matè
*Cashew Vanilla
Cashew Vanilla Matè

(* flavors I have tried)

That’s right – they offer both slow burning and fast burning gels – how awesome is that? As you can tell by the flavor names the fast burning gels are fruit and berry-based while the slow burning are nut butter based. Not only does this provide options for short, intense vs. long endurance sessions, but it will also appeal to the fat-adapted athletes who want to stick with higher fat fuel towards the beginning of the race and then transition to quick metabolizing simple sugars during later stages.

They also offer Energy Jams and Spreads. On their site they state you can eat them like the gel, or you can spread them on toast, waffles, bananas, and even add it to hot water or an espresso. I will be ordering some of the Jams and Spreads next!

Photo: Muir Energy

There is a growing list of stores where you can find their products – just check on their web site. Or you can go the online route where they offer a custom variety pack so you can create your dream team!

​I’ll be using Muir Energy gels to fuel my run at UROC next weekend!!

Happy Training 🙂

#FridayFuel – Race Week Edition

Race season is about to kick off which means it’s time to focus even more on nutrition. As this continues to be the question I’m most frequently asked, here is what I’ve been eating throughout the week leading up to Boston.

img_6718Breakfast: I’ve been enjoying a version of my Ultimate Blueberry Beet Recovery Shake each day but every once in a while I mix it up by turning it into a smoothie bowl. I simply omit the ½ cup of water to make it thicker. Today’s smoothie bowl consisted of beet juice, tart cherry juice, a frozen banana and ½ cup of frozen strawberries, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of Flora Udo’s Oil, 2 large handfuls of kale, a chunk of ginger and a chunk of turmeric. To top off the bowl I’ve added some chocolate coconut granola for additional healthy fats, blueberries for additional antioxidants, and some chia seeds for essential amino acids.

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Lunch: It’s all about big salads for me. A great way to use up any veggies or leftovers in my fridge, my salads typically consist of the following base ingredients: one chopped romaine heart, (I’ll substitute/add spinach and/or mixed field greens when I have them on hand), 3 cooked beets (I save time by using Love Beets pre-cooked beets), 4 ounces of tempeh sautéed in coconut oil, ½ an avocado, seeds (typically sunflower or pumpkin) and lately I’ve been on a coconut bacon kick.

 

Dinner: I went with 2 dinner bowls this week. img_6689Monday and Tuesday was the burrito bowl featuring cauliflower rice. I’ve become a big fan of cauliflower rice and it’s really simple to make. Chop 1 full head, throw it into a food processor and pulse a few times until you get the consistency of rice. In a pan over medium heat I sauté ½ of a chopped yellow onion in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Once tender I add the “riced” cauliflower and cook, stirring consistently, for about 10 minutes. For my bowl I layered greens, cauliflower rice, cooked black beans, ½ an avocado, pico de gallo, and topped it with Chipotle Just Mayo.

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Wednesday through Friday I switched to a sesame tempeh and broccoli bowl recipe that I found at Mind Body Green.

 

 

 

img_6717Snacks: My smoothies and salads are very filling so during a taper week I don’t always need snacks during the day. However I always make sure to eat something before my evening run. This week it’s been brown rice cakes with almond butter and cherry chia jam, and these delicious new mint chocolate coconut beet bites I found on Love Beets’ Instagram page. You can find the recipe here.

 

 

And then of course there’s always my favorite – the banana!

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Happy Training (and fueling)!

#FridayFuel – Peanut Butter Jelly Power Balls

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A quick and delicious handmade fuel for training, racing, or anytime you’re craving a sweet snack. I like to freeze a few in little baggies that I can pop into my vest when I’m ready to hit the trails! You can substitute any dry fruit or go big and use chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter Jelly Power Balls

  • Servings: 15-20
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Know exactly what's in your fuel by making your own energy bites!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and thoroughly drained
  • 2/3 heaping cup of rolled oats
  • ¼ cup chopped dried cherries (or other dried fruit, chocolate chips)
  • 3 Tbsp peanut or almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds

Directions

  1. Pulse the soaked, drained dates in a food processor until they form a ball.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. Try not to over-process as it will turn into a paste. You want texture!
  3. Roll into ~1 inch balls – this should yield 15-20 depending on your preferred size.
  4. Pop in fridge or freezer. They’ll last up to a week in the fridge.

#FridayFuel – Chocolate Cashew Pudding

img_2326I always enjoy finding new desserts to satisfy my sweet tooth while providing my body with proper recovery fuel. When Minimalist Baker posted this recipe I couldn’t wait to try this alternative to my beloved Avocado Chia Chocolate Mousse. This rich, creamy pudding loaded with protein and healthy fats surely didn’t disappoint! It tastes great as is, but for an extra indulgence add some coconut whipped cream and peanut butter drizzle, or fresh fruit.

Chocolate Cashew Pudding

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A rich and creamy pudding high in protein and healthy fats.

Ingredients

  • 1 scant cup (105 g) raw cashews
  • 3-4 Tbsp (45-60 ml) unsweetened almond milk or light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup (24 g) unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) maple syrup (or sub more dates)
  • 2 pitted Medjool dates (or sub more maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions

  1. Add raw cashews to a mixing bowl and cover with boiling hot water. Let set for 1 hour, then rinse and drain thoroughly.
  2. Add to blender along with remaining ingredients and blend until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
  3. Scoop pudding into serving containers and cover. Chill in the refrigerator until cold and thickened – at least 2-3 hours. Serve as is or with my favorites: coconut whipped cream, peanut butter drizzle, or fresh fruit!


Credit: minimalistbaker.com

#whatveganathleteseat Part 2 – Foods I currently love

It’s been a long time since I’ve checked in with some of my favorite meals, snacks, and workout fuel. And since people are always asking me what I’m eating to fuel my body for training and racing – here are some of my favorites!

Prepared
Training for the 2016 season is ramping up which means quick and easy meals and snacks that taste good and have high nutritional value are key.

kale chickpeasKale & Chickpea Curry – when I hear curry, I’m sold! This recipe was inspired by an IG user (@raftingveggie) who was inspired by a recipe on VegWeb. So quick and easy to make, you can find my version here.

 

 

roasted veggies & tempeh_

Roasted Tempeh & Veggies – it doesn’t get much simpler than this. I chop up some veggies (pictured here: broccoli, brussels sprouts, delicata squash), a package of tempeh, toss all of it in a pie plate with some melted coconut oil, and bake for ~30 minutes at 350.
smashbowl

 

Southwestern Smashbowl – 1/2 cooked sweet potato, 1/2 can black beans, 1/2 avocado. I’ll throw it all in a bowl, and if I have some cashew sour cream on hand I’ll add some Tamerlaine Farm Rudy’s Hot Smoked Red sauce to make it spicy. Then I’ll mash it all together and enjoy!

 

Packaged
While I am not a fan of processed foods sometimes pre-packaged foods and snacks can make life a lot easier. The key is to find foods that have very few ingredients.

pumpkin seedsCB’s Nuts Organic Pumpkin Seeds – they taste like buttered popcorn. Enough said. There are 2 ingredients – pumpkin seeds and sea salt. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of iron.

 

 

 

 

 

lentil macaroniTolerant Organic Green Lentil Elbow Macaroni – Tolerant Foods has a full line of legume “pastas” and they are awesome! All with one ingredient. A great way to get a healthy dose of protein and fiber.

 

 

 

 

papusa

Tres Pupusas Black Bean & Sweet Corn – this is one of two vegan flavors they offer (the only one I can get locally – I need to get my hands on the Kale and Pinto Bean!) I pop these in the toaster oven for 10 minutes and enjoy them with a side of avocado and Tamerlaine Farm Casey’s Hot Super Green sauce.

 

 

Pre-Workout
dateStuffed Dates 
– If I have a bike workout in the morning I like to have a little more than my steadfast banana. I remove the pit of the date and fill it with almond butter. Then I sprinkle shredded coconut, cinnamon, and sea salt on top. They are super-filling, tasty, and also easy to eat on the bike 🙂

 

antsonalogAnts on a Log – what can I say? I cannot out-grow this treat. I have been enjoying this snack every day for at least a month now before my 2nd workout of the day. Celery stalks, almond butter, and raisins – BAM!

 

 

There’s your view into my kitchen to see what I am currently eating. Simple, nourishing meals and snacks that provide sustained energy for my training, and speed recovery. Since this is a taper week and I have a little extra time on my hands, I made one of my all-time favorites from The Post Punk Kitchen. Beet burgers! A little more work goes into making them but it is totally worth the effort!

beet burgers

Feel free to share your favorite vegan recipes that fuel your training with me – I always love to try new things! 🙂