The 7 Secrets of Post-Workout Recovery

Everyone loves the post-workout meal.  It serves as a reward, a celebration of having worked your ass off, and it’s a fantastic excuse to eat some of the sugars and simple carbs that we avoid most other times.

Mooove over, chocolate milk.

But many athletes are mistaken or unsure about what to eat after a workout. People are fond of believing that a glass of chocolate milk is the perfect post-workout meal.  As someone who subsisted on the stuff for weeks at a time as a kid, I was delighted the first time I heard this news.  But although it has a good carb-to-protein ratio, chocolate milk usually brings with it high-fructose corn syrup, and always the many downsides of dairy.

In search of a better way to refuel, I pored over several of my favorite sports-nutrition tomes: Chris Carmichael’s Food for Fitness, Thrive, Core Performance Endurance, and The Paleo Diet for Athletes.  (I don’t follow the meat-happy Paleo diet anymore, obviously, but I still like it for its section on workout nutrition.)  Interestingly, I found several recurrent ideas shared by these authors and athletes who are otherwise divergent in their approaches to the optimal diet for athletes.

I’ve compiled those ideas, plus a few that are less universal, but obviously important, into this list to help you decide what to eat after a workout, and when to eat it.

1.  Respect the fuel window. In the 15-60 minutes immediately following a workout, your muscles are primed to receive fuel to start the repair process.  Eat (or drink) your recovery meal right away, within the first half hour after the workout is complete.

2.  Make it easy to digest. Your muscles need blood to deliver nutrients to them.  The more of that blood that’s tied up in digesting a hot dog — sorry, any solid food — the less that gets to your muscles.  Ideally, you should get your immediate post-workout fix in liquid form.  Here’s the first strike against chocolate milk: Dairy is notoriously hard to digest.

3. Consume .75 grams of carbohydrate per pound of bodyweight, and include protein in a 4:1 or 5:1 carb-to-protein ratio. I’m not usually one for specific numbers around my food, but these were so common that I had to list them.  Your carbohydrates should include high-glycemic index carbs, like glucose (dates are a good way to get it), and some slower-release, even fibrous, carbohydrates as well.  And don’t forget the fat — include about half as many grams of healthy fat as you do protein.  Flaxseed and hemp oils are my favorites.

4. Get out of the acid state with greens or other vegetables and fruits. Intense exercise creates an acidic environment in your body.  If you don’t neutralize the acid with what you eat, your body will use the calcium from your bones and nitrogen from your muscle tissue to neutralize it.  Greens, sprouted vegetables, and certain fruits like lemons and limes have a neutralizing effect on your body.  (Yes, I know it’s weird, but lemons and limes are considered alkaline, not acidic, in the body.)  Strike 2 for chocolate milk, as animal protein is acid-forming.  So are heavily-processed protein powders; I use minimally-processed hemp protein powder in most of my smoothies.

5.  Drink 2 cups of water per pound of body weight lost during exercise. What else is there to say?  You need water, or you’ll die.

6.  Replace lost electrolytes. When you sweat, you lose electrolytes, the little conductors that transmit electrical impulses throughout your body.  So you need to replace them; some good sources of electrolytes are fruit, dulse flakes, a few pinches of sea salt, and Nuun tablets.

7.  Nourish your adrenal glands. Under the stress of an intense workout (or from caffeine if you included that in your pre-workout drink), your adrenal glands work hard to release hormones to help you perform.  To help them recover, add a teaspoon of ground maca, a Peruvian root that packs the added benefits of better sleep and increased libido.  Bonus!

Recovery doesn’t stop with your post-workout meal; you’ll want to eat again an hour or two later, this time focusing more on quality protein.  And there’s more you can do that doesn’t involve food — stretching, self-massage and foam rolling, rest, and even wearing compression socks.  See Megan’s Running Shorts post about workout recovery for details.

Here’s a recipe, from Thrive Fitness, for a recovery drink that satisfies all of the above criteria.  I use slightly less dulse because I’m not completely used to the taste of it.  Also, since this drink contains ground chia seeds, you’ll want to drink it immediately after you make it if you don’t want the chia to gel in the water.

Lemon Lime Recovery Drink

(from Thrive Fitness, reprinted with permission)

  • 4 large Medjool dates (remove pits)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp hemp protein
  • 1 tbsp ground salba
  • 2 tbsp sprouted buckwheat (or substitute cooked)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Juice from 1/4 lime
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp ground dulse flakes
  • 1 tsp maca
  • 1 tsp greens powder (chlorella or spirulina)

Blend all the ingredients together in a blender.

Now get out there, so you can come back and recover!  Before you do, take a look at the first post in this series, on what to eat before a workout.  And look for the third and final post, on what to eat during the workout, soon.

For more posts (and recipes) on natural sports nutrition, check out the Running Fuel page.



5 Keys to the Pre-Workout Meal Everyone Should Know

A glass of Orange juice.

Image via Wikipedia

What to eat before you work out has long been an area of uncertainty for runners and athletes.  Should we just eat the same stuff we consume during a workout or race?  What about a simple protein drink or meal-replacement shake?  Far too often, the result of my confusion has been a few swigs of Gatorade, a simple banana, or worse—nothing.

Gatorade doesn’t cut it

A few bad bonks have pretty much eliminated the chance of my starting a workout on an empty stomach, and I’m happy to say I hardly ever drink commercial sports drinks from 7-Eleven anymore.  Having done a lot of reading on the topic of pre-workout nutrition, I present the five nutritional pillars I use to build the perfect pre-workout drink.  (Note: “drink” implies the use of water.  I didn’t list it as one of the keys, but for performance and safety’s sake, make sure you include water in your pre-workout meal.)

The 5 essentials of pre-workout nutrition

1. Consume carbohydrates and protein in a 3-to-1 ratio, and include healthy fat (but just a little).

There are few arguments about this point.  The 3:1 ratio is almost universally advocated for optimal absorption of nutrients.  For a big workout, or if you have some time to let your stomach settle, 30 grams of carbs and 10 grams of protein is great.  Otherwise, halve the amounts.  Mark Verstegen, of Athletes Performance Institute, recommends a scoop of protein powder in a half-glass of Gatorade or watered-down orange juice.

As for the fat, a teaspoon or so of healthy oil, such as flaxseed or Udo’s blend, is all you need to help deliver nutrients where they need to go.  Coconut oil is even better for workouts, as the liver treats it similarly to glucose, a carbohydrate.

2. Include quick-working, high-glycemic carbs for energy now, sustained release (but not starchy!) carbs for energy later.

I first learned about this one from Brendan Brazier’s and Vega Sport.  In many of his recipes for pre-workout drinks, Brendan uses dates (glucose) as the high-GI, instant-energy sugar, and agave nectar (fructose) for slower energy release.

Why no starchy bagels or bread?  To convert starch into usable sugar requires your body to work, and during a workout you’d like to use your available energy for movement, not digestion.  If you’re going to consume something starchy, a sprouted version is best.

3. If you’ll sweat during the workout, you need lots of electrolytes.

Lack of electrolytes can do more than just bring on a nasty bonk; in fact, it’s downright dangerous.  Hyponatremia is the condition of having too much water and not enough sodium (an electrolyte) in your system, and it has proved fatal for endurance athletes who load up on water but don’t replace lost electrolytes.

Lots of salt is lost through sweat, and you should take in electrolytes during your workout.  Coconut water contains electrolytes; so do most sports drinks and gels, so most of us get them during workouts.  But you can get a head start on electrolyte replacement simply by adding salt or dulse powder to your pre-workout drink.

4. Consider caffeinating for improved performance.

Caffeine has been shown to significantly improve performance in endurance events and workouts.  Whether you want to use it is your own decision, but it’s certainly not something you should rely on for every workout—doing so will result in increased adrenal fatigue and slower recovery afterward.

To add caffeine to your pre-workout smoothie, you can replace the water component or your pre-workout drink with brewed yerba mate or tea, or even add ground mate leaves directly to your smoothie.  Alternatively, you can drink a cup of coffee as many runners do, but that can be rougher on both your intestines and your adrenal glands.

5. Add optional superfoods to go the extra mile.

While the above guidelines should be enough to give your workout a swift kick in the ass, you can always make your pre-workout drinks even better with the addition of a few superfoods.  Chia seeds are a popular one these days, and your body will absorb them in either whole or ground form (be prepared for them to gel though).  Maca powder is another one, great for helping the adrenal glands recover from the stress of a workout.  Acai, goji, chlorella, greens powder, ground flaxseed, hemp… the list goes on.

For a great ideal pre-workout drink recipe that makes use of all of these concepts, head on over to my Thrive Fitness review, where I included such a recipe at the end of the post.  The book, incidentally, is a fantastic resource for delving deeper into the ideas of workout-specific nutrition.

You can get almost any of the ingredients mentioned above at web health store, where you can use my coupon code RAZ652 at checkout to get five dollars off your first purchase.  (Disclosure: I earn a small commission on orders that use my code.)

Look for Part II of this series, focusing on the recovery meal, in the days ahead.

What do you think; how many of these keys does your pre-workout smoothie use?  What do you eat/drink before a workout?  Feel free to leave a link to your pre-workout meal in the comments.

For more posts (and recipes) on natural sports nutrition, check out the Running Fuel page.



Chia energy bars

Chia seeds are all over the health blogosphere these days, so much so that I was beginning to think they were a fad superfood.  But then Brendan Brazier included them in Thrive Fitness, and with all the research he does for his books and career, I tend to trust ol’ B-squared when it comes to nutrition.

The problem, for me, is that chia gels in liquid.  I’ve tried it in chia fresca, or iskiate, and then in some Thrive Fitness sports drinks.  And it’s fine; I can tolerate it, but I just don’t really enjoy drinking those little globs of chia snot.  So I was really excited to find that Thrive Fitness includes some energy bar recipes with chia, and Erin and I tried one out yesterday while we were snowed in.  (You’ll see that the recipe calls for salba, which is white chia, the heirloom variety of chia seed that Brendan recommends.)

As I was gathering the ingredients, I couldn’t resist taking a photo; it’s not often so much nutrition gathers in one place.  It’s kind of like a nerdy All-Star game:

Starting from the bottom and going clockwise, that’s white chia, sunflower seeds, raw cacao (substituted for carob powder), dates, toasted buckwheat flour (substituted for soaked or sprouted buckwheat, so mine isn’t quite raw), ground flaxseed, and hemp protein powder in the middle. (By the way, you can get all of this stuff at and get five dollars off your first purchase if you use my coupon code, RAZ652.)

Here’s the recipe.

Carob Strawberry Chia Energy Bar

(from Thrive Fitness, reprinted with permission)

  • 1 cup fresh dates (or substitute soaked dried dates)
  • 1/4 cup raw carob powder (or substitute roasted carob powder)
  • 1/4 cup hemp protein
  • 1/4 cup salba (white chia seeds)
  • 1/4 cup strawberries
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup sprouted buckwheat (or substitute cooked) (optional)
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries

Process everything except buckwheat and frozen strawberries in a food processor.  After processing, work in buckwheat and frozen strawberries with your hands, then shape and cut.

Brendan gives the warning that the moisture of your dates and berries will vary, so you might need to add more of the dry ingredients or the wet ingredients to get the right texture.  We doubled the amount of ground flaxseed to make the mixture easier to work with, and as I wrote above, I toasted some buckwheat flour since I didn’t have whole buckwheat to sprout or cook.

The best part about these bars: They’re completely raw and vegan, and they’re loaded with nutrients and omega-3’s.  The worst part: They need to be frozen if you don’t want them to be mushy, so they’re not really suitable for bringing on runs.  Once you’ve taken the mixture out of the food processor, you can just put them in a pan lined with parchment paper and freeze it, then cut into bars later.

The flavor is okay—since the point is the nutrition, I don’t really care about the taste as long as it’s minimally palatable.  You could probably improve it by adding some agave nectar or cutting back on the hemp protein, but then you’re either adding sugar or losing protein.

Enjoy the snotless chia!  Let me know if you come up with any flavor improvements, or a way to give them a firmer texture, unfrozen.

For more posts (and recipes) on natural sports nutrition, check out the Running Fuel page.



Tarahumara Pinole and Chia

In case you’re one of the six remaining runners on the planet who have yet to read Born to Run, allow me to explain.  The Tarahumara are “the running people” on which most of the book is based, a Mexican tribe of superathletes who run 50 or 100 miles at a time for pure enjoyment, seemingly without effort.

The Tarahumara diet is described in some small detail in the book, with repeated mention of two staples — pinole and chia seeds.  The author relates a few stories that ascribe almost magical, endurance-enhancing qualities to these simple foods.

Below are two basic recipes I experimented with.  

Pinole recipe

Pinole seems to describe any of a variety of forms of parched or roasted corn, ground into a flour and combined with water and some spices or sugar.  It can be made into a drink, an oatmeal-like paste, or baked to form a more-portable “cake.”  Here’s a recipe I made using regular cornmeal; you can change the proportions and spices to suit your taste.  If you don’t want to toast your own corn, you can get pinole at  (Note: Masa harina is probably more authentic than cornmeal, since that corn has been treated with lime, the way the Tarahumara maize is.)


  • 1/2 cup cornmeal, ground as fine as possible
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar, honey, or agave nectar
  • chia seeds (optional)

Toast the cornmeal in a skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until it turns light brown, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl, mix in cinnamon, and sweetener or other spices, and desired amount of water (see below).

[raw cornmeal photo]

[toasted cornmeal photo]

You can add a lot of water to make a drink of it, but I found this kind of weird because the corn didn’t dissolve.  If you add just a few tablespoons of water instead and mix, you get an oatmeal-like consistency that can be eaten with a spoon, or even out of the palm of your hand on a run:

[pinole photo]

Alternatively, you can bake the paste at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes until it has the texture of a brownie.  This more portable form is better for carrying on a long run, and a good alternative to sugary energy gels.

[baked pinole photo]

Pinole, in the form of energy bars, waffles, and more

This tasted ok (not great), but I found it pretty inconvenient to actually bring along on a run. It was hard to keep the biscuit from crumbling, and really, who is going to make a paste in the palm of their hand on a run?

To make pinole more convenient (and the type of thing you could actually bring on a run without making a mess), I worked with a baker to come up with 15 new pinole and chia recipes, so that we could get pinole in the form of energy bars, waffles, muffins, hand pies, and other running food. The recipes turned out really well, and all of them tasted way better than these initial experiments with plain pinole did.

Click here to learn more about the project, Fuel Your Run with Pinole and Chia.

Chia fresca (iskiate) recipe

[chia seeds photo]

Chia seeds (yep, the same ones used in Chia Pets) have enjoyed a surge in popularity recently among health-foodies.   There are many purported benefits of chia seeds, and legends abound about chia seeds reviving struggling athletes or warriors, with small amounts sustaining men for long periods of time.

As for buying chia seeds, I usually get these, but sometimes I’ll get white chia.  White chia seeds, also called salba, are an heirloom variety, so they’re the closest thing you’ll get to what the runners and warriors in the all chia legends were eating.

Chia seeds have the interesting property that when they’re left in water for a few minutes, the water begins to gel.  Supposedly this is helpful in digestion.  Here’s a a recipe for chia fresca (also called iskiate), a popular drink made with chia seeds, water, and lemon or lime.


  • about 10 oz of water
  • 1 Tbsp dry chia seeds
  • a few teaspoons lemon or lime juice
  • honey or agave nectar, to taste (optional)

Stir the chia seeds into the water; let them sit for about five minutes.  Stir again, and let sit for as long as you like.  The more it sits, the more gel-like the seeds and water become.  Add citrus juice and sweetener to taste.

[chia fresca photo]

I found chia fresca to be a refreshing drink for the morning, and I swear I felt an energy boost from it.  (But the placebo effect can be strong with me, so try for yourself.) But I really don’t like the gel consistency in the drink. I now choose to get my chia in smoothies, like the strawberry-iskiate smoothie from Fuel Your Run with Pinole and Chia.


Note: Links to are affiliate links.




Happy Sweet-Tooth Friday!  It’s Christine here with your healthy dessert recipe of the week.  With all the sugary Halloween candy going around, I thought it would be nice to explore an alternative sweetener like stevia!

Is stevia safe?

After a not-so-great first experience with stevia and pumpkin, I vowed to do some more research on stevia to get it right!  I didn’t just find out about cooking with stevia, I also learned about the crazy controversies surrounding the sweetener.

Stevia: still scary for the FDA

Stevia: still scary for the FDA

The sweet leaves of the stevia plant are originally from South America, and have been sweetening Yerba Mate in Paraguay for centuries.  Japan has been using stevia as a sweetener since the 70’s and now it makes up 40% of all sweeteners used.  So how come it’s 2009 and stevia is just showing up at my grocery store?

Stevia had quite the journey coming here: there were a handful of very dated and poorly executed studies on stevia that showed dangerous results, which scared the FDA and fueled sugar lobbyists.  Two of these old studies found stevia to be a contraceptive.  The data methods have been seriously questioned and the results have never been able to be reproduced (ha!) since.  One study from 1985 made it seem that very high doses of stevia were mutagenic in rats.  It has been shown now that the data was handled incorrectly- even water would appear mutagenic — but in 1991 the FDA decided that stevia was an unsafe food additive.

There was a lot of fuss about the FDA’s ruling because it was made on the idea that stevia hadn’t been proven safe.  This contradicts the FDA policy to rule unfavorably only if a food has been proven unsafe.  The ruling also conflicted with trade laws, and in 1995 the decision was reversed and stevia was allowed as a “dietary supplement” but not a “food additive.”

What does this distinction mean?  It says that stevia is safe to include into a food because of its health benefits, but cannot officially be listed as a “sweetener.”  Silly, right?

In 2006 the World Health Organization declared that stevia is safe.  Just last year in 2008 the FDA finally decided that Rebiana, one extracted part of stevia, is generally regarded as safe.  For some reason, they haven’t ok’d the entire leaf yet.  Rebiana is the main ingredient in Truvia, owned by Coca-Cola, and PureVia, owned by Pepsi.  My impression is that when the two big sweetener-guzzling companies got interested in stevia, their influence overpowered the aspartame and sugar lobbyists’ impact on the FDA.

[stevia in palm photo]So now that stevia is here, what good is it?  Well for starters, our bodies don’t metabolize the glycosides, so we can enjoy the sweetness calorie-free.  I feel much better about eating a natural no-calorie sweetener than a synthetic one.  Stevia also doesn’t effect glucose levels, which makes it safe for diabetics.   It doesn’t cause cavities in teeth, either.

As for baking, stevia is heat stable so it won’t break down like synthetic sweeteners under high heat, and it also can handle being frozen.  Because of this, it doesn’t caramelize so it is unsuitable for, well, making caramel, and also things like meringue where you would need the sugar to brown.  Stevia can’t ferment either- sometimes in bread recipes you’ll see sugar being used to feed the yeast.  With stevia the bread will not rise as much

Stevia as a substitute

When substituting with stevia, it’s important to compensate not just for sweetness but also for bulk.  You only need to use about 1/2 a teaspoon of stevia extract for 1 cup of sugar, so you need to make up for that loss.  But remember that sugar melts in the oven, so for every cup of sugar you take out, you only need 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of filler.  Refer back to my post on healthier baking to find some great replacements; pumpkin, mashed bananas and applesauce all work well.

Stevia extracts aren’t standardized yet, so the strength of different brands will differ.  Start with a very small amount like an 1/8 teaspoon and taste as you go.  Stevia can very quickly have a bitter aftertaste.  Try adding a tablespoon of maple syrup to “warm up” the taste.

Vegan Orange-Currant Brunch Cake

I modified this recipe from one posted on several different stevia websites, including  It’s a small batch, so you may want to double it for a taller presentation.

[brunch cake photo 2]


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp stevia
  • 1 tbs egg replacer
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3 tbs walnut oil
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup dried currants

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and stevia, then set aside.  Mix together the egg replacer with 1/4 cup warm water and stir until thick.  Add juice and oil.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry.  Fold in zest and currants.  Spread into a greased and floured tubed pan.  Bake for about 25 minutes, turning around halfway through.  A knife should come out clean when it’s finished.  Let cool for 20 minutes before unmolding.

[brunch cake in pan photo]

I was nervous about the simplicity of this recipe, but the results were delicious!  It is not too sweet at all- it reminded me of a good muffin.  The currants add nice bursts of flavor too.  I think the success here relied on using the stevia to play up the sweetness of the orange juice, instead of using the stevia as the main event.

Hope you learned something new about stevia and enjoy this yummy vegan cake!  If you have a good dessert recipe that uses stevia, I’d be pleased as punch if you sent it my way.

Have a sweet and safe Halloween!
xoxo Christine



What to Eat the Week Before A Marathon or Half Marathon

A lot of people make the same mistake in how they eat before a marathon — they wait until the night before the race to eat their big meal.  If you’re only going to eat one big meal before the race, make it lunch instead.  This gives your body more time to process the nutrients, lowers the chance of stomach troubles, and might help you sleep more soundly.

Better still, don’t wait until the day before the race to fuel up.  Start topping off your body’s energy stores by eating a few extra calories in the days leading up to your marathon or half.

What You Should Eat the Week Before A Marathon or Half

So what should you be eating to maximize the energy you’ll have available on the big day?  According to Chris Carmichael, Lance Armstrong’s coach, carbohydrates are most important, followed by protein, followed by fat, which is of little use before a race.

Carbohydrates – There’s some truth to the “pasta party” idea, just not the night before the big day.  Starting a race with full stores of carbs has been shown to improve performance and endurance.  So fill up on those grains, starchy vegetables, and fruits the week before the race.

Protein –  Since you’ll be eating more food during this time, your protein levels should increase naturally as you increase portion sizes.

Fat – The nutrient you need least in the week prior to the race is fat.  It just doesn’t do much to help you on race day, so it’s not worth filling up on fat calories.  True, your goal in training is to get your body to burn fat stores before it has to burn carbohydrates, but you have plenty of fat for this in your body, regardless of how skinny you are.  I sincerely hope you’re not still stuck in the low-fat diet craze, but this is one time when slightly reducing intake of even healthy fats is beneficial.

What you eat the day of the race is equally important as what you’re eating the week before.  See my post about race day eating for more.

For more posts (and recipes) on natural sports nutrition, check out the Running Fuel page.



Chickpea Granola Bars

Hello my healthy Sweet-Toothers!  Friday has finally arrived, so it’s Christine here with another STF!  This week I’ve got a great recipe for you that I wasn’t quite sure what to call.  I was leaning towards Everything-But-the-Kitchen-Sink bars, or Anything-Goes bars, but I think my boyfriend Greg summed it up nicely by calling them (with his mouth full) “delicious peanut butter granola bars.”

[christine granola photo]

This idea started at the grocery store when I picked up a box of Quaker chewy oatmeal bars that I was on sale.  I guess Quaker has a good marketing team because I felt totally betrayed when I checked out the back of the box…high fructose corn syrup…partially hydrogenated oil…what?!  I put the bars back on the shelf, determined to make my own better version.

I’ve baked granola bars before, but they always come out rock hard—never chewy.  With a little investigating, it seems the word on the (baker’s) street is that to get chewy bars, you just MAKE granola bars, not BAKE them.

Without baking the bars, the challenge is getting all the elements to hold together.  This called for something sticky!  I was leaning toward maple syrup, but the home-style combo of peanut butter and honey was calling my name.

[chickpea granola photo]As for the chickpeas I threw in the bars, I got that idea from The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine.  After my Blueberry Crumble Bar post from Deceptively Delicious, I thought it was only fair I give the competition a try too.  The concepts indeed are similar, but Missy has an interesting recipe for roasted cinnamon sugar chickpeas called “Rattlesnacks.”  She bakes them for an hour to really get them crunchy like soy nuts.  I cut that time in half to make them more suitable for a chewy bar.  I also tossed them in sucanat instead of sugar.  Thanks to Clare in the comments section for introducing me to that sweetener!

Here’s the recipe I developed, but don’t follow it too closely- use any kind of beans, cereal, or dried fruit that you’d like!

Healthy Granola Bar Recipe

[granola bar ingredients photo]1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp sucanat or natural sugar
1 1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup whole grain cereal (like brown rice krispies)
1 cup dried fruit (I used Sunmaid’s variety pack of “Fruit bits”)

1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
3 tbs canola oil
1 tbs ground flax seed

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the ground flax seed with 1/4 cup warm water, set aside to thicken.

Toss the chickpeas in the sucanat and 1 tsp of the cinnamon.  Bake for 10 minutes, stir around in the pan, then back for 10 more minutes.  Add the oatmeal to the pan and bake for 5 more minutes, stirring the oatmeal once.
Stir together the peanut butter, honey, canola oil, and flax paste.
Combine the chickpeas, oatmeal, cereal, dried fruits, and remaining tsp of cinnamon.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir to combine.
Press the mixture into a greased pan.  My 9×13 casserole dish was just a little too big, so go for an 8×8 if you have it.  Really PRESS and PACK IN the mixture as hard as you can.  Refrigerate until firm, then cut into 24 bars.

[granola bar close photo]

Hope you enjoy these chewy granola bars!  There is a decent amount of protein in them too from the chickpeas and the peanut butter.  The chickpeas are a surprisingly nice addition to the bar- they don’t taste out of place at all.  My boyfriend and I devoured our tray in no time!

That’s it for this week.  By the time you read this post, I’ll be on an airplane on my way to Destin, Florida!  Finally my sweet, sweet summer vacation has arrived!  Cross your fingers for no hurricanes!

See you next Sweet-Tooth Friday!
xoxo Christine

For more natural sports nutrition posts and recipes, check out the Running Fuel page.



Natural Sports Drink from Thrive

Whew!  I just got back from my 20-miler this morning, that which was postponed due to my feeling like crap when I woke up yesterday.  All better today though!

I did it in 2:38:54, a 7:56 minute-per-mile pace.  This is a little slower than the 7:45 I was shooting for.  My temptation is to list a million excuses about why it was slow, but I’m resisting the urge and just leaving it at that.  No excuses.  Hopefully I’ll be faster next time.

I brought along a Thrive raw energy gel, which worked well again, and a lemon-lime Thrive sports drink as well.  I’m really starting to love making my own sports drinks and gels.  If I don’t eat processed food normally, then why would I eat it when I’m running? Since my Thrive 30-Day Challenge is over and I don’t want to abuse the privilege of posting recipes that Brendan has so nicely granted me, I’m going to make this the last one I share on the blog for a while. Smoothies, sports drinks, energy puddings, energy gels, recovery drinks, vegan pizzas, energy pancakes, crackers and dips, salads, desserts… all vegan, high-raw, and energy-dense.

Ok, here you go.

Thrive Homemade Sports Drink Recipe (raw)

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Juice of 1/4 lime
  • 3 dates
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • sea salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  This makes about 16 ounces, so I usually make a double recipe to fill up my Nalgene bottle.

Alright, I’m out!  You’ll get a double-serving of me tomorrow, since I’ll be guest-posting on another blog as well.

For more posts (and recipes) on natural sports nutrition, check out the Running Fuel page.