Gear Review: PowerBar Performance Blends

To start off, let’s make it clear that I hate gels. HATE. My last two marathons (in November and January) have had me nearly barfing them back up EVERY 45 minutes of EVERY single run – true story.  So when I received a wonderful treat of race fuel in the mail thanks to the Canada Running Series Toronto Yonge Street 10K and Power Bar Canada, my first thought was who could I pass these along to? But as I am beginning to pick up my mileage, having this box on my counter made it a very easy decision as to what to fuel with on Saturday during my 90 minute Tribe run. And guess what, to my very pleasant on route surprise, my package of PowerBar® Performance Blends isn’t actually a gel, or even close to it – it’s applesauce and guess what else I LOVE APPLESAUCE.

powerbarThe Details:
PowerBar® Performance Blends are a before and during activity fuel source that should be eaten 30minutes prior to activity and then throughout as per your training plan (for me, every 45minutes). It is a gluten- free fruit-based blend “formulated with PowerBar’s C2MAX, a 2:1 glucose to fructose blend found to deliver 20-50% more energy to muscles than glucose alone” which according to PowerBar, can help improve endurance performance by 8%. The Performance Blends contain no artificial flavouring and they’re a “good source” of vitamin C.

My Experience:
The individual packages of the PowerBar Performance Blends are huge – it has a giant knob on the end and makes it challenging to fit more than two into a pouch. When my 45 minute watch chime went off I dreaded how my body was going to respond. I filled my mouth with water unscrewed the cap and squeezed preparing to down it all in one quick swallow. The fact that this wasn’t a gel but was actually applesauce was the most amazing run discovery. I immediately ate more and then thought about how I could take some in my lunch to work the next week. If I hadn’t eaten it all that large but handy screw cap would’ve allowed me to save some for my next walk break, but since it was totally delicious I ate it all.

An Area to Grow:
As I wrote above the individual packaging is huge for on route fuel. For my long marathon training runs I would need to bring along at least 6 of these and there is no way they would all fit into my current fuel belt pouches. That being said, they are delicious and very easy to swallow – so for that reason alone, I will figure out a way to make them work!

Conclusion:
If you are an endurance athlete who has challenges fueling mid event, I highly suggest you check these out. You can buy them online in two different flavours or from your local running store.

Chocolate Chickpea Power Bars

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The Tribe ready to run!

This weekend, being the official three weekends left until the Around The Bay Road Race (ATB), meant the Tribe runners were road tripping to Hamilton for our simulation run. The simulation run means we do most of the route, keeping it nice at slow (vs. race pace) and get to experience the beautiful rolling hills the Northshore Blvd. has to offer.

As I have decided to sit this ATB out, I was more than joyed to support the Tribe with on-route support. I had the typical run fuel sources of gels, drinks, and bars, but wanted to find something extra special as a post run fuel source – enter The Get Naked in the Kitchen cookbook by Briana Santoro.

cookbook

Photograph from Amazon.com

The Get Naked in the Kitchen cookbook is designed to “transform your relationship with food.” Briana along with some of Toronto’s healthy eating experts including Marni Wasserman, and Melissa Ramos, come together and share their passion for food by showing readers that there isn’t only one right way of eating and choosing what you eat doesn’t need to be complicated. For me, someone who hates spending anything longer than 10 minutes in the kitchen, this was key – I love my Tribe, but the recipe needed to be short and sweet.

So enter The Get Naked in the Kitchen cookbook, unique healthy recipes, clear directions, vibrant photographs and a number one seller on Amazon, this cookbook has everything you need. Whether you’re looking to make quinoa and pear pancakes, orange soda, sweet cucumber rolls, squash and coconut soup, pomegranate poached halibut, black bean yum tum stew, or hemp fudge this cookbook will give your weekly meal plans the creative healthy boost you’re looking for.

What caught my eye was the recipe for Chocolate Chickpea Power Bars by Shannon Kadlovski (well it was actually the gingerbread cookie recipe – my all time favourite cookie – but without a food processor the ½ pound of dates I bought weren’t going anywhere fast). So with my recipe in had I rocked my local Urban Sobey’s and let the baking fun begin.

Ingredients

  • One 14oz (398 ml) can of chickpeas (BPA-free can)
  • ½ cup sunflower seed butter
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup cacao powder
  • ½ cup 100% New Zealand whey Or vegan protein powder (I used vanilla Vega Smoothie protein powder)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ tsp matcha green tea powder
  • 1 tsp grapeseed oil

They Are A Hit!

IMG_7173[1]The recipe is super easy, extra tasty, and very high in protein which makes them perfect for after a long run or to curb that afternoon sweet tooth. Another great thing is that they also contain lots of fiber – perfect for a healthy snack, not so great if you were planning on eating them prior to your long run,  so I would not recommend them as a pre-run fuel, but strongly suggest you save them for afterwards to help those muscles recover and rebuild.

To make the bars you pretty much you add everything together, flatten the mixture into a pan, and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. I didn’t have IMG_7174[1]a food processor, so my “brownies”, as I have been calling them, were much chunkier than those in the cookbook, but as it states there “isn’t just one way,” so I made them my own. And from the look of the Tribe post run (and the requests for the recipe) they were a success! (Just like the Tribe was as they rocked through the ATB training run!)

Here are the actual directions for those wanting to recreate this yummy recipe.

Directions   

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Rinse chickpeas with water and strain.

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3. In a food processor combine chickpeas, seed butter, maple syrup, banana, vanilla extract, and salt until smooth.

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4. Add the oats, cacao powder, and protein powder. Pulse just to combine.

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5. Add coconut, cranberries, and matcha powder. Pulse again just to combine.

6. Grease a 9” x 9” square pan with grapeseed oil and spread mixture into pan.

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7. Bake in the oven for 18–20 minutes.

8. Cut into bars or squares right away and let cool in pan.

9. Once cooled, remove from pan and serve!

The Get Naked in the Kitchen cookbook certainly adds a unique spin to eating healthy. The recipes are “stripped down”, very creative, and are presented in a way that is user friendly for any level of chef. If you’re looking for something different to spice up your weekly meal planning I highly suggested you check this cookbook out!

Do you have a clever or creative cookbook suggestion? Something that makes great food with little time and effort? Let me know in the comment below!