One of the things that I have been a bit worried about doing this whole30, is how I was going to fuel my long-distance training as I started to up the miles. So far, on my long runs, I haven’t eaten anything (although I would probably take a small handful of nuts/dates with me if I thought I would need them for a run), but doing a long bike ride for me is a different matter.
So when I organized with some friends to ride with them this weekend, and they (then!) told me that they were planning a 100km ride, I thought I probably should do some research. I haven’t ridden with them since the spring, as it got too hot, and the meet time got too early, and I generally got a bit lazy. Seeing as I have to get up at 4.40am on a Friday morning now (first day of my weekend), to do my long run with the road runners, I figured meeting at 6am for a cycle wasn’t actually that early, so I agreed to it. I’ve been turbo-ing mostly a few times a week since Feb/March, but I haven’t been out on the road, so I was a bit worried about being able to fuel tired (and bike-unfit!) legs for 100km of hot, hilly cycling.
What my research turned up was Larabars. I have never seen these in shops (coming from the UK, and now living in Oman), but from what I read, they are whole30, paleo, vegan compliant etc., and there were lots of suggestions out there for homemade versions of them. I looked at a couple of recipes, and the thing they all had in common was a ratio of 1:1:½ of nuts, dates and dried fruits (can also be dates). Living in a country where dates are so cheap (and so fresh, and so yummy), this seemed like a pretty good idea. I found some dried pears in the supermarket (no mean feat when a lot of dried fruit out here has added sugar!) and decided I would go for date, cashew, pear and cinnamon as my trial batch. I love cinnamon, it’s definitely my favourite spice, and whenever a recipe calls for half a teaspoon, I put at least double, if not triple that amount in! The promise that they would only take 5 minutes to make was also highly appealing, due to the fact that I made them at 9pm the night before I was going cycling.
The verdict? Brilliant. Dead easy to make, very filling (you can’t accidentally eat too many of these!), fairly cheap to make, and did the job fantastically out on the bike. Now I just need to not eat the remaining ones in the fridge as snacks……. Must. Save. For. Exercise. Fuel.
- 1 cup pitted dates (the juicier the better)
- 1 cup cashew nuts
- ½ cup dried pears
- 1 (generous) tsp of cinnamon
- 1tbsp water
Combine all ingredients in a food processor, except the water. Keep blitzing until the mixture sticks together when you pinch it between your fingers. If it doesn’t stick, or seems a bit dry, sprinkle in the tablespoon of water and continue. Keep the nuts and fruit with reasonably sized chunks, or keep pulsing to personal preference level of chunkiness… or smoothness. Tip out onto a sheet of baking paper, place another piece on top, and flatten out with your hands or a chopping board/rolling pin etc. Stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to help you cut it, and then try not to eat it all in one go! As long as you keep to the ratio of dates:nuts:fruit, you can probably make as much, or as little as you like. I will definitely be experimenting with other flavours as time goes on; they’re cheaper, tastier and cleaner than commercially available energy bars. Epic win.