It’s really easy to get overwhelmed with all the energy bars, gels, drinks, etc that are flooding the market these days. Let’s face it…”healthy” energy supplements are big business. Almost every company that makes any kind of supplement has tried to break into the energy gel show…resulting in a LOT of confusion for those of us that are actually purchasing the stuff.
The problem with these is that even though they can taste really good, there’s a reason they taste so good: lots of sugar. And while that’s all well and good if you’re looking for a quick spike, it’s not so good if you want that quick spike without the associated crash.
The other problem is that they’re expensive. Not one at a time, necessarily, but if you consume them frequently the cost can add up. It’s disappointing and frankly shocking to go through the grocery line with a few veggies, some chicken and a few other items that might seem inexpensive…and to see your bill come out on the heavy side because of the five or six energy gels you threw in there.
I’m not saying don’t buy them; I have definitely purchased my share of all sorts of gels. Currently, I’m a fan of HammerGel (this is not a plug…I don’t get paid from these guys. I just like that you can buy a large bottle of it and refill their handy small squeeze bottle instead of having sticky envelopes from gels I’ve consumed floating around in my bag).
But I digress. Basically, when I realized I was eating a lot of this stuff to get me through practices or a morning workout or a long bike ride, I started looking for other cheaper, healthier options, made from ingredients I already have in my kitchen. So this week, I will give you a couple of recipes to try on your own. You’ll get a comparable calorie and energy boost from these homegrown versions, you’ll know more about what ingredients are going into your gels and into your body, and you’ll save a bunch of money by making your own schtuff.
This first recipe uses chia seeds, which I talked about a few months ago when I first started this blog, and might look a little funny (actually, neither of these really win any points for appearance), but tastes really good and you can add things like lemon juice or a little grapefruit to change the flavor.
The second recipe calls for organic brown rice syrup, but to be honest, I used organic agave nectar and it worked just fine. It’s also a lot easier to find, as in you can find it now in most fairly well-stocked grocery stores, instead of having to go to a health food store. It will add a few more calories (about 140 as compared to the 110 you’ll get from the brown rice syrup), but who’s counting? Besides, it taste like chocolate fudge. Ummm, bonus!
So give these a shot. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Chia seeds (you can start with about two tablespoons, or use
more depending on how much you want to make)
Water (play with the amount…chia seeds can absorb up to 10
times their volume in water)
Agave nectar or real maple syrup
–Add the water to the chia seeds in a small bowl. Let them sit for about 5-10 minutes. Add the agave or syrup.
–The chia seeds will absorb the water, and become gel-like and odd-looking. You want the same consistency as something like Clif-Shots. Add this point you can add any other flavor you like, lemon juice or grapefruit, etc.
–You can put this in a small squeeze bottle, a flexible water bladder with a squeeze-top, or even a ziploc baggie.
Homemade Energy Gel
2 T. organic brown rice syrup or agave nectar
1 T. organic cocoa powder (or carob powder)
pinch of sea salt
Add all ingredients to a ziploc baggie and seal it; knead it until everything is blended together. Toss this in your bag and then bite the corner of the bag off when you’re ready to eat it.
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