Cranking out sprints and 3 hour rides takes endurance and most importantly, energy. To prepare and recover from every ride, I pack several gels. I'm a sucker for their flavor (can you say salted caramel flavor!!), packaging, and convenience. Yes, I'm a sucker because I spend $1.50 to $3.00 per gel pack and I'm burning through at least 3 packs per ride.
The ingredients in most of these gels are a sugar source and electrolytes--exactly what the body needs for an endurance sport, but if you look into the source of their sugar, you'll see that this isn't the healthiest option. Many use maltodextrin--a nutrient deficient sugar derived from corn or wheat (both notriously known GMO crops) and contains no vitamins or minerals. Once the 'sugar' is derived, its mixed with other filler to form maltodextrin-the key ingredient in some gels.
The good news is, these are not all bad. There are plenty of organic options on the market too like the Honey Stinger Gel's. These little gels are made with honey. They're sweet and easily dissolve into your water if you prefer to sip your gels during a long ride :).
Although there are many vegan and organic options, nothing beats making your own superfood energy gels.
I found this recipe at the No Meat Athlete check it out here: No Meat Athlete.
- 1 oz chia seeds
- 1 medium seedless orange (I used banana)
- 8 oz pineapple (I subbed mixed berries)
- ¾ cup brown rice syrup (honey)
- ½ oz dry fruit pectin ( I used Knox Gelatin)
- 1 serving electrolyte mix (below)
For the electrolyte mix, use 1/4 tsp salt substitute (not table salt) + 1/8 tsp baking soda (not baking powder)
Now, I modified the recipe into my own version as I always do because of ingredient restraints, lack of patience or overall inability to follow directions.
So here is what I did.
Sub gelatin for the Pectin, honey for the syrup, and mixed berries and banana for the orange and pineapple. Followed the cooking directions from the No Meat Athlete.
Ta-da! Homemade Chia Energy Gel
Here's what I learned.
After setting in the fridge, the gel was only slightly jellified so perhaps I'll try it with the fruit pectin next time, or I might add another teaspoon or so of seeds. Chia seeds naturally gel-ify (yes! new scrabble word!) any liquid they are mixed with. These little babies are loaded with protein, vitamins, and minerals and absorb 10x their weight in liquid. From my experience, white chia seeds absorb more liquid than black chia seeds. Buy them in little single serving packs at whole foods or in bulk at any natural food store.
This homemade sport mix is my new secret weapon. Its loaded with nutrition, carbs, electrolytes, and flavor.
I hope you all like this gel. Try your hand at your own unique mixture and let me know how it goes!