Today I wrote a post for Meghan Brazier's CoCo Collective Facebook page and I thought I'd share it with you guys too! If you didn't know, I’m a former college soccer player and avid runner. While I ran track in High School, I wanted nothing to do with distance running. But after my last college soccer season ended, I needed to find a way to stay active, for my mental clarity mostly. My friend suggested I take up running, and to my surprise, I really enjoyed it! I have done two half marathons and currently, I am training for the Shipyard Marathon in Kennebunkport, Maine with my boyfriend Dan and his friend Adam. I’m progressing through my long runs, but at times, I find myself looking for some extra energy to push me to the finish line. When I used to run track, I relied on those Gatorade Chews to get me through a meet, but after learning more about the ingredients, I was left to search for something more nutritious.
Personally, I don’t like the way the word, ‘healthy’ is used in today’s wellness culture. It implies that certain other foods are unhealthy, which can lead to feelings of guilt. That being said, there are certain ingredients that I try to stay away from 95% of the time because of their links to illness. Below are ingredients that I try to avoid; some of these are also found in the Gatorade Chews.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup: associated with obesity, cancer, heart disease, dementia, and liver damage.
Canola Oil: heavily refined oil that goes through a lot of processing with chemical solvents, bleach, and deodorizers that our bodies aren’t meant to process.
Coloring/Dye’s: each color varies but overall, they are linked to brain tumors, cancer, thyroid tumors, and in general, have no nutritional value. Europe actually requires a warning label on Red 40. There are more natural ways to color food
Natural Flavors: It is my understanding that this is chemically made in a lab, similar to artificial flavors, unless stated otherwise. While they may incorporate ingredients found in nature, they are often not something I want to put in my body. In the past, studies have found beaver secretion in these ‘natural flavors.’ My take on this is, if it’s really ‘natural’, then why wouldn’t the companies be raving about their great sources on their label?
Many items have these ingredients in them, and a lot of them are marketed as “health foods”. When I stay away from the above ingredients, I feel better overall. I have more energy, my digestive system functions better, and my skin looks and feels better. Who doesn’t like good skin, am I right? It’s all about balance, and staying away from these 100% of the time isn’t always achievable, and that is OK! However, when it comes to energy boosters, it’s hard to find one that comes from real food with real ingredients.
I was looking for something that I could take with me on my runs, something that provided some protein, energy, and healthy fats. After some research on natural energy sources, I came up with the below ingredients:
Natural sweetener which boosts energy
Magnesium rich, which is known to have anti-inflammatory benefits
Almonds & Pecans:
Healthy fats, fiber, and protein
Pecans are an anti-inflammatory
High in protein
Loaded with magnesium
Joint and bone health
Using these ingredients, I created energy bites! Now, some of these are coated in dark chocolate...because chocolate makes everything better! The ones I am going to eat while running will be the ones with the chocolate drizzle. This recipe is easy to make and very tasty! I eat them as a little sweet after dinner too. So whether you’re a runner or not, let me know if you try these!
DATE ENERGY BITES
Quick Soak the Dates: bring water to a boil and pour over dates. Let soak for 5 minutes.
Drain the dates and then add them to your food processor with the nuts. Process until it becomes a dough-like consistency. You may need to scrape down the sides throughout this.
Add in the sun butter and collagen if using, and pulse a few more times. This should form a doughy, sticky, consistency. If it’s not holding together well, you may need to add in 1 tsp of water.
Form into balls and freeze for 20 minutes
If topping with chocolate, melt ½ cup of chocolate chips (enjoy life are my favorite) or half a chocolate bar. Dip each ball into the chocolate or drizzle it on top, and I topped mine with some flakey sea salt but coconut flakes would be great as well!