Making your own trail/workout food
One of the problems I have run into as an "endurance" athlete is that most of what is used to fuel oneself on the trail might as well be poison for what it does to my blood glucose.
The modern gels, goos and power bars are designed to dump a lot of calories into your system VERY quickly. This is hard enough on your metabolism if it is "normal" but for a diabetic, It's way too much.
So I have taken to making my own trail/running foods and drinks and testing them to make sure that I get sustained calories that are released at a sane pace and real nutrients to boot.
One of my favorite running foods is "meatless pemmican". Pemmican is a traditional Native American food that contains fat, protein, and carbohydrates. It has been used since forever as a travel ration and as a food that can be easily stored for months. As a ration it can keep you going for weeks. Along with a little pinole and beans, people have walked from one side of America to the other with pemmican as their main food source.
Traditionally, the protein in pemmican comes from dried meat, and the fat is rendered from bone marrow. Being as the quality of commercial meat is more than a little dubious, and I am not set up to properly dry the wild meat I get, I have developed this recipe that is vegetarian, (vegan even)
You will need
Piñones (pine nuts) 1/2 cup
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds, hulled) 1/2 cup
Almonds 1/2 cup
Pecans 1/4 cup
Dried Cherry 1/2 cup
Dried Blueberry 1/4 cup
Dried Apricot 1/2 cup
Dried Apple 1/2 cup
Salt 1 tsp
Coconut Oil 1 tsp
Note: the best pine nuts are from the "Pinus Edulis" (Colorado Pinion Pine) and are harvested mostly in New Mexico. A quick Google search will turn up several sources. Any of the other pine nuts will do in a pinch though. CostCo sells a large bag for a very good price.
The first thing you will need to do is dry roast the Piñones and Pepitas. I use a wok, but a cast iron frying pan works as well, or an oven for that matter, though it is a bit harder to get the right roast in my experience.
I roast the seeds very lightly, just enough to improve the flavor. If you want an all raw food you can eliminate this step, But I don't think it tastes as good.
At the end of the roasting, when the seeds have taken on a light golden color, I add one rounded teaspoon of coconut oil to the pan and stir it until the seeds are covered in the oil.
Next, add the seeds, as well as any other nuts you are using (almonds etc) and the salt to a food processor.. (one of the great inventions of the 20th century)
And grind them into a fine meal.
Then add your dried fruit.
Note on dried fruit: Be sure to read the labels when you get your dried fruit. Much of the commercial stuff has sugar added, which is really unnecessary (and potentially harmful). I get my fruit from the local healthfood store which sells certified organic with no sugar added.
Grind everything together. You may need to stop and use a spoon to get the mis off the side of the processor as it tends to be a bit sticky at this point.
Cut sheets of wax paper into appropriate size take a couple of spoons of the mix and shape it into a bar.
Wrap the bar tightly. When you have enough, seal them in an air tight bag or other container. If you keep them in a freezer they will stay fresh like this pretty much forever.
You can experiment with different seeds and nuts to develop a flavor that pleases you. I will sometimes add sunflower seeds, chia seeds or ground flax seed to the mix with good result.
Note: If you are diabetic avoid using dates. Date sugar has a higher glycemic index than glucose (date sugar is 103 to 106, glucose is 100) Dates will always spike my blood sugar.
There you have it, a trail food that will keep you going all day, that tastes good and that most children think is great.
If you try this do let me know what you think.