Monday, June 16, 2008

Homemade Goo or Gu or Goobers or Whatever You Call It

As I increase my mileage, run when I haven't eaten, and other such practices that necessitate caloric intake during a run, I am considering entering the world of homemade energy gel. According to Tim I could even make my own shot blocks in ice trays. But let's first see how this first round of experimentation goes before we try to make something we actually want to congeal (eww) of which I prefer flavors like margarita and cherry that sound difficult to produce.

Here's a couple recipes I'm considering trying:

The PB and Honey one:

--7 parts honey. This is a medium-high glycemic index food, so it’ll give you an instand hit, followed by a sharp come-down in about 30-40 minutes.
--2 parts peanut butter - low GI, so it acts as a buffer to the honey, slowing down it’s burn rate.
--1 part hot water to help mix the other two ingredients.

Peanut butter and honey is one of my most favorite food combinations in the whole world, and I can actually get them in my current part of the world which is of upmost importance as I try to do this. I've already come across so many recipes that I have to immediately discard because I don't have access to organic pumpkin seed butter (what the hell is that?) and maltodextrin powder (again, huh?).

Another concoction I'm considering--The Molasses One:

--7 and 1/3 tablespoons of honey
--3/4 teaspoons of blackstrap molasses
--1/10 teaspoons (just shy of 1/8 tsp) of table salt

I have no idea if we can get molasses here such as what you and I would expect. I know the "blackstrap" variety is reaching. I'd be lucky to get some fruit variation. What we do have is tons and tons of panela. If you don't know what this is, be sure to have a look at Este Ecuador and Tim's entry about Cafe Velez. If you don't have time for that (make time soon, cuz it's a great entry), just understand that panela is a brick of brown sugar direct from cooled sugar cane juice.

I figure this stuff, melted, is probably all molasses is anyway, right? I also have some confidence in this stuff because as this country is painfully lacking anything Cliff, Honey Stinger, Powerbar, Tiger Milk, Larabar, etc etc etc, pure panela is the energy goo of choice here among Ecuadorian runners. I learned this at the starting line of Ultimas Noticias (be sure to read about that below). Dudes were pulling little baggies of crushed-up panela out of their shorts and passing it around. I had a mocha-flavored Cliff Shot in my back pocket and thusly stuck my nose up at the sugar, but maybe they were on to something?

So if molasses are (is?) nowhere to be found, I'm considering using panela instead. I would probably also add coffee grounds, or strongly brewed coffee or some other coffee additive, because, well, my name is Erin, and I'm an addict. I also notice that the bod prefers shots and blocks with caffine. Perhaps it's my dependence, or perhaps caffine truly is a performance enhancing drug. Since my system has never been without since I was about 14, I don't think using it is cheating in any way. I'm not adding anything new into my system to help performance. So there.

Anyway, the short of it is, while we have visitors bringing us shots and blocks at varied times, those supplies are always limited, and we use them lots. I can't eat while running, so I need gel. Please, please, talk to your friends and acquaintances and find out if anyone you know has made their own goo before. Get their recipes and post 'em. Go ahead and post it even if it does call for something stupid like organic sunflower dust extract, because, while I cannot get that stuff, hopefully I'm not the only reading this blog. I'll let you know how my little experiement goes, though we just booked ourselves to climb Antisana this weekend (Ecuador's 4th tallest mountain) so my weekend long-run is kinda shot. Maybe I can do it Friday instead. We'll see.


Jim Ley said...

I've written up my attempts at some pretty successful energy gels - pretty much following the Gu/Hammer recipe and coming out to very similar consistency. Yours was one of the places I read for inspiration and I thought I'd let you know.

Although the ingredients may be tough to get, I can only get them mail-order here in the UK.

bogiesan said...

I have yet to try agave. It's on my list of ingredients to purchase. Molasses is easy to get in the States. I've been experimenting with these recipes.
7T honey
1T molasses
Dash of salt-note 1
Flavoring of choice-note 2

Note 1--I prefer soy sauce, adds depth and character. Too much and you ned up with a mouthful of teriyaki sauce.
Note 2--I use sugar-free (Splenda) syrups from Monin and DaVinci for Italian sodas or to flavor coffee drinks.

For a luscious butterscotchy alternative (that probably won't keep well in warm weather):
6T honey
1T molasses
1T butter
Soy to taste but not really necessary.

david boise ID