Make Your Own PB Chocolate Protein UCAN

As much as I would love to believe that people come to my site to read my sage training advice and chuckle at my endless witticisms, I (sadly) know that’s not the main draw.

People want the recipes!

By far the most popular thing I have ever posted is my recipe for DIY Generation UCAN, a sugar-free race fuel made with slow-release carbohydrates that you can mix up in you kitchen for pennies.

So when a reader recently asked if I had a version of the Chocolate Protein UCAN, I decided to rise to the challenge.  I’ve already posted my chocolate version, but it’s naturally low in protein by design.

Of course, my version will not contain whey powder (obviously not vegan, but even if I weren’t plant-based, I wouldn’t recommend it, and here’s a few reasons why) xanthan gum (I’m okay with this ingredient, but I don’t like thick drinks), or sucralose (an artificial sweetener that definitely should be avoided) like the original contains.

The protein of choice instead is PB Fit Peanut Butter Powder, which makes this a rich peanut butter chocolate flavor.

PB Fit does contain a little sugar, so if you are looking to make this sugar-free, use a defatted peanut butter powder or flour that is sugar-free.

One scoop of UCAN’s protein version contains 110 calories for a 30 gram scoop, 18 grams of carbohydrate, 7 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fat.

My version is 122 calories, 19.6 grams of carbs, 7.3 grams of protein, and 1.9 grams of fat.  Mine also includes 354mg sodium, 87.5mg potassium, 4.7% of the RDA of calcium, 5.3% RDA of iron, and a touch of magnesium.

Now I’m not going to lie and tell you this tastes like drinking a luscious chocolate peanut butter milkshake.  But it’s still pretty good.

And let’s be real:  not even the pricey commercial version can claim that that people are ending their meals with UCAN milkshakes for dessert simply for the scrumptious flavor.

This is performance fuel, not dessert, and it works!

For me, this is far superior to any gel or other race fuel that I have ever tried and keeps me going without the crash!

Let me know what you think!

Make Your Own PB Chocolate Protein UCAN

Liquid starch-based fuel that is an alternative to gels or chews.

My version is 122 calories, 19.6 grams of carbs, 7.3 grams of protein, and 1.9 grams of fat.  Also includes 354mg sodium, 87.5mg potassium, 4.7% of the RDA of calcium, 5.3% RDA of iron, and a touch of magnesium.

5 minPrep Time

5 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (16g) cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon (14g) PB Fit
  • 1 teaspoon (2g) cocoa powder
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1/16 teaspoon Morton's Lite Salt
  • 10 drops stevia extract or other sweetener of your choice
  • 2 to 4 ounces of water or more, depending on preferred thickness

Instructions

  1. Mix all dry ingredients except water in a small measuring cup with a spout.
  2. Slowly add enough water to your desired thickness.
  3. Stir thoroughly and pour into a small running bottle.
  4. Shake before drinking.
7.6.4
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http://theplantedrunner.com/make-your-own-pb-chocolate-protein-ucan/

Sugar-Free Chocolate Milk Race Fuel

I’m really excited about this one.

We’ve all heard that chocolate milk is good for recovery.  But what about for fuel?  And what if it’s not milk at all?

After experimenting more with my DIY UCAN recipes, I came up with a brand new flavor that just might be “the one.”

It really does taste like chocolate milk.

Cornstarch is a pretty amazing ingredient.  It takes very little liquid to dissolve so you can pack an entire marathon’s worth of calories in a single 8-ounce bottle!

You will still need to stop at the water stations to get enough hydration, but I’m really happy that I can get away with a single small bottle of fuel and say goodbye to gels forever.

I’m not always in the mood for a citrusy drink and thought that chocolate would be a great addition to my flavor choices.  A little cocoa powder does the trick!

If you make this recipe, experiment with the amount of liquid you add.  I like that I can add very little water so I don’t have to carry so much weight, but you might prefer your fuel on the thinner side.

You absolutely must sweeten this and I prefer NuNaturals Pure Liquid Vanilla Stevia.  About 10 drops provides the sweetness of 2 teaspoons of sugar.  I have not tried powdered or granular stevia in this recipe because I’ve never found anything I’ve liked, but I might try some out to keep the ingredients all dry.  (Better for traveling!)  If you try a dry sweetener, let me know how it goes!

For variation, I’ve also added a teaspoon of PB Fit peanut butter powder to make PB Chocolate Milk.  Yum!

Sugar-Free Chocolate Milk Race Fuel

A sugar-free liquid fuel that is an alternative to gels or chews. Recipe can be doubled to fill an 8-ounce water bottle for over 300 calories of fuel in one small bottle!

The ingredients will settle to the bottom fairly quickly, so shake before drinking.

5 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 40 grams cornstarch (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 grams cocoa powder (about a teaspoon)
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1/16 teaspoon Morton's Lite Salt
  • 10 drops vanilla stevia liquid
  • 2 to 4 ounces of water, depending on preferred thickness

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients except water together in a small measuring cup with a spout.
  2. Slowly add enough water to your desired thickness. Two ounces will be like a runny milkshake and four ounces will be like thin chocolate milk.
  3. Stir thoroughly and pour into a small running water bottle.
Cuisine: Race fuel |

Notes

153 calories, 38 grams of slow-release carbohydrates, 219 mg sodium, 87 mg potasium, small amount of magnesium and calcium

7.6.4
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http://theplantedrunner.com/sugar-free-chocolate-milk-race-fuel/

 

 

Generation UCAN Alternative You Can Make For Pennies

After a disappointing DNF at the Richmond Marathon due to nutrition issues, I’m going back to the drawing board.

Several runners I know, some at the elite level, swear by Generation UCAN, a modified cornstarch and flavoring mix that you add to water.  I’ve thought about trying it, but the $60 price tag (around $2 per serving) has always struck me as excessive.

ucanMy inner skeptic alarm goes off every time I go to the UCAN website (and so does this guy’s in a surprisingly funny and geeky post about the UCAN hype). We are talking about cornstarch, right?  The cheap-as-dirt thickener for gravy that can be found at any grocery store for pennies?

Well, yes and no.

First a little background on UCAN.  It was developed initially to treat people with a rare condition called glycogen storage disease (GDS).  People with this life-threatening condition cannot properly store glycogen and their blood glucose levels fall to dangerous levels while they sleep.

In 1984, it was discovered that ingesting uncooked cornstarch before bed kept patients’ glucose levels in the desired range and dramatically improved their lives, many of them children.

Cornstarch is cheap, simple, and effective.

argo

The only problem with uncooked cornstarch therapy?  After about 4.5 hours, glucose levels start to fall and a second dose is required.  Parents still had to wake up their children in the middle of the night to feed them.

So the scientists came up with a modified form of cornstarch that kept glucose levels stable for 8-10 hours and patients could finally sleep through the night.

Then someone had the bright idea to apply the technology to another group of people who struggle with maintaining steady glycogen levels: endurance athletes.

And UCAN was born.

You can dive deep into the rabbit hole of the science if you like to learn why starch might be better than glucose, fructose, or maltodextrin and you can learn about carbohydrate and fat-burning until your eyes glaze over.

But what I’m after is a solution that is easy on my stomach.  And starch could be the answer.  UCAN claims that because starch empties the stomach quickly and is slowly but completely absorbed into the bloodstream that it is very gentle on the stomach.

THAT IS WHAT I WANT!  Any source of carbohydrate can give me enough fuel to get to the finish line fast, but if I can do it without my stomach revolting the entire time, I’m in.

But do I really need super-expensive UCAN?  Wouldn’t regular cornstarch work?  After all, UCAN was developed because cornstarch “only” keeps blood glucose levels steady 4.5 hours.  I’m certainly not running longer than that and even if I were, I’m wide awake and could take a second dose.

What does the research say?  Well, UCAN’s own researchers compared Argo brand cornstarch to UCAN and glucose levels with Argo were only 9% lower after SEVEN hours versus UCAN.  They didn’t test (or didn’t publish) results after shorter duration, probably because they are likely to be quite similar until the four to five hour point.

Cheap cornstarch from the baking aisle probably works just as well as UCAN!  The only difference is the duration of the effects which can be solved by taking another dose.

So of course, I had to experiment and come up with my own recipe.

Cornstarch and water mixed together is pretty gross tasting, so you need to flavor it somehow.  At first I tried a teaspoon of lemon juice with a couple of tablespoons of corn syrup and a few drops of vanilla stevia liquid.  It was fine, but I was hoping to come up with something that is all powdered so it’s easy to transport to any race.

Then I found an awesome, all-natural drink mix called True Lemon.  It’s made up of crystallized lemon, lemon oil, a tiny bit of sugar, and a little stevia.  And it’s less than 13 cents for an 8 ounce serving!  Perfect!

lemon

I’ve taken it on a few runs so far this week and so far so good.  No tummy troubles at all, but I’ll keep experimenting with it, especially at race pace.

How does my homemade version compare to lemon UCAN?  A single-serving packet of lemon UCAN (not the scoop) contains 28 grams of carbohydrate, 110 calories, 230mg sodium, and 140mg potassium.

My version is 30 grams of carbohydrate, 136 calories, 219mg sodium, and 87mg potassium plus a small amount of magnesium and calcium.  I’m not going to pretend it’s as delicious as a fresh-squeezed lemonade (neither is UCAN), but it is not bad at all, just a slight chalkiness.

Let me know what you think!

Serves two (8 ounce servings)

DIY Generation UCAN

A homemade version of Generation UCAN SuperStarch for pennies!

5 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 70 grams (8 2/3 tablespoons) cornstarch
  • 1 True Lemon packet
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Morton's Lite Salt
  • 16 ounces of water

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients and pour into two 8 ounce water bottles.

Notes

136 calories 30.6 grams of carbohydrate 219 mg sodium 87 mg potassium

7.6.4
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http://theplantedrunner.com/generation-ucan-alternative-you-can-make-for-pennies/