Lemon Cream Pie Endurance Gel

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I love a good pie.  For Thanksgiving, I usually make three or four of them.  My dad loves cherry pie and chocolate pie so I make both of those and it’s just not Thanksgiving without a good pecan or pumpkin pie (or both).  For Mother’s Day this year, I made an incredible Lemon Meringue Pie.  And, yes, it was vegan!  It takes quite a bit of vegan magic to make a lemon meringue without eggs, but as you can see in the photo above, mine turned out so beautifully.  It was decadent and delicious and completely over the top.

So when I went to mix up a batch of new gels, I remembered that pie and thought it would make a great gel flavor.  It’s sweet without being too sweet, with a hint of vanilla and salt.  I took it on my 20-miler yesterday and it was smooth and easy on my tummy.

This recipe covers all bases:  maltodextrin for quick carb absorption, and a little glucose and fructose to make sure all the carbohydrate pathways are being utiltized.  You can choose to add caffeine or not.

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For more on the science of the ingredients, check out my original post on endurance gels.

As with all my recipes, I recommend weighing your ingredients for accuracy, but I have included traditional measurements as well.

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Serves 2

Lemon Cream Pie Endurance Gel

Each gel contains 118 calories, 28.6 carbs, 0 fat, 0 protein, 115 grams of sodium, 48.3 grams of potassium

5 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 40 grams maltodextrin (1/4 cup)
  • 15 grams agave (2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon pure corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1/16 teaspoon Morton's Lite salt (or sub regular salt)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 tablet of a 200mg caffeine pill, crushed (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients except caffeine if using, in a liquid measuring cup with a spout.
  2. Add one tablespoon of water at first and stir. I prefer my gels on the runny side so they are smoother to swallow so I add a second tablespoon of water.
  3. Pour into a gel flask and add caffeine powder, if using.
  4. If you have a FoodSaver, make 2 small gel-sized bags, stand bags upright in a glass, fill, add 1/4 tablet of caffeine to each gel if using, and seal without vacuuming. Mark a small tear line with a Sharpie near the top of the bag and make a tiny cut, being careful not to cut through the seal.
Cuisine: Endurance Gel |
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http://theplantedrunner.com/lemon-cream-pie-endurance-gel/

Margarita Endurance Gel with Caffeine

Now that I’m back into marathon training, it’s time to start looking at fueling again.  I love making my own gels because they are cheap, easy, and fun to make, and I’m always trying to research what’s been proven to work best and see if I need to make any changes.

In hard racing below the ultra distance, carbs are king, but the type and ratios of carbohydrate are important.  Some people I know swear by UCAN, a powder that you mix with water that is marketed as a “Super Starch.” (I’m imagining a potato flying around with a little potato cape.)  The idea is that starch does not spike blood sugar and therefore insulin like sugar does, so in theory, it gives you sustained energy without crashes.  But at over $2 a serving for only 80 calories, the only thing super about UCAN is its marketing.  Bodybuilders have been eating the cornstarch-like waxy maize for years which appears to be about the same thing.  Even modified food starch thickeners for fruit pies like Clear Jel might be a cheaper option.  I’m tempted to experiment with with some alternatives.

As I was reading more about starch and carbohydrates, I found an incredibly detailed website by a Charlotte-based runner called fellrnr.com.  The author, Jonathan Savage, has put together scientifically-backed site that is really helpful in figuring out what to eat when and what the science says.  Some of it is so scientific that is goes beyond what a normal human really should eat in a day (multiple whey shakes a day, for example), but I respect his thoroughness and citations of studies.  If you are at all interested in the nerdy details, I recommend you head over there and let me know what you think.

In my 16-mile easy long run yesterday, I only brought one of my lemon gels with me and I took it at mile 8.  I didn’t feel hungry or low on energy at that point since I was going slow, but I took it just to practice eating gels again.  Afterwards, I asked my coach about it and she recommended that I take one every 45 minutes or 5 miles, whichever comes faster.  Typically, I don’t take anything under 10-12 miles, but it’s time to get back into the habit.

Which means back to the kitchen.

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Basic caffeinated gel ingredients

My gels contain a 2:1 ratio of glucose to fructose, which is the best way to absorb more carbohydrate for energy during racing.  But I haven’t experimented adding caffeine yet, so here goes.  Savage cites evidence that caffeine from coffee might not be absorbed very well to be helpful for running, so I decided to make a lime gel with a crushed caffeine pill instead.  With the addition of salt for sodium, it’s like a margarita in your pocket! (I’ll save the real margarita for after the race.)

One issue that glucose and fructose have is that  they need to be diluted with quite a lot water to make them about the same concentration as your blood in order for them to used properly by the body.   Maltodextrin, on the other hand, requires about 6 times less water to become isotonic (fancy word for diluted enough to be like your blood), which is why most commercial gels rely on the corn-based product for carbohydrate.  This is a real advantage during a race, especially a cooler one where you are not drinking as much water.  I’m still not quite convinced to try it since it seems even more removed from a whole food than corn syrup, but we’ll see.  It’s fairly cheap to buy maltodexdrin in bulk, so I might do that in the future.

So for now, I’ll stick with what works.  I know it might seem a bit strange to have cocktail-flavored gels on a run (or maybe that’s just my repressed inner alcoholic), but I really like them.

Pass the chips and salsa!

Serves 2

Margarita Endurance Gel with Caffeine

5 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons pure corn syrup (choose a brand without high fructose corn syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • half of a 200mg caffeine pill (I used Vivarin, but any brand will do), crushed into powder

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients well and split into 2 gel packs (I make my own with a Food Saver) or pour into a gel flask.

Notes

Each gel has 92 calories, 23.5g of carbs, and 50mg of caffeine

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http://theplantedrunner.com/margarita-endurance-gel-with-caffeine/

 

 

 

 

Apple Pie Endurance Gel

Last weekend was my son’s seventh birthday.  Instead of a cake, he wanted apple pie.  So I found a recipe for mason jar hand pies and went to work.

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They turned out so cute and were so great for a party!  No plates or forks to deal with.  So yummy.  And with the leftovers, I crumbled a few into my homemade vanilla ice cream (coconut-milk based) and made apple pie ice cream. Dangerously good.

As I was making the apple pie filling, I thought, this would be so good as an endurance gel!  I couldn’t find anything online to use as a base recipe, so I made my own.  I think I have a new favorite!

Your body can only handle so much sugar during long distance running, but it has been shown that a 2:1 mix of glucose to fructose allows your body to absorb more than either source alone. Plain corn syrup (not high-fructose) is a cheap and easily available source.  Agave syrup is anywhere from 50-90% fructose (it’s hard to pin that number down since processing varies), so I like to use a mix of those syrups in my gels.  They both have a light texture that is easy to swallow on a run, rather than a thick, toothpasty feel that some commercial gels have.

Instead of chopping apples and boiling them down for syrup, I bought a can of frozen apple juice concentrate (55% fructose, 20% sucrose, 25% glucose) and it worked beautifully.  With the addition some salt for sodium and some cinnamon and ginger for flavor and potential anti-cramp powers, I had some seriously tasty fuel for pennies.  Because the apple juice concentrate has so much sugar, this gel has more calories than my usual recipe with the same volume, which I think is a good thing.  Less to carry!

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Serves 1 gel

Apple Pie Endurance Gel

5 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon frozen apple juice concentrate
  • 3 tablespoons pure corn syrup (Karo is a good brand)
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients well and pour into a gel flask (silicone travel bottles work great!) or into homemade FoodSaver bags.
  2. Store in freezer until ready to use.

Notes

Each gel contains 147 calories, 34 carbohydrates, and 173mg of sodium.

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http://theplantedrunner.com/apple-pie-endurance-gel/