It seemed fitting that the day after completing my first triathlon, while nursing the pleasant soreness of limbs pushed to their limits, that I should post another recipe in my Homemade Energy Bars series. The balls and chews I’ve already featured seemed to go over well, and so I bring you another fantastic, real food version of those tempting health food store snacks. So here’s another no-bake treat, one as simple as bonding for 5 minutes with your food processor (or, as in my case, your hand-blender-with-fortunate-attachment).
I’m not really one for the energy goos and gels. Preferring instead the taste and texture of real food, I tend to pack my workout bag with things of the grainy-granola variety, as opposed to packages full of something resembling McDonalds’ birthday cake icing. However, even with these proclivities, during my race yesterday I did pound back a pack of Chocolate Outrage Gu midway through my 24 mile bike. With its quick delivery of energy with zero digestive problems, I will definitely lean on these in future race days. But for everyday use (training and running errands when it doesn’t matter if I have to stop for a bathroom break), these are much more satisfying.
Racing, whether in a 5k or an Ironman, peels back the layers of culture and associations that surround our eating and drinking. It strips food down to fuel, and liquid to its hydrating properties. It makes you aware of things most people don’t give 2 cents of their thoughts to, like sodium, carb and protein intake. In short, it can drive you crazy, thinking of your body as a machine to be tweaked and oiled.
Training for that compulsive finish line is a trial of mind and body. It is an ever-building procession of cells and attitudes and obsessions that carry you into the days ahead. As I stood there in the water my mind went strangely blank, and I felt my animal nature rise beneath my skin. For just shy of three hours, my tastes, memories and to-do lists were buried under the power of being that well-fueled machine. I was muscle and sinew and units of energy, and it felt truly euphoric.
If you are sick of seeing plates full of nothing but novelty, reward or diet-induced contraband, go and register for a race. Suddenly everything you eat and drink will feel more satisfying.
Peanut Ginger Squares
1 cup raw or roasted peanuts
1 T minced fresh ginger or 1tsp powdered (this can be adjusted, depending on how much you like ginger)
2 T sesame seeds
1 cup raisins
2 T ground or whole flax seeds
2 T honey
optional pinch salt if the peanuts are unsalted
- Grind all ingredients, except for the honey, in a food processor until fairly fine but still having some texture. Avoid processing to the point of creamy peanut butter.
- Add honey and process just long enough for it to blend in.
- Press into a square about 3/4-inch thick on a plate or square pan and refrigerate for about an hour or more.
- Done! Cut into 2-inch squares.
Makes 8-12 bars