Outdoor Adventure

Nutrition: Bars for Picky Eaters


For a long time, my go-to pickup line/explanation for my diet was, "but I eat eggs, so at least we can go out to breakfast!" I've been vegetarian since I was 10-years-old, and dairy-free for most of my adult life. I've done stints of entirely-vegan, and I largely consider myself vegan, except that I occasionally eat eggs, and honey. I love honey. People have different reasons for being picky eaters, and I'm aware that being able to choose what I eat (and don't eat) is generally a luxury. When I was a kid, I was overly attached to animals. Some might argue that I still am. When I found out that someone had to kill a turkey so that we could have Thanksgiving dinner, I vowed (to myself and my family) that I would never eat an animal again. I ate nothing that Thanksgiving: my first version of protest. 

Later in life, I discovered that I was lactose intolerant, and gave up dairy. But I've also been an endurance athlete my entire life, and from ages 18-26 I had a hard time maintaining a healthy weight. So I allowed myself eggs. As I've gotten older and have learned more about nutrition and cooking, I've gotten better at balanced meals and proteins. But also, things have changed. Back when I made my vow to that turkey and myself, even being vegetarian was weird. Now, living close to Boulder and in 2018, alternative diets are the norm.  


If being "vegan" isn't picky enough, I'll add that I'm also allergic to caffeine and don't drink alcohol. If you're suddenly thinking that I would NOT be a fun date, it's not true! At least I hope not. But also, my idea of a fun date involves outdoor adventure, water filtered from a mountain lake, and a protein bar. Which brings me to...protein bars: I've eaten a lot. Like, A LOT. A protein bar stands in for lunch at least a few times a week. My current absolute favorite is Clif Bar's carrot cake. That's been my go-to lunch on the slopes, in a bike jersey, or on a day-hike for a while. But! I also just discovered No Cow; (their motto is "No Cow. No Bull. No Whey!") These bars are dairy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, soy-free, vegan, with no sugar added. I know that SOUNDS like eating dirt, but they're not that bad! My overall review of a bar that has only 1 gram of sugar, 22 grams of protein, and none of the "bad" stuff, is, they're good. I ate one of these for lunch before a decent swim workout, and felt full with no distress. 

One thing I've never done--even though I've trained and raced my entire adult life--is get up early to eat breakfast 2-3 hours before activity, as is recommended. In fact, I usually train on an empty stomach, which I know is horrible. But, if I'm going to do something longer than 2ish hours, I'll eat a bar. Today I did a 75-mile bike ride (5 hours) with a few big climbs. I ate a Clif bar maybe 30-minutes before I left at 7am. I used electrolyte mix (Skratch) in my bottles, stopped mid-way for a lemonade, ate a gel and some electrolyte chews as needed. As soon as I got home I had another Clif bar (new flavor!) and a vegan yogurt. And tons more water. Probably not an ideal way to get protein and nutrition--I do enjoy real food--but for me, when I need something quick and easy, it works.