Finding the right food for “active transportation” can be a slippery endeavor. You need a lot of the right energy, little of the wrong energy, enough to keep you going for a while, but not so much to fill you up. When I leave the office after a day of coffee jitters, erratic snacking, and severe mental and emotional trauma, I need a serious pick-me-up before I gather my Honey on the tandem from her office on the other side of Chapel Hill, and we begin the 20-mile commute home.
A food or energy crash is a crummy feeling in the middle of the ride. The loss of focus, the shaking, and weakening muscles do more than slow you down. On the tandem, maintaining poise seems just that much more important for staying in control of the large machine. What’s more, nothing makes me crabbier and unable to communicate than a food crash, and I’m never more likely to grumble myself into an argument when I’ve hit that wall. The tandem is the last place you want to start a fight: see, “divorce machine.”
Yeah, we could buy a box of Clif bars or gels or whatever, but isn’t it great to make something yourself and know what you’re putting into your body? Call it active eating for active transportation.
I’ve struck on a great recipe for our own energy bars and have been making them for more than a year. What’s great about these bars is their ease (no baking), simplicity of ingredients, quick digestion, the protein, and the balance of quicker- and slower-release sugars (when one sugar gives out, maybe another kicks in? eh, don’t read this for the science). Given the name of this blog, let’s call them:
1 cup oat bran
1/2 cup sunflower and/or sesame seeds (tip, toast them and grind them up first)
1/2 soy milk powder
1/2 cup dried fruit (your choice!)
2 tbs carob or cocoa powder
Optional – 1/2 tsp chili powder; 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I think this stuff might open up blood flow, and also spices the bars up like a mole)
Then add to:
1/2 cup brown rice (cooked + minced)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey, brown rice syrup, or agave syrup (basically, some kind of low-glycemic index syrup)
Stir and knead together thoroughly, press down smooth into a baking pan, cover in plastic, and chill and store in the fridge. Cut into bars, wrap in your left-over pre-used aluminum foil, and stick in your handlebar bag for an energy boost that could save your ride, and your relationship.