Recipe: Healthy Easy Vegan Twix Bars (Gluten-free, raw)

After a heavy training day we usually don’t have a) a lot of time & b) a lot of energy. BUT you just CRAVE a treat (am I right athletes??) but don’t want to feel like that LSD was for nothing and indulge in something overly unhealthy. I introduce you to the best treats for any runner/athlete that are a 100% guilt-free… ooey gooey, chocolatey, crunchy Twix Bars.

Healthy Easy Vegan Twix Bars (Gluten-free + raw)

Makes: 12 Bar

INGREDIENTS

Base:recipe for gluten-free raw vegan twix bars
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 8 Dates (pits removed)
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • pinch of sea salt

Creamy Caramel Filling:

  • 12 dates (pits removed)
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons Chia Seeds

Chocolate Coating:

  • 7 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 5 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 4 tablespoons Maple Syrup

 

chocolate vegan twixDIRECTIONS

  1. Coat a muffin tin in coconut oil or even better use a silicone one.
  2. In a food processor, grind oats till you have a flour-like consistency.
  3. Add in salt, vanilla, and dates. Process until you have a clumpy mixture. Add water and process un
    il the mixture looks like cookie dough.
  4. Press mixture onto the bottom of your lined tins and put in the freezer.
  5. In the same food processor, combine all the ingredients for your caramel. Process till creamy and t
    hen evenly spread on your chilled base layer. Place tin back in the freezer.
  6. Prepare your chocolate. Combine coconut oil in a sauce pan and begin to heat slowly till all the oil is melted. Remove from heat. Add the remaining chocolate coating ingredients and whisk together. Grab your tin out
    f the freezer, pour the chocolate over each caramel base, then put back in the freezer.
  7. You should wait about 3 hours for everything to harden a bit more but we couldn’t wait that long (#BadChocolateCravings) and so we dug into these after about 45 minutes – they were still easy to eat and delicious!

Enjoy these bomber Home-Made Twix Bars!

 

Adapted from Crazy Vegan Kitchen

7 Days of Race Food – Racing the Planet Madagascar

With our first stage race rapidly approaching, we’ve finally narrowed down and organized our dining menu that we’ll be bringing with us on our 7 day stage race through Madagascar.  The only requirements that we had to work with from the race organizers were the following:

  1. Minimum 2000 calories per day
  2. Enough electrolyte powder mix or tabs to 30 hours of running
  3. Being able to carry a minimum of 2.5L of water at any given time

With that, and no previous stage running experience, we weren’t quite sure where to start.  First thing is first we planned out our main meals.  For this we received some awesome advise and support from two great Canadian companies.

mel and jon prairie naturals supplements

Prairie Naturals: 

Prairie Naturals make a wide range of all natural supplements, tons of which we will use before, during and after the race.  From they wide range of organic vegan proteins to mix in with breakfast oatmeal, to their clean L-Glutamine to keep our muscles from breaking down too much, and of course their organic spirulina and chlorella supplements to help get us some greens while we’re out in the middle of nowhere.

harvest foodworks mel running nutrition

 

Harvest Foodworks:

Based out of Ontario, Harvest Foodworks offers a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan dehydrated food options.  Yes the recommended way to prepare their meals requires some short cooking, however we experimented with many of their entrees and found quite a few that cook quite well by simply mixing in hot/boiling water and letting it soak it all up.  They are jam packed full of protein, carbs and fats with some desirable ingredients such as curcumin, ginger or ghee to help keep fight off inflammation.  And who could forget, like with almost all dehydrated foods, a high salt content is a huge perk for nutrition planning while running through the heat of Madagascar.

 

 

Next up, we needed to find some high calorie, stomach friendly energy bars!  There are actually a whole bunch of vegan energy bars out there to choose from, the catch however is that most vegan eaters, ironically aren’t huge fans of super high calorie bars.  After an extensive trial and error process during all types and lengths of workouts, we narrowed it down to two varieties that we will be packing with us:

larabar vegan energy bar

Larabars:

These little guys are made from so few ingredients (some as little as 4!!), its comforting to know that we’re not eating a chemistry lab each time we chomp one down.  With a primary ingredient of dates, these are high in natural sugars and offer some sweetness to the race menu.  Each bar is small in size but brings with it just over 200 calories each.

Halvah bar sesame seed health

Hallvah bars:

These guys have been around for a long time, however we just discovered Halvah Bars recently.  Again an all natural bar with simple ingredients, though these ones are mostly made up of sesame seeds.  This gives them a super high fat content, however its a healthy fat that can be utilized by the body quite well for energy, and in fact will sustain you for longer than a sugar based bar.  Topping the charts as the highest calorie bar we could find anywhere we looked, each one contains between 400-480 calories per bar.  These also have a little bit more of a savory flavour for when we’ve had enough sweet for the day.

Drink mixes

Next step was one we weren’t too familiar with, thats the drink mixes.  We do our best to keep our diet as natural as possible so downing artificial supplements isn’t a daily things for us.  We sought some tried and tested advise from our friend Ray Zahab (Co-star in the documentary Running the Sahara) who has competed in some of the most extreme stage races and running expeditions, so he’s figured it all out!!

We’ll be packing two kinds of drink powders with us, a carb loaded one called Vitargo, and a electrolyte rich on known as EFS.  The Vitargo simply helps you pack down the easily digestable calories to keep you going, with less of a sugar spike/crash effect that sports drinks bring with them.  EFS carries the claim to fame that it has the highest amount of electrolytes per volume, leaps and bounds higher than simple gatorade or powerade will provide.  While yes these are both chemically made, the alternatives would leave us with simply WAY to much food packed in our tiny packs to carry.

tired runner ultra distance race

Lasty, a couple of treats to look forward too and a couple emergency items for along the way, when the going gets tough.  Ray told us that on the ladder stages of the race, you might fall a bit too far behind in calories, so pack a gel or two for a rescue shot of calories.  Also bring one or two treats with you that you can crave and have after a tough stage, our plan for these is a couple Honey Stinger Waffles (our favs!) and a small pack of salted almonds! dehydrated ultra marathon running

 

 

 

 

 

All this tallied up rolls in right around 18,000 calories, well above the minimum 14,000 required.  We feel confident in all of our food choices and have tested them our while running at different paces, in different temperatures and in different amounts.  All fuel us well, digest well and will hopefully push up towards completing this race!

 

Follow along here or on our facebook page “Ultra Mel & Jon“, as we write quick updates after each stage of our race!

As always, live dirty, eat clean and run free! 🙂

Mel and Jon

Spirulina – Powder or Tabs???

spirulina green smoothie vitamix

 

Let’s face it, if you’re looking into buying Spirulina then you’ve probably already either came to terms with the “green” taste or maybe even acquired the taste.  Either way, you’ve started to shift your diet away from highly processed, sugar and chemical filled foods, which provide simple sugar spikes as well as inflammation, hormone imbalances and a countless number of other health issues still under research.  Instead your focus has turned to the fuels that will sustain energy, harness vitality and promote a healthy sense of ease (as opposed to DISease).

Simply put, Spirulina is composed of tiny, single-celled fresh-water micro algae which contain an impressive 60% protein content!  Spirulina intake has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol and inflammation (Caused by say… extreme exercise ;)).  Working spirulina into your routine can also help remove toxins, acting as a safe daily cleanse.

So the only question left once you get to the store is whether to buy it in a powder form or the tabs.  We tested out a container of each so we could break down what we liked and didn’t like about each, and hopefully help you all decide which one is best for you!

mel and jon spirulina fuel run

 

 

Spirulina Tabs –>

The best this these have going for them is hands down their convenience.  They are easy to swallow, the intense spirulina flavour goes almost undetected, and they can easily be packaged to bring with you while travelling or on long runs.  The one downside to the tabs is you may feel like a bit of a pill popper, as the recommended daily dose is 4 tabs, 4 times a day.

 

 

 

Prairie naturals spirulina powderSpirulina Powder –>

This is about as pure and natural as you’ll find it, and with the increased surface area of the spirulina cells in this form, it can lead to faster and better absorption into your body.  We’ve been using this in two fashions, first being a tsp stirred into a small glass of water.  This is a bit harsh in the “flavour” category, but acts great as a morning boost of healthy energy.  The more common one for us was simply adding a scoop into a smoothie and blend it all together.  This is much more appealing to the palet.

 

 

Decision ==>  When it comes down to what spirulina has to offer the body, we sided with the convenience of the tabs!  Being able to toss a handfull in a container to bring running, hiking or even just camping acts as a clean and healthy source of fuel for us when it’s simply not feasible to be messing around mixing powders.

Thanks for reading – let us know your preference and favourite ways you include these in your diet!!

Ultra Mel and Jon

Read how Spirulina has become our secret for Fueling Early Morning Workouts!

The BEST Vegan Breakfast Smoothie (Mousse??)

photo-1So Jon and I are huge oatmeal junkies. Pretty much for the last year every morning we make some kind of oatmeal concoction for breakfast. How are we not sick of it? Well the beauty about oatmeal is you can spice it up in so many ways by just adding different mix-ins (shout out to all those that participated in our recent oatmeal recipe contest and gave us some great ideas)!

However, the form is something that gets a bit tricky to change. Whether steel-cut, overnight, or quick oats, they are pretty much all in the same form when they are prepared and relatively same texture…and this started to get boring. We wanted to switch this up. So, we tossed pretty much all the ingredients in our  usual breakfast into a Vitamix and to our surprise we created a wicked creation! This didn’t turn out to be your classic sippable smoothie but rather a mousse like blend of greatness. How?! We were wondering the same thing and were completely stumped until we realized that we added HOT coffee into the mix with quick cut oats. As you start blending the coffee together with the oats, the oats begin to cook  and out comes this almost “gelatonous” form smoothie that one can only eat in a respectable manner by using a spoon. Those in my opinion are the best kind of “smoothies”…ones so thick they need to be eaten with a spoon in order to avoid dumping the whole thing on your face in one go. Beauty about this recipe is you prepare it the night before in order to allow it time to cool and take that unique form and therefore it is ready to grab-n-go in the morning.

 

So with all of that being said here is the recipe to The Best Breakfast Shake/Mousse out there…

– 1/3 cup quick-cooking oats

– 1.5 cups of freshly brewed HOT coffee (if you don’t like coffee you can just add hot water)

– 1 scoop Prairie Naturals Hemp Protein

photo

– 1 banana

– 1.5 Tbsp cacao powder

– 1 tsp maca powder

– 1 tsp chia seeds

– 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Optional add-ins:

– 1 Tbsp nut butter

– 2 Tbsp shredded coconut

– 1 Tbsp MCT oil

– 1 Tbsp flax seed powder

– 1 Tbsp agave or maple syrup (if you like your breakfast a bit more on the sweeter side)

Blend all of the ingredients together in a Vitamix for about a minute. Pour into a shaker cup and pop it in the fridge overnight. In the morning grab your spoon and dig in:)

Raw Ginger Snaps – Vegan and Gluten-Free

Due to popular demand after posting a pic of our latest baking; we are posting the recipe for some rawginger snap treats! Now we aren’t full-blown raw munchers but we try to incorporate it as much as we can into our diet. While baking these, I realized why baking raw is so RAWESOME…

  • Having perfectly symmetrical sized balls on a cookie sheet is no longer a stressors. Since you aren’t chucking your bites in the oven, there is no worry for making them all the same size.
  • That well known quote we all remember being told as a kid, “Don’t you eat that batter….you’ll get Salmonella!!” is thrown out the window with raw vegan baking. No eggs, no problem! So chow away at that batter because that is pretty much your final product anyways:)
  • On that note, there is no bake time or in other words no wait time. No more tantalizing yourself in front of the oven window as the aroma of muffins slowly seeps out, filling the air around you for 25 minutes as your cookies bake.

Now for the most important part, here is the recipe!

vegan energy balls athletic food

RAW GINGER SNAPS (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Adapted from Rawsome Vegan Baking’s recipe
Makes approx. 10-12 balls (1 inch size)

Ginger Snap Ingredients

3/4 cup gluten-free oats
1/2 cup almonds
3/4 cup dates, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced (don’t peel the outside of the ginger, lots of good nutrients in that peel)
2 tablespoons agave
1 tablespoon unsulphured organic molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
sesame seeds, shredded coconut, and cinnamon  (for rolling)

Baking Instructions

  1. Place oats and almonds in food processor – blend until a fairly fine consistency
  2. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt – blend
  3. Add dates and rest of ingredients – blend until dough like consistency.
  4. Roll into 1 inch, 2 inch, 1.34 inch, 0.5 inch, etc. (Like I said, with raw baking it doesn’t matter if they are all the same size or what size they are.)
  5. Roll in sesame seeds, shredded coconut, or cinnamon or ALL 3!
  6. Place in air-tight container (we use parchment paper to layer in one container) and refrigerate or eat right away

Give these a shot, they are incredibly easy and we’re able to whip them up in less than 10 minutes! Great healthy treat for on the go. ENJOY 🙂

-Mel and Jon

p.s. If you have any killer raw/vegan/gluten-free baking recipes, fire them our way…we love trying out news recipes!

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