Products to Help Train Your Inner Dragon

So, let’s say you are out there enjoying your summer. You dabble in hiking, try out some kayaking and take up some running. You might find that the more you do these things, the longer you can stay out on the trail, the water, or the track. You might also notice that your tummy starts to growl after a couple of hours. Mine sure does. Recently, I’ve been getting into the longest training sessions for an upcoming triathlon. I found that the same-old slimy shots of caloric gel just weren’t doing it for me anymore. Long hours of sustained work felt like they’d be better supported by something more substantial. But, it’s hard to have a steak or a sub while running or biking. What is it that people say? “Ask and you shall receive”? Let’s modernize it with, “Go to REI and you will find”.

On a recent trip to REI, I found exactly what I was looking for; substantial, tasty, on-the-go nutrition sources. I often feel like I’ve had too many powders, gels, etc. I like the direction the following companies are taking. They are making easy to eat products that feel more like “food”. They have crunch, texture, a good consistency, and some of them are just darn fun.

First on the list is the Honey Stinger Waffle.

From their website: “Honey Stinger Organic Waffles make a great tasting snack. Inspired by Lance Armstrong who suggested we produce our own version of similar waffles which are sold throughout Europe and eaten by professional cyclists. Honey Stinger Organic Waffles are the only product of their kind that’s certified organic and available in a single-serving wrapper”.

Um, yeah, whatever. What I care about is that they taste good. I swear to you that with their cinnamony, crunchy, sweet goodness – they taste like a moister, chewier version of a churro. You know the kid inside of you, the one who always likes to gnosh on elephant ears and churros at the local fairs, will love this. They are in super slender packaging and can fit right into your bento box, pocket, backpack, etc. Word to the wise: careful trying to open it while simultaneously riding your bike.

Did you have any idea that a 160-lb adult needs a minimum of 64 grams of protein a day, according to the Harvard University School of Public Health? Peanut butter and other nut butters pack a ton of delicious protein! I like to call celery a “peanut butter delivery system”. Carrots are my “hummus delivery system”, but I digress. What better way to snack out on the trail than to indulge in some delicious “protein”?

Check out this Honey Stinger Bar.

Yes, you read the label correctly. That does say both chocolate and peanut butta. This bar is kind of on the big side for a single person out on the trail, but could easily be cut in half. Some for now, some for later. This variety of bar also comes in a 10 gram bar, which is about half the size. It’s the more petite sister of this bad boy. Honestly, for the people out there who are monetarily conscientious; the bigger bar is a better deal.

Speaking of chocolate, check this out. KIND Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew bar.

This bar is made with simple ingredients. It is gluten free and delicious. It isn’t overly processed and all the flavors really shine through. Dark chocolate and cherries are touted to have antioxidants. I also believe them to be delicious when paired together, at the same time, in one freaking amazing bar that also has almonds. You can’t go wrong with this amazingness. Check out their website for more info.

The blurb from KIND, “Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew combines the immunity boosting antioxidant power of rich dark chocolate, cranberries and cherries with deliciously crunchable cashews and almonds. This is a decadent way to get 50% recommended Daily Value of Vitamins A, C and E”.

The options I’ve given do all have some cost associated. They are items available at REI or the grocery store. What to do if you are hoping to save some dough, but still fill your belly on the run/bike/trek?

Peanut Butter on the Go: Put some peanut butter into a Ziploc bag and squish it all down towards a corner. Feel free to rubber band it into the corner so it looks like a cone of beautiful peanut butter. Keep in a safe place and when you are ready for a good shot of peanut butter, bite off the tip of the cone and your peanut butter is ready to go. You can put the peanut butter straight into your mouth or use this as a less messy way to pipe the peanut butter onto some crackers, pretzels, etc.

Almonds and trail mix are great options. Keep them low-cost by picking up various ingredients on sale at the local supermarket or checking out the great selection that most Trader Joe’s stores have.

Whatever you do, get out there and have fun. Feed your soul, but remember to feed your body too. It will thank you.

Article originally appeared on The Seattle Lesbian (

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Fitness, Health, Health & Fitness, LGBT, Nutrition, REI, Seattle, Seattle gay, Seattle lesbian, Stacey S, The Seattle Lesbian, Wellness


Body Matters: Making It Work

The more I work towards better health, the more I become aware of obstacles and ways I have sabotaged myself in the past. One of the biggest hurdles? Cafeteria lunch and breakfast. Not only spendy, but there are no nutrition facts, large portions, and I was eating in a hurry. Packing meals in advance is time consuming, but also advantageous. It’s easy to be sucked into the “lunch time food run” that your co-workers go on, or the “deal of the day” in the café. Those pastries become more appealing when I’m really hungry and I didn’t bring anything with me. I’ve found that the best way to ward off the munchies and the way to keep on track is to pack a lunch and plenty of snacks.

I like to pack lunch in an insulated bag that I can slide under my desk at work. If I’m stuck on a project it doesn’t give me an excuse to not eat. I know it is best to sit down and be mindful about food, but not eating at all is worse. Pushed too far and too long without any sustainance, blood sugar can crash, and then that ravenous feeling happens. I try to nip it in the bud by packing a variety of snacks for the week. This allows for some variety and allows me to be a little choosy. Who doesn’t like to be choosy every now and again?

I’m always in search of good snack ideas these days. The same old thing all the time can get boring. I like enjoying what I eat and looking forward to the experience. Food has turned into “fuel” for me. I cycle to work and cycle home after work. I find that if I don’t snack, I feel pretty sluggish on the way home. All of the hills seem exaggerated and my energy level isn’t as high. Here are some examples of snacks that I’ve found work for me. My biggest tip is to pick things you enjoy, things that are varied, or try new things. Keep it interesting and it’ll keep you on track.

Greek Yogurt: I am a big fan of Greek yogurt. It has an incredibly creamy consistency and pairs well with fruit. One of the best things about Greek yogurt is that it packs a ton of protein, sometimes almost 20 grams per serving. There are a lot of really great brands out there. I really love the Trader Joe’s brand of Greek yogurt and I also enjoy The Greek God’s brand, especially the honey Greek Yogurt. Chobani brand yogurt also comes in many flavors that are appealing.

Almonds: A super great food! They contain protein and omega-9 fatty acids. They are also rich in Vitamin E and can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Oh, and they have a nice crunch and are pretty tasty. I’m partial to the raw variety, but you can also find them smoked, roasted, boiled, etc.

Blueberries: A cup of blueberries packs only 80 calories. They have lots of great stuff: vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin C, and dietary fiber. These are also great mixed into smoothies for a good snack. They also offer a low glycemic load and are anti-oxidant rich. Yum.

Granola and/or whole food bars: These are not all created equally. There are a lot of candy bars out there masquerading as “granola” or “healthy” bars. I think it’s helpful to look at labels and find bars that have few ingredients. If there are less than ten ingredients and you can pronounce them all, odds are it’s pretty good. Kind Brand bars are pretty delicious and healthy. I’m also a fan of Lara Bars. Most of these bars have ground or whole dried fruits, nuts, and natural sweeteners like honey and cinnamon.

Whatever you choose to snack on, may it nurture your body and bring you closer to where you want to be. Some have said that we are what we eat. Let’s make it good.

Article originally appeared on The Seattle Lesbian (

See website for complete article licensing information.

Stacey S in Fitness, Health, Health & Fitness, LGBT, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Seattle, Seattle gay, Seattle lesbian, Stacey S, The Seattle Lesbian, Wellness