So! I did my longest run yet this weekend, although the heat had me walking a lot of the last few miles as I was finishing it up around 1pm. I did 15 miles and – other than the heat – I felt good.
And it got me thinking…I’ve not talked about how I’m fueling now as a vegan.
It also got me thinking…Why do cold showers get a bad wrap? They’re FANTASTIC.
But back to the vegan thing…
My main source of non-food running fuel (I prefer real food if I can do that, but it’s not always ideal) for last ultra season was the Running Gummy. Ever brand has their own, I didn’t mind the “Fruit Smoothie” flavor from Honey Stinger or the “Watermelon” flavor from Gu. But – as many of you know – gelatin is animal derived so that’s out. I knew that from day 01. What I didn’t know, was that there are several other ingredients that can be animal derived. As a matter-of-fact, Gu seems to catch people off guard because initially it appears vegan, but if you look at the addendum/comments in this write-up and this one you’ll see that bigger writers than I are quick to get corrected on this.
The point? It’s hard to tell.
And while I hate the word “vegan” for that reason “YOU CAN’T HAVE THAT, IT’S NOT VEGAN!” (This comes from BOTH sides, by the way, from vegans and omnivores) – I do try to stay vegan if I can and if it doesn’t go against any other ethical consumer issues I have. (Example: I buy locally made honey because A) it supports my local economy and B) It supports my local honey bees)) BUT! With running fuel, I’m flexible and have no ethical issues SO! I’m trying to stay vegan if I can.
This is the one I decided on: Strawberry Cliff Gel. It’s 90% organic, the ingredients aren’t scary synthetic, and I found several sources confirming it is vegan friendly.
THAT SAID. If you find a good sale on bulk, you’re still looking at about $1 each. And if you buy it by walking in a brick-and-mortar store, like I usually do, you’re looking closer to $1.75 each.
SO! If I need that super-portability (so tiny!) or if I need that caffeine boost, that’s what I use. But for that general, “Energy after 3 miles” type of need I’ve been carrying baby food with me! I’ve bought those squeeze apple-sauce type packets (in the applesauce section at Target) 4 for $2 – which is cheaper than the gels – and I’ve been running with those. They’re portable enough to fit in my hydration pack, don’t require chewing (like real food often does), but they give me a 60 calorie boost. Not as much as a 100 calorie boost from gels, but it’s a good trade-off for the feeling of eating real food and also for the cost.
I actually haven’t used a gel in weeks, I did my run Saturday entirely on applesauce packets. My energy level stayed FINE the entire 15 miles. It was just the heat that nearly killed me. The brand I’ve found actually has several flavors with the applesauce: peach, pear, berry, mango…so I’ve got a variety. I’m not sure how appetizing they’ll seem if I’m cold, but for now I love them. I look forward to my baby food breaks on my run.
So! That’s how my fueling has changed since I’ve been trying the vegan thing. I know you’ve been losing sleep over this.
3 thoughts on “Running On Plants”
Actually sounds really interesting – I know that Haribo and similar sweets are made of gelatin. A friend of mine is vegetarian and you’d think it was pretty straight forward to buy vegetarian sweeties but sometimes it really isn’t!
I was poking around on the Hammer Nutrition website for my own purposes and it seems that their Gels are labeled vegan.
THANKS! Hammer sponsors a lot of local events so that’s good to know – I can take advantage of the freebies 🙂