So a can of beans walks into a bar……

I ate ’em straight from the can, but you certainly can get a little more creative and enjoy with some tempeh and broccoli

Just kidding, this post starts with:

So I ate a can of beans today dot dot dot.  Scary, I know.  But let’s take a closer look at this.

As endurance athletes, it is practically beaten into us by our coaches that we need to eat roughly 300 calories with a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein within a half an hour after finishing a taxing workout. Sheesh!  I deem any swim over 3500 yards with intensity; any bike ride over 2 hours which burns 1200 calories plus; or any run (unless it’s the kind of run where I stop to pet dogs and explore open houses) over 55 minutes a TAXING WORKOUT.  Most athletes will refuel with a branded recovery shake or a protein bar (which typically have MCTs (medium chain triglycerides), BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids) and other good things to help mitigate muscle breakdown and help with recovery.  But let’s be honest, the last thing that I want after a long or hard workout is something sweet and concocted in a lab.   It is not as though I keep a salt lick outside of my house so that I can counter the dry sticky-sweetness in my mouth after said taxing workout.   I want real food, damn it.  Most of the time, I try to follow Endurance Athlete Protocol (unfortunately there is no “one” link to this) and I choke a recovery shake down.  However, I didn’t feel like it today.

Vega Sport Performance Protein-full of MCTs and BCAAs and all of those other amino acid gibberish things that allow you to recover faster

Instead, I ate a can of beans after my 4 hour bike ride.  I would have preferred a can of refried beans; but since I only had plain beans in the pantry, I grabbed a can of garbanzo beans and doused them with chili powder, lime and cumin.  For s&%$s and giggles (where did that expression come from, anyway?), I decided to do a comparison of the nutritional break down of a can of beans versus a Vega protein bar and-a-half (I added a half in order to get the calorie count on more of a level playing field).  I chose the bar over the recovery drink as I wanted to compare something that doesn’t require any prep in order to consume.

Getting ready for a 4 hour ride–this ride was fueled by Medjool dates–more on that later

Check out this comparison table.  Calorie-wise, the bar has a little more than the beans, but the beans have a much better Carb-to-Protein ratio (just apply a little math to get the ratio).  Also, the beans are low in fat. Fat will slow down the absorption of both the macro (carbs and protein) and micro nutrients.  The sodium content of the beans is about six times greater than the bar—but I never worry about being overly salty. It’s an endurance thing (What can I say?  I like white crusties all over my kit at the end of the race)

 1.5 Vega Sport Protein Bar Can of Garbanzo Beans (Organic, Trader Joe’s)
Calories 360 330
Protein 22 grams 18 grams
Carbohydrates 52 grams 57 grams
Fat 12 grams 8 grams
Sugars 21 grams 3 grams
Iron 15 % RDA based on 2000  calories 18% based on 2000 calories
Calcium 3 % (based on 2000 calories) 0% based on 200 calories
Fiber 9 grams 18 grams
Sodium 90 milligrams 520 millegrams
Cost $3.50 $1.09

Then there is perception:  If I told a friend that I mowed down one and a half Vega protein bars after a workout, she wouldn’t give it a second thought. But if I tell her that I ate a can of beans instead, she would probably shoot a me laser “WTF” look.  And then wonder how Geoff and the dogs were surviving given the reputation that beans, um, have.

On a side note, my friend Julie (who happens to be an incredible triathlete) posted yesterday that she is going to try a vegan diet for three weeks. For those of you taking the plunge, keep your diet filled with leafy greens.  You can get all of the protein that you need (usually the first question you will field once you tell someone that you are following a vegan diet) from things like legumes and tempeh.

A can of beans for recovery snack?  Just a little “Food for Thought”

I quickly googled “s&%$s and giggles” and did not find more than a fuzzy history (Austin Powers? A now-defunct magazine?).  I’m well aware that it has nothing to do with “triathlon” or “food”, but if anyone tracks it down its origin, could you send me the link?