A triathlete can (hopefully) only stomach so many bars, gels and tabs. I try to reserve most my intake of those necessities for racing and long training sessions. I prefer real foods and often field the question of “what do you eat before training?”

The short answer is It depends. Sometimes it’s two eggs over half a sweet potato before a bike ride. Other times it’s a banana with a little nut butter. And because I don’t live in a perfect world, I do throw down the occasional energy bar. As some of you know, I am coming off a bout of anemia and I am trying to get the proper amount of iron into my diet through both food and supplements.  My formula seems to be working.

Mara de Bois Berries from our "neighbors" at Chino Farms. We were eating these through late September--yum!

Mara de Bois Berries from our “neighbors” at Chino Farms. We were eating these through late September–yum!

My latest Food For Fuel obsession before a swim or run is a bowl of berries topped with unsulphured, blackstrap molasses, coconut milk and a sprinkle of hemp seeds for good measure.  Canned coconut milk is my new BFF.  I’ve been using it in my coffee or tea in the a.m. (goodbye coffee creamer, hello coconut milk) and in a really rich hot chocolate when I want that dark chocolate fix.  I’ve also been eating it by the Tablespoon straight from the can…..shhhhh.

Molasses is not only sticky sweet, but it tastes great in kind of a I burnt the crap out of the sugar sort of way. Unlike other sweeteners, molasses not only is rich in Iron, but in Manganese, Copper and Calcium as well.   I’m definitely not going overboard on the sugars (as healthy as molasses is, it is still “sugar”) during this Non Competition Season (A-hem @pbmcoaching) but I do like a little fast-acting carbohydrate before a workout.

Blueberries, Coconut Milk and Molasses was my #foodforfuel before 6 miles through Solana Beach and Del Mar

A bowl of  Blueberries, Coconut Milk and Molasses was my #foodforfuel before 6 miles through Solana Beach and Del Mar

Some of the foodies might be wondering why I’m doing a post about berries in late October. For one, I live in Southern California ……the climate is nice and warm all year ‘round insert snarky emoji here.   In all seriousness, we just have longer bouts of warm weather but I do pay attention to the seasonality of food. For the unseasonable berry times, I keep frozen organic ones on hand (Costco, Trader Joes and Whole Foods are the best for these) . A couple-to-few hours before my workout (or sometimes overnight if it is an early morning swim), I put a cup to a cup and a half in a bowl and slowly defrost. I then top them with a tablespoon or two of molasses, maybe a couple teaspoons of hemp or chia seeds and a couple of tablespoons of full fat canned coconut milk. Forget that low fat stuff-DON’T buy it. Please. The days of reduced fat foods are OVER!  You need fat in your diet—and not in an overboard, demonize-the-carbohydrate, faddish ketosis kind of way (more on the latter in the next post—I’m still wondering how I can make the words “Keto Diets for Endurance Athletes” drip with sarcasm).   Please. Lose the non-stick pans, egg whites, reduced fat cheese, nonfat yogurt, plain steamed vegetables, Snack Wells and skim milk once and for all.

Over the last two weeks, I have gotten a little running under my belt and have finally gotten confident enough to turn on my Garmin. Today I logged a easy six miler down into Del Mar and back.   My run times seem to align with where I should be in my training. I am so happy and thankful not to have an injury or a condition that is preventing me from doing what I love.

See you out on the roads and don’t forget to #fuelwithrealfood