Whole Food Homemade Gels for your Ultra Running Endeavors

With a little planning and some fun in the kitchen you can make your own organic energy gels.

By popular demand, here is one of my go-to’s for long-haul nutrition when I’m out trail running.

I am a huge fan of whole food nutrition on and off the trails, reserving the simple sugars like gels and liquid calories for the second half of a longer ultra event, say 50miles and up.

I prefer to use a combination of slow-burning carbs and fat to fuel the frenzy, and this recipe is a perfect combination of carbs, fat, and a little protein to keep you moving on a long day.

There are a few things that you will need to get started:  

A quality blender; I’m a Vitamix guy.

A few high-flow 150ml soft flasks, I prefer the hydropak version. 

Lastly, a frosting bag or equivalent. I use a non-pleated plastic bag that with a small hole cut in one of the corners. I repurposed a zip organic tortillas bag after I had eaten the goods:)

Now that you have the hardware, you need the software. 

Dates – 14 whole dates pitted
Honey – 6tbs
Peanut Butter – 6tbs
Basmati rice – 1-2 cups
1 Banana
1 Apple
Sea Salt – heaping Tsp
1 cup of water

  • Chop Dates up fine – Makes sure there are no pits:) 
  • Warm up the water and add the honey to melt it into the water. The water only needs to be warm not HOT def do not boil:) 
  • Add Dates and Honey Water to the blender. 
  • Blend till the dates are pulverized! 
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and blend till smooth. 

This recipe will make about 800-900ml. Enough to fill 5 150 ml soft flasks.  

In total, there are about 2100-2500 calories, about 400-500 per flask.

The dates and honey provide a perfect combination of glucose and fructose, the basmati adds slow-burning carbs and a nice smooth consistency, while the nut butter adds a healthy dose of fat and just enough protein. 

This particular recipe has a sweet Panang Curry kind of feel to the flavor profile. It also makes a killer apple dip. So any Ultra runners with children may want to make a double batch so that the kiddos don’t gobble up all your fuel.  

You can play with the fruit you add and the nut butter you use to change the flavor profile. But the dates, honey water, and basmati is the heart of this recipe and is where all the magic happens IMO.

For reference, I used 4 of these for my Unsupported Lost Coast FKT.

If you want more fat content, you can add MCT oil to the mix before the final blend, which I did for the Lost Coast.

You can make this once a month and freeze the soft flasks for long-term storage, putting one of the flasks in the fridge to dethaw the day before your long run.

IMO There is something very satisfying about making your own fuel to power your endeavors.  

Plus, you can source organic ingredients and still make about 18 gels for a buck apiece while eliminating all that single-use waste in the process.  

I love this stuff, and I hope you will too.  

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