Loving the BITE: Keep Pedaling with Candied Ginger

21
May
2015

On recent long rides, there’s been one fuel that has really, really made me smile lately. I don’t eat huge amounts (it doesn’t take much), but it provides carbs, tastes delicious, cleanses your palate, calms your stomach, and soothes your joints. Any guesses?

Of course, it’s ginger. But not just any ginger. Candied ginger. Most any woman who’s been pregnant and experienced morning sickness knows about this sweet little miracle food. Having experienced this debilitating nausea four times, I’m quite familiar with the stuff. So, when looking for great fuel on the bike one day, candied ginger just sounded great. And it works great.

As long as you’re choosey at the store, you can buy it rather than making it if you’d like. Look for brands with no high fructose corn syrup or colorings…mostly you should just see ginger and sugar.  Or, if you’ve got a few minutes (it doesn’t take too long), you can make a delicious batch.  As you know, ginger is a true Super Foods that impact everything from your stomach (it reduces nausea) to your joints and muscles (reduces pain).  Along with my Honey-Candied Ginger recipe, I’ve included 7 anti-nausea tips to keep your stomach settled and your legs pedaling.

Honey Candied Ginger

Recipe of the week: Honey Candied Ginger 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ginger root
  • 1 cup organic honey
  • ~1/2 cup Coconut flour or coconut flakes

Instructions:

  1. Peel ginger.  A great tip is to simply use a spoon to peel it.  Ginger’s thin skin scrapes away easily with the edge of a spoon.
  2. Cut ginger into ¼” slices.
  3. Place 3 cups water in a pot.  Add ginger.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35 minutes or until the ginger is tender.
  4. Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain.
  5. Return the ginger to the pot and add the honey. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the honey is slightly darker and thicker, approximately 20 minutes.
  6. Transfer the ginger immediately to a colander and drain liquid into a bowl (save liquid as a wonderful sweetener for tea, yogurt, etc).
  7. Add coconut to ginger and shake to coat well.  Then, separate and spread individual pieces on oiled or non-stick cookie sheet.
  8. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Comments:

Candied ginger is simply good.  It tastes good, it’s refreshing, not too sweet, a nice treat.  And with its amazing nutrients, you’ve got a recipe for anti-nausea success.  What’s more, the honey-carbs in this recipe contribute towards your carbohydrate goals per hour (60+ grams per hour on rides 90 minutes) and the coconut flake coating allows for a typically sticky food to be easy to handle while on the bike.  While some of the honey’s enzymes are destroyed with cooking, it’s fructose and glucose remain unharmed and provide relatively long-lasting energy (similar to maltodextrin) that makes for perfect cycling fuel.  If you’ve suffered from a sour stomach or nausea, it may really help.

If you’re looking for more options, here are other Anti-Nausea Strategies:

  1. Dial in your pre-training fuel plan.  Generally, a regular meal is fine 3-4 hours out, but it should not be high fat or high fiber.  Also, avoid any gas producing foods such as broccoli, beans, etc within 6 hours before a ride.
  2. A smaller snack is fine 1-2 hours beforehand.  A piece of fruit with peanut butter, some nuts and raisins, or a fruit and nut bar.  If you’re starting early in the morning and don’t want to wake up 3 hours out (and I don’t blame you), simply use a small snack or a smoothie (liquids digest quicker) 1-2 hours out.
  3. Make sure your sports drink works well for you.  Not every drink is for every cyclist.  Some do well with maltodextrin based drinks, others with sucrose or glucose based ones, others only with water or low-carb drinks.  If you find that you consistently don’t feel good using a particular drink, try a different one.  As long as you’re hitting your goals for fluids, carbs, calories, and lytes per hour from some sort of food and/or fluid, you can drink what you’d like.  If water is your preference, make sure to get in sodium along with it somehow.
  4. Aim for 60-90 grams carbohydrates per hour with your drink and carb option for any ride >90 minutes.  Fuel from the start of your ride. Why? Blood sugar swings can cause stomach upset.  Consistently, proactively fueling will help you keep them steady and feeling great. Most cyclists who suffer from nausea aren’t fueling enough.
  5. Eat small amounts throughout the ride and DO NOT eat a large meal at once (such as at the half-way point).  Not only will this set like a rock in your stomach, it will also leave you with heavy, tired legs as your blood flow is diverted to your gut and dealing with an overload of food.
  6. Drink to a schedule to meet your needs.  Do not wait for thirst (I know, I know, you’ve heard both pieces of advice).  It’s hard to stay hydrated out there.  You will never make up for all the fluids you’re losing, so, you will be somewhat dehydrated.  If you wait until you’re parched, you’ll be further behind the ball and it’s nearly impossible to catch up.  At 18-24 oz. sports drink (with sodium) per hour, you won’t over-hydrate.  What’s this got to do with nausea?  Dehydration and low sodium status leads to nausea.
  7. For longer rides, eat a “real food” snack every 2-3 hours (this is in addition to the hourly fuel you’re consuming on the bike.  A small sandwich, handful of candied ginger, 1/2 bagel, mashed sweet potatoes, or boiled red potatoes are all good choices. Again, keep the portion small – just the size  of 1/4-1/2 sandwich.  It’s a balancing act, but  to avoid stomach issues you want to avoid the “hollow stomach” you can get when you don’t eat any solids, and a distended stomach you can get when you eat too much.
  8. Try probiotics and/or enzymes immediately before and during a ride.  Probiotics are the healthy bacteria found in your intestines that aid digestion of foods, absorptions of nutrients, immune function, and more.  Turns out, they can help reduce stomach upset in the short-term as well.  Enzymes help break down nutrients….amylase breaks down carbs, protease proteins, and lipase fats.  Then, there are even more specific enzymes for specifics types of carbs, proteins and fats (lactase for lactose, for example).  If you’re interested, popping a probiotic/enzyme combo pill before and every hour of a ride can help.  A yogurt smoothie as a pre-ride fuel provides a whole-food option.
  9. If acid is the problem, it may simply help to use a antacids before and during a ride.

It seems that runners experience an unsettled stomach due to all the bouncing around, and cyclists due to the constant seated position (proper positioning can also alleviate any acid reflux).  Whatever the issue, it’s important to figure out which foods and drinks to avoid and which foods and drinks may help.  Candied ginger is certainly a great and delicious option, as long as you can resist it long enough to take it on your ride.

Fuel your Ride.  Nourish your Body.

Enjoy Your Ride
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