Loving the BITE: Tour de France Special – Chocolate for Breakfast

11
Jul
2013

IMG_2790If you’ve got Tour de France fever, you may find yourself waking up in the wee hours of the morning to watch live coverage.  And, you may just get hungry, tired, or lethargic by the time it’s time for your own morning ride.  Which brings me to the subject of our Loving the Bite recipe this week.

Chocolate.

While the French didn’t invent or play a strong role in its historic beginnings, they may have been the first to introduce it as a breakfast food in their wonderfully luxurious pastries.

That’s right: Chocolate for Breakfast, Chocolate for Pre-Ride Fuel.

Of course, I’m not talking about just any chocolate, but a very high percentage cocoa chocolate with added energizers that will serve as nothing short of  high-antioxidant, healthy fat, mineral-rich training fuel.  This week, we’ll make it ourselves.  Well’ load up on the nutrients it has to offer, and we’ll hit the road for our own tour.

Recipes of the Week: Homemade Chocolate Bark in 5 minutes or less

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup organic coconut oil (can be organic and refined if you’ve lost your mind and would like less of a coconut taste)
  • 3/4 cup high quality cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup cashews, chopped coarsely (or any other nut)
  • 1 Tbsp. real vanilla
  • 2/3 cup raw and/or organic honey, real maple, molasses (if you’re brave), or a combo
  • sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Melt coconut oil in saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. Remove from heat and quickly stir in cocoa, cashews and real vanilla.
  3. Stir in honey.
  4. Pour into parchment-paper-lined bread loaf pan or baking pan and sprinkle with a small amount of sea salt.  Bread pan with produce thicker chocolate chunks, a larger baking pan thinner chunks.
  5. Place in the refrigerator until hard, usually takes 1-2 hours.
  6. Break into chunks and enjoy.  Store in refrigerator or freezer.  I prefer freezer – still easy to eat immediately.

Makes 18 servings.  Nutrition information: Approx. 160 calories, 14 grams carbs, 12 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein, 130 mg sodium.

Comments:

It probably won’t take much to convince you to eat chocolate.  But, to really, truly believe that it can have beneficial effects on your well-being and energy? This may take more work.  But never fear, I’m up for the challenge.

First, I’ve already covered why cocoa is a great health food.  In this post you’ll find information about its antioxidants, phytochemicals, and more.  It plays a role in a healthy metabolism and heart health.  And this week, we’ll key in on one nutrient found in cocoa.  Who knew? Cocoa is a great source of magnesium.  And, magnesium is great for cyclists.

Along with cocoa, this recipe features several energy SuperFoods.  These include:

  • Raw honey.  If you’ve read my posts even once, you’ve likely caught on that I’m a fan of raw or organic honey for training nutrition.  It breaks down similar to maltodextrin (a little slower than regular sugar), is full of antioxidants and enzymes, and offers a very efficient whole-food carbohydrate source.
  • Organic coconut oil.  Don’t even get me started.  I talk about organic coconut oil more than I talk about my 3 beautiful kids, and that’s saying something.  I even have pictures of it on my phone to show to people.  Why?  Because it’s a very special fat and key source of medium chain triglycerides, which just so happen to be unique source of non-carbohydrate super-efficient energy.  Want the low-down?  Here’s our short informative video about organic coconut oil.
  • Cashews.  Among nuts, cashews are special in my book.  They are a great source of the powerful antioxidant mineral, copper (and guess what else? Magnesium).  Cyclists should be fans of cashews and copper, as copper contains an enzyme specifically important for energy production.  Here’s more.

And now for this week’s All-Star: cocoa powder and its magnesium content.  Believe it or not, magnesium is a mineral that’s flown under the health and wellness radar for many years, but is vitally important to health, especially for cyclists and other endurance athletes.  Magnesium:

  • Plays a big role in bone health and may reverse osteoporosis.  Along with Vitamin D, adequate amount of magnesium are important for calcium absorption while deficiencies can lead to altered calcium metabolism and weak bones.  If you’re a cyclist, and especially one who neglects weight baring exercise (hint: you shouldn’t), you should definitely pay attention to the health of your bones and the minerals you consume to keep them healthy.
  • Is crucial for energy metabolism, even playing a role in the activation of enzymes for ATP – our cells’ and body’s source of energy.
  • Lowers the risk of coronary heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure.
  • Improves carbohydrate metabolism, insulin release, and blood glucose levels.  In fact, some studies have shown that for every 100 mg of magnesium in daily intake, there was a 15% decrease in risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
  • Improves mood, symptoms of depression, insomnia, and migraines.
So, what are other sources of magnesium?  While cocoa is a great source of magnesium @ 26 mg per just 1 Tbsp., nuts, seeds, grain brans, soybeans, and many spices also deliver a good amount (see a complete list of magnesium-rich foods here).  In fact, cashews provide ~38 mg per 1 Tbsp.  This makes our cocoa plus cashew pre-ride snack one great recipe for energy production.
How much is enough?  The RDA for magnesium is only 300 mg per day, and if you take a good multivitamin, you’re likely getting 100 mg or so from it.  For most endurance athletes, though, and especially for those with known bone density issues or magnesium deficiency, a better goal is at least 500-800 mg per day.
If you do choose to use this week’s recipe for a regular breakfast, do me and yourself a favor and pair it with some protein – this will make a wonderfully balanced meal of whole food carbs, healthy fats, and protein.  And if you’re heading out for a morning ride, try it alone for pre-ride fuel.  I’ve been using it just 5-10 minutes before a strenuous 2 hour ride (I also drink my homebrew during the ride), and it’s been working great.
This week, let’s sit back, enjoy the Tour, and relax for just a bit.  Then, let’s fuel-up with a wonderfully high-magnesium and copper Superfood Recipe, get out our own bikes, and enjoy an energy-filled ride.

Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.

Enjoy Your Ride

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Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean ”lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.

Answer:

Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

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Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

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