Have you read Born To Run yet? If you haven’t, drop everything and go pick up a copy and read it. Now. Seriously guys, it’s that good. Kelly read the book first and mailed it to me, telling me to read it. However I looked at the title and thought “Meh, I don’t feel like reading some motivational-get-you-inspired-to-run-and-love-running book” and set it aside. Fast forward a few months and I finally decided to start reading. I was hooked. Immediately. I kept telling my boyfriend over and over “you have to read this! It’s so good!” But you see, he’s not a runner and had a pile of other books to read, so he too set it aside for months. Well, now that he’s read it (in under a week I think) and has become obsessed with running more and eating healthier, I think I’m regretting my decision to make him read it (aka I’m lazy). He had me hiking/trail running every day last week with him. 5 miles! Up hill! Ok ok, I can’t complain too much. It was almost 60 degrees here and this was our view from the top:
If you have read it, then you know all about the Tarahumara and their incredible running abilities. Brief recap, these are a tribe of Indians in Chihuahua, Mexico, who run over 100 miles at a time. For fun. And they do so in leather sandals, through cliffs and canyons, at record-breaking speeds. Oh…and they rarely get tired. What?! How!! Mentioned a few times in the book is a “magical” substance called pinole that they eat for an energy boost throughout their runs. In its basic form, it is toasted corn mixed with sugar and/or a few spices. That’s it, nothing special. It can be added to water as a drink, eaten as a paste, or baked into bars. First thing’s first, toasting the cornmeal until it starts to brown.
Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t like any of those fancy running gel snack things. Before Kelly and I ran our half marathon together we tried a few samples walking around the expo. And we were greatly disappointed with each one. So I was all for trying something different as an energy booster.
The original recipe I found for pinole is from Matt Frazier over at No Meat Athlete. It was…ok. If you want to try a traditional pinole recipe, try this one first. It wasn’t bad by any means, I just already am grumpy when I’m running and the last thing I want is a mediocre tasting snack. I wanted to switch it up a bit.
I decided to make my bars peanut butter and banana flavored. I still wanted the bars to be healthy and natural, but I needed something that tasted more like a treat (what can I say, I’m basically still a child). The base is cornmeal though, so don’t be expecting a smooth cookie/cake texture when you bite into these. Think more like cornbread meets granola bar sort of thing.
I was pretty excited with how this turned out and want to try experimenting with other flavors or add ins. Maybe some apple cinnamon? Some raisins? I feel much better about myself grabbing one of these bars to snack on after a work out than a highly processed “energy” bar. Even ones that are organic and natural, nothing beats homemade. Plus, the recipe is incredibly easy and quick to make. Enjoy!
Tarahumara Inspired Peanut Butter Banana Energy Bars (original recipe from No Meat Athlete)
- 1/2 c corn meal
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
- 1/4 c peanut butter
- 1/2 banana
- ~1 tbsp water
- In a skillet on medium heat, toast the cornmeal until it begins to brown. About 5 minutes or so
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl to form a paste (If it seems to dry, add a bit more water)
- Spread paste about 1/2 inch thick onto cookie sheet
- Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until edges begin to harden
- Let cool and cut into bars