Fueling Life's Grand Adventures

Every once in awhile, you need to do something that makes you feel fully alive. Every Memorial Day weekend, I take an annual trek from Money Creek near Gold Bar through the Alpine Lakes and ending somewhere near Northbend in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River area. Near as we have been able to guess, this trek is 14.5-16 miles long, depending on how lost we get. At higher altitudes, the trail is usually still under snow this time of year.

There is a craziness about this Adventure Run/Trek that seems like challenging death. Bears, hypothermia, broken bones, and dehydration are all very real possibilities out there. In the woods with a small group, we operate on a very basic human level. Survival is paramount, and as a pack we need to ensure we are all safe and strong. It’s fun and surprisingly restorative to break life down to it’s simplest – eat, drink, stay injury-free, get out alive. You unite and support your pack, use the experience of Alpha members to stay safe and on trail, and work consciously on our most fundamental goal in life – surviving. It is a time when cell phones, computers, work hassles and traffic fall away. The basics are the most important – fuel, community, safety, water. Rather than challenging death, it’s embracing life as a human in it’s most pure form.

I like using events like these to see what fuel my body responds well to. The more I experiment, the more tools I have in my athletic arsenal. I’ve done the Gu thing, the Clif and Lara and Odwalla bar thing and am now looking into fresher, homemade options for my long runs.

This weekend I decided to test out a recipe a colleague found as an alternative to refined, sugary sweets. I altered it by adding protein and changing the ingredients a bit to suit my own tastes – creating an incredible fuel for the trail. This was popular in taste, highly satisfying, did not fall apart in my pack and kept me well-fueled without stomach cramps or a cloying flavor common in some processed energy bars.

Behold – my Almond Oat Energy Bites! Present them at your next family function, bring them with you on a hike, or make a batch to have on hand instead of costly energy bars!

Aimee’s Almond Oat Energy Bites

2 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 cup Organic Raisins (very important – grapes are a highly sprayed crop)
1/2 cup Organic Dark Chocolate Chips
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 oz. Vanilla flavored Whey, Soy or Rice protein
1/2 cup Almond Butter
1/3 cup Agave Nectar (honey can be substituted)

1. Grind 1/2 cup oats and 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds in food processor until powdery.

2. Combine remaining 2 cups oats, remaining 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, raisins, chocolate chips and cinnamon in large bowl. Add oat/seed powder and mix well.

3. Stir in almond butter and agave nectar in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer to dry bowl and mix until soft dough forms.

4. Moisten hands, and roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place in freezer 20 minutes to set, then serve or store in the fridge.

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