Chia: The Sexiest Food In Running

No other food has become sexier in the ultra community than chia seeds. I mean, we’ve all read Born to Run. That blend of maize and chia seeds that fuelled the desert ultra runs of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico is enough to make me want to throw out all my protein bars and gels and live the desert life.

For those of you who haven’t read the book, 1. Get with the program and send me a message. I will lend you my copy. 2. let me explain the awesomeness of chia seeds.


Chia seeds are high in protein, fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, calcium, iron, manganese and phosphorous. As well as being exceptionally nutritious, Chia seeds have a special property which makes them the ideal endurance food. When they are soaked in water, the soluble fibre forms a thick, gel like mass. It is believed that when Chia seeds are eaten, the gel-forming reaction occurs in the stomach, forming a barrier between carbohydrates and digestive enzymes, thus slowing the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar. The net result is that Chia seeds are a super slow release energy source, avoiding the usual blood glucose highs and lows. The other important result of this gel-forming reaction is the retention of water. Chia seeds are exceptionally hydrophilic, able to absorb up to 12 times their weight in water. When in the gut, this means that water loss is minimized and electrolyte balance is maintained for longer.

Basically, they give you ALL THE THINGS.

Last April, when I did the trek in the North Dakota badlands, I took a bag of chia seeds with me and I mixed them into my morning oatmeal for a morning punch in the face.
I also would occasionally mix them with water and eat it as a snack with no flavouring, but to be completely honest, it tasted a bit awful. Desperate times, desperate measures.

Modelling some petrified wood

Like resorting to petrified wood for a place to sleep…

However, having returned to civilization, I have a few of my favourite chia recipes to share.

Berry Banana Chia Parfait by Angela

Chia Seed Energy Balls – Great for a pre-run snack

Chocolate Chia Cereal - Fabulous for all the cereal lovers out there. And I know you are there – I’ve read the comments! :)

And last, but not least, a Chia Seed Energy Gel for when you are on a long run.


3-4 dates
1 Tb chia seeds
1 Tb coconut oil
1 Tb fresh lemon juice
1 Tb honey
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp. cacao powder
1 Tb. tart cherry juice concentrate (optional – to add cherry flavour)

Chia is a great addition to a healthy diet. I love how it helps cut that feeling of constant hunger when you are putting in long training weeks and adds a bit of texture to normal recipes.

What are your favourite chia recipes?
Do you make your own energy gels? 


Holiday Gift Guide for Runners

Hi there!

We have reached the end of another week and now it is fast tracking to Christmas! If you have neglected your Christmas shopping up to this point, relax, I totally have you covered.

Buying for an athletic type on your list when you have no concept of the sport doesn’t have to be tricky. I have curated some of the greatest and best things out there at a low cost.

Check it out:

1. Adventuress Skin Care

This is a fabulous skin care line designed with active people in mind.

The founder of the company is active herself and began her company to fill a huge gap for women who were searching for products that worked as hard as they did.

A small company with fabulous product, this is sure to delight anyone on your list.

Retail: Range from $10 – $85



2. J Walking Designs

As a person that probably is wearing a sports bra underneath my blazer as I chose to run an extra 10 minutes instead of saving time for universally accepted bathing habits, the idea of workout gear that doubles as clothing WINS. J Walking Designs is an adorable start up company from the states that produces cute and quality product for $55.

3. Dessert Freedom Cookbook


Check out my review of it here.

This is a fabulous cookbook that offers 10 desserts that are actually healthy for you, providing Paleo, Vegan and Gluten-free options of your favourite Christmas goodies.

Written by Leanne at Healthful Pursuit, a multi-talented holistic nutritionalist, it is a beautiful and quality cook book.

Retails for $10.

Screen shot 2013-12-10 at 6.52.01 PM4. Smart Touch Running Gloves -

Any outdoor runner on your list will go nuts over a pair of good touch screen gloves so they can be rocking out to their favourite tunes while keeping their hands warm!

Retails from $20-$40.

5. Race Entry – 

If you REALLY want to surprise a runner on your list, buy them a race entry.

Search for local and unique races in your area and gift them with a certificate to the event.

For the road runner who is looking to shake things up a bit, a 5 Peaks trail entry would be a fun challenge and something to look forward to all year long!

6. Running Literature – 

For the runner in the midst of their off- season, a new book or a magazine subscription would be the perfect, thoughtful gift and a fabulous way to pass their new-found time. A few of the tried and true classics:

Born to Run – Christopher McDougall

Mind Gym – Gary Mack

The Lore of Running – Timothy Noakes

The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing – Philip Maffetone

Canadian Running

Trail Runner

7. Running Calendar – 

Runners World produces a new running calendar annually. It is full of beautiful photos of runners, motivational quotes and facts and a space to record your daily workouts.

Perfect Stocking Stuffers: 

All Natural peanut butter – This is a holy grail of food for runners. Delicious and protein-packed, they will be delighted.

Quality socks – There are few things a runner needs more than socks. Hit up your local running store and nab a couple pairs for the runner on your list.

What is on your wish list this year?

My little high school runner self

Running Heros

When I was in high school, I took my first tentative steps towards the world of running. Little did I know, I was in some of the very best hands.

I was a little uncertain when I tried out for cross country. I had waited until my final year to even consider it because of all my other obligations and well, my fear.
Our cross country team was coached by a shop teacher and assisted by a new English teacher. I went to a few practices and was hooked. The trails behind the school became a perfect stress reliever for me (or as much stress as a 18 year old girl can have..) I idolized my assistant coach and began to get over my irrational fear of racing because in spite of not practicing as much as everyone else because I lived quite far from the school, I was actually good at it. I loved the camaraderie of it all – the entire team piling into the van at an obscenely early morning hour, cheering each other on during the races and huddling in the team tent following the race, cold and shivering from the inevitable rain, sharing gatorade and bagels. I also loved the escape it provided, which is the reason I think it truly stuck. My final year of high school was an exceptional year for our family as my dad expanded the business into the new location and Jolene was rehospitalized. I just read a book by Christopher McDougall that explains that after almost every disaster in the US, there was an influx in running. It could just be a coincidence if it wouldn’t have kept happening. I believe it. I would not have been able to face my problems up front if I didn’t take a little bit of time that day to run away.

My little high school runner self

When the summer months hit and I had graduated high school, my coach tracked me down and told me that his daughter was willing to coach me over the summer if I wanted. Of course I said yes. I naively went week after week, knowing she was a “good runner” but having no idea of who she really was.

After the summer past, we went our separate ways and that was the last of it, or so I thought.

Last summer, on a beautiful clear day, I was driving along and was sidelined by an absolute running work of art. Jesse always complains that I judge people on their running gait, which may be true. We will pass a runner while we are driving and in mid-conversation I will blurt out “That’s an injury waiting to happen! Look at that heel strike!” But this was no injury waiting to happen. This human being was sailing along with an absolutely perfect gait and eating up the miles with ease. I stared slack jawed and dumbfounded.

As luck would have it, I ran into my old cross country coach that week and told him about this runner. Without missing a beat he said: O! That is Wesley! He is married to my daughter. Wanna meet him?”

Do I want to meet him? Really?

Wesley is one of the kindest, humble and genuinely talented human beings I have met. (Did I mention he won the Boston Marathon this year?) His wife and my coach for a summer, Tarah, are one of my role model couples. With this “couple crush” on my hands, you can imagine my delight when I was flicking through the latest issue of Runners World and happened upon this insert:

Tarah McKay and Wesley Korir are just two of my many running heros. Together, they started the Kenyan Kids Foundation and have been doing amazing things.

Who are your running heros?

Screen shot 2012-09-09 at 4.51.50 PM

Why I run [long distances]

I wrote the original “Why I Run” post here. Some of the feedback I received was that you were “relieved to hear a true reason of motivation”. And that is just it, it is a deep motivation. Yesterday, I did my time trial with my varsity cross country team. I whined to our physical therapist afterwards that I didn’t have my watch to push me forward and keep the pace I wanted.

He leaned in, pounded my chest and bellowed “What?!?! There isn’t a fire in here to push you forward?”

Yes. Yes there is. But my confession is that I am not a great short distance runner. I am not even a good short distance runner. I have not cracked a 20 minute 5 KM since high school but I need interval training to keep me in shape and I love LOVE the people on my team.

I digress.

I want to share with you my true love. The long distance.

And because words completely fail, I am using Christopher McDougall’s words because he explains why I run long distances better than I ever could: