The Picky Athlete’s Pocket

When an endurance athlete reduces/eliminates gluten and dairy from the diet, there are a lot of things out the window! There are the obvious good-byes – bowls of whole-wheat pasta, peanut-butter & banana sandwiches on whole-wheat bread, most cereals, etc – and then there are the “THAT has gluten/dairy, too?!” moments. The breakups that follow include most* energy bars, gels, sometimes-worth-the-splurge candy, etc. It’s a tough wake-up call, but well worth turning over those bars to glance at an ingredient list or two.

CLIF Dietary options

Exhibit A: the CLIF site makes it very easy to see which products fit into your dietary-needs pocket. But click “Gluten Free” & “No Dairy” and your options are instantly diminished. (Kudos for the user-friendly way to find this out, though. Scrolling through an FAQ section isn’t as fun.)

When did fueling on-the-go get so complicated? Wasn’t there a day when these didn’t exist, and people still crossed finish lines riding/running strong?

YES. Yes, those days did exist.

*Being selectively picky might have been quite the chore as few as 5-10 years ago – aside from homemade options and loaves of frozen gluten-free bread, you might have been grazing the sport store aisles & internet pages without much luck. Last Spring, taking on the “Sherpa” role with D’s cycling, I quickly realized that my marathon-fueling tactics didn’t extrapolate to a 100-mile ride, followed by an 80-mile jaunt the next day! (Let’s not get into how they physically do this, in the first place. My lower half aches at the suggestion of that weekend agenda.)

Enter: the Feedzone Cookbook, Picky Bars & Vega protein.

Feedzone cookbookPicky bars
picky bar science
Vega logo Vega slogan
Vega package instagramPicky Bar ski day

Photo source: Feedzone cookbook.

Sure, we could make our own bars all the time and get really creative with flavors & textures and combinations. When I feel the urge to do so, I’m all for it. We also can, and do, make trail mixes, simply grab hand-fruits, etc. when the kitchen is stocked.  But for the quick-fix, somebody-else-has-figured-this-out option?

ALL of these are gold to the picky athlete’s pocket!

The Feedzone cookbook (written by Allen Lim, who has worked with endurance cyclists for years) has recipes for rice-based bars; Picky bars are made by professional endurance athletes (Stephanie Rothstein, Jesse Thomas & Lauren Fleshman) as is Vega (Brendan Brazier). They get it. 

If you’re among the “picky” athletes looking for alterative options, these are all waiting for you. If you make your own bars, there are plenty of recipes out there to test out & enjoy! If you’re just looking to clean things up a little bit on-the-run or ride, these products are worth your investment.


What’s lining your pockets when you’re on-the-go?
Do you have any easy go-to recipes for bars, snacks, drinks, etc?


Filed under cycling, food, gluten free, Nutrition, running

2 Responses to The Picky Athlete’s Pocket

  1. You make me feel guilty, in a good way! Your will power and ability to eat well no matter what is incredibly impressive. It is a true gift, Heather. It’s such a refreshing thing to read about great sites and tools. You’re an inspiration!

  2. Oh yeah – I swear by them…six days a week!

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