The Family and I are trying to eat better. For us that means eating food that's fresh, less prepared foods, less packaged carbohydrates, fewer refined sugars, etc. The standard stuff you read about these days in the hippie-foodie-Michael-Pollan sort of circles. But then when it comes time to exercise it seems like the go-to nutrition is powdered drink mixes, packaged gels and bars with multi-year shelf lives, etc. Why the disconnect? Sure - there's a need to absorb nutrition and replace electrolytes under adverse conditions, and it's hard to carry a fruit-spinach smoothie on a 5 hour bike ride.
But is there any middle ground between the foods I like to eat when I'm not exercising and this pre-packaged chemical soup I've been buying?
Part of training is working out nutrition issues and learning how your body reacts to foods on the go. (The harder you're working, the less your gut may be able to digest, and thus the "pre-digested cake frosting" Gu packs and "replace the sweat" Gatorade.) One of the first things I got for my new bike was one of those "Bento Box" food holders in an attempt to carry more food, bulkier fresh foods (well, fresh like a PB&J sandwich), and keep it right in front of me so I can see it all the time and grab it easily.
So far I really like having the food there but I still fill my bottles with Gatorade (Pro, with twice the sodium) and stuff the Bento Box with Clif bars and Gu. I add the occasional bag of home-made cookies and PB&J sandwiches and so far I haven't been riding so hard that I couldn't ingest them, so the experiment is working. I'm changing slowly.
Today I read this article from a guy that articulates my thoughts more clearly than I can, and has a company that's trying to offer an alternative: Up Close with Allen Lim, from Skratch Labs. Interesting...