If you’ve been to any of my endurance riding presentations (or even just chatted with me for a few minutes about hydration and nutrition), you know there are two food products I recommend by name: Justin’s Nut Butter and SPORTea. I enjoy them on the bike and off, I bring them with me on all of my motorcycle travels without fail, and I absolutely swear by them.
I found Justin’s single-serve nut butters out of a need for rally food that was portable, easy to eat on the move, and delicious without being packed full of garbage. I’d almost perfected my healthy food packs for rallying, but I wanted to add something with a little more excitement. I tried a few different butters but I was solidly unimpressed. Some were a cocktails of sugar and preservatives; others had odd protein additives that unleashed some pretty unpleasant gastrointestinal demons. Not exactly great for peak rally efficiency.
Justin’s are made with a handful of wholesome, easy-to-pronounce ingredients. They’re packed full of protein and flavor without being packed full of sugar. It’s a wonderful little treat for my tastebuds without ending up with some sticky mystery mess in my tank bag. I stock up on the full-size jars for home so we can satisfy all of our butter munching needs. Monty loves it, I love it, and I bet you will too.
SPORTea fell into my lap at at time when I was desperately looking for a way to improve my hydration routine on endurance rides. I lost several finishing positions in the 2011 Iron Butt Rally because of dehydration; I was drinking so much water that I felt sick, but still couldn’t manage to overcome my rate of fluid loss through sweating on a sweltering 112 degree Texas day. I had to call it quits and rework the rest of my rally because I knew I was dangerously dehydrated and, as painful as it was to knock my ride out of podium contention, it was the only safe choice. It was almost an exact repeat of the 2009 Iron Butt Rally, which saw competitors slogging across the Mojave desert in blazing August heat nearing 120 degrees. Wetting my clothes, stuffing my jacket with bags of ice, drinking as much as I could stand, I still felt awful. I knew there had to be a better way.
Around that time, some friends of ours opened a restaurant in Kernville, California. Not only did they make the most amazing pizza in the state, they served this amazing, light, refreshing iced tea. I’d never tasted anything like it; not too sweet, not too boring, none of that weird chemically aftertaste. Turns out it was SPORTea. It’s a completely natural herbal tea designed to help athletes rehydrate more efficiently than water alone and without the negative effects of sugary, caffeinated drinks. It has no calories, caffeine sugar, or artificial sweeteners, and it tastes amazing without having to add a thing. It cold brews, so I can toss a pouch in my hydration jug and have wonderfully refreshing tea all day long. Most importantly, it actually refreshes and rehydrates me in a way I wasn’t coming close to achieving with water or other drinks.
When I anticipate an exceptionally hot day, I’ll make sure to start brewing a jug or two first thing in the morning. It is a game-changer on those days where I can drink water till I’m sick and still feel dehydrated; sipping SPORTea through the day not only tastes great, it makes me feel thoroughly refreshed in a way that water alone does not. I drink it at home, I drink it on the road, I give it as a gift. I’ve shared it with people who swear they hate tea, who are pleasantly surprised to find they love SPORTea. I may not drink it every day on the road, but I never leave home without it.
These are my favorite nutritional must-haves, not only for riding but for an active life in general. What are your favorite nutritional tips and tricks? Let me know in the comments!