We have expanded our range of Expedition and Energy Foods to include some products from Clif bar and Trek ‘N’ Eat. The performance benefits from using high energy products have been proven beyond doubt but when you consider that they are also smaller and lighter than more traditional foods, I am often surprised that they are not used more by climbers, mountaineers and skiers. Freeze dried food is no longer the taste and texture horror that it once was and so much easier that cooking traditionally. If you fill your pack with freeze dried meals and high energy products, it will be smaller and lighter but you will have more available energy.
The Clif Bar range has some great flavours and are completely organic, vegan friendly and dairy free.† So good for your body and made from real ingredients. We are starting with Oatmeal & Raisin, Choc Chip and Blueberry Crisp. If you want other flavours then let us know.
Next up from Clif Bar we have the Shot Bloks. A pack of Shot Bloks is roughly equivalent to 2 gel sachets. Each pack contains 6 chewable bloks, roughly a third of a gel each. The beauty of Shot Bloks are the ease of portion control and the lack of oozing gel wrapper after consumption. No matter how hard I try I can never get a gel sachet properly empty and by the end of a long race they have covered my pack pockets or bumbag in ultra sticky mess. Shot Bloks come in 3 flavours, Mountain Berry, Orange (with caffeine) and Strawberry.
The final product is Peronin from Trek ‘N’ Eat. Peronin suggest the powder, which mixes into a shake, is not for before or after exercise but for consumption during. I would suggest that it is to be used any time you would like calories from a small meal but do not want the bulk of one in your stomach. 100g of Peronin contains 442 Kcal, which is about the same per gram as a freeze dried meal and a bit more than a high carb recovery drink like Protein recovery from High 5. The mix of 18% Protein, 61% Carbs and 15% Fat is pretty similar to a normal diet (if there is such a thing). The freeze dried meals vary on this mix but generally have a little more fat and protein and less carbs, whilst the protein recovery drinks have more protein and carbs but hardly any fat (1-3%). The fat is what adds the calories and makes Peronin more like your standard food intake. Fat is not wanted for high intensity short duration exertion but cannot be missed out for longer duration activities. Peronin is medium chain triglycerides which are processed by the stomach and gut much more quickly than solid food so deliver the calories without delay or stomach bulk.
I went to a 2 day adventure race this weekend (5 stage races over 2 days) and decided to fuel myself mainly on Peronin to see how I got on. As the longest section was 5 hours I didn’t actually drink any whilst on the move but the gap between the first and second events was only 1 hour and the 2 events totaled 7 hours so I needed to get some calories in quick but be ready to pedal hard. I made a 200g mix of Peronin which went down really easily and I never felt either too full or hungry for ages on the bike. I thought it was a bit watery when mixed by the instructions so made mine with less water but made sure I also drank plenty of water too. On the 2nd morning canoeing started at 8am so I wasn’t up early enough to digest a normal brekky so had another portion of Peronin with some bagel and a banana. Same result, plenty of energy but not feeling full or bloated at all. The only tricky thing about Peronin is the mixing, if not done right it can be pretty lumpy. A recovery drink shaker with one of those grills to break up the lumps is ideal, just add the powder and a little water and shake for a minute, then add the rest of the water and shake again. That’s fine at home or at base but not ideal for carrying the powder on a route or trail and mixing with stream water. A lumpy drink is not the end of the world but I will try to find the solution. On a long multi pitch route or situation where water would not be available, I would pre mix the Peronin with half the water directed and put it into an old 300ml water bottle for consumption later.
Overall I really like the Peronin, the taste and texture (when using less water) were pretty agreeable and I had no trouble getting it down. When you drink it, it doesn’t seem like there is enough there but I was surprised how it kept hunger at bay and gave plenty of available energy. At £5 per 100g in the sachet, it’s the same price as a freeze dried meal but so much better if you are on the move.