I first met Kate on Heartbreak Hill in Boston, where she was (rather aggressively) cheering on marathoners, sometimes leaving the sidelines to run next to friends, helping them up the toughest part of the Boston Marathon. As an athlete training for Ironman Mont Tremblant (her goal is to do it in under 11:15), a keyleader at lululemon Burlington and a nutrition student (currently working on her Masters with a concentration on sports nutrition), Kate was the perfect person to take on the task of inventing our very own recipe for Seawheeze Bars.
the requirements were:
• the bars had to be easy and quick to make
• they had to be nutritious and good for post-run recovery
• they had to be delicious
Kate tinkered in her test kitchen and came up with this vegan, gluten-free recipe that you can make as a recovery treat after your next long run for SeaWheeze training.
seawheeze sea salt caramel bars
Makes 12-15 bars
• 4 cups of fresh pitted Medjool dates (about 48 dates)
• 3 cups of raw cashews
• 4 tablespoon chia seeds
• 2 tsp sea salt
• dash of vanilla extract (optional)
1. Place the pitted dates in a bowl and soak in water for 15 minutes. (This can be longer or shorter depending on the amount of time you have. The purpose is to soften them to make them process more easily into a paste). Drain the dates.
2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit
3. Put all ingredients (dates, cashews, chia seeds, sea salt and vanilla (if you are using it) in a food processor. Process the mixture for about a minute. You may need to stop the processing and scrape the sides of the bowl and then process again.
4. Once the mixture is smooth, form the mixture into bars with your hands and place on a cooking sheet.
5. Bake* the bars for 15 minutes. Remove and put them on a pan with wax paper or parchment paper and place in the freezer until you are ready to enjoy!
*the purpose of baking the bars is to take out stickiness, not to make the bars crunchy. Your final bar should be soft yet still together.
where's the caramel?
The caramel flavour in the bars comes from the dates. By processing them, you get a smooth, sweet caramel-like substance without the heavy cream and butter which is what "real" caramel is made of (plus loads of sugar). Dates provide great fuel for runners, and is much easier on your stomach than its non-vegan. sugar-filled counterpart.
quick nutrition synopsis
Great source of easily digestible energy for a pre-run snack or for post-run recovery to replenish your glycogen stores. Rich in antioxidants, iron and potassium.
Good source of protein, B-vitamins for energy and magnesium to help with muscle function and prevent muscle cramps and muscle soreness fatigue.
Easily digestible fuel, that’s rich in omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, protein, vitamins and minerals. Chia was made famous in the book Born to Run as it was the super seed of the Tarahumara tribe. Chia seeds are a staple in their diet because of their ability to provide an abundant source of energy and nutrients.
Salt is essential for muscle function. Runners lose salt through sweat (and can lose a lot especially when training and racing in the summer heat!) and if the electrolytes are not properly replaced, this can lead to muscle cramping, soreness and fatigue. Consuming a high quality sea salt is better than table salt since the sea salt contains the trace minerals essential for your well-being and it is not processed like table salt. It’s free of additives, bleaching agents and stabilizing agents.
Kate made the vanilla extract optional because she’s allergic and can't have it, so she couldn't taste test with it but in typical caramel sea salt recipes, it calls for vanilla. It also is not providing much nutritional value for runners.
feedback from the office
I made the bars at the office with Heather from our Oakridge store and we passed out samples for feedback. Note – this batch was eaten straight out of the oven without cooling & freezing:
“I am a hardcore "bar" addict (larabars, luna bars, elevate me, you name it - comes with being paleo-ish) and liked how moist and soft they were compared to the others that can be really dry” – Steph, Ecommerce
“Creamy, delicious, nutty and not too sweet. I really loved them. I honestly can't believe they didn't have butter in them - they tasted so good, I assumed they must be bad for me.” – Lesia, Brand Experience
“As a person who does not regularly eat any kind of bar, I thought they were tasty. I think if you’re planning on cutting them into larger pieces though they might need to be a teeny bit more firm?” – Melissa, Brand Experience
Thank you to Kate for developing our first-ever recipe for the lululemon test kitchen! If you’re wondering what’s next for our recipe developer, she plans to be working as a sports nutritionist by July 2013 and will write a cookbook for endurance athletes by January 2017. You can also check out what she's up to on her personal site, Iron Nourishment.