The basis of my early morning pre-swim smoothie.
The basis of my early morning pre-swim smoothie.

When you have multiple food allergies and sensitivities, it can be tricky to find a go-to food option. Especially something to meet all of my requirements for early morning swims—quick, “real food” (e.g. not a processed “energy bar” loaded with sugar and chemicals), easy to digest, and keep me fueled for at least 90 minutes.

I’m always tweaking to optimize my diet, with my early morning pre-swim “meal” evolving over time as well. A few past trials and rejections include hardboiled egg and rice toast slice (too heavy), commercial protein drink (made me jittery/not “real” food), porridge of cooked rice and fruit (O.K., but had to make the night before).

Most recently, during the first half of this year, I’d have a small bowl of puffed millet with rice milk. While this combo didn’t cause tummy distress while in the pool (major score!), I’d start to feel tired and hungry after just an hour—I still needed a better option.

After skimming a book on smoothies at the end of this past summer, I decided to tinker with that concept. The first few smoothies I tried, mostly fruit-based ones, didn’t work well as they were too sugary for me—they didn’t provide even-keel fuel.

Then I tried a pumpkin-based one, added hemp powder and chia seeds to boost the protein and satiety levels, and voliá!, I found my go-to pre-swim fuel! It’s quick to blend, and my body seems digest it at the perfect rate—no tummy distress while swimming yet plenty of energy for up to two hours. Here’s the recipe:

1/2 cup pumpkin (I use canned organic)

2 tablespoons hemp power

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 cup hemp milk

1/2 rice milk

pinch of salt

seasoning to taste (I like to make it pumpkin pie-ish, so I add dashes of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, all spice, vanilla and clove)

Obviously, you can substitute any type of milk, and/or just use one type of milk. Canned pumpkin usually has about three half-cups; it stores well in the fridge with a lid on it.

It’s not pretty to look at (the hemp powder has a dull green shade, so mixing it with the orange-y pumpkin results in a mud colored drink). But it does the trick, and I a few months in, I have yet to tire of the delish taste. My ideal window is to finish drinking this smoothie 60-90 minutes prior to diving in the pool.

Enjoy! And, let me know what you eat prior to early morning swims. I’m fascinated by what people eat—kind of akin to peeking into grocery carts at the store!

Next week: TRISWIM Shampoo & Conditioner review

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