Monday, January 27, 2014

No Grain=No Pain... 50K training update and yummy recipes!!

Image Source: CIM
Hey! Hope you all are having a great week!  

If you’ve been following my blog since the early days, you’ll know that part of my focus (besides just running.. gasp), is on clean eating and a healthy lifestyle.

In the past I’ve tried to include some posts on my travels (and my family’s) towards eating as healthily as possible.  We’ve made significant changes in the past (no more processed foods, no gluten etc).  The benefits have been tremendous, and combined with a passion for running, has helped me become as healthy as I’ve ever been (and my Dr is very happy!)

Also, you may recall that I have been struggling with a chronic Achilles inflammation issue for about a year now.  Finally last fall, on the advice of my Dr., I eliminated all grains from my diet, not just wheat (gluten).  As known contributors to inflammation, I figured it was worth a shot.

I eliminated all grains for 30 days and noticed a steady improvement with my inflammation and pain in my Achilles.  Thinking that perhaps I had gotten past it, I did bring grains back in (including a few days of caving into glutinous indulgences), and WOW… within a day it was like someone took a flame thrower to the back of my heel!

Ok… ok.. I get the message.  I muddled through the holidays taking a break from running, but didn’t go grain free again until the beginning of this year.  I recently started a 16 week training program to run my first Ultra Marathon in May and figured I need listen to my body, ditch the grains and focus on eating well, resting well, and training right to run far and to run pain free.

So…  how do you cope without eating any grains?  I will admit that it was, and continues to be a challenge, but I think going gluten free for at least a year before has helped.  Breakfast is a struggle, but I’ve settled on eggs/veggies, or a loaded smoothie for most days.

One great thing about going grain-free however, is that I’m learning to cook a lot of new things and have tuned into some really great resources like the Practical Paleo Cookbook, and just about anything from Elana’s Pantry.

So, I’m going to try and put up more posts about this grain-free adventure as well as my 50K training.  And I’ll share some terrific recipes along the way.
If you are interested in going grain free, check out these recipes below… they are really terrific!

Shrimp Pesto Fettuccine

This is an amazing recipe that I got from Practical Paleo.   A few things to note… I don’t like Cilantro… well I didn't.  A few years ago I couldn't even stand to smell it, but I've slowly grown to like it… and in this recipe I love it!  And, as for missing true noodles, my mind was blown by the texture, flavor, and ease of preparing fettuccine noodles from zucchini!  I know.. sounds crazy, but they totally rock. 

To make zucchini noodles, just use a vegetable peeler to shave off strips until you hit the seedy core of the squash. Steam them for 3-5 minutes and BAM you have an amazing noodle alternative.  The pesto in this recipe is made from 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, fresh cilantro, garlic, olive oil and salt/pepper in a food processor.. amazing stuff!

Elana's Pantry

And, for dessert,  how about these peanut butter and jelly cookies from Elana’s Pantry?  They hit the spot satisfying that need for something sweet, with a grain free delicious alternative.  I just made a bunch of these before leaving for a week long trip.. something tells me they won't be around when I get home! Super easy and super tasty!  Click HERE to get the recipe. 

Greenland 50K
Week 3 of 50K training, and feeling pretty good so far.  Popped up to a 27+ mile training week last week, and this week (week 3) will be close to 30...   trying not to get too freaked out that I'm working up to a 26 mile TRAINING run...  whoa..  can't believe I'll run a marathon just as a part of training.... but too early to get worked up about that..  I'll just keep adding a little more to my long runs each week and I'll get there..  and hopefully pain (and grain) free!

Happy trails!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Burned out on gels? Fuel 100 Electro-Bites Review

5/1/14 Update:  I am now an Electro-Bites Ambassador! I love this stuff, and am so happy to represent them!  If you order Electro-Bites, use the code "jefftoldme" to get 20% off your order!

I'm always on the look out for different ways to fuel long runs, and I'm excited to share the latest from Fuel 100! Towards the end of last year, I didn't have a lot of really long runs, just a few 1/2 marathons, but next week I start a 16 week training for the Greenland Trail 50K on May 3rd!

As you know, there are a lot of different ways to fuel runs out there, and probably one of the most common things are energy gels such as GU, Clif Shots, and my favorite, Huma Chia as well as different kinds of energy chews etc.

Granted, these gels/chews are all slightly different in composition and ingredients, but one thing they share is that they are all sweet.  And that sweetness can really get old as I learned in my first marathon... after 4 hours of gels, with another 1 1/2 hours to go (yes I was out there a while), I really got burned out on the sticky sweet!

That's what makes Electro-Bites from Fuel 100 very appealing.  Electro-Bites provide calories and electrolytes via a salty, slightly sweet crunch that is a welcome relief to sweet gels.  Don't get me wrong though, I do love a sweet caffeinated boost on a long run, but I crave a little salt as well, so these hit the spot!  Here's the nutritional info:

Each 100 CALORIE SERVING contains –
  •  Organic Coconut Oil
  •  Organic Agave Syrup
  •  Potato Starch
  •  Sodium (190mg) , Magnesium (46mg), Potassium (55mg)
Nutrition Facts Serv. Size: 23 grams (23g), Servings: 1, Amount Per Serving: Calories 100, Fat Cal. 40, Total Fat 4.5g (7% DV), Sat. Fat 4g (20% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Sodium 190mg (8% DV), Potassium 55mg (2% DV), Magnesium 46mg (10%DV) Total Carb. 14g (5% DV), Sugars 2g, Protein 0g, Calcium (2% DV), Vitamin D (25% DV), Vitamin E (15% DV), Vitamin B6 (10% DV), Vitamin B12 (30% DV). Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Calories per gram: Fat 9 • Carbohydrate 4 • Protein 4
As you can see, the ingredients are pretty simple, and relatively clean as well (another factor that I really appreciate). 
So, how did they work?  I put them to the test at the Rock Canyon 1/2 Marathon in Pueblo, CO in early December. I knew I would be out in the 6F snowy weather for 2 1/2 hours, so would need a little boost.  I carried the Salty Vanilla with me and had them just past the halfway point.  I know, don't try something new on race day, but I like to live dangerously ;-).   The package was lightweight to carry, and easy to open.  The bites have a pretty decent crunch to them, and an interesting flavor.  I would compare it to something like a saltier graham cracker/cookie.  Still a little sweet, but more salty which was nice.  I also tried the Pumpkin Spice flavor, and that was pretty tasty.  Other flavors include Simply Salty, and Salty Vinegar. 
They were easy on my stomach and helped stave off some fatigue for sure. 

Fuel 100 and Electro-Bites are the product of two passionate endurance athletes, Michelle Halsne, and Andrea Bonaccorsi. They knew what they wanted, couldn't find it, so they created it themselves (with help from a lot of great experts in the field)!

If you want more info, check out Electro-Bites at their website here: and on Facebook here
Electro-Bites retail for $13.20 for a 6 pack or $2.20 each, or as low as $1.94 each when you order 26. So, they run a little bit more than you may pay for some gels, but I've found they are a terrific complement to, or replacement for them. 
As always, let me know if you have any questions/comments below... thanks!
Happy Trails!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Electro-Bites for free from Fuel 100 as coordinated by Deep Creek PR an Outdoor Retailer Public Relations Company in consideration for review publication.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy and Healthy 2014!!

Hard to believe another year has already gone by!  I kicked of 2013 with a bang, and am looking to do so again for 2014!   With a full year of blogging since that post, I can't tell you how much fun it has been. I've really enjoyed reviewing and sharing running gear that I really like, and also doing what I can to share healthy eating related topics and recipes.

And, I have really appreciated all of you that have been following my blog for the past year, following on Twitter, and liking the Barefoot Inclined Facebook page. Which is why I am so excited to host the ultimate giveaway on this first day of 2014, showcasing my favorite gear and vendors from 2013!

But, before I jump to the giveaways, I just wanted to give a little recap of the year.  I had a number of goals for the year, but first and foremost was to continue my journey to better health through clean eating and exercise.  Over the year, I've maintained my weight, and continue to eat clean.  I've lost more pounds than I care to think about over the course of my life, but it has always come back. This is by far the longest I've maintained, and that feels great.  How did it happen? Simply by no longer dieting.  Dieting implies a short term plan, whereas a change in lifestyle is forever.  I know I have a ways to go, but focusing on whole, organic, non-processed foods as much as possible has made this change possible. My goal for 2014?  Just keep it going on :-)

And of course there is the running.  I never dreamed I would develop a healthy obsession for running, but somehow that has happened and it continued throughout 2013. I struggled a bit this year with a nagging Achilles issue which slowed down some of my mileage, but I'll still remember 2013 as the year I ran my first marathon!  Also, my love of trail running has continued to grow this year. There is nothing I enjoy more than just getting out on the beautiful trails (and Incline) in Colorado. 

ADT 1/2 Marathon

Rock Canyon 1/2 Marathon

In 2013, I started the year with marathon training that culminated in the Carlsbad Marathon on January 27th.   During the year I ran several 10K's (Including the Bolder Boulder which I managed to run 5K of it barefoot!), a 10 Miler at Garden of the Gods, and 2 more 1/2 marathons to bring my total to 3.  My goals for 2014? The PPRR Winter Series, Big Mountain Trail 1/2 Marathon in April,  Greenland 50K in May (first Ultra!), Garden of the Gods 10 miler, and the Pikes Peak Ascent in August (provided I qualify AND I can get an entry).   Beyond that, I plan to just keep trail running, testing/reviewing gear, and just plain having fun with it.

Oh... and how could I forget! In 2013 I had the great fortune to be selected as an Ambassador for INKnBURN!  I love this company, their products, and all of the people involved, including owners Megan and Rob, plus the awesome Ambassadors that I've gotten to know over the year. I was also glad I had an opportunity to visit INKnBURN in Costa Mesa, CA this summer to see first hand the passion and quality that goes into every amazing cool tech shirt.  I know.. I know.. can't help it, I love this company!

SO.... Let's get this New Year started with a bang!  The following is a summary/highlight of some terrific gear and stuff I reviewed last year, along with some amazing swag provided by these vendors. I've had the privilege of working with some terrific people from equally great companies and I want to take a minute to thank them as well! 

In the following sections, you can click on the links for the products mentioned to see the full review I did earlier this year. In each section below, you are welcome to enter for any/all of the gear/products noted. The contests will run from January 1st, 2014 until 10PM MST on Friday, January 10th. A winner for each prize will be selected randomly from the entries received.  Contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada (unless otherwise noted) 

Here we go... and good luck!

In order to participate in each of the individual giveaways, please complete this easy step first!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Whoo hoo.. on to some of the best stuff from 2013!  Below I've categorized my review summaries and giveaway into Books, Fuel, Gear, and Shoes (or sandals).  Check it out!


I had the opportunity to review several books last year, and I find that a great book can be both educational and motivating.  Two book of note are "The Cool Impossible" by Eric Orton, and "Do Life" by Ben Davis.

Eric Orton's book is a really great read, and is really informative. Check out the full review by clicking HERE.  And, enter below to win one of two copies of "The Cool Impossible" !

I had the chance to review Ben Davis' book, "do life" right at the very end of 2012.  This personal story of Ben's journey is really motivating, and it also has some great tips for new runners.  Check out the full review HERE.  I also have a few copies of this great book to giveaway as well..

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I guess I should label this category fuel and snacks :-)   Two products I reviewed last year in this category were Energybits and KIND Snacks.  

I reviewed Energybits last February, and you can get the full review HERE. Energybits are an algae based fuel source that many runners swear by.  I thought they worked pretty well and I'm thinking of working them into my 50K training! I've got a sample pack of bits to giveaway :-)

KIND Snacks are just plain awesome! Not just a great tasting snack bar with quality ingredients, but also an atypical cool kind of company.  Read more about them HERE.  And, they have just recently released a new line of Healthy Grain bars, and I have a case of 10 to giveaway to one of you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Ah yes... to run, you need gear.  Well, at least shoes....   or not even those really.  Ok ok... gear isn't always necessary, but the three products highlighted below fall under the NEED category for me!  Check out this great stuff from YakTrax, Rocktape, and Switch Eyewear!

When you run in wintery conditions like we have here in Colorado, traction is key.

YakTrax offers some really great traction aids that perform really well.  Earlier I reviewed the YakTrax RUN HERE.  The RUN is a great product with it's carbide spikes, but I really love the PRO's for the conditions I see most. Enter below to win a pair courtesy of YakTrax!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rocktape is a kinesiology tape that really helped me during the peak struggles I had with my Achilles tendinitis.  As I noted in my review you can read HERE, I was a little skeptical about using Rocktape, but it really did provide relief and helped me to run stronger and longer.  Thanks to the awesome folks at Rocktape, I have 6 rolls to giveaway to two winners!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Finally, you've probably noticed that in just about every picture of me running, I'm in a pair of Switch Vision H-Wall Trail running sunglasses, with magnetic interchangeable lenses.  I love these sun glasses for the trail because they perform, and you can switch out lenses insanely fast :-).  Check out my full review on the H-Walls by clicking HERE AND enter below for your chance to win a pair of AXO's, Lynx, or H-Wall Extremes in your choice of colors!  You can see these styles at their website :

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Ah yes... where would the barefoot runner be without shoes or sandals?  Just kidding... if you've been following my blog, you know that I love to run barefoot, but I am really a minimalist shoe runner. I like to find the right balance between proprioception and trail conditions (and sometimes mood!) when selecting footwear.  I am really excited to giveaway some great shoes/huaraches from four companies that I have reviewing for a few years now, and whose products I truly believe in.  Check out these reviews from Xeroshoes, Vivobarefoot, Bedrock Sandals, and Earthrunner!

As you may remember, my very first minimalist shoe was the Invisible Shoe 6mm Contact.  Since that time, Invisible Shoe has become Xeroshoes, and they continue to provide outstanding running huaraches at a terrific price point. Click HERE  to read my review of the Sensori Venture and then enter below to try some out for yourself!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bedrock Synclines

Another terrific huarache company is Bedrock Sandals.  I've owned a few pairs of Bedrocks, including the Earthquake (reviewed HERE), and the Earthquake V2.  Both are awesomely comfortable trail running huaraches. BUT.. in this case, you get a chance to check out a new product from Bedrock before me! Thanks to the rockin' guys at Bedrock, you get a shot at running the latest Bedrock Synclines! I am jealous.. :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No year end minimalist shoe review recap would be complete without including Vivobarefoot.  Vivobarefoot is another company that I have worked with for some time now, and continue to be impressed with their line of quality minimalist running (and casual) shoes.  They really get it...     I've reviewed the Neo Trail, Breatho Trail, One, and Women's Ryder Boots (my wife reviewed these).  You can see these and all my other reviews by clicking HERE.  One of my favorite trail running shoes has been the Breatho Trail, and Vivobarefoot, being the incredibly cool company they are, are providing a pair of Breatho Trail's to one of you.. AND this contest includes Europe/UK as well!!  Thanks guys!

Last in my giveaways, but certainly not least by far is Earthrunners.  I started working with Earthrunners during their first Kickstarter project, and they have continued to grow and expand their line of top quality running huaraches.  And, as I noted in my review of the Circadian and Alpha HERE , Earthrunners makes a great huarache that also grounds you with the earth via conductive lacing... cool stuff.  And even cooler, here's your chance to win a pair of Circadians!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Image courtesy of hin255 /

Ok!  Here's to a Healthy and Happy 2014!  I wish you the best in this new year and thank you for following Barefoot Inclined!

Happy Trails!