Honey Stinger Waffles Versus Bananas On The Ironman Bike Course

FitOldDog's YouTube video on healthy aging and sex.

Click image for link to video on YouTube.

Comment from Walter, fellow mature athlete, in response to watching my recent video, linked above:

FitOldDog's fall planting.

As I move from Paleo to an almost Plant Only diet, I’m also migrating my garden from summer harvest to Fall planting. Both take some care and planning, to see what works best. Here you see brassicas about to replace the okra. Photo by FitOldDog.

“I appreciate that anyone who cycles and/or runs and/or swims long distance can eat stuff (actually need to eat stuff) that would usually not be seen as part of a healthy diet – e.g. honey stingers or waffles as we tend to call them over here. However, in keeping with your new plant-based diet and in line with typical views on “healthy” food, perhaps a banana would be more appropriate for the video? Sorry if the horse gets upset by that.”

When it comes Ironman, you have to eat about 300 calories per hour, of what actually works, not what works in theory. I wonder what will happen in my next Ironman (Western Australia, December) as I migrate from Paleo to Almost Plant Only – I’m two months in?

For long bike rides, I settled on Honey Stinger Waffles during my Paleo days (in contrast to bananas, PowerBars, potatoes, Goos, power drinks or the bunch of other things I tried). I remember another Paleo Ironman-distance triathlete recommending them, doing a little research, and finding them acceptable when I was on the Paleo diet.

Honey, with which the organic wheat waffle is saturated, has a fairly low glycemic index, leaves a great aftertaste, and never upsets my stomach. Furthermore, one waffle provides 160 calories, meaning I only need to eat one, or one-and-a-half, per hour, on top of the stuff I pick up at the aid stations, which is generally bananas (you can peel and eat as you ride).

Horse likes Honey Stingers

That horse really loves Honey Stinger Waffles – comes running – so they must be good for me, right? Photo by FitOldDog.

The trick is to keep your stomach as stable as possible, because if it gives you trouble on bike, you are in real trouble during the run, especially if it is very hot.

So! Do what works, which you can only learn by trial and error.

I do eat plenty of bananas on the bike at aid stations, but I found that it’s the Honey Stingers that keep my stomach happy – no idea why, but I suspect that flavor plays a role.

Use whatever works, and do the same in training as on race day!

PS The banana potassium myth: About halfway through a video on the plant only diet, ‘Uprooting The Leading Causes Of Death,‘ by Dr.Greger, this entertaining speaker mentioned that bananas were actually pretty low on his list of foods, with respect to potassium content; around 200 in descending order, he said. I did some ‘Googling,’ and came up with an interesting article on the subject, which stated:

While much higher in calories than a cup of bananas, a cup of dates contains 1,168 milligrams of potassium, a cup of raisins contains 1,086 milligrams, and a cup of stewed prunes contains 796 milligrams.”

Runs on the run? If we all ate stewed prunes on the bike for 112 miles, the port-a-pottys would have long lines.

Dates tend to be sticky, and they lack that convenient, natural packaging of bananas.

I’ll stick to bananas and electrolytes supplements, when it comes to potassium, I think!

Again, it’s what works, not what looks best on paper.


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.