Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Food of the day: apple schnitz!

As I train for this crazy triathalon thing that I seem to have talked myself into, I occasionally bang into challenges of the materialism sort.  People (especially other athletes) who hear that I'm doing this get this knee-jerk reaction that I'm going to start going out and buying expensive stuff.   "Oooh, she's going to need to get a spandex jersey," one cyclist told my husband.  "Food is everything -- make sure she has the right kind of goo" says another.  "Triathalons are the wealthy person's sport," goes the lore (see this little piece from Sports Business Daily).


It is true I bought an expensive ($1400) bike and a helmet to go with it -- and that since then, I've fallen in love with my SPDM.  And over the first spring/summer that I rode it, I did purchase other expensive (for me) accessories to go along with it -- although, being Miser Mom, I only bought one thing a month, each time as a "reward" for continued training.  As best I recall, it took me eight or nine months of riding to purchase

Reflective spoke stickers -- way cool!
  • a bike lock,
  • sunglasses,
  • a pair of padded bike shorts,
  • pedals and clip-in shoes,
  • bike lights, 
  • a bright yellow wind-breaker, and
  • light-weights*.  

[*"Light weights" are reflective spoke stickers that are way cool -- I totally recommend them, by the way].

Conspicuously absent from this list are spandex jerseys (my regular knit shirts seem to work just fine) or fancy gloves (in cool weather, I wear leather gloves).  I snagged a bunch of awesome running shoes from our College yard sale; I have a few pairs of yard-sale-purchased swim suits from years past; another yard-sale netted me a reflective vest that I wear on my longer solo runs (I wrote my name, blood type, and emergency contact info on the inside).

And now I think that I have a new Miser Mom score.  This week, as I headed into my second long run of the summer, I happened to hit upon what I think will be my favorite running/biking snack:  apple schnitz.  Yes!

Apple schnitz is really just dried apple slices.   Apple schnitz is not merely a food that is fun to say ("schnitz" is a Pennsylvania Dutch term meaning "slice"), but it's also yummy and full of just the right kind of sugar I seem to need while I'm heading up Horrible Hill at mile 12 of my long run.  It's also compact and light, so it's easy to carry.

How does apple schnitz compare to other running snacks, from a Miser Mom point of view?

We won't even deign to compare apple schnitz to "Goo" -- that needlessly expensive corporate concoction of processed, artificial food-like substance packaged in the brand of plastic trash that will outlive us all by 10,000 years.  No, that's not even a question.

No, instead I want to set my apple schnitz against bananas.  (I only occasionally
buy bananas, but I bummed so many bananas off of my friend TL during our long runs in the spring that I realized I needed to either buy my own or find an alternative).  Compared to bananas, apple schnitz  has these advantages:
  • apples grow locally, so I don't have to fret about transportation fuel;
  • apples grow locally, so buying them supports local farmers;
  • dried apples store a long time, so I can buy them in bulk and don't have to keep going to the store;
  • these are lightweight and easier to carry than bananas.
On the disadvantage side, it's a bit harder to avoid accumulating trash than with bananas.  My current schnitz-stash (about 2 pounds worth) came in a plastic bag -- we'll reuse the bag for other things, of course, but I'll be on the lookout now for bulk-purchased apples.   I might even perhaps make up a batch myself this fall, as I've done often in the past.  

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