There is wide variety of sports nutrition products available, all of which have their place and value and offer a great level of convenience. If you are looking for some natural alternatives, or are interested in having a go at making your own, here are a few suggestions.
A natural source of quick fix carbohydrate energy could be a couple of dates before or during a run. Dates offer a steady energy release which won't leave you with an energy slump afterwards... although the running might! You can even take a couple of dates in cling film or a small polythene bag out on your run. Medjool dates are better than regular dates as they tend to be softer and easier to digest. You can also soak the dates prior to eating them. If you are slightly more adventurous try following this recipe to make your own energy bar:
Raw Energy Bar
1 cup ground almonds
½ cup stoned medjool dates
½ cup cocoa powder
2-3 Tbl agave syrup
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor, add 1-2 tablespoons of water to get the right consistency. If using hard dry dates, soak for couple of hours first. You could also ad some goji berries and chopped nuts, at about an hour before exercise as the nuts will take a while to digest.
Raw chocolate is also a fantastic quick fix energy booster. The cacao bean in its natural state, before it is processed, is actually extremely beneficial for health. It is termed as a superfood, and is one of the highest natural sources of antioxidants, magnesium, chromium, as well as containing vitamin C, manganese and many other nutrients. For muscle recovery, try mixing raw cacao with raw carob powder which is high in calcium. This is a great magnesium-calcium combination, that allows your body to obtain these nutrients from a food source it can easily absorb and utilise.