Posted by: Grub | October 8, 2011

Football Fuel

Today is my wild card day, and to be honest, I was planning to blow it off. In fact, about ten minutes ago, I told Chad that I was not going to post tonight. But then, when I was in the kitchen putting together my breakfast for tomorrow, I remembered taking a spur of the moment picture last weekend and decided to pull this one out of the proverbial you-know-what. (If you don’t know what, it rhymes with “spitter”, and this blog is too family-friendly for me to type it out. More importantly, my Mom reads it. YOU’RE WELCOME, MOM.)

A few years ago, I posted about my football shake, or smoothie, and although I still love me some peanut butter chocolate goodness, I have found that what I am about to share with you has really improved my energy levels and reduced muscle cramping when I am playing football, especially when we have double headers or when I have to play an entire game without subbing. It came about after a particularly awful pre-game warm-up a few seasons ago, when, after two coffees, an energy bar and no water, I did my warm-up jog and ran one pattern (actually one half of one pattern) and suffered for the rest of the morning with a terribly cramped up hamstring and for the second half of the game with a spasming back.  Something needed to change.

I remember reading about vegan overnight oats, and did some research, and the following weekend, I broke out my first bowl.  I haven’t gone back.  This takes about 5 minutes of prep time the night  before, and then up to 10 minutes in the morning, depending on how you choose to fancify your bowl or jar or fancy servingware.

Pretty layers. This was banana-cherry "soft serve" layered with the oats.

I start with a basic bowl of overnight oats (the recipe I originally worked from is found here) and then add some fork-smashed banana or, if I have a few extra minutes, a frozen banana and a handful of frozen cherries pureed up in my food processor until they are kind of a soft ice cream texture.  Then I grab a jar and alternate layering the oats with the banana or frozen fruit blend until it looks like a parfait.  I use an old brown rice syrup jar or a Vegenaise jar (I prefer the syrup jar because it has a metal lid that seals tighter) and throw it in my bag if I don’t have time to eat before I go.  It is pretty easy on the stomach, and I have eaten leftovers between games with no stomach issues.

My vegan overnight oats combo is as follows:

  • about 3/4 cup rolled oats (the old-fashioned kind, not quick oats)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 scoops of Amazing Grass chocolate wheatgrass powder (you can really use any kind of greens powder, or just omit it, but I picked this up on sale at Whole Foods on a whim and have been slowly working my way through the can; Angela at Oh She Glows also suggests carob powder, and you could probably use cocoa powder as long as you add a touch of sweetener, like maple syrup or agave nectar)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup soymilk or almond milk (I use unsweetened plain, but you could use vanilla- or chocolate-flavoured as well)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl until well incorporated, add the milk and vanilla, and stir together for a few minutes.  I usually like to let it sit for a few minutes so that the chia seeds start soaking up the liquid, and then give it another stir before putting it in the fridge. Let it sit overnight and eat in the morning!  It actually probably only needs to sit for an hour or two, in case you are in need of a bowl on shorter notice.

A few notes.  This stuff looks like toxic waste sludge.  It tastes kind of like cold chocolate oats, which is good, and much better than toxic waste, but to be honest, it isn’t my favourite tasting breakfast (hello, waffles and fruit and soy whipped cream and tempeh bacon).  From a performance perspective though, it has been perfect.  The other interesting note is about the chia seeds.  I find that when I drink a couple of cups of coffee in the morning and then eat something with chia seeds in it, I pee way, way less than I would normally have to.  I’m sorry, is that TMI for anyone?  But, it’s true! And so, I actually think that it helps with some of my hydration issues as well, helping my body retain the water that I do drink before I play.

See, kinda sludgy. It tastes way better than it looks.

Chia seeds are expensive, but if you are only using a tablespoon at a time like you do here, they last a long time.  And, if you want to have more fun with the ch-ch-ch-chia (sing it out, you know you want to), you can make a really easy chia seed pudding, that is dead simple to prepare while you are travelling or on vacation and is really hydrating and good for you two.  I’ll post my favourite recipe for that at some point, too.

OK, off to bed so that I can play a good game tomorrow.  We are having a bit of a dismal season from a win/loss perspective, so I am really trying to focus on playing the best game that I can play, and doing things better every week, and working as hard as I can.  It also helps to remember that lots of people aren’t in any kind of shape or situation to be able to play women’s flag football at 36 years old, and so I try to remember how lucky I am to even live in a place like Vancouver and to be healthy enough to have the opportunity.  Yay, football!

This will be me tomorrow, ten minutes before warm-up starts. Mostly empty jar of oats (last week I had smashed banana, which was already all eaten), my cleats and a really crappy sports bag. Hopefully a decent attitude, too.



  1. Good luck in the game tomorrow, I’ll be cheering you guys on next week! And seriously, way to go on all this blogging. I was excited to read about this pre-football game smoothie as I remember you talking about it a few games back.

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