Need a wee bit of advice..
I suffer with spectral migraines (temp blindness caused by strobe like lights that go across one's field of view for 45 minutes followed by banging head ache), I had my first one when I was about 12 and over the years I can say that they are 100% related to diet and certain foods, I can go a year with none then have 10 in a matter of weeks if I start eating something different that triggers them.
Obviously in the cycling world we have copious amounts of energy gels and bars and I can be certain that a majority of energy gels will bring on an attack almost timing it to the hour after consumption.
I thought I had this little chestnut in the bag in that the last 3 years I had been using a marketing leading gel in a certain flavour without any migraines, I have tried other flavours from this brand and will get a attack by that evening. Sadly it seems that maybe the composition of this flavour has changed recently and I am now getting migraines with it also. I will make it clear there is zero issues with the product, it is my own sensitivity that is causing it, even certain bars will start a episode as will certain tablets and so on...
What I am looking for is a company large or small that offers a organic energy gel without the chemical elements that maybe causing these attacks. I changed my diet drastically about 5 years ago so I am borderline Vegan and that has improved my situation vastly, not to mention my overall well being and fitness. However with the distances and intensity of my riding and training I really need to have the option of a gel that works for me and sadly I am currently buggered as every one thus far is causing issues.
If anyone knows of a truly organic gel or even a recipe that could be home brewed please let me know. There is fairly limited information regarding spectral migraines and energy products, and it is relatively rare for men to get them (but certainly not unheard of).
I am off bike packing at the end of the month to Cyprus and was expecting to have a ton of gels stashed away for the Troodos range, currently it is looking like I will have to sustain myself on grass and tree bark...
I'm sure I've read about someone on here using maple syrup as an energy gel before. Possibly @TTM ?
Maybe something like this? https://endurancetap.com/
Have you established what particular chemical/ingredient is responsible for the issue?
I use homemade energy balls, but fall back on Nak’d bars when I’m lazy.
I suffered with this type of migraine all through my teenage years, I feel your pain.
The vision loss for me would be about 30-45 minutes but the headache afterwards would last 2-3 days and was quite severe and accompanied by nausea. An optician told me once that a common trigger can be citrus fruits. I used to have orange juice with breakfast every morning and it improved after stopping that. I haven’t had one now in a few years and can have citrus fine now.
No help sorry, just feel you
Did you message the company to see if they have changed something?
Torq major on "natural" flavourings, might be worth a chat with them.
As above could you use honey? Could be a readily available way if you can package it.
I’ve experienced this and although episodes are now few and far between for me, I have to agree with your premise.
I avoid “fruit” gels totally and on the very rare instance that I break out the emergency gel, I use Guu chocolate outrage or the salted caramel flavour. Both are caffeinated though, so probably still not the best.
The Clif Gel I have here appears to be just maltodextrin and dried cane syrup, plus flavourings. You can get both of those as organic if you want. It's more like treacle than a gel though.
Most gels are maltodextrin plus pectin plus citric acid, the last 2 are the gelling agents.
Seems to me if you think a certain ingredient is causing the issue, you should make them yourself with the minimum number of base ingredients. Which mixtures of sucrose, fructose, etc plus bits of plant like cane or maple syrup aren't.
I used to get migraines like that if I hadn't slept enough and came into contact with orange peel - even someone peeling one at the other end of a train carriage could do it so I don't know if it's a case of 'all natural is best' with these things.
One thing I would recommend is going to the dentist and getting a 360 mouth X ray- I had an impacted molar that hadn't been picked up and was putting pressure on nerves in my jaw and face. Once the tooth was removed I have never had another migraine... Bizarre but worth checking.
But yeah-cycle wise I'd go maple syrup with some salt and magnesium mixed in packed in a small refillable pouch.
Wow, thanks for the response,
Maple syrup seems to be the way forward, think I will get one of those pouches that Adam Hansen uses and go from there.
Regarding the actual ingredient that triggers it I would have to say, no I have not been able to fine tune it down that much.
I can drink orange juice without issue, and citrus does not seem to be a factor for me.
I have spoken to a number of companies ref ingredient change and Clif was by far the best help I could have asked for, certainly they went well above and beyond what I could ever imagine and as such I can eat certain bars from them without issue, Peanut Butter for example is my go to..
@PhilDAS, seems we share the same symptoms, 2-3 days I am man down, certainly they can come and go with mild discomfort but when the big one's hit they are absurdly terrible. luckily I have had so many that I do not panic with them like a lot of people. I know that certain cheese would trigger mine off hence I now avoid all dairy products, at the very least my heart will thank me long term.
Any recipes for Maple syrup that people have used that works?, quantities of ingredients etc?..
For Cyprus baklava makes a pretty good energy substitute. Nuts and sugar syrup.
Hi. Yep, as @BareNecessities mentioned, I’ve used maple syrup as a gel replacement in the past. It works great and as it’s 100% natural is easy on the stomach too.
They used to sell 6x 1L for about £50, but couldn’t see that on the site anymore.
I’ve Mostly move to Colombian guava now. This stuff -
Though you can buy it in many international food shops on the high street for about £3 a pack! Don’t get ripped off.
It’s tasty, easy to carry, contains everything you need for riding and is obviously natural (even down to the packaging, each piece is wrapped in a dried leaf so is biodegradable).
The guava stuff sounds ace - anywhere specific you can recommend for picking some up?
I’m near Lewisham, so grab it from there. Where you based? Would be happy to grab some for you
Ah thanks man! I actually pass through E&C all the time and have heard there’s a Colombian place there - will check it out!
Colombian clubmate advised it can be found in the Colombian shop in Brixton Market... keep forgetting to get some.
I'm not usually a gel user (I can see their appeal, but to be honest they are also rather over-used by the general public*), but I have found that the Lucho Dillitos Guava bars give you a near instant sugar rush akin to what you would get from a gel, it might be worth a try. Good luck finding something that works for you regardless.
*not saying that is your case!
A search shows that cotswald sell them , probable next to the mint cake .
I’m with Lolo. Why eat sugar?
btw I get wierd flickery patchy bits that move across my vision, usually when I’m tired. Never really worried about it, always seemed to me it must be cos of looking at 50hz screens all bloody day for 20+ years. Don’t have massive headaches, mostly. Aminormal?
I used to get that from work also. think that it's linked to the monitors and computer screen use. I used to get it more if I worked a night shift.
Yep, I always felt it was worse when I had no breaks and worked long hours or at night. Obvs not the same as having migraines, but interesting that there’s similar symptoms to the OP’s more debilitating situation.
I brought this book ages ago, as I was getting hacked off with buying gels and wanted some more nutritional food at work and on the go.
Haven’t tried any of the recipes but I’m sure there’s plenty of recipes which can be amended to make vegan or you can tailor for your own requirements.
Feed Zone Portables: A Cookbook of On-the-Go Food for Athletes (The Feed Zone Series) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1937715000/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_ZCHHCbK22V5G3
where abouts in Lewisham?
Near the clock tower. It has a red awning and is called something like Lewisham Foods.
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