More Balls-Gluten Free Sports Nutrition-CocoNutz Fuel Energy Balls

Coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut flour, shredded coconut, and now…

CocoNutz Balls.  Yes, indeed.  Because we all needed some more balls after my last post of cookie dough protein ball deliciousness.

But behold, the awesomeness of CocoNutz Fuel Energy Balls.

It looks like a chocolate malty ball, doesn’t it?  It’s not.  Chocolate malt balls aren’t gluten free anyway, damn you, Whoppers.

Anyhow…

A while back Casey from CocoNutz contacted me to see if I’d be interested in trying out CocoNutz for my cycling nutrition.  I knew I liked him already when I saw this disclaimer: “None of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA—please don’t assume these statements will take the place of advice from a well trained physician or local witch doctor. We’re not claiming coconut oil will make you better looking or help you win the lottery—we’re just saying it’s a great product to aid in athlete nutrition.”  A man after my own heart, right there.

CocoNutz Fuel have some stellar ingredients.  There are currently 3 flavors: Cherry Cashew Attack (favorite),  Berry Almond Explosion (2nd favorite), and Mango Macadamia Madness (least favorite).  None of them really look as well defined as the ball in the picture, but that’s OK with me.  Each flavor has the ingredients you would expect given the flavor, and each flavor also incorporates chia seed, coconut oil, Real Salt, and agave.  They also utilize oat flour, and it is certified gluten free oat flour.

In the FAQ’s : “CocoNutz Fuel is gluten free; however, please note: We specifically purchase oat flour that is gluten free to ensure integrity of the product, but CocoNutz Fuel currently shares a manufacturing facility that processes wheat, peanut and dairy products.

Major processing of CocoNutz Fuel is done on dedicated equipment, but as with any shared facility, a possibility of minute amounts of wheat could make it into the product. We do our best to ensure this doesn’t happen, but we want to make you aware. ”  Casey did tell me via email that wheat flour was not used in the current shared facility.  They are also planning on having the CocoNutz Fuel products certified gluten free in the future.

OK, back to coconut oil.  You may be surprised at the inclusion of a fat source in an energy food geared toward endurance athletes.  In fact, the unique composition and properties of coconut oil make it very well suited for endurance athletes.  I’ve recently been working with Kelli Jennings RD, of Apex Nutrition LLC and she has me utilizing coconut products for recovery nutrition.  Kelli did a great blog post on the benefits of coconut oil for endurance athletes here.  

I was a little concerned about the coconut oil in the balls though, because I live in an area of the US where it frequently feels as if someone has thrown a hot wet blanket over the world.  Yes, I live in hot and humid south Florida.  Coconut oil is solid at temperatures below about 75 degrees F.  Which means it tends to melt and liquify at temperatures above that.  The air conditioning in our house is set at 76, which means my coconut oil in the cabinet is always confused.  More importantly though, would the CocoNutz balls stay intact in a jersey pocket in the South Florida heat?

Before we answer that question…(a cliffhanger, yes.)

CocoNutz Fuel are designed as balls, obviously.  The balls fit inside a plastic tube.  The tube is reusable and refillable, so when you finish your batch of balls you just refill the tube with a refill pack.  Genius, and environmentally friendly.  Since the balls are small, if you only need a little bit of nutrition, just have one ball.  Need more, eat more.  Very simple.  The only problem I ran into was that the balls stuck together in the heat, which made getting them out of the tube a little tougher.  The “quick shake to seperate” did not do the trick, I had to peel them apart.  They did not melt into a mess, just stuck together.  Casey has told me that they are working on the stickage issue.

All flavors of the balls are tasty, and not overly sweet.  They do have nut butters and salt to add to the savory factor, which can be really helpful when you’ve been fueling on super sweet gels.  Make sure you click on the “anatomy of an energy ball” over on the left hand side of the page.  It’s pretty cool.

So, does the person going to spend 30 or 40 minutes on a piece of cardio equipment at the gym need to fuel with these little bites of deliciousness?  Hellz no, no CocoNutz balls for you.  These are treats, or fuel for extended exercise > 90 minutes.  But they sure are tasty.

If you need some more info for generally eating a healthier gluten free menu, not just for sports nutrition balls, check out Gluten Free and Fit 101 for lots of articles to get you started.

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  1. [...] For a review from another gluten-free athlete who used CocoNutz Fuel for cycling nutrition, make sure to visit Erin’s blog. [...]

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