October 14, 2013

Review : Saquito Mix

  • Type : Nutrition / hydration
  • Use : Running fuel
  • Price : $22 for 8-packet box


Since the world discovered the Raramuri (Tarahumara) runners with Born To Run, every aspect of their culture and tradition was scrutinized, in search of their «secret». The real, raw, awesome truth is : the Raramuri have no secret. They simply have a lifestyle that is radically different from ours and they use their body in ways we, the Westerners, have forgotten. They work very hard physically every day and their feet are their main means for locomotion. Try that for 365 days a year, a couple years in a row. Then show me how you run.

The grossest and most common misconception about the Raramuri, aside from the belief that they run barefoot, is that they use chia seeds in their diet. Let me be perfectly clear; in 4 trips, 12 weeks and numerous miles running with many Raramuri, I have not seen a single one of them use chia, and I have not been able to find the seed itself in any store in the Barrancas nor anyone who knew what the hell I was talking about.

With that said, some of the traditional Raramuri do carry a little pouch with them. It is filled with a very simple, hand-ground corn powder that smells like popcorn and is called pinole (pee-noh-lay). They have been using it mixed in water as a sports drink, and it can also be served hot as a kind of breakfast oatmeal.

Now that we have this straight, let's talk about chia, and more precisely, Saquito Mix.

I had my first taste of Saquito at the Leadville 100, crewing for their sponsored athlete Tyler Tomasello. It was late at night, I was tired, I had not eaten enough that day, I was not doing too well with altitude and my shift as a pacer was coming up. A fellow crew handed me a pouch of Saquito to try, and I ate it without a second thought. Within about 15 minutes, I started to feel the effect. I was more alert, felt energetic and actually looked forward to my runner coming in the aid station. I was also satiated and felt just like I'd had «real food», not some quick gel or energy drink. I was impressed.

But that, really, was anecdotal. However, the same thing happened again at the Nine Trails Ultra a month later, when my friend Nancy gave me a pouch as a post-run snack. I was intrigued.

Then, I traveled down to Texas to run Josue Stephens' brutal Hunter Gatherer Ultra, which had Saquito as one of their main sponsors. Runners could have their choice of one pouch of Saquito, or a bison-based meat bar called Epic at various points on the course. Being more of a vegetarian than a paleo, I obviously opted for the former. The result was very clear; Saquito works, and it works very well.

Taken from Saquito's Facebook page
The mix of chia and hemp seeds, coconut flakes, goji berries, cinnamon, vanilla beans and other ingredients is 95% organic, vegan, is low in sugars and high in protein and fibers. And that, I think, is the key; no quick sugar buzz, no crash and a long-lasting effect of satiation. The mix itself is simply a bunch of grainy stuff with a couple dried berries that you can chew on and rince with water. Surprisingly enough, it tastes pretty good; moreover, and contrary to many other fuels like gels, it still tastes good after many hours out on the trails.

If the grainy texture doesn't appeal to you, you can bake the mix into cookies or cakes. Since I am fully satisfied with the powdery mix, I haven't tried any of that fancy stuff. Saquito's Facebook page features some pretty yummy-looking images, if you're looking for inspiration, although no recipes are provided.

Saquito works. It wakes you up, gives you energy and provides a long-lasting sense of satiation without any crappy chemicals, high-fructose syrup or even caffein. That's pretty impressive. In a market full of sorbitols, xantham gums and other questionable compounds, Saquito offers a simple, natural and very efficient product based on quality ingredients, complete proteins, omega-3's, high fiber content and low sugars. For the health-conscious runner, it doesn't get any better than that.

High points
  • It works for real; try it
  • All natural ingredients and 95% organic
  • Easy to eat and incites you to drink
  • Tastes good, even after many hours
  • Pouches are re-sealable and biodegradable

Low points
  • At $3 a pouch, it's not cheap

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