Sunday, July 12, 2009

Iskiate



UPDATE: View

Pronounced "Iss-key-ahh-tay" as far as I can tell.

Not too long ago I finished reading McDougall's Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. It is such an amazing read, a combination racing story, the evolution of running, something of an introduction to the Raramurri, and a spirited defense of barefoot running. Pretty interesting race with lots of kookie characters. Scott Jurek, one of the runners involved in the Copper Canyon Ultra, has been helping to support a seed bank for the Raramurri. Personally, I am not so sure about all of the studies that McDougall invokes in arguing for barefoot or in fairly minimalist running shoes (video) but I have toyed a bit in the past with barefooting it and have now weaned myself off of orthotics. I have some background reading to do.

McDougall describes drinking Iskiate, the Raramurri's energy drink, a combination of lime, sugar/honey, and Chia seeds (yes, "ch-ch-ch-chia"). The sugar gives fast energy, the limes give Vitamin C, and the Chia all kinds of interesting things.

So I decided to try it out.

Turns out that everyone else seems to have the same idea AND that Chia seeds are readily available at Whole Foods. I located a recipe for 8 ounces at Runner's World and made my first batch to use as a recovery drink after the Cougar 10-Miler. Instead of honey or regular sugar I used brown sugar. I let it steep over night in the fridge and then transferred it to a water bottle in the morning.

On the way out to the race with PT and Sj I described this drink, including the part about the seeds, to much general derision. They were interested to see if I would actually down 2 teaspoons of seeds. PT said she wanted a picture of my face after drinking it.

I did it! That's me taking my first tentative sip after running 10 miles.

How was it?

Really good. Pretty limey. Drinking the seeds was a bit interesting but otherwise the whole concoction was quite refreshing. All-in-all, it tastes so much better than the many energy drinks I have tried.

The question is, did it do anything?

I am not sure my test yesterday was a good one as I had been pounding water, Nuum, and watermelon while waiting for Sj to finish. So I made some for after today's run. A little less limey this time and, yes, it did have an interesting and desired affect (aside from the ice cream headache I got from drinking a very cold beverage). I felt refreshed but I don't know why.

The answer to that is in trying to figure out how Iskiate actually works.



7/14/09 Addendum: It seems that quite a few people the world over are trying to find information of Iskiate are ending up here. I sure would like to hear what you are turning up in your researching. If you've a mind to please help build a bibliography via comments.






16 comments:

Jen Willoughby said...

Thanks for this info. I appreciate the link. You're the first site that came up when I googled iskiate, I guess that's why lots of people are ending up on your article. I am also reading Born to Run and quite enjoying it. If I get nothing else from it, I plan to try iskiate and increase my foot strength.

rpd said...

Thanks Jen and nice to "meet" you. :-)

"The Naked Truth" article in the Sydney Morning Herald has some interesting links for following up on the differences between shod and unshod running. (http://shar.es/yaH1)

Good luck with the foot strengthening.

mergirl said...

I drink iskiate almost every day. It feels better than plain water. It seems like I can drink more without feeling like I swallowed a rock. I like Wingfoot Iskaite the best because the seeds are ground into a powder and I don't like picking seeds out of my teeth all day. It definately gives me more stamina. I love my Wingfoot! The lime is awesome but the orange is my favorite. Their website is www.chiastuff.com if you want to check it out. Does anyone have a recipe for pinole cakes?

rpd said...

Hey mergirl,

I hadn't heard of Wingfoot. Looks interesting although, to be honest, I don't find making Iskiate all that onerous a process and the seeds, especially if soaking overnight, don't stick in my teeth.

nomeatathelete.com has a recipe for Pinole that looks easy to make and tasty (http://www.nomeatathlete.com/tarahumara-pinole-chia-recipes/).

me said...

mergirl, you are right. I bought a twelve pack that I took on a weeks ride. No matter what I had to drink or eat I just added it to it. Thank you. I just bought a pair of Vibram five fingers in Santa Barbara. We shall see. Thank you everybody!!!

mergirl said...

Hi rpd,
Thanks for the pinole hook-up. I don't think mixing iskiate is onerus either. I'm just reeeely busy so I like the pre-mixed stuff. I call it "working woman's iskiate". Kind of like the salad in bags. Does that make me lazy? :)
Hi me- I'm curious about the vibrams. Keep us posted.

rpd said...

@mergirl Nah, not lazy. If it works it works. ;-)

@me I, too, am interested in what you experience with the Five Fingers. I am seeing more and more runners wearing them up here in Seattle. I've been running in Frees and finding them quite comfortable.

me said...

Hello rpd, nice spot you have here. As far as the vibrams are concerened, I will keep going by their advise, which is to just wear them for an hour or two at first just walking. My son bought a pair at the same time so we will keep you posted as to the changes. Overall feelimg really good right now. More later. Enjoy all

Mr. P said...

Some nice info I've found here. Thanks! A Google search provided your blog page near the top. I saw the Wingfoot site also, but didn't know if it was legit until after reading that someone else is already using it. As I'm just now reading Born to Run, I'm discovering things I would like to try, particularly the nutrition. Thanks again!

Ajay said...

Since I found about chia seeds, I have been looking for a ready to drink chia drink. I tried the drink powder from iskiatehealthdrinks.com and found it very effective. It is a combination of chia power and energy. I liked their grape flavor though the lemon flavor is also very good and refreshing.

paul said...

I am desperately interested in "weaning myself off orthotics". In my case the damage has already been done --arch pain, heel pain (PF) and Morton's neuroma, all caused, by (in order) years of carrying big packs up big moutains, shoe salesmen, insole salesmen and podiatrists. Please comment further on your approach/success in bare-footing your way off the orthotic merry-go-round, especially, your observations on Vibram 5-fingers.
Thanks,
La Buffa

Sarah said...

I'm playing with chia in all kinds of foods (might even make a cookbook for folks who want to go beyond iskiate), but thought I'd weigh in on the FiveFingers.

I just started running this year and am training for a marathon in January. I'm doing it with Team in Training so I have professional coaching, but it's a pretty aggressive training schedule. I started running exclusively in the Vibrams (though I did ease into them with the Couch to 5K program before I signed up for this marathon) but am now alternating between them, a pair of Newtons, and a conventional pair of Brooks.

I love running in the Vibrams (they have the highest "joy factor" for me) but started fighting posterior tibial tendinitis. My training included a (very timely) video gait analysis with a PT, so I was able to grill him on my pain. He's pro-barefoot running but told me that it was probably a result of ramping my mileage so quickly without the shoe support on the inside of my arch. He suggested that if I had been running longer (in any shoes), say, 3-5 years, I probably wouldn't be having that trouble, but just starting and ramping, I was asking too much of my tendons.

His recommendation was to alternate with more supportive shoes while building my strength (he pointed out that muscle strength and cardio capacity improve much faster than bones and tendons). So that's what I've done, and I've been swapping out for a month or two now. I'm still on the edge of pain a lot of the time, but it got better and hasn't progressed even through continued mileage increases (I just did my first half-marathon), so it seems reasonable.

The other thing I want to mention is to be careful! I have been hearing of all kinds of FiveFingers runners getting stress fractures. I understand most of these are the result of going too hard, too fast. I think this is both in terms of ramping mileage and also hitting the ground too hard (as opposed to the "light and easy" style mentioned in "Born to Run"). Seems like it's a bigger issue for experienced runners because they want to do their normal runs and not "baby" their feet!

Sarah said...

I'm playing with chia in all kinds of foods (might even make a cookbook for folks who want to go beyond iskiate), but thought I'd weigh in on the FiveFingers.

I just started running this year and am training for a marathon in January. I'm doing it with Team in Training so I have professional coaching, but it's a pretty aggressive training schedule. I started running exclusively in the Vibrams (though I did ease into them with the Couch to 5K program before I signed up for this marathon) but am now alternating between them, a pair of Newtons, and a conventional pair of Brooks.

I love running in the Vibrams (they have the highest "joy factor" for me) but started fighting posterior tibial tendinitis. My training included a (very timely) video gait analysis with a PT, so I was able to grill him on my pain. He's pro-barefoot running but told me that it was probably a result of ramping my mileage so quickly without the shoe support on the inside of my arch. He suggested that if I had been running longer (in any shoes), say, 3-5 years, I probably wouldn't be having that trouble, but just starting and ramping, I was asking too much of my tendons.

His recommendation was to alternate with more supportive shoes while building my strength (he pointed out that muscle strength and cardio capacity improve much faster than bones and tendons). So that's what I've done, and I've been swapping out for a month or two now. I'm still on the edge of pain a lot of the time, but it got better and hasn't progressed even through continued mileage increases (I just did my first half-marathon), so it seems reasonable.

The other thing I want to mention is to be careful! I have been hearing of all kinds of FiveFingers runners getting stress fractures. I understand most of these are the result of going too hard, too fast. I think this is both in terms of ramping mileage and also hitting the ground too hard (as opposed to the "light and easy" style mentioned in "Born to Run"). Seems like it's a bigger issue for experienced runners because they want to do their normal runs and not "baby" their feet!

rpd said...

@La Buffa, Thanks for your question. Sounds like you had it pretty rough. I'll update in another post.

@Sarah, Good advice re the Five Fingers transition. This has been my experience as well.

Rick Woods said...

Paul, PF sufferer here for 6 years: bought Vonhof's "Fixing Your Feet", got a couple of brands of orthotics,had custom orthotics made, tried heel cups of a couple of different kinds, night splints, braces, taping, cortisone shots, was right at the point of going for the surgery. Stepped back.
Got a second opinion from a young sports Ortho Surgeon, who said, "Dude, you need to stretch your PF, Achilles and Hammies for three minutes every morning before you get out of bed. Your goal is to reach double 90-degree angles with your back straight up, knees locked, legs flat, and toes pointed straight up.
Took me two months to do that: PF is done.
I finished the the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail last summer.

rpd said...

Rick,

That sounds wonderful!

Congrats on coming back from PF and on finishing Tahoe.

I am just trying to imagine toes pointing up at 90 degrees. :-P