Just in case you are one of the five remaining runners on earth who haven’t yet read Born to Run, allow me to explain. The Tarahumara are considered “the running people” on which most of “Born to Run” is based, superathletes in Mexico who run for 50 to 100 miles at a time for pure enjoyment, seemingly without effort.
The Tarahumara’s diet is described in some detail in the book, with the mention of two major staples in their diet, pinole and chia seeds. The author relates a few stories that describe almost mythical, endurance enhancing qualities to these simple foods.
Pinole seems to be described as a variety of parched or roasted corn, ground into a flour and combined with water with some spices and/or sugar. You can make it into a drink, an oatmeal like paste or even baked into a more palatable “cake”. Here is a recipe using regular corn meal, feel free to change the quantities of spices and what not to suit your own personal taste. If you don’t want to roast your own corn, you can purchase Pinole (Masa Harina) directly at Amazon.com (Note: Masa harina is more authentic than using regular cornmeal, since Masa harina has been treated with lime, the way the Tarahumara maize is.)
1/2 cup cornmeal, ground finely
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp brown sugar, honey, or agave nectar
chia seeds (optional)
Toast the cornmeal in a skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until it turns light brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, mix in cinnamon, and sweetener or other spices, and desired amount of water (see below).
You are able to add a lot of water and make a drink of it, but you may find it a bit weird since the corn doesn’t dissolve. Alternately you can add just a few tablespoons of water and make it into a paste. You can eat the paste raw with a spoon or even in the palm of your hand while out on a run.
You can also bake the paste for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees F, it should have the texture of a brownie. This form is very easy to carry on a run.