Gluten-Free Orange Date Bread

I tried a new sport yesterday. I went climbing on an indoor climbing wall. I  always wanted to try it, because I figured it would come easy to me because I am smallish and light and flexible. And I run. But running only trains your muscles from bum downwards. Never in my life did I have any upper body strength. Never in my life did I manage just one pull-up.

Now visualize this: I booked a class that allows 6 people maximum. As it is summer in Dubai (most people are on holidays) AND Ramadan (people are fasting and a full-on workout in the middle of the day is not quite what you should do/want to to do). Therefore: I was the only one in the climbing class. The instructor was even smaller and lighter than me, and seemed to have big confidence in me as she was chasing me up the walls, with just little breaks in between. After a few minutes I was sweating, after 30 minutes I could feel my energy levels go down drastically, especially in my upper body. After the class, my whole upper body was shivering. I couldn't quite make out where I would be sore today. But I knew I would be sore. Very sore.

Today I am feeling muscles that I didn't know I had. All in all, I am sore from my bum upwards, even my abs have to get used to the new way of workout. Shoulders and arms are most critical, to an extent that I found it difficult to cut even veggies for lunch.

But it was fun, and I'd do it again. I wouldn't mind getting some more upper body strength. And what I also liked about the climbing is the mental side of it. While most of my running doesn't require much thinking, climbing needs me to focus and to think a couple of steps ahead. Coordinating arms and legs, finding the next grip, while trying not to fall off. A true challenge!

I hope I can do the climbing on a more or less regular basis. I must admit, that my free time is already pretty packed with running, especially from October on when I will be training for a marathon again. I have registered for all sorts of races, starting September. Hopefully I'll manage to add a running section to my blog, an idea that I have had in my head for half a year. The idea came when the season here was almost over. Now with all the training and races lined up, I will have something to post.

But let's not forget that this is a food blog, after all. Healthy foods that are good for you. After my climbing session I came home to a freshly made gluten-free and sugar-free Orange Date Bread. Just the kind of carbs that you need and that you want to reward yourself with after a workout. I love the dark flavor of the dates combined with the orange zest. A flavor combination that fits just perfectly into the approaching autumn.

(Print Recipe)

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt 
pinch of cinnamon

1 1/2 cups dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup rice milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest, finely grated
1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup almonds, chopped

Yields 1 loaf
Preheat oven to 175C/375F. Line or grease loaf pan. 

Place chopped dates, milk and baking soda in a pot. Bring to boil over medium heat. Take off the heat and let cool a little. Blend in a food processor. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg. Stir in vanilla, olive oil, orange zest and orange juice. Fold in date mixture.

In a bowl, combine buckwheat flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with chopped almonds. Bake for about 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack.

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