Why I created VALA
It’s been nearly two years since I started recipe testing for an energy gel made from natural ingredients, which my partner could eat during his marathon training. I considered what he would NEED in a gel (carbs, sugars, salt) but also what he would ENJOY about it (taste, texture, kind on the digestive system). The biggest compliments that we’ve received from our testers is that VALA 'tastes like real food' and 'something that I could eat with my porridge, smoothie or yoghurt'. I've been told through big grins that it tastes like 'salted caramel' or ‘liquid toffee', which I think surprises most people after they've spent years chugging back watery chemical-based gels.
With a long-standing interest in holistic healing and through my own trial and error, I understood what would work well. I’ve never pretended to be a sports dietician or nutritionist, but I’m a big believer in a plant based, preservative free and refined sugar-free diet. Combining this with my passion for improving mental and physical health through diet and exercise, I was motivated to leave a career in advertising behind to establish VALA and qualify as a personal trainer.
When it came to formulating the gels, I began researching DIY recipes online and found many interesting approaches. However, most of these recipes only lasted a maximum of several days. This isn't ideal if you're travelling abroad for a race, or don’t have time to be batch making gels. I knew that ultra runners liked to consume dates for quick release energy and that honey is another popular source of race fuel, but as a vegan that was ruled out immediately. After a few rounds of testing the recipe was nailed and VALA was good to go.
So began the process of market research and finding manufacturers, suppliers and ingredients that met VALA's high standards. That was over a year ago and by staying true to our values, I’m proud to say that we did it. VALA only includes seven ingredients: maple syrup, date paste, lemon juice, lime juice, chia seeds, matcha tea powder and Halen Mon sea salt.
We use 100% natural ingredients and no added preservatives or additives to make a gel that you can actually look forward to eating ✌🏻
Can't wait to share it with you!