Reusable Pouch Toppers for Your Active Life
ChooMee Sip’n Pouch Toppers | Cycling| Triathlon | Trail Running | Food
For awhile, marketing language on branded software apps often stated that a product was so easy to use, “Even your grandmother could use it.”
In the case of single-handed refueling options for people who like to cycle on long rides or go for long runs, it turns out that I should have looked for options for the other end of the age spectrum, as in, “So easy to use, even your four-month old could use it.”
From the running community, I found out that people who liked long distance running but couldn’t eat processed foods like race gels and cookies came up with real-food options. Many of these options are compatible with the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet, which is gluten free and free from foods that typically cause inflammation in sensitive guts.
Putting two things together — pureed real food and reusable baby food pouches — was a game changer for long endurance training and my first Ironman race. But I had run into a simple problem. For shorter races and trainings, the screw tops on the baby food pouches were difficult to unscrew with one hand while bombing a hill or maintaining speed on flat sections of road without getting a little wobbly and risking a crash. I had to balance the pouch between my two hands while still gripping the aero bars of my tri bike, yet manage to not drop the screw cap while sipping from the pouch. It was too many steps, and it never felt comfortable.
During the actual Ironman race that I used the food pouches on, I only ate when I stopped moving on the bike, because the wind was so strong that day that it was impossible for me to keep my bike and body from being knocked over by random wind gusts and eat at the same time.
As a self-proclaimed, “Gut Whisperer”, an inconvenience simply provides a new challenge. My real-food options were not the problem; the delivery system was the problem to solve. What could make that pouch better? I had to do something about that screw top.
ChooMee Sip’n Pouch Toppers
Not every solution to a problem requires you to reinvent the wheel.
Recently, I tried Googling things about making baby food and reusable baby food pouches. That is the moment that I stumbled upon the ChooMee Sip’n Pouch Toppers. These flip caps were designed to allow four-month old and up babies to have independent eating control, which they could use single or double handed without unscrewing a cap or having a choke hazard available. They could bite away at the silicone without risk of ingesting plastic or toxic chemicals, are BPA, PVC, Lead and Phthalate Free, and they can be frozen, boiled, and survive the dishwasher.
And you know what? If it’s safe and simple enough for a baby, you’ll find these toppers easy to use, even if your hands are frozen from hail, wind, and rain.
These flip caps also work with any reusable baby food pouch system, so they fit the ones I already have. The only thing the tops would change is to increase the height of the pouch from the sealable end to the tip of the ChooMee cap by about two centimeters; it sits snug against the base of the threaded spout. Inserted into a regular-size pocket on a Women’s Small Pearl Izumi bike jersey, the cap tip may just be visible from the outside; in a taller pocket, it won’t be visible at all. What this means is that if you want to do a century ride, you should have plenty of room to fit two pouches per pocket; you can easily carry six pouches, and have other options in a bike bento affixed on the center bar. If you want to do a long run past eight hours, a typical hydration running vest should have room for your softgel water flasks, a hydration bladder in the back, and could hold 4-6 pouches of food plus additional meat bars, dehydrated jerky, fruit, and other yum yums. Unless your event is fully self-supporting, you shouldn’t have to carry all your nutrition, but because of my food restrictions, I train by bringing it all with me, rationing my food in case something goes sideways in an event.
When the pouches are empty, their weight is negligible, so you won’t be whining about taking the empties with you when you’ve slurped the last bits of food. I got tired of disposing plastic baggies long ago, and you don’t need to if you’re willing to invest a little money for reusable silicone pouches.
I tested the topper during a training ride prior to a short-distance triathlon race, Eastside Triathlon in Issaquah, WA. Technically, I don’t need to eat during a race of this distance, yet I find the short-distance races a great way to test new items such as hydration options, electrolyte pills, nutrition, and clothing, and record any important feedback on how the new options performed.
I liked not having to futz with the former screw caps. In the two occasions I was refueling at high speeds, it was easy to pop it open, squeeze, recap, and replace the pouch back into my bike jersey pocket, all with one hand. In fact, it made it as easy as eating from a gel packet using your mouth to open it. And the whole point of this test was to create a delivery system that was “that easy”.
As it’s been said, it’s like feeding candy to a baby. Except this is better than candy, and I ain’t no baby! People keep reminding me with the hashtag, “GrownAssWoman”, that I am an adult with problem-solving skills and persistence!
If you decide to try using ChooMee Sip’n Pouch Toppers, let me know how it works for you. And share your real-food puree creations with pictures, whether you make a vanilla and maple sugar coconut milk shake, or blended cacao and honey puree with mint.
Let’s keep making food fun again!