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Re: [at-l] Delit's *Weird* Hiking Food Experiments

>Please add to our collective wisdom(?).

Ok - the *collective wisdom* phrase got me.  I was thinking this wasn't
about hiking for everyone, just me - but it may be a good thing to have in
archives for whoever wants it.

BTW, would love to discuss this plan long-term versus high protein/low carb
- but, I digress.  If you would like to talk about it ;-) mail me offline.

Here is a slightly edited version of what Chocolate stimulated me to write
re food on my trip:

>Hi Delita-
>I've been thinking about food and diet and my trail food bag lately.
>What do you eat at home over a couple of typical days? How do you adapt
>that to the trail?
>Just curious-

Interesting question. It varies. I've been doing the plan for over a year
now and have found I can eat about anything I want. What seems to be most
important is not what I don't eat, but what I do eat. My body seems to
function best on 3 meals a day on time, with apx. 40 grams of protein per
meal. I also have to eat *snacks* to keep my blood sugar up when doing
physical exertion like walking, hiking or working out. That's a lot of
food. If I eat what I need, I don't get hungry between meals or crave stuff
that I know makes me feel worse. I guess that's the key on eating anything
I want, too - I seldom want the things that mess me up anymore.

The real life situation is that I can't seem to maintain the diligence to
keep the meals I need in front of me - at least not perfectly. I do much
better than I used to, but tend to eat *enough* to keep myself from losing
it, but not enough to be really at my best and lose weight. Interestingly,
with this metabolism, we seem to quit losing weight if we aren't eating
enough and lose weight when we are eating more (works that way for me). So
- what do I eat? Or what do I eat on days when I am eating what I need and
feeling great?

My food is basically divided into proteins, fats, whites (refined carbs,
which I avoid), browns (same carbs but not refined, like brown rice or
skin-on potato) and greens (your typical veggies.

Breakfast is a *must* - truly the most important meal of the day. And I
hate it. Not really. I just don't want to have to do it. I use a p[rotein
and complex carb shake mix - not out of production being reformulated. I
get about 32 grams of protein and a lot of complex carbs in it, but that is
not enough for me. It *alone* feels satisfying at the time but doesn't
*hold* me through the morning. I make it with oatmilk, or baby muesli
instead of oatmilk, or water if that's all I have. I also eat a small
serving of complex carb (like some oatmeal with butter and salt) and a
small serving or protein (like a scrambled egg) - or combine them in a
piece of sprouted bread with heavy peanut butter (or something). I have
good energy all morning and don't get hungry. If I know I am going to
exercise or do heavy physical stuff I eat two eggs. An egg or two and
oatmeal is my usual best choice, but sometimes I'm lazy and do something
*easier.* Fruit if I think about it and have it.

Lunch is best with about 6 oz. tuna/salmon/chicken etc. and 2-3 cups
veggies. I include both *green* and *brown* veggies in that. Might be
potato-salad (skin-on), barley salad and green beans from the local deli
(with some kinda meat) or at home my fail-safe: canned tuna or salmon or
cooked ahead chicken or beef - with frozen vegs from bags in the freezer. I
keep several types on hand. If I am hungry I might choose a brown for or
two of my veggies. I usually remember to have, and enjoy, a piece of fruit
after lunch.

Dinner is who knows. More meat/potatoes/veggies (more likely fresh cooked
than at lunch), about the same amounts (6 oz. meat, equivalent of 3
generous servings green/yellow or *brown* veggies. Sometimes bread but
mostly not, sometimes fruit. Sometimes I make a fritatta or omelet of about
5 eggs, lots of veggies and some cheese. I might have that with a brown or

Like I said, when I get lazy and less rigorous on eating all this I
(slowly) cease functioning as well and stop losing weight. (Feels odd when
I know it is from eating too little.)

Translating it to hiking - long term has to be different from short hikes,
but I don't try to copy my at home schedule.

The key is I need to avoid simple carbs on the trail 'cause they zap my
energy. I need to make sure I get PLENTY complex carbs because they are
where we get energy and they are easier to digest than protein (into the
sugar the body is burning). However, I have to continue to get protein to
keep my blood sugar up.

The way I approached it is summed up in that last paragraph. Also, I need
fats. At home, I usually make sure I get some kinda fat at every meal. My
most common are, in order: olive oil, butter, cheese, peanut butter. I
carried olive oil in a bottle on my hike, also cheese and peanut butter -
plus the almonds and nuts in gorp and museli.  I could even carry butter
(ghee) but it got bounced with the last minute weight reduction of my pack.
I avoid margerine but I'm not fanatical about it.

So. I threw out *the plan* and just tried to come up with *enough* portable
complex carbs and proteins - supplemented with a (very) little dried fruit
(works like sugar on me).

On my hike, I took shake mix for breakfast (mixed it with water) but needed
a complex carb and some protein with it. To solve this I *beefed up* some
store-brand bulk museli with sunflower seeds, pecans and slivered almonds.
I ate this cold in a plastic cup with water and a spoon and it gave me
compex carb, protein and fat to supplement my breakfast shake. Breakfast
seemed to work well. I also might have had a little cheese or a *cookie* on
the side - whatever looked good.

For lunch I found in my whole foods grocery various boxes of *instant*
skin-on mashed potatoes in different flavors (like broccoli and cheddar).
Box said it was 4 half-cup servings, 100 calories each. I figured 1 box at
400 calories (2 cups) was a good start on lunch - skin-on potatoes are a
complex carb my body loves and would be easy to digest even when tired and
good to hike on (for energy) in the afternoon - plus, they were already
seasoned! ;-)  I ate with that  a big piece of really good quality beef
jerky - probably the equivalent of eating a beef patty. And, I ate whatever
I wanted out of my snacks. I was set up so that I could have chosen a
different protein (like cheese and/or nuts) to supplement the taters, but
the jerky seemed to work especially well. I will buy it again. I also
supplemented lunch with another serving of protein/complex carb shake. That
seemed to help. And drank another 1/2 gallon of treated water.

For dinner I planned to make the *Trail Magic* recipe from Ed Garvey's
book, _The New Appalachian Trail_, which I had mixed up ahead of time (but
later realized I didn't do it just *right*). It is brown rice, lentils and
barely with seasonings. I tried soaking it for several hours before dinner
to cut cooking time but that didn't really work - it still took a long time
to cook and I was too tired (and didn't have enough fuel) to do it
properly. This would have worked better if I had trail-tested it ahead. I
ate some but fell back on my snack supply to fill me up. This recipe is a
great idea and I feel sure I will be able to work it out - but will
probably end up cooking it ahead at home and then dehydrating it for the
trail. Also, I will make it with good chicken broth for more protein (and
flavor), and maybe even add in dehydrated meat. I plan to work it up in
several different *flavors.* Lots of work ahead on that.

The rest of the food I carried was *snacks* which were planned to give me
the complex carbs and protein and fats I needed to keep hiking (when I
exert, I have to keep eating), and to be easy to eat even when I didn't
feel like eating. I had a variety of options.

I made up my own gorp before I left. Here is what I think I put in it:

Salted peanuts
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Muesli (which had in it oatmeal, some nuts, raisins, bits of apple)
Oat O's (bag of cheerio-like cereal made from oats)

It tasted very good and seemed to work well. I think I got a good balance
in there.

Complex carbs: Took some teething biscuits I found in the whole foods
grocery: no dairy or wheat, made primarily with oat flour. These were my
*cookies* and 2 make a great, fun to eat complex carb. They also don't
*crumble* being carried in the pack! ;-) I took rye flat bread (crackers)
and a couple extra servings of the *beefed up* museli to use for snacks. I
took essene bread but had it packed a few days before the hike and it was
bad by the time I started. It might be good if I cut it in slices and dried
it first. Or kept slices frozen until departure then just used it for a
couple days.

Extra protein: Some *snack* mix - the protein (George's) shake without the
vitamins (mainly in case I was having trouble eating enough) and peanut
butter, almonds, mozarella cheese.

Water. A key part of my trip, I think, was the Vitamin C and mineral
ascorbates powder (no sugar) I used to turn my water into a *sports drink.*
It improved the flavor, palatability and I really think my body absorbed
the water better, too. I suspect the food wouldn't have been nearly as
successful without the success of the water. And I am sooooooo glad I
brought coffee filters to filter all the *stuff* out of the water! ;-)

There may have been some other things, but this was most of it. A lot of
food, I know, and yes, more than I needed. But mostly a very succesful
venture and great learning experience.

What I will do the same:

Take the shake mixes, the *beefed up* museli, the GORP, the teething
biscuits, the jerky, the instant skin-on potatoes (which I cooked with
water and olive oil), the rye crackers, the peanut butter, the almonds,
some kinda cheese.

What I will do differently:

Work on the dinner mix for flavor and cooking speed, not take essene bread
but will probably use sprouted bread (Ezekial 4:9) some, come up with some
alternative meals based on brown rice pasta, instand brown rice, dehydrated
re-fried beans, dehydrated vegetarian burger mix.  And Beans.  I like beans
and rice, especially.  Maybe with amaranth to complement the protein and/or
added TVP. Maybe find a better kind of cheese to carry. (String cheese?)
I'm not much on it but maybe in this case...

The main quandry is that simple carbs make me feel worse in the long run
and drain me of energy - but getting enough complex carbs and proteins (and
not forgetting the fats) seems to provide plenty of energy. I did find a
(brown rice) hard candy in the whole foods grocery that doesn't throw me,
and carried some. I used 2 pieces the 2nd night when I was *sprinting* up
hill over the rocks trying to get to the shelter before sunset. More
reassuring than energizing I think.

I didn't really address the green veggie issue this trip. (Usually I eat a
lot of green veggies 4-6 servings a day.)  I would like to use mixed
dehydrated veggies and will probably work a lot of them into a couple of my
*meals* I am working on. Oh, I did take some dehydrated veggies to eat like
popcorn or add to dinner but never did use them - didn't seem *worth* the
trouble at the time. Also, when I get *a round tuit* I will work on
learning to keep sprouts sprouting in my pack. I can imagine a nice
side-dish every day of freshly sprouted lentils and some kinda vinegar/oil
dressing - maybe with some rehydrated carrots and fresh garlic? ;-) Sprouts
are very high energy food, I think.

I believe the hiking is intense enough (at least for me right now) that I
seem to need the more easily digestible and satisfying browns (starchy
non-refined carbs) than the greens (green veggies) I usually seem to need.
Greens at home but browns on the trail, so to speak. Of course, as I get in
better shape, and go on longer hikes, that may change.

Okay. Wrote a book again! LOL Hope this answers your questions and helps
you get started thinking on your own changes.

Thanks for bringing it up, I needed to think through all this and now I
have a record! ;-) Eventually I am going to put all these adventures up on
a web page for anyone interested. May I post your email query with my
answer? I also want to post this on the PnP message board. May I use your
question for an intro there?

Thanks for writing,  Delita

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