Time for my state-of-the-backpacking-kitchen blog. I don’t get over here much anymore since I worked most of the kinks out of the backpacking eating situation, but I do have some protein notes to share since we’ve starting eating paleo at home. You can bet I’m doing my best to transition that onto the trail!
I have noticed many more paleo backpacking blogs out on the net lately; can’t say that most of them have been very helpful to me, but it’s always interesting to read what other folks consider good backpacking practice. There’s a lot of difference, as you know, between doing an overnight or 2 where you might get away with pouched or even canned tuna, some pre-cooked meat and fresh fruit and veggies, and the kind of backpacking that involves mailing boxes to yourself several weeks down the trail.
Our big plan for this summer is revisiting the JMT with a few detours courtesy of the High Sierra Route. Should be fun! One big change will be that instead of mailing ourselves re-supplies, we’ll be recovering boxes of food pre-stashed in bear boxes at camp sites. It’s a little unsettling to consider than an unscrupulous camper might make off with our re-supply, leaving us in the difficult position of having to hitchhike into town and buy whatever food might be available at the local grocery down from Onion Valley or North Lake campground, but I have been assured by those who have used this method that such an event is extremely unlikely.
We will be re-supplying at Red’s Meadow — that will be our one chance to eat a restaurant meal and scrounge through the abandoned resupplies of other backpackers. Always an adventure!
In 2009, Jack & I hiked the entire JMT and it was that adventure that inspired me to begin this blog. Our at-home diet has changed a lot since then; our backpacking diet not so much — we still eat beans, rice and quinoa on the trail, as well as plenty of dried fruit. Our protein percentage, however, has increased not only at home but also on the trail over the past year or 2, although unless we have trail buddies who fish, we rely on what we bring, not what we forage!
Remember my original protein post when I was concerned that 90g of protein might be too much? Since adopting a more primal diet, I’ve come to believe that 90g of protein for such sustained physical exertion is not enough. So as I’m putting together the 24 hot lunches, supper porridges and day snacks for the July get-away, I’m trying to squeeze in even more via dehydrated ground beef and an assortment of protein powders and a new protein bar we’ve been enjoying for the past year. Oh … didn’t I tell you?
Our friends who supply us with the truly delicious organic green food bar also make a protein bar! This is not a perfect paleo protein bar — it contains agave syrup (boo hiss) and although I love the 22g of protein, the 22g of sugar are a bit much. Even so, since we avoid soy and whey, this is the best bar I’ve found for backpacking. Or for pre-workout. Or for road trips … (see my review on Amazon). So now you know. If they ever make this bar without agave syrup, I will be ecstatic!
Back to those 24 hot lunches? I’ve determined to limit each one to 7 oz each, with the breakdown of 2 oz of the beef protein powder, 2 oz of the tiny rice/quinoa mixture, 2 oz of dried beans, and 1 oz of vegetable/flavoring. That last part is the trick. I am actually writing down my recipes again this year because my notes from last year’s meals were so vague. Yes, we loved the basil-lemon bean dish, but how much basil was really in that? And how much lemon? Oh well. Luckily, we are not picky eaters on the trail …
Here I am, feeling overwhelmed with prepping food for this year’s 100+ walk through the Sierras, and also wanted to touch base on this long-neglected site. I came back from last year’s backpack full of ideas, but got distracted by work. Boo for me!
Obviously, we did not starve to death on the last hike. I didn’t even get the hungries. I was, however, sluggish & peevish the first week of hiking. Maybe I just didn’t have my groove on yet (or maybe it was hormonal timing), but after our re-supply at Red’s Meadow where I found a foil-pack of PackItGourmet Freeze Dried Roast Beef Dices, my energy levels & my emotional doldrums lifted. Thank you, surplus box!
I ground the dried beef to dust in the foil pack & added a big heaping spoonful to my pease porridge each night. Amazing results.
So this year, of course, I am drying my own ground beef. I’ve discovered that my little quart-size crockpot will quickly & easily cook up 2 lbs of grass-fed ground beef. I drain off the juices for another use, break up the lump o’ meat & spread it thinly on dehydrator trays lined with parchment paper. It dries overnight! Then I pop it into the food processor & grind it to dust. An ounce of this “meat dust” provides just over 15.6g of protein, so I’m planning to add that amount to both the evening and the mid-day hot meal.
Another way I’m planning to add a little extra protein this year is by substituting rice protein powder for the hummus mix in the Ginger Bars when I start whipping them up next week.
This year I am feeling especially rushed because not only have I (as usual) put food prep off until the last moment, but we are going to be out of town for a conference for 11 days in August, returning home just 2 weeks before we head out for Tuolomne Meadows.
I hope to make at least one more post in the meantime, but just in case, remember to carefully calculate your protein needs for your backpack! I am discovering that 1g of protein per each pound of lean body weight is not excessive!