Once I first came upon I received an early registration lottery to hike the Wonderland Path in Mt. Rainier Nationwide Park this summer season, I jumped on the chance. The second the web site for claiming group tenting registrations opened, it was a fast seize fest, and with out a lot time to hesitate, I clicked and grabbed and clicked and grabbed some extra.
Twenty minutes later, I had an itinerary. “I’m Wonderland Path sure!” I believed to myself.
After which, the same old, “Oh, Sh!t! How am I going to drag this off?” questions got here flooding in. What gear am I lacking? Will I be capable to carry every part I would like on my again? And naturally, the inevitable query got here up:
WHAT AM I GOING TO EAT WHILE I AM IN THE WILD?
Once I ask folks what they eat after they go on multi-day tenting journeys, the commonest solutions are:
-trail combine (nuts, seed, raisins, carob or chocolate chunks, coconut flakes
-commercially-made beef jerky and pepperoni sticks
-candy… numerous sugar primarily from corn, similar to Excessive Fructose Corn Syrup
-commercially-made freeze dried or dehydrated tenting foot, similar to Mountain Home, Backpacker’s Pantry, and Good to Go
-dried legumes, similar to peas, on the spot oatmeal packets, canned beans, and canned fish
Most of the above selections are nutrient-dense choices that assist gasoline backpackers who could also be burning an extra of 3000 energy a day. But once I started asking retailers similar to REI what they’d accessible for these of us who want High 8 allergen free in addition to allium and nightshade free, a lot of the commercially accessible meals utterly dropped out from any severe consideration. After perusing over 30 completely different meals in a stunning show, a really useful REI employee and I didn’t discover an choice that was Celiac protected, dairy free, soy free, nut free, allium free, and corn free.
“What am I going to eat?” I whispered to myself.
I knew that if I wished to have meals that may preserve my guts quiet as a church mouse whereas delivering the sort of energy I wanted for my backpacking expertise, I must make it myself. Making meals myself — and making meals enjoyable once more! — has all the time been one of many keys to dwelling properly with allergic reactions and autoimmune illness, so I can’t say that I used to be shocked or upset.
When you’re going to hold
it, it had higher be
The REI salesperson additionally stated that my want for additional specialization within the backpacking meals world represents a distinct segment market that’s unfilled.
But I consider it won’t doubtless be stuffed. Ever. Whenever you take away the garlic, onions, nuts, dairy, sugars, and soy, what stays is one thing that takes time for the palate to make an adjustment. There simply isn’t a major market to create high-end meals with this type of customization and put it right into a format that’s freeze-dried, dehydrated, canned, or pressed right into a bar. Not sufficient folks would purchase it.
So, what’s a hungry, adventurous individual to do?
ROLL UP MY SLEEVES AND GET COOKING
What does it appear like to roll up your sleeves and get cooking for a multi-day backpacking occasion?
With my Harvest Proper three-tray small freeze dryer, every freeze drying session averaged out to be about 30 hours from pre-freeze prep to eradicating from the trays as a completed meals. Add on prime of that meeting of the meals into mylar baggage, sealing them, and making use of labels to every bag to point the contents, and we’ll simply spherical that as much as 31 hours.
If one session of 31 hours yielded 5 breakfasts, and one other session of 31 hours yield 5 dinners with out a starch, add one other session of 31 hours (potatoes, rice, or cooked noodles), 31 extra hours for snacks similar to minimize strawberries, sliced apples, or different fruit, and 31 extra hours for a wide range of greens similar to kale, chard, broccoli, and carrots.
Among the meals needed to be cooked and chopped earlier than freezing, similar to meat, rice, potatoes, and noodles, cooled, after which frozen on the trays earlier than being inserted into the freeze dryer. So let’s add one other 5 hours to that whole.
Whole minimal hours = 160 hours
Divide by 8 weekends of monitoring the machine or simply being someplace close by when the machine beeps at you, and you’ve got estimate throughout eight weeks of twenty hours devoted to creating meals to be consumed in six days! Nicely, now why most individuals purchase all of the comfort meals they will, and complement with a number of indulgent splurges. That is work, but don’t be discouraged! For six days on the path, I used to be wholesome, comfortable, well-fueled, and had no intestine points by any means. Time isn’t the one factor of worth. Well being can also be wealth, and preventative well being measures are price their weight in gold.
My indulgent splurges included:
- Julie’s Actual cashew nut butter packets (with cinnamon and vanilla bean)
- Two packages of Sesmark brown rice crackers, gluten free, dairy free, and corn free
- Mung bean thread noodles (one of many few beans I can have)
- 10 EPIC bars (to complement a lunch on the transfer)
- Gin Gin chews (a sweet I do know I can have with out reactions and has no corn)
- Darkish Cacao powder for a sizzling drink mornings and evenings
- Wakame sprinkled into morning and night meals
- Alpine on the spot espresso
The Freeze Dryer Saves the Day
I’ve already sang the praises of Harvest Proper’s freeze dryers for dwelling use. I used it to assist put together meals for my journey to New Zealand on the finish of December 2019. It got here in helpful for making ready and storing meals throughout pandemic lockdown in my artloft once I spent a time separated from M whereas I labored with Public Well being amongst COVID-19 constructive sufferers or suspected COVID-19 sufferers coming for speedy testing in King and Snohomish Counties. Having meals that was straightforward to arrange — simply add sizzling water! — on the finish of an extended, tiring shift as a Registered Nurse was actually useful to maintain me fed, and it additionally stretched the meals finances. When sure gluten-free licensed meals have been laborious to seek out on retailer cabinets, my provide of pre-prepared meals have been prepared for me.
The problem with freeze drying meals are primarily three elements:
- Organizing time — you’ll want to be the operator who begins the machine, masses the meals, presses a number of buttons at designated occasions, cleans the machine, and shops the meals correctly
- Budgeting for bulk meals purchases — discovering meats, greens, or seasonal fruits on sale
- Creating and cooking the meals you suppose you may want, so that you ship diet, flavour, and meals curiosity. If you’re not within the meals when it comes time to eat, you’ll defeat the aim of freeze drying, canning, or dehydrating meals (the three main methods most individuals create meals for storing). It is a recognized problem amongst multi-day via hikers. In the event that they aren’t within the meals, they preserve mountaineering, reduce weight, after which start to cannibalize their very own muscle.
For my journey on the Wonderland Path and Northern Loop, I handled #3 as a easy venture. I made the identical breakfasts and identical dinners, and used all the opposite non-freeze dried meals to interrupt up the monotony. For the brevity of my journey, inspiring meals curiosity isn’t a lot of a difficulty. For journeys that can take longer than seven days, I like to recommend Batch Cooking whereas permitting for 3 or extra dinners and three or extra breakfast choices to interrupt up the monotony and encourage meals curiosity.
Past Freeze Drying
Inspiring meals curiosity on travels that don’t contain carrying all your individual meals will be enhanced by offering contemporary meals, similar to vegetables and fruit within the type of apples, berries, stone fruits if these are tolerated, and salads, greens, and cruciferous greens that require gentle steaming or blanching. We frequently need a change in texture, and freeze dried meals that’s rehydrated tends to have the identical texture. On lengthy highway journeys, we’ve used a Yeti cooler to maintain meals chilly.
On lengthy highway journeys into rural areas, it is likely to be simpler to seek out out of doors markets and road-side stands promoting seasonal meals. If in case you have a very delicate intestine, strive cooking your vegetables and fruit, similar to softening carrots by blanching in sizzling water, and parr boiling sliced fruit as a desert or with breakfast. Attempt to preserve your fiber ranges from pure, entire meals as near what they’re at dwelling with the intention to reduce any surprises.
When you can tolerate it, fermented meals within the type of sauerkraut, pickled beets, pickled daikon, and drinks like kombucha or water kefir may help to maintain the intestine buzzing at its common tempo. A small bag or container with spices similar to dried sage, basil, thyme, salt, pepper, and some other spices you get pleasure from and may tolerate in your particular dietary plan will assist add that additional home-cooked contact.
Lastly, to hydrate the meals with sizzling water, I packed my very own collapsible bowl and collapsible cup, in addition to a spoon and fork combo that has a small serrated edge for chopping. Use a disposable wipe or a bit of water and a reusable fabric to wipe it out after use. There are a lot of manufacturers, so I don’t have a assessment or suggestion but. The one I used for my Wonderland journey was from UCO Change Spork.
You’ve got in all probability observed that quite a lot of the issues I did to arrange for a multi-day tenting journey will be tailored for long-distance journey that doesn’t contain tenting. Having freeze-dried meals accessible buffers in some additional time and vitality earlier than you discover a protected place to eat when you may have meals allergic reactions and medically-necessary weight-reduction plan. I’m discovering that the funding in a freeze-dryer is paying off in stopping exposures to my allergens.
Are there locations you wish to go and actions you wish to try this have had limitations due to your power sickness? Are you in a season of your life to drawback remedy your manner by way of obstacles with the intention to see your goals come to life?