Five Healthy Snack Hacks while Thru-Hiking
As a LASHer, or long-ass section hiker, in the summer of 2019, I learned a few things that helped me stay healthy during my six-week adventure on the Appalachian Trail. I will use these tricks again for my upcoming thru-hike in April.
Beet Root Powder
This lightweight powder from whole foods is a lovely addition to water. It enhances your filtered water, especially when it may be a weird brown color or have a mineral taste. Also, this powder makes a beautiful color, has a sweet and earthy flavor, and provides a number of health benefits. It benefits your circulation, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. Antioxidants bond with free radicals that can accumulate from sugars, toxins, and stress from the body. Beet powder is also rich in vitamins and nutrients that are hard to come by in lightweight processed dry foods.
I bring a small amount of coconut oil in a plastic container. It can be added in place of butter to mac and cheese or any other dehydrated meal that requires fat. This high-calorie and plant-derived saturated fat protects our cells. Furthermore, this oil is antibacterial and anti-viral and can help with all kinds of skin issues topically.
Powdered Coconut Milk is Your Friend
Powdered coconut milk is the perfect addition to morning oatmeal or coffee. To me, it tastes way better than powdered milk (with a lot fewer chemicals). I enjoy my morning coffee as if it had cream and love the velvety texture the fat molecules create on my tongue. And, the health benefits of coconut milk are impressive. It reduces muscle fatigue and improves respiration by oxygenating the body and it is also a powerful antibiotic. In addition, it is antiviral and boosts the immune system. So, overall, this antimicrobial has the same benefits as coconut oil above yet provides that creamy texture that you want in your morning coffee and oatmeal.
When I first saw olives in a bag I was thrilled to bring them along as a snack. And, after a hot and humid day of hiking in the sun, I was elated to consume this salty snack that contains a number of health benefits. Olives are high in fat and other micro-nutrients including vitamin E, iron, and calcium. They are antioxidants and help combat the harmful effects of free radicals. And, they are calorie-dense, which is the best friend of a thru-hiker craving calories.
I love enjoying a hot cup of herbal tea after a meal in the mountains. Turmeric tea is the perfect infusion to bring with me when thru-hiking. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is an anti-inflammatory. Consuming this tea combats the inflammation that could accumulate from the stress of many miles daily and consecutively. Also, it contains antioxidants that improve overall health and immunity and are hard to come by in the typical dry food encountered during a resupply. Lastly, making tea in the pot you enjoyed your meal in allows you to clean the remnants of your meal with the teabag. Then, you drink it with your tea and leave no trace in a delicious and healthy way.
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