If Utopia Was A Grocery Store
I woke up this morning…
… In my new hiker rhythm of precisely 6:45. Every few seconds my tent caught slow, ploppy raindrops from the previous night’s thunder storm. The rain had passed, but the trees still had to shake out the water from their branches. The twitter of birds saturated the sky. Some of them sang constant songs, others were quiet for a longer amount of time but would erupt into a very loud tweetTWEETTWEETTWEET.
Glancing over at my trash bag, which is an unfathomably shameful and transparent Ziploc freezer bag filled with a mangled concoction of everything I have to pack out (mostly food wrappers and baby wipes… Unspeakable baby wipes), I noticed a packet of peanut butter that a fellow hiker had shared with me. She had asked her friend back home for three boxes, one in each flavor, and instead he sent her three boxes of every flavor. I needed to write down the name of that peanut butter. I mixed the whole thing in with my couscous and dehydrated vegetables last night, and it was filling and delicious.
So I did. And as soon as I wrote one thing down, another came. More and more types of food rolled about and filled my head as I sat hunched over in my tent, slowly preparing my breakfast of dehydrated milk, a Breakfast Essentials packet, and a Ziploc full of cereal crumbs. I realized… THAT’S MY NEXT BLOG POST!
Typical. I know.
I sat there, celebrating my lazy Sunday by making a grocery list. As I review it now, I notice very common themes. So for those at you at home, in the obsessive planning, dreaming and scheming phases…
Here are a few things you should consider:
Before my hike, I put most of my focus in resupply boxes on organic foods and dehydrated vegetables. If I was going to be sending myself things, I wanted them to be as nutritious as possible. They still are an absolute lifesaver and I still love everything about my resupply boxes.
But I totally missed the boat with protein. My most wonderful husband recently took the time to find some type of equation for endurance athletes that relates their body weight to the amount of protein to be consumed daily. He says, “General rule of thumb is that very active people (like hikers and endurance athletes) should consume 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight, per day.” I can tell you, without a doubt, I am not getting anywhere close to that amount right now.
If you are at home and manically obsessing over trail preparations and resupply, keep your eye out for pouched meats. These are popular in the trail and especially good for mixing in with your dinners and spreading inside a tortilla for lunch. Starkist makes Gourmet Select Tuna pouches in a variety of flavors. My favorite are the ones that are kept in oil rather than water, but either way… It’s an easy and tasty source of protein. You can also find pouched salmon and chicken that, for some mystical and magical reason, don’t need to be refrigerated. Stock up and snack on almonds, sunflower seeds, edamame. Find a good protein powder you like, preferably a bland flavor like vanilla, and use it to add to oatmeal, dinners, or simply mixed with water.
And electrolytes. Don’t make my mistake and forget about them. You will be sweating for hours, every day. I can feel a huge difference in my hiking when I include GU gels, Gatorade chews or powder in my daily snack pile. Your body needs to replenish the salt you are losing, and it’s a great lift up the mountain.
The last theme on my grocery list is fats. Any type of nut butter, whether dehydrated or whole, is fantastic. You can mix dehydrated nut butter with almost anything prepared with water (think oatmeal, couscous, ramen), and spreadable butter (and honey!) on tortillas is one of my favorite snacks. If you’re contemplating dehydrated milk, go for the full-fat kind. Your body will thank you for it.
If you would like to see my Utopian Grocery List, I’ve listed it below. I also highly recommend Harmony House’s Backpacker’s Kit.
I mix the recipes in with couscous for almost every dinner, and haven’t gotten tired of it yet. The items on this list are simply cravings of mine, things that I overlooked when packing my resupply boxes. If you have any questions about life on the trail, leave them in the comments below and I will be happy to answer them, whenever I find a spot with LTE.
If I could make a Wegman’s run right meow, I would grab:
Sunkist tuna in oil
Earth Balance coconut peanut butter packets
Full fat dehydrated milk
PB2 powdered peanut butter
Individual packets of honey and jam
Snickers, Peanut Butter Snickers
GU packets (esp coffee flavored! But any, really)
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