Is Morning Chili Stopping You From Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail?

Yesterday, I woke up to a crockpot full of steamy-hot delicious grass-fed beef and bison chili.  The night before, I dedicated an hour to chopping and dicing onions, garlic, peppers, and jalapenos- then browning these veggies plus meat, mixing it with my soaked and sprouted black beans, tomatoes, and homemade bone broth.  I then set this factory of olfactory orgasmic matter to cook for 10-hours overnight.

Here’s a question- so the eff what?

Good question.  Stay with me.

My normal morning routine of late has me drinking a half liter of water followed by a tall cup of coffee blended with butter and coconut oil (a concoction called Bulletproof Coffee– it’s delicious, trust me).  This routine has served me well for two reasons: 1) it’s a good alternative to breakfast since I almost never wake up hungry and 2) Bulletproof Coffee is the equivalent of adderall- providing me laser-sharp focus and energy for the better part of 6 hours without crashing.  My productivity during this period has been astronomical, allowing me to get more done in a shorter amount of time.

Can you guess what happened when I walked into the kitchen and was immediately punched in the face with the sight and smell of a week’s supply of chili?  I gave it a taste test.  The taste test turned into manufactured hunger followed by an extra large serving of tortilla-less huevos rancheros.

Again- So. The. Eff. What?

Finally, the point.

My day’s productivity suffered as a result.  Not only was I not even hungry for breakfast, but I quickly consumed a thru-hiker’s portion of this meal resulting in all of the brain blood flowing to my overstuffed stomach.  I could blame my lack of willpower, but willpower requires a thinking brain, something I do not have prior to my morning joe.  The real fault lies with pragmatic Zach- the Zach that is all too aware of the importance of stimulus presentation.  My fate was sealed the minute I made the decision to let a bathtub full of chili be the first thing to greet me in the morning.  I set the stage for a less than productive day.

This error in a single serving (so to speak) is not a huge deal.  After all, my day started with a facegasm and I was able to put in a couple extra hours that night to compensate.  Leaving a delicious, ready-to-eat meal on the counter first thing in the morning every day, however, is how bad habits happen.  I have made a conscious decision to prioritize productivity, I need to create an environment that supports this.

Morning Chili and Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail

If you’re preparing to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, how are you structuring your day?  Are you staying up late to binge watch House of Cards or are you setting yourself reminders to power down by 9pm so you can actually get to the gym before work in the morning?  Are you setting aside time to write your “why I’m hiking” lists, or are you leaving your conviction to chance?  Have you built a pre-trail budget that’ll provide you enough money to comfortably meander ~2,200 miles or are you just being kinda-stingy and then crossing that bridge when you get there (if you get there).

Are you setting yourself up to successfully thru-hike the Appalachian Trail or are you leaving hot chili on the counter?

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