Becoming The Backcountry Foodie: a dietitian’s dream!
Well, let’s just call it one heck of a mid-life crisis!
Hello and welcome to a blog dedicated to meal planning for thru hikers.
Professionally my background is in clinical nutrition, specifically the ketogenic diet, but spend my days dreaming of the outdoors. I also have a long history of being an endurance sport athlete who struggles with fueling for performance despite training as a dietitian. What does any of that have to do with this Foodie business and a mid-life crisis?!?
Backing it up a bit…
I’m turning forty in 61 days…not that I’m counting…and over the last year have taken the time to do a lot of reflecting on where I am in my life. What brought this on? I would say that custom ordering the fancy new car that I didn’t need was a good sign that something was up. Better yet, I went on a two week vacation in the Philippines and Bali with a man whom I’d met via an online dating site and had never met in person. Needless to say my friends and family were quite concerned about my actions. The trip, however, turned out to be one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I experienced cultures that have so little tangibly but so much to give in regards to spirituality and kindness. It was during this trip that I realized that I needed to make changes in my own life as I acknowledged that what I thought was happiness wasn’t true happiness.
After returning from my trip, what did I do?!?
Decided to quit my stable job that I’ve poured my heart and soul into for the last seven years and thru hike the PCT! The decision wasn’t as rash as it sounds as thru hiking the PCT has been a dream for many years now. Letting go of the fear of the unknown has allowed me to pursue a new career that I hope to be even more passionate about.
What exactly does a backcountry foodie do?
To be honest, the beauty is that I have an opportunity to make my new career into anything I want it to be. Therefore, I hope to combine my passion for backcountry travel and food in a way that I can continue to help serve others as I do in my current role as a ketogenic dietitian. It is a well known fact that thru hikers struggle with consuming adequate nutrition with some treks ending prematurely due to weight loss. My goal is to write about my experience with homemade ultralight food and an unconventional resupply strategy with the hope that my training as a dietitian and experience as a future thru hiker might help others stay stronger and remain on trail longer. Essentially, I’m my own guinea pig.
Topics to look forward to prior to my trek:
- What exactly constitutes an ultralight meal?
- Power packed foods for a thru hiker
- Equipment used to prepare dehydrated trail food
- Dehydrating and long-term storage tips
- Meal planning strategies
- Ultralight meal recipe development
- Cost savings when preparing meals at home
- Myth busting time spent preparing food at home
Topics to look forward to while I thru hike the PCT:
- Foods most commonly available on trail that fit into the ultralight category
- Taste preferences and how they change
- Weight and strength management: adequate calorie and protein intake
- Availability of water for cooking throughout the trek
- Anticipated meals packed vs what is actually consumed
- Resupply strategy and how it plays out on trail
Until next time…
Consider joining the “Backcountry Meal Planning for Thru Hikers” Facebook group as this is where you will find experienced foodies and thru hikers representing all of the long trails throughout the United States. Your questions will not go unanswered.
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It’s fabulous to start to read about your journey up to this point and I’m excited to follow you and learn lots. We’re planning a JMT thru early next fall, and I haven’t begun to ponder food. My hubby is leaner and can lose quickly, so I’m anxious to keep him strong.
Do you work with people with glioblastoma? I also know there’s an application with some kids, but I know little about that.
Very interesting focus for your PCT thru-hike! Ketogenic and high-fat fueling strategies from endurance sports may be the next frontier in ultralight backpacking, certainly there is vast room for improvement in the typical thru-hiker sugar/carbohydrate diet. Given the opportunity for combining strategic mail drops with buy-as-you go, there must be interesting and creative ways to add saturated fats into a wide variety of hiker meals and beverages. Could this be a book project?
Really looking forward to seeing how this develops for you, on the trail and off. I’m really interested in seeing what you come up with for healthy UL/Lightweight meals.
Ohmigosh, a backpacker who knows keto! Yay!!! I am bad at food in real life (i.e. can’t invent my own recipes like so many do) and have been trying to find someplace online that talks about keto food on the trail. Since I’m bad at food I have backpacked with Mountain House-type meals, but I end up feeling awful from all the carbs. I am looking forward to reading all the things! Thank you!