The Snack that Smiles Back
Hey there everyone, how’s it hanging? I recently wrote a post about a tough day I had on the trail. When sharing the link, I mentioned that I found the secret to my success, and that secret is, SNACKS. Well, it’s actually food in general.
I try to lead an active lifestyle. When I’m not hiking/ backpacking, I usually run everyday. Because I am so active I eat A TON of food; so much so that I sometimes gross myself out.
Being out on the trail, I anticipated my level of hunger to exponentially increase, but that hasn’t been the case. The first few weeks out here I had no appetite whatsoever. I would eat oatmeal for breakfast, a few spoonfuls of peanut butter and a tortilla throughout the day and then some rice/pasta for dinner.
At first, I was flying on the trail. Weeks two and three, I maintained my pace, but my state of mind started to falter. I was constantly irritable, had little to no energy and was over the hike, basically ready to quit.
Being around other hikers, I began to realize that our eating habits were different. While I would barely eat anything and just make it through the day, others were eating TONS of food, taking breaks and having a blast.
After seeing the difference between my food consumption and that of other hikers, I decided to do an experiment. Every time I felt grumpy on the trail I would stop and eat something. The first day I did this, I sailed through 23 miles like it was nothing. Over the next few days I continued to force myself to pause and eat. In doing so, I was able to increase my speed while maintaining a positive attitude which is the ultimate goal.
I never thought that ramping up my level of physical activity would cause a loss of appetite, but it has in my case. I now know that what I originally thought would be five days worth of food is good for about three. I also know that as a backpacker on the AT, I’m burning between 4000-6000 calories a day; this girl has got to eat.
I’d also like to mention that I am doing this trail mostly vegan. When explaining my diet to fellow hikers I say I’m about 93% vegan; if I can’t see it, I eat it. This means that I’ll happily eat a Snickers bar that contains milk chocolate. I’ll eat my fair share of iced Pop Tarts, too.
It’s not easy to have a healthy diet out on the trail. Fruits and veggies are hard to come by and when they are around, they’re probably freeze-dried. Meals consist of granola bars, Pop Tarts, peanut butter or instant hummus with tortillas, trail mix, Snickers, pasta, rice and the occasional vegan MRE. It gets monotonous, but it gets me through the day.
Some people eat to live and others live to eat. I’ve seen people out on the trail that somehow simultaneously eat awesome meals while thru-hiking. I don’t understand how these people make it all happen, but I applaud them for what they do. For me, I know I’m in the former category; I really do eat to live. Food is not that important to me; I’m too lazy to cook fancy meals, I’m impatient and I really just do not care.
I have to remember that while I’m on the trail, I put my body through a lot each day. I don’t have to make fancy meals and I don’t have to be an omnivore, but I do have to take breaks to eat and rehydrate.
And this doesn’t just go for backpacking. Whether you’re hiking on trail, swimming in the pool, gardening, etc. make sure to take five and replenish your body with what it needs. We are all capable of amazing things, but we’ve got to give ourselves the fuel we need for success.
That’s all I’ve got for now folks, Bon Appetite!
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