What I Ate (or didn't)

 All smiles while sorting food in backpacker camp. 

All smiles while sorting food in backpacker camp. 

I wanted to avoid the usual hiker foods loaded with gluten, MSG, and highly processed carbohydrates, and wanted to stick to my anti-inflammatory diet as much as possible. 

This means no gluten, no grains (other than white rice, which I can tolerate in moderation), no sugar (honey and maple syrup are okay), no dairy, no soy products, and no nightshades (sometimes I cheat and include tomatoes because I love them). I also don’t like chocolate (never have), so that eliminates another hiker favorite. I also also can’t handle very many cashews at one time, if any, which eliminates a lot of bars (cashews are cheap and creamy, perfect for bar-making). Browse the health bar aisle at any grocery store, I dare you. You’ll be surprised how many contain chocolate, sugar, cashews, or gluten, if not all four! 

All of the above meant I needed to get creative for food! I wouldn't be able to survive on typical hiker-junk-food. Instead, I packed all my own meals, using dehydrated food ordered in bulk online, and tried to match them as best as possible to the food the rest of the group would be eating, per BCM’s menu.

Surprisingly, I loved all the meals I made. I'd heard a lot about the monotony of backpacking meals, especially the make-your-own kind. I made sure to add lots of dried butter, salt, and spices to each one. It worked! They were delicious. 

Food was probably my biggest expense leading up to the trip. I tried to find the highest quality ingredients I could, ones that didn't have any weird oils or preservatives or additives, and the cost really added up. I probably spent $200+ for the week, but did end up with a lot of leftover ingredients I can use again. Hopefully they'll keep until the next time I do a big backpacking trip! 

Breakfast
At home, I make my own version of Bulletproof Coffee every morning. I knew I'd be hurting for fat and calories while in the backcountry, so I scoured the internets for a portable, easy version. Just add water. So simple. So delicious. 

Afterward, I used leftover hot water from making coffee to hydrate one of the below: 

- homemade Honey Vanilla Cinnamon paleo granola (I’d eat this dry with almond butter or mix dried coconut milk to make cereal, sometimes with rehydrated chia seeds) 
- breakfast fried rice (instant rice, dried eggs, spices, dried vegetables, dried chives, dried onion
- breakfast scramble (instant potatoes, dried eggs, dried vegetables, dried butter, spices, dehydrated chicken) 

Lunch
No real meals, just miscellaneous combinations of whatever sounded good that day. I even loved piling a few of the below together with avocado in my Talenti jar for a weird, interesting lunch combo. It kept me on my toes and I could eat it with a spoon (a plus if your hands are disgustingly dirty).

A good formula is: crunchy + salty + meat/protein + avo (healthy fat) + carrots (provide much needed water content) 

- Lara bars (apple pie, blueberry, pecan pie) 
- Jerky (The New Primal) 
- Jerky sticks (The New Primal) 
- Assorted Trader Joe’s snacks 

  • Plantain chips (delicious with almond butter as dessert) 
  • Sweet potato chips
  • Parsnip chips
  • Baked mochi rice crisps (these are crack, I finished them before my trip even started and stopped myself from buying more) 
  • RX Bars (blueberry was yummy, but the cashews in these made my stomach hurt) 
  • Dried fruit (I didn’t eat any of this plain, even though I packed it, but was good torn up in my paleo granola) 
  • Truffle marcona almonds (YUM! Good boost of salt. Almost too salty.) 

- Epic Bars (Siracha Chicken is currently my favorite) 
- Squeezable almond butter packets (the kind I had contained probiotics, which gave me diarrhea. Need to find a new brand.)
- Leftover Casa Sanchez tortilla chips from home
- 2x avocados (highly recommend! well worth the weight, would pack in more if I had to do it again. 1x per day?!) 
- Baby carrots (again, well worth the weight)
- Zora Bars (kind of getting bored of these, need to stock up on the Mediterranean beef flavor, my favorite)
- Bearded Brother’s Bars (beginning to get bored of these too, although they are good torn up into my paleo granola in the morning. I also weirdly craved the Maca Chocolate flavor, even though I don’t like chocolate) 
- Occasionally supplemented with summer sausage or tuna from the group’s food. I don’t recommend either. Summer sausage contains weird “corn solids” that started messing with my digestion, and something in the canned tuna gave us all really bad farts. 

Dinner
Using BCM's menu as a guide, I created the meals below...

Day 1: Chicken Burritos -> Burrito-less burritos: instant rice, dehydrated chicken, Mexican spices (cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder, salt), butter, dehydrated sweet potatoes and zucchini 

Day 2: Mac n’ Cheese -> No real AIP substitute for this, so I did cheese-less potatoes: Instant garlic potatoes (Whole Foods has a yummy clean variety that doesn't have an ingredient list 50 items long, like the Idahoan kinds), dried chives, spinach flakes, dried broccoli, dehydrated chicken, salt

Day 3: Loaded Potatoes -> More potatoes! Instant garlic potatoes, dried chives, spinach flakes, rosemary, more garlic, Italian spices, dehydrated chicken, dehydrated zucchini, carrots, and sweet potato, salt 

Day 4: Rice and beans -> Rice, no beans: Instant rice, dehydrated chicken, spicier Mexican spices (varying the level of spice and flavor can really mix up your meals!), butter, dehydrated tomatoes, dried onions

Day 5: Couscous Chili -> Fried rice concoction: Instant rice, dehydrated chicken, dried chives, butter, dried eggs, dehydrated sweet potato, carrots, and zucchini, salt

Day 6: Celebration Pasta Dinner -> Rice pasta: Rice noodles (Whole Foods again), dehydrated chicken, Italian spices, butter, dehydrated tomatoes and zucchini, salt (sadly, didn’t get to eat this one :()