Jul 8, 2012 at 7:39 pm #1291792
A friend and I set out on the JMT in about a month. He is set on using Corn Quinoa pasta for dinners after reading Ray Jardine's "Beyond Backpacking" but I am not so enthused after trying it a few times; the thought of eating it for three weeks makes me sick. Supplemented with olive oil, we were planning on 1260 calories per dinner. Another thing I don't like is the whopping 190g of carbs.
I am not a diabetic but have elevated blood glucose levels that are not quite normal compared to the averages they come up with but am below what is considered diabetic stage. I try to keep it under control with exercise and a healthy diet.
Right now, keeping the corn pasta dinners, I am at 4000 calories per day, 32oz dry weight, with a 60% carb, 26% fat, and 14% protein ratio. I have mostly used repackaged Mountain House and other meals up to now but have discovered the light with my new dehydrator and some reading.
Being there are probably some other glucose impaired hikers out there, what are some foods others have had success with on long trips?Jul 8, 2012 at 8:21 pm #1893224
If you want more calories, take a big block of Tillamook cheese and a bottle of olive oil. Once, in a bad situation, eight of us divided up a big Tillamook cheese and that was our only food for one night. It works.
Sometimes you can take the Mountain House freeze-dried meals and break them down into smaller and smaller portions, and use that more as flavoring for the corn quinoa stuff, which sounds terrible for three weeks.
With my other stuff, I carry one bag of instant quinoa, one bag of instant rice, one bag of couscous (that covers carbs pretty good) and some dry soup mix for flavoring. Once in a while you need that excess salt from the dry soup mix.
If I think I need more protein and fat, I carry peanut butter (government issue, in the tan foil packages), cashew butter, or almond butter.
–B.G.–Jul 8, 2012 at 10:03 pm #1893254
@dirk9827Locale: Pacific Northwest
Here are a few suggestions, for what it is worth:
Quinoa is an excellent choice for a high-protein, low carb food (low on glyscemic index) that packs a lot of punch nutritionally. It can be easily prepared and is considered a super food. You can prepare a number of ways mixing it with black beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, olive oil (for caloric density), chicken. Tons of recipes available. Prep time is fairly minimal as is fuel consumption.
Lentils are also an excellent source of nutrition. These are easy to make, and there are many, many ways of preparing them. You can make a chili, soups, there are a ton of recipes out there. If you don't want to prepare something yourself, there are a number of online sources of instant lentil dishes where you can add bulk chicken, beef, or whatever you want.
Now, if you want to avoid a lot of work, go to the bulk section of any co-op grocery store and look. Chances are there are ton of instant soups/chilis/curries that are lentil based you can try. As well as other chilis. Most large supermarkets don't have as good of bulk sections as your smaller co-op / healthfood places.
There are a number of other soups – split pea, chowders, tortilla soup – that are available in the bulk sections and online. I'd encourage to try a few. These can be incredibly economical compared to what you pay for a Mountain House type meal. I usually augment with freezed dried veggies and maybe some olive oil if calories are needed.
DirkJul 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm #1893438
christopher smeadBPL Member
@hamsterfishLocale: San Jose, CA
What king of instant quinoa are you bringing? I'm looking online and so far only finding quinoa flakes.Jul 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm #1893445
The flakes the instant, you van cook and dry it at home easy though.
http://www.trailcooking.com/recipes/fuel-saver-quinoaJul 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm #1893447
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
When you dehydrate, are you better cooking a mixture, like pasta, vegetables, meat, and sauce, or are you better dehydrating them seperatly, then mixing the dried ingredients,…Jul 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm #1893497
The quinoa flakes are supposed to be cooked for ninety seconds.
I buy standard dry quinoa beads, either from Target or Trader Joes. I cook it in the standard method like rice. I take the cooked stuff and spread it on my food dehydrator and let it run all night. It helps slightly if I mix it around every few hours. I get a bunch of little tan nuggets, and it is ready for instant anything. You can rehydrate it with hot water, hot soup, cold water, or even Gatorade. Sometimes I even eat a spoonful of the nuggets straight, and I find that it helps soothe an upset stomach. I store and transport the nuggets much the same way as I would treat instant rice or couscous (plastic bag).
Also, I have a small mortar and pestle, and I can hand grind the nuggets into an instant powder, kind of like Cream of Wheat. Quinoa powder might be better for trail baking.
Now, if you are smart, you do this in the wintertime. The waste heat from the dehydrator will help warm your house. If you are really smart, you use a solar power rig to generate electricity that the dehydrator runs on. But, I digress…
I have a box of quinoa flakes also, and I am getting ready to drop the flakes into a baking recipe.
On a backpacking trip, sometimes the weather is mild, and sometimes it is harsh. If the weather is mild, some of my meals are done with either warm water or else cold water. If the weather is cold and bad, then I use the fuel and make everything hot. It is nice to have ingredients like instant quinoa that I can use either way.
–B.G.–Jul 9, 2012 at 6:58 pm #1893519
Sometimes the answer is closer than you think, eliminating corn and simply using quinoa in this case. Adding soup mixes sounds ideal too. Never considered "powdering" a Mountain House for seasoning, will have to consider that.
Some cheese would be wonderful but I am not sure of many that could handle being stored in a hot resupply box somewhere for a couple of weeks. I am leery of "processed" mystery spread products and would prefer real cheese. Whole Foods sells $0.99 organic Mac&Cheese, I bought one just to try the organic cheese powder.
Thanks for the suggestions!Jul 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm #1893523
"Never considered "powdering" a Mountain House for seasoning"
All it takes is either a rubber mallet or a rolling pin, and you work that directly onto the tough foil package.
–B.G.–Jul 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm #1893573
You can get natural cheese:
and dry mixes:
http://www.frontiercoop.com/prodlist.php?ct=dfmsbJul 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm #1893796
Just a heads up for those of you using quinoa because of its lower GI…the GI of any food that is flaked, floured or instantised goes up. You may be negating some of the GI benefits from the quinoa by trying to use it in a powdered or flaked form. This is also true for oats, rice, wheat, corn or any other whole grain that is made less than 'whole' though processing.Jul 10, 2012 at 7:28 pm #1893820
Powdered quinoa isn't processed in the same sense that brown rice is when it is made into white rice. It is no different than using quinoa flour in food. Same for oats – nutritionally groats are the same as quick cooking, all that matters is the way it is chopped or ground (yes old-fashioned and quick are rolled with steam….)
The real issue lies in when the fiber is removed – the whole grain that is. Hence the stark difference between brown and white rice and whole wheat and all-purpose flour. I grind beans in my Vitamix to make flours – and use them in cooking all the time. The big benefit is quick cooking time once you powder them.
As for cooking quinoa at home and drying it, then rehydrating it? You haven't lost much of anything! It is still whole!Jul 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm #1893825
I beg to differ on the issue of processing. The biggest change you can make to the GI of a food is to grind it smaller, with or without the fiber included. Well, actually, the biggest impact you can have on the food is how you cook it, followed by how finely it is ground. Both cooking and milling increase the rate of digestion, which is the main determinant of a starches GI if eaten on its own. other big factors are what you eat it with…adding fats certainly slows the digestion and thus the GI of a food, so taking something like potato, raw potato has a pretty low GI, boiled potato around 78, instant mashed potato more like 87, yet fries are only 63 thanks to all that fat slowing their absorption.
You mention rice. My info is that white rice has a GI around 73, brown rice around 68…not a huge difference, and the difference can be attributed to the bran of the brown rice still surrounding the starch, thus slowing digestion. If you were to pulverise both rices so the stomach didn't have to digest the bran to get to the starch, the GI of the brown would increase.
And the third thing to consider is cooking time. The longer you cook something, quinoa, oats, rice, etc…the higher the GI. So think of home cooked quinoa that is then dehydrated and cooked again as twice cooked. Personally, I don't put much stock in GI measures because of this. I prefer to think in terms of glycemic load, where what IS ineveitale is how much glucose you will be consuming. The rate of absorbing the glucose can be varied by processing, fiber, cooking, eating with or without fats or proteins, but total amount of glucose remains the same. GI is of more use to IDDM folks who need to work out how much fast versus slow acting insulin they may need after a meal, but total insulin remains pretty much the same. I have nothing against quinoa, or any other whole food, but I would like people to understand that the very thing that makes a whole grain (or legume) "inconvenient" to cook in the backcountry is also one of the things that makes it lower GI. Maybe our bodies just weren't designed for fast food….or maybe we worry too much about the details. After al, te concept of GI only applies in a vacuum in which no other food is eaten at the same time. Use flaked grains and throw in some olive oil or cheese and don't worry about it maybe…Jul 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm #1894353
@footeabLocale: Pacific Northwest
Highest calorie? Depends a bit on temperature, but Frito corn chip scoops, scooping peanut butter… Over 3000 cal/lb.
Peanut Butter Cookies and other derivatives.
Don't like peanut butter, try other nut butter. IT exists but is more expensive.
Don't like nut butter? Chocolate with nuts instead of cheese.
As for "food", Beef Jerky for high protien. Make your own. Chop it up fine, mix with other foods and cook. Might want to have a quart bottle to fill with water and place said jerky in to rehydrate it before dinner. Same goes for Beans(lentils), etc.
PS. Mountain House is a waste of money. Its nothing but pasta and spices sold at an exorbitant price. Far cheaper to by bulk pasta and add spices to your own taste. If you really want to go gung ho, go to a Health foods place, muscle building place, or nutrition place and buy powdered protein drink shakes. Generally sold for those wishing to "bulk up". They are also sold to old folks who may need more of a milk shake form. Generally comes in Gallon+ sized containers. Straight up protein. Doesn't increase your calories/lb but does cut down on carbs while increasing protein.Jul 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm #1894370
Artisana or Wild Squirrel nut butters. Delicious, organic, highly calorie dense, and available in either jars for repacking or in individual packets. Downside is price, especially the packets. They have become an integral part of my backpacking diet since Doug Ide graciously sent me some samples of the Artisan products and a local suggested the Wild squirrel products.Jul 13, 2012 at 11:08 am #1894543
Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Ryan, I am a type 2 diabetic and my dietitian told me to eat whatever I want while backpacking. The amount of exercise and the calories you lose should negate any substantial spike in your glucouse. Maybe a few other diabetics will chime in. Though the amount of carbs you have listed for that meal kind of scares me. I would look into making your own meals and lowering the carbs a bit. I am allowed 175 mg of carbs per day. To avoid spikes I eat a bunch of smaller meals throughout the day. This could apply to backpacking too. Remember you do need carbs for energyJul 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm #1894604
"Some cheese would be wonderful but I am not sure of many that could handle being stored in a hot resupply box somewhere for a couple of weeks."
You might try Googling "Just the Cheese". It is baked cheese that comes in puffy little biscuits that remind me of rice cakes. It comes in a variety of flavors, stores well, contains ~160 calories/oz as fat and protein, and melts into hot liquids quite nicely. I used to crumble it up and stir it into soups when I was still going to the bother of cooking. It is dry, keeps well, and would crush easily into a coarse powder for max storage efficiency. the only downside I can think of for an application like yours is that it is a bit pricey.Jul 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm #1894932
Thanks for the suggestions. I am taking a bunch of Justin's Nut Butter and olive oil packets to increase calories.
Ken, 175g of carbs per day is less than half the carbs I have allocated per day on our meal plan, which varies between 390g to 450g of carbs per day. This is with making our own meals, not Freeze Dried. Using Quinoa rather than Corn/Quinoa dropped me about 45g of carbs.
Wish I could balance out the Fat/Carb/Protein ratio better but have a hard time doing that without living off even more nut based foods and olive oil.
I'll try some of that Just the Cheese Tom, it sounds tasty.Jul 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm #1894941
Just to be sure I understand, is the issue that you want to share an evening meal with your hiking buddy, and he wants a high carb dinner? Because it is otherwise not hard to get plenty of calories without eating lots of carbs, but you may not need to worry about it if you are doing lots of hiking. I would strongly suggest, if you are not already doing this, that you start monitoring your blood glucose, and continue to do this on your hike to see how your body is responding to the meals you eat. I know it sucks having to jab yourself to get some blood, but it is a good way to take control of your own health. Of course, the other factor that you can't easily monitor is you insulin response to a meal, but you should, in theory, have better insulin sensitivity with lots of hiking, so should see a drop in your blood glucose after a high carb meal. If not, then you may want to increase the fat and protein and lower the carbs, even if it means eating/preparing meals by yourself, or just having a smaller portion of the shared evening meal and topping the calories up with non-carb snack foods. You can also dry your own cheese. Dried cheese can be very nice to eat as-is, or grated into hot meals.Jul 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm #1894954
Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Ryan, the 175 is my daily allowance. While hiking I triple the amountJul 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm #1894958
"Wish I could balance out the Fat/Carb/Protein ratio better but have a hard time doing that without living off even more nut based foods and olive oil."
Ryan – You might try experimenting with Ensure and Nido in a "milkshake". I use 2 oz of Ensure and 1 oz Nido full fat milk. Add water, shake, and enjoy. Ensure comes in powder form in Chocolate and Vanilla. These proportions will give you 394 calories, 45 gr carbs, 16 gr protein, 16 gr fat. It is a nice change from nuts and oils, both flavor wise and consistency wise. You will also get ~330 mg of calcium from the milk as a bonus. Chocolate is also a good alternative, as are Justin's Almond Bars which contain 280 calories, 29 gr carbs, 5 gr protein, and 16 gr fat.
There are many other possibilities, but this might provde you with some examples to work with.Jul 15, 2012 at 7:31 pm #1895038
@lynn: My friend and I have completely separate food and gear. The common interest is high calorie lightweight food. I just need to find a good balance that won't spike my blood glucose but also sustain energy to prevent bonking. I have been fine on week long trips with less critical planning, but this is three weeks of hiking continuously, something I have not done as of yet. I will in effect be burning and consuming more calories (planning on roughly 4000 per day), especially since this will be the most challenging trip I have done to date. I am fine with checking blood glucose on occasion but don't want to worry and focus on it while out there like I have in the past.
@ken: Guess I was not too far off then on the amount of carbs. Thanks
@tom: Ensure powder is interesting, may consider that.
Chances are I will probably be just fine with what I have, it does not hurt to get ideas though. Maybe I should post an example meal plan for people to pick apart like a gear list.Jul 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm #1895275
I'll apologize for not reading all the replies. Have you tried adding hemp hearts to some of your foods. They lose their nutrition if heated above 350°F so the best way to have them is raw. 3 tablespoons works out to 170 calories and they are quite tasty.
Check out Manitoba Harvest Hemp ProductsJul 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm #1895276
I also like the Artisana nut butters that I think Kenny mentioned. The Macadamia is really high cal.Jul 16, 2012 at 5:11 pm #1895281
Jerry Adams wrote: "When you dehydrate, are you better cooking a mixture, like pasta, vegetables, meat, and sauce, or are you better dehydrating them seperatly, then mixing the dried ingredients,.."
That all depends who you ask. Me? Well, I prefer cooking a whole meal like a soup, stew, or chili and drying it. It's so much simpler at camp and I can use ingredients from my local grocery store without spending money on shipping and such. I also like to dry leftovers and will purposely double batch things so we have it for dinner and our trip. But I also mix ingredients together.
Here is a link to an article with a Quinoa and Spinach Soup that is one of my husband's favorites… it is a prime example of how I like to do things. However, there is also a recipe for Carrot Cake Quinoa Flakes on the same page where I added ingredients together without dehydrating as a whole dish.
It's kind of one of those personal preference things. My advice try a few different methods and see what works for you.
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