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    Default Food, protein, greens, and digestion: OVERVIEW. (Food and Meals)

    Food choice is personal, and the personal is often political. Telling someone how to eat comes across with the same arrogance of someone telling you how to live. For this reason the following article is intended to supplement your current long distance trail diet (vegetarian or meat based), not force you to completely rethink it. The idea is to share food concerns and solutions that other trail hikers have used to help maintain their body while on the trail, in other words, how to eat healthy on the trail. Unlike other guides available on the internet (linked to at the end of this article), this primer specifically focuses on eating healthy food during a long distance hike like the Appalachian Trail.


    • Many hikers fail to eat enough calories on the trail.
    • Many hikers fail to eat enough protein on the trail.
    • Most hikers fail to eat enough vegetables on the trail.
    • Most hikers fail to get enough calcium on the trail.
    The goal of this primer and others along the same topic are to raise and consider these issues beforehand. A hiker who fails #1 (calories) will lose weight, those that fail #2 (protein) will be sore most mornings and will not gain as much strength as they might hope, those that fail #3 will not be getting many nutrients important to maintain optimal health, and those that fail #4 (Calcium) will weaken their bones and risk injury. Those that fail 2-3 of the above issues are the ones we all see pulling off the trail before they ever wanted to.

    The Quick Basics
    • Your body will burn more calories than normal.
    • You can replace the calories with food, or you can replace the calories with your own body (i.e., eat more or lose weight). Eating more is not as easy as it sounds.
    • Your body will build more protein than normal (i.e., repair muscles).
    • You can replace the protein with food, or you can replace the protein from your own body (i.e., eat complete proteins or become sore all over as your body uses the muscles/protein in your arms and upper back to repair your torn leg muscles.). A ‘complete protein’ is the important factor here.
    • Your body will continue to need fruits for optimum health. Fruit is not difficult to bring on the trail.
    • Your body will continue to need non-starchy vegetables (green vegetables) for optimum health. Eating greens on the trail can be accomplished, yet tends to be missing in most peoples trail diets.
    • Calcium is often missing in trail diets. (Dietary Adequacy and Changes in the Nutritional Status of Appalachian Trail Through-Hikers; Karen Lutz, 1982) So is Vitamin C.
    • Supplements and highly processed foods (e.g., instant foods) should be a last resort; best to get nutrients from whole foods (unprocessed grains)
    • The order in which we consume food effects our bodies ability to use it.
    Your Body Will Burn More Calories than Normal








    Estimates abound about the number of calories burned while hiking. Generally 4,000 – 5,000 calories per day for Males who are carrying 20-40% of their body weight, (3,500-4,500 for Females). The general problem stated well here:
    "Both "U" and "ME" set out to gain 20lbs. before even setting foot on the A.T.. We spent the winter fattening up and training, which was a waste of time because nothing we did prapared us for the riggers of the hike. We spent numerous months planning nutritious meals and even grew our own veggies. We supplemented by drinking whey protien drinks before bed for muscle repair. Even with all our preparation, we both lost weight, "U" more so than "ME". So pack on a few and enjoy!"





    Replace the Calories with Food



    Men will discover the need to generally carry about 2 – 2.5 lbs of dehydrated food per hiking day. (more detailed explanation available at http://www-db.stanford.edu/~crespo/outing/backpackfood.html). A hiker going 5 days between re-supply points would need an average of 10-12.5 pounds. These amounts can be lowered by choosing foods that have a higher calorie to oz (cal/oz ration). Discussed in more detail in this forum: https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=6035

    Replace the Calories with Your Body


    Many hikers report weight loss. Men lose an average of 17 pounds, while women tend to lose less weight. Weight loss is a bigger problem for men. It is not uncommon to hear reports of 45+ lbs. lost during a thru-hike. Many do not have this kind of weight to spare.


    Eat Complete Proteins

    Protein is complete in meat. Vegetarians must make a complete protein by combining foods. Complete Proteins are formed when amino acids combine with protein to make a complete protein. When eaten in combination at the same meal (or separately throughout the day), your body receives all nine essential amino acids.

    You can combine (combine 2 foods from 2 of different categories to make a complete protein) the following vegetable proteins to make complete proteins.

    Example sources of complementary Proteins (3 categories):


    1) GRAINS: Barley, Cornmeal, Oats, Buckwheat, Rice, Pasta, Rye, Wheat, Quinoa*
    2) LEGUMES: Beans, Dried peas, Peanuts, Chickpeas, Soy products**
    3) NUTS/SEEDS: Sesame seeds, Walnuts, Cashews, Pumpkin Seeds, Almonds, other Nuts

    (adapted from http://www.bodyforlife2.com/incompletprotein.htm)

    Quinoa, it is worth noting, is called the "mother-grain" as almonds are the "mother-nut". Most hikers have almonds on their menu, but the Quinoa has been skipped. (see university of minnissota for good over-view: http://www.wholegrain.umn.edu/grains/quinoa.cfm). Quinoa makes great trail food. Quinoa would be a grain. In some forms Quinoa is a complete protein (the only grain that is a complete protein); unfortunately most Quinoa available in the US has had the outer shell removed, thus it is missing a few of the amino-acids. Therefore, treat most Quinoa as just a super healthy, easy to prepare on the trail, highly adaptable to different flavors, vegetarians dream grain.


    BRAGG’s amino-acids. Bragg’s Soy Sauce (http://www.bragg.com/products/liquidaminos.html; not difficult to find locally at any health food store and many larger chains) extracts the essential amino acids in soy necessary for protein formation.. It does not require refrigeration and can be put onto proteins to help make more of the protein usable by adding amino-acids onto them.


    A note about soy:

    Soy is a hot topic. I have come down definitively against most forms of soy. Still, there is evidence on both sides of the argument. You can read both sides of the argument here: http://creativehealth.netfirms.com/soy_health.shtml. Some soy is still ok: miso, tempeh, and soy sauce. The tempeh is not a viable trail form because it requires refrigeration, but miso is available dried and soy sauce by Bragg’s with the amino-acids is a viable form of soy that requires no refrigeration.

    The general attacks on all other types of soy (oils, nuts, tofu, etc.) are as follows:





    Soy not only lacks complete protein, zinc and iron, it contains compounds that block the absorption of protein, zinc and iron from other sources. Soy foods increase the body's requirements for vitamin D and B12-both essential for normal growth and development.



    Antithyroid substances found plentifully in soy foods inhibit thyroid function, leading to fatigue and mental problems. Phytoestrogens in soy can inhibit normal development and can cause reproductive and fertility problems later in life. Recent research implicates these phytoestrogens in the development of Alzheimers' and dementia-they are "brain aging" substances. Modern soy products contain carcinogens and toxins formed during processing and all modern soy foods contain MSG, which causes neurological problems, including violent behavior.


    The best evidence is this: our own government does not recommend the use of soy as a babies formula because it is not good for growth. But you will be growing on the trail if you feed your body well. You will need to repair a lot of muscles (protein). Best to avoid soy when you are stressing your body.




    (Adapted from articles linked at The Weston A. Price Foundation: http://www.westonaprice.org/cgi-scr...ase=Insensitive)



    Fruit

    Dried. Eat it often and eat many varieties. Ensure the inclusion of “tangy” fruits, as they are high in vitamin C.

    NOTE: Dr. Brenda L. Braaten points out that "... because Vitamin C is NOT stable to heat, light and air, dried fruits and dried vegetables have lost over 90% of their natural Vitamin C." Find some in-town oranges or other citrus fruit. This makes the choice of “tangy” fruits all the more important. If 90% of the vitamin C is gone when dried, the more vitamin C in the fruit to begin with, then the better.


    Vegetables


    1) For almost all humans, optimum digestion of nutrients occurs when we eat 80% vegetables (not starchy vegetables) and 20% protein sources with each meal. For section and thru-hikers, this is not viable. Still, to help your body help you, one should try to eat as many greens as possible. There is solid evidence that vegetables are the most important part of the digestive process. The USDA recommended 3-5 serving a day in their 2000 food guidelines. Will you eat that many vegetables on the trail? Would one be wise to try and eat more vegetables? All scientific evidence suggests vegetables are important, yet they are practically non-existent on the trail (http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/datastore/234-104.pdf). And for good reason: it is not easy to dehydrate 3-5 servings a day for a 200 day trip. The preperation itself would be an adventure.


    Solutions:

    a)Greens can be picked on the trail. Newb has a great post about this: https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=7119

    b)Dehydrated greens are difficult and not very long lasting (they can continue to oxidize slowly and can go bad easily). Recall Dr. Brenda L. Braaten "... because Vitamin C is NOT stable to heat, light and air, dried fruits and dried vegetables have lost over 90% of their natural Vitamin C." This is a major nutrient loss. Additionally, If one is thru-hiking, they will be hard to find affordable dried greens along the trail. If one is sending themselves food at drop-offs then they can not count on dehydrated vegetables remaining fresh at the end of the trail, not to mention the long difficulty in preparing so-many vegetables. As Minnasottasmith rightly notes, one must think about "preservation method for foods which you are going to eat in quantity (such as every day for ~5 months on a thru-hike). Preparing this many vegetables would be a difficult task. Still, it is worth doing as a way of contributing to your vegetable intake. PKH makes a great suggestion: "An easy way to take greens (or any vegetables for that matter) on the trail is in the form of a dried thick vegetable soup or potage. Use a blender or food processor to achieve the desired consistency, then dry. This lasts a long time, is tasty (season according to your personal preferences) and is very nutritious. I always start with a good stock (beef, chicken or pork) to add flavour."


    C) Canned greens are not a viable choice for anyone serious about cal/oz ratios. The best way for long term storage of greens that is affordable and not time-consuming is to buy smoked greens; smoked greens stop oxidizing and maintain almost all their nutrients. I do not know if smoked greens maintain their vitamin C. Since C is NOT stable when given heat, light or air. What I do know is that one smokes greens without putting them close to heat (smoking is not roasting), they give them no light, and the smoking prevents air from reaching the greens: I fill a cup with 50 grams of crushed, dried, smoked greens that are from arguably the worlds most nutritious plant, Yerba Maté. It is worth noting that Argentina military rations are Yerba maté and bread: a complete diet. Drinking 50grams of yerba mate is like drinking a salad! This stuff is no joke: Vitamins b-1, b-2, a, riboflavin, carotene, colin, pantothenic acis, inositol, and 15 types of amino acids. 50grams contains 160% daily iron requirements, 53% daily potassium requirements, and 127% daily magnesium requirements. (4% vitamin C according to the label in front of me). It has over 196 chemicals that your body uses (50 more than green tea). It even has 183 calories/50grams. This stuff rocks:. Did I mention it was cheap (4$-6$ per pound: www.ma-tea.com or find it locally if you are lucky at www.yerbatea.com. Another good source for information is www.guayaki.com as they are the biggest)? Did I mention that it has caffeine in it that is bound differently than other caffeine such that it does not tense your muscles, yet it still awakens your mind. There is much research about this on the internet. This stuff is no joke: since I am not a doctor, I will give you some conservative advice: insure that you are not taking any medications or have any serious medical conditions that could counteract with a stimulant.

    If you do decide to try it in a the “time-proven” method that Latin Americans have used for centuries to extract the maximum nutrients with the least amount of water: You need a special tool to extract the tea, which is a special metal straw that weighs under an ounce. The sight ma-tea.com lists the actual weights in grams of their straws. There are other companies too: Just my favorite choice is ma-tea.com because they are information based.


    An experienced hiker, The Old Fhart, was wise to remind those seeking to introduce something new that they should test how their body first reacts to a new plant before relying heavily on it; brocalli reduces iodine absorption, spinach can be prevent calcium intake, peanuts can be very bad for some people, and too much of most anything would not be recommended either. In Latin America, they drink the Yerba Mate 3-5 times every day. The argentine world soccer champs drink the yerba mate before each game. Personally, I don’t drink it that much. When I am on the trail I drink it once a day; my wife prefers to drink it twice a day, sometimes I will join her on that second time. The most critical thing to be concerned about with Yerba Mate that I know of is that it is a diuretic, so it will dehydrate. This is why they drink very little water with the tea; I know this seems counter-intuitive but it is explained well at the yerbatea.com site; they state, “NOTE: Yerba Mate is about the tea, not the water. Traditionally, one uses as little water as possible to extract the maximum nutrients. One traditional use of Yerba Mate is as a tonic and diuretic; the water consumed with yerba mate should not count as part of your daily water intake. The gourd and straw combine to create a "reverse french press" in which a large amount of nutrients can be extracted with very little water.”The straw is needed to suck/extract the maximum amount of nutrients with the least amount of water. I also use a small metal cup that is specially designed to allow less tea to be used while extracting all the nutrients. Cup weighs less than 1/2 ounce. It is without a doubt the best source of greens for those on the trail. Anyone else tried this stuff on the trail? Experiences? Smoked greens are perhaps the most cheapest, high nutrient density, trail greens that I know of. I like Yerba Maté since it is already dried for you and the most nutritious, affordable, easy option that has ever been discussed at WhiteBlaze.net.


    So in terms of hiking: drink the yerba mate, but be sure you drink plenty of fluids (water!) thru-out the day.


    d)Buy dried vegetables. But recall: According to Dr. Brenda L. Braaten "... because Vitamin C is NOT stable to heat, light and air, dried fruits and dried vegetables have lost over 90% of their natural Vitamin C."


    Sgt. Rock suggests vegetable bullion cubes, and lipton dried soups that are high in vegetable content (spring vegetable & minestroni).

    Minnasottasmith provided the following links which includes seaweed, spinach, and other healthy additions:


    http://www.waltonfeed.com/self/deh-veg.html
    http://www.suttonsbaytrading.com/Fl...ach_Powder.html
    http://beprepared.com/product.asp?pn=FN%20B100#

    Generally, combine/add as many of the above options as you can into your diet. Simply put, the more the better. Your best option is to pick raw greens and do not cook them. Your next best option is Yerba Mate or seaweed, followed by most other dried vegetables. Focus on greens, but carrots are beyond smart.


    If you are relying solely on dehydrated vegetables or fruits, then you would be wise to find another source of Vitamin C. Some of your other foods may have vitamin C in them, if not, this may be one of the times when a vitamin-c suppliment is in order if you are relying on dehydrated vegetables. When you get into town, seek out a fresh orange or other citris fruit!


    Calcium

    Good Sources:





    Most foods in the dairy group.



    Milk and dishes made with milk, such as potato soup, puddings (e.g., dried milk)
    Cheeses like mozzarella, cheddar, Swiss and Parmesan
    Yogurt (which can be dehydrated)
    Canned fish with soft bones such as sardines, anchovies and salmon or the tips of chicken leg bones (canned goods on the trail not recommended by author, but remain an option).
    Leafy green of the cabbage family, such as kale, mustard greens and turnip tops and pak choi.
    Tortillas made from lime-processed corn. (must be lime-processed for preservation)


    (adapted from http://www.mariapoulos.com/clients/...es.html#calcium)







    Supplements and Whole Foods


    There is unlimited evidence whole grains and vegetables are significantly more valuable than supplements. Eat well to get usable nutrients, don’t assume that a vitamin tablet is a healthy substitute for vitamins from food.








    Eating processed foods, like instant white rice, is not a good choice for optimum nutrition. This is especially important for vegetarians, yet applies to everyone.
    … many hikers, in the interest of cooking convenience, choose inferior-quality foods, or filler—foods like ramen noodles, instant potatoes, instant white rice, and instant oatmeal—essentially any processed or refined food that's been stripped of key vitamins and minerals. Although it is okay to supplement or mix filler items and the like into your dietary regimen, do not solely rely on them as a main course. It's better to pack out fresh foods and carry more weight than starve your body of the nutrients it needs and deserves. You'll get more energy from unprocessed foods and whole grains. (http://gorp.away.com/gorp/activity/...od/hik_veg2.htm)





    Whole grains do not consume much more cooking fuel when they are allowed to sit in water/soak for a short period of time before cooking them. Some grains may take longer. Quinoa, for example, can be soaked for 30 minutes before cooking, then cooking time is under 5 minutes. It is worth taking the time to cook whole foods: all you have is time, time is what you do, and one would be wise to use their time to treat their body well.







    Order in which We Consume Food



    The way we eat is important. Eating vegetables (or drinking yerba mate) with, or immediately after each meal, will aid in digestion and your bodies ability to maximize the nutrient intake of the food. You will be unlikely to intake 80% non-starchy vegetables, but you would be wise to find a viable daily green.

    Another factor is best described by a nutritionist/doctor; Brenda L. Braaten, Ph.D., R.D.. She discusses how to feed the body while hiking in order to avoid having your body run out of energy.

    "Hitting the wall" is due to depletion of muscle glycogen/carbohydrate. You feel like someone has put lead in your boots and it is major anguish to move. You've just run out of carbohydrate stores and the muscle has to rely solely on fat for energy. Fat requires oxygen, so you can only move as fast as oxygen gets supplied to your muscles, and there's no backup from carbohydrates. CURE: eat/drink carbohydrates. But better yet, PREVENT it from happening by feeding your body small frequent doses (25-50 grams every few hours) of carbohydrates throughout the day, thus conserving your stored carbohydrates.

    To maintain energy levels over the long haul, snack on carbohydrate AND fat. Like M&M peanuts, GORP, PopTarts, crackers or granola bars. AVOID excessive amounts of the high sugar snacks, especially just before beginning your day--they may cause insulin levels to rise, which will work against you, locking your fat in storage, rather than making it available to your muscles. Proper training will make your muscles more efficient fat burners, thereby sparing glycogen. Dr. Brenda L. Braaten continues:



    1. Snack, Snack, SNACK! Throughout long treks, Munch. Because BOTH fat and carbohydrates are being burned in active muscle, the ideal way to maximize relative fuel consumption is to keep eating a mixture, but carbohydrates are especially critical during exercise. The body has an ample supply of fat stored up, so even if you don't eat any fat, there's plenty available in the bloodstream, being delivered from storage. Not so with carbohydrates. Storage is limited. See Table 2 below for Snacks ranked by carbohydrate content.

    2. REST!


    Give muscles a chance to replenish their carbohydrate stores. It takes several days to fully replete stores after they are exhausted/depleted. On a long trek, you may find your energy level flagging earlier and earlier with each passing day. Feeling tired, weak, anemic. You don't have the same stamina. It's likely not because you are suddenly iron deficient, but rather because you are running out of stored carbohydrate. Plan a day of rest following a particularly long grueling day and eat plenty of complex carbohydrates (i.e., whole grains, starchy vegetables). [Notice how many through-hikers do just the opposite. They eat high carbohydrate meals on the trail, then bee-line to town to gorge on a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream and a dozen donuts after single-handedly inhaling a large pizza with everything on it. Where does all that fat go? It's NOT replenishing depleted glycogen stores (humans can't convert fat to carbohydrate effectively). If it doesn't go straight through you (diarrhea), some of the fat goes to replete the fat stores in the heart and muscle, but most of the excess goes right back into storage to be lugged around a few more miles.]
    Dances with Mice hits this point well. He asks, "And all the food and nutrient talk is well and good but has anybody mentioned that long distance hikers probably get about 20% of all their calories from town stops? That's the time to 'veg out' (heh!) and hit the AYCE salad bars."

    Both the Dr. and Dances with Mice are noting to take advantage of the town visits not so much to load up on ice cream, rather to "veg out" or as the Dr. summizes, "eat plenty of complex carbohydrates (i.e., whole grains, starchy vegetables)." Still get the Ice Cream, just eat it on the trail rather than in town. Your body will thank you.
    3. TIMING


    Eat frequent carbohydrate snacks, especially during and immediately after a hard workout (15 minutes to 1 hour after quitting for the day, so keep your dinner menu simple). During the day, about 20-30 grams of carbohydrate per hour is a reasonable goal. 20 grams for easy hiking; 30 grams for more challenging terrain. And the sugar can come from complex carbohydrates (="starch"/ "whole grains"/"high fiber" foods), which are better nutrients all around. Complex carbohydrates release sugar over a longer period of time, rather than getting one big dose all at once. A second benefit of complex carbohydrates is that they are more likely to supply the B vitamins and minerals you need. (Refer to Table 2, Trail Snacks, below.)

    4. Never eat a high sugar snack just before exercising.

    Insulin, a hormone released when sugar is eaten, stimulates cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream, thus causing blood glucose levels to fall. If you then begin to exercise, glucose levels will further plummet, thus decreasing your endurance. A drink of water or milk would be better than drinking a sugar-laden soda just before you exercise, since the sugar will cause you to run out of energy faster. If you must mainline sugar, eat it in small doses during or after exercise, but not before!

    Hypoglycemics/diabetics: A special alert: a high carbohydrate diet (70:15:15) can work against you. If you're trying to preserve your glycogen stores for the long day ahead, insulin says, " Burn carbohydrate, not fat", but you really want to preserve that glycogen as long as you can. What to do? Avoid eating excessive amounts of simple sugars, so insulin won't be released. Spare glycogen by eating complex carbohydrates (starches) or small quantities of combination foods--foods that contain protein, sugar and fat (i.e., cheese and crackers or a Pop Tart), so that absorption is delayed and insulin response is lower.

    (adapted from http://www.thru-hiker.com/articles.asp?subcat=12&cid=39)


    Discussion

    This primer will hopefully spark some new ideas about the way you view trail food. Please follow all the above links for more detailed information. Still, no primer is complete; your future contributions would be appreciated. Please post any additions, corrections, or suggested changes to the following forum: https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=8142
    Last edited by YerbaJon; 04-04-2005 at 12:52.

  2. #2

    Default I have two bones to pick with the lead post here...

    1) Few sources of nonanimal protein contain amino acids in anything like the proportion our bodies use them. Advising people to intentionally avoid mixing sources of protein means not only compelling a person to consume significant meat and other animal products to get all the protein they need (so much for the healthier-than-how-most-Americans-eat Mediterranean diet, being a practicing vegetarian, etc.); it also means wasting almost all the protein in any plant foods a person eats.

    2) I try to limit consumption of smoked foods on health issues. Smoking can be thought of as a highly concentrated form of pit barbecuing, where fumes from burning wood densely coat the food being treated. There are many objectionable chemicals in smoke that I would not care to intentionally concentrate onto food on a regular basis. One of them is known as benzpyrene. I heard about this stuff for the first time in a 300-level science major genetics class, back when I was a pre-med. The instructor did research with it, using it to cause skin cancers on mice and rats. He wore level-A garb whenever he was using it, which anyone here (who does not know what level-A environmental protective gear means) would call a "spacesuit". The saying used in his lab about BP was "a milligram equals a melanoma" (a malignant skin cancer, one likely to metastasize throughout the body). Now that everyone here knows about smoked foods, try to find a different preservation method for foods which you are going to eat in quantity (such as every day for ~5 months on a thru-hike).

    I am agreed that dehydrated or freeze-dried greens will degrade if kept exposed to air long-term. So, don't expose them to the air until desired for cooking. Duh. Buy them in containers that either hold small amounts or are resealable. This is not a complex issue. It is analogous IMO to canned food going bad once opened. All of us know how to avoid wastage when dealing with canned food, correct? Same deal.

    Sgt. Rock, I honestly don't think that the advice in the post opening this thread is based on correct science or is healthy.

  3. #3
    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    Well lets get it up to snuff.
    SGT Rock
    http://hikinghq.net

    My 2008 Trail Journal of the BMT/AT

    BMT Thru-Hikers' Guide
    -----------------------------------------

    NO SNIVELING

  4. #4

    Default Well, to get the opening post up to snuff...

    It would have to change 180o its position on mixing protein sources of plant origin and eating smoked food with any frequency. Without that, all that is of value in the post IMO are the links.

  5. #5
    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    Well collaborate please. I think an article on healthy diet and what you can do to get that while backpacking is a good idea and something we don't have yet.

    Also, did you get my message about the alcohol posts getting combined into one article? I think there is some good stuff there I would like to see combined into one instead of two or three posts.

    Thanks MS.
    SGT Rock
    http://hikinghq.net

    My 2008 Trail Journal of the BMT/AT

    BMT Thru-Hikers' Guide
    -----------------------------------------

    NO SNIVELING

  6. #6

    Default corrections

    Thank you for the input. This should be a communal effort. I agree to retract the statement that proteins are best absorbed when not combined and that fruit should be eaten alone. It is a controversial topic with evidence on both sides of the argument. I will remove it during my re-post.

    As far as MS's comments about smoked food, I never suggested that one smoke their food. I was nearly noting that smoked greens was the most viable method of trail greens. If one is thru-hiking, they will be hard to find affordable dried greens along the trail. If one is sending themselves food at drop-offs then they can not count on dehydrated vegetables remaining fresh at the end of the trail, not to mention the long difficulty in preparing so-many vegetables. As MS rightly notes, one must think about "preservation method for foods which you are going to eat in quantity (such as every day for ~5 months on a thru-hike). Preparing this many vegetables would be a difficult task:
    Following from the University of Clemson highlight:
    Dried foods are susceptible to insect contamination and moisture reabsorption and must be properly packaged and stored immediately. First, cool completely. Packaging warm food causes sweating, which could provide enough moisture for mold to grow. Pack foods into clean, dry, insect-proof containers as tightly as possible without crushing.

    Glass jars, metal cans or boxes with tightly fitted lids or moisture- and vapor-resistant freezer cartons make good containers for storing dried foods. Heavy-duty plastic bags are acceptable but are not insect- and rodent-proof.

    Pack food in amounts that will be used in a recipe. Every time a package is re-opened, the food is exposed to air and moisture that lower the quality of the food.

    Dried foods should be stored in cool, dry, dark areas. Recommended storage times for dried foods range from four months to one year. Because food quality is affected by heat, the storage temperature helps determine the length of storage; the higher the temperature, the shorter the storage time. Vegetables have about half the shelf-life of fruits, and can generally be stored for six months at 60 ° F or three months at 80 ° F.

    Foods that are packaged seemingly bone-dry can spoil if moisture is reabsorbed during storage. Check dried foods frequently during storage to see if they are still dry. Glass containers are excellent for storage because any moisture that collects on the inside can be seen easily. Foods affected by moisture, but not spoiled, should be used immediately or redried and repackaged. Moldy foods should be discarded.

    My post was merely offering a more viable alternative; yerbamate. It is already dried for you and the most nutritious, affordable, easy option that I know of. Canned greens are not a viable choice for anyone serious about cal/oz ratios.


    Finally, there is solid evidence that vegetables are the most important part of the digestive process. The USDA recommended 3-5 serving a day in their 2000 food guidelines. Will you eat that many vegetables on the trail? Would one be wise to try and eat more vegetables? All scientific evidence suggests vegetables are important, yet they are practically non-existent on the trail. And for good reason: it is not easy to dehydrate 3-5 servings a day for a 200 day trip. The preperation itself would be an adventure.


    Dried fruit is also important, but most have this on their menu.


    One item I failed to include in the post was information about the importance of whole grains versus suppliments. There is unlimited evidence (some implied in MS's post) that whole grains are way more valuable than suppliments. Items like Quinoa deserve to be discussed; polenta, oats, barley, millet, and rice have already been discussed at this site and I will reference them in my final edit. Quinoa, i will briefly note, is called the "mother-grain" as almonds are the "mother-nut". Most hikers have almonds on their menu, but the Quinoa has been skipped. (see university of minnissota for good over-view: http://www.wholegrain.umn.edu/grains/quinoa.cfm).


    As we all know: eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables for a healthy system. I hope the yerbamate and trail pickings provide this often missing foundation of many hikers diets.


    Calories, of course, are an important equation in food (cal/oz issue addresses this). Protein, of course, is the other. If a hiker does not have enough protein then the body repairs itself by using it's stored protein (i.e, the body eats it's own muscles.). Our arm muscles give protein to feed our legs. Protein is invaluable. One can eat meat and they will be getting a complete protein. But many may not have enough meat on the trail or may be vegetarians.

    From http://www.bodyforlife2.com/incompletprotein.htm:


    When eaten in combination at the same meal (or separately throughout the day), your body receives all nine essential amino acids.

    You can combine the following vegetable proteins to make complete proteins.
    Sources of Complementary Proteins

    Grains # Legumes $ Nuts/Seeds
    Barley
    #Beans $Sesame seeds
    Cornmeal# Dried peas $Walnuts
    Oats
    # Peanuts $Cashews
    Buckwheat#
    Chickpeas $Pumpkin seeds
    Rice #*Soy products $Other nuts
    Pasta
    #
    Rye
    #
    Wheat
    #



    Quinoa would be a grain. In some forms Quinoa is a complete protein (the only grain that is a complete protein); unfortunately most Quinoa available in the US has had the outer shell removed, thus it is missing a few of the amino-acids. Therefore, treat most Quinoa as just a super healthy, easy to prepare on the trail, highly adaptable to different flavors, vegetarians dream grain.


    I have added the * to soy products as all soy products should be avoided. It is accepted scientific evidence that soy contains phytates which prevent omega 3 fatty acids from forming into a complete protein. Protein is too important to hinder on the trail. There was also a post on one of the forums that suggested many of the other problems with soy. Anyone recall the forum?


    1) Many hikers fail to eat enough calories on the trail. 2) Many hikers fail to eat enough protein on the trail. 3) Most hikers fail to eat enough vegetables on the trail. The goal of this post and others along the same topic are to raise and consider these issues beforehand. A hiker who fails #1 (calories) will loose weight, those that fail #2 (protein) will be sore most mornings and will not gain as much strength as they might hope, and those that fail #3 will not be getting many nutrients important to maintain optimal health. Those that fail 2-3 of the above issues are the ones we all see pulling off the trail before they ever wanted to.


    Thanks MS for giving some feedback on this. I know the importance you place on food is one thing that we all have in common.

  7. #7

    Default Well, Sgt. Rock, on the subject of nutritious food on the Trail...

    I posted a bunch of ideas on this thread:

    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=8039

    Yes, I saw your request to organize my alcohol posts for suitability as a piece in the Information section. I should have that done within another day.

  8. #8

    Default YJ, I'm glad we can talk about food disagreements politely...

    You'll note that in my comment #26 on the above thread, I commented at some length on what I perceive to be the multiple downsides of eating soy.

    Back on vegetables on the Trail:

    I really don't think that eating vegetables while hiking is that hard to manage to do. Just bring small sealed packages of dehydrated (or freeze-dried) ones along. Several can be bought at grocery stores; the first four items in the "Vegetables" column on my food article (link above) are examples.

    They can also be ordered from specialty suppliers. Here are direct links to three:

    http://www.waltonfeed.com/self/deh-veg.html

    http://www.suttonsbaytrading.com/Fla...ch_Powder.html

    http://beprepared.com/product.asp?pn=FN%20B100#

    Note that ethnic food stores (such as Oriental food stores carrying dried seaweed) and health food stores (with greens such as dandelion and comfrey) will have many other offerings for variety.

    Obviously, people doing mail drops will have the greatest access to such foods. Nothing says that any visitors from home you arrange to meet on the Trail can't bring you a big care package of food you can't generally find in trail towns, either. However, even moderate-sized food stores will have dried parsley, dried onion, dried tomato, etc., and health and Oriental food stores (which carry other food products useful to hikers) are far more common than most people who never look for that type of store think they are.

    I don't much care for planning to pick wild plants along the way. They are too uncertain, and in the case of mushrooms, do not have all that much food value relative to the risk from misidentification. Too, ones near roads will likely have collected vehicle exhaust pollution. That said, I won't pass up wild onions or berries in season in places far from roads.

  9. #9

    Default greens

    MS,
    Thank you for these ideas. I would like to make a few corrections. Mushrooms are not a vegetable, they are a fungus. As for tomatoes and onions, they are good but do not provide the digestive benefits of greens. The dried parsley you suggested is a good green but it is not viable to eat 3 servings of dried parsley each day and get comparable nutritional benefits of most other greens. I think all of your suggestions should be integrated into a food plan. But they don't get as close to satisfying the body's needs for greens that yerba mate or trail plants could accomplish.

  10. #10

    Default Last thoughts on this thread for the night...

    "Mushrooms are not a vegetable, they are a fungus."

    Yes, I know. I have published two papers on yeast, which are in the same family.

    "The dried parsley you suggested is a good green but it is not viable to eat 3 servings of dried parsley each day and get comparable nutritional benefits of most other greens."

    True, especially given the cyanide in parsley. That's why I provided direct links to sources of dehydrated spinach and broccoli in my last post.

  11. #11
    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by minnesotasmith
    Yes, I saw your request to organize my alcohol posts for suitability as a piece in the Information section. I should have that done within another day.
    Thanks. No rush.
    SGT Rock
    http://hikinghq.net

    My 2008 Trail Journal of the BMT/AT

    BMT Thru-Hikers' Guide
    -----------------------------------------

    NO SNIVELING

  12. #12
    J.D.
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    Default Food....!!!!!!

    Thank you gentlemen! This thread is VERY interesting and something that is most valuable.

    Recently had the opportunity to meet Celtic who finished 12/29/04. He's a skinny guy to start with and lost 12 - 15 pounds. At The Doyle Hotel ( THREE MONTHS LATER !!!), he told me he was ***STILL*** hungry........

    My own metabolism is wonderful and I have enjoyed good health and minimal problems. BUT....!!! I like to think that I eat all of the "right stuff". Fortunately, I also L_O_V_E all of the food stuffs that most gag over......

    This "Yerba" stuff... You can smoke it...?!?!?!? Do you roll it up or use a bong......?

    Keep this thread going - it is MOST interesting - THANKS!
    Happy Trails,

    J.D.

  13. #13
    J.D.
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    Default Soy Is Bad...?!?!?!?!

    [QUOTE=YerbaJon]
    I have added the * to soy products as all soy products should be avoided. It is accepted scientific evidence that soy contains phytates which prevent omega 3 fatty acids from forming into a complete protein. Protein is too important to hinder on the trail. There was also a post on one of the forums that suggested many of the other problems with soy. Anyone recall the forum?[QUOTE=Yerbajon]

    What...!??!?! Never - Ever - have I heard that soy was bad for you...???
    Happy Trails,

    J.D.

  14. #14

    Default J.D. asked...

    "Never - Ever - have I heard that soy was bad for you...???"

    This is something on which YerbaJon and I agree, that soy in quantity is a bad idea for humans, especially for males. Here is what I posted about soy on that thread about trail food I started and gave the link to; I guess you haven't gotten around to looking at it yet.


    "26) Soybeans have several chemicals that make me question the wisdom of eating soy and its products when they can be avoided. First, soy that has not been severely processed (miso, tofu) has some antinutrient compounds that inhibit utilization during digestion of some vitamins and minerals; ordinary cooking or drying does not deactivate these compounds in soy as it does related ones in beans and green peas.

    Even then, there appear to be analogs to estrogens (certain hormones mainly found in women) in them that will survive such processing. These E.A.s may protect against circulatory system disorders in women to some extent, but there is increasing evidence that these are undesirable for males of any age to consume.

    Even soybean oil is likely to have drawbacks. Soy oil is normally partially hydrogenated (made more saturated) to slow down the rate it goes rancid; look on the back of any inexpensive cookie package or baking mixes to check this. However, this produces a chemical not found in nature for which there is no reason to consume it, it being significantly less healthy than the original.

    For all these reasons, I try to avoid soy nuts, textured vegetable protein, soy milk, and above all soy oil (whether as the pure oil or as an ingredient in purchased mixed foods), just occasionally having a cup of miso soup or using soy sauce in cooking, which add only a tiny bit of soy to my diet."

  15. #15

    Default Primer for review

    Most up to date primer now posted as first item in this forum.
    Last edited by YerbaJon; 04-03-2005 at 11:35.

  16. #16
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    Default

    An easy way to take greens (or any vegetables for that matter) on the trail is in the form of a dried thick vegetable soup or potage. Use a blender or food processor to achieve the desired consistency, then dry. This lasts a long time, is tasty (season according to your personal preferences) and is very nutritious.
    I always start with a good stock (beef, chicken or pork) to add flavour.

    Cheers,

    PKH

  17. #17
    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    What about vegetable bullion and soups like minestrone? There are some good Lipton or Lipton type soups out there, could they provide some of the vegetable intake we need?
    SGT Rock
    http://hikinghq.net

    My 2008 Trail Journal of the BMT/AT

    BMT Thru-Hikers' Guide
    -----------------------------------------

    NO SNIVELING

  18. #18

    Default Changes made...

    Thank you PKH and Sgt. Rock. I have added both of your suggestions into the primer. Keep them coming everyone! Let's make this a worthwhile read for everyone.

  19. #19
    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    I guess I am going to have to try some of this Yerba stuff. So I don't need the special gourd, but I do need a special straw?
    SGT Rock
    http://hikinghq.net

    My 2008 Trail Journal of the BMT/AT

    BMT Thru-Hikers' Guide
    -----------------------------------------

    NO SNIVELING

  20. #20
    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    have U ever seenthe devil
    with his pitchfork and ladle
    and his ole iron shovel
    and his ole gourd head?
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

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