Healthy Camp Meals

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by jennylg, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. jennylg

    jennylg n00b

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    Having recently returned from a 3-week moto trip that included multiple days of camping I thought I would share some meal ideas with those of you who have an interest in healthy foods. As you read, you may wonder why we ate what we did, so here are the criteria I had to work with on this expedition:
    food had to fit into zip lock storage bags, inside of a 9x20" nylon bag, inside a side case with a bunch of other stuff
    food would be crushed so nothing could be fragile
    food had to remain safe for consumption without refrigeration for up to 3 full days
    food had to be gluten-free (I have Celiac disease)
    food had to be highly nourishing and include plenty of dietary fiber to keep us regular
    food had to be tasty & healthy

    I realize that many people believe that the definition of "healthy foods" is subjective. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Defining "healthy" when it comes to food is simple. Healthy foods are foods that promote health and unhealthy foods promote non-health, otherwise known as illness or disease. Whole, unprocessed foods promote health. For tens of thousands of years human beings have eaten fresh fruits and vegetables, harvested and cooked wild yams, grains and seeds, and enjoyed fish and birds (and the occasional large animal). Paleo-anthropology teaches us that our ancestors consumed 100-150 grams of dietary fiber every day. That's a great deal of dietary fiber, and it is impossible to achieve those numbers eating only meat and drinking bone broth. Keep in mind that dietary fiber is found only in plants, not flesh or eggs or milk. Historically, humans have always eaten lots and lots of plants. Americans consume very little in the way of whole plants (about 10 grams of fiber/day) and lots of animal flesh, and fake, or processed food. As our consumption of non-health promoting foods increases our rates of illness and disease also increases. In fact, there is a direct correlation between diet and disease - people who consume the vast majority of their calories from meat/dairy/processed foods have the highest rates of cancer/heart disease/auto-immune issues. Conversely, humans that obtain the majority of their calories from whole, unprocessed plant foods with minimal meat/dairy/processed foods have the lowest rates of cancer/heart disease/auto-immune issues. If you want to learn more, I suggest reading "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell, PhD.

    Here is a run down of what you might find in our food stuff sack at any given time (always organic, if it was available):
    1/2-1 lb. of buckwheat groats or quinoa (or a mixture of the 2)
    a couple medium size yams or sweet potatoes
    2 lbs. broccoli (chopped small) or asparagus or cauliflower
    2 lbs. baby spinach
    garlic and an onion
    1/2-1 lb. of raw pumpkin & sunflower seeds, raw walnuts
    1/2-1 lb. blend of raisins, prunes, apricots and unsweetened cherries
    1/2 -1lb. lentils or mung beans
    1/2-1lb. black bean noodles
    6-10 Lara bars
    dried, hot peppers
    plastic jar of organic peanut butter
    1/2-1lb. coffee
    1/2-1 lb. powered non-GMO soy milk
    1/4-1/4 lb. cane sugar

    It might surprise you to see broccoli, asparagus and baby spinach on the list. These vegetables held up remarkably well when stored in a shady spot, even on very warm days. We always ate the fresh foods first, beginning with the baby spinach. We bought the largest plastic tub of spinach at the market and packed all of it into a single gallon-size zip lock bag. My husband became the master of squeezing all the air out, which may have helped it to survive for several days in the open air.

    Why these foods specifically? Well, I gave that question considerable thought when mentally planning our menu. I wanted to nourish us with foods I knew would meet our macro and micro nutrient needs, provide support for easy digestion and elimination, and support our immune systems. Traveling is stressful, even when you are having fun. Over time, stress can tear the body down which impacts the quality of the experience. Fresh foods are always going to serve a body better than processed.
    On this trip, we were living outdoors for many days at a time, thermo-regulating, gathering wood, hiking and riding. Basic life burned far more calories than at home and our travel diet had to reflect the increased caloric demand.

    I knew that ingredient selection would diminish the further we got from big cities. Modest rural stores still stock their shelves with healthy choices, just not as many as Whole Foods does. When we passed through a bigger town, we would hit a local coop and refill on the organic bulk items and wait to purchase the fresh produce closer to our campsite.

    Here is a sample menu from a typical day at camp:
    Breakfast - cooked quinoa/buckwheat with raw seeds and dried fruit
    Coffee, soy milk & sugar
    Lunch - Cooked lentils, yam, onion, asparagus in spicy peanut butter sauce
    Snack - Lara Bar
    Dinner - Black bean noodle soup with wilted spinach, garlic and spicy peanut butter broth
    Dessert - Lara Bar

    Anyway, if you are curious about how to organize this type of menu, I'd be happy to discuss it with you.

    Attached Files:

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    Jeff Sichoe likes this.
  2. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    I go camping in the south of France and the variety of fruit and veg - as in fresh from the farm outside which the stall stands - is far wider than it is at home, other than our garden. Its local, it's seasonal, it's fresh. I never take anything from home except tea bags, my knife and trangia. Well, maybe salt and pepper too.

    Also in France, there are markets - the sort with temporary stalls set up in the street - where local producers and farmers come to sell their goods.
    This can be literally a hand full of eggs, a rabbit or chicken, a few diverse bundles of herbs and what ever is abundant in season.
    To the big extending shop cum truck with a 50ft frontage. Fruit to haberdashery, veg to hardware. All human needs can be met. Big knickers to Bob Marley towels. Mattresses and rush seated chair repairers to made-at- home-that-morning goat cheese. Charcuiterie to decent wines.
    No so many bread stalls as there are usually many boulangeries, but there are one or two guys I know who it is worth seeking out...

    Anyway, enough that you can turn up empty handed and have enough for a feast by the time you finish.
    Failing that, or the mood for food prep is not upon you, there are many decent restaurants still, if you care to seek them out. Local dishes, local produce, prepared with a sense of upholding a tradition. Not delivered on some chill truck, ready for the microwave or freezer until next week.

    The food, either from markets, small growers, small producers of preserved stuff like jams or pates or charcuiterie or the many decent restaurants.
    Buying stuff for a picnic on a river beach, hilltop, or woodland, good bread "a la tradition", wine from a vineyard I visited, fresh goats cheese or charcuiterie, tomatoes, big and ugly but very tasty and juicy, a hand full of mesclun. Peaches, melons apricots, cherries - seeing the trees standing fully laden, like flaming red candles. Or nipping into the factory that turns them into preserved fruits, naughty but nice.

    Enjoy your meal.
    #2
  3. jennylg

    jennylg n00b

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    Sounds fantastic! Unfortunately, American cuisine does not share France's fondness for fresh and seasonal. Alas, crop monopoly demands fertile land be sown with corn - to feed CAFO cattle and to make sugar/syrup for all those boxes of food product that fill the aisles of the American grocery store. Fortunately, one can find many local and organic produce stands along california coast and may enjoy autumn crops, such as black figs & tart apples, as well as Romanesco, leeks and other heirloom vegetables.
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  4. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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  5. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    But this one is near the top of the page - saves all that searching stuff.
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  6. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    That's OK, you make the best of what you have.
    In France the term heirloom has no meaning with reqards to seed and plants most of the time. Small growers plant and harvest what they have always done.
    People who like me who grow their own food, usually have save their seed, which originally came from Gran'maman, and her Gran'maman before that.
    The young French woman down the road uses the seed on her allotment her Grandpere gave her when she came over.

    The gurus of the local/seasonal/nutrient dense food movement in the US, like Elliot Coleman, had to visit France to find out how to do it - see Winter Harvest Handbook.
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