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.

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  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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  7. carpentrklr

    carpentrklr n00b

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    I'm impressed that you can do this along the trail side! Good for you.

    Fan of "Forks Over Knives"?
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  8. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Take along your speed peeler. Make ribbons out of the veg you can get, but maybe would not normally use when camping, carrots and courgettes for example. Then they will cook at about the same time as a pepper for example.
    upload_2017-10-29_10-20-23.jpeg

    I can sort of stir fry them - use the least amount of fat - add water if necessary. If you need meat, I usually cook mine before hand.
    France has a large population of Vietmanese, so that style of cuisine/ingredient is readily available.
    I can do this easily in a small trangia, although sometimes I do cook two separate bowls.

    If we are feeling lazy, then in France you can buy a hot rotissary fresh cooked chicken, usually in a both free range and eco/bio types. Usually some left over. That gets picked over and put in the campsite fridge. Next day, re-heated and used in the stirfry. Speck/chunky cut bacon widely available too, as are a host of stuff many Americans seem to not like...

    Speaking of the ethnic diversity, France had a lot of North Africans, so couscous is everywhere.
    Half a cup, pour on splash of hot water. Dice what ever veg you like - even dried fruit like apricots, and loads of herbs, most important. Should look more green than beige, with flecks of vivid veg/fruit colour.
    Too often it ends up a stodgy gloop and not nice.
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  9. jennylg

    jennylg n00b

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    Definitely a fan of FOK. I often recommend the FOK cookbook to my nutrition clients. And I teach those clients how to plan, shop and cook along those lines. A couple years back, we took care of my dad while he recovered from a minor stroke. He was an overweight meat eater when he arrived - 5'9" and 237 lbs. I fed him our standard plant-based meals 3x/day and easily got him down to 176 lbs in 3 months time. The weight just fell off his body and he looked incredible, and moved around like a man 10 years younger. He did not stick with it, unfortunately, and is back up to 212 lb. It's not an easy diet to adopt, kind of like trying to stop being an alcoholic when all of your friends still drink. It's a real lifestyle shift for sure.
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  10. sajor

    sajor Been here awhile

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    Hi OP, been vegan for the last 4 months and by the results and positive changes in my health i dont think im going back lol, I could see how this is good for longer trips but for short trips (5days) you could cook up awesome food in your home and dehydrate and put in ziplock bags to save serious weight.
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  11. jennylg

    jennylg n00b

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    Absolutely! I chose not to prepare highly nutritious vegan dehydrated meals because I wanted to demonstrate that a healthy vegan traveler can find ingredients anywhere in the U.S., so long as he or she is willing to do some camp cooking. I discovered that broccoli, yams and apples as well as quinoa and lentils can be purchased at even a small, remote grocery store.
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  12. Jimcocke

    Jimcocke n00b

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    What do you think of Dr Gregor and nutritionfacts.org?i follow his advice (most of the time:) from his book “How not to die”
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  13. jennylg

    jennylg n00b

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    Dr. Gregor is one of many physicians who have adopted and integrated a plant-based nutritional therapy when treating patients for a variety of issues - compromised immune system, skin irritations, digestive issues, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, vascular disease, diabetes, lupus, cancer and more. It may be a difficult fact to swallow but the American diet is a disease-prone diet. In our modern world humans are exposed to all sorts of stresses and toxins. We need a super diet, one that delivers many nutrients per calorie - "nutrient dense". I would encourage you to eat as prescribed by Gregor and to challenge yourself to keep changing and adapting until you are eating mostly whole, unprocessed plants.
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  14. Jimcocke

    Jimcocke n00b

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    I agree 100%!
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  15. Eigerhiker

    Eigerhiker "This is an Adventure"

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    I eat an 80% vegan diet. Attempted being a vegan for over a year and gained quiet a bit of weight because the amount of plant-based protein I need to sustain muscularity equaled way more calories than eating mostly vegan with eggs as a protein source. I agree on high fiber meals to encourage good daily bowel movements. There's nothing like walking away from the bathroom feeling several pounds lighter and having a spring in your step :-)

    I find the bowel movements associated with high fiber foods also gives me more energy throughout the day since I'm not feeling weighed down.

    One recipe idea I use includes adding steal cut oats with boiling water into a thermos before bedtime. In the morning the oats are cooked and I add a couple teaspoons of organic maple syrup for flavor. Dried fruit works as well. Experiment at home to find the ratio of water and oats that gives you the texture you prefer. Leave room in the thermos for expansion of the ingredients. I also lay the thermos on its side so the water is more evenly distributed.
    #15