Food planning is essential for an extended camping trip as you want to make sure that you are getting enough nutrients and fuel for your body. I started by assessing how many calories I will potentially be burning so that I can eat enough to maintain my current weight. To maintain your current weight you want to be taking in as many calories as you are burning. I used several exercise calorie calculators online and determined that I would be burning around 4,000 – 6,000 calories a day if I was paddling 2 mph to 4 mph for 8 hours a day. There will be days that I will paddle more and days that I will paddle less. This is just a rough approximation.
My breakfast every day will consist of either instant oatmeal or instant grits. My lunch will be split into several snacks of dried fruit, nut butter and nutrition bars to help maintain my blood sugars during the day. My dinners will be either white rice or pasta, chicken or herring, and mushrooms.
To save money I took several extra measures. From September through October of 2014 I increased my daily work hours to 10 hour days, Monday through Thursday so that I could go into the woods Friday through Sunday and harvested mushrooms. I harvested Lobster, Yellow and White Chanterelles, Bear’s Head, Cauliflower and Matsutake mushrooms. I sold enough of what I harvested to cover my gas and food expenses from my harvest trips and I dehydrated as much Lobster and Matsutakes as I could afford to keep. I fell slightly short of my Lobster goal due to wanting to break even. In the end I supplemented the missing Lobsters by purchasing some from a friend who is a bulk supplier of Pacific Northwest mushrooms. I ended up with around 3lbs of dried Lobster and 1lb of dried Matsutake. Mushrooms will be my primary veggie source, and add some protein and fiber to my diet on the river.
I traded some excess homemade blue elderberry syrup from my herb dispensary for 1lb of dehydrated homegrown heritage tomatoes. These tomatoes will be a great ingredient for flavor variation in my dinners as well as a nice source of fiber and nutrients.
Besides gear, my biggest expense is the two months of food I need. I wrote sponsorship letters to various dried food companies asking for their help. I received donations from several of these companies.
When pricing out my protein sources I compared price per grams of protein and calories. I ended up choosing canned chicken and canned herring as my meats. I purchased these at Sams Club and at a restaurant supply store after comparing prices at stores across town. I also chose various nut butter types ranging from walnuts to almonds to cashews.
I wanted to have some food luxuries along on my trip to break up the monotony of eating the same breakfast, lunch and dinners every day. For breakfast I got some Meyenburg dehydrated goat milk, as it is higher in fat content than dehydrated cow’s milk, tastes rich and I can use it in my oatmeal and in my morning tea. This is the closest I can come to one of my favorite treats, black tea with cream. I also have powdered coconut milk, but it doesn’t have quite the same flavor profile as cow or goat milk when added to tea.
For my nut butters I got Artisana Nut butter packets of various kinds as well as some lower quality jiff almond butter. The different tastes and easy squeeze single use pouches are convenient on the go food and delicious.
To change up my dinners I will be using various spices to create different flavor profiles with the same meal. I have rosemary, dried tomatoes, onion granules, and garlic granules to create an Italian meal. I have turmeric powder, ginger powder, onion granules, pepper and paprika which I can use with my goats milk powder or coconut milk powder to create a curry meal. And I can use salt, black pepper and powdered citric acid to make a lemon pepper meal. I got the majority of these spices in bulk from the same company I got a lot of my bulk dried herbal medicines, Mountain Rose Herbs.
Although I am a mediocre fisherman at best, I will be fishing while I’m on the river. I hope to catch some fresh fish to supplement my canned meat. There are a lot of fish to be had on the Alabama Scenic River Trail… I hope to catch a few.
Blood Sugar Maintenance
Having quick snacks on the river is important to stop myself from getting low blood sugars. My biggest defense against dropping blood sugars, besides decreasing my insulin levels, will be eating several snacks throughout the day rich in protein and carbohydrates. My nut butter packets will provide my primary source of protein during the day, as I’m saving my canned meats for my dinners. Dried fruit will provide quick bursts of simple sugars for my body to use immediately. Nutrition bars will provide a mix of simple sugars, complex carbohydrates and protein. I chose my two favorite nutrition bars for my journey, Zing Nutrition Bars and GoMacro MacroBars.
Along the river trail there are people who have volunteered to help the paddlers. They are known as trail angels. Some of them will provide a place to stay along the river, give you a ride into town for more supplies, and give you a place to mail yourself resupplies. I have around 180lbs of food total, so I have split my food into 3 parcels and I will send two of them to river angels.
Assorted Nut Butters
Dehydrated Goat Milk
Dehydrated Coconut Milk
Dehydrated Lobster Mushrooms
Dehydrated Matsutake Mushrooms
Dehydrated Onion Granules
Dehydrated Garlic Granules
Dehydrated Nettle Leaves
Dehydrated Date chips
Dehydrated Refried Beans