Eating Healthy In The Wilderness
The New Warrior
Today’s new age living has thrust us into the future at incredible speeds . This fast paced living is demanding that we stay healthy and vibrant . Today’s modern citizen warrior must be intelligent , healthy and full of vim and vigor .
To maintain stamina and vigor this new warrior must constantly be feeding is mind and his body . Science is , in many areas , always trying to improve our lives . This is why and how we are evolving as a specie . Our greatest instinct is survival , but being human we are not happy with simple survival – we want to survive with style !
The Struggle To Keep Up
Our constant struggle with the “machines” demands that we be in excellent physical and mental condition . Exercise , and what we eat have become topics of never ending discussion . A large part of our exercise routines are centered in the outdoors and this is the main reason for this resurgence in wilderness activities .
Physical exercise maintains our bodies and also serves to manage the tremendous levels of stress we deal with on a daily basis . This intense , new age living , requires fuel . This fuel is provided by an ever – evolving food science .
How We Got Here
Over the years , through science and experience , we have developed foods for nourishment and comfort . In the beginning , we ate to nourish our bodies and fuel our daily activities . These early efforts were very successful and soon these groups of people evolved into families that would gather around a blazing fire at the end of the day to enjoy their daily bounty .
These meals around the campfire quickly evolved into sumptuous feasts that became more and more complex and refined with the passage of time , the availability of different foods and the improved cooking techniques of this new class of people . This was the beginnings of ” comfort food” .
Gluttony and obesity were not far behind . These new conditions were not caused by the foods that were being consumed , they were caused by over-eating and lack of physical activity – the exact result that is produced today .
Where We Are Today
Today’s family , through science and experimentation , is guided by Food Groups . In Canada , we have developed a system of nutrition based on ” groups ” of foods . This result has produced , – The 4 Food Groups .
The 4 Food Groups
Vegetables and Fruit
Without getting overly involved in the science of Nutrition , we now know that Fruits and Vegetables contain the vitamins , minerals and many other beneficial substances that promote good health . Examples of Fruit from this group include apples , oranges , bananas and plums . Vegetables would include carrots , potatoes , broccoli and cauliflower . The varieties of Fruits and Vegetables , worldwide are just too numerous to name and classify .
Grain products provide carbohydrates for energy and whole grains are a source of fiber and usually low in fats . They also contain many vitamins and minerals conducive to good health . Grain products include wheat , rice , barley and oats . Breads and Pastas belong to this group . Corn , Quinoa , Bulgur and Rye are other examples .
This Food Group includes Milk and Dairy products such as cheese , yogurt , cream , kefir and butter . In Canada , many Milk Products are required to be fortified with Vitamin D , which is promoted as being essential to good bone health .
The Meats Group
This Food Group includes Meat , Fish , Poultry and Shellfish . Beef , Chicken , Salmon , Wild Game , Turkey and Pork are other members of this group . Oysters and Clams are also part of this group . This is considered the Protein Group . This Group also includes Nuts and Lentils .
Fats and Oils
For the sake of simplicity , I am leaving the Fats and Oils in their respective Groups . Vegetable Oils in the Fruits and Vegetable Group , Fish Oils in the Meat Group , Animal Fats in the Meat Group and Butter in Milk and Dairy . Same principles apply for Juices , Ciders and other Beverages .
Water is in a class by itself . Water is essential for humans . Without water , we cannot survive . It provides no calories or organic nutrients yet it is essential for life . Its importance for life is without argument and not part of this Food Group discussion . Having said that , in the short term , – Water IS more important than Food .
How I Plan My Meals for Wilderness Adventures
Here are some of the factors I consider when Planning Meals for my wilderness activities .
- number of days , how many days will you be spending on this excursion .
- number of meals per day , I plan 3 meals and 3 snacks/meals
- number of people in the party or group
- the season of the year
- distance traveled and method of travel
- cooking methods , open fire / liquid fuel / compressed gas
- geography , flat land / mountains / rivers
- can I hunt , fish or gather to add to my food supply
- when long distance is a factor , I will cache food to have on my return
- this will enable you to carry an accurate amount of food for the time that you are away .
Other Factors To Consider
In addition to the above , I recommend that you plan Your meals around the foods that you normally eat . Experimenting with new food ideas is not good practice if you are a few days away from your vehicle or some other form of civilization .
Another consideration is whether you will be sharing meals or if meals are per person only . This is all part of planning and preparation . Camping and Backpacking or Fishing and Hunting with family and friends all requires some form of compromise .
You do not want to spend 3 or 4 days eating something that your friend loves to eat but that you just can’t stomach . I am a Meat-Eater , and yet I have spent 8 grueling days and nights in the mountains with a – Vegetarian – in rain , snow , hail , wind and sunshine – sometimes ALL in the same day !
Many foods can be shared , however if you have allergies to certain foods this should be part of your plans , supplies and considerations . By creating your meals from these Food Groups , you will be assured the proper nutrition to maintain good health and energy to participate in all of your life activities , whether they are at home or in the wilderness .
Vehicle , Boat or Carrying It On Your Back
Camping from a vehicle at a Recreational Camp Site and by Kayak or Canoe will have different weight allowances than if you are backpacking in the mountains . Simplicity should always enter into the equation . Remember that the lighter you travel and the less complicated you make your life , the greater your degree of enjoyment and relaxation will be .
I welcome all your comments and suggestions . Please visit again for my other blogs describing actual meal ideas in greater and more exact detail .
Eating Foods for Nutrition and Comfort is a very personal exercise . Whether you are a Meat-Eater , Vegetarian or Vegan – Food Science is very well described and extensive . Be aware of your body’s reaction to the foods you eat . Eat enough , but do not eat to much . Educate yourself to eat well .
Expensive does not necessarily mean better . Proper nutrition combined with regular exercise is a proven combination . Eat well so that you can enjoy all the beauty and wonder that this planet has to offer .