Food Packing

For my body weight and age, I think my resting caloric consumption is around 1,400 calories. However, in one 50 mile bike ride, I burn close to 2,500 calories.  People, if that's not a reason to start biking, I don't know what is. 

Word on the street is that there are plenty of gas stations along the Divide that are selling calories.  I'm not exactly the gas station kind of eater. (As some of you know, the former life of Small Tomatoes was a food blog.) 

I'm not saying I'm NOT going to eat the crappy junk food if I'm starving, but I HAVE made some attempts to get in nutrition on the trail in ways that are novel to me. 

I've dehydrated a number of red and green peppers, broccoli, asparagus, peaches, strawberries, and bananas.  Time constraints aside, this gives me a few advantages.  allows me to buy produce when it's in season (strawberries!) or cheaply from places like the Italian Market in Philly.  

It allows me to preserve nutritious foods and skimp on weight.  I prefer dehydrated foods over freeze dried because you don't need as much water to reconstitute them.  If you eat freeze dried foods, you need to drink a lot of water to keep your body hydrated and happy.  Also, they are a little weird.

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I also made meat jerky.  With the help of my awesome friend Jeni (who will be joining for Montana!), I marinated chicken and pork in some special sauce, dehydrated for about 8 hours, and got jerky.  The advantages are that I had control over the source and type of meat, and I believe that if I hadn't bought the entire chicken I would've saved a lot of money.  (Don't send the vegetarian of 6 years to buy the meat.)   

Jerky marinating aside, the process of dehydrating fruits and veggies is actually not too time intensive.  98% of the work is done by the dehydrator.  You just need to plan ahead.  

I split up my bounty, put some in each box going to Montana, Wyoming, and ColoRADo. 

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I also put some cacao beans in the stash as well.  They are a great, non-melty way to get a chocolate pick-me-up, and make a pretty dank trail desert when mixed with honey.  (Caveat: these were bought on the street the last time I was in Nicaragua... I'm not sure where to buy them in the States.  But - the Internet.)   

 ready-to-eat beans are on the right. unprocessed beans are on the left.  Heat them up in a dry skillet until they blister.  The process of removing the càscara (papery shell) is very simple after they blister. 

ready-to-eat beans are on the right. unprocessed beans are on the left.  Heat them up in a dry skillet until they blister.  The process of removing the càscara (papery shell) is very simple after they blister. 

While these foods don't offer many calories, I think they will help round out my diet on the trail.  Other things coming with me: chia seeds, recovery drink mix, almond butter, honey, and electrolyte tablets.  Oh, and whisky.  Of course.