Friday, January 15, 2016

Meat, Its What's For Dinner

Let them eat meat!
Cans of meat! Really? Cans with meat in them? Beef, Chicken, Sausage, Ham! Woo hoo! What? How is that ultra-light?

One of the problems I face while considering hiking for five months is the monotony of eating out of a plastic bag for weeks on end. Especially dinner. I like lots of different foods and variety in my everyday life. Pizza, fish and chips, hamburgers, pot roast, salads, enchiladas, Thai chili stir-fry, and on and on. The thought of sitting down to another bag of tasteless pre-packaged freeze-dried food is probably the biggest hurdle I am mentally struggling with as I prepare.

Last year on my two-week hike through Southern California I tested alternatives to weeks upon weeks of Mountain House dinners. Don't get me wrong, I am not bashing Mountain House. Their dinners are far better than some of the other suppliers of light-weight food. In fact, of all of the different ones I have tried, Mountain House is my favorite. If the trip was only going to last for a few weeks, I'd do Mountain House. But, this is not just two-weeks. We are talking months and months, it's enough cause a person to start throwing out the food that they have purchased and carried and start eating snacks. This problem affects morale and energy levels. It becomes a serious drain on mental fortitude if I can't get enough calories because the taste has become so repulsive that  that I can't eat it. So what's the plan?

Like I said, last year I tried something different. I don't know if it's going to work for my entire trip but it is a strategy that I believe will at least get me to Donner Summit. I have read through Brenda L. Braaten's PACK LIGHT, EAT RIGHT research over and over. I have coupled that information with my own testing to come up with a plan that I hope will keep me looking forward to eating my dinner. I did a ton of web searching looking for light-weight meals. Most of the readily available options, such as the side-dishes that you can buy in the supermarket contain lots of sodium and boring flavors.

 Last year I discovered Harmony House Food' TRAIL READY Gourmet Soup & Chili Pack. What I like about this is that there are twelve different flavors in one pack. The challenge is that they are all vegan/vegetarian and low fat. I am not a vegan/vegetarian and according to Dr. Braaten, I need fat. So my plan is to use these meals as a basis for my meals but supplement them with other ingredients, such as meat. I found meat in cans! Thank you Honeyville. It's freeze-dried so most, if not all of the water has been removed. I plan to open the cans at home and re-package single serving portions into vacuum-sealed bags. The bags are just the right size to hold about two-cups of water. I will pour the soup or chili of choice into the bag with the meat, add either minute rice or ramen noodles and I have a nutritious, calorie packed meal ready in a few minutes. That, at least, is the theory. During my testing last year I found it acceptable. I like the fact that there is variety and options. I just bought enough canned meat to get me started. Only one hundred and four days more days to start.

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