Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

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Greg
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Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

Post by Greg »

This coming Monday,I invite any and all to join me for a five day challenge/field test of middle-earth trekking foods. What I am preparing to do is this:

I am assembling five day's worth of shelf-stable, non-refrigerated trekking food,and will live on this diet for five days. I am a full time tree climber/tree care professional, so my physical activity will closely emulate that of a trekking ranger.

The rules:
No replenishing of stores. If you can't carry it comfortably in your pack at the start, you can't eat it during the week (though you aren't meant to carry it all week).
Unlimited water. Use this to your advantage.
Friday night, eat a full meal aside from trek food, to imitate arriving at an inn/rivendell/your destination.
If I find wild edibles or successfully hunt small game (not simulated) while on the job site, I can have them, provide it fits into my persona. Hobbit kits, no raiding your garden...that's no fair!
I'm going to cook on my modern stove in the kitchen to save time, but I'll do it in cookware and quantities/measurements that replicate what I Can do in my boiler. Again, this is about rationing fora distance trek...without quitting my day job. Literally.

I will post my weight, body fat and bmi at the start and end so we can see the effects of my trekking diet and see if I need to find a way to carry more calories.

So, you have three days to prepare a Menu, do some grocery shopping, and get off of caffeine before we get started. I hope you'll join me!
Last edited by Greg on Sat Oct 17, 2015 1:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Manveruon
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Re: Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

Post by Manveruon »

Hah! Hardcore, man! I'm afraid I will be sitting this one out, but I eagerly await reading about other peoples' experiences! I may be tempted to try this next time, haha...
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Peter Remling
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Re: Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

Post by Peter Remling »

Please post your menu and if you are self preparing things like jerky. This will be interesting, but be careful. If it's not working eat what your body in used too.
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Re: Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

Post by Elleth »

HARD. CORE.

Also, you have an incredibly understanding family.

I'm afraid I'll not be joining in, but if you're willing I can send you a "field resupply" of a bit of homemade charcuterie. :)
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Re: Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

Post by Udwin »

Ohh yeah, you know I'm getting in on this!
I've been fasting during traveling hours each Highday since January '13, in part to get my body used to running on limited calories. Plus this semester, I've been adding a 3-mile 'urban hike' (with hills!) once a week, in addition to my usual hill-climbing and non-sedentary work.
It's too bad there's no Middle-earth counterpart to parched toothcorn, maple sugar, and a bit of chocolate (ultimate 18th c. trekking rations), but for this venture, I'm thinking jerky, dried fruit, walnuts, cheese, root veg broth, cram, and spelt flour for dumplings.
For extra immersion (and extra calorie loss!) I'm considering sleeping in the yard in a leaf shelter with my wool blankets. Heheh.
Personae: Aistan son of Ansteig, common Beorning of Wilderland; Tungo Boffin, Eastfarthing Bounder, 3018 TA; a native Man of the Greyflood, c.850 SA
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Re: Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

Post by Ursus »

Ah what the heck! I just happen to have a two pound hunk of salt cured bacon in the larder, and some freshly made fruit leather, and newly dried cheese to boot. Ill be adding chocolate, parched corn, lembas, wild rice, honey, and oats to the menu as well.
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Re: Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

Post by Greg »

Menus will definitely be posted, recipes are a plus.

Woo hoo! Got some suckers to take the plunge already! Awesome!

As for the Understanding family...my wife went paleo recently, and now has dropped all processed sugars. My diet for this week will pale in comparison.

I should have mentioned...my diet assumes that I have access to a cook fire every morning and evening, though that isn't a perfectly realistic scenario. Your call on that one.




My diet will strictly follow the following daily menu:

Breakfast: Hot Cereal (oats). If I am unable to locate whole oats by Monday, I will substitute steel-cut, which are pretty darned close process-and cook-wise. Crumbling a piece of hardtack into the boiling water will add some chewy dumplings to round out breakfast.

Lunch: I get a ten minute morning break and a 30 minute lunch (thanks, OSHA) so between the two, every day, I will consume one Apple, walnuts, dried fruit, bread, cheese, and some jerked meat.

Dinner: Stewed salt pork, potatoes, hardtack crumbles, and lentil beans to round out the day.


Not everything here has a perfect reference, but it's where my food carrying research and experience have thus far led me.
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Re: Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

Post by Greg »

How's it going?

I can tell I've lost a little weight, but nothing significant. I'm still trucking along, and feeling pretty good (though the dinners my family are putting together are becoming more extravagant by the day, I believe In an effort to spite me...)

Today, I struck gold!

The third job my tree few went on today, sure enough, right next to a few dead birch trees we were removing, there was an apple tree, full and drooping under the weight. After we got permission, I quickly Downed three and then stuffed my pockets with the lovely, albeit tiny, golden wonders.
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Re: Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

Post by Udwin »

Sweet! It's going well, and tomorrow is the day I'm least concerned with, since I'm used to running on minimal calories for 'Hungry Highday'! My scale isn't digitally accurate, but I've probably lost a bit of weight (and I was already at my lowest weight in several years when the Ration Challenge started!).

Since it's not fair to forage from my own orchard, I've only been able to venture outside the foodbag once--I did some freeganing last night and scored a loaf of french bread! Since I'm hypothetically hoofing it from my place north of the Gladden towards Beorn's compound, I reckon after three days I would be drawing close to the trade route through Mirkwood, and suppose I came across a dwarf-merchant caravan. It went really tasty toasted with the last quarter of my cheese, and then soaked in my soup-broth. : D
Personae: Aistan son of Ansteig, common Beorning of Wilderland; Tungo Boffin, Eastfarthing Bounder, 3018 TA; a native Man of the Greyflood, c.850 SA
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Greg
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Re: Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

Post by Greg »

Sweet!

I've taken some photos, and will put them up with my complete recipe list, etc. when I have a chance.
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Re: Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

Post by Ursus »

Being Friday I'm assuming the challenge has ended. To start the challenge Sunday evening I measured out my foodstuffs and cookware and packed it all in my haversack to simulate being on the trail. My cookware consists of my small folding skillet, copper corn boiler, a small forged fork, and small wooden spoon.

My food carry consisted of the following:
Two medium meal bags filled with an oatmeal mix consisting of old fashioned oats, crushed walnuts and almonds, and dried apples and dried cranberry's.
2 meal bags of dried unseasoned venison jerky.
1 meal bag of parched corn
5 small apples from my fathers apple trees.
10 cakes of trail bread studded with walnuts and dried apples.
Fruit leather.
1 small jar of honey
1 large hunk of salt pork wrapped in a square of linen.
1 meal bag with 20 small potatoes.
5 small wedges of dried waxed cheese
1 small bag of dried peas
2 whole carrots, 1 small onion, 1 garlic clove.
One vial of cooking oil
Two rounds of dark chocolate and two maple sugar cakes

Breakfast every morning consisted of a handful of my homemade oatmeal mix that had steeped overnight in my boiler and was drizzled with a healthy dollop of honey when done boiling and 1 cake of fried trail bread.

Lunch was a handful of jerky, a handful of parched corn, a strip of fruit leather and an apple for dessert.

Supper was a stew of salt pork, potatoes, dried peas, onion, carrots and a bit of garlic and a wedge of dried cheese with either a bit of chocolate or maple for dessert.

At the start of the challenge I weighed exactly 254 lbs in gym shorts, not sure about the bmi but Im mostly lean muscle. My job is a quality tech for a company that makes pcb's and I literally walk for ten hours 4 days a week around a large facility. Still, I didn't want for energy at anytime and only felt a little hungry around lunch time and was quite hungry come supper. I stayed well hydrated the entire time and always got my daily water amount. Weighing myself tonight before my supper I am at 251

Supper at the "inn" was a half a meatloaf, cheesy potatoes, a large salad, homemade bread, a large piece of homemade apple pie and two mugs of excellent homebrew(oatmeal stout).
"Lonely men are we, Rangers of the wild, hunters – but hunters ever of the servants of the Enemy."

“My cuts, short or long, don’t go wrong.”
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Re: Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

Post by Udwin »

What a week! Congrats, fellows, we made it! : D
I began the challenge about 10 pounds under my usual weight (not sure when/how that happened!) with a 7.5 lb foodbag containing:
*dried fruit (raisins, cherries, strawberries, apples), jerky (ham and venison), english walnuts, flour (spelt/acorn mix), dried soup mix (carrot, celery, onion, and pumpkin), a small wheel of cheese (700 kcal), chinese chestnut meal, 20 cram/hardtack, and a small salt horn.
As I haven't made up a satisfactory honey container yet, I used some old raw honey from the pantry--about a teaspoon per day.
Like Ursus, I spent Sunday evening preparing--ground my chestnuts, filled my bags, and then had a batch of porridge just to make sure I could eat it for 5 days...so I guess I started a little early.

The menu was basically the same every day:
Breakfast was between 8 and 9: porridge--a 1/4 cup of chestnut meal, a few bits of dried strawberry & apple, a teaspoon of honey, and a pinch of salt. Cover in 1/2 cup Hot water and eat while it's still warm.
Lunch was between 12 and 1330--usually a large piece or two of jerked ham, one cram, a small handful of dried fruit, and 2-3 walnuts.
Snack was MTW between 16-1730: some combination of 1-2 walnuts, a bit of fruit, a piece of ham, or a cram.
Supper was usually about 1900: crumbled venison and broken-up cram in a broth of veggies and a pinch of salt. I ate a quarter of my cheese each night (MTWTh), and Mon and Tues made 4-5 small boiled dumplings with my flour. Wed and Thurs I had 'foraged' frenchbread instead.
Today was my traditional 'Hungry Highday' and so I only had my porridge at 9, then fasted until I had my 'destination feast' at 1900--last week's slow-cooked chicken/carrot/raisins, the last of the frenchbread with heaping pad of butter, a pint of 'mead', and then cookies and milk!
Personae: Aistan son of Ansteig, common Beorning of Wilderland; Tungo Boffin, Eastfarthing Bounder, 3018 TA; a native Man of the Greyflood, c.850 SA
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Re: Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

Post by Udwin »

Thoughts, notes, & observations:
*My menu was geared more towards keeping some variety throughout the day, but eating the same things day-to-day.
*Over the five days, I decreased my foodbag from 7.75 to 4.5 lbs, and my own weight by appx 2 lbs. Not sure about % body fat, but I must assume I was burning what little fat stores I had.
*Based on what I have left over, I can see that I packed way too much walnuts, fruit, and jerky.
*Making dumplings in the flour bag itself means you don't need to use a bowl!
*It wasn't until today that my energy started really feeling low; on the other days I tried to eat each meal or snack as the previous one was burning up.
*That said, I was not burning near as many calories as I would be if I were traveling 15-20 miles each day (or sleeping outdoors); if that was the case, I might have gone through my supplies in 6 days.
*In the future I plan to pack less walnuts, limit my fruit to apples & strawberries; pack more pumpkin for soup, and cut my venison jerky in larger pieces to cut down on bulk.
*I also learned that the more ladle-like your spoon, the easier it is to pick your dumplings out of the water!

All in all, I'd say it was a successful learning experience, both practically and personally--striving to push ourselves ever further is always beneficial in this hobby/sport/lifestyle.
Thanks for coming up with the challenge, Greg!
Personae: Aistan son of Ansteig, common Beorning of Wilderland; Tungo Boffin, Eastfarthing Bounder, 3018 TA; a native Man of the Greyflood, c.850 SA
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Re: Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

Post by Greg »

Woo hoo! Had a blast.

I don't know how to use the stupid fancy features on this scale my in-laws have, so I 'lied' about being able to share my bmi. Oh well.

I started the week at 150 lbs, on the nose. I don't know what exactly my body fat content is, but I'm scrawny and I climb trees for a living...I don't have much in the way of fat reserves, so this was going to be an exercise in truly using/carrying the correct calories for hard work so I wouldn't decline during hard work. My week, I would say, closely mimicked the amount of exercise I would get on a solid trekking day, putting, say, about twelve miles underfoot plus setting camp and processing firewood, etc. There were times of good hard sweat, and periods of idle...a nice balance.

Today, I'm rolling in at 146 lbs. Not too bad, given that I fluctuate between 145 and 150 pretty consistently.

My diet strictly followed the menu I listed in a previous post. I want to diversify my dried fruit portfolio, and try adding some fruit leather to the mix. Ursus, I really want that trail bread recipe you're talking about. Always room to improve these things, but that was the whole point of the exercise. For those of you that think this is too 'hard core' for you, etc., bear in mind that this wasn't done to prove how awesome we are or anything like that. This was a way for someone who is NOT capable of going on a legitimate trek at the moment, due to schedule or any other reasons, to learn BEFOREHAND what their bodily needs are going to be for a real venture into the wilds. Food is not something you want to learn you need more of the hard way. Other things, like sleeping arrangements, can often benefit from the school of hard knocks, but food...that'd be a good thing to be confident in on your first trek.

Udwin, Ursus...got some recipes to share? I'll toss a few up soon, myself.
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Re: Five-Day Trekking Diet Challenge

Post by Ursus »

Sure thing! It consists of:

2 cups oats

1 1/2 cups powdered milk

1 cup sugar

6 Tbl honey

I don't measure the amount of dried fruit and nuts, the more the merrier in my opinion!
I pat them out into small 3x3 squares, score them diagonally, and poke a few holes in the tops.

These are as close to lembas as I've been able to come. One cake alone sits pretty heavy in the stomach and gives a good burst of energy. You may go down to one cup of powdered milk as it can be a bit strongly flavored I'm told but I enjoy it. One of my students that's getting into rangering made some and added whole wheat flour to the mix with great success. They last forever, the batch used in the challenge is about three weeks old.

This was great fun! We really need to do more events like this as the odds of all of us assembling for a moot are slim. Someday when I've struck gold I'm going to buy us a forest reserve accessible to rangers only lol.
"Lonely men are we, Rangers of the wild, hunters – but hunters ever of the servants of the Enemy."

“My cuts, short or long, don’t go wrong.”
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