Author Topic: Simple whole-plant-foods zero-waste no-cooking cheap backpacking food guide  (Read 1246 times)

grenzbegriff

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I recently did a 10 day backpacking trip carrying all my food, as well as a month of bicycle touring where I often had a weekís supply of food on my bike with me, and also two weeks traveling by train around the US.  Here's what I did for food.

No heavy cookware or fires required.  Everything can be purchased in the bulk section of a good food store, ideally your local food co-op if you have one.  Everything lasts a long time so you can keep your leftovers for next trip.  This is healthier, less expensive, and less polluting than buying processed food for a backpacking trip.  It's basically the same food that goes into protein and granola bars, but unprocessed, without the chemicals and stuff.  IMHO itís very tasty too, and with a variety of seasonings, you can get a wide variety of delicious flavors.

The basic idea is to eat rolled grains, soaked, with nuts/seeds and seasonings added in.  I'll tell you what I buy, roughly how much, and how to carry/use it.

. . .

What to buy?

Grains/legumes:
- rolled oats
- rolled barley (and/or rye, spelt, wheat)
- lentils (many possible varieties)

Nuts/seeds:
- sunflower seeds
- walnuts
- almonds
- pumpkin seeds
- sesame seeds
- chia seeds
- peanuts / peanut butter
- etc (whatever you like, but donít support the cashew industry)

Greens: (for nutrients)
- dried nettles
- dried seaweed
- dried kale
- etc

Dried fruit:
- raisins, or whatever you like!  raisins are usually the cheapest, I also love dates, craisins, dried blueberries, and dried currants. 

Seasonings:
- salt
- whatever else you want!
- I like pepper, nutritional yeast, curry powder, cinnamon.  But there are plenty of options -- use what you like.

Utensils:
- bowl and spoon (I use one of those tall plastic yogurt containers as a bowl)
- durable container with screw-on cover for soaking lentils (soak for 8 hours, e.g. overnight)


How to prepare?

Put rolled oats or barley in your bowl and add water.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Then add in all the other ingredients, whichever combo you like, stir a couple times with the spoon, and eat.

How much to bring?

Iím 6í5Ē 190lb and a big eater.  For 10 days, I had roughly:
- 8lbs rolled grains (~1800kcal, 60g protein / lb) ($0.50-$1.50/lb)
- 1lb dry lentils (~1600kcal, 120g protein / lb) ($1/lb)
- 4lbs nuts/seeds (~2800kcal, 90g protein / lb) ($2-$15/lb)
- 1lb dried fruit (~1500kcal, 15g protein / lb) ($3-$10/lb)

for a total of roughly 3000 calories and 100g protein per day, costing about $50 for the food, plus I spent about $20 more on greens and seasonings.  I buy organic ó if you donít, itíll be even cheaper.  I am lucky to be on the west coast of the USA where these foods are relatively inexpensive, too.  Other parts of the world it may be pricier, but still probably cheaper than processed foods.

Dried greens donít count toward calories ó basically bring as much as you can afford, the nutrients will make you feel good.

How to carry?

Use reusable plastic bags or containers for everything.  You can use these same bags for buying in bulk and carrying with you.  Use a little gorilla tape to patch holes in the bags.  Like any backpacking food, you should either hang it from a tree in some kind of larger bag, or put it in a bear canister.

 . . .

Other tips

My favorite combos:
- Sweet: soaked oats, cinnamon, walnuts, chia seeds, dried fruit
- Savory: soaked barley, lentils, curry powder, nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, salt, pepper, dried nettles

If youíre in a place where plants grow, learn to forage greens, herbs, and berries.  Donít count these for calories, but theyíre great nutritionally.  In california and oregon, minerís lettuce is all over, for example.

If you let your lentils soak long enough theyíll sprout which is OK!  They can soak for days and still be OK to eat.  They'll be slightly crunchy but perfectly palatable after 8 hours soaking.

No need to wash your bowl (although you are welcome to).  Just eat it mostly clean, and let it dry in the sun.  I went a month without washing it with soap, only rinsing it with water occasionally.

I like to bring a little coconut oil.  Rinsing your mouth with coconut oil is a good idea in addition to brushing.  I just swallow the oil after rinsing, so itís not wasted.

I love walnut flavor infused in the oats, so I chew the walnuts a little and then spit them into the bowl, when I begin soaking the oats.  You could also crush the walnuts, but I find that more difficult to do.

Sesame seeds are great and cheap, but they're hard to chew if you mix them with other food -- you'll end up swallowing them whole, and I believe some of them won't be digested.  So I eat spoonfuls of just sesame seeds, separately.  If you can grind them before the trip, then they're fine to mix in.

Flax seeds are also great and cheap, but you need to either grind them before the trip, or roast them and eat them separately just like the sesame seeds.  Eating raw whole flaxseed is difficult, and won't work at all mixed with other things.

Bring enough salt!  With no processed foods, *all* the salt you get will be the salt you bring, and the little sodium that's found in these foods.  You probably want *at least* 2-3g of sodium each day -- but I'm not a nutritionist.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 09:02:04 PM by grenzbegriff »

elaine amj

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This is completely awesome! I love it!!

I'm not an oatmeal eater so this is not hugely appealing to me...but this is just perfect for my DH who loves oatmeal. He is on a very restricted diet for health reasons and I am struggling badly to feed him enough calories in a day. This would be even great for home cooking. Your basic recipe sounds like a fantastic high calorie breakfast. Right now he just eats plain oatmeal with a spoonful of chia seeds and sometimes hemp hearts/flax seeds. All your add-ons sound delicious and I love that it is all based on whole plant foods.

Adding this to my evernote recipe book!

p.s. I'll keep this on hand for our camping trips too :)
My journal: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/realigning-spending-to-match-our-future-goals-a-canadian-journey/

Camp Mustache Canada 2017 was everything I dreamed of and more. Super excited that Camp Mustache Canada 2018 is now a thing!

CowboyAndIndian

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Love the idea.

But why the hate for cashews?

squeakywheel

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Love the idea.

But why the hate for cashews?

+1

grenzbegriff

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But why the hate for cashews?
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/ng-interactive/2013/nov/cashew-nut-industry-true-cost
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/11577928/Blood-cashews-the-toxic-truth-about-your-favourite-nut.html

tl;dr: the cashew industry profits from exploiting millions of very poor people who do the horrible work of shelling cashews.

It's true that most big food industries have horrible exploitation going on at some level, but with cashews it's very obvious. And since they don't grow in the US or Europe, for people who don't live near the cashew trees it's easy to just stop buying them. We have plenty of equally healthy and inexpensive alternatives.

GuitarStv

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Roughly what kind of weight are you looking at for a week's worth of food?

Cornel_Westside

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16 pounds of food seems like a lot to bikepack with. If you're bikepacking near civilization, couldn't you change 10 days of food to 3 days pretty easily, since you'll probably be in quick biking range of stores?

grenzbegriff

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16 pounds of food seems like a lot to bikepack with. If you're bikepacking near civilization, couldn't you change 10 days of food to 3 days pretty easily, since you'll probably be in quick biking range of stores?
Yes, depending on where you're going and how much you care about being zero-waste.  I definitely carried a few pounds of unnecessary food weight on my bike.

Quote
Roughly what kind of weight are you looking at for a week's worth of food?
With around 2000 calories per pound, it'd be around 1-2lb per day depending on how much you eat.  So around 7-14lb.  As mentioned, I carried about 14lb for 10 days backpacking.

CowboyAndIndian

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But why the hate for cashews?
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/ng-interactive/2013/nov/cashew-nut-industry-true-cost
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/11577928/Blood-cashews-the-toxic-truth-about-your-favourite-nut.html

tl;dr: the cashew industry profits from exploiting millions of very poor people who do the horrible work of shelling cashews.

It's true that most big food industries have horrible exploitation going on at some level, but with cashews it's very obvious. And since they don't grow in the US or Europe, for people who don't live near the cashew trees it's easy to just stop buying them. We have plenty of equally healthy and inexpensive alternatives.

Maybe.

But remember, before this job, they had no job at all. This money pays for their family and is a a major source of income.

rpr

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I have never done this but must ask:  Is soaking lentils for just 5 minutes in cold water enough to make it soft?

grenzbegriff

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I have never done this but must ask:  Is soaking lentils for just 5 minutes in cold water enough to make it soft?
No.  :)
I do 5+ min for oats, 8+ hours for lentils.

rpr

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I have never done this but must ask:  Is soaking lentils for just 5 minutes in cold water enough to make it soft?
No.  :)
I do 5+ min for oats, 8+ hours for lentils.
My bad. I did not read that part :)

Usually I like my oats also softer. So I'd need overnight at the very least.

It is seriously impressive what you did.

Fresh Bread

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This is very interesting, I might conduct an experiment to see just how edible I find it! I just can't imagine eating uncooked lentils. Are you using red ones?

But why the hate for cashews?
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/ng-interactive/2013/nov/cashew-nut-industry-true-cost
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/11577928/Blood-cashews-the-toxic-truth-about-your-favourite-nut.html

tl;dr: the cashew industry profits from exploiting millions of very poor people who do the horrible work of shelling cashews.

It's true that most big food industries have horrible exploitation going on at some level, but with cashews it's very obvious. And since they don't grow in the US or Europe, for people who don't live near the cashew trees it's easy to just stop buying them. We have plenty of equally healthy and inexpensive alternatives.

Maybe.

But remember, before this job, they had no job at all. This money pays for their family and is a a major source of income.

I dunno, I think the cashew industry goes a bit further than the situation where we can apply that argument, given the horrific conditions. In the second article it mentions fair trade cashews, where workers are provided with gloves. Such a simple thing to protect them from the pain of the burns. It is possible to vote with our wallets for better conditions.

grenzbegriff

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Quote
This is very interesting, I might conduct an experiment to see just how edible I find it! I just can't imagine eating uncooked lentils. Are you using red ones?
I used green lentils, but I've heard you can use pretty much any kind.  They're not the best food ever uncooked, but they are filling.  They add a crunch to the rolled barley, and I season them heavily.  I don't usually eat them plain on their own.  Although sometimes I'll mix them with some coconut oil and salt, and then it's just like a salty crunchy snack food, but healthier.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 09:01:34 AM by grenzbegriff »