Tuesday, July 30, 2013

8-day Paleo Backpacking Meal Plan

The last couple weeks in the field I've used the exact same menu and I haven't gotten sick of it yet. I probably will tweak some things pretty soon, but it makes a great starting point for a week-long meal plan.

This plan is best for moderate weather (30 degrees to 70 degrees), otherwise freezing temperatures make some things inconveniently frozen and hot temperatures may spoil things too quickly. Also, I have a couple disclaimers:

1. We don't do a TON of hiking in the field because we have days spent completely on therapy and other things (and the kids can't hike as much as adults with a trip agenda) so I pack my food bag pretty heavy.
2. I am a smaller woman who doesn't consume as much as a larger man would; you might need to take more food than this.
3. We get a food resupply half-way through the 8-day shift which isn't feasible for all 8-day excursions.
4. KIND bars are not 100% paleo, but they are gluten-free, and the Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt one has only 5g sugar and 16g carbs, compared with LARABARs, which have almost twice as many carbs and three times as much sugar.

Sooooo...this is intended as an outline, and something that works for me, but you'll probably have to add more food in for an intensive activity schedule, or tinker with some things so your food bag isn't gigantic.

Day 1:

Breakfast - Whatever you want, you're probably not on the trail yet
Lunch - Again, whatever you want, preferably packed with little trash (leftovers in a ziploc or something)
Snacks - one carrot, one Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt KIND bar, 2-3 TB Paleo Cookie Butter
Dinner - Bacon with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Onions

Day 2:

Breakfast - 2 hard boiled eggs w/ 1 TB olive oil, sea salt & mustard; 1 paleo muffin
Lunch - Sardine Salad: 1 tin sardines, a large handful of baby spinach or greens, 1/4 chopped red pepper, 1/8 chopped onion; 2-3 TB Paleo Cookie Butter
Snacks - one carrot, one Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt KIND bar, a few pieces grass-fed beef jerky
Dinner - Salami Veggie Saute

Day 3:

Breakfast - 2 hard boiled eggs w/ 1 TB olive oil, sea salt & mustard; 1 paleo muffin
Lunch - 1 tin sardines packed in olive oil topped with a couple TB diced onion and 1 TB mustard, 2-3 TB Paleo Cookie Butter
Snacks - one carrot, one Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt KIND bar, a few pieces grass-fed beef jerky
Dinner - Salami Veggie Saute

Day 4:

Breakfast - 2 hard boiled eggs w/ 1 TB olive oil, sea salt & mustard; 1 paleo muffin
Lunch - Tuna Salad: 1 packet or can of tuna, 1/8 chopped onion, 1/2 chopped apple, 1 TB olive oil, 1 TB mustard, sea salt; 2-3 TB Paleo Cookie Butter
Snacks - one carrot, one Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt KIND bar, a few pieces grass-fed beef jerky
Dinner - Smoked Salmon Coconut Curry

Day 5:

Breakfast - 2 oz. grass-fed summer sausage & 2 oz. raw goat cheese topped with mustard; 1 paleo muffin
Lunch - Apple Onion Tuna Bake (or Tuna Salad again if no access to fire)
Snacks - one carrot, one Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt KIND bar, a few pieces grass-fed beef jerky
Dinner - Sweet Potato, Apple, & Onion Chorizo Bake

Day 6:

Breakfast - 2 oz. grass-fed summer sausage & 2 oz. raw goat cheese topped with mustard; 1 paleo muffin
Lunch - 1 tin oysters packed in olive oil topped with a couple TB diced onion and 1 TB mustard, 2-3 TB Paleo Cookie Butter
Snacks - one carrot, one Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt KIND bar, a few pieces grass-fed beef jerky
Dinner - Sweet Potato, Apple, & Onion Chorizo Bake

Day 7:

Breakfast - 2 oz. grass-fed summer sausage & 2 oz. raw goat cheese topped with mustard; 1 paleo muffin
Lunch - 1 tin sardines packed in olive oil topped with a couple TB diced onion and 1 TB mustard, 2-3 TB Paleo Cookie Butter
Snacks - one carrot, one Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt KIND bar, a few pieces grass-fed beef jerky
Dinner - One pouch Tasty Bites Palak Paneer or Taste of India Palak Paneer; a couple slices of salami

Day 8:

Breakfast - 2 oz. grass-fed summer sausage & 2 oz. raw goat cheese topped with mustard; 1 paleo muffin
Lunch - 1 tin oysters packed in olive oil topped with a couple TB diced onion and 1 TB mustard, 2-3 TB Paleo Cookie Butter
Snacks - one carrot, one Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt KIND bar, a few pieces grass-fed beef jerky
Dinner - Hopefully off trail! :)

Food totals:

6 hard boiled eggs
8 oz. grass-fed summer sausage
8 oz. raw goat cheese
7 paleo muffins

6 oz. olive oil
8 oz. mustard
8 oz. coconut oil
1-2 TB curry paste
1 5-oz. can coconut milk
sea salt

2 cups Paleo Cookie Butter in a locking tupperware
2 tins oysters packed in olive oil
3 tins sardines packed in olive oil
2 packets or cans of tuna

3 large onions
3 red peppers
1 green pepper
1 bag baby spinach
1 sweet potato
1 apple
8 large mushrooms
2 small spears broccoli
8 carrots

8 Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt KIND bars
one pint-sized Ziploc bag of grass-fed beef jerky

3 slices thick-cut pastured bacon
1 log salami
1 log chorizo
1 packet smoked salmon

1 packet Tasty Bites or Taste of India Palak Paneer

Emergency food (this is extra food I bring for the days I'm more hungry than I thought I would be. They aren't planned out for a certain time or day, so I just eat them when I feel like I haven't gotten enough at a meal):
2 extra KIND bars
2 extra paleo muffins
2 extra carrots


Monday, July 29, 2013

Paleo Cookie Butter

Nut butters are an obvious choice for sustained energy because they're densely packed with fat and protein. However, nuts aren't the best food to consume in large quantities because of their phytic acid (see this article for an explanation), and unfortunately it's easy to overdo it when consuming nut butters.

A solution I've found was inspired by Nora Gedgaudas's Nut Ball Snackers. The idea is basically to blend nut butters with pastured cow butter and some other things like shredded, unsweetened coconut and chia seeds to dilute the nuts and add a healthy dose of fat from another source. I store mine in a small snap-lock plastic tupperware and eat spoonfuls of it at a time or dip carrots or apple slices in it. It fills me up and keeps me going for a LOONG time.

I think this recipe (at least when made with sunflower seed butter) tastes a bit like cookie dough, but even more buttery. This recipe has undergone a couple name changes, each of them not that great (originally "Nut Butter Butter" - yes, that's two "butters" - and the equally exciting "Coconut Nut Butter") I have now renamed it to a more fitting description of the delicious sweet butteriness it truly is!

2 cups nut or seed butter (my favorite to use is sunflower seed butter)
1 lb. pastured butter
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chia seeds or sesame seeds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Throw it all in a food processor or blender and blend away!
*A note on packing - just like real butter, this cookie butter has no qualms about melting all over your backpack in the heat. So I recommend either packing it in a snap-lock tupperware, or using a Ziplock bag around the tupperware it's in. Or if you just put it in a Ziplock to start, double-bag it.