I have had a number of people ask me how I travel on a restrictive diet like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Actually, it’s very easy and I do not suffer at all. For example, our family just spent five days canoeing Clearwater Lake in Wells Gray Park. Here are some tips for eating nourishing traditional meals while doing wilderness travel. These tips could easily be used for camping road trips, though we would do our cooking on a small gas barbecue or camp stove. Here are Recipes for Eating Nourishing Traditional Travel Foods.
1. Start preparing dried goods a week before leaving. These foods are for emergency rations and quick snacks. I soaked, sprouted and dehydrated whole spelt grains. I dehydrated two large lean roasts for beef jerky. I prepared some soaked and dried nuts and seeds. I made a few pounds of soaked and dried nut granola for snacks. I have a L’Equip Food Dehydrator but, because of the amounts I was processing, I used my sister’s Excalibur Food Dehydrator and really liked it too. For travel, store a day’s supply of each item in paper bags with a plastic zip-lock outer bag. By processing my own dried snacks at home, I save money and produce a higher quality product.
2. Start preparing condiments two days before leaving. This trip I prepared three special condiments. I prepared salsa, berry sauce and Caesar dressing base. I stored the condiments in a glass mason jar with a Bernardin plastic lid. I find these plastic lids easier to use and clean and the plastic does not touch the food. Portion homemade fermented condiments for your trip in appropriately sized wide mouth mason jars. Examples of homemade condiments are: horseradish sauce, mustard, ketchups, and fermented vegetables. Recipes for these condiments can be found in Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions. I stored the condiments in the cooler. By processing my own homemade condiments, I save money and produce a much higher quality product.
3. Think about your cooking methods and organize appropriate equipment. Wells Gray Park has developed wilderness camps with fire pits and metal grills, so we planned on cooking over an open fire. (We brought along an MSR stove for emergency use, which we didn’t use during the trip.) We brought a normal camping set of stainless steal pots for boiling water, but these light pots tend to burn food very easily. We decided to try doing all our cooking with my Mother’s cast iron Dutch oven. We found the lid worked great for warming food or frying even with the ringed grooves in the lid. I would definitely bring the Dutch oven for cooking over open fires again. Early explorers used cast iron Dutch ovens for all their food preparation including baking bread. Here is an example of a camp Dutch oven with three legs on the pot and the lid.
4. Use your frozen foods as ice. Traveling by canoe allows the use of a hard shelled cooler for frozen foods. This trip I used two thermal bags, one inside the other, inside the hard shelled cooler to store our frozen foods. I brought along 3lbs of pastured ground beef, 1lb of pastured lamb, 2lbs pastured sirloin steaks, 1lb of pasteurized butter and 1lb of raw butter. After five days we brought home half the meat and butter which was partly frozen. The cooler didn’t fill with dirty icy water. It was an easy cleanup after the trip. I would definitely use the thermal bags again.
5. Organize your storage system and eat your fresh supplies first. With canoe travel, extra weight isn’t really an issue, but space is limited. We had one hard shelled cooler for frozen foods and one bin for dried and fresh foods. In the cooler was the layered thermal bags with the frozen meat and butter. On the other side of the cooler was 2L of raw milk, two precooked and sliced beef roasts, and the condiments. In the bin was all the dried stores, 2 dozen pastured eggs, 2lbs of raw gouda cheese, 3lbs of dried cured bacon, and 3lbs of cured sausage. On top of all this was 2 heads of romaine lettuce, 6 apples, 6 mangoes, 6 tomatoes, green onions and carrots. The morning of the trip, I made up about 30 sourdough pancakes, which I cooled, layered in wax paper and divided into daily amounts. The sourdough pancakes lasted very well throughout the trip. The girls enjoyed the pancakes cold with raw butter or warmed with bacon, butter and berry sauce. We had food for about eight days for four people.
6. Start travel days with a good breakfast and a prepared dinner. At home we cooked two chickens in the Dutch oven. One chicken would have been enough. We cooked some brown rice in bone broth. Both pots were placed in a traditional straw hot box. A simple hot box can be made with a cardboard box filled with straw or any insulating material. Five hours later we had a hot meal after loading the canoe.
7. Use a stainless steel thermos for hot drinks and bring raw cider vinegar for drinking water. Start the trip with a full thermos and keep the thermos full. The last thing I do in a day is fill the thermos so the family will have hot drinks first thing in the morning. This is a good safety practice during wilderness travel. Putting a teaspoon of cider vinegar in drinking water makes a very refreshing drink. It is also reputed to relieve muscle stiffness, which I have found to be true.
8. What about the bugs? I am not fond of putting poison on my skin so I do not use bug spray. I have noticed that if I do not eat anything sweet while out in the woods, the bugs do not feed on me. As soon as I eat even a piece of fruit, the bugs are biting within the hour. I remember complaining to an old hunter about being eaten alive by bugs. He say to me: “You have sweet blood. That’s why the bugs eat you.” Sweet blood. I have gone from being the person eaten alive, to the one in the group not bothered by bugs. It makes me wonder if others have had this experience too. So, if you are bothered by bugs in the woods, try going low carbohydrate a few days before and during the trip. If it works for you, please contact me. Try our Bug Away Spray.