Tag Archives: food

Backpacking while vegan

Amanda and Doug backpacking - low res

I recently spent a weekend backpacking in the Mount Baker area. Backpacking differs from camping in that you have to carry everything you need for several miles, so you need to make sure your food is as lightweight as possible, doesn’t need refrigeration and is still reasonably balanced, nutritious and provides adequate calories for the exertion of hiking. I took some time planning the meals for our 2 night, 3 day trip.

We carried enough water for the first day, but relied on water from streams and lakes, suitably filtered and/or sterilized, for drinking and cooking the rest of the time. Some members of our group used a steri-pen which uses ultraviolet light to sterilize their water. We used a Platypus filtration unit that could finely filter 4 liters of water at a time, so there was no need to sterilize. It was good to have a selection of methods, since we found we had to trek quite a way from our campsite to find a good water source.

The range of commercial vegan foods suitable for backpacking is increasing rapidly.  Did you know that you can now select from 29 different packets of freeze-dried vegan meals at REI.com? Trader Joe’s has a great selection of freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and raspberries, great for adding lightweight nutrition to your morning cereal, and even dried okra, a crunchy and nutritious snack.

However, I prefer to make most of my meals from scratch, even if it takes a little longer to prepare and to cook at the campsite, so I based my meals on what I had in the kitchen. I did order a container of dried soy milk powder which was useful to have with our breakfast cereal and in morning coffee.

To avoid refrigeration, it’s best to take grains you can quickly cook on a campstove. If you’re trying a new combination, I’d recommend that you experiment at home first, so that you get the flavoring mix right.

Grains that are quick and easy to cook:

  • Quinoa,
  • Couscous
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Quickcook rice (eg Uncle Ben’s boil-in-bag, )
  • Oatmeal (great for breakfast, but a bit of a hassle to clean the pot after!)
  • Pita pockets (to eat with a stew)
  • Dried potato flakes (not a grain, but a good source of extra calories to thicken a stew)

Protein sources:

  • Lentils (red lentils cook to a mush, green hold their shape) – 20 mins cook time
  • TVP – textured vegetable protein (meat-like consistency) – soak for 5 mins to rehydrate
  • Cashews, hazelnuts, pecan nuts

Here’s what I chose to take with us:

Breakfasts:

  • Morning 1: Quinoa with cinnamon, hazelnuts and dried blueberries – see recipe.
  • Morning 2: Oats with coconut and raisins, dried blueberries and raspberries, plus soy milk made from powder.
  • Tea or instant coffee

Backpacking lunch - low resLunch (we used leftover curried quinoa for one lunch): 

  • WASA rye crackers
  • Lilly’s shelf-stable hummus.
  • Primal Jerky strips
  • Go Macro bars
  • Dried mango

Mid-afternoon snack: Clif bar

Dinners:

  • Evening 1: Lentil stew with potatoes and carrots – see recipe
  • Evening 2: Curried Quinoa with cashews – see recipe
  • Chocolate and ginger biscotti, made by my friend Jan!
  • Tea

Additional snacks for emergencies:

  • Munkpack Flavored Oatmeal
  • Trail mix
  • Clif bars

The food worked out well. I carried a few additional snacks that fortunately weren’t needed, since it’s always advisable to have some additional food with you, just in case you get delayed and have to spend an extra day out in the wild.

The weather was very mixed, and we were glad to share a tarpaulin erected between trees to cook out of the rain, but all in all, our trip was a big success and we had some fabulous views when the clouds lifted!

 

 

Cats and dogs are not for dinner!

Cats and dogs.jpg

Can you imagine eating cats and dogs? There’s a new law on its way that would prevent this from ever happening by prohibiting this cruel practice. According to the Humane Society of the United States, “The House and Senate provisions will prevent this appalling trade from taking hold in the U.S., and strengthen our hand in seeking to end it worldwide.” This bill has broad bipartisan support and is very likely to pass.

While the practice of eating cats and dogs is uncommon in the United States “Around 30 million dogs and untold numbers of cats are subjected to this brutal industry globally every year, with animals often snatched off the street or stolen from loving families, still wearing collars as they are subjected to unspeakable abuse to end up on someone’s dinner plate” according to the Humane Society.

The new law would alter the Animal Welfare Act to forbid people from knowingly slaughtering a dog or cat for human consumption. Punishment for violating the law would be up to one year in prison and a fine of $2,500.

It’s bad enough that we eat farm animals – we shouldn’t expand that to include cats and dogs. Of course, we wish cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, turkeys and fish were covered under the law as well. We love cats and dogs, but we also care about farm animals just the same. While there’s no law pending to prevent eating them, there’s still something you can do – switch to a plant-based diet!

Is Driving better than Walking for the Environment?

person-walkingcar-cartoonWhich is better for the environment, driving or walking? Before you rush to say “Walking, of course, because it doesn’t use any fossil fuel,” think again!

For the average American, walking actually uses quite a lot of fossil fuel, because the fuel the walker uses is the food they eat. Food takes a lot of fossil fuel to produce, and the food that takes the most is meat. It actually takes about 17 times more fossil fuel to get a calorie from meat than it does from wheat or beans. That means if you follow a meat-centered diet, you’re going to indirectly burn a lot of fossil fuel just by walking. Of course, vegetarians use far less fossil fuel. Read more

Why is it important for America to change the food it eats?

Say No to Meat Book CoverThe following is an extract from our latest book, Say No to Meat, by Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose:

Raising meat is weakening America and threatening our future. That burger at McDonald’s may cost only a dollar but it’s really very expensive. Meat is costing us dearly in human terms, in terms of health-care costs, and in terms of the quality of our land, air, and waterways.

A country is only as strong as its people are healthy. Meat has cost more American lives than all the wars in history put together. There’s a nutritional crisis in America today threatening the health of its people. Deadly diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and some cancers linked to a meat-centered diet are running rampant, causing needless suffering, shortened lives, and a staggering medical bill that our country no longer has the money to pay.

Part of the richness of America comes from our beautiful and bountiful land and waters. Raising the grain needed to feed livestock erodes our soil, the waste produced by livestock pollutes our waters, and the greenhouse gases the animals emit contribute to global warming. Fixing the damage caused by the livestock industry is costing America a fortune.

While America still faces serious threats from abroad, there’s also a battle to be fought on the home front. Meat threatens our lives and our land. Seen from this perspective, there are few acts more patriotic than becoming a vegetarian. America has always risen to meet every challenge. A country strong enough to save the world from both fascism and communism can save itself from damaging food choices.