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Thru Hiking Diet

Embarking on a journey that spans thousands of miles over the next nine months, sustaining my body becomes a meticulous undertaking, marked by something I've never done before—scrupulously counting calories. Hiking over 30 miles per day demands a strategic approach to food, and in my quest to find a happy medium, I've turned to scrutinizing every calorie.

In a bid to make every ounce count, my diet predominantly revolves around bean and noodle-centered meals, with a special focus on no-cook options. The decision to avoid cooking for at least two out of my three major daily meals is not just a matter of convenience but a calculated effort to streamline the hiking experience. There will be days where cooking becomes an afterthought, replaced by no-cook meals that require only water and time.

The preparation involves constant activity with my trusty Nesco dehydrator, meticulously extracting water from a mix of beans or spaghetti. Once dehydrated, the meals are elevated with the addition of carefully chosen ingredients. Here are a few staples that will grace my menu in the coming months:

1. Dehydrated Spaghetti with Parmesan Cheese and TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein):

  • A concoction that adds both calories and protein without compromising on weight.

2. Seasoned Beans with Chips:

  • Rehydrated beans meet the satisfying crunch of chips, transforming the initially slimy mix into a textured delight.

3. Hummus with Pita Chips:

  • Hummus, a reliable spread, rehydrates easily and packs the necessary calories per ounce, though I anticipate a hummus overload by the journey's end.

4. Mashed Potatoes with Multiple Additions:

  • Basic mashed potatoes become a hearty meal with the addition of whole milk powder, gravy packets, and further enhancements like TVP, couscous, or jerky.

5. Bean-Based Meals:

  • Dehydrated beans, spiced and combined with various grains, TVP, noodles, bulgur, or other calorie-rich carbohydrate additives.

These meals, while sustaining, are bound to wear on my palate over time. However, the anticipation of enjoying diverse meals in towns along the trail serves as a beacon of culinary relief. As the journey unfolds, each calorie meticulously counted becomes a vital building block for the challenges and triumphs that lie ahead.

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