Saturday, October 22, 2016

My Grand Canyon Backpacking Trip was Fantastic!

The title says it all but here are some pictures too.  Everything turned out really well.  It was a geology "class" with the Grand Canyon Field Institute, led by 2 guides and with 8 students.  I prepared my food as described in my previous post.  I had two 16-oz water bottles that I filled with my dehydrated food (75 g each, or about 2.5 oz) and water.  I did this after each meal and then started snacking on the first bottle an hour or two later.  I snacked on the bottles and on my seed mixture (hemp, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and a touch of salt) all day long.  I probably ate at most 1/8 tsp of salt in a day from the seeds, but I put so little salt on the entire bag I think it was quite a bit less.  So I think most of my salt just came from the natural foods, proving that you don't need to add much, if any salt, even in the desert. Our main guide told us at the beginning that we should eat lots of junk food and salty foods. One of the other students said she wasn't used to all the salt she was eating and I wonder if that's why she had swollen feet during most of the trip.   Everyone else ate those packaged backpacking meals where you boil water and then add it to a foil package.  They generated so much garbage that they had to pack out.  I didn't!  Also their food didn't look appetizing.  They made fun of me but I'm sure my food tasted better than anyone else's.  It was sweet thanks to the butternut squash and sweet potatoes.  And it was cool and refreshing with all the water that was added to it.  And I didn't have to carry the extra weight of a stove.  It was brilliant if I do say so myself.

And the trip was great and I was in great shape and had no trouble.  I was so relieved because I was nervous about how I would do.  I practically bounded up the canyon on the last day, in my excitement to reunite with my partner at the top.  I'd love to do this again and be more relaxed instead of nervous about whether I'd packed the right things and how my food would turn out and how I would do physically.  Here are some pictures:

Heading down from the North Rim on the North Kaibab Trail:

Relaxing at Cottonwood Campground on the first night:

The amazing Ribbon Falls, a sacred site for the Zuni Indians.

 Heading into the box Canyon as we approach Phantom Ranch at the bottom.

The mighty Colorado River, where I took a bath

It was cold!

Hiking out on Day 4.  We had an awesome hike on Day 3.

Our guide's favorite rock in the entire Grand Canyon:

Our campground on Day 4, the last night.  We huddled around the tree after the first rainstorm, then had another huge one that led to beautiful waterfalls off the Redwall cliffs and a flash flood very close to our campsite!

The start of thunderstorm #2, right when my camera battery died.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Using Dehydrated Food for Travel

I've got a trip coming up where I will use dehydrated food in two different ways:  for a 6-day backpacking trip, and for spending a few days here and there in remote locations without a grocery store.  I also used it for an airplane trip to attend an event where I was staying with friends who had none of the kind of food I eat in their house. Their fridge was full of food for parties and the store was far away and I didn't want to be a bother.  The dehydrated food was perfect:  I made my meals easily and I ate them while they ate their food, whether at home or in restaurants.  Here's how I do it:

I order a bunch of food from Harmony House.  I'm sure there are other places too, this is just the first place I found.  I started with their Backpacking kit, and then over time learned which foods I like better than others.   Here is what my current supply looks like.   My starches:



I combine them into a bowl with 1/3 starches, 1/3 beans, 1/3 veggies.  I just pick at random what I want from the 3 categories.   When I make several bowls, I'll get variation.

For backpacking I add 150g to each "sandwich" size ziplock bag.  Looking at the nutritional info, I learned that most of the foods are between 3-4 calories/g, so I take 3.5 as the average.  This gives me plenty of calories for a meal.  Actually I get really full eating this.  It seems like more than 525 calories.   For not-backpacking, I put in 125g per bag.  Even that seems like a lot.  For backpacking, I will also bring nuts, roasted chickpeas and raisins.  For non-backpacking I will usually be able to have fresh fruit and nuts.  

I put the small ziplock bags into a large gallon-size bag for more complete sealing.  About 6 small bags fit in the bigger bag.

Now I'm set for my backpacking trip and also for several days in remote regions where I won't have easy access to grocery stores.  Then for the rest of the time I'll have beans, fresh veggies and fruit, and nuts.

[edited later] Thanks to a commenter for reminding me to describe how I "cook" the food.  I add about 3 times as much water as food (I think recommendation is twice), and if I happen to have a stove, I cook it for 5-10 minutes.  But usually I don't.  I just soak it for 30 minutes- 5 hours.   The longer it soaks (or cooks), the better it is in my opinion.  On my backpacking trip, I don't even have to bring a stove!  (I don't drink coffee so don't need it for that either).  I just start soaking my next meal after I finish my current one.  I do the same on other kinds of trips.  I bought some leak-proof containers to soak the food in.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


So much to update.  It's been a fabulous summer.  I tried to take most of it off and I almost succeeded.  I spent a lot of time outside.  I'm training for a backpacking trip so I've been biking, swimming, running, and hiking.  It's been great.

I posted earlier in the summer about doing a 30-day SQBLE challenge.  That lasted 71 days and then I ate an extra piece of watermelon.  I realized I crossed my lines and would have to restart my counting, and so then I just kept eating the rest of the day, more grapes and nuts and "healthy" things, but still, it was way more than I needed or probably even wanted.  That is what they call diet mentality!  I do not want to participate in diet mentality ever again!  Maybe it's better to not count at all.  I know I am not perfect and will have breaks.  I don't want to have that mentality of, well I know I'm never supposed to eat sweets again, so maybe I'd better go eat a bunch today and restart tomorrow.  no no no, I'm tired of that shit.  I hardly ever drink alcohol except a sip or two every six months, because I don't want to.  I don't drink caffeine because I don't want to.  I don't count days since I drank or ate caffeine.  I don't want to eat sugar and flour because I feel yucky when I do.  It's the same reason I don't drink alcohol or caffeine.  So I am going to stop counting days "on plan".  I will still going to write out my food plan because I like planning what I'm going to eat tomorrow and then following it.  It makes me feel like I'm getting the right amount of food which is a lot of food (see below).

I thought I was at my goal weight several months ago, but it dropped another 5 lbs this summer, probably because of all the physical activity.   I feel good at this weight.  This is where I started 5 years ago before I ballooned up.  Here is the chart showing that:
Every once in a while I check my calories in cronometer.  I'm around 1800-1900 now!  That's a lot.  I have to admit, I enjoy it.  I get my fill of all the foods I like:  beans, fruit, nuts and seeds, veggies, sweet potatoes and corn.

In my next post, I'll update on how I do my food while traveling.  I'll wait until I start planning for my next trip and take pictures of how I do it.  The punchline is I use dehydrated food for a large portion of my calories.  OMG, it's easy and--this is the real surprise--good! I also eat fruit and raw veggies, if I find ones that look decent, and nuts and seeds.  So I can skip the dehydrated veggies on some days, or cut back on others.  But when I'm in a remote area or visiting friends in hectic social situations with no time for food prep, the dehydrated food is perfect!

Friday, June 17, 2016

June 27 Bootcamp

I decided to sign up for the June 27 Bright Line Eating Bootcamp!   This will be my fourth time!   I am doing very well right now and am at my goal weight.  But I have some exciting events coming up and I'm superstitious that I will jinx myself and totally blow it and ruin everything.  Yep, I sometimes lack confidence.  My overriding goal this summer is to train for a backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon.  This is the 3rd year in a row I signed up for this and I had to cancel the 2 previous years for various reason, in the first year definiltey related to my eating being out of control.   I want to do this trip!  I also have a high school reunion to go to.  Okay, I don't care how much I weigh for that.   In fact, I'm sure I'll be liked more if I weigh more, right?   But it will be stressful and scary and I'll be under pressure to drink and party; and I just wouldn't mind some extra strength from my BLE community to get me through it all.   If you want to join me, or just learn more about BLE, you can pretty much learn it all from these videos:
video 1
video 2
video 3
And the upcoming webinar on June 21 and 22.
And here is the link to the susceptibility scale.
You can do the program yourself with the info in these videos.  But the bootcamps are really great.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

New BLE bootcamp starting June 27

The best part about the BLE program is the bootcamp, and a new one starts in a few weeks.  I'm almost tempted to do it again even though I have access to all the video modules and coaching calls from previous bootcamps.  If you are interested to learn more, you can watch the 4-part video series, that starts tomorrow.  Here is the link to video 1, which opens tomorrow.   The video series is very educational.  In video 4 is where you get the big sell to join the bootcamp and I can't remember if that has content as well, but certainly in the first 3, you'll get lots of useful info and not much sell.  Also here is a link to the susceptibility quiz, which she refers to right away.  I'm a 10 on the scale, which goes from 1-10, ha!  BLE was definitely made for me.  

By the way, I'm on day 17 of my Squeaky Clean BLE Challenge (SQBLE) (see previous posts).  It's going great!  but soon I return home from my peaceful vacation and that will be a challenge.   I should post about my re-emersion into regular life and how that goes.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Food Plan for May 31, Day 8 of my 30 day SQBLE Challenge

I'm going on a trip but my food will be pretty much the same.

1.5 oz oats
0.5 oz flax/chia
1 banana
8 oz veggies /salad

6 oz beans
6 oz berries or 1 piece of fruit (apple, orange etc)
0.5 oz
walnuts, almonds, and pistachios
8 oz veggies/salad

6 oz beans
16 oz veggies/salad
0.5 oz sesame seeds and Austrian pepitas
6 oz berries or 1 piece of fruit

Friday, May 27, 2016

Food Plan for May 28, Day 5 of my 30 day SQBLE Challenge

Tomorrow's food will be
7 oz chickpeas
0.5 oz walnuts, almonds, and pistachios
6 oz banana and berries
8 oz veggies (jicama, carrots, red bell pepper, greens)

6 oz beans
6 oz berries
0.5 oz flax/chia
8 oz veggies (see above)

6 oz beans
16 oz veggies (above)
2 oz mushrooms
0.5 oz sesame, Austrian pepitas, and hempseeds (with shell)
1 orange

Today's exercise was biking about 10 miles, yoga, and weights.