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  1. #1
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    Default Protein on the trail

    I plan on taking in plenty of protein thru hiking 2012, though I noticed some people, from their blogs, gradually lacked in energy. Could it be a protein issue? Some were vegans. Any thoughts?
    Last edited by Bowlegs; 11-18-2011 at 19:23.
    Keep pushin' on!

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    tuna, chicken, ham in foil pouches and hard boiled eggs.

    geek

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    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    not a problem. just eat 5-6K calories a day and you'll be good.
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

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    Protein is important, but also very important, especially with respect to "energy" are foods packed with carbs, such as rice, potatoes and other types of those "evil" starchy foods. Too much protein and not enough carbs will leave you empty; that's why the Atkins diet is just another BS fad diet and does not work for athletes - AKA, people that walk every day for ~ 1/2 a year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bowlegs View Post
    Some were vegans. Any thoughts?
    I think it's more a thing about eating a lot of junk food. I think vegans will be alright, thanks to our modern society, with out that support you better be eating some animal products.

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    I didn't eat much protein on the trail and I didn't lack energy at all. I found it odd I could eat so horribly and hike so well. I usually carried one protein-rich meal for an entire 4 day section on the PCT and generally saved it for after either a particularly difficult day or the last night before resupply. Usually a packet of tuna or a chicken breast. I probably should have eaten more protein, but like I said, I was able to hike really well on a horrible diet for some strange reason, and protein was heavy so I kept on doing it that way.
    Some knew me as Piper, others as just Diane.
    I hiked the PCT: Mexico to Mt. Shasta, 2008. Santa Barbara to Canada, 2009.

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    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    I eat Primal Strips (made of Seitan) www.primalspiritfoods.com
    they are vegetarian, taste great, are chocked full of protein, are light and go with mac and cheese like champs!
    Hard boiled eggs from my local chicken friends are also the bomb for day hikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    not a problem. just eat 5-6K calories a day and you'll be good.
    Exactly. If you eat enough calories (^^that much), you'll get tons of protein even if you try not to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john gault View Post
    Protein is important, but also very important, especially with respect to "energy" are foods packed with carbs, such as rice, potatoes and other types of those "evil" starchy foods. Too much protein and not enough carbs will leave you empty; that's why the Atkins diet is just another BS fad diet and does not work for athletes - AKA, people that walk every day for ~ 1/2 a year.
    This is really good advice. I think eating enough protein though is important. Datto, who thru-hiked and gives tips in the Articles section here on Whiteblaze, states that he wishes he would have included a good protein powder in his diet, as he suffered the effects of weight loss during the trip:https://whiteblaze.net/forum/show...g-Tips&p=95200 Also besides what John Gault advises, I think enough fats included also are very important. This will help provide energy along with the complex carbs, and will help keep your body healthy. I think the hikers that go out, and basically maybe don't make an effort to eat right, and good quality foods, are the ones that either wind up going energy bankrupt, or end up losing too much muscle mass. Also in addition to eating good, rest is also vitally important. If you feel you are in need of it, and feel you are running out of energy, then by all means take it. Resting for a day or two or even more can wind up being extremely important in preventing burnout, sickness, and possibly even preventing a hike ending injury. Those extra rest days will wind up working in the hikers favor, so take them when needed. And those attempting to thru-hike, you need enough funds to be able to eat right. If you are not having quality food maildropped during the hike, then make sure you have enough funds set aside for the hike so you can resupply with plenty of good food for the journey. If you go out there with the plan to rely on a steady diet of candy bars, soda, baked goods, etc...and whatever you can scrounge from hiker boxes and handouts, then your diet will suffer, and so will your chances of success.

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    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Dapper - perhaps you misspoke - Atkins is for loosing weight without much exercise...actually embraced by some professional weight loss programs for the first several weeks of weight loss. It has little to do with athletes or is a fad. The part about fats in the above post is right on target and I am on board with the rest of what you wrote.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

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    Flip flop, flip flopping' LASHin' 2000 miler LDog's Avatar
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    Over on FB there is a gent who's exploring pemmican. If, like me, you ain't hip to this traditional Native American foodstuff, it is basically a mixture of dried lean meat, and rendered fat. Properly done, it lasts nearly forever without refrigeration. Lean, raw meat is cut very thin, dried thoroughly and pulverized (or food processed) nearly into a powder. Fat is rendered into tallow. And the two are mixed approx 50-50. Sometimes, dried berries are added. The practitioners call it a superfood, and a nutritionally complete food... So forget your complex carbs, just dip into your baggy of pemmican for a big calorie, protein/fat bomb!

    http://nutrition-and-physical-regeneration.com/blog/941/meat/the-bread-of-the-wilderness-pemmican/
    http://www.traditionaltx.us/images/PEMMICAN.pdf


    Ldog
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    "The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness." - John Muir

  12. #12
    Registered User Feral Nature's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    not a problem. just eat 5-6K calories a day and you'll be good.
    This is nonsense. Just because someone eats 5-6K calories a day does NOT guarantee that they are getting enough protein. The calories could be made up of all sugar with zero protein so your reasoning is flawed.
    Formerly known as Texas Phlox.

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    I think protien should be about 10% of your daily calorie burn.
    So if you are burning 2000 kcal, that would be 50g.
    If you are burning 6000 kcal, that would be 150g.

    You can eaily get that as a vegan, or vegetarian, or whatever. Just eat real food. I think more likely is that hikers will get low on iron, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Those are the big 4 to worry about, whether you are vegan or not. Easlily fixed, by eating real food, including some herbs, like parsley. Don't go heavy on empty sugars and empty fats until you know you are getting enough protien, iron, calcium, A, and C.

    1 oz of dried parsley will take care of most or all of your iron, calcium, A, and C.
    Oats with breakfast and Lentils and Parsley soup with supper will easily take care of the protien.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Phlox View Post
    This is nonsense. Just because someone eats 5-6K calories a day does NOT guarantee that they are getting enough protein. The calories could be made up of all sugar with zero protein so your reasoning is flawed.
    Nonsense? Please, no one eats straight sugar. Instead of making ridiculous unfounded statements, let's put some numbers into this argument.

    Example 1
    The limiting factors will be a diet consisting entirely of Snickers bars and water with a daily calorie intake of 5000-6000 calories.

    A 2 oz Snickers bar has 271 calories, of which 4 grams are protein. 20 is a nice round number of bars to eat. That's 5420 calories and 80 grams of protein. That amount of protein lands in the middle of what people generally recommend for a very physically active person.

    Example 2

    Same limiting factors, but plain oatmeal from Costco is used instead. Only other thing consumed would be water.

    An entire package has 15300 calories, so let's use 1/3rd of that. That's 5100 calories and 170 grams of protein.

    Example 3

    Same as above, except mashed potato flakes from Costco.

    A #10 can only has 2160 calories, so let's use 2 1/2 cans for a total of 5400 calories and 300 grams of protein.

    Example 4

    3 Musketeers bar. Twenty of them would have 5140 calories and 40 grams of protein. It would be hard to find anything that provides less protein without going to something that's essentially pure sugar like Lemonheads or Skittles. It certainly isn't going to be a vegetable since eating celery would put you near 300 grams of protein and spinach would result in roughly 800 grams of protein.

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    Speaking of Atkins diet, there have been studies on extremely low carb diets on endurance athletes, and after a few weeks period of adjustment, they did very well. The traditional inuit diet, for example, does work for endurance athletes. So a wide range of fats vs carbs works, but the protien needs to be at least 10% of calories burned, and I wouldn't go higher than 30% there. So protien 10-30%, Carbs 10-60%, and Fats 10-60%, in my opinion. My specific recommendation for hiking is 10% protien, 30% carbs, 60% fat, as percentage of calories burned, and then to reduce the fat actually consumed by 1% of your body fat. So, for example, if burning 5000 kcal/day, and you have 50 pounds of body fat, then your daily diet should be about 125g protien, 375g carbs, and 333g fats, but then you can chose to reduce the fat consumed by up to 1% of 50 pounds = ~200g, so 133g fat in the diet. This skews the dietary percentages in this case to roughly 16% protien, 48% carbs, 36% fat, which is pretty reasonable.

  16. #16
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    Well done, Leaftye. I've also always heard that if you get enough calories in any reasonable trail diet (including Snickers bars--yes, you, Mags), you'll get enough protein. And as for the Atkins diet, I also used to think it was a fad until someone very close to me, also a very active thru hiker and athlete, was diagnosed as a Type I diabetic. She is doing very well and staying very strong and active with a very low carb diet.

    Protein from meat is way over-rated, I think. I haven't eaten meat in decades, and that includes a career as a firefighter and three thru hikes. When people ask, and they always do, how I get my protein, I respond, "How do horses, elephants, or rhinos get protein? They're large, strong animals and they don't eat meat." It's not a perfect analogy, but it does illustrate that protein exists in food other than meat.

    When advice-givers start quoting USDA recommendations, and they always do, I reflect on how well the USDA has done in setting dietary guidelines in my lifetime. When I was a child, there was one diabetic in my school....
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  17. #17

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    I'm going to backtrack a little, if I may, from what I've said about nutritional needs. As for the Atkins diet I'm a little jaded, only because of the BS infomercials I've seen, but putting that aside, maybe there is some truth behind some of the principles.

    But I'm backtracking, because this thread I started, during which time I remember reading of the diet of the Tarahumara Indians; I would never of guessed that one could exhibit the endurance of those people on the diet they eat. https://whiteblaze.net/forum/show...41#post1109241

    So maybe we should give the body another look in the light of what others have accomplished. Perhaps the body is much more adaptable than what we know. After all, look at how important milk is to many of us. However, we had to acclimate ourselve to drink it and there are peoples around the world who can't process the stuff because they've never been exposed. http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za/2002/june/lactose.htm But then you got the Maasai people of East Africa with this diet:

    "Traditionally, the Maasai diet consisted of meat, milk, and blood from cattle. An ILCA study (Nestel 1989) states: “Today, the staple diet of the Maasai consists of cow's milk and maize-meal. The former is largely drunk fresh or in sweet tea and the latter is used to make a liquid or solid porridge. The solid porridge is known as ugali and is eaten with milk; unlike the liquid porridge, ugali is not prepared with milk. Meat, although an important food, is consumed irregularly and cannot be classified as a staple food. Animal fats or butter are used in cooking, primarily of porridge, maize, and beans. Butter is also an important infant food. Blood is rarely drunk."

    Sometimes I really have to remind myself to keep an open mind. So I'm going to plea extreme ignorance in this subject.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by leaftye View Post
    Nonsense? Please, no one eats straight sugar. Instead of making ridiculous unfounded statements, let's put some numbers into this argument.

    Example 1
    The limiting factors will be a diet consisting entirely of Snickers bars and water with a daily calorie intake of 5000-6000 calories.

    A 2 oz Snickers bar has 271 calories, of which 4 grams are protein. 20 is a nice round number of bars to eat. That's 5420 calories and 80 grams of protein. That amount of protein lands in the middle of what people generally recommend for a very physically active person.
    ........

    ..........

    Example 4

    3 Musketeers bar. Twenty of them would have 5140 calories and 40 grams of protein. It would be hard to find anything that provides less protein without going to something that's essentially pure sugar like Lemonheads or Skittles. It certainly isn't going to be a vegetable since eating celery would put you near 300 grams of protein and spinach would result in roughly 800 grams of protein.

    Speaking of ridiculous. I doubt anyone could eat 20 Snickers bars a day and not have adverse effects. This is about hiking for months on end, not a state fair competitive food eating competition. Plus at .99 cents a bar that's $19.80 a day on 2.6 pounds of food.

  19. #19

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    Here's a good set of articles on food nutrition for a long distant hike:

    http://www.thru-hiker.com/articles/p..._eat_right.php

    What most of us don't realize is that our focus should be more on fat and less on protein (at least per the author of the articles mentioned above, who is a nutritionist and avid long distance hiker, Ph.D., and R.D.). I believe she recommends a 55:30:15 or 45:40:15 ratio for carb/fat/protein.

    But like everything, it’s HYOH .

  20. #20
    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    Many exaggerate the need for a lot of protein. You can meet the real needs without a great deal of thought. On long backpacking trips, I carry powdered milk and add it to most of my meals. It goes into my coffee and cereal every morning, and most soups and whatever concoctions I cook for supper. Other easily carried and relatively light weight protein sources are peanuts, dried pea soups, cheese, eggs, summer sausage, Snickers ....

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