Can you eat healthy on a long distance hike?
Yes, you can eat healthy while hiking long distances! I was recently interviewed by a journalist with REI about my healthy eating style while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018. I have linked it below and I hope you enjoy it!
Willing To Try New Things
I know that a lot of hikers are dogmatic in their approach to backpacking nutrition. It’s unfortunate, really. A fixed mindset here is the wrong approach; there are many strategies and eating styles and this is just one way. You don’t have to eat ramen and potatoes or copious amounts of candy during your hike. You may want to, but you’ll even get sick of those and crave real food. Calorie quality does matter on a hike. Nutrients matter.
Flexibility is needed for a successful long distance hike and being close minded about nutrition doesn’t fit that approach for success.
More Than Fuel, Food Is Information
I was able to hike to Canada without any ramen noodles or mashed potatoes. I had some candy bars, I ate a couple of boxes of pop tarts and I LOVE Nutella. Sometimes you have to make the best of resupply situations. By all means, get foods to enjoy but if you neglect your nutrition you may be setting yourself up for more than just sugar crashes. Over 90% of serotonin is produced in the stomach. Serotonin is the “happy hormone” and helps to keep the brain chemistry balanced.
Many hikers talk about the post trail blues and with good reason. However, feeding your body sugar feeds the “bad” bacteria upsets the balance with the bacteria that are producing the serotonin. That could mean a in higher risk of post trail depression.
Food is information for the body. Give it the information it needs to keep you happy AND healthy during your hike!
You can reach me firstname.lastname@example.org with any injury issues, past or present that you feel will impact your hike. Training questions are also welcome – I am happy to help!