Portaging is one example of the kind of calorie burning work the backcountry demands.

Eat hearty to survive in the backcountry

Stats Canada says that 57 per cent of the population is overweight. Twenty-five per cent of them are considered obese, an increase of 50 per cent since the 1970’s. Well, when you consider the aging population, a more lethargic lifestyle, and lets not forget the computer generation who sit in front of a computer 24/7 playing games. They no longer know how to communicate with their bodies. Not only does government tell you how to walk, talk, now there are those making miniature fortunes telling you how to eat.

It’s no longer about a life of quality, but a life of quantity, live longer and be happy. Statisticians should get a life. Don’t drink, don’t eat fatty foods and you’ll live a whole two more years according to the gurus of healthy living. Great. Don’t enjoy that big juicy slice of chocolate cake now, so you’ll get to drool for two more years while watching Wheel of Fortune when you’re 95. No thanks. Live and experience life and if that means you die at 75 rather than 77, so be it.

There’s one place those anal-probing statisticians don’t belong as well as those so called dietician experts, and baby that’s in the backcountry. Low carbohydrate diets are similar to when they came out with all those light products, no sugar and low in fats, I can remember the first time peanut butter came out on the shelves with the low fat variety, give your head a shake.

Tired of hearing about all those diets, just head over to the local food market and stock up on carbohydrates and calories, and head on out.

In the backcountry your body has greater energy demands. Double your normal caloric intake. You will burn them off in no time. During hot spells while hiking or performing heavy exercise you will feel less hungry. It’s important to force yourself to eat. It’s important to get the calories your body requires to perform.

During your activity eat small amounts frequently, snacking when taking breaks. High energy foods such as carbohydrates are digested and absorbed the quickest. Examples of this high energy food include trail mix, dried fruit, fresh fruit and granola bars to name a few.

There are several convenient meal selections for dinner. Magic Pantry is one choice. You only have to add to boiling water. It’s not as light as dehydrated or freeze dried meals but it’s not as expensive either and has the same benefit.

Bedtime snacks are my favourite, the fattier the better, you achieve more energy per pound eating fats, and they’ll give you warmth through the night. Nuts, peanut butter, chocolate or honey are good choices. For those with beards make sure that honey or chocolate is cleaned off afterwards or you may find some nocturnal character attempting to feed off your beard stealing your desert before you can lick it off in the morning. Something to do with scents. Even the wildlife know a good meal when they see one. Forget about bears. Believe it or not, deer mice will infiltrate your beard by the tens in an attempt for a good lick at peanut butter and cracker crumbs. Now if you’re worrying about the hantra virus, populations of 10,000 per square kilometre have been recorded in young forests. Better have a deer mouse proof tent along with you. All that worrying will assist in burning off a few more calories. In the backcountry – MORE IS BETTER.

Lawrence Woodall is a longtime naturalist living in Port Hardy.

 

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