One of the greatest weaknesses I had on my PCT thru-hike in 2013 was the lack of good quality food. I funded my hike on a meager budget which basically meant a steady stream of cookies and candy that I'd bought in bulk and repackaged for myself at home with a food saver. I drank my dinners each night (a Vega protein shake–my biggest splurge). I ate nearly 300 Clif bars that were leftovers from a race that I'd volunteered at a few months prior. It was certainly no wonder that I was emaciated and passing out after 2,000 miles of 40+ mpd on a scant diet.
Now, on the brink of my next huge endeavor, I have even less of a budget than I had for the PCT. However, I have been blessed with discounts from several companies that have made it affordable for me to eat better. I have also realized the importance of fueling with high quality foods and not ignoring my gluten intolerance as I did in the past. I am spending far more money on food this time than last, but I believe the dividend will be immense.
There are five main nutritious food companies that comprise the majority of my resupply boxes. They are:
Salazon Chocolate (yes, chocolate is nutritious!)
In addition, Fuel Bites provides an excellent electrolyte staple that is a cross between whole food and supplement. Read my review of their product here.
I've enjoyed products from each of these companies for a long time and am thankful that they've assisted me in my fueling needs in 2015. I'll be reviewing the products I've been loving most in the next few Review Tuesday posts.
I'll start today with Trail Butter.
Trail Butter is a small Portland, OR company founded by brothers Brad and Jeff. Both avid adventures themselves they have a great idea of what's essential to fuel endurance. I have always been a huge fan of nut butters and coconut oil as fuels both on the trail and off. Many of you may remember this photo from PCT 2013...
|Desperation Dinner Pre-Trail Butter Days|
I've come a long way from the desperation of oreos tortilla wraps. In fact, I hope I never eat a single oreo on this hike. Or a tortilla for that matter, now that I know that gluten is the source of many of my problems.
Jeff and Brad have made several delicious blends of nuts, oil, and honey sweetened spreads. My favorite is the Expedition Espresso, hands down. I love the chocolate and coffee flavor and the kick it gives me from caffeine and simple carbs combined with the long term fueling of the slow burning fat calories. It's gotten me up many mountains, including Rainier, through long trail pushes, and through 2+ loops at the Barkley Marathons. It's in all my resupply boxes for the rest of the summer.
I also enjoy some of their other blends at home and on the trail. I like to balance caffeinated and non-caffeinated foods throughout my day. The variety in flavors is excellent for that and keeping me from getting bored.
The convenient pouch packaging is now available in single serves (Look for it at REI!!) as well as the 5.4 oz size. This makes it simple to use on an adventure of any length. The jars are nice for use at home or when car camping/racing.
The one con to this product (aside from it not being suitable for those with nut allergies) is that the coconut oil tends to get very hard in cold temps. I've learned to carry the Trail Butter in my pocket at night or when it's cold out to make sure it's ready to eat whenever I need it.