hiking

Packing your bag with food for hike: from bananas to eggs to water

Choose healthy and light food that has lots of nutritients to keep your mind and body going!
Picture source: Internet

When we go on a hike, we need food and drinks that supports the body in a different physical stress than usual. It needs more energy, less food that takes the energy, food that keeps us alert and “light”. Not to forget that we need to have all we eat in our back-bag. So less is definitely more.

Eat well every day

When I started going on hikes I noticed, that is so easy to agree that healthy, nutritious food is good for me. It is surprising that it took so long for me to understand and PRACTICE, that I should eat healthy every day. To feel lighter, more energetic. Somehow we [do you agree?] forget that our every day gives the body stress that could be minimized by thought-through food. Healthy eating is one of the topics in focus nowadays. And I am really bad at reading labels, following diets and I love stress-or-feel-good eating.
With the change of life, moving to a different culture, doing different things, my eating habits have luckily changed. And I am currently curious to learn about food and eating habits that would support my extensive hiking and tennis playing and also keep me more balanced mentally to be able to work in the hectic environment of the business management field. In the future, when I have more knowledge and experience in changing my daily dietary system, I’ll let you know what I found out.
But now I will write about what is in my bag on my hiking and walking trips and why.

Hiking food: bananas, nuts, hematogen

I honestly do not like to eat on my walks, nor do I drink a lot. Even on my favorite Seven mountain hike, a day long hike, I barely drink a liter or two of water, some raisins and in Norway, it has to be the Mill’s mayonnaise with bread. Here, in Ibiza, especially if it is hot, I don’t want to eat either. And to my body, it is OK for shorter distances. I have not fainted yet, but this can easily happen, so you will have to listen to your body!

Without doing any research I’d always take along some liquid, something sweet and fruity and something salty but light. And in small and comfortable packaging that it would be easy to eat. I could take salads in a box, but that would mean extra trash or extra space robber in my bag. So it is a no-no for me.

Before working out/ Breakfast

One thing to remember is, that if you eat before the workout, your system starts working on digesting and that is why you might lose the energy instead of getting it. You could eat one hour before, to allow the body to work on one thing at a time. I am a “coffee-for-breakfast” kind of girl and I know, that the satisfaction I get is only momentary because though it has the addiction 🙂 relieving effect, I will need some balancing food (like banana, water) in an hour or so. Which is okey, because I have this figured out. On more long hiking days, I do take some porridge or a sandwich for breakfast, just so I wouldn’t have to carry food with me.

With the years I have been hiking, I have my favorites to take along. This is far from the final list that you could use for choosing your favorites, but these I like the best.

Bananas

Bananas are easy to take along, both fresh or dried. Fresh bananas are more enjoyable to me. It is like having a full meal. So what do they offer for a body and mind of a hiker on a hike:
– provide nutrients that regulate heart rhythm and have vitamin compounds for eye health and especially important for sports. Like potassium (muscle function, keeps away the cramps. You lose potassium via sweating); manganese (important for metabolism, getting vitamins from other food stuff. Helps wound heal better); carbohydrates (endurance, glycogen is like a fuel for your activity).
– It is low in fat and rich in dietary fiber and phytonutrients.

My three favorite reasons to eat a banana:
* Boosts energy without making you guilty of being unhealthy (chocolate, coffee, cola drinks);
* It improves your mood with Tryptophan, an essential amino acid which is responsible for the production of Serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that is known to overcome depression and improve mood.
* Improves brain function and keep alertness which is higly recomendable for mountain walking, isn’t it?

As much as I read about banana, it is wise to eat at least one a day. Especially on your stressful days and maybe even change your one cup of coffee to a one banana?
If it is not a banana, it is an apple, pear, carrot or something else from the fruit section. You have got to have some sort of fresh fruit with you!

Nuts, hazelnuts

There are way too many nuts to describe them all here. My favorite are hazelnuts and brazil nuts. If you like some other nuts, feel free to learn about them here. I like to eat nuts on trips because it is a healthy and small snack to have while walking when you feel you are getting hungry or just have the habit of always eating. Nuts, you can just eat and eat.
A bit more about hazelnuts. Magnesium, that can be found in hazelnuts, plays an important role in regulating the amount of calcium that goes into and out of the cells of the body. And calcium is important for strong walker’s body! The proper amount of calcium at the proper time encourages muscle contraction, and allows the muscles to relax when they’re not needed. This avoids muscle tension, soreness, spasm, cramps and fatigue.
Hazelnuts have a high amount of vitamin E in addition to B vitamins, including folate. Unlike unhealthy snacks such as chips and refined products, hazelnuts can provide the body with a rich supply of nutrients for good health

Let’s go deep into hazelnuts:
Vitamin E: The first and most important benefit of hazelnut is that it is the best known source of Vitamin E and this is very important for healthy muscles including the heart muscle, and for the normal function of the reproductive system. At the same time vitamin E can also prevent the disintegration of red blood cells which are the blood cells that carry oxygen around the body.
Iron: hazelnut is an abundant source of iron which is important for preventing anemia by forming the red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body.
Potassium which helps to stimulate the nervous system and prevent cramping (as in banana).
Calcium which strengthens the bones and ligaments and helps to strengthen muscle contractions.
Vitamin B1, 2 and 6 – which are important for blood formation as well as brain function.
You can read even moro thoroughly here.

Hematogen or raisins

I sometimes take a long a chocolate bar or some candys, but my ultimate favorite would be hematogen (Гематоген in Russian, sometimes transliterated as Gematogen). It is a Russian candy bar, which is notable in that one of its main ingredients is black food albumin taken from processed (defibrinated) cow’s blood. (Wiki knowledge). Other ingredients may vary, but usually they’re sugar, milk, vanillin. It is often considered to be a medicinal product, and is used to treat or prevent low blood levels of iron and vitamin B12 (e.g., for anemia or during pregnancy). Gematogen daily dose (50 grams for an adult) is able to provide the body with the necessary quantity of vitamin A.
I have bought and eaten hematogen mostly at times when my stress levels are u and I am in need of energy, like exams or late-night working. And it is great for hiking as well, since it doesn’t make you tired, like candies and chocolate does. Also, you cannot eat it too much, because the taste is strong enough to discipline you.

Another dried fruits that is a perfect substitute for all those sugary-good-for-nothing candies are raisins. They have a lot of sugars, glucose and fructose and they help absorb the vitamins, proteins and other nutritients in your body.

Put all that stuff into muesli-bar

Muesli-bars is a good combination of all the above. I am going to make them myself. The ones in the shop are easy to buy and definitely good, but also have things you don’t want in your body. It is so easy to do a muesli-bar containing only things you like and nothing else. If I have tried some muesli recipes that I have picked up now, you can see my suggestions on my Pinterest YumYum board.

Crisp Bread and something salty

Here, in Ibiza, people take huge bocadillos (basically white bread baguettes with ham, tomato or other sandwich ingredients) with them for hikes. I usually take crackers or dry bread/crisp bread and some ham or cheese and/or eggs (fried, boiled). With all the sweet energy you get from the raisins, bananas, you really want something salty at some point. Then again, if it is a short trip, ca 3-5 hours, I rarely take anything besides a banana and water and some nuts.
Having said that, on a longer hike or a hike that clashes your lunch, a sandwich is a good idea. Crisp bred is a high fibre consistant snack and goes perfectly with aforementioned stuff or anything else you might enjoy (fish-fingers, pate, frankfurters, etc.), but you can also eat it without anything to wash off the sweet taste in your mouth. I, loving Scandinavia, am especially pro-crisp bread because it comes originally from Sweden. I remember when I was a kid and had my first crisp bread from Wasabröd. The tastiest thing ever. My personal favorite now is the Wasabröd muesli crisp breads which I use with ham or just plainly.

Water

The Most Important thing on every day “walks” and on hikes.
Do not forget WATER! Picture source: Internet

To be able to get all that dry food digested and after sweating a lot on your hiking (right?) you need water. Our body consist 55-78% of water and dehydration can cause symptoms like tiredness, migrane, constipation, muscle cramps, irregular blood pressure. Sometimes, if you feel hungry, you might just be dehydrated, so before  making a huge meal, drink some water or eat a bit of banana and see if the hunger stays.
Our energy level is greatly affected by the amount of water we drink. It has been medically proven that just a 5% drop in body fluids will cause a 25% to 30% loss of energy in the average person. Can you imagine what 15% will do?! Water is what our liver uses to metabolize fat into usable energy. It is estimated that over 80% of our population suffers energy loss due to minor dehydration. Don’t be one of them, start drinking water!

I know it can be difficult. It sure is for me. The amount of water I need to drink is 2,2 liters! I cannot imagine that and I still struggle to do that, been though I noticed the difference in muscle tension and felt more “light” after I started drinking more water. I also drink a lot of coffee and this takes the water out. In order to compensate, what do I have to do? Drink more water … This is my main challenge these months. Hope it is easier for you!

Form a daily habit of eating in a way that supports your mind and body

It is easier said than done, I know. What I also know, is that, if not yet, there will be a time when you will be able to hear what your body wants and needs. Whether you listen and act upon it is another question. My eating habits have been awful for the last years. And I am quite sure that is part of the reason I coped really badly with all the stress. Too much coffee, not enough fruits, evening wine, no breakfast, large meals or no meals at all. You get the picture. And I didn’t really do anything physical. Now that I am more physically active and have taken the time to listen to myself, it is quite easy to cut on food that only gives you the pleasure of eating and all the pain afterwards and bring in the products that give you both: pleasure of eating and pleasure in being active in sports. And I am not on a diet. But I do think what the food I put in my mouth will do to my body and my mind. It is as simple as that.
 
But don’t listen to me on dietary advice, listen to your body! (S)he knows best!
 
Bon appetit! On hikes and days between the hikes.

Other links:

* This is where I got the information on bananas for sport, other good things about banana.
* I didn’t write much about eggs, but I feel like you should really consider using them more, so have a look at that information about the benefits of eggs.
* Want to know the nutrition information for different foodstuff, visit Nutrition Data website.

Just as I was editing my post, I also saw this nice and clear picture of where the food we eat go in our body.

Picture source: Facebook

Read what walks can you do in Ibiza:

More reading: Tips for walking in Ibiza or elsewhere

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Walking lifestyle – keeping you fit, mentally and physically

Don’t forget we all need time-off from our daily lives. Walking is the easiest and accessible thing to do that. Go out for a walk, share your thoughts and inspirations with me via e-mail. My aim is to show how easy it is to find little walks, little time-off-chunks in life to keep you mentally and physically fit. Wherever you are.

Liisi Toom

walking clothes by ISCLiisi Toom is a communication executive and lifestyle coach who spent 9 months in Ibiza walking, doing walking tours and blogging about it. She has also done and blogged about walking in Estonia and Norway. She coaches people on finding their lifestyle. If you wish to find and live your lifestyle, e-mail at liisitoom (at) gmail. com or follow her Twitter @liisi.

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About the Author

liisi

Personal Branding, Communications and Mental health coach. Speaking with passion, inspiring for each to live on their own terms.

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