Who knew that food made such a difference in all areas of your life? From emotions to exhaustion the right foods can be the difference between a good day or a bad one and I continue to learn that first hand. It started when I would watch Clayton, my fiance, out hike me on every mountain. Given he is in better shape than I am, but I would be dying halfway into the hike while he looked like he had just started. The difference was in our breakfasts which allowed him to go further and the snacks we brought were the perfect dose of fuel for him to keep going, while I was already too far behind.
Before I start sharing all my secrets to snacks, I'll start with how I figured out that food was my biggest downfall when it came to hiking. I've been sick a lot this year with infections, colds, and migraines. Each day has been a battle and the need for an afternoon nap never really made me feel better. In November, I heard about Kelly LeVeque, a nutritionist for the stars and the author of Body Love. It was during this time that my skin was turning against me, covered in rashes and always itching, I became desperate enough to try anything new. I followed her diet, the Fab Four, with smoothies every morning and found that all areas of my life were getting a whole lot better. Her diet is simple, eat fat, fiber, protein and greens in every meal and keep the sugars you eat (including glucose - aka fruit) to a minimum. If you don't want to follow the whole diet then just starting the day off with a fab four smoothie will change your life.
From here I realized I've been eating wrong my whole life. It's easy to just grab trail mix for the trail or an apple. But they aren't giving you all the things you need to fulfill your adventures. So as you are shopping for your next big adventure, whether that's hiking up a mountain, heading to the slopes or a long day of travel on the airplane, these are the snacks you should be looking to grab before you go.
Healthy High-Protein Breakfast
Start the morning off right by giving your body the nutrients it needs to be successful in whatever adventure you have planned. I personally love the Fab Four smoothies but sometimes you want a little more or you'd rather just take that on the road with you. Having eggs and bacon for breakfast is a great way to start things off. Chop up some spinach and add some avocado for fat and you'll really feel full and ready to take on the world. Having a foundation of good food in your stomach will make all the difference for the rest of your day and it will help keep you full longer so you don't feel the need to constantly snack.
Who Said Fat Was Bad?
Fats have not been feeling the love. It's true there is such a thing as good fats. A McDonald's cheeseburger is the bad kind of fat while avocado is the good kind. Bringing an avocado, peanut butter (Justin's Nutbutter packs are great for the trail or for traveling), or chia seeds sprinkled on something or mixed in your trail mix are all great sources of fat.
Bring On The Protein
We are big fans of protein powder in this household, it goes in our morning smoothie every day and we stick with the Organic Pea Protein powder. It's only $10 at Trader Joes, which is a lot cheaper than most proteins plus there is no dairy in it and no artificial flavoring. You can bring some in a pouch and add it to your water or mix it in a smoothie and save it for later. If powder protein isn't your thing you can always grab a string cheese or the individual cheeses or a hard-boiled egg with a bit of salt (pink Himalayan salt is my favorite) and pepper on it.
Sugar For Emergencies
Sugar is a funny thing. We crave it the most, but what our bodies are actually craving is protein because we know that will sustain us longer, however sugar works faster. When you feel like you are crashing and you really need a burst of energy I suggest eating something with protein and also eating a bit of sugar. You'll get the quick fix you need while taking care of yourself for later. Clif Bars Bloks Energy Chews are our favorite. They are small square gummies loaded with sugar to give you a quick jolt when you need it most. We bring these along for every hike just in case we need the extra energy fast, and we almost always do. Dark chocolate is another great option and has other health benefits too so don't think you are limited in your choice of sugar. As long as you are working your body hard, there's no reason not to help yourself out with a sugary treat. Just remember to keep the serving size small and only use it when you need.
Fruit is another great source of energy and sugar. Like all sugar, it works fast but crashes fast too. Bring a banana or apples and add some peanut butter to it to get the benefit of the sugar and longevity of the peanut butter, and if you really want get crazy sprinkle some protein power on top, just for good measure.
The real thing I've learned in all of this is to start paying attention to your body. I know that when I get angry quickly or when I'm ready to pass out it's probably because I haven't been feeding myself well. A lot of the foods I eat are carbs which turn into glucose (sugar) because of this they don't last long and your blood sugar spikes and drops way to fast. The key to having a great adventure or a good day, in general, is trying to keep your sugar levels the same all day long. When you do that, your body sends the love back to you. I've been able to get over most of my health issues from changing my diet and adding in a few supplements (omega-3 and probiotics).
I am not a health professional and cannot give medical advice. This style of eating has benefited my body and I tell my story in hopes that others will be able to benefit from it. If you are thinking of drastically changing your diet in hopes of change in your life, I suggest speaking to a doctor or health professional first.
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