Frankly for most hikers this kind of thing isn't a huge issue. It only becomes something to think out if you go past 3 weeks or so out. For the typical hiker you could eat Ho-Ho's all weekend and exist. My point being is that until you burn off all your excess fat and your body becomes tuned to day in/day out hiking (as with thru hiking) you have little to worry about. What happens with thru's is they burn off the fat but then cannot add in enough food for what their body is burning. At that point yes, they can start eating away at muscle. But just eating protein won't preserve it. Eating muscle doesn't give muscle back. Rather one needs a balanced diet with carbs and protein for the body to work. And lets face it: long distance hiking is not the way one builds bulky muscle!
As long as your belly is full, you are getting a semi-balanced diet and have energy - then don't worry. If a person eats well at home they have little to worry about when hiking for a day, a weekend or a couple weeks.
PS: And consider this - take a look at what many thru hikers eat for a diet. It is often binging in towns, then eating a steady diet of what many would consider less-than-good picks of food. These diets of Snicker bars, Pop Tarts, Ramen, Lipton noodles and jerky have fueled many a hiker thopusands of miles. It is easy to digest.
And that is a simple thing to think over - a diet high in animal based protein is very hard to digest. It takes longer, leaving one sluggish while the food works it way through. Carbs are easy to get through, fueling you up quickly. Wheat based carbs contain protein as well........
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With the possible exception of Wandering Daisy... I challenge any of you to name the backpacking trip you've been on where you think you'd have any issues due to protien deficiency. Ok maybe there's someone else here who does a month out at a time unresupplied. Even through hikers hit towns every week or so and pig out.
yes, it's very nice to have some. but by the time you're splitting hairs over protein quality it's not something that is going to matter on a backpacking trip. You're simply not going to be out that long for this to matter. Especially when you consider the world runs on rice and beans
I wait with bated breath for the day I can take off long enough to have to worry about protien deficiency.. Maybe when I retire.. and even then I expect my better half will have a heck of a lot to say about it.
I challenge any of you to name the backpacking trip you've been on where you think you'd have any issues due to protien deficiency. Ok maybe there's someone else here who does a month out at a time unresupplied.
The longest I've been out unsupported is 21 days. Enough protein was relatively easy to carry. What I ran out of, and what I craved when I couldn't catch fish, was fat. That's the heavy stuff.
It's easy to be a holy man on top of a mountain. -- Larry Darrell
I often take a few types of "real" protien with me and if I'm lucky I will get a bonus from a lake. They include summer sausage, jerky, pepperoni, and the best of all worlds = bacon.
I look for the smallest thing of sausage and add this to soups, pita bread with cheese, etc.
Jerky I can add to ramen noodles and other soups or just snack on it.
Pepperoni is good with tortillas/pitas melted with string cheese or pita pepperoni pizza. I heat up a pita with pieces of string cheese, sundried tomatoes, and pepperoni and it makes a great pizza.
My personal favorite is already cooked bacon that is sealed in plastic and doesn't require refrigeration until opened. You can find this at many grocery stores. I just brown it a little and add it to anything that strikes my fancy. When I'm not packing light I will take bagels, cheddar, and powdered eggs and make my own breakfast sandwich. I make the eggs first, then bacon, and then brown the bagel in the pot (leave the little bit of bacon grease in the pot) with the cheese melting on the bagel. Just add the eggs and bacon to your sandwich and you'll eat like a king.
I only eat like this on half of my trips as it is a little on the heavy side but will stick with you for hours.
Loc: Springfield, IL
We take farm fresh eggs and add them to some foods we prepare. They go well with Ramen, rice, and many others. They are great by themselves! When I say farm fresh I'm talking about fresh from the chicken not the grocery store. The ones you get from the grocery store are usually a week or two old at best, and they have been refrigerated. Fresh eggs can keep for several weeks without being refrigerated. They also keep better than hard boiled eggs because the film that prevents bacteria from entering the porous egg shell is still intact. Pasturing and or boiling removes that protective layer, and can lead to early spoilage.
We actually keep a small flock of chickens so we have access to them year round. If you have local farmers market or, local farmer you should be able to get them there. Sometimes you can find them in route to your destination. Just look for eggs for sale signs in the front yards of homes out in the country.