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#165402 - 04/27/12 07:48 PM Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .?
Keith Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1664
Loc: Michigan's Upper Peninsula
I'm taking a group on a Grand Canyon rim-to-rim and discover that one of the participants is a dedicated vegetarian. I believe there are vegetarian foods out there but I have no idea which (if any) are any good -- as I'm not vegetarian and have never had to deal with the issue before.

Anyone out there with an opinion about meeting the needs of this person?
I don't think home dehydration will be an option, here. Pretty much will need dried or freeze-dried that is commercially available.

Thanks in advance.
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Human Resources Memo: Floggings will continue until morale improves.

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#165405 - 04/27/12 08:19 PM Re: Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .? [Re: Keith]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
How come this is your problem? It would think the person would have a pretty good idea of what items to consume on what will basically be a two day, or less, trip. Most foods are available in freeze dried, or relatively light weight, modes.

One thing to consider is that over many stretches of the trail (I am assuming the Kaibab/Bright Angel wilderness interstate) you will need to carry fairly generous quantities of water. Some of it might as well still be within the vegetable or fruit, especially items consumed in the early stages....

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#165409 - 04/27/12 10:42 PM Re: Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .? [Re: Keith]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
My backpack diet is primarily vegetarian, even though I am not an vegetarian. If they will eat dairy products, then they can just use the Knorr sides, and throw in olive oil, nuts and seeds, and cheese. If they are vegans, it is a bit more challenging. Dried beans and rice are a staple. Get the dried black bean soup and instant rice. Cook rice, add beans. FD tomatoes or dried tomatoes and corn can be added too. Trail food - dried fruit and nuts. Breakfast - oatmeal, nuts and dried fruit, brown sugar or honey, with a bit of margarine. There really is little need for expensive freeze dried meals that probably have lots of hidden ingredients. I also use textured vegetable protein (TVP) - I get it in the natural food bins at Safeway.

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#165412 - 04/27/12 11:17 PM Re: Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .? [Re: wandering_daisy]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I'll bet I am like many these days, who eat a lot more veggies and fruits than they did a few years ago, but who would not realistically describe themselves as vegetarian (I still fang into the occasional filet mignon). My impression is that a heavy vegetarian diet is more like that of early humans, classic omnivores, who rarely passed up meat, but didn't encounter it regularly.

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#165421 - 04/28/12 12:14 PM Re: Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .? [Re: oldranger]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
My mostly vegetarian backpack diet is more reflective of cost and practicality than ethical or nutritional issues. Freeze dried meats are expensive and not readily avaliable in grocery stores. My husband however is very psychologically tied to meat. He HAS to have some meat each day. Luckily he fishes and we take a few packets of tuna for those days when we get no fish. I could care less- I like fish when we get it but it is no big deal if we do not. By myself, I would never carry the tuna packets (they weigh too much for the few calories you get).

I do not do the home drying because I often have to store my backpack food for weeks with no refrigeration and I am worried about spoilage. The freeze dried meat is better with respect to calories per pound, but it blows my budget with $/lb! I have cooked all my life, so cooking (vs just dumping in boiling water)is no big deal for me either. I also have the time (being retired) to fuss with planning, buying, and re-packaging food to cook from scratch. It certainly is faster just to buy those freezed dried meals.

Vegetarian backpack food is not difficult. What you actually use will depend on the person's tastes, desire to cook or not, availability in local stores, and budget. I suggest that you have your vegetarian participant do their own food. Just have them keep it under 2 pounds per day. On longer trips they need to be aware of spoilage- much "organic" stuff just does not keep well enough.

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#165434 - 04/28/12 05:21 PM Re: Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .? [Re: Keith]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
Special diets IMO mean the person with it should be packing their own food....but that is because they know what they will and won't eat.
Anyhow, most of Mary Janes meals are vegetarian, many are vegan.Packitgourmet carries some. Packlite meals are veg friendly. Outdoor Herbivore is vegan food.
You can buy veg friendly Indian dishes in most grocery stores. There are plenty of options.....
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Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
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#165452 - 04/28/12 10:55 PM Re: Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .? [Re: oldranger]
Keith Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1664
Loc: Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Originally Posted By oldranger
How come this is your problem? It would think the person would have a pretty good idea of what items to consume on what will basically be a two day, or less, trip. Most foods are available in freeze dried, or relatively light weight, modes.

One thing to consider is that over many stretches of the trail (I am assuming the Kaibab/Bright Angel wilderness interstate) you will need to carry fairly generous quantities of water. Some of it might as well still be within the vegetable or fruit, especially items consumed in the early stages....


Responding to this will also answer similar questions that people raised -- which in many circumstances would be spot on. However,

Most everyone on this trip are backpacking newbies. They don't know resources or what to get. So I have taken responsibility for a group food buy. The same applies to the individual that has been a long time vegetarian. They have no idea what to get or what is available. That is why I was asking for someone who has perhaps tried what is available out there in the dried/freeze-dried market as to what is particularly good or what should be avoided.

This is very much a group function where we are sharing gear and cooking together. One strategy for lightweight is to share gear and we are doing that. Also, in GC, the permit-holder is responsible for everyone's actions. Although I'm not a control freak, I do want to make sure that people don't do stupid things or get themselves into trouble. So, with the general level of experience, I have found this approach the best.

Keep the responses coming . . .
_________________________
Human Resources Memo: Floggings will continue until morale improves.

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#165462 - 04/29/12 12:31 PM Re: Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .? [Re: Keith]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
You'd be doing the newbies a major favor by taking them shopping and teaching them how to A) buy food B) plan food C) get meals ready. Doing everything for them won't teach them how to do it.
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Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
www.trailcooking.com

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#165472 - 04/29/12 05:01 PM Re: Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .? [Re: sarbar]
Keith Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1664
Loc: Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Originally Posted By sarbar
You'd be doing the newbies a major favor by taking them shopping and teaching them how to A) buy food B) plan food C) get meals ready. Doing everything for them won't teach them how to do it.


Yes, I really do get the personal responsibility/teaching thing. We have some folk local, some from other places joining us and all folk with limited time. What they ARE doing that is far more important is carrying out the physical training to make sure that they can physically walk across the canyon with a moderate weight (~23 lbs is what I shoot for) pack.

I have helped them select packs and other gear. Alternatively, I supply from my gear inventory. (LuxuryLite are an almost universal fit, plus the Coleman plastic frames with upgraded belts).

So, please understand that this is something I have done multiple times. The logistics of a rim-to-rim are far more involved than your usual 6-day backpacking trip with 11 people and there is no room for mistakes: I can't have people showing up with the wrong stuff and it all has to work together.

So, back to my original question: Are there any folk out there who can particularly recommend a freeze-dry item or freezer bag recipe that they as a vegetarian have particularly enjoyed? Conversely, anything to stay away from? Or, do you have an acquaintance who has given you a reaction?
_________________________
Human Resources Memo: Floggings will continue until morale improves.

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#165480 - 04/29/12 09:34 PM Re: Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .? [Re: Keith]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
I noted a couple of brands above that I have enjoyed but frankly...what I enjoy isn't the same as most people. I like ethnic flavors for example. I also like couscous which some don't like the texture of.
Before you go buying food you HAVE to ask what people even like. This is why I don't babysit anyone when it comes to food - it seems everyone I know is either on a certain way of eating or has food issues. For example? I eat whole grains/mostly vegan/no artificial colorings/flavorings/preservatives. My diet is so specialized I wouldn't expect anyone to make me food. I have multiple hiking partners who eat vegan or veg and none of them eat the same as I do!!

Hence IMO anyone who eats outside of the group is going to have to prepare their own meals anyways! They can't eat as the group nor prepare their food the same.

And this is a careful area to tread - veg's don't eat ANYTHING with meat - including broth. That means you have to shop very carefully and read everything. You have to ask how much do they eat daily at home? What do they eat for snacks? What do they avoid?

If they like lentils or beans, then go buy Mary Janes meals - as I noted above most are veg meals (there are a few meat ones but not many). But they are not very filling.
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Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
www.trailcooking.com

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#165484 - 04/29/12 11:01 PM Re: Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .? [Re: sarbar]
Keith Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1664
Loc: Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Originally Posted By sarbar


And this is a careful area to tread - veg's don't eat ANYTHING with meat - including broth. That means you have to shop very carefully and read everything. You have to ask how much do they eat daily at home? What do they eat for snacks? What do they avoid?

If they like lentils or beans, then go buy Mary Janes meals - as I noted above most are veg meals (there are a few meat ones but not many). But they are not very filling.


Thanks for the tip on Mary Janes. I had heard they were pretty good.

This person is just a pretty basic "not meat" of the more old-fashioned understanding of "vegetarian". Not into some of the more esoteric dietary things that have become more popular recently. They'll eat pretty much anything that isn't/wasn't animal muscle. Hence, they'd be pretty much satisfied with anything billed as "vegetarian". I'd just like to avoid something that's recognized as a culinary disaster -- not really concerned about some of the more subtle dietary fine points.
_________________________
Human Resources Memo: Floggings will continue until morale improves.

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#165490 - 04/30/12 09:50 AM Re: Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .? [Re: Keith]
Blue_Ridge_Ninja Offline
member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 98
Loc: North Georgia
I'm not a vegetarian, but I have tried the pasta primavera from Mountain House and found it fairly tasty.

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#165503 - 04/30/12 05:57 PM Re: Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .? [Re: Keith]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
Ughhhhh....that is how vegetarians get served food with gelatin in it. And so forth. It isn't just the absence of meat/animal products. Do they eat cheese made with rennet? How do they prefer their protein? Do they eat tofu? TVP? Beans? Quinoa? Wheat?
I am not trying to be a jerk or knowitall....but this is exactly how a trip ends up 30 miles in with a person saying "I don't like this".
Frankly, most commercial vegetarian meals sold for hikers are ethnic in flavor. If they don't like Thai or Indian you could have issues. And worse is the heavy reliance on TVP in the meals. If they don't eat it at home they run a real risk of having severe stomach indigestion.
_________________________
Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
www.trailcooking.com

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#165504 - 04/30/12 06:39 PM Re: Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .? [Re: Keith]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
A lot of the main stream camping food will say if it is vegetarian or not right on the container. Also, those Kikkoman Miso soup packets are usually pretty good (though pricy.) Taste of India (found in many grocery stores) has what I call Indian MREs - they are a bit heavy, because they are hydrated - but I enjoy them. If you go to REI's website, and choose the food subsection, there are check-boxes on the left, one of which is vegetarian. That may be of some help. Unless s/he doesn't drink milk / eat eggs. I have camped with one vegan, and know several vegetarians - and each vegetarian has their own will and won'ts (eggs / milk / fish) - but I'm sure s/he has shared what level they are at with you.

HTH

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#165509 - 04/30/12 09:31 PM Re: Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .? [Re: Keith]
JPete Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Eastern Ontario
Keith,

My vegetarian fire boss daughter says that there are some vegetarian MREs that actually taste a little bit like food.

best, jcp

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#165514 - 05/01/12 06:59 AM Re: Vegetarian Freeze-Dry . . .? [Re: Keith]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
I'm mostly vegetarian. Sometimes I'll get a craving for meat and just eat it.

Anyway, I don't care for freeze dried vegetarian meals. Personally, I've found Dr. McDougal's soups or Nile Spice soups form a tasty and nutritious base for vegetarian meals. They are $1.69 and $1.39 apiece here. To add calories, I'll add about 7 grams of rice bran and 7 grams of sunflower seeds. If I really want to boost calories, I'll add 7 grams of chocolate chips which give them an interesting flavor.

Breakfast is always some sort of oatmeal. Usually 44 grams oatmeal, 22 grams granola, 7 grams rice bran, 7 grams chocolate chips and 7 grams of coconut flakes. This gives about 350 calories and takes awhile to hike off.

For snacks, I like a tortilla with peanut butter. I add a mixture of granola, peanuts, and chocolate chips.

For a night time snack, I soak dehydrated bananas for 1/2 hour. Then I simmer them until they look like fresh bananas. This takes about 5 to 10 minutes. I'll then add crushed peanuts and chocolate chips. Heat until the chips melt. On top, I'll put Graham Crackers. Two cups of this is about 600 calories.

I have some recipes on this blog. Most of them are in the Sept 2011 posts. The bean soup is really good. So is the potato soup. All the recipes will fit in a small Ziploc snackbag except the cobbler.


Edited by Gershon (05/01/12 07:01 AM)
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