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Ketogenic Backpacking

Well hello there! Its been over a year since my last post. Those who are still following this blog, I bet you thought I was a gonner! 🙂
Nope, just trying the juggle it all: career, house, child, husband, pets, fitness…along with trying to self-experiment on different eating styles to address some hormonal imbalances.

There, I said it, after childbirth I got way out of wack! I think it happens more than women care to admit – or even realize. But its a real thing and I’m bound the determined to figure out how to heal holistically and without hormone therapy. I wont go into all of the details, but Ive been working with an Environmental Medicine (similar to Functional Medicine) Doctor who has helped me improve my symptoms dramatically. I’m still struggling to figure out the last nagging symptoms, but its SO much better. Something I’ve been experimenting with lately (a month) is the Ketogenic Diet. Keto for short; is a low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet that stabilizes blood sugar and forces your body into using fat for energy instead of glucose/sugar. I was already on a no-sugar diet (along w/ some other restrictions) while working with my Doc, so I thought, why not, Im kind of there already. So I bought the blood monitor, tweaked my macros (and tracked them for a couple of weeks) and found that my body easily went into ketosis. There is a ton of research going on right now around the ketogenic diet for diabetes and cancer treatment. It has a long history as a known treatment for adolescent seizures (started in the 1920’s). Without going into more details than most of you care to hear…it can really benefit the body in a lot of ways. If you want to learn more, I learned a ton from Dom D’Agostino, Ph.D. in his recent interview on the Joe Rogan Podcast (#994).

Due to the hormone imbalances, I try to stay on the very mild side of ketosis because going too deep can work against the very thing Im trying to improve. While I dont think this is for everyone, its really really feeling good to me. I thought my energy was decent before, but its back, really back! Im thinking more clearly and motivated to get back to blogging and doing more with my passion for nutrition and food!

Since going Keto, I had a few physical endurance events – a 50 mile charity bike ride, and two overnight backpacking trips with the most recent one covering over 12 miles in less than 24 hours (with a ~25 lb pack). I was feeling so good on Keto, that I really wanted to try and stay in ketosis, so I had to rethink how I packed for my ride and overnights. I googled keto backpacking and found some ideas, but I thought Id share my approach and how I felt.

Before hitting the trail, I ate some homemade Keto protein balls. I loved the taste, but they got VERY soft after they warmed up out of the fridge, and would be way too messy for the trail. I think Ill experiment with one that is good at room temp. But a great “fat bomb” (its a keto term for a high fat low carb treat/snack-more on that later) is perfect for pre-hiking calories. After 2 of those babies and I hiked hard for two hours and didn’t feel hungry at all.

Dinner:
Given that I was just super active and that I try to have 2-3 ‘higher carb’ days a week, I packed a small snack sized bag w/ roasted red potatoes. I added that into my reusable silicone bag (Stasher bags are awesome) along with a pouch of sustainable tuna, raw kale, 2 Tbsp sun dried tomatoes, and a handful of pine nuts. I added a quarter cup of boiling water to the bag and closed it up for 10 mins to heat everything. I then stirred in a pouch of mayo and a 1/2 pouch of coconut oil. YUM! I wish I had taken a photo, but it was totally dark by then! Worked great and left me totally satisfied. Night night!

Breakfast:
Earlier in the week, I made a batch of Keto-friendly Paleo Coconut Cacao Nib Granola. I made a flax egg to sub the egg in the recipe (1 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water soaked for 10 mins) and sired in two packs of stevia powder for their recommended sweeteners and it was fantastic! I ate about 1/2 a snack size baggie of granola and a small green apple with my green tea matcha latte (w/ coconut oil of course) and I was set to hike!

Snack:
About 4 miles in I got hungry and snacked on my new favorite beef sticks. Mighty Bar makes some tasty low carb bars. A bit salty, but on a hot day, I needed the sodium anyway, so it hit the spot!

 

Post-Hike:
I ate a pouch of my new favorite almond butter pouches with some flax seed crackers and some of my mixed nut medley. This held me over until I got my “real” lunch 2 hours later.

 

 

For a late lunch I chowed down on some beef brisket and slaw. A few hours later, I checked my ketone levels and I was still at 0.3 mmol/l, which is still mild ketosis. Ive been floating between 0.3 – 0.5 mmol/l with the goal of not going any deeper than 0.5 mmol/l.

Considering the distance, I felt WAY less hungry during and after the hike than I previously would have (prior to becoming keto adapted). I felt strong and had a steady energy. Hiking is a perfect exercise for keto since its steady state and not high intensity. Id like to experiment with some high intensity training and keto as I go into some winter weight training. Ill keep you posted!

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