Touring - What NOT to eat while on a tour
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03-05-07, 05:01 PM
I started the thread discussion food options when you don't bring a stove, and it suddenly hit me today. Are there things we shouldn't be eating while on tour? It seems like a lot of journals of those touring long distances make note of some great eateries they've stopped at. Burgers, pizza, pies, large breakfasts, and so forth have been mentioned. It got me thinking, since we're burning a lot of calories every day is there really anything we shouldn't be eating? It would seem like a healthy meal of fruit, vegetables, and a salad would actually be a bad idea since it wouldn't fill the caloric needs of your body while touring. Is it then better to have the big mac instead of the big salad? Are there any foods that you should really stay away from when touring? Thanks. Matt
03-05-07, 07:31 PM
Don't Do Prunes! :) That being said,I'm normally a big salad fan and avoid Mickey D's but those triple Cheesebugers were jut the thing for this calorie burnin thing that I call a body!! Ate them three at a time!!
03-05-07, 07:31 PM
My kids tell me that corn dogs will kill you! I tend to think that the less modified the food the better, but what the heck eat till it makes you sick. The great thing about long tours is that you can eat lots and often you will have a lot of calories to experiment with you will soon find what works for you.
I cannot have a big breakfast and get on the bike right after. Same with lunch.
What we will do sometimes is have a large-ish meal that is big on starch and protein and not so big on fats. Then we just sit and chat for a while so it can settle.
Oh, one time I was on tour and I ate a couple pounds of pizza. Maybe more.
That was NOT a good idea.
03-05-07, 07:53 PM
Prunes, yea, may be bad just for sake of convenience. I guess right now it's a personal thing about what to eat. I should ask a more direction question though. Besides the inconvenience of the situation eating things like prunes provides, is there really anything you can't eat on tour because it's too unhealthy. Or are we burning so many calories that it almost doesn't matter? Like I said earlier, it seems eating healthy things such as salads would hurt your tour since you're likely to run out of calories to burn. You'll bonk quicker. Is eating junk food then healthier while on tour?
Tripe. I highly recommend staying away from tripe!! :lol:
As for other foods, eat what you want. IMO, if you like, it isn't bad!!
You've mentioned twice now that you think salads and things like that would "hurt your tour" ... they definitely will NOT hurt your tour ... they'll help it!! We NEED fruits and veggies because they contain vitamins and fibre which other foods might not contain. Besides, fruit and veggies provide a wonderful element of variety to the meals. I crave fruit and veggies on tours!!
You would not replace a more substantial meal with fruit and veggies, you would add them to your more substantial meal. Have your hamburger, then have an apple, banana, peach, or whatever you like. In the middle of the afternoon, sometimes sitting down and enjoying the view while eating a piece of fruit hits the spot. And this doesn't mean that an hour later you can't have a cookie or pastry or whatever.
When riding in Australia, one of the things I really enjoyed was the variety of fruit available. They've got these little sweet bananas that were SO GOOD!! I can hardly eat the bananas here in Canada now because they just don't compare. Mango trees grew along the roads, so I was eating a mango or two a day. I wouldn't eliminate the fruit and veggie food group for the world!! :)
03-05-07, 08:23 PM
I have had many conversations with other long-distance cyclists about what to eat -- and what not to eat. On one tour, I met a guy who, when I told him I ate apples for quick energy, gave me a look of pity and explained to me (in a patronizing tone) the virtues of bananas. Apples, he said were bad for bicyclists, and the potassium in bananas made them like manna for cyclists. (It is hard for me to accept that the tiny amounts of potassium in bananas make the crucial difference if one is eating a well-balanced diet.)
Another time, I travelled with a guy who ate nothing but fresh fruit between breakfast and supper. By around 1 p.m., while he was nibbling grapes and plums, I was so famished that I was ready to chow down a horse... and I am a vegetarian!
Every individual's food needs are different. There are principles that almost everybody agrees with, and for which there is some scientific justification. On my journeys I have never met anyone who questions that the body converts food to energy, and that you need to replenish fluids or risk dehydration. Beyond that, my guess is that unless someone has food allergies or sensitivities, they figure out which foods do or do not work for them after a few touring experiences.
03-05-07, 08:30 PM
I would stay away from any food you find on the side of the road, especially if it still has fur. :eek:
Seriously, though, in my case, with Lap-Band surgery, I need to be very careful about what I eat. I avoid most meat, esp. beef, pizza, pasta, and bread. If I feel I need energy on the road, I'll go for ice cream, shakes, chinese or mexican food, and soups. For breakfast I'll have cereal.
Potassium content of fruit and veg:
So if you prefer apples, eat three apples and you'll have the same potassium content as the banana. Eat some spinach and you'll be doing much better than the banana!!
Mmmmmm ... spinach salad!! :)
03-05-07, 10:03 PM
Performance cyclists are often nutjobs about food. The peleton is full of riders who got dropped because they ate a twinkie.
Touring should be little bit more laid back, right? Afterall, it's cycling vacation, right?
My personal rule is eat anything......just not too much.
And eat often (2 hours or more often)
Otherwise I got too loaded down...
Eat everything / anything.
Get the fire hot enough and it will burn anything.
On a long tour calorie requirements are HUGE, eating enough can get to be a chore. This is where a high fat content really helps, many more calories per gram. But don't neglect the fruits and veggies. Take a multi-vitamin if these are few and far between. I would cook with extra olive oil for things like pasta, and soups, added calories that are good for me.
When in doubt, EAT !
If you find yourself getting irritable, and short on patience, you are probably short on calories. Stop, eat and relax, you'll be fine in no time. Some say honey is the best in this situation.
Milkshakes are magical !
03-06-07, 05:04 AM
Frankly, I think quality of food is more important to keeping your body in good shape on a tour. Yes, I love my chocolate, but I am also a vegetarian, and I have to say that a salad will get me much farther than a burger anyday. Yes, you need some good fuel to burn, but I believe that natural fats are far superior than any pasta/bread/human made carbs. A good natural fat source is tahini, olives, avocado, walnuts, almonds, coconut, etc. Yes, I end up carrying large quanities of these things on tour, but I eat raw, so I am not loaded down with a stove and fuel. With these fats, I eat as much fruits and veggies as possible. Contrary to what most Americans think, you can get more than enough protein from these substances. In fact, protein defiencey is almost unheard of in the US.
03-06-07, 06:43 AM
Carbs Baby! I love pasta and that is the one item I will consume great amounts of when on tour. Especially if I can get it with a salad at a local mom and pop Italian eatery:p I typically eat the same things I eat at home just more of them. Another item that is a great pick me up and available mainly in the deep south is Sweet Tea. The caffeine and sugar is just what you need late in the afternoon when you are about burned out for the day...
One thing that DOSEN'T work for me is a fatty breakfast - the days that I've been tempted by an egg and bacon roll or a full cooked breakfast have been a struggle. I think a huge breakfast of muesli/porrige/other complex carbohydrates is good, preferably with some gap before you start (usu. 1/2 hour is all that is practical) so I try to eat first then pack up and get ready.
Consider snacks as well. I find it good to have a snack and lots of water when resting, which for me is about every 1 1/2 hours. I make a couple of sandwiches and pack an apple or a banana.
Potassium and magnesium are important, especially when it is hot and you are sweating a lot; as well as bananas, other sources of potassium are dried fruit (eg. apricots or apricot bars), and potatoes as long as they are not boiled (leaches the potassium out) eg. fried/baked/crisps/chips. If you get cramps, magnesium supplements + lots of water can help. Hopefully you aren't abusing yourself this much!
I like to get a good coffee at a break, rather than in the morning. Gives a bit of a boost.
I think the change in exercise levels is really noticable - I have to eat heaps for the first few days then things tend to settle down to just eating about twice as much as usual!
David in PA
03-07-07, 10:08 AM
I can handle (and enjoy) an occasional McDonald's or Burger King meal during the course of a riding day. But Kentucky Fried Chicken? Hell no. The grease and fat just sits there for hours on end, leaving me feeling lousy with a bad taste in my mouth.
David in FL
03-07-07, 10:36 AM
I'll be touring in the spring using foods with a low glycemic index (http://www.southbeach-diet-plan.com/glycemicfoodchart.htm). Those foods are ones that don't digest as quickly as other foods, such as fast and snack foods. My theory is that it should smooth out those highs and lows in blood sugar.
03-07-07, 10:38 AM
I don't cook on tour as a rule, so I like to shop at the deli section of any large supermarket if I can. It's easier to get fruits and veggies here.
It seems like I have to eat a certain amount of good food to offset the bad food (fastfood and candy) I eat.
David makes a good point about KFC-- that would really do me in. But I have a friend who tours and eats fried chicken every single day (bought from supermarkets) But he also eats begals and a spinach salad with it. (made with carrots, canned pineapple, pine nuts, ect...)
I can't imagine trying not to eat a lot of fats, sugers, and carbs on tour, however. living on salad would kill me just as quick as KFC. It's all in the mix.
I had to eat a half gallon of ice cream once while riding across the USA. I broke some spokes, it was hot....... I personally feel pretty good after half a gallon of ice cream, but i wouldn't do it during a race. Oh, and if you eat a lot of beans, you'll have to wash your shorts more often.
03-07-07, 12:46 PM
I need to respond briefly to Crankypants' talk of eating raw food on tour. While this is probably fine when traveling in developed countries, if you are touring in 3rd world countries you must be very careful about the food you eat, particularly if it is raw. Fruits and vegetables (or ANYTHING that is not thoroughly cooked, or at the very least thoroughly cleaned) that you have not washed yourself can lead to unpleasant health problems!
So in response to the OP's original post, what NOT to eat on tour will be partially dependent upon where you are touring:
My intention is not to be alarmist, but to make clear the "flip side" of the health argument. I've traveled abroad a lot - most of the time I've been fine, but I've seen a lot of Americans get sick from being careless about what they eat. In Ethiopia, I would eat a hot, overcooked slab of goat before eating a mango from a street market.
03-07-07, 09:46 PM
Oh, and if you eat a lot of beans, you'll have to wash your shorts more often.
Yes, but it keeps the wheel-suckers off your tail. :eek: Oh, wait... that's more appropriate in the Road Cycling forum... :D :p
03-07-07, 10:20 PM
At all cost, do NOT eat at either White Castle or Krystal, they don't call those little burgers sliders for no reason!:eek:
03-07-07, 10:40 PM
I know what you mean. I drove cross country this summer and never had white castle. Considering there is a movie based around going to one I figured they'd be good. Man was I dissappointed. Never again shall I eat at a White Castle.
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