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Anyone eating lower carb on tour?

Old 02-16-13, 04:04 PM
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Anyone eating lower carb on tour?

First off, I know you guys who eat pancakes, ice cream and pizza and burgers etc. everyday at every stop on tour and wouldn't dream of anything else or there being another way. I can't do that nor can some others can't either and I hope this thread can be for discussing other options.

I've been eating fairly low carb/high fat for quite a while and find it drastically reduces many health issues I was having. I've adapted very well to getting most of my energy from fats but realize successive long days in the saddle will require more carbs than what I get away with during a weekender. I normally get most of my fats from good meats, good butter (lots of butter), pasture eggs etc. I eat quite a few veggies (mostly cooked) of various sorts a bit of fruit (berries mostly) and avocado. Most of my carbs come from sweet potatoes and winter squashes right now. I eat white rice occasionally with a "cheat meal" once a week or so.

I realize this way of eating will be near impossible to maintain on tour but hoping some have at least leaned in this direction and been successful.

Wheat (especially whole), wild rice, cold cereals, beans and too much corn or dairy really tear me up. A little bit of oatmeal and a few nuts/legumes here and there is tolerated. Basically all of the tasty, simple and quick-cooking fairly empty carb sources I don't do well with anymore. I am and always have been fairly thin, this is not about losing or avoiding gaining weight.

Maybe a better question would be to ask if anyone shy's from white starches/grains and how you do it on a mostly camping tour. I'm thinking my rice intake is definitely going to have to go up which should work since I tolerate it better while being more active. Cooking raw sweet potatoes and squash regularly sounds like a huge pain (lots of time, fuel or a campfire).

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Old 02-16-13, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by tdister View Post
Cooking raw sweet potatoes and squash regularly sounds like a huge pain (lots of time, fuel or a campfire).
Squash and sweet potatoes cook up fairly quickly boiled, steamed or cut thin and stir fried. Rice, unless you are eating instant or prepared, takes a bit of time and fuel. I've heard folks use a combination of boiling and a thermos bottle to cook rice with little fuel consumption. For most folks rice is very easy to digest. If carbs are a problem for you then stay away from them. There are lots of other other foods on the road. I try to eat whole grains when possible. I particularly like hot muesli and yogurt in the morning. I am definitely not on a low carb diet when touring.
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Old 02-16-13, 05:47 PM
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If you are doing much mileage, your body is going to start craving easily digested carbohydrates to convert to glycogen. When I'm on a reasonably tough tour, I get most of my calories from carbohydrates. Too much fat and protein will sit in my digestive system like a lump.
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Old 02-16-13, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Western Flyer View Post
Squash and sweet potatoes cook up fairly quickly boiled, steamed or cut thin and stir fried. Rice, unless you are eating instant or prepared, takes a bit of time and fuel. I've heard folks use a combination of boiling and a thermos bottle to cook rice with little fuel consumption. For most folks rice is very easy to digest. If carbs are a problem for you then stay away from them. There are lots of other other foods on the road. I try to eat whole grains when possible. I particularly like hot muesli and yogurt in the morning. I am definitely not on a low carb diet when touring.
All this sounds good! One thing to note is that fresh fruit and vegetables travel well without refrigeration as they are still 'living things' with their own defense systems.

Pasta should be on the list and is easy to carry snd prepare. Most cheeses also carry and store well and are a good source of fat and protien. So is tuna. Fresh or frozen vegetables are still a good idea since you still need vitamins, minerals and fiber. Depending where you're traveling - should be possoble to pick up what you need as you go along.
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Old 02-16-13, 08:32 PM
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I really only assumed sweet potatoes would take longer than white rice but I should start playing with other ways of cooking them.

I do boil them and acorn squash in soup sometimes but don't remember how long it takes.

Conventional wheat pasta is out for me. Rice noodles will be in the mix when it's convenient to cook them (require multiple rinses)
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Old 02-16-13, 09:09 PM
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Finely chopped sweet potatoes should cook quickly in a bit of water. Top of the food chain for nutritional value. Leave the skin on.

High protein, low carb diet is certainly doable when touring, obviously at certain restaurants. For DIY, packaged tuna, sausage sticks, peanut butter, boiled or pickled eggs, come immediately to mind.

You're not going to race across America on such food, but you can do a smell the roses tour without bonking.

This thread might be of interest.

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Old 02-17-13, 08:23 AM
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Can you handle nuts very well? Almonds and peanuts have a lot of fat and protein, but they also have some carbs. I am not suggesting nuts as a primary source of food during meals, but as a snack food and filler in other meals.

Eggs are quite nutritious but have almost no carbs. At home I go through a dozen eggs in about two weeks. Most of my egg consumption is in the form of hard boiled eggs, sliced on salads.

Typical American diet has about 45 to 65 percent of our calories coming from carbs, but almonds and peanuts are only about 10 to 15 percent. Eggs, close to zero. My typical breakfast when at home includes a couple ounces of nuts, that and occasional eggs help me keep my ratio of calories from carbs down in the 35 to 40 percent range. I think your goal is to cut back on carbs much more than I have so I have no idea if these ideas will help or not.

Check out what some of the people with type two diabetes are eating. They need to limit carb consumption. I do not have a good source of menus or ingredients for such meals, but some google searches or checking out the shelves in a book store may provide some ideas.

If you are in an HMO and have access to some time with a nutritionist, ask them about sources of menus for type two diabetic meals.
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Old 02-17-13, 08:53 AM
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Carbs are important and the more you work your body the more carbs you will crave. You can do without anything but you will feel much better with the desired amount of anything. Boil in the bag rice, it's dated forever, cooks in 15mins and you can choose how much of it you want and keep the rest for later. Dry fruit, packaged assorted nuts or whatever else falls into this category are all good and again they aren't dated for just a few days. Oh and of course oatmeal.
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Old 02-17-13, 03:11 PM
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I do OK with nut type things but generally feel better with fewer of them and believe they should be limited. More than a few peanuts or walnuts gives me canker sores so I have some sort of auto immune reaction to them. Most of my sensitivities revolve around autoimmune reactions rather than true allergies. I don't fully understand it all but have been self experimenting long enough to have a better than vague idea of what works for me. Gone are the days of oily yet flaky skin, swollen belly, red blotchy skin, sudden anxiety, moodiness, brain fog etc.

Another example would be eating something like nutri-grain bars or sun chips. Even in my younger days of having a bulletproof digestion, I would feel like I had eaten a handful of dull thumbtacks after having them. Kept at them for way too long because they are tasty and "healthy"...

I have been able to do far more while low carb than I ever imagined possible, my general performance is way up when eating my version of clean. We'll see how that plays out over a several days at a time in the saddle. I understand the conventional wisdom of carbs playing a larger role but haven't been finding it to hold true for me. I do need a few and am open to the idea of the ratio needing to go up but hoping I can keep it about the same. After reading some of the ultra endurance athletes eating in this direction way, I may just try to go farther into fat for fuel mode in the weeks leading up to the tour.

My main reason for limiting white rice is that I get bloated from eating very much at once yet feel hungry soon after and it's so nutritionally devoid. I feel this far less with my main sources.

Going to spend the week attempting to simulate preparing food on tour and see how it goes. Should be getting a lot of pedaling in too.

I eat quite a few eggs, sometimes soft boiled as a snack. My usual breakfast consists of "bulletproof" style coffee first thing (lots of grass fed butter blended in to half caf coffee) then a few pieces of bacon, 2-3 eggs over easy and an avocado (some liver tablets and maybe some other supplements often too). This will usually get me through up to 40-60 miles with maybe a cup of blueberries or a few figs/dates and some cured fish along the way if I'm feeling it. Dinner would be maybe a large taco salad (no shell) or a large burger patty and mixed veggies followed by a sweet potato with lots of butter an hour so so later.
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Old 02-17-13, 03:53 PM
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I absolutely adore carbohydrate-rich foods. I boil up small potatoes in salty water Canary Islands style and stash them away to eat while I ride. Then I eat 'em as I ride. Love dem taters! Must be my Irish blood.

Good bread, if it can be found, also finds its way into my panniers and into my belly in copious quantities. Portuguese bread, especially that from the Alentejo region, perhaps a little goat cheese on top or a grilled sardine, good red wine to wash it down-- now that's a meal! I tend to buy a whole loaf and toast any that's left over the next morning over my campfire, rub a garlic clove on it and then drizzle olive oil on it.

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Old 02-17-13, 04:16 PM
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Thanks Ekdog, that was very informative. I assume your next post will be in the "Sober touring" thread to announce how much you love drinking wine? Lol
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Old 02-18-13, 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by tdister View Post
Thanks Ekdog, that was very informative. I assume your next post will be in the "Sober touring" thread to announce how much you love drinking wine? Lol
Sorry.
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Old 02-18-13, 05:59 AM
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I'd substitute olive oil for the extra fat calories rather than butter. It's healthier for you and easy to carry on tour.
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Old 02-18-13, 08:15 AM
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I have type 2 diabetes and starchy foods tend to raise my blood sugar - potatoes, sourdough bread, white rice, pancakes, etc. The good news is that touring burns up a lot of sugar and I can have more of these yummy foods than at home.

I have oatmeal for first breakfast, and eggs and meat (ham, bacon, sausage) for second breakfast. I eat some of the potatoes that come with my meal and ask for whole wheat toast. For lunch I'll eat turkey sandwiches when I can find them, or order a burger. For dinner I eat a lot of chili, a lot of chicken, and a lot of salad. I eat plenty of fruits and raw vegetables. For snacks I eat nuts or Atkins bars if I can find them. I carry a loaf of "healthy" bread, some peanut butter, and sugar-free jam. I make PB&J sandwiches for snacks, and make one for lunch if I'm in a place with no services.

Getting proper food is an issue, but I've always been able to find something.
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Old 02-18-13, 08:55 AM
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If you're eating plain white rice why not give basmati a go? It's got a lower GI than plain white rice so it promotes more of that "fullness" feeling for longer. I love the nutty taste it has and can eat it plain by the bowl. Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is veggie ground beef substitute and just needs some hot water to rehydrate; with some dried onions and a pack of taco spice it's a high protein low fat meal... easy to make in one-portion sizes and pretty tasty with the right spices. I usually add a few tablespoons of olive oil, keeps my skin nice and makes things taste better. Last time I was in the states I was flabbergasted at the selection of low-carb and gluten-free wraps that were in "regular" grocery stores. TVP might be harder to find but bob's red mill distributes it.
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Old 02-18-13, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
Sorry.
Hope my reply didn't come across harsh. I love a well made sourdough (the more sour the better) with some olive oil and a pinch of salt on occasion.

Speaking of olive oil...the more I learn about fats, assuming the "updated" info isn't off-base (long-chain, short-chain, CLA, epa, conversion rates etc.), the more I welcome good saturated animal fats over anything plant based. That's not to say I don't mix it up (I've been known to drink olive oil shots) but I'm pretty well sold on grass fed butter being a great staple. It, or anything close, will be hard to come by at times, I'm sure. Transport will be an issue too. I have considered making/buying ghee, which is far more stable, to use.

I usually use basmati at home...but it's whatever they use at Indian and Chinese restaurants for the most part, probably jasmin. On tour, I'd just assumed I would use more of an instant or the boil in bag rice.

I'm on the fence with quinoa. I like it and eat it on occasion, usually at friends houses. I will probably use it for some variety when it's convenient to soak it for a while before cooking.

Good suggestions.

Wish I could have a hot plate for occasional hotel stays.
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Old 02-18-13, 04:38 PM
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Do you eat lentils? If so, you have a protein-rich food source which can travel well. Red lentils cook much more quickly than brown or green lentils. In their dried form, lentils are easy to carry on a bike trip.
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Old 02-18-13, 05:30 PM
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Ok, so I see that the majority of people replying have no idea what you are on about.

I've been on a paleo diet for three years now, and have completed several tours in this time, including one high output, high mileage one in Europe last year chasing the Tour de France.

My observations so far: you can stay on a very low carb, high fat diet while touring without any problems as long as the intensity stays low. Normal touring pace, taking your time, averaging around 100km a day, no problem. When the intensity picked up, or the number of hills, or the mileage I found that I needed a few more carbs, but still low compared to your average cyclist.

Here is my standard diet when touring these days:
Breakfast: 4 to 6 hard boiled eggs, a little fruit, coffee
Second bfast: maybe some cheese, a few nuts, or a roadside meal if I'm touring in Asia
Lunch: whatever I can find either from roadside cafe or supermarket. Preferably a chunk of meat and veggies, followed by lots of greek yoghurt if I can find it.
Dinner: A steak and some steamed veggies (completely saturated in butter).

Obviously it depends whether you're camping or not. I think it's actually easier to stay low carb if you're camping as long as you have regular access to supermarkets.

I think I would struggle if touring in a truly remote area. I can't live on rice. So I guess no riding across Turkmenistan or Tibet for me.
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Old 02-18-13, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by tdister View Post
Hope my reply didn't come across harsh. I love a well made sourdough (the more sour the better) with some olive oil and a pinch of salt on occasion.

Speaking of olive oil...the more I learn about fats, assuming the "updated" info isn't off-base (long-chain, short-chain, CLA, epa, conversion rates etc.), the more I welcome good saturated animal fats over anything plant based. That's not to say I don't mix it up (I've been known to drink olive oil shots) but I'm pretty well sold on grass fed butter being a great staple. It, or anything close, will be hard to come by at times, I'm sure. Transport will be an issue too. I have considered making/buying ghee, which is far more stable, to use.

I usually use basmati at home...but it's whatever they use at Indian and Chinese restaurants for the most part, probably jasmin. On tour, I'd just assumed I would use more of an instant or the boil in bag rice.

I'm on the fence with quinoa. I like it and eat it on occasion, usually at friends houses. I will probably use it for some variety when it's convenient to soak it for a while before cooking.

Good suggestions.

Wish I could have a hot plate for occasional hotel stays.
We buy virgin olive oil once a year in my wife's village in big, five-liter tins, enough to last us all year. It's just about the only oil we eat. There's never butter or margarine in our frig. When I go on tour, I fill little glass bottles with it and then put them into a plastic bag, just in case one should come open or break.

I want to try quinoa, even though some think it might be evil.

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Old 02-18-13, 11:18 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
Do you eat lentils? If so, you have a protein-rich food source which can travel well. Red lentils cook much more quickly than brown or green lentils. In their dried form, lentils are easy to carry on a bike trip.
I buy the dried ones at home (a small, brown variety) and cook them up, but on tour it's a lot easier just to buy the ones that come in a jar and heat them up, adding some spices that I carry with me, a mixture of cumin, smoked paprika and black pepper.
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Old 02-19-13, 12:19 AM
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I'm very curious about the medical science behind a seeming inability to digest carbohydrates. I know there are people who lack the enzyme to break a disaccharide bond, but other than that I don't know of, nor can I find, any medical reason for such a general inability. That would mean an inability to even drink a soft drink.
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Old 02-19-13, 01:10 AM
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I may have missed something but I neither wrote or read about an inability to digest carbs here. Some people have sensitivities to certain carbohydrate rich foods such as wheat, even though they may not fully understand them, and some have metabolic issues.
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Old 02-19-13, 01:32 AM
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Base,

Thanks for posting, that was all good to read. It makes sense about easier to eat out of the grocery store.

I'm not going to try breaking any land speed records but will have to better learn the value of pacing one's self.
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Old 02-19-13, 10:03 AM
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Tdister, could you have a gluten intolerance? One of my sisters has had food related problems (and migrains) her whole life. A couple years ago she tried going completely without gluten for a couple weeks and that solved a lot of her problems. She still has some other food allergies, but it is helped a lot of her other general health issues. She is in her 60s and wishes she tried that many decades ago. She does not have celiac disease, but she found that even the gluten is some of her vitamin pills was bothering her. I do not know if there is a test for it or if you just have to try going gluten free for a while to find out if that helps. I personally find that I like foods with gluten and can tolerate it just fine.

Originally Posted by DW99 View Post
What a coincidink! Received an email this morning about eating healthy carbs. Type II diabetic here. Thought I would ask if anyone has eaten or eats Quinoa (keen-wah)? Picked some up this morning at the grocery, gonna see how it tastes. From what I have read there is a little more cleaning of it before cooking than rice, but nothing more than cold water and using your fingers to stir it around and rinsing a couple of times. The cook time is shorter than rice and it is lower in carbs but higher in fat and protein.

Here's the link I started with and went from there.
A friend of mine eats a lot of Quinoa. We went on a week long backpacking trip and had quinoa every morning for breakfast, usually with some dried fruit added. I personally would rather have some other foods.

An interesting story about quinoa.
https://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/wo...ivia.html?_r=0
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Old 02-19-13, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by tdister View Post
I may have missed something but I neither wrote or read about an inability to digest carbs here. Some people have sensitivities to certain carbohydrate rich foods such as wheat, even though they may not fully understand them, and some have metabolic issues.
Celiac disease is a well-known condition. It is an intestinal sensitivity to a particular protein only found in wheat, called gluten. If you have it, the symptom is that eating even the smallest amount of wheat, or any product containing wheat, gives you the runs. If you don't eat anything containing wheat gluten, OTOH, you're fine. That's how you know. This has nothing to do with digesting carbs, etc., only that particular food, wheat. All other carbohydrates - sugar, potatoes, rice, oats, etc., etc., are fine with your digestive system.

"Metabolic issues" can be broken down into two classes, neither of which has anything to do with digestion. The most common are forms of hypoglycemia. This condition manifests as a hyperactive pancreas, which makes a little more insulin than is really needed, lowering blood sugar excessively in response to a slightly elevated blood sugar. Again, treatment is well known, consisting of eating a balanced diet with the well-known proportions of carbs, protein, and fats, and a diet high in vegetables and fruit. The less common issue is diabetes, which is an inability of the pancreas to secrete sufficient insulin, or the body's inability to make use of the insulin secreted. This is a serious condition and anyone who suspects they might have it should get tested and be under a doctor's care, not messing about on online forums or trying to self-modify their diet.

There are also conditions which manifest as an inability to digest many foods, the most common being IBS or irritable bowel syndrome. Again, anyone who thinks they might have IBS should get it diagnosed and be under a doctor's care. A less common condition is diverticulitis, which is the formation of sacks, diverticula, in the large intestine. These sacks collect nasty stuff and get infected. Again, anyone suspecting they might have a serious bowel problem should get it diagnosed and be under a doctor's care.
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