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Vegetarian in the woods

Old 09-06-14, 06:35 AM
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Vegetarian in the woods

Next week I'm taking a one-week tour through North Georgia. Mainly in the Chattahoochee National Forest and Cohutta Wilderness. Most of my touring experience has me close to supermarkets and restaurants at least once a day. But in this case I'd like to go into the forest for a couple days at a time, away from any stores. So I need to pack food in with me.

I'm not all that fond of cooking. But I'm not against it really either. Just not all that experienced. I'm mainly vegetarian. I'll eat fish in a pinch but no other meat. In the past I've taken cans of beans with me as a source of protein. But cans of beans are pretty heavy and I'll be in challenging terrain.

The typical thing might be for me to go into the forest, with dinner being some take-out from a restaurant I went to mid-day. Then I'll want to have everything for another day and night of camping and I'll venture out of the forest for more supplies on the following day. But to be cautious it seems like I should prepare to be somehow delayed or disabled for another day. So yet more food, albeit that food might be one of the REI hiking meals (that cost a fortune so I'll rarely eat that).

I'm looking for lightweight sources of protein. I'll have other stuff of course. Some fruit, broccoli or other greens, oatmeal, nuts, chips and cookies, etc. I'm looking at cooking rice or maybe quinoa. I have some lightweight hiker-type cookware that's thin and doesn't heat evenly. I've burnt my little pot making oatmeal in the past. I've learned to stir it more frequently than I need to with my heavier cookware at home.

Other suggestions anybody?
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Old 09-06-14, 06:50 AM
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Nuts, seeds, dried fruit.

BTW: Just get the plain instant oatmeal = no cooking.

Last edited by BigAura; 09-06-14 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 09-06-14, 07:02 AM
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Have you been to a grocery store? Have you spent some time walking up and down the aisles? You might be surprised at what you find.
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Old 09-06-14, 07:40 AM
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I hiked the Appalachian Trail without a stove and without meat. If you get enough calories from a decent diet including whole grains, you'll get enough protein. I ate a lot of rolled oats with nuts and raisins (homemade muesli). Whole grain bread and any nut butter is good. Quinoa with fresh veggies is good. If you're ovo-lacto, cheese and eggs carry well for a few days.

After all those months of (sometimes extremely) strenuous hiking, I returned to my career as a firefighter without noticeable weight or muscle loss. Somehow I got enough protein without eating meat, and I got enough calories without cooking. And despite what the US meat industry has told us, we won't die or waste away if we do have to go without a concentrated source of protein for a day or even two.

(Sorry, I had to add that last comment. I've been a very active, even somewhat athletic, vegetarian for over 30 years, and I wish I had a black bean burger for every time someone asked me how I got my protein.)
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Old 09-06-14, 08:12 AM
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Soak some beans in a water bottle for a day or so and they will cook quite quickly after that. Use smaller beans if possible for shorter soaking period.

You mentioned you eat some fish. Cans of tuna, salmon etc are extremely easy to find. Eat a can every day or 2.

Protein powder works too.

Honestly if your trip is pretty short don't worry too much about getting too much protein in your diet. Let it suffer for a few days.

Last edited by SparkyGA; 09-06-14 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 09-06-14, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus
I hiked the Appalachian Trail without a stove and without meat. If you get enough calories from a decent diet including whole grains, you'll get enough protein. I ate a lot of rolled oats with nuts and raisins (homemade muesli). Whole grain bread and any nut butter is good. Quinoa with fresh veggies is good. If you're ovo-lacto, cheese and eggs carry well for a few days.

After all those months of (sometimes extremely) strenuous hiking, I returned to my career as a firefighter without noticeable weight or muscle loss. Somehow I got enough protein without eating meat, and I got enough calories without cooking. And despite what the US meat industry has told us, we won't die or waste away if we do have to go without a concentrated source of protein for a day or even two.

(Sorry, I had to add that last comment. I've been a very active, even somewhat athletic, vegetarian for over 30 years, and I wish I had a black bean burger for every time someone asked me how I got my protein.)
I agree. I do have concern for getting enough protein. But I also think the need is way overdone. I've been a vegetarian since 1975. Cheese and eggs is a good plan. I'll take some boiled eggs, which seem to last even in warm weather for a couple days.
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Old 09-06-14, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Have you been to a grocery store?
I've heard of those places.
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Old 09-06-14, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Walter S
I've heard of those places.
They're interesting. They've got a large variety of food in them which comes in all sorts of different configurations.

Most appealing to me are the number of things which don't need to be cooked ... or which require adding hot water as the full extent of the cooking.
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Old 09-06-14, 11:44 AM
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Go big on quinoa, it a complete protein and real easy to cook. I like fry up some onion, garlic and peppers in the pan then add the appropriate amount of water and quinoa. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15ish minutes.
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Old 09-06-14, 11:57 AM
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Red lentils cook quickly, and quick cooking brown rice can be added to the same pot. Once the mix comes to a boil, it needs only about five minutes simmering, then five minutes rest off the stove before eating. I mix by volume, equal amounts of rice and lentils, plus water at 1.5 times the volume of the dry ingredients. If you want to fry an onion in the pot first, and add some spice, I'm sure it would be rewarding. If you don't use any oil, though, rinsing is all it takes to clean the cookware. I just add salt. Red lentils can be hard to find; other varieties take longer to cook.

You mention being mostly vegetarian and plan on eating restaurant takeout--what will that be, PB&J? There's lots of good veggie restaurant food out there, but not always right where you are when you're looking for it.
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Old 09-06-14, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by elpy zee
You mention being mostly vegetarian and plan on eating restaurant takeout--what will that be, PB&J? There's lots of good veggie restaurant food out there, but not always right where you are when you're looking for it.
Sometimes it can be a challenge. That's one reason I'll eat fish. But usually I can find a mexican place with OK selections. Around Atlanta Subway will make a veggie patty sandwich. I don't find that in the mountains though. Sometimes it's a tuna sub.

Thanks for the red lintel note. I'll look into that. I can probably get some here before I leave. I didn't know I could cook that quickly.
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Old 09-06-14, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Skilander
Go big on quinoa, it a complete protein and real easy to cook. I like fry up some onion, garlic and peppers in the pan then add the appropriate amount of water and quinoa. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15ish minutes.
This and eggs is likely to be my main protein
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Old 09-06-14, 02:15 PM
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got a guide book of the edible wild plants where you are going ?
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Old 09-06-14, 02:25 PM
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Vegetarian in the woods

Breakfast - Oatmeal
Lunch - Peanut butter tortillas
Evening meal - Rice and a tin of beans

Enough of the above for three days isn't really that heavy. Add some trail mix for snacking on and you'll be fine
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Old 09-06-14, 03:33 PM
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Rice, quinoa, cous cous, beans, lentils, peanut butter, nuts, tuna in packets, salmon jerky. I agree that the importance of protein is overblown--there are vegan body builders winning competitions.... Not a bad idea though to do your best on tour but the body is forgiving if you get your calories elsewhere...

I've been experimenting with cooking quinoa and lentils at home using my touring cook pot and cozy. I forget how long it took (35 minutes?) but if you simply bring the quinoa and lentils to a boil the cozy will do the rest without the need soak the lentils during the day. Seems like a long time but not that big of deal if you start cooking first and then set up camp and do other chores while your dinner is cooking in the cozy.
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Old 09-06-14, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mm718
I've been experimenting with cooking quinoa and lentils at home using my touring cook pot and cozy. I forget how long it took (35 minutes?) but if you simply bring the quinoa and lentils to a boil the cozy will do the rest without the need soak the lentils during the day. Seems like a long time but not that big of deal if you start cooking first and then set up camp and do other chores while your dinner is cooking in the cozy.
What is a cozy?
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Old 09-06-14, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Walter S
What is a cozy?
A cozy is an insulated sleeve you slip the heated pot into to retain the heat and continue passively cooking the contents to reduce fuel usage. So, basically, you start cooking the food on the stove then shut off the heat and put the pot in the cozy to continue cooking while you do other stuff.
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Old 09-06-14, 05:32 PM
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Here's one example... They can be made out of a car sun shade (reflectix) that you can buy from the dollar store...

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Old 09-07-14, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mm718
Here's one example... They can be made out of a car sun shade (reflectix) that you can buy from the dollar store...
Great go-by. Thanks. I'm heading to the dollar store
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Old 09-07-14, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mm718
I've been experimenting with cooking quinoa and lentils at home using my touring cook pot and cozy.
The way I usually make porridge at home these days is in a 16 oz wide mouth steel vacuum insulated food jar. I put half a cup of Bob's Red Mill 10 grain cereal in the food jar, then fill it up the rest of the way with boiling water, just leaving a little bit of space at the top. After I tighten the lid on, I shake the jar to mix things up and then leave it on its side. I do that at midnight or so and by 7 AM it's all cooked and still a bit warm.
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Old 09-08-14, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim Kukula
The way I usually make porridge at home these days is in a 16 oz wide mouth steel vacuum insulated food jar. I put half a cup of Bob's Red Mill 10 grain cereal in the food jar, then fill it up the rest of the way with boiling water, just leaving a little bit of space at the top. After I tighten the lid on, I shake the jar to mix things up and then leave it on its side. I do that at midnight or so and by 7 AM it's all cooked and still a bit warm.
Thanks for the tip! Sounds like a good time saver for the morning routine.
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Old 09-08-14, 06:54 AM
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Quinoa is a good choice. Since you do eat fish, foil packed tuna (or salmon) is an option. I like to put it in noodle or quinoa dishes.
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Old 09-08-14, 09:56 PM
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Where's Niles when you need him, didn't he do a tour where he collected most of what he was going to eat in nearby forests and/or fields.
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Old 09-09-14, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Quinoa is a good choice. Since you do eat fish, foil packed tuna (or salmon) is an option. I like to put it in noodle or quinoa dishes.
Thanks. I was considering canned, but that's way heavier. I just stocked up on a bunch of foil packed.
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Old 09-09-14, 08:38 PM
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I would take dried foods. I know at least around me the Dr. McDougall's Asian Entrees are on sale and I just pop those out of the packaging and put them into small zip top bags and take them while biking. They are tasty, fully vegan and quick to make. Basically boil water add noodles and cook for about a minute. You can also get freeze dried veggies to add to it.

There is also Keen One Quinoa which cooks fairly quick (7-9 minutes or so), has tons of protein (more than most average folks would realistically need) and tastes amazing (plus they are awesome and helped sponsor my last tour): Quinoa Products, Quinoa Recipes, Organic and Gluten Free Certified - Keen One Quinoa

and there is also Outdoor Herbivore which sells backpacking meals:
Vegetarian & Vegan Backpacking / Camping Food - Outdoor Herbivore

And Tasty Bite makes some open and eat stuff that is quite tasty (though not dehydrated so can be a little heavy but lighter than a can)

I would also consider investing in a food dehydrator and you can make your own meals. With that you add what you want and can make it to your tastes. I just recently got one and am excited to play with it when I get some time.

One final note bring exciting snacks and foods, a hard day in the saddle can all be made better by some comforting foods.
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