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Allergies and backpacking

Backpacking involves hiking to a mountainous destination, such as a lake, with all your gear loaded into a backpack. Itís an activity that can be challenging for anyone but add in multiple food sensitivities, fibromyalgia and stomach issues.

Despite these health problems, my interest in backpacking was rekindled two summers ago, after giving it up for more than a decade. I guess it proves that you donít have to let food allergies keep you from doing the things you enjoy.

Admittedly, my first backpacking trip with food allergies took a lot of planning. Yes, planning is the key to doing something with food allergies or any health problem.

Now, I am preparing for another backpacking adventure (sixth in the last three summers). I still do a little complaining that I have to do much preparation while my backpacking partners (husband and son) simply pick up a few pre-packaged meals, ready to rehydrate by adding hot water. Their backpacking menu will include freeze-dried eggs and bacon, beef stroganoff and chicken enchiladas.

Items, such as these, are loaded with many of the foods, starches and additives that I need to avoid. This year my preparation is complicated by the fact that I have developed a few new food sensitivities, a complication of fibromyalgia.

I started looking for suitable foods several months prior to our planned trip. I began by searching on the internet for the freeze-dried foods I can tolerate. The second step will be to assemble these foods into safe meals I prepare at home and pack into heavy-duty storage bags for packing. I also will bake my own packable energy bars with safe ingredients.

I ended up ordering items from the same companies I have dealt with in the past. They include: www.nutsonline.com and www.beprepared.com. I purchased carrots, broccoli, chicken, strawberries, blueberries, apples, peaches, pears, butternut squash, zucchini and spinach. I can make a variety of meals and snacks from these ingredients as well as some items I already have in my pantry.

Hereís a recipe for a delicious energy bar that can be eaten at home or taken along backpacking or camping.

Carrot hemp seed crackers

Here's what you need:

3 medium carrots, peeled and grated
2 T. ground golden flax mixed with 4 T. water
2 T. unsweetened sunbutter
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, regular or reduced fat
1 cup raw hemp seeds or substitute sesame seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon

Here's what you do:

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
To a food processor, add the carrots and grate.
Add the flax and sunbutter. Continue mixing.
Then, mix in the coconut, hemp seeds and cinnamon.
Spread the dough on a large baking sheet, sprayed with pan spray.
Score the dough with a knife into cracker rectangles.
Bake the crackers for 60+ minutes or until dry and crispy.
Allow to cool before storing in baggies.

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