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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. It’s an activity that can be challenging for anyone but my multiple food sensitivities, fibromyalgia and stomach issues make it more of a challenge.
Despite these health problems, my interest in backpacking was rekindled three summers ago, after giving it up for more than a decade. I guess it proves that you don’t have to let food allergies keep you from doing the things you enjoy.
Admittedly, my backpacking trips with food allergies take a lot of planning. Yes, planning is the key to doing something with food allergies or any health problem.
Recently, I went on another backpacking adventure (seventh in the last four 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 food preparation was complicated by the fact I discovered I am more sensitive to sugars and starches than I originally thought. This meant I needed to restrict my use of many carbohydrates, the usual source of energy when hiking.
From previous trips, I had a nice stockpile of freeze-dried vegetables and meat that I purchased from beprepared.com. I had chicken, turkey jerky, instant miso soup, vacuum-packed tuna and salmon, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, zucchini and asparagus. I was able to make a variety of meals and snacks from these ingredients as well as some items I already have in my pantry.
Here’s a recipe for a tasty camp dessert, called Campers’ “PB” and Chocolate Cheesecake Pudding, that can be eaten at home or taken along backpacking or camping.
Here's what you need:
2 T. peanut butter, sunbutter or almond butter. Tip: for camping or backpacking, get the individual, squeeze packets.
1 T. milk powder. Tip: you can purchase soymilk powder or other alternative milk.
1 T. Great Lakes gelatin powder
Stevia powder, to taste
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon powder
1 T. cocoa powder
1/4 cup cold water; 1/2 cup hot water
Optional: Make a crunchy topping with 1/4 cup crushed Rice Chex.
To make at home, omit the milk powder and simply use 1/2 cup of milk beverage of your choice, warmed.
Here's what you do:
For backpacking or camping, use ziplocs to hold your ingredients. Place gelatin in one ziploc; milk powder in another; Rice Chex in another. Combine cocoa powder, stevia, cinnamon, salt in an additional ziploc baggie.
To make the pudding in camp: in a camp cup, sprinkle the gelatin on 1/4 cup cold water. Allow to set for 1 minute. Add the 1/2 cup hot water and stir to dissolve the gelatin. Next, add in the milk powder, cocoa packet and seed or nut butter of choice, and stir until blended. Set the cup aside for about 20-30 minutes until the pudding thickens. It seems like a long time but in camp there is lots to be done while you wait.
At home, sprinkle the gelatin on water; after one minute, add the hot milk and stir until dissolve. Then, add the gelatin mixture and other ingredients to your food processor and blend until mixed. Pour the blended mixture into a container and refrigerate until chilled and thickened. Top with a dollop of your favorite yogurt.
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