Quick foods for recovery when running on empty?

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Sailsman’s thread about heat source, recovery gear and hypothermia got me thinking about the other heat source, calories. Or fat, or some combination; I don’t know much about fast fuel nutrition science.

There have been times when I realized, later than I should, that I was running on empty, up to and including shivering hypothermia. I have always just settled for gobbling down something quick and easy from the lunch bag while I get the stove out and boil water for hot chocolate or instant soup, and throw on extra or dry clothes if needed.

On multi-day trips I usually have hot chocolate mix, instant Cream-of-whatever soup packs and my typical lunch/snack stuff like peanut butter, salami, cashews, banana chips, candy bars. Eh, not exactly a balanced meal.

But, positing the scenario that I am on shore with my gear and need some quick fuel for the body, what foods or drink would folks recommend?

Foods, plural; something immediately ready to gobble down, I don’t usually carry a stove on day trips, as well as something quick and easy to heat on the stove when tripping.

As something hot, ready in minutes, and easily kept packed with a long storage/shelf life, perhaps a Mt. House Breakfast Skillet, or Biscuits & Gravy; both high in calories (500+) and total fat (28 – 30%).

What is your go-to gobbled or cooked comestible when running on empty?
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Being a skeptic, I first questioned the assumption that food can help hypothermia. A hypothermic person primarily needs external warming to stop the rapid radiative cooling from the body core. But stoking internal thermogenesis also seems rational to some extent.

Reading some articles, warm liquids do seem to be recommended; and alcohol ("the restorative nip of whiskey") is specifically and universally said to be AVOIDED, for it actually tends to drop core temperature.

I first read this article, which proposes the incredibly unhelpful recommendation to "[l]ook for food that’s high in healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates." I mean, that covers everything, since fats, proteins and carbohydrates comprise the entire nutritional spectrum of all foods. The article then goes on to list bananas, ginger tea, oats, coffee, red meat, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, water, and NO ALCOHOL. Not too helpful, eh, for the typical food supply on a canoe trip.

My own guess is that the most immediate thermogenesis impact (if any) from a foodstuff typically carried on a canoe trip could be gotten from a warm drink containing carbs and fats, such as hot soup and hot chocolate as mentioned in this article.
 
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Kathleen and I have used vacuum packed Landjaeger sausages for this purpose. They keep well on long trips, and seem to provide instant energy when we’re cold and weary.

That jibs with my thought that what the body craves in that situation is fat. When I am chilled and pawing through the lunch bag I begin to salivate when I pull out the summer sausage or salami. Cashews too, 18% fat. Maybe some cheese if I have any left. Umm, greasy, high fat cheddar.

Sweated out on hot summer daytrips there is nothing like a fresh banana, but they don’t store well battered and bruised on longer trips. That’s another topic.

I have seen far more people, especially at opposite ends of the age range, older folks and younger kids, suffer the effects of summer heat and humidity. Remind your elders and offspring to drink before they are thirsty.
 
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While I prefer to paddle, I also do a lot of day hiking with a 45# pack. Here in my area there are no flat hikes and a lot of elevation change. Traditionally I would stop every 5 miles or so and have granola bars or cliff bars and that was OK. About a month ago or so i was at Sheetz getting some coffee before heading into the mountains and on a whim bought some Honey Stinger chew drops (gum droppy things) and thought they were far better at boosting my reserves then the previous snacks. Then I tried the Stinger single crackers and I'm even more impressed with those. They are now my mainstay power booster. Much more palpable then Cliff Bars in my opinion. I don't know if they would be good for stoking the furnace if you're stranded or otherwise stationary however. Perhaps a meal of sausage and cheese would be better in that situation if you have it on hand. Check Honey Stinger snacks out though, they seem to pack a punch and tasty to boot.

Cheers,
Barry
 
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waterdog; the problem with carbs and sugars is that while they provide a quick sugar "high", they also provide a quick sugar crash. When tripping with the various youth groups my go-to for situations like this is an ordinary fruit- type cereal bar, while I prepare some instant chicken soup, followed by greasy dried sausage- the cereal bar provides an instant kick to get the furnace running and helps calm the person, the hot soup stokes that fire with some fast internal warming and comfort, and the fats and proteins in the sausage extends the "burn" to hours instead of minutes. I also give it to everyone, because I found if one kid's pushing the boundaries, others will be too...
 
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Many canoe racers I know (myself included) will gobble a banana or two before a race starts and bring one with the peel already broken to stuff down during the first hour or so of the race. Others prefer to just have packets of gu energy gel packets opened and ready to squeeze, taped to the gunwale. Candy bars (Snickers, etc.) always supplement. Others like small bottles of Boost or Ensure or similar high protein high calory drinks, but some people may have trouble digesting those while exercising hard. For long haul marathon paddling, sausages and cheese, or anything with lots of fat works well. My wife makes a special high energy bar that works well for me and is far better than cliff bars or the alike. I have downed small prepared pudding cups (messy) and little fruit juice cups, hardling missing a paddle stroke in the process.I like to have small pieces of fruit in season kept in an easy to reach plastic container. As bow paddler I like to fasten a bowl of cherries, dates, and sausages to the canoe deck in front of me within arm's reach. I find it is important to have a fairly frequent small snack (hence the cherries) often while waiting for something more substantial every 90 minutes or so. It has been traditional for a local dairy to provide free cold chocolate milk at the end of the Adirondack 90 mile canoe race as an effect refresher.
 
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My wife M and I love to slow down and soak up the scenery wherever we go and that includes tripping. But when we've soaked up and been wrung out we stop for a break. Hydration is important. Having potable water at hand whether dipping straight from the lake or reaching for a filtered bottle it's good to stay refreshed with a swig of H2O. I try to have enough on hand in anticipation of any exertion; problem portages or hellish headwinds usually result in a water break reward. And then we get back to soaking up the scenery.
Mornings are for prepping for the day. Our days are short so there's not much to do besides breaking camp. But we like to get a Thermos of hot soup ready for any eventuality of the day. This also relates to the emergency external heat thread discussion; having a quickly accessible hot hydrating nourishing meal is good for the body and spirit. We also keep our own mix of gorp on hand. We favour dried fruit and nuts. For a minor sugar hit we keep a separate bag of dried fruit to dip into sparingly. Tired bodies and flagging spirits need boosting. No need to wait for minor occurrences to become emergencies. A little rest, a little sip and a little sup. And then we're on our way again, slowing down and soaking it up.
 
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Waterdog I looked up the stingers, and if by "cracker" you mean what they call "Wafers," They've got a mix of sugars of varying complexity, and a fair bit of fat as a chaser. I'd believe that they're energy-dense.

yknpdlr Would your wife be willing to share the recipe, or is it a little too personal? I'm fairly handy in the kitchen, but I find cliff bars and similar both a bit icky, and too pricey for daily use.

I'd consider bananas, but for some reason the moment I eat one I become a mosquito michilen 5-star entree.
 
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Salami and granola has been the most reliable, along with something sweet to drink.

Cold boiled potato with skin on. Mayo if available.

Hardboiled egg... will keep a long time and really something to look forward to after a few days.

Flat can of sardines in soy oil, or smoked oysters. Lots of flavor and anticipation if cans are allowed.

Apple, fresh, a treat for it's fresh burst of flavor
 
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I like honey. It does not go bad and being a solo tripper, when I start to really feel exhausted but am not ready to stop, I take a honey break. Honey does not give a sugar crash, provides instant energy. I also eat walnuts and raisins. Raisins have more potassium than banana, and sugar energy like honey and travel well. Lastly, I do make bannok , greased with lard. Lard travels pretty well and is loaded with energy.

Whole wheat flat bread, peanut butter or Nutella and honey is a quick lunch break, packs well and loaded with energy … especially with a cup or two of coffee. This is my favorite lunch break on long arduous travel days. Oatmeal mixed in with pancake flour, in a lard greased pan, with coffee and drizzled with honey is a great high energy breakfast.

I also have used scoops of peanut butter in emergency situations for needed energy to erect a tarp-tent and get under a wool blanket for warmth and sleep when nearly hypothermic on a soggy cold BWCA trip years ago.

Bob.
 
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I like to keep a few of the Brownie Cliff bars with me. Some Cliff bars are way too sugary and give me problems but the gnarly Brownie ones can really power me up, They are indestructible and not something you will eat just to satisfy a sweet tooth.
 
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Check out "backcountryfoodie.com" for lots of just add boiling water recipes. She also has recipes for lots of pre-prepared energy bites/ nut butter balls. It's a subscription site but well worth the money for the quality of the recipes and te layout of the menus
I also highly recommend "Feast on Adventure" by Paul Shipman, a local paddler here in Manitoba. He has a website and Facebook page too.

In winter we'll carry sausages, chopped and cooked and strong cheese in cubes in ziplocs for snacking. A tip we picked up at the Winter Camping Symposium was to carry trail mix in a small Nalgene bottle, no need to remove your mitts, just unscrew and take a mouthful!
 
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Norwegian pancake with a slice of thick cut bacon on the middle. You can wrap it in foil and warm it by a fire if you like. Norwegian pancakes are made with butter, milk, sugar, egg, vanilla and just enough flour to hold that together, they are soft and flat like a crepe. With that thick bacon on the middle, it’s a calorie tornado.

I also have made a big mug of gunpowder green tea with a heavy amount of honey after coming off the water or rainy days camping out. My friend makes a. “Christmas Tea“ of Tang and cinnamon that will pick you up quick. Both of these should be followed by a real meal to avoid a big crash as noted above.
 
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Triscuits are the modern version of hardtack, and they actually taste good. 100% whole wheat. Add cheese, salami, peanut butter, sardines, hummus, refried beans, whatever you like. Aldi has a low cost version that is great.
 

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Triscuits are the modern version of hardtack, and they actually taste good. 100% whole wheat. Add cheese, salami, peanut butter, sardines, hummus, refried beans, whatever you like. Aldi has a low cost version that is great.

Skyl4lrk, welcome to site membership!
 
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Candy Corn is the Power of the Portage! Simple carbs and a bit of salt, a vague hint of childish Halloween foolishness. And Halloween is about when the door slams shut on canoe tripping. That exhausting rainy muddy rocky buggy portage feels a bit better when you think that in a few months you'll be lusting for spring.

Protein and fat are all well and good at appropriate times, but when I'm exhausted and cold I want quick energy so I can keep moving and keep warm.
 
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