By Dave Schreck:
We headed east from Hokitika to Lake Matheson on New Zealand’s south island. The lake hike is famous for the mirror views of Mount Cook where Sir Edmund Hilary trained to become the first person with his guide Tenzing Norgay to reach the world’s highest summit, Mt. Everest (29,029ft.) in 1953. It was a clear day as Prudence and I walked through the ancient native forest lined with lush silver ferns, the national flower of New Zealand (NZ). We proceeded over the suspension bridge as crystal-blue glacier waters rushed below approaching the first viewing platform to observe the unforgettable reflection of New Zealand’s highest peak at 12,316 feet. Time to relax and be in the moment at a picnic table overlooking the lake. We snacked on organic grass-fed NZ cheese and a slice of bread that has become legendary throughout New Zealand. Vogel Bread, based on Dr. Alfred Vogel’s original Swiss recipe, is made with all-natural ingredients. It is similar to Ezekiel bread and really bad, which means really tasty good. Yes, it’s a bad carb, but it was the experience. One slice is fine, and it was delicious. Remember, follow the Zone principles 85% of the time, and you’ll still benefit from the diet.
Since returning from the trip of a lifetime, I’ve been attempting to come up with something as spectacular as our hike in NZ. How about hiking up Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, the highest peak in the northeast at 6,289 feet? Prudence did her research and said, are you serious? Look at this:
- Do not confuse the trails on Mt. Washington with a nature walk. The trails are rough, rocky, steep and exhausting, equivalent to doing four hours of lunges.
- Severe weather conditions of hurricane-force winds, dense fog, driving rain and even snow in the summer months.
- More than 100 hikers have died on the mountain.
- Holds the world-record for a wind speed of 231 mph.
Was I serious? Well, presented with the facts, we decided to drive up the auto road at Mt. Mansfield in Stowe, Vt., and hike a trail that runs along the top of the ridge involving some ups and downs to the summit, 4,393 feet. While at the top we enjoyed the view. I stared at one hiker eating lobster! Seemed a little embarrassed as others were eating GORP (good ole raisins and peanuts) and said his sister packed the lunch. That reminded me of the late ‘90s when hikers, campers, flight attendants, and people on the go asked for a list of quick and easy foods that could always be on hand, allowing them to follow the basic principles of the Zone.
Before 1995 experts believed that high-calorie carbohydrate meals were essential for those with increased physical activity. Meals developed by the US military, known as MRE’s (meals ready to eat), provide approximately 1,200 calories per sealed poly bag. Unfortunately, they are low in fiber and high in sodium, fat and carbs that elevate blood sugars and insulin to knock you out of the Zone. Dr. Sears suggests an average female requires 1,100 calories and males 1,400 calories per day. Increased physical demand would require slightly more calories when following the Zone.
Interestingly, in 1997 the U.S Army Natick Soldier Systems Center, aka Natick Labs, Mass., invited Dr. Sears to discuss his Zone technology and the scientific evidence, suggesting that they should rethink MREs. He stated that high-carbohydrate meals (MRE’s) actually limited one’s performance and recovery. The ratio of protein, carbohydrate, and fat of a meal determines whether you will preferentially use stored body fat for energy or stored carbohydrate. Depending upon one’s activity and metabolic flexibility (the ability to switch from carbohydrates or fats for energy), the body has the ability to utilize fat (stored or incoming) and carbohydrates (stored or incoming) as an energy source when at rest and during physical activity. Not surprisingly, the U.S. military was lockstep with the USDA’s high-carbohydrate mantra and said thanks but no thanks. However, one Air Force B-2 stealth bomber pilot benefited from Dr. Sears’ advice as he participated in bombing runs off Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in late 2001.
Whether you’re on a four-mile hike or a 48-hour Air Force mission, you should have Zone-friendly foods and water available. Food that packs well and tastes good is the goal. These suggestions require no preparation and are intended to eat on the go. Remember, leave no trace, pack it in and pack it out, therefore, re-sealable zipper storage bags are essential.
Here is an updated list that you may add to:
Meat and Poultry
Jerkies: Salmon, duck, elk, fish, turkey, beef, venison Cured meat: Summer sausage, artisanal salami (Olli Salumeria), pepperoni Hormel: 95% Fat-Free Chicken in Water, Lean Smoked Ham, White and Dark Turkey 97% Fat Free in Water, 95% Fat-Free Dried Beef Underwood: Buffalo-Style Chicken Spread, White Meat Chicken Spread. SPAM: Lite, Oven-Roasted Turkey.
Seafood & Fish
Starkist Pouch: Tuna Creations, Albacore in Water, and Lunch-to-Go Selections Bumble Bee Pouch: Salmon, Albacore Tuna Sardines in various sauces Wild mackerel, wild herring fillets Claw crab meat, special white crab meat.
Sargento Light String Cheese , Mini Babybel (light), Instant powdered non-fat dry milk.
Protein Rich Vegetarian
Whey protein powder (mix with water), Dr. Sears’ Zone Bars, Zone Shakes (mix with water or milk), Dried tofu jerky.
Fresh vegetables: (limited shelf life) celery, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, etc. Dehydrated vegetables Fresh fruits: Apple, pear, plums (favorable ones), Dried fruits – use in small amounts ), Low-carb wraps and flat, bread, Wasa crackers.
Almonds, Macadamia nuts, Peanuts, Cashews.
Mayo packs, Paul Newman’s olive oil and vinegar dressing packets, Salt and pepper , Plastic spoons, knives, forks , Microfiber cloth, Water.
Focus on low-fat protein choices; add in a small amount of carbohydrate as some of those listed are not ideal but work when consumed in small amounts. One of the best ways to maintain insulin levels is not to eat too much carbohydrate or protein at a meal. Although carbohydrate has a strong effect on insulin release, protein is a weak stimulator of insulin, however, protein has a strong impact on the release of glucagon, which inhibits insulin. Remember, it’s the combination of P/C/F that’s the key to providing the energy you need for a memorable day.
Go take a hike!