Keep it simple when preparing food for the trail

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One of the activities I enjoy is hiking. Last year, I spent two weeks hiking in Alaska and thought I was in heaven.

This past month, I spent 10 days in Washington State hiking on Mt. St. Helens and on Mt. Rainier.

I love being out in nature, challenging myself a little and being in different parts of the world. And with fall coming, and the leaves changing colors soon, this is the perfect time to think about hiking.

But what does somebody who eats whole food, plant-based take on the trail with them when hiking all day? Fortunately, there are solutions to that question. All a hiker needs to do is carry a day pack and a thermos and the hiker is all set.

First, I'll mention bread. I don't eat much bread when I'm at home, preferring instead to stick with more whole foods. But on the trail, bread is an important staple, and my favorite bread to take on the trail with me is that which is baked by Sprout Momma on Hilton Head Island.

I am particularly fond of the sprouted dark rye bread that they make. It's so good, it requires no spread or anything else on it. I just break off or cut off a piece and find it to be very filling as well as delicious.

There are also two companies with which I am familiar with that specialize in foods that can be taken on the trail. (I know there are others as well but these are two companies that I have purchased from).

One is called Outdoor Herbivore at outdoorherbivore.com. While many of their products require cooking and are great for camping, I use their packages that don't require cooking. One of these is their No Cook Combo that includes a toasted sunburst muesli, a coconut chia peel and a sunny sunflower salad.

I also like their Chia Combo that includes ginger chia gooey, chia oat crunch and Appalachia dessert mix. With each, you just add cold water and it is ready in 10 minutes.

The other company is a new one called Leafside, which sells similar dried food packages that in many cases require only adding hot water. Some packages, however, do require blending, which doesn't work on the trail.

The advantage Leafside has is they claim that if you eat two of their packages of food in a day, then you will have met all of the Daily Dozen requirements called out by Dr. Michael Greger in his book "How Not to Die."

Locally, Carla Golden Wellness offers Leafside products through her website at carlagoldenwellness.com.

And of course, there are whole foods that can be bought at the grocery store and are indispensable in my day pack. They include nuts, trail mix, apples and other fresh fruit. A person eating whole food, plant-based never needs to go hungry on the trail.

J Lanning Smith is a local freelance writer focused on healthy lifestyles.

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