Thursday, August 18, 2011

Backpacking with candida and food allergies

Bailey, the new fur kid, on the kitchen counter again!

Bailey and Misha rampage in the living room.
Backpacking seed bars with other assorted freeze-dried foods
More than a decade ago, I considered myself an avid backpacker. It didn’t seem unusual for me to hike into a remote lake with all my gear and food loaded into a backpack. Stomach issues that turned out to be delayed food allergies curbed my enthusiasm for the activity.

Now, I am preparing for my first backpacking trip in 12 years. The last time I headed into the woods was when my daughter was still in high school. No, it’s not a mid-life crisis that’s prompting me to dust off my backpacking gear. My son has fond memories of backpacking with his parents and has invited us to go along with him on several short trips.

Regular car trips have posed problems for me because I have multiple food allergies. I have dealt with the problem by taking along lots of my own food and limiting eating out.

Locating “safe” foods for backpacking is a challenge on another level. Sure I am still taking along my own allergen-free items but whatever I pack must be lightweight which rules out regular food.

Backpackers usually pack easy-to-prepare meals that are pre-packaged and can be made ready by simply adding water to rehydrate the freeze-dried or dehydrated foods. Unfortunately, the meals are loaded with many of the foods I need to avoid, such as dairy, gluten, legumes and eggs.

In my search to find suitable food, I found some companies that manufacture meals for backpackers have begun to take note of the fact that there are vegans and people with gluten sensitivity. There also are companies that produce organic meals.

I didn’t expect companies to prepare foods for individuals like myself with multiple food sensitivities. My plan was to purchase freeze-dried foods and assemble my own safe meals.

I found all kinds of freeze-dried vegetables, meats and fruits at and I purchased carrots, broccoli, asparagus, celery, chicken, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, dried soup mix, soy milk powder, brown rice and quinoa. I can 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 packable backpacking seed bar that can be taken along on your next adventure whether it is backpacking, camping, biking, traveling. I used Ricki's coconut brittle as my inspiration.

Backpacking Seed Bars

  1. 2 cups raw or toasted seeds of your choice ( I used 1/2 cup each of hemp, pumpkin, and sunflower, and 1/4 cup each of sesame and amaranth)
  2. 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  3. 2 T. raw cacao nibs
  4. 2 T. chia seeds
  5. 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  6. 2 T. tahini
  7. 2 T. olive oil
  8. 2 T. water
  9. 3 T. yacon or agave nectar
  10. powdered stevia to taste
  11. Pinch of sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with pan spray.
  2. Grind all seeds and cacao nibs in a coffee grinder. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine the applesauce, oil, tahini, water, yacon, stevia and sea salt in a food processor. Add the coconut and ground seeds and nibs and process until the mixture comes together into a sticky dough.
  4. Spread the dough in a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick on the sprayed cookie sheet.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes. If the top is dry, cut the rectangle into 16 pieces and separate the pieces to leave space between them.
  6. Continue baking for up to another hour until the bars are crispy.
  7. Allow to cool and store in ziploc baggies in the freezer for your next adventure.

Don't forget to check out more vegan recipe ideas at:


Ricki said...

Good for you for getting out there again and going for it! Hope the trip is great. The bars sound perfect for a bite on the road (or trail, as the case may be). ;)

Sheree Welshimer said...

It's taken a lot of time to plan meals, order freeze-dried food and test out potential recipes. But that's all lined up now. Unfortunately, my older dog buddy, Kona, who has bad hips, had an allergic reaction to an anti-inflammatory drug she was taking. She was doing so great on it until... It's a real bummer that she won't be able to go but our neighbor will give her some extra TLC while we're gone.

resistantnikki said...

I wish I had your recipe for these seed bars before our hiking adventures we recently took! I made a trail mix with some similar ingredients. Have fun on your trip!

Sheree Welshimer said...

I like trail mix too. There's plenty of good hiking weather so you might be able to try the seed bars. Thanks for the good wishes.