Sunday, 21 April 2019

TGO Challenge Food Supplies: Some shocking nerdiness

Sorting my TGOC Supplies


I did something very nerdy yesterday.  Whilst I was sorting the food I plan to take on the forthcoming TGO Challenge I checked on the calorific content of a typical day’s supplies.  I have never done this before and was quite shocked by what I found.  I knew that on longer backpacking trips such as the TGOC I would usually lose a bit of weight (perhaps no bad thing in my case), and so was consuming less than I was burning off, but was surprised at just how large my calorie deficit must be over several long days of carrying a pack. In the past I have been conscious that I do not drink enough water when backpacking and dehydration impacts adversely on my performance.  I suspected that insufficient food intake was doing so as well, but not by the amounts yesterday’s nerdy exercise demonstrated. What is more galling is that I already feel that the food I carry makes a hefty addition to the weight on my shoulders, and thus to up my calories significantly would mean a serious weight penalty.

The table below shows a very typical day’s food for me on the Challenge.

Meal
Food
Calories



Breakfast
Oats So Simple (2 sachets)
200

Sugar and Nido in oats
100

Nature Valley Cereal Bar
190

Brews *2 with Nido
30




Sub-Total
520






Lunch
Tortilla wraps *2
230

Primula Cheese
100




Sub-Total
330






Snacks
Trail Mix (c25gr fruit pastilles, c40gr M and Ms)
290

Cereal Bar
190

Milky Way (Fun Size) *2
150

Snickers (Medium)
200




Sub-Total
830






Dinner
Brews *2
30

Cup a Soup
100

Dehydrated Meal (various makes 600-800 calories)
650

Pudding eg instant custard or Milky Way
150




Sub-Total
930




Grand Total
2610

Thus, that rough and ready calculation suggests a daily intake of about 2600 calories. My Fitbit tracker tells me that this past week’s exercise (mainly dog walking) has seen me consume between 3600 and 5700 calories per day.  On the  Pre-Walk Daunder backpack in the Lake District in the Lake District recently I burnt about 6500 calories per day. I will have to re-examine my list and see what I can an add without having to lug too much more up various hills.

Of course the above is an underestimate of calories consumed on the Challenge. The occasional cafe or store will be passed on a day's walk. I will spend some nights in towns or villages in B and Bs and on those days a cooked breakfast, dinner out, and a couple of pints of Guinness will up things considerably, but possibly at not the best times of day to provide energy when on the hill or along the glens.

Finally, on another, but related, topic, I have been devastated to discover that Sainsbury’s appear to have stopped selling their Pour and Store food bags.  It was the innovative gusset at the base of these bags that helped me develop my much derided culinary technique of plastic bag cooking to a standard worthy of Master Chef. I will now have to visit the Lakeland store in Windermere to find a suitable alternative product. It is that or resort to having to wash my pot after breakfast.

Argghhh. I'm down to my last four bags 

Well that’s enough nerdiness from me for now. I have some re-supply parcels to make up.



22 comments:

  1. Carry a proper dish and save the planet at the same time, lazy arse 😊

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    1. Oh Geoffrey. What an altruistic thought. You'll be giving one of your kidneys away next...

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  2. Trail mix needs nuts, raisins etc. All snack bars need to be bigger and more calorific as does your dessert after dinner. Sorted 👍

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    1. Brazil nuts. 690 cals per 100 grams. Discovered this whilst eating a packet with a G and T before tonight's tea.

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    2. Was thinking some more about your reply, Geoff. I rarely got through all my trail mix when it used to have more dried fruit and nuts in than that shown in the table above (and note the M and Ms are peanut based). I will include more of these but I suppose my thinking is that something like a Milky Way - less nutricious/calorific - can be a morale booster when you're exhausted and still have miles to go and if it's more likely to be eaten shouldn't necessarily be replaced. Common sense really, so you'll agree. 😊

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  3. Interesting stuff.
    I had a similar look at this seven years ago and my findings (plus see the comments from Baz Carter and the replies) were that even eating 3,400 kCals / day I was something like 2,100 kCals / day short. You can find this post and comments by clicking
    TGO Challenge: Wasting Away…

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  4. Spookily similar thoughts, Alan. Thanks for the link to your excellent post. However, I'm not certain I could eat a stale cheese roll for breakfast - and throwing up would be counter-productive.

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    1. Cucumber, Sir. Keeps the rolls slightly moist. Add some Bournville chocolate sheets and some marmalade, and you'll be in heaven.

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    2. Sadly cucumber is a pet hate, Alan. Dreadful stuff which leaves an unpleasant taste for days. And are you suggesting eating chocolate and marmalade with a cheese roll? If so I will begin to wonder about your taste buds, which hitherto I thought were quite refined.

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    3. Not alongside, in the roll. A strong cheddar for tanginess, the thin dark chocolate for crunch and smoothness, the marmalade for intense pleasure. Leave out the cucumber if you wish.
      Try it. You'll be amazed.

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    4. I often bow down and take heed of your wisdom, Alan. On this occasion I shall trust my own judgement.

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  5. 150g of Trail mix per day with equal measures of raisins, M&Ms and salted peanuts boosted my calories a few years ago on the TGO, but I still found it impossible to pack enough calories per day within 800-1000g of food. I lost 6 lbs across the walk, which meant I was short by about 1000 KCal a day, even though I'd packed 3600 a day (so I'd burnt 4600 a day average). I think it's impossible to carry enough calories and still carry less than 800g of food per day. By the end of the walk I couldn't stick trail mix and haven't eaten it again since.

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    1. I too get bored with trail mix, John, which is why I changed my mix recently to M and Ms and fruit pastilles. I got to the stage where I had to force myself to eat the stuff and there was always some left over at the end of the day. I will, however, now be adding some brazil nuts and almonds and see how this goes down, both literally and metaphorically.

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  6. 2nd attempt to comment - I don't think Safari on a Mac is very blogger-friendly.

    I doubt if a bit of a calorie deficit matters much in a two week walk as most of us have a bit to spare. But I find that I need more energy quickly and I crave sugar, which is something I don't normally eat much of. So, I get through a 100g bar of chocolate a day on a walk (1/2 in the morning, 1/2 in the afternoon) and have hot chocolate when I camp for the night.

    Trail mix is OK but it's such a chore to eat.

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    1. Hello Ian

      I certainly have plenty of fat to lose so am happy with insufficient calories in that regard. However, on a daily basis not eating enough does leave me with low energy. I tend to take quite a few chocolate snacks eg Snickers for a boost but this post and discussion has prompted me to think more about the overall daily total and changing my habits so that I find long Challenge days more achievable. As you say trail mix can be a chore to eat - especially after a few days.

      From advice received on here, or directly from people, I'm adding more dried fruit, dried coconut milk, Jaffa Cakes and various other stuff - and sadly this means more weight on my shoulders.

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  7. I wouldn't worry about calorie deficit over a 2 week walk. Especially if you are carrying a bit of 'timber' to start with. Calorie intake is a much bigger issue on longer walks and thru hikes. Just take some Jaffa Cakes David. Nice and light, 46 calories per cake and they are a great boost to tired legs when sugar levels dip towards the end of the day.

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    1. Hi Steve

      I agree - I'm not concerned about calorie deficit per se over the two weeks of the Challenge. I'm more concerned about my daily energy levels and the impact on my ability to walk for up to 10 or more hours at a time.

      Jaffa cakes sound a good idea though I am capable of scoffing the pack of 12 (see I know!) in one go. But if they were good enough for Sir Alex Ferguson's footie teams....

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/nutrition/healthy-jaffa-cakes/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_em

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  8. Tesco still sell pour and store bags as do some of the £ stores and home bargains. Also try the baco foil zip locks they are excellent depending on what you want to do with them They are not as strong as pour and store but ideal for breakfast cereals etc. And it save washing up and putting soap into the environment. Win Win.

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    1. Thanks for the tips, Alan. I also had a useful trip to Lakeland - although the Sainsbury's bags were particularly good as the fastening was on the long side, so easier to eat from.

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  9. Highly diverting.

    I'm always running at a calorie deficit, but brought numbers up on the TGO by using Fuel 10K (1,200 calories in a 200g squeezy packet)...sick of peanut butter now!

    I've found on longer trails that diversity of food is good for the head and the body copes.

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    1. Thanks Ed. I made a number of changes to my TGOC food after receiving lots of comments both on and off line about this blog post. In particular I took and ate lots more nuts and less chocolate; and used dried coconut milk powder, which is extremely calorific (bought on Amazon) and was really delicious in my morning oats. Far better than Nido. The oats were also changed to the real thing instead of Oats So Simple. I was pleased that real rolled oats are perfectly edible with just added boiling water. No need to either simmer or wait to eat them (beyond allowing them to cool a bit, obviously).
      Incidentally, Ed I also changed my gear list which you commented on and took quite a few superfluous items out. You'd have been *slightly* impressed at my daring! I may do a blog post about that too if I ever get the time.

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  10. I used to love raw oats as a kid, with sugar and milk though...

    Used coconut milk powder and coconut sugar myself, principally in my chia pudding (doubles as breakfast)..

    It would have been nice to see your slimmed down pack...I stayed with my Sloman confounding 6.3kgs... And survived :-D

    Those colonial chaps packs were, however, in a tiny League of their own

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