Monday, February 25, 2013

Stone Mountain State Park

Stone Mountain State Park Summit
I made it out to Stone Mountain State Park in Roaring Gap, NC. It was a great short hike with a lot of features in such a short trip. The weather was nice and sunny and only a little chilly near the summit where there was no wind break at all. For such a close by trail it was well worth it. I definitely recommend it as well. I'll do a full write up on the trip on my website within the next week.

So, what did I eat for this trip?  Well since it was a day trip, I didn't put a whole lot of effort into things as I didn't need to watch my static load much at all.  The Manta 20 Hydration Pack provided plenty of space and I could almost do an overnight trip with that thing.  I digress, here's my menu:

  • Happy Baby Organic Sweet Potato - I just happened across these in Whole Foods and thought it would be good for a little carb boost
  • Half of a Summer Sausage roll (just watch the ingredients)
  • A few slices of a hard Goat Cheese from a local farm (similar to parmesan)
  • Dehdrated banana and strawberry from my new Nesco Dehydrator along with some coconut flakes and a small handful of macadamia.

I wanted to load up on the fats to keep me going and I did so with the nuts, coconut flakes, the goat cheese (I know it's more Primal than Paleo), and the Sausage.  I complimented this with a little fructose boost from the fruit and also picked up a few carbs with the sweet potato pouch and fruit.  So it was a well rounded selection and helpful to me to know what worked well for my next weekend outing.

I am hoping to get my hands on an eye of round this weekend from the local farm so I can work on some jerky recipes.  After I get that down to an art I definitely want to work on some more complex recipes such as a dehydrated chili or some other beef based meals.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Testing the Osprey Manta and Dehydrating Trail Foods

As long as the weather holds this weekend I am going to take a day hike out to Stone Mountain Park.  There's a nice loop trail of about 4 miles so it's a pretty easy trek compared to what I am normally doing on my backpacking trips.  Over the holidays I got an Osprey Manta 20 pack for doing some day trips.  I did a bit of research before the purchase.  I looked at Black Diamond and CamelBak.  I really did like the CamelBak packs but the price point compared to Osprey wasn't worth it to me.  The Black Diamond packs were better priced but none of them seem to give me exactly what I wanted.  I am familiar with Osprey with my Atmos 50 (review on my website) and I couldn't be happier and I really like the styling and fit of Osprey packs for me so it was an obvious choice.  Granted Osprey has a number of different day packs to choose from so it came down to styling and the Manta 20 included the Hydraform.  Most of the CamelBaks included a hydration pack as well but for another 50 bucks that I was unwilling to spend.  It didn't hurt that Amazon was running a sale on all Osprey packs at the time of my purchase as well.

Along with my Manta, after a refund from one of my holiday gifts, I picked up a Nesco food dehydrator.  I've been wanting to get a dehydrator for a long time now and finally have one to use.  So I am excited to start putting together recipes to try out and post on my website for others to try.  I think I may do a simple fruit dehydration for this weekend's hike and see how it goes.  Prior to this purchase I was using the Lex Rooker box method for making jerky.  It worked and it was cheap however it wasn't always precise and it depended a lot on the conditions of the air (humidity and coolness) where I was using the box in my basement.  Now I feel like I can control the environment a bit better or at least regulate it enough to better dial in when things should be completely dry.  The other advantage will be the ability of creating a paleo meal and then dehydrating that meal completely to be used on the trail.  No longer will I need to worry about no-cook meals (unless I want to).  Now I just need to convince someone to get me a JetBoil to try out and I will be complete  Ok maybe I should just purchase it myself!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sourcing Clean Sustainable Foods

One of the most important things to me with Paleo is to source clean foods.  I started out merely as gluten free and the more I read and researched the more I removed from my diet to see if my body, energy levels, and mood responded in kind to the change.  This is how I ended up on the paleo diet in essence.  I was actually leaning towards this way of eating before I knew what it was called.  I wanted to have the most 'organic' food as possible and this also became an important factor when considering what to take on the trail.

I didn't really know where to go to get clean foods at first and Whole Foods Market was about the only thing that popped in my mind.  I knew they were much more expensive than the local markets here but I didn't mind paying extra for better quality food that I knew wasn't a GMO or was not laden with harmful pesticides.  After a little research a whole new world opened around me, literally, in my backyard.

I also started off, and still use, US Wellness for some of my meats.  Sometimes, I cannot find a certain cut or I just want to order a load of sugar free bacon and it's nice to have the option.  The prices are decent for mail-order.  I am quite impressed since they ship quickly and even offer non-frozen fresh-chilled meats once a month, which is awesome if you want to make your own cuts.  So US Wellness was great at first but then I started getting into the local scene and I found quite the treasure trove of local farms around me.  I used the directory on and found a couple small places, then found more by visiting the farmers market, and then even more by either word of mouth or through the local eateries.

I must admit the more research I have done in the Piedmont of North Carolina is that I am pretty lucky to have a lot of resources nearby that offer fresh organic vegetables and fresh grass-fed/finished beef products.  I know others are not so lucky, so US Wellness will definitely help and now Wild Mount Paleo Market is open online to help fill in the gaps as well.  Their pricing is a little bit more expensive but they are a start-up and it may take some time to have competitive pricing.  So, I encourage you to use them if you don't have readily available local sources, just to help them out and show support for this community.

Without clean sources for my trail foods it would almost be useless to even try Paleo while backpacking.  None of the dehydrated food companies have embraced a cleaner style that I have seen just yet.  Many are definitely not geared towards paleo and some are just now using Gluten Free products.  Even then, if it's a mix it often contains some nasty preservatives or chemicals.  My approach lately is to take what I have an invent my own meals.  Once I get a dehydrator I'll be adding more and more things and ditching the idea of ever finding a Mountain House package that fits me.  Instead of can have a dehydrated grass-fed meat with whatever vegetable I want, remain Paleo on the trail, and actually feel comfortable about what I am eating (sans the flatulence involved with dehydrated meals).

For more information follow me on my new website: Alter Auslander and coming soon:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Back to blogging!

I just recently finished building my latest website which focuses on the Paleo Diet, Backpacking, Cookbook Reviews, Physical Fitness, and some stories about my hiking trips.  I was finding it difficult to just write general news about things or focus solely on backpacking and Paleo as one.  I ended up breaking down each subject, which is great for articles specific to a topic but this blog will be more about just Backpacking on a Paleo diet and or random relevant blurbs that don't necessarily fit into my website.

I wanted to create a web presence that identified mostly with those people that have similar interests as me.  When I first went Paleo I was finding it difficult to find information on what to eat while I was hiking so I had to improvise a lot.  Some things have worked and others did not.  So hopefully that is what I will focus on here with this blog and anything that needs closer examination, a solid review, seems worthy of a full article I will move into onto my website.

I am also working on a local directory for those in the Triad of NC wanting to source foods for their diet as well as work on a website geared towards those with flat feet (that's me!).  Hiking with clown shoes and eating like a caveman, that's what my world has turned into when I am not typing away or troubleshooting IT issues.  Oh IT, that could be another blog one of these days if it weren't already so crowded with such things on the interwebs.

So, if any of those things interest you or you would like to interact with me and help me develop certain aspects, even research on items, I would surely welcome the discourse.