So, how did I stick to all these food restrictions on the road for 3 weeks? I didn’t – it’s fucking IMPOSSIBLE…but I came damn close! Actually, it’s the best I’ve done on a motorcycle trip thus far so I wanted to share it (and document it so I remember for the next one).
First some clarification:
Food allergies – I’m very allergic to gluten and casein. I’m mildly allergic or very sensitive to soy, most grains (except corn), shell fish, eggs, ginger, coffee, strawberries, and others. Note: amaranth and Quinoa are seeds, not grains. I was never tested for buckwheat – but don’t seem to react to it.
Paleo diet – Includes meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts – no grains, dairy, legumes, sugar; no starch unless right after vigorous exercise (of which I did none on this trip).
Blood-type diet (type A) – avoid potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, coconut, beef, bison, lamb, pork, frog legs and many others
Long-distance motorcycle trip – from New York to Thompson, Manitoba (and back) on a 2011 BMW F650GS (800cc twin); ~4,400 miles round-trip. From Thompson I flew up to Churchill, MB where I did fieldwork collecting polar bear hair (noninvasively) in western Hudson Bay for 10 days
To prepare, I broke out the food dehydrator and started making lots of jerky – bison and turkey. I dried it at 105 degrees F for many hours until very dry then stored it in freezer bags with 10-gram silica packets. Protein done. Weeks before the trip, I put in an order for freeze-dried fruit and vegetables (northbaytrading.com) – peas, spinach, red-bell peppers and blueberries. I also got air dried pineapple and blueberries. I made pemmican, which is a Native American concoction for sustenance while traveling or when food was scarce. I prepared it as a mixture of equal amounts of rendered grass-fed beef fat and ground up turkey jerky with some pulverized freeze-dried blueberries mixed in. After refrigerating it, I sectioned out little portions of it and shrink wrapped it in case it became messy (which it did) when it heated up in my saddle bag.
I supplemented this paleo feast with some carb-rich stuff that I normally don’t eat but after hours on the bike I knew I would crave. I baked cookies/crackers made from shredded coconut, hazelnut flour, coconut milk, raw cacao nibs and a tiny bit of honey. I made another batch with just amaranth flour, coconut milk and goji berries. Both were very tasty, trust me.
On the road, I ended up buying peanuts, especially when the jerky and pemmican started to run out. I also bought ~85% dark chocolate bars and a Nature’s Path cereal made from corn, amaranth, Quinoa, buckwheat and a little sugar.
After a couple of 12 hour days riding, I started craving French fries …think it happened after passing the 50,673rd McDonalds, I don’t know. After I gave in, the cravings for espresso soon followed…I’m weak, what can I say. I avoided all my major allergens, especially wheat and dairy… except for gluten traces on French fries cooked in contaminated oil. Gluten-ease pills took care of that. But I also ate eggs, which like coffee, I have a moderate delayed sensitivity to (IgG4). In the past year, I avoided these items almost entirely in hopes of eliminating my reaction to them, but don’t know if it completely worked. Eggs with ham or bacon were an easy, filling protein fix in the mornings, especially up in Churchill, so I indulged often. It also allowed me to save my jerky for fieldwork and riding.
So, I stuck to most of my restrictions fairly well but keeping to the blood-type diet was the most difficult. Clear violations were the bison, pork, beef, potatoes, red peppers, coconut and, yes, I tried frog legs up in Churchill – not bad. I ate more sugar and starch than I’m used to which gave me some energy on the bike but also resulted in blood sugar fluctuations causing me to be hungry every 2-3 hours. Very annoying. I also started getting really intense sugar and starch cravings likely from Candida overgrowth that, even 2 weeks after returning from the trip, I am still fighting.
The biggest surprise was the pemmican. I absolutely loved it! It looked like puke mixed with dirt but the taste was surprisingly delicious. After eating it I felt great: full, not bloated (despite all the fat) and sustained energy for hours. Those friggin’ Indians know their shit! It’s only after I finished the pemmican (didn’t bring enough) that I overdid it with the carbs and ran into energy issues and cravings.
Although I am going through a slight recovery period – I’m a little bloated – overall I would say the trip was a success and food issues were minimized. Yippee!