Even though it’s one of my favorite summer past times, we’d pretty much forgone camping since starting our diet. Too much of camping revolves around food (though what doesn’t today, really?) — s’mores, hot dogs, hot chocolate … camping was always junk food heaven to me and my brother as kids.
We’d done a couple of one-nighters close to home, but nothing I’d really consider “real” camping. But this year we went for it and went all out: camping at Yellowstone National Park for five days. This was a 16-hour drive for us, so once we got there, we were committed. No heading for home if we couldn’t hack the food. And we’d learned enough to know that taking a vacation from the diet wasn’t a good idea.
“How in the world are you going to do that?” everyone asked.
Granted, it wasn’t easy. I spent hours staring at a spreadsheet, planning out each meal and snack. Since most of we eat is fresh, eating on the road for eight days was going to mean a lot of coolers and even more ice. (We bought ice every day, and my husband continually and meticulously rearranged everything.)
But beyond that, sticking to our diet wasn’t too much harder than at home. Instead of grilling, we cooked meat over the fire. And instead of boiling vegetables on the stove, I boiled them on my backpacking stove.
I love my little stove. It’s so much less intimidating than a regular one.
We also had our staples of raw kale and fermented cabbage.
And before we left, I cooked every night for a week, baking and freezing goodies to take. I made a batch of pumpkin muffins, granola bars, “oat”meal, graham crackers, and trail mix. I also presliced and ziplocked carrot sticks, celery, and peppers for snacks. My mom helped out by making the kids’ favorite quinoa cookies.
With all of that, and a few slight cheats, we were able to camp on our diet. We had s’mores made from my fake graham crackers (recipe from Against All Grain), dairy-free, sugar-free chocolate bars (from Luv), and marshmallows (a cheat–I couldn’t find any way around this one). We had hot chocolate made from our favorite quinoa milk with chocolate stevia drops. We had hot dogs–an all-natural brand, which sort of felt like just a half-cheat. We also had Ancient Harvest brand macaroni and cheese, which is grain-free (made from quinoa) but does have dairy (so another cheat).
All in all, though, we felt pretty good. After all, sticking to the diet to the letter, to the point that Logan resents it, will only eventually backfire. Hopefully, allowing some cheating for special occasions, like camping, will make routinely eating healthy much easier.
I held my breath all week, waiting for signs like blazing red ears, disconnectedness, aggression. But nothing happened–other than an explosion at Old Faithful, poetically timed with the eruption of the geyser.
Of course, he is 5, and tantrums will happen (especially after long hikes and long waits). Considering longer-term, since we’ve been back, we’ve seen nothing that indicates a true setback. After a fantastic vacation, we are ready for the next adventure–kindergarten!