Saturday, June 30, 2012

eating healthy while camping crude

Today I've been packing for the last-ever Cornerstone Music Festival, where I'll spend the next week.  The festival has been the highlight of many of my years, and a real life-changer (hey, it's a huge factor in my ending up living in community at Jesus People USA for 9 of what were in many ways the coolest months of my life thus far). It is fun, diverse, filled with great music and teaching, inspiring, challenging, and I can't imagine how anyone could go and not get their view on Christianity tilted in a very good way.  

What it ISN'T is comfortable.  Camping - and not the nice kind of camping where everyone understands the rules of camping.  Just crazy, do-it-however-you-may camping.  Hot.  Chaotic. Port-a-potties and showers that are outside my comfort zone.  Hot.  Crowded.  Hot.  One source of running water, not near where I camp.  Dusty.  Did I mention, hot?  You gotta know the festival is FABULOUS, to be worth that level of discomfort. 

What to eat is always a dilemma.  Back when I was a youth group chaperone, everyone pitched in funds and I was the camp cook, serving up large portions of cheap carbs-and-fat goodies.  It worked for that season of my life.  Later, going by myself (and not quite as broke as I had been earlier), I had the funds to mostly eat whatever is served by various vendors.  Some of it really good.  Some of it is pretty cheap.  Both were fine with me. 

Having retrained my mind, palate and body toward better eating habits than most of what is offered by those vendors, what to eat this year has been a dilemma.  Here's what I came up with.

First of all, fresh stuff.  A friend recently sent me this fabulous webpage  on how to make mason jar salads.  They supposedly last a week.  I'm feeling good about how they should ride in a cooler.  Here are the ones I made:

 Veggie salads:  in the bottom is red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, with minced garlic.  Added:  cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, cucumbers, green and black olives, garbanzos, tomatoes, broccoli, and romaine (hopefully i didn't forget anything!)  I'll take along both slivered and whole almonds, as they are a great addition to any salad. 
Fruit salads:  in the bottom:  organic low-sugar (not artificial sweetener) vanilla yogurt.  Added:  green grapes, blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe.  HALLELUJAH for a killer sale on strawberries and blueberries at Aldi today!

Other foods I am taking:

a can of chicken breast, and a can of tuna - that'll be my 2 "meats" this week and i can just toss them in one of those veggie salads

some hard-boiled eggs from down on the farm (they're just such an easy snack)

a can of peanuts and a can of mixed nuts, cuz nuts are easy protein and a fast fix when I am suddenly hungry

multi-grain bread, smuckers all-natural crunchy peanut butter, honey (yes I am eating peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast every day - it's easy)

canned veggies:  green beans, carrots, and sweet potatoes - cuz all are delicious if you just open the can, drain the liquid, and eat 'em fork or fingers right out of the can (not high nutrition, but a damned sight better than Doritos...)

canned refried beans, canned ro-tel tomatoes with chilis, brown rice I cooked up in vegetable broth with raw red onions stirred in, and corn taco shells - even without a cookstove, if I bust this stuff out I can improvise decent enough tacos to feel like I ate "real" food - and I even have a couple of avocados that can be sliced up for that treat

granola cereal, to sprinkle on those fruit salads or just to snack on dry

a couple of fresh mangos

a bag of apples and a bag of clementines (I've never figured out how to help bananas survive camping)
dried apricots and dried mixed fruits

and then just flat out junk food that I want on vacation:  pudding cups, granola bars, and nut-thins

If it sounds like a lot of food, it is, and I'll probably end up ratting through the cupboards for other assorted odds and ends.  In my defense, I'm sharing camp with a friend and we've agreed to share food - and I've never yet experienced a Cornerstone where I didn't feed somebody who didn't come adequately prepared to feed themselves - it's anybody's guess how much of that might happen. 

While it's not quite the high level of nutrition I've been enjoying in the last 6 months of really pressing into this business of which foods love my's not bad, for crude camping!

I shall be OUT for the week.  Be blessed, all, and stay cool. 

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